Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Gallery Newsletter

Wednesday, October 3rd 2012 by Pat

Now that we have a physical space, a kick-ass gallery in downtown Juneau, we’ve launched a bi-monthly newsletter to keep people up to date on events, shows, and visiting artists.

If you’re here in Juneau, you’ll probably want to fill out our newsletter registration form.

If you don’t need more email and just want to peek in occasionally from time to time and see what we’re up to on this end of the world, I’ll be posting links to all the newsletters right here, like this…

Communications is complicated with so many options out there and…. Excuse me, a warning, if you feel like jumping ship as I digress into an explanation of our communication methods and technology, now would be a good time to stop reading.

Still here? Fool. I will now bore you with a hodgepodge of communications related stream of consciousness writing. See. Even the word communications begs you toward slumber.

Bear on a Wet Tin Roof

Thursday, September 20th 2012 by Pat

Bears are fairly common in downtown Juneau, this guy was climbing around on our roof yesterday. He sure was itchy and incredibly agile.

This bears was probably drawn to downtown Juneau by garbage and other delicious aromas. This particular alley is often littered with trash from local winos and must have smelled appealing.

There’s been an effort to enforce bear proof garbage containers which has done a lot for the problem but “bear proof” doesn’t always mean bear proof to these clever animals and sometime they get bold enough to skip the bin and break directly into homes and businesses.

I know several people who have had bears in their homes and while I haven’t heard of them hurting anyone, there’s a frightening potential for a physical encounter. My dad had a few cubs wander into his house and my mom had a bear climb in her bedroom window and get away with a bag of sugar a couple years back. Live here long enough and you’ll probably have a bear story too.

The story of this particular bear has a sad ending. He was hauled away and killed not long after being darted. A news article mentions that this is likely the same bear that invaded a downtown yogurt shop and was seen climbing on another rooftop in the area. He was a repeat offender and was getting far too comfortable around people. I don’t know if it would have been possible to relocate him but some attempts to relocate has been unsuccessful and expensive.

If you’re concerned about bears, please keep Juneau tidy and store your garbage indoors until garbage day.

I am Emily White… well… not literally.

Thursday, June 21st 2012 by Pat

Kaboom! Big explosions going off in the world of music today. Maybe you read up on it already but I’ll break down some of the key posts..

Emily, an intern at NPR, wrote a frank article about the way her generation listens to music. Mostly, they don’t pay for it. Surprise.

David, of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, wrote a scathing response directed at Emily and her peers.

The thing is, I kind of want to support Emily here. I don’t know. She seems ok.

And maybe it’s because, in a way.. I am Emily.

I was a Computer Science major in college and I had access to things. Everythings. My drives were brimming with music and I was able to train myself in several high-end pieces of software I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

I rationalized it of course, I wouldn’t have purchased these things and I wouldn’t have stolen them but cloning them was different, it did no harm.

Maybe I was wrong but I was a kid and kids get it wrong.

Emily for example, I never said she was right, I want to support her because I think she’s just being Emily. She’s offered up a frank assessment of how she consumes music and she’s been throttled with the club of morality. The pent up aggression of a thousand starving musicians is now focused on her like a laser… and hey.. did I mention, she’s a kid?

After college I went through a transition. First, as a business owner I made sure that every piece of software I used was legit. Then, I tried to clean up my music. It was a rocky transition, first to quasi-legal Russian Mp3 outlets and then to harvesting Mp3 files from music review blogs. Then, with one blunder, I accidentally wiped out my giant hard drive full of pirated Mp3s and I decided it was the end of an era.

I think the way people support the arts evolves with age. They get out of college, begin to understand real world economics and start to see that some of their favorite artists are insane people who will keep following their passions regardless of if they’ve been fed.

I think I do a lot more to support the arts these days than I did in college and I don’t know what you all were doing to support the arts at Emily’s age but guys, she’s interning at NPR.

Of course, all of this is bigger than music and the arts as Johnathan Coulton points out. It’s about.. Legos!?!

So.. yeah.. people are going to be printing toys and gadgets instead of buying them. Music is just one of the first bees out of the hive. Just you wait, it’s going to get stingy.

Kickstarter might be something to cling to. Maybe it’s a step towards the “Holding Things for Ransom” business model where an artist pitches an idea, gives a little taste of that idea, then tries to rake in cash up front before creating and releasing it to all the free grubbers.

This public review of proposed projects is fascinating. It actually seems similar to the old model of trying to submit your music to a label except now the label is the audience and maybe you stand a chance of finding your niche.

If you don’t, no one is stopping you and you can still pursue your project without up-front funding. At least you’ll be armed with the knowledge that people didn’t think it was worth supporting.. which is ok.. it isn’t about money and besides, they just don’t get it man.

As my personal economics improve and my abilities to support other artists improve, I try to support them more and more.

Evidence and more evidence and even more evidence.

I don’t think it’s a cultural shift for me, I think it’s more about my age and place in the world.

I’m sure Emily will turn out fine, ease up on her a bit.

Update: More reading from Chris Griffy – The Case for Digital Music

LEGO Robotics Challenge!

