back to article If I pedal faster and feed it spinach, my robot barman might pull more pints

Help me up, would you, luvvie? Like any child of the Sixties, I dreamt a future of spaceships and robots, not of fat-arsed celebs, whinging royals and the manipulation of the feeble-minded by nationalists whose wealth accumulates off-shore. After growing up, I looked back to realise I had been dreaming in sci-fi cloudland …

  1. Howard Sway

    All that effort seems like a bit of a waste

    Dangerous thinking about the exercise bike , if you recall the Black Mirror episode "Fifty Million Merits".

    But yes, unharnessed effort is a wonderful potential source of electricity generation. I'm a bit too reliant on a walking stick already due to arthritis linked to over exercising in previous decades. So I'd be looking at other potential sources. My best idea is the electricity generating bed. Compression and uncompression of mattress springs could be used to generate a current for device charging. Yes, you'd be working whilst you slept! And other more vigorous bed based activities would generate even more power.

    1. Arbuthnot the Magnificent

      Re: All that effort seems like a bit of a waste

      More vigorous? Don't be silly, I haven't jumped up and down on a bed since I was about 5.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Go

        Re: All that effort seems like a bit of a waste

        Not vertically anyway!

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: All that effort seems like a bit of a waste

          If its not possible simultaneously prone, my knees won't be up to it*.

          That doesn't mean we won't try-try-try, though.

          Dabbsy, if you set your sights higher, you can get a motorised tracked chair with joystick-controlled miniguns and a basket for your and the lady's shopping.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "If it's good enough for Popeye"

    But do you want forearms that look like you've got a dozen baguettes tucked up your shirt sleeves?

    1. Montreal Sean

      @Doctor Syntax

      The more important question is, do you want those same forearms supported only by a breadstick?

  3. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Bronze badge

    Re fooling the exercise bike settings

    Missus_C has found several ways to fool her FaTBITch watch.

    Pre WFH days, she realised that hand gestures whilst chatting worked well. Walk the Walk or Talk the Talk, fatbitch still gives you steps.

    She's also found that knitting vigorously can also fool it.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

      Brushing my teeth is as good as 20 burpees according to my Fitbit.

      1. Shadow Systems

        Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

        Hey Dabbsy, why don't you have a "Written by staff" badge for your account? Are they too cheap to let you have one? Did you piss someone off & your punishment is not getting one? Have the aliens abducted you & replaced you with a sack full of soggy whore durves? (Sorry, I never could spell that one correctly.)

        I've upvoted you in hopes of showing a general desire for you to get your staff badge (back) and hope others will upvote you in solidarity.

        Plus, I want a Gundam catalog in my mail, you lucky fart! =-)

        1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

          I'm not staff.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

            Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

            But be aware that you may become stiff due to too much exercise...

            And not in the part that Ms D. would be interested in...

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

              Surely, Mme D?

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

            I'm not staff.

            He is Not a Number either. Though sometimes has aspirations for the Number 7

            https://regmedia.co.uk/2013/06/28/bonds.jpg

      2. Montreal Sean

        Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

        Other activities can also be as good as walking several miles according to the Fitbit.

        Or so I've heard...

    2. John Miles

      Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

      A couple of years ago work did a 10,000 step challenge and you got free step counter. It was observed that some people had quite a few steps after driving to work.

    3. Rick594

      Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

      Driving to Aldi once a week my Samsung smart wartch chirps the message: "Good work keep it up".

      Driving back home it buzzes and says "That was a good work out".

      Not bad, a days ecersise for the price of a couple of litres of petrol.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Re fooling the exercise bike settings

        Messages sponsored by Aldi no doubt...

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    "powered exoskeletons"

    Now that is something that I wouldn't mind finding in a catalogue.

    Especially the military-grade ones that make carrying 50kg while running cross-country a breeze.

    Don't know if they exist yet, though.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: "powered exoskeletons"

      https://www.odtmag.com/contents/view_videos/2020-08-20/ekso-bionics-launches-evo-endurance-boosting-assistive-upper-body-exoskeleton/

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Ah yes, our old friend ED-209

    Always brings a smile to my face. As long as he's serving drinks on the ground floor! Not only would he be serving drinks, he'd be bouncing drunks too!

