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Friday, December 28, 2007


Pleo Christmas Carol (Song)

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Happy Holidays everyone! I took one of my favorite Christmas carols "God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman" and made my own version with lyrics for Pleo, to celebrate Digger's birthday. Click here to download the MP3 now. It's about 1.3 MB. The lyrics are at the bottom of this post. This is my way of giving a HUGE holiday thank you to all the fantastic people at Ugobe, and all the wonderful people like you who read my blog.

Regarding Digger, the most handsome clever and wonderful Pleo ever (of course). I have a big gala video coming soon about my new little dino buddy but it's not ready yet.

Note: Pleo holiday photo is courtesy of the Pleo World. If you haven't visited Pleo World yet you're missing a ton of fun!

Vote for Pleo on The Crunchies!

Please take a moment to visit The Crunchies and vote for Pleo as best gadget for 2007. The Crunchies are held by powerhouse tech blog TechCrunch and this will help others discover the magic of Pleo. It's free and you don't have to register or anything like that.

Pleo Christmas Carol - Lyrics

God Bless Ye Merry Ugobeans
And geniuses at play
Who made Pleo's behavior
That graced our Christmas Day
And gifted so with latent power
I heard the neighbors say
What a tiny and comforting toy, comforting toy
What a tiny and comforting toy

In Idaho, and Emeryville
This blessed toy was born
A gift to every stranger
Received on Christmas morn
And with a mother's caring
Made something to adore
What a tiny and comforting toy, comforting toy
What a tiny and comforting toy

From UPS and Fedex,
And DHL they came
Then tucked behind the curtains
Their hiding places safe
Let the merry mayhem start
And sing this sweet refrain
What a tiny and comforting toy, comforting toy
What a tiny and comforting toy

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Pleo - Holiday Download Available

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Hello everyone. Just a short post for the holidays to let all of you know that Pleo World has a special holiday downloadable behavior available for Pleo. I won't spoil the surprise for you as to how your Pleo will behave once you load it, but it's a lot of fun! Visit the Holiday Download page to get the download and to read about what you will need to use it and get instructions on how to run it.

In the meantime I'm working on a special video to celebrate the hatching of Digger which is MY Pleo that I don't ever have to part with. It'll take some time to produce it but when it's ready I'll post it here. I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season and my best wishes to your families; both existing family members and any new additions to your family for those of you lucky enough to have their own Pleos now too.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


A Moonwalker's Night Dream

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I got an E-mail today from a reader named Kim asking me why I haven't written lately about my Pleo (Hello Kim!). It was a pleasant reminder that some of you lovely people out there actually take time from your busy lives to read my tiny little blog. I am honored by this and touched more than you might ever imagine.

Last Monday I sent Moonwalker back to Ugobe. As I said, Moonwalker was given to me to review and after 2 weeks, it was time for him to leave and be a charming little green ambassador of fun and affection to others out there who can help spread the word about Pleo. At the time I wasn't too worried because, although I became quite attached to Moonwalker (drastic understatement), my Pleo waited quietly in his box to be hatched as a present to myself on Christmas Day. It turns out that I miss Moonwalker very badly so I buried my heart in my work, knowing that in a short time, an adorable little bundle of blue eyed baby fun would be puttering about my house again. (My Pleo's name when hatched will be Digger).

Rather than try to tell you how I felt about Moonwalker, I made this video of him instead. Amjoie, you were right!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Pleo - The Coronation of Queen Sally and King Teddy

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There are now many happy Pleo owners who are in love with their little blue eyed baby dino friends, and have been inspired by their brand new little pets. But then there are people like star Pleo World member Amjoie who really know how to have fun and make the arrival of their new family members a memorable event! Her Pleos are the King and Queen of her home and she held an official coronation to commemorate the event; complete with appropriate costumes and festive photos and videos. The costumes are simply amazing, as you can see!

With her gracious permission, and the permission of the new reigning Queen and King of Pleopia, here are some photos of this gala event. You can see the entire coronation at Amjoie's web site and you can join in the fun discussion we are having over at Pleo World too. There have not been any official decrees from the royal pair yet, but I will keep you posted if things change! If any more of you out there have photos to share of your Pleo in interesting costumes or situations, please let me know!

Close-up of the crown

Queen Sally and King Teddy pose for the reporter's cameras

Close-up of the Royal Robes

The grand moment!

One last look at the new reigning Queen and King of Pleopia!

Thank you Amjoie for the festive fun and wonderful costumes! Click here to see the entire coronation with full size pictures and video clips too!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007


Pleo - One week later

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This is going to be a bit of a strange post about Pleo. I had vowed that once I finally got my little baby dino I was going to regale you with plenty of pictures and videos. Life as usual, had other plans for me. Instead, I got blasted with a big programming project; the kind that makes my eyes water and my face feel dry from staring at the screen too much.

