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NewsForge: Bots sell SGI to Linux crowd, but may get sold on Linux

Feb 11, 2001, 23:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Julie Bresnick)

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"There were more than 200 booths at Linux World Conference and Expo. Some big, some small, some with grass huts, stuffed animals, yo-yos, life-size mascots, breasts, comedians, presenters in penguin suits (of both the arctic and the couture kind), all trying to lure the Linux-loving crowd into their booths to listen. I even saw a guy with a guitar, but this was the first time I have ever seen the booth bots."

"SGI hired Dulles, Va.,-based Viva Robotics to, as they say in the trade show industry, "work their booth." Red, so named that day for the red SGI shirt buttoned over his metal bodice, and Sprockit-T-Robot, are two rabble-rousing robots that interact with each other as well as the crowd that came by to see these strange and silly silicon machines. Like Dez and Lucy, Red and Sprockit, oscilated between affection and disdain, cajoling and harassing each other in turn."

"I watched four women approach them slowly, settling in a slightly bowed huddle, cautious but curious. All four are small and the tallest wore a scarf over her head in Muslim-like fashion. I stood 25 yards away next to 35-year-old Mark Moody. He wears a headset and a fanny pack that holds the cellular equipment he uses to bring Sprockit-T (the "T" is for "the") to life. Sprockit banters with the women for a little, responding to questions that Moody hears over the headset. Every time Sprockit talked, the red neon band that represents his mouth flickered in succession with the neon blue circles that stand for his eyes. The women were shy so Moody took things up a notch."

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