Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fish tricks fill front page of section in Trib = Pyrite Proof

The world is buzzing about a YouTube video of a fish that plays soccer! The finned athlete is named, Comet. Not the Pgh Comet -- nor the Pgh Comment.
I've been making some noise that the signal among Pgh Bloggers is hitting a new phase -- and that the silver age is behind us. linkZ, linkY, comments & linkX.
Fish tricks in Gibsonia entertain Web surfers - Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewFish tricks in Gibsonia entertain Web surfers

Comet, the Pomerleau family pet, can soar through hoops, squirm beneath a lowered limbo bar and chase after a soccer ball.
Go fish.

Join the 1 political junkie who is taking a break and hung a sign, "Gone Fishin."

My favorite fish video that I produced:


Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Fish tricks in Gibsonia entertain Web surfers
By Allison M. Heinrichs

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Comet, the Pomerleau family pet, can soar through hoops, squirm beneath a lowered limbo bar and chase after a soccer ball.

Not impressed? Comet isn't a dog, he's a goldfish.

Dean Pomerleau of Gibsonia has fielded news media requests after his "Fish School Training Kit" debuted for sale recently on for $29.99. The multi-piece kit comes with a mini soccer and football field, tunnel, hoop and instructional DVD.

"My kids always wanted a dog, but my wife and I were reluctant to get one, so we tried to satisfy their hunger for a pet using alternatives," said Pomerleau, a former Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor.

"One of our attempts was fish, but as everyone knows, fish are boring pets," he said. "I thought, well, what if we could teach them to do tricks? So we tinkered around and actually developed a lot of techniques and tools that really made it possible to train our fish."

Comet and his companion fish, Brainiac, are fast becoming YouTube sensations. They perform on the Web daily about 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

"The response has been amazing. Our YouTube video is at 130,000 hits right now," Russell Ronat, whose Los Angeles company R2 Solutions manufactures and markets the training kit, said Tuesday afternoon.

Pomerleau said his fish are particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where The Daily Telegraph recently compared Comet to soccer star David Beckham.

Training the fish works much the same as training a dog with positive reinforcement. Each kit includes a "wand" that releases a small piece of fish food. Once the fish learns that following the wand yields food, it can be taught tricks.

Comet, a standard goldfish, could perform a full repertoire of tricks after an hour of training once a day for two months.

Reviews of the training kit on are resoundingly positive. Among the user comments: "Pure genius," "Great for kids -- educational and fun" and "Terrific set of fish training gear!"

Pomerleau's day job is creating collision-avoidance technology for Cognex, a Carnegie Mellon spinoff he founded. Despite the early success of his fish training kit, he doesn't expect to become a full-time fish trainer.

He has yet to solve the problem that led him to invent the kit in the first place.

"My son is pretty happy with the fish," he said. "But my daughter still really wants a dog."

Allison M. Heinrichs can be reached at or 412-380-5607.

Anonymous said...

speaking of the web and folks looking for something to do:

Hacker program invades county Web site
By Brian Bowling
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Buzz up!
Post to MySpace!
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Allegheny County hopes to have its Web site operational again by this morning after a program hacked into the site and rewrote some of its pages.

Officials shut down the site Monday to ferret out the program. Kevin Evanto, spokesman for Chief Executive Dan Onorato, said no data was compromised and the county's computer techs were restoring the site's 8,000 to 9,000 Web pages from backup copies.

"We're hoping that everything will be back up and running by morning," Evanto said.

This was the third "unauthorized access" of the county Web site since 2000, he said. The program that invaded the site was more mischievous than malicious and did little more than alter some words, he said.

"There's no monetary or fiscal impact to the county," Evanto said.

Although the attack temporarily halted Internet-based services such as paying taxes online, the program didn't access any databases or affect any offices operations.

"No data was compromised," Evanto said.

The code was designed to roam the Internet looking for vulnerable sites.

"From the way it was written and the way it came in, it wasn't directed at us," Evanto said.

He declined to discuss the specific route the code took, but said the county's computer technicians would close the loophole before bringing the site back up. Evanto declined to discuss any possible criminal investigation into the attack.

Brian Bowling can be reached at or 412-320-7910.
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