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buying non-essentials the French way

    My local French garden centre has come up with an interesting variant on "click&collect". Garden centres are allowed to open to sell essentials, presumably in case you have an urgent need to prune or kill something. This includes barbecue accessories though not, oddly, the barbecues themselves.

    All the 'essentials' are on open sale, but the aisles with the deemed non-essential tat that such places also sell, such as candles, kitchenware, Christmas decor etc. are taped off. They do, however, all have a sign saying "if you see something you want, please do not take it. Order it from one of the sales staff, and it will be available for you to collect at the desk. Credit card payment only".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buying non-essentials the French way

      Buying non-essentials the French way

      The rules state that you're still allowed to buy food (if there is a supermarket at <1km from your home), but that for everything else you are supposed to use Amazon (especially for your Christmas shopping).

      It's an Amazon support measure, to help prevent the collapse of the french economy...

  8. MJI Silver badge

    I want to get something to help me walk

    Damaged vertabra from a fall.

    Want to try some walking poles but I don't want to look like a rambler.

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Bronze badge

      Re: I want to get something to help me walk

      Best way to avoid looking like a rambler is to use the wrist straps properly ;)

      https://www.mountaindesigns.com/field-notes/how-to-guides/how-to-use-hiking-pole-wrist-straps

      They're there to transmit your arms' push without the need to grip them, not just to stop you loosing them

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I want to get something to help me walk

        And don't have an OS map in a plastic envelope slung round your neck.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: I want to get something to help me walk

      They sell exoskeletons now, dunno how much they are, what the lead time is, or whether they come in terminator chrome.

    3. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: I want to get something to help me walk

      I'm struggling with the concept of enduring discomfort and reduced mobility to avoid "looking like a rambler".

      I give very few tosses over the opinion of others if something makes my life less painful.

      Sorry to hear about the damage, though.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I want to get something to help me walk

        A step ladder failed while I was on it, fell 6 foot onto my bum.

        Luckily it all hurt and I am not on wheels

    4. onemark03 Bronze badge

      Want to try some walking poles but I don't want to look like a rambler.

      Would Nordic walking poles help? (Seriously.)

  9. Franco Silver badge

    "started receiving the infamous Modern Man catalogue in my favourite new language"

    For some reason that gave me flashbacks to the "Innovations" catalogue that used to periodically appear through the door or with some broadsheet newspapers. Glossy pictures of brilliant solutions to problems that didn't exist such as the ioniser to recreate the refreshing air found just after a storm.

    Craig Ferguson (Scottish comedian nowadays best known as a late night chat show host in the US) did a sketch on this where James Bond was fitted out for a mission by Q with items from the catalogue, including a "wireless woodland creature".

    Monoprix also sounds like a much more fun place to shop than the Co-Op that just opened near my house.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      "Innovations" catalogue

      It's my own fault that I receive them as I unpeeled the ugly STOP PUB ("no junk mail") sticker from my letterbox when I moved in. In France you get heaps of printed junk stuffed in there almost every day, which Mme D was not too pleased about at first. However, some of it provides amusement and quite a lot of it comes with generous money-off vouchers to spend at all the highly competitive supermarkets nearby. Over the summer, I must have saved a good 200-300€ on my shopping just using freebies in my junk mail.

      1. FrogsAndChips

        Re: "Innovations" catalogue

        You get the junk mail even if you have the STOP PUB sticker anyway.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: "Innovations" catalogue

        I get actual product in my boite aux lettres. Coffee samples and the like. Last week it was a tube of Bonne Maman "Intense" raspberry confiture.

        The mobile roaming truck-based tool and outdoorsy shop catalogue is always worth a peruse.

        1. I am the liquor Silver badge

          Re: Intense raspberry confiture

          Everything sounds twice as dirty in French.

          1. Rasslin ' in the mud

            Re: Intense raspberry confiture

            Excellent name for a Gunge Rock band!

      3. regadpellagru

        Re: "Innovations" catalogue

        "It's my own fault that I receive them as I unpeeled the ugly STOP PUB ("no junk mail") sticker from my letterbox when I moved in. In France you get heaps of printed junk stuffed in there almost every day, which Mme D was not too pleased about at first. However, some of it provides amusement and quite a lot of it comes with generous money-off vouchers to spend at all the highly competitive supermarkets nearby. Over the summer, I must have saved a good 200-300€ on my shopping just using freebies in my junk mail."