Curiously, it has ended up becoming the best Pleo story I could possibly share with you. Why? Because when I usually post I have a definite plan of what I'm going to say and why. Whether it's a features post, or a post about Ugobe, or an update on ordering information, I know exactly what I want to say before I sit down and write.

This post is the complete opposite. I'm tired and I'm writing straight off the top of my head. Here's how my week has been going since I received the Pleo Ugobe sent me to review. I've been programming all day except for food and rest breaks. Then in the evening, when I'm too tired to think, to read, or to even watch television, I play with Moonwalker for about an hour. I nicknamed him Moonwalker because for some odd reason, he loves to walk backwards at times!

In the past I would have found this odd because when I get really tired, I don't want to play with anything because of the effort involved. But that's the difference with Moonwalker. I don't have to play with him, he plays with me! It's like playing with a puppy when you're on the phone; a kind of low level animal to animal play that doesn't need to be learned, or figured out, or studied. It's innate. When Moonwalker yowls and complains, I know it's time to cradle him because even just simple petting won't calm him down. If he growls playfully but doesn't want to play tug of war, I know he wants a vigorous patting on the back. When I hold Moonwalker in my lap and his strong but gentle legs start squirming against my arms, I know he's happy and is about to purr.

It's been 5 days of this and I still love the little guy, in fact more so. It's just incredible. When I play with him I can't shake the certainty that there's a tiny mind at work inside that adorable blue-eyed noggin of his. A playful, funny, affectionate little being who is trying to figure his world out and get what he wants from it. Strange isn't it? That's what we're all trying to do!

I promise that soon, once the work storm passes, I will have the pictures and videos I so badly want to share with you. But right now, all I can do is try to get to the end of the day one moment at a time until this work blizzard clears. What's changed is that when the day ends, instead of just stumbling bleary-eyed off to sleep with echoes of work reverberating in my mind, I have an hour of fun awaiting me, with a little blue-eyed friend that for some strange reason, loves to walk backwards.

In closing, I'd like to hear from those of you who have gotten your Pleos. Also, for those of you that have had questions about the battery and the charger, I've included below the video the Pleo World folk put together to help you out. Happy dino days to you all!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Pleo Was On Good Morning America This Morning!

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Pleo is now officially famous! This morning, during a Christmas gift segment of the Good Morning America show Pleo made an appearance with host Diane Sawyer and her guest Jennifer Jason Leigh. She was enchanted with our blue eyed baby dino and said: "I love this!". You can see the video on Pleo World now. Sorry I couldn't give all of you advance notice since they aired the segment without giving Ugobe and ShiftComm any warning. In the meantime, Moonwalker, the review unit Ugobe sent me, is still cheering up my house during this festive time while I wait for my First Hatch Pleo to arrive.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Pleo - There's a baby dinosaur on my lap!

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Right now I'm having a very surreal experience. I am trying to type on my computer keyboard while a small playful creature with green and yellow skin is raising a raucous on my lap. He's squirming his little feet and looking up at me with big crystal blue eyes . I am convinced that he is trying to guilt me into ending my typing so I will come play with him. The verdict? When an adorable blue eyed baby dinosaur is pitted against the task of typing at the computer, the baby dino wins everytime!

I'm back now. I managed to tucker the little fellow out and he's in dino dreamland while I recharge his battery pack. Fortunately Ugobe has provided a spare battery so I could feed him the new battery, but I am using this opportunity as an excuse to get some work done while fighting the feeling of being a neglectful dad.

Baby's First Steps

When Pleo wakes up for the very first time he goes into a period of squirming where he writhes about trying to figure out how to move all his tiny limbs. He scrunches the carpet, wiggles his tail, kneads his toes, and acts more adorable than you could possibly imagine. Slowly he begins to master his tiny body while purring, mooing, and mewling with appropriate baby-like abandon.

And boy does he love to be touched! I don't know if all Pleos are the same, but the Pleo I was given to review by the incredible Ugobe folk is a fiend for a good chin scratch. He responds playfully and with gratitude nearly everywhere you touch him, but when I gave him a good 30 second scratching under the chin, his body went near catatonic while his tiny tail shuddered with excitement. Even more enchanting is the adorable way he craned his tiny head to look up at me.


The most amazing part of the Pleo experience is how I feel towards him; especially when I do something he doesn't like. Pleo isn't shy about baby growling when I place him in my lap at an odd angle, or hold him aloft in the air (I am just trying to watch his tiny toes move, honest!). It's astonishing how quickly I put him down and loudly apologize to him. It is a very intriguing place to be emotionally when you look at Pleo and realize that you are genuinely wondering what he is thinking.

