S&L Podcast – #165 – SciFi is Finally Literature!

We kick off our March book pick, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, ponder the brief career of Jonathan Ross as LonCon MC, and discover that at least Houghton Mifflin thinks SciFi is lit.

Direct download here!

Tom: Yorkshire Gold Tea    
Veronica: Napa Smith Brewery Wheat Beer    

The Wertzone: WorldCon 2014 announces Jonathan Ross to host Hugo Awards, controversy follows, Ross withdraws    

Another Layer of J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s Book Onion   

Science fiction and fantasy are now officially part of American Literature   

FINALISTS: 2013 Nebula Awards (With Free Fiction Links!) – SF Signal    

FINALISTS: 2013 Aurealis Awards – SF Signal    



Lara Takes On HBO and Game of Thrones in an Open Letter | Saurian Saint    

The Wertzone: GAME OF THRONES Season 4 fan trailer   

NBC’s ‘Heroes’ is coming back | Inside TV | EW.com    

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan    
Altered Carbon Wikipedia article    
Richard K. Morgan Wikipedia article    

Did you get to read fantasy in school?
Written accents annoying or what?    
Anthology cover reveal.    

DTNS 2183 – BitCoin Joke Here

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comEric Olander joins us to discuss whether Facebook drones can help Africa, Japan’s regulation approach to BitCoin and the real story behind the Flappy Bird flap. It’s 4 AM in Vietnam where he is, so be kind.


Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.


A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guest:  Eric Olander, Vice President, Financial and Business News Channel,Vietnam


Facebook to buy drone fleet. Because internet: TechCrunch reports its sources say Facebook is buying Titan Aerospace, makers of near-orbital solar-powered drones that can fly up to five years at a time without landing. For its 60 million dollars or so, Facebook would be able to use the drones to deliver Internet access to any part of the world as part of the Internet.org project, starting with Africa, according to the sources. One can only assume Facebook will not use its drones to shoot down competing Google weather balloons that deliver competing Internet.

CarPlay powered by QNX: USA Today points out that the new Apple CarPlay system in part is powered by QNX, the embedded OS of choice among automakers, and QNX just happens to be owned by BlackBerry. Ford is actually moving off Microsoft’s Sync to QNX according to Bloomberg. N4BB first pointed out the interesting fact. Paul Leroux, public relations manager at QNX Software Systems, “We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay.”

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer to retire in September

Cortana, voice assistant, in action: Unleash the Phones has video of Microsoft’s forthcoming Cortana voice assistant in action. Though no words are spoken by the operator or the phone, you can see the setup system which asks the user some personal questions, like most enjoyable part of an evening, and thoughts on food. No kidding. Cortana is expected to be part of Windows Phone 8.1 and be officially unveiled at the BUILD conference in April.

Microsoft integrates Skype with Outlook.com

Twitter mistakenly sends password reset email to many users

Aether’s Cone Speaker reviewed: Several sites, including Wired, have a review of Aether’s Cone speaker. Unlike say a Sonos system, the Cone speaker has no remote and no Bluetooth connectivity. It uses WiFi to connect to a music service (available services have yet to be named) and then keeps tabs on your behavior to find out what you like to hear. It also has voice recognition in case you want to request something in particular. The only other control is the speaker grill which you can twist right to skip to a new song or twist left to replay. The Cone will sell for $399.

Intel purchases wristwatch health tracker company Basis for around $100 – $150 million

Bring me red page… I can’t… I can’t see you… Broderbund founder Doug Carlston has donated Broderbund’s software and corporate records to the museum, The Strong. Correspondence, photos and other material that reveals the culture of the studio that developed Myst, Prince of Persia, the original SimCity and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, will be preserved. The high school version of our producer Jennie is SO happy. So is the college-aged version of Tom. Who feels really old now.

 News From You

Rich_Seattle submitted the Ars Technica story that the US Department of Justice has thrown in on the side of broadcasters, in the Aereo vs. the broadcast world Supreme Court knockdown coming this April. Recode reports the Justice Department made the filing Monday arguing that Aereo gives users access to copyrighted content in the first instance without paying licensing fees. KAPT_Kipper also submitted this story under a different link.

biocow posted the Verge link about Radio Shack closing 1,100 shacks in the US. That’s more than twice the number expected.Radio Shack will have 4,000 locations left. The company lost $191.4 million last quarter. TVSEgon also submitted a link for this story.

dillydobbs & Tekkyn00b submitted the Gizmodo link about Flexcoin shutting down. While not nearly as large as Mt. Gox, Flexcoin says 896 bit coins were stolen from its store. Bit coins that were not stolen will be returned to customers before the shutdown. Polonix also admitted thieves stole 12.5% of its bit coin reserves, but that company will replenish the lost coins itself.

adi_lachman pointed us to a WSJ article about Dish striking a deal with Disney to limit the use of its Hopper ad-skipping feature on Disney-owned channels. Interestingly in return, Disney granted DISH rights to stream Disney channels like ABC and ESPN as part of an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering.

