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Unleash the Hounds of Ambrosia

Posted Jun 26 2009, 07:54 PM

As you may have correctly surmised, Ambrosia is not your typical work environment. This is evident from the very moment a visitor walks into the office and is first accosted loudly by Hector and, within seconds, barraged by a pack of dogs.

I know what you're thinking, and no, this isn't some sexist knock at my male coworkers -- come on, give my creative mind a little more credit than that. When visitors enter our office, they are quite literally tackled by the most adorable mob of tail-wagging, tongue-lolling happy pets to ever slide across a hardwood floor. The tornado, in the rare instance it is not tearing haphazardly through the office, actually consists of anywhere between one and four of our dogs at any given time. Sure, we could probably leave our furry friends at home every day, but then how would we annoy the cat people in the office?!

Read more...


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Shall We Play a Game? A computer only DEFCON tournament!

Posted Jun 22 2009, 02:02 PM

ROCHESTER, New York -- June 22, 2009 -- The echoing robotic voice of Joshua from the 1983 classic "War Games" asking the simple question "Shall we play a game?" might now be a reality. Not in the idea that a robot controlling nuclear weapons might destroy our world, as that's likely been true for quite some time. In the upcoming  IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games  you might not be sure if it's a person or a computer attempting to wipe your population off the thermonuclear battlefield.

IEEE's Symposium has created an interesting competition for this year, and we are proud to say that they will be basing it around Ambrosia's own DEFCON.

The idea is simple, contestants program an AI to play DEFCON and then pitch their bot against enemy bots in a series of one-on-one thermonuclear chess games. The winner is the programmer whose bot successfully annihilates its opponents and racks up the highest death count. IEEE is offering a $500 prize to the deadliest DEFCON AI bot competition winner.  Secondly, part of the symposium is a sort of “Turing Test” challenge, in which contestants then demonstrate their programmed AI against non-computer foes. The objective is to try to trick a panel of human judges into thinking the AI is a human player.

The symposium will be held Sept 7-10 in at Politecnico Di Milano, Milano, Italy. 

To read more please visit their site here.


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The Scratching Post: WWDC, Bonnaroo, and sunscreen

Posted Jun 17 2009, 07:13 PM

After the tedium of grey clouds, ice, and snow that comprise so much of the yearly weather up here, it is finally looking like summer time in Rochester, NY. The sun is out, Hector is singing longingly to her birdie brethren, and the temperatures are quite lounge-by-the-pool-worthy. If you were to walk into the Ambrosia HQ, however, you might have a hard time believing me once you saw our staff, still decked out in long pants and sleeves!

With all the constantly running electronics we have in the office, air conditioning is a necessary evil, and man do we *ever* have air conditioning! Of course, as one of those people who is constantly cold, I really lucked out as the one who gets the first blasts of arctic air under her desk. I'm thinking a Snuggie may be the only preventative measure to take to avoid becoming Frosty's wife this summer...

Over the past week, the office was lacking the usual click clack of our programmers hard at work, as they were all in San Francisco attending the Apple World Wide Developers Conference. This Monday, they returned to their desks with all sorts of upgraded knowledge and visions of new iPhones and Snow Leopards dancing in their heads. Of course, in typical Ambrosia style, WWDC was not all business no play; the guys all had a great time meeting and mingling with fellow programmers. Drinking, dancing, and Tweeting the night away -- party hardy Ambrosia!

