DTNS 2224 – Wheeler keeps on turning

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comBrian Brushwood joins the show to chat about Facebook getting all privacy-friendly and Hulu allowing free full episodes on your phone. The FCC even says it will fight for municipal broadband. It’s the nicest day on the Internet ever!


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:  Brian Brushwood of the Night Attack  e


Facebook had a few big announcement at the F8 developer’s conference Wednesday morning. Using Facebook to login on another service is now entirely under the user’s control. Users can choose line by line what they will and will not share with another service. Up to and including the ability to log in entirely anonymously. The company also promises to fix bugs within 48 hours, support all APIs for two years, and open source a system called AppLink that makes it easy for mobile apps to link directly to each other without going to a browser. Finally Facebook announced their “Audience Network,” a way to buy ads on non-Facebook sites that benefit from Facebook’s data. Facebook Audience Network is open for registration today.

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced in a blog post today that this summer Hulu’s mobile apps will get a selection of full episodes for free, without needing a Hulu Plus subscription. Hulu added clips from shows to the Hulu app for non-subscribers in October. The feature will come first to its Android apps. The post also mentioned a redesigned iOS app coming later this summer as well as new ad units, including one that would allow a viewer to order something like a Pizza without leaving the Hulu experience.

Our top story on the Subreddit today, Ars Technica reports FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, speaking at the Cable Show, said he intends “to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.” 20 US states have laws limiting muncipalities ability to create their own broadband infrastructure. TechCrunch also reports Wheeler said “If someone acts to divide the Internet between “haves” and “have-nots,” we will use every power at our disposal to stop it,” including considering reclassifying ISP’s as telecommunications providers. Wheller also said “Prioritizing some traffic by forcing the rest of the traffic into a congested lane won’t be permitted under any proposed Open Internet rule”. State laws that ban municipal Internet will be invalidated, FCC chair says

The Verge reports Google launched standalone iOS and Android apps for Google Docs, its word processing program, Google Sheets, its spreadsheet program and Google Slides, its presentation program. The new apps are similar to their counterparts in the unified Google Drive app, but with a different color scheme.

Wired reports on Dark Wallet, a bitcoin application designed to protect its user’s identities in more ways than the bitcoin system does on its own. Chiefly the application encrypts and mixes together users payment infos, so its not easily traceable from the Bitcoin public ledger. Dark Wallet was conceived by Wilson and Amir Taaki. Wilson Taaki also created the first entirely 3D-printed gun. Dark Wallet is set for release on Thursday. 

News From You

MikePKennedy submitted the Engadget report of the WSJ story THAT Google has stopped scanning the 30 million email accounts registered under its apps for education program. Google scans email in order to display ads triggered by keywords. Ads were never used int he product, but the data was mined to inform targeted ads elsewhere. 

metalfreak submitted the Slashdot posting alerting readers to the fact that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), is being considered by the US Senate Intelligence Committee. This third version of the bill was written by committe chair Dianne Feinstein and is circulating but has not yet been introduced. Under the current draft of the bill, companies could not be sued for incorrectly sharing customer information with the federal government, and broad law enforcement sharing could allow for the creation of backdoor wiretaps.

tekkyn00b submitted the Verge story that the US Supreme Court made it easier to force the losing party in a patent suit to pay the legal fees of the winner. This is widely seen as a way to discourage frivolous patent lawsuits. The Patent Act stipulates a case must be exceptional in order for the legal fees to be shifted to the loser. Lower courts have used a high standard to determine when a case is exceptional, meaning it is rarely found to be so. Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing for the 9-0 majority, said judges should define an “exceptional” situation as “simply one that stands out from others.” 

Discussion Section Links:  




Pick of the Day:  http://owncloud.org/

I love using Dropbox for storing and sharing many of my personal files. However as I work in healthcare I have to be extra careful when it comes to storing and sharing Protected Health Information. I highly recommend ownCloud (owncloud.org) as a private cloud alternative. They have Mac, PC and Linux clients as well as iOS and Android apps. The data is securely stored on our company servers. And best of all it’s open source software.
Cheers, Dave (aka DaHa the rare times I get to visit the chat room)

Thursday’s guest: Denise Howell

S&L Podcast – #173 – JJ, Destroyer of Canons

We’re very excited to have Bryan Benson on the show today, who backed our Kickstarter for season 2 of video, and got to pick this month’s book. He’s a game designer, author and all around great guy. Plus, he helped us to realize that JJ Abrams has become the destroyer of canonicity in SciFi. 

Download show here!

Download video here.
Watch on YouTube


Tom: Water

Veronica: Bulleit Rye


All existing EU novels will be rebranded as “Star Wars Legends” and considered non-canon.

Ernie Cline helping search for lost ET cartridges

P.S. They found them!

Bookshelf posted A large collection of Spaceship concept art

WINNERS: 2014 BSFA Awards

WINNER: 2014 Philip K. Dick Award – SF Signal


David writes:  about Farina by George Meredith

Veronica: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3)

Tom:  Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

May 20 : My Real Children by Jo Walton

Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar


A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

Dezrel Etiquette Guide

Lady Henchmen

A dissonant word

Brand by Bryan Benson



How about a S&L award at the end of the year?

The Martian has been Sword and Lasered?


The Sword and Laser Antholgy: You. Can. Buy it NOW!

THANKS BRYAN BENSON at twitter.com/asherrainguart

DTNS 2223 – Throw the basis out with the bathwater

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comScott Johnson is on the show today, and we’ll try to explain what all these Netflix-ISP deals mean, plus decide how much we hate the change to Comixology’s in-app purchasing system.


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: Scott Johnson, of the frogs! With pants!    e


CNET reports Apple made a minor spec upgrade to processors in its MacBook Air laptops, going from a 1.3GHZ chip to a 1.4GHz Core i5. However, Apple did something more unusual when it also dropped prices. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air dropped 100 dollars to $899 in the US and £100 to £749 in the UK. The entry-level 13.3-inch Air dropped 100 to $999 in the US and £849 in the UK.

The Next Web reports on Acer’s latest product line announcement including the Liquid Leap smart band that tracks fitness and pairs with a smartphone. It’s 17mm wide and will come as a bundle with Acer’s Liquid Jade 5-inch smartphone. Both products are expected to launch in late July or early August, although not in the US. However they might want to list on Amazon. That company just launched a new section of its site called Wearable Technology, covering smartwatches, wearable cameras such as the GoPro, healthcare devices and fitness trackers.

Reuters reports Apple and Samsung both made their closing arguments in the titanic patent case going on in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Meanwhile in the court of public opinion, TechCrunch reports Apple and Samsung are both losing. Strategy Analytics released smartphone market share figures for Q1. Samsung dropped a point to 31.2% of the market. Apple dropped two points to 15.3%. Huawei even stayed flat at 4.&%. The market as a whole grew 33%, so it’s smaller vendors like Lenovo who are making all the gains. 

Chairman Risto Siilasmaa is done being Nokia’s interim CEO according to Recode. He can go back to his chairman role, as Rajeev Suri takes