TEH 073: Flame-Roasted Boosters

In This Episode: Counterfeit books. 25 years of thinking. The (only) Tesla truck. Google calendar spam (and overblown headlines). The “cost” of Facebook privacy. Hacking JPL. Launching Falcon Heavy. And a look back at the Apollo moon missions.

This Week’s Hosts

  • Randy Cassingham, founder of This is True.
  • Leo Notenboom, “Chief Question Answerer” at tech education site Ask Leo!
  • Gary Rosenzweig host and producer of MacMost, and mobile game developer at Clever Media.
  • Kevin Savetz, web site publisher and Computer Historian at Atari Podcast.
  • Longer Bios on the Hosts page.

Show Notes

  • In the warmup, Randy re-joined us since he’d finished writing his speech for the Mensa Annual Gathering (aka national convention), which he’s presenting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 5: How I Learned to Think — by Observing the Biggest Obliviots Around. In other news, Randy completed 25 years of This is True with the most recent issue (Congratulations!) and reflected a little on what’s changed in that time.
  • Kevin was quoted in a New York Times article about counterfeit computer books and tweeted about it. He also contributed two photos for the article. He also ended up with source code to two programs by Carol Shaw: a calculator for Atari 400/800 and a checkers game for Atari VCS.
  • Leo got all excited about the Tesla Truck! No, not the official one, but the conversion of a Tesla Model 3 into a truck by YouTuber and self-proclaimed “queen of shitty robots” Simone Giertz. We all agreed this was an impressive achievement, and hoped that Elon would be paying attention. Check out “ad”, too.
  • Leo also griped about yet another overblown headline claiming that 1.5 billion(!) Gmail and Calendar users were at risk. Indeed, they are, as they always have been if they fall for phishing attempts. The only “news” here it that spammers are sending out bogus Google Calendar items.
  • Gary brought up some of the latest Facebook privacy stories, including this one about a new bill in the Senate and the cost of privacy on a per-person basis. The question is — does anyone care, or are we all becoming overwhelmed and blinded to the issue unless we see direct impact? Definitely a discussion we’ll be returning to in future episodes.
  • Randy says NASA/JPL’s network was hacked via Raspberry Pi, according to Forbes. Perhaps high value targets warrant high value security?
  • Falcon Heavy's "Flame Roasted" Boosters
    Falcon Heavy’s “Flame Roasted” Boosters (Click for larger image.)

    By the time you read/hear this hopefully SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will have launched. The launch window opens Monday at 11:30 pm EDT. (As these notes are being written it’s already delayed to 02:30AM EDT Tuesday. Update: successfully launched at that time.) See spacex.com to stream. Randy is gleeful at the “flame-roasted boosters” powering the Falcon Heavy — they’re reusing previously flown boosters.

  • Finally, Randy is very enthusiastic about Fast Company’s terrific 50-article series for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon missions: 50 Days to the Moon links the articles as they’re coming out. Great examples include How NASA created the first worldwide high-speed data network (in 1968!), and the leap forward in computers that was required for landing on the moon including the computer you’ve never heard about.

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