TEH 015: From the Secret Lair

In This Episode: The four hosts get together in person to record this episode. We can’t tell you where we are, but Dick Cheney was our waiter. We talked on a wide variety of subjects, from voice recorders to Net Neutrality, satellite broadband, Google wanting to expand AMP web-wide, burger-flipping robots, Facebook fading, Nonograms, adding to the Internet Archive, and more.

This Week’s Hosts

Show Notes

  • We recorded the episode on three different recorders in the middle of the table, and decided afterwards which one to use for the final recording:
    • A $149 Shure MV88 stereo mic plugged into an iPhone.
    • A stand-alone TASCAM DR-05 digital stereo recorder.
    • The tiny Olympus VN-541PC handheld “note” recorder.
    • The little Olympus could have worked, but was a bit distorted. The Tascam would have been fine, but its gain was turned up a bit too much, and was overdriven. The winner: the Shure mic on the iPhone.
  • Randy talked about how the FCC may have voted to end “Net Neutrality” but many online companies — and (so far) 34 state attorneys general and/or legislatures, have taken action to enforce it anyway. (Gizmodo)
  • Kevin talked about the competition to launch low-earth satellite swarms to provide broadband Internet access worldwide took a twist when one company launched some satellites not only without legal authorization, but against orders from the FCC. (TechCrunch)
  • Leo talked about how Google wants to update the web serving standards to make things faster, similar to their “AMP” pages for mobile pages. (The Verge)
  • Gary is fascinated by the first restaurant to use a burger-flipping robot, though it didn’t work too well. But it will! What will that do to jobs, and the economics of fast food? (Washington Post)
  • Leo talked about recent DDoS attacks against web sites, including the “biggest ever” against Github (Wired), and then the even-bigger-than-ever against an unnamed victim (Ars Technica).
  • Randy talked about how people are spending much less time on Facebook (Fast Company).
  • Gary talked about his new game using Nonograms (available on iTunes).
  • Kevin talked about his project to archive Ted Nelson’s “junk mail” and fliers from tech companies — from 1965 to 1995, available now on the Internet Archive. He used three Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII Scanners to do it, but it still took 9 months to do it all.
  • Leo is still reading the book on how the world is still getting better: Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.

9 thoughts on “TEH 015: From the Secret Lair

  1. Enjoyed the group version. You all laughed a lot more although there was still a great amount of content. Keep up the good work.

    I have a smartphone and desktop. While I may look something up on my phone, if I am interested I will use that to remind me to delve deeper on the desktop. I am not fond of the mobile version of Chrome.

  2. I really enjoyed the Podcast from the Secret Lair; it’s much more dynamic when you are in the same room. Thank you for your time and energy.

  3. Significant collisions have already happened. A dead satellite (I think it was Russian) hit an active Iridium satellite. It created a huge mess of junk in space.

    • There have been many orbital incidents, some purposeful, some accidental. As of 5 July 2016, the United States Strategic Command tracked a total of 17,852 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth,of which only were 1,419 operational satellites. But that’s not all: as of July 2013, more than 170 million bits of debris smaller than 1 cm (0.4 in), about 670,000 bits 1–10 cm, and around 29,000 larger items. Even a fleck of paint peeled off a booster is enough to kill an astronaut if it hits in a strategic place, such as his or her helmet, since its relative velocity is rather extreme.

      As for tools and such that (I think it was) Leo mentioned, orbital debris includes a glove lost by astronaut Ed White on the first American space-walk (EVA); a camera lost by Michael Collins near Gemini 10; a thermal blanket lost during STS-88; garbage bags jettisoned by Soviet cosmonauts during Mir’s 15-year life, a wrench, and a toothbrush. Sunita Williams of STS-116 lost a camera during an EVA. During an STS-120 EVA to reinforce a torn solar panel, a pair of pliers was lost, and in an STS-126 EVA, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper lost a briefcase-sized tool bag.

  4. Burger flipping robot? Why bother? Portillos restaurants in the Chicago area have had burger cooking machines for years. They put the patties in on one end, cooked burgers come out the far end. All the burgers come out exactly the same (they’re great) and the machine never goes down.

    Note also that Portillos has very high sales per restaurant and is one of the most profitable around too.

  5. Hmmmmm, Bill may have pointed us in an important direction. Machinery that never goes down is something the world needs a lot more than a burger cooking robot. Right on Portillos!

    There may still be hope for us human folks looking for short order restaurant careers. The Portillos robot probably requires at least daily cleaning, mandated by the health department. So there is still a place for people, until Portillos has come up with a burger cooking machine cleaning machine (that never goes down) to clean the burger cooking machine that never goes down.

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