        Well, Dabsy, that was indeed in the principle a risky move, but fear not, "STOP PUB" only gets you only 50% of junk mail anyway. I take it you, like me, get it in bulk, by 2kg packs, yeah ?

        As for the absurd french regulations (even the german have now shockingly discovered humour by calling France "Absurdistan", by now). The priceless part was: ski stations are open. But no ski lifts, bars nor restaurants. Enjoy going up by feet if you're not into cross country skiing or "ski de randonnée", which is 99.8% of skiers. And if you are into cross country, no worries, no-one will prepare tracks, anyway, given the huge costs and no income, so enjoy bogging down in fresh snow ! And eat a wet sandwich by -10C in the wind.

        But welcome to Absurdistan, Dabsy !

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: "Innovations" catalogue

          Ski stations are closed primarily to keep accident hospital admissions down. Not to stop virus spread. Hospitals in the ski areas would not be able to cope with virus + hundreds of ski accidents a day.

  10. MiguelC Silver badge

    Good thing the Gendarmes only stopped you to make fun of your hairband and leg-warmers and not to beat the shit out of you...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, that's usually the job of the CRS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gendarmes are for people in the country sides, CRS for students in towns.

        But mostly the problem occurs when you are using other units to "maintain the peace".

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Next time tell them that you are on your way to Château de Barnard to check your eyesight.

  11. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    Star Trek Communicator?!

    Space 1999 CommLock, Surely?

    Lock down eased this Saturday. Yay!

    Curfew returns on December 15th. Booo!

    No bars or restaurants until the January 20th. WTAF?

    Shit, which pocket has my mask and attestation?!?!

  12. Joe Gurman

    I hope when I get old

    .... about a year from now, that what I yell at the bar is, “Millenium hand and shrimp, bugrit!”

  13. Chris G Silver badge

    Mate

    I was not that impressed with the Mate site, they seemed more interested in obtaining my details than giving any real info about the gadget, including the price.

    In my experience having at one time been a person with purchasing power for a large organisation, any sales wonk who won't give you an up front price, (even as a guide should discounts apply if you buy more) is usually trying to screw you.

    Which brings me to the name. one letter away from a well known brand of condoms, ironic considering the 'appliance' aids in shoulder action but nothing for the wrist.

    I must say I am a little disappointed at not receiving modern man type catalogues as someone close to 70, maybe it's because I never share my details including my address.

    As far as walking sticks go, I have been making and selling rustic sticks for decades, fortunately, they are not a necessity for walking but handy for balance when strolling in the local mountains.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Mate

      they seemed more interested in obtaining my some details

      You don't have to give them yours. But I agree completely about lack of upfront prices. It's a warning. Possibly just a warning of an incompetent sales organisation but if they're incompetent the rest may be as well.

  14. Irony Deficient Bronze badge

    reached an age

    Its pages are filled with "night-time sunglasses" (no, I have no idea either)

    To get an idea, ask a night-time driver who has cortical cataracts.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: reached an age

      I'd rather stay as far away from such a driver as possible.

  15. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Pint

    Step away from the spinach

    The Pope eye thing was based on two problems: One was that they got the decimal point in the wrong place in the iron content measurement and the other is that the iron in cruciferous vegetables is fully bio-available to us. It isn’t. For a start it gets chelated by stuff in the leaves so your digestion can’t get at the iron and secondly it’s ferrous iron which is absorbed an order of magnitude less than haem iron from the muscles, liver or blood sausage of a dead herbivore (or omnivore in the case of the pig).

    The good news is that haem iron potentiates the uptake of ferrous iron. So eat some bacon, liver or black pud with your spinach.

    Speaking as someone who brews his own beer I’m alarmed. It’s one step from a robot barman to a robot brewer. I brew with buckets and big pans and plastic pressure barrels and bottles. I can spend up big and buy a stainless steel widget which mashes, sparges, boils and cools your brew at the press of a button (after you have filled it with the necessaries). It seems to take the craft out of craft brew in my mind.