Discussion Section Links:  How Japan is dealing with bit coins / Flappy Bird Perspective





Wednesday’s Guest:   Iyaz Akhtar of CNET & of the excellent podcast Quest for Peace.

DTNS 2182 – The Microsoft Shuffle

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comDavid Spark brings us tales from RSA. We also chat about Apple’s CarPlay, Microsoft’s Cortana, and other less prosaically named devices and services in the news.


Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.


A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guest:   David Spark, journalist, producer, speaker, and owner of Spark Media Solutions.


Apple to unveil CarPlay in Geneva this week: CNET reports iOS in the car is now called CarPlay. Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo will all show off models at the Geneva auto show this week. CarPlay is till an in-car touchscreen display with voice command. It requires an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S to be connected with a lightning cable to work. Only Apple apps will integrate with the initial exception of Spotify and iHeartRadio. The system won’t show up at car dealers until later in 2014 for some brands with most others to follow in 2014.

Microsoft testing voice-activated assistant: The Verge reports Microsoft is testing a voice-activated assistant currently named Cortana, yes like the Cortana in Halo, though on Windows Phone she’ll just be a circle. Sorry. Although apparently you can set Cortana to call you Master Chief. Cortana can use contacts, location reminders, and behaviors to help you out with notifications, similar to Google Now. Microsoft expects to unveil Cortana along with Windows Phone 8.1 at BUILD which starts April 2nd.

Samsung to release two new Chromebooks in April

Zynga’s push into mobile: Zynga has taken a lot of criticism for not being able to branch out past Farmville. So many will be happy to hear this PC Mag article that Zynga is making a big push into mobile with three new games. It’s first hot new title for mobile, Farmville 2: Country Escape. OK. Text MOO to 99642 if you want in on that one first. The second major advance is the still-existing Words with Friends. Now with dictionaries. Coming in the next few week.s Well it’s not like they went all the way back in time to when Zynga was just a poker app— The third new game is New Zynga Poker. Sigh.

Gartners latest tablet marketshare numbers show Android tablets collectively overtook the iPad in 2013

Mt. Gox confirms loss of 750,000 bit coins deposited by users,  as well as 100,000 bit coins held by Gox itself have disappeared, likely due to a bug in the website’s code. Meanwhile, a chunk of code lifted from Mt. Gox and posted to Pastebin appears to be part of the exchange’s backend for the website. The code reveals that anyone with access to the server could have easily redirected transactions and taken coins from customers wallets.

Google and Samsung express concerns to China’s Ministry of Commerce about Microsoft’s impending acquisition of Nokia

Reddit to donate 10 percent of its advertising revenue for the year to non-profits: At the end of the year Reddit will take suggestions on what charities should receive the money. An election will then be held and funds donated to the top 10 non-profits selected.

 News From You

LifeDownloaded submitted the Verge story on Microsoft’s executive shakeup. Tony Bates, the company’s executive vice president for business development and evangelism, and Tami Reller, its marketing chief, are both leaving the company, according to an email sent to employees. Eric Rudder, executive vice president of advanced strategy, will take over Bates’ Biz-Dev duties while a full-time replacement is sought. Reller will stay to train up Chris Capossela, as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Mark Penn also joins the Senior Leadership Team as chief strategy officer.

AllanAV posted the IFLScience article about skin cells being transformed into human liver cells that can not only function in an organ but even inside the liver of another species. A team from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California San Francisco announced the success in the publication, Nature. Successfully transplanting the cells will not only make growing transplants for humans more possible, but increase other research possibilities.

KAPT_Kipper sent us the Kotaku story of a Texas man, Eugene Thompson who appears to have stabbed his girlfriend’s estranged husband with a replica Legend of Zelda Master sword. The man must have still had some hearts left because he smashed Thompson with a flower pot before succumbing and heading to the hospital in serious condition.

And Jaymz668 posted the Verger story about Kickstarter celebrating the milestone of $1 billion in pledges from 5.7 million people. The site announced the landmark figure today with a special page full of stats about campaigns and pledgers. According to Kickstarter, just 40 people pledged a total of $1,084 to seven projects on the site’s first day; the site now brings in over $1 million per day.

Discussion Section Link:   RSA Roundup


Pick of the Day: Buy Me A Pie

Tuesday’s Guest:  Eric Olander

Current Geek 08: Going the way of dialup

On this week’s CurrentGeek, we have Jonathan Strickland and Bill Meeks with us, NASA turns on the Valve, let’s get the worlds biggest camera in space, Star Trek Themepark coming to Spain, Giant godzilla at Mardi Gras, Samsung has a new device for you, Bitcoin takes a bit of a hit, Pop Quizes, 10 years without cable, what about the pebble, and what a robot can do with 3D printing!