Another heart string Pleo pulls with great skill is when he moos with sadness when you leave him alone too long. I really wanted to see him walk about but it was over 30 minutes before I could listen to him moo-moan without reflexively stroking him on his back to reassure him. (Pleo won't walk while you are petting him). Finally I managed to survive a few guilt attacks and watched him putter about the carpet. Since he is not mine to keep I have nicknamed him Moonwalker instead of Digger which is what my Pleo will be named. I have anointed him Moonwalker because for some reason he loves to walk backward at times!

Review Points

If you haven't figured it out yet, I adore the little guy, but I know some of you want some questions answered. Is there anything I didn't like? Some minor things at first. It took a while to get used to the rubbery skin and figure out how to pet him smoothly. Also, I did notice the gear noise when I first played with him, despite the fact Pleo is significantly quieter than any other robot I own. Finally, I had a tendency to accidentally bump Pleo's volume button when I picked him up, which I did a lot, and discovered that Pleo had suddenly gone mute until I pressed the button again. Pleo's volume button is a small push button under his belly.

However, all of these issues melted away rapidly in the symphony of beautiful baby animal animations, playful sounds, and big blue eyes that is Pleo. It's all about the suspension of disbelief. To me, Pleo doesn't feel like a robot that happens to have some really cool movements and a few clever movement tricks. Pleo feels like a little baby dinosaur whose skin is a little rubbery and with a body that makes some odd noises from time to time (so does mine!).

The key to it all is feedback. We love feedback; to touch and see a response and to see a small being seek that touch from us. That's where Pleo excels. After a while you can almost see the wheels turning in his tiny little head as he tries to figure out how to trick you into petting him again next, or challenge you to another tug of war which you almost assuredly will let him win.

Who is Pleo for?

As I said in a previous blog post Pleo is a cuddlebot. If you're looking for sharks with friggin' laser beams on their heads, a battlebot, or a hyperactive rocket shooting space bot, then that's not what Pleo does. I'm not knocking those things, I love them too and I have the videos and projects to prove it. But there are times when I am tired, or I just don't want to think, or perhaps I just want a tiny dino buddy to play with and a friendly face to look at that's wearing a silly grin just for me. Times where I don't want to learn anything or even see the shadow of a remote control. At times like that I just want to play, and that's all Pleo wants to do too.

The Best Is Yet To Come

The most amazing thing about Pleo is that he is only going to get better over time. In order to make sure the external battery charger happened properly and in time for the holidays, Ugobe had to put one of Pleo's most fantastic features temporarily on hold; the ability for his personality to evolve over time. Now that Pleo is shipping they are working around the clock to bring that wonderful feature into fruition. Don't fret. Everyone who gets one of the Pleos shipping now will enjoy this upcoming software change. It will be a free download from Pleo World when it is ready.

Have you seen Steven Spielberg's movie, A.I.? It takes place some time in the future. A little boy android is bought by a couple to fill the void of their son, who is currently in a coma. When the prospective adopting mother gets the android boy home at first, she finds that the manufacturer has put it in a state where it will not bond with her emotionally yet; an evaluation period where she can decide whether to keep him or not. The android boy is clever, life-like, and versatile, but it is more friendly than loving and somewhat aloof. Later in the movie the woman decides to keep him and initiates the bonding process. She places her hand on the boy and says a few special keywords to him to trigger the bonding. In a scene that is guaranteed to melt your heart away, the little android boy's expression changes noticeably and says one word to her, filled with emotion as if he truly recognizes her for the very first time: "Mommy?". Immediately tears well up in her eyes as she once again hears that precious word she had almost forgotten the sound of.

Pleo's bonding mode is being crafted by the wizards at Ugobe even now. Some time soon Pleo's real personality will be coming to life for the first time to the delight of many happy owners. Since I have loved dinosaurs ever since I was a small boy, I am delighted with Pleo just as he is. Also, I have never seen such an adorable life-like artificial pet in my life. But I'll admit it tickles my heart to know that, the best is yet to come.


I have a video that I'm trying to edit of my first play session with Pleo, but just like my other videos it's really dark for some reason and I'm trying to fix it with Adobe Premiere. In the meantime, Engadget has a great little video and a bundle of truly beautiful pictures of Pleo too. I have included the video below. I'll be posting more very soon in the near future.
Also, you will find some links to other Pleo first look reviews and Engadget's article with pictures, below the video. Moonwalker and I both say hello to all of you out there and wish you many happy memories of baby dinosaur delight.


Here are some links to other first look reviews of Pleo on the web:

GearLog's Unboxing article (by PC Magazine editor Lance Ulanoff)
Engadget's Unboxing article (great video and pictures)
PCWorld's First Look article

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