Monday, May 7th 2012 by Pat

The big gallery opening wasn’t the only event we had going last Friday. We also participated in the Lego Robotics Corporate Challenge, a fundraiser for the youth robotics teams in town.

This year we were cramped for time so at the last minute we gave up on all of our careful plans and built a chaotic smash-bot to destroy, rather than solve, the puzzles on the board. It was glorious. The theme was food safety and our little Monsantron got good and dirty out there crushing cattle and smashing rats with the Chop-tor 0′ Doom.

A big shout out to our team members in the Lego Robotics Division – Ty & Brevin Keltner, Ben Sapp, Jamie & Jen Karnik, and Tara Greenwood.

Thanks also to Susan Keltner for putting up with the strange noises coming from her basement at 3am.

Tara gave the newspaper what must have been a solid, full-page quote, the best unending line of pure unadulterated bullshit I’ve ever heard.

“It’s a non-deterministic universe and we are sort of moving out of the classical ideas of, you know, you have these inputs and you have a known output and in these chaotic times we wanted to tap into the interconnectedness of all things and to see what happens if we go back to the elementary and primeval … our algorithms are in some ways primitive or even shamanistic … it’s not just about destruction.”

– Tara Greenwood

You can read the rest of the article at the Juneau Empire.

Alaska Robotics Gallery Opening

Tuesday, May 1st 2012 by Pat

I’m excited to announce that the Alaska Robotics Gallery will be opening this Friday, May 4th.

The Alaska Robotics Gallery is located in the heart of downtown Juneau at 220 Front Street and it’s a beautiful space where we’re selling our prints, cards, shirts, and a huge selection of graphic novels.

I hope you’ll join us this Friday for some fancy cheese and help us warm the house.

Alaska Robotics Gallery

Tickets on Sale!!

Friday, November 4th 2011 by Pat

Online ticket sales for the DVD release screening are now available. If you have any problems or just like doing business in person, please come by the shop or call 586-3440.

Here are the options for now, regular DVD sales will begin after the 12th and we’ll have the same options (without the tickets) in our online store.


$10 – You get admission to the show and with the ticket some discounts and fun at the KXLL after party. Tickets are also available at the door.

Ticket & DVD Combo

$25 – You get admission to the show and one of our new DVDs. That’s a $5 savings on the new DVD.

Super Pack!!!

$50 – Includes one ticket, one limited edition print (secret work in progress of a giant bear attacking the moon), a super strong robot magnet, and both of our DVDs – Alaska Robotics Vol 1 & 2 which include more than fifty films and tons of bonus goodies. Kaboom!

Alaska Robotics Vol. 2

Thursday, November 3rd 2011 by Pat

We made a new DVD to collect the last five years of our short films along with a bunch of other goodies.

Please join us in celebrating the DVD release, we’re doing a big screening of at the JDHS Auditorium on November 12th at 7pm and after the screening we’re going to Mandy’s at the Breakwater for an after party sponsored by KXLL and featuring the music of Playboy Spaceman.

Tickets are available for ten bucks at Lucid Reverie (open 2-6 weekdays) and online ticket sales will be available right here… in a day or two.

This will be the first time we’ve put together a feature length collection of our films outside the JUMP Society Festivals so we’ll be showing all kinds of dusty local classics like “Downtown vs. The Valley” and “Buy Back Alaska” alongside our favorite mini-documentaries, sketch comedy, animation, and political satire.

Something Fierce – Marian Call

Friday, September 30th 2011 by Pat

Marian Call - Something Fierce

Marian’s new album comes out tomorrow. You should probably buy it.

If you aren’t familiar with her work, Marian Call is an Alaskan singer/songwriter and entrepreneur who creates lovely music about avocados and space ships.

I’m in no state to be conjuring the deserved praise, I didn’t get nearly enough sleep last night.

Just go get the album.

Trust me.

It’s amaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

.. and here are some variations on the above illustration.

The Bride

Thursday, September 1st 2011 by Pat

Sarah Asper-Smith

Sarah Asper-Smith, our dear friend and longtime partner in crime has been hitched. Alaskan men from Ketchikan to Barrow are crying in their beers.

All hail Mitch Watley. Long live the union.

If you’d like to do something nice for the blushing bride, I would recommend jumping over to Sarah’s Etsy store and peppering her with orders or picking up a copy of her darling children’s book full of collective nouns… five stars as of this posting!!

Robots vs. Zombies

Friday, August 5th 2011 by Pat

Here’s an interview we did at comic-con for, an online zombie survival guide.

I’m standing by my answer, robots are much more dangerous than zombies. Robots have lasers and all kinds of wicked people killing technology while zombies pretty much just have perseverance and hunger.

Sure, it’s the kind of deep down hunger that wins football games but they’re so hopelessly outclassed. Robots can fly, they can be tiny, they can be giant, they can shoot missiles at you from space. They can repair themselves. Robots all the way.

The only way zombies would even stand a chance at wiping us out as fast as robots is if the disease mutated in such a way that it became airborne or could be carried by animals and insects. Even then, I’m going with robots. They’re a lot harder to take out with a baseball bat or an axe.

I guess it could be argued that robots require a lot of maintenance and resources but they know math. And that’s it, my final argument in favor of robots..

Math always wins.