    My latest is a clone of Wadworth’s finest 6X a brew I’m rather fond of but is hard to find here in Dundee. I have to make do with the excellent Hobgoblin instead. it’s just been barrelled. Will be ready on Xmas day. Xmas cheer in a barrel.

    1. Alex Wilson

      Re: Step away from the spinach

      I rediscovered the joys of 6X in the dank depths of a Birmingham Goth Club a couple of years ago, wonderful beer (that I thought had disappeared in the 80's at some point!)... Great to see the homebrew crowd making beer with flavour instead of insipid lagers these days!

      When a robo-barman offers the same sympathetic head nodding and budget therapy my regular bar jockeys provide I'll pay attention.

  16. earl grey
    Unhappy

    I know my luck

    I would have a nice exo and it would decide to disassemble and pull me apart in the process.

  17. TheProf Silver badge
    Angel

    Not in the UK

    I like the sound of the French attestation form and wonder why we in the UK haven't come up with something similar? After all it doesn't appear to do anything other than show Le Plod what time you've nipped out for an escargot baguette. It should fit right in with our easy-to-understand tier system.

    I think to be on the safe side I'll print one of the French forms out just in case Boris announces a mid-Saturday afternoon change of pillockry, sorry, policy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not in the UK

      How many pieces of paper can you carry?

      "I went for my run at 12.05pm"

      "I went for my run at 12.10pm"

      "I went...." etc.

      Still, if you're going to be honest filling those things in, there's being too honest: https://www.euronews.com/2020/11/23/french-man-fined-for-leaving-home-during-lockdown-to-beat-someone-up

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not in the UK

      The only point of the French "attestation" is to create good, old, useless paperwork. Printers, paper and printer ink are nowadays star articles in French supermarkets.

      But then again how do bureaucrats solve any problem? By liberally applying red tape.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Age related adverts

    You will look back in fondness at those when you hit sixty and are greeted by an NHS letter suggesting you might want to get yourself checked out for arse cancer and other delights.

    I appreciate the seriousness of the issues, the screening they do, and I am certain they mean well and it's nice they care - but their timing could be better. Not even a "happy birthday" - just "shit on this set of sticks". It all puts quite a downer on 'Yay! Sixty!".

    1. First Light Silver badge

      Re: Age related adverts

      As George Carlin said: Sixty - it's Sixteen Celsius.

      1. I am the liquor Silver badge

        Re: Age related adverts

        Or late 30s in hex.

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    SAGA

    We'll know we are getting old when we get reports from Dabbsy about his SAGA Holiday

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fooling the exercise monitor

    Some years back Mrs Coward used to get discounted medical insurance, providing she walked a certain (largish) number of steps. It was a good deal. And she did walk more. Just not that much more. Sitting, instead, agitating the device that recorded her "steps " while watching Eastenders seemed so much more errr efficient use of time.

    AC to protect the guilty.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    poor ED-209

    "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and he asks me to pour an IPA"

  22. all ears

    This article made me look up bicycle generators, but there doesn't seem to be much on the market. Anybody know of any possibilities?

  23. stungebag

    No need for an exoskeleton

    I want a proper La-Z-Boy chair. Those huge ones with a built-in fridge, for beer. My version would have a decent sound system, a large unfoldable screen like a better version of an airliner bulkhead seat tray table, and it would be fully connected.

    It would have motors, so it could take me to wherever I want to go - probably the pub. And Google/Alexa would complete the deal. OK, Google, take me you know where.

    I'd never leave the chair, and would have no need, ever, for walking frames or for sticks, other than to clout those who try to ponce a beer off of me.

  24. R J
    Happy

    Kraftwerk - The Man Machine

    Kraftwerk is of course great, but now, during lockdown, when you miss going to exotic places, maybe you should listen to the Latin version:

    https://youtu.be/nGnFF5w5sro?t=2203

    (Yes, do listen. Warning: Might bring a smile to your face)

  25. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Never underestimate the sheer stupidity of the Administration

    In public or private sectors, technocrats are very, very good at creating stupid rules. COVID is a blessing for them, they can show how creative they can be.

    If something doesn't change through times, it's bureaucracy. I expect it to be still in place in 2200 - if there are still humans, that is.

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