In the glorious summer spirit, I also took a couple days away from the office last week to attend the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN. After four days of frying my translucent Irish skin under the southern sun, it's safe to say I qualify for the "burnt to a crisp" cliche. The miles of walking and late nights of dancing took their toll on my winter-lazed anatomy, and on top of that, el' Presidente has taken to referring to me as Typhoid Kat, due to the ferocious hacking cough that has plagued me the past two and a half weeks. Standing, sitting, breathing, and blinking are just a few of the tasks which are currently painful to perform. I'm beginning to consider investments in Ibuprofen and aloe stocks to be a rather viable venture.

ow ow ow

In the tech world, it seems everyone has been a-flutter about the iPhone OS 3 release. Our developers and testers have been diligently preparing our various iPhone games for the update, and earlier this week our in-house Apple genius Evan put the beta version on my iPhone. Now, not to undermine my claim to geekdom -- I get my Leia costume dry-cleaned only, thank you-- but, I am not exactly the most advanced cog in the machine around here. Having been a PC convert (don't judge me!)(editor's note: or do), my Mac experience can, at times, be pathetically limited.

That said, I was rather grateful for Evan's assistance until, in the process of updating to the new OS, we managed to experience an "undefined" error (clearly the best kind) not once, not twice, but three times. After working through all this and getting the install finalized, you can only imagine the joy I experienced upon realizing I'd lost all my music, programs, notes, and ringtones. To his credit, Evan did spend some time with me restoring my iPhone, and everything seems to be running smoothly. The lesson to take away from all this, I suppose, is that I'll never be trendy or tech-savvy, and my continued attempts are futile. It's definitely a bad omen when an office full of Apple gurus can't save me from my own technologies!


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Happy birthday to you, happy birthday half the crew!

Posted Jun 5 2009, 10:36 AM

Due to the apparent popularity of birthing around the beginning of June, this week at Ambrosia HQ the question seems to be -- how much cake is too much cake? That, of course, is a trick question because everyone knows there is never enough cake!

With the sort of fervor only Hector can typically muster up, the Ambrosia staff replaced the usual electronic hum and banter of Friday afternoon with our frighteningly off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Brenda, our beloved massage therapist. Tuesday was Finance Manager Bernard's birthday, Wednesday was John's, and this Friday we will fill the kitchen once more to split the ears of Ambrosia's youngest crew member, Steve. Cake and coffee all around! Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are few things in the world more apropos to software development than that dynamic duo of sugar and caffeine. Tasty, tasty production...

Another theme around the office lately seems to be automotive misfortune. Over the past couple weeks, nearly half the staff has had to break the bank for their modes of transportation. Tires, alternators, and exhaust systems are just a few of the fun gifts we have given our lovely vehicles in return for another few months of loyally transporting us to work, where we can make more money to fix them. John, being too wise for his unfaithful Impala, simply resigned to purchasing himself a new car; while el' Presidente has been rocking the rental for a few weeks, awaiting the return of his chariot.

While our developers have been busy doing what they do best, our artist, Marcus, has remained characteristically productive, designing a bunch of new Ambrosia Gear which is now available on Zazzle (http://www.zazzle.com/ambrosia_software).

I guess I can only speak for myself when I say that I've been trying for years now to combine my love of hookah smoking caterpillars, general evil, and witty T-shirts, but I have great faith that there are other like-minded Ambrosia fans out there!


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Ambrosia Gear Unveiled, Available for Immediate Download (via UPS)

Posted Jun 2 2009, 07:01 PM

ROCHESTER, New York -- June 3, 2009 -- While we’re all patiently waiting for our talented and dashing engineers to amaze us with the next bits of Ambrosia magic, we decided to whip out a bunch of t-shirts and other Ambrosia-branded gear, available today over at our new Zazzle store.

Snapz Up some Ambrosia gear:

Yes, we know it’s like chumming the waters for you hungry software sharks, just making you want more, but come on - never before have you had the chance to wear your favorite pentipede pulling on a hookah while riding a magic mushroom? “It’s an ad for a GAME, mom. That’s ALL.”

Also present in the Zazzle store: Hector’s line of World Domination Wear™, the EV Nova Starbridge, and a range of iconic productivity and anti-productivity icons from Ambrosia’s vast catalog of goodness.

We know the Zazzle pricing is a bit high, but the exceptional range and quality of their shirts will keep you swathed in our smart looking gear for years to come.

Visit our Zazzle store here:

http://www.zazzle.com/ambrosia_software


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