Show of 12-4-2010

  • Best of Tech Talk Edition
    • Replaying popular segments from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Greg: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I have been a regular listener for 2 years now. I found your podcasts via iTunes pod search. A few weeks ago my wife and I took a trip to my father’s cabin in beautiful Southwestern Colorado. I currently reside in the Dallas / Ft Worth area and the drive is 11 hours one way. I thought "what a perfect opportunity for a tech-talk vacation" while I was driving. I plugged in my iPhone to my auxiliary port and away we went. I can honesty say that the trip seemed to go by very quickly while listening to my back issues and getting caught up on my tech-talk pod casts. Although I cannot same the same for my wife, she gets strange looks on her face when we asks me to explain certain concepts in technology. Her reply is simply "Kaplok", that is her use of a Klingon word meaning "I Don’t Understand." Keep up the good work with the show and tell Jim I said "hello."………..Greg W.
    • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the feedback. Great story.
    • Email from Bethesda Fan: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I hope that you know of a tech solution to this situation. These ‘safe’ speed cameras are springing up All Over MD!!!! and I’ve been told More Are Coming!!!I’m sick and tired of getting these citations in the mail. I have gotten three so far.The last one was from a portable camera that is now located about 1 mile from my home.I need a device that alerts me to coming up upon these so that I slow down to the exact speed limit and avoid these citations arriving in my mailbox. Your help is Most Appreciated. Bethesda Fan.
    • Tech Talk Responds: Speed cameras use radar, laser, or time of travel comparisons to operate. They record your license plate with a flash camera. You can get laser or radar detectors, but they are illegal in most states. You can get a spray for the license plate that will glare when flashed to make the number unreadable (Photoblocker).
    • Another approach which is completely legal is to use a GPS device. GPS Angel is a warning device based on database on known locations). This database can be found at www.stopbigbrothermd.org. This site also shows how much revenue is the government is raking in using these cameras.
    • The device must be calibrated daily. Some have gotten out of their tickets by asking for the calibration data which had not been taken over the weekend.
  • Profiles in IT: Philip Rosedale
    • Philip Rosedale is best known as the creator of the virtual world Second Life. Within Second Life, his avatar is known as Philip Linden.
    • Philip Rosedale was born September 29, 1968 in San Diego
    • His mom was an English teacher and his dad was a navy carrier pilot.
    • Rosedale was a left-handed, creative kid who wanted to know how things worked.
    • He’d take on electronics projects, like building a music synthesizer.
    • In middle school, his parents bought him an Apple IIe, and he was euphoric.
    • He made trees growing on screen and realized he could could simulate nature.
    • He started his own company selling database systems to small businesses at 17, used the proceeds to fund his college education and ultimately earned a bachelor of science degree in physics from the University of California at San Diego.
    • In 1995 he moved to San Francisco and started an innovative Internet video conferencing product (called "FreeVue"), which was later acquired by RealNetworks.
    • In 1996, he was promoted to VP and Chief Technology Officer for RealNetworks.
    • Around the same time, Neal Stephenson’s science-fiction classic Snow Crash was published. It described two worlds: the real world and a global online Metaverse.
    • Rosedale’s wife bought him the book, and he was inspired.
    • He thought the Metaverse was going to happen but not until technology advanced.
    • In 1999. Nvidia released its GeForce2 card, representing a significant advance.
    • That same year Rosedale attended Burning Man, which he thought was the template for an online world — a place where people could be whatever they wanted to be.
    • In 1999, Rosedale left RealNetworks and with money from selling FreeVue and some from Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus), Rosedale started Linden Lab, named for the street where the company first had its offices in Hayes Valley.
    • In addition to Kapor, the company was ultimately backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar
    • Most see Second Life as an alternate existence, built by its residents that strives to be better than the physical world. It has its own economy with Linden dollars.
    • More importantly Second Life as a better, people-centric way to navigate the Net.
    • Internet users might go to Amazon through Second Life instead of through a browser, walking into the Amazon store and interacting with shoppers and clerks.
    • It might be a leap like when the Mosaic browser first brought graphics to the Internet.
    • Former Virginia governor Mark Warner, when he thought he might be running for president, made Second Life’s first political whistle-stop as an avatar of himself.
    • IBM is using Second Life as a way to hold meetings — avatars around a conference table with people in different parts of the world. Better than teleconferencing.
    • Philip Rosedale is remaking the Internet according to his vision.
    • On March 14, 2008, Rosedale announced he will be stepping down as the CEO of Linden Lab, and assuming the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors
    • In October 2009, Rosedale announced his new project, the LoveMachine, Inc.
    • In June 2010, he announced that he is back to the office as CEO of Linden Lab.
    • Rosedale has opened up more of the source code behind Second Life, allowing users to modify and plug other sites and software into the site.
  • War Driving Security Report
    • Laptop with Netstumbler installed
    • 3db Dipole Antenna through moonroof
    • Wi-Fi PCMIA card (Orinnoco)
    • Took survey between my house and station this morning.
    • Results
      • Number of access points — 420
      • Encrypted access points – 272 (65%)
      • Unencrypted access points – 148 (35%)
      • 802.11b (11 Mbps) — 55 (13%)
      • 802.11g (54 Mbps) – 365 (87%)
  • Blu-Ray versus HD DVD – Impact of Porn
    • Porn film producers say that they are being blocked from moving their content to the high definition Blu-ray format.
    • Digital Playground, a porn production house has said that it is being forced to opt for HD DVD because Blu-ray disc manufacturers are refusing to print the movies because Sony has told them ‘do it and you lose your licence’.
    • Others in the porn industry like Bangbros. and Pink Visual have already standardized on HD DVD, citing cheaper costs, and many others are expected to follow.
    • Why is this important?
      • Much early [and current] revenue on the Net was porn related and funded.
      • Porn was also a deciding factor in making VHS the format of choice against Betamax in the video tape format/player wars of the late 1970s and 1980s.
      • Betamax was also developed by Sony.

      • Is banning porn from Blu-ray going to hurt the format? Probably
  • New Web Service of the Week: Qwiki.com
    • Web address: www.qwiki.com
    • Now in Beta testing. I just got my new account this week.
    • Qwiki’s goal is to improve the way people experience information.
    • Qwiki is working to deliver information in via storytelling instead of search.
    • Their goal is to turn information into an experience.
    • They believe that just because data is stored by machines, doesn’t mean that it cannot be presented in a more inviting fashion.
    • A quiki is a mult-media presentation about a subject. With all of the data drawn via computer algorithms from the web.
  • Book of the Week: Cooking for Geeks
    • Real science, great hacks, good food.
    • Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter (Publisher O’Reilly)
      • Think like a Hacker
      • Initialize the Kitchen
      • Your Inputs: Flavors and Ingredients
      • Your Variables: Time and Temperature
      • Air: The Baker’s Key Variable
      • Fun with Hardwaree
    • One Example Lesson
      • Baking Soda: Bicarbonate which needs acids to form CO2. Used when the ingredients are acidic
      • Baking Powder: Baking soda plus acid. Self-contained for CO2 generation. Used when the ingredients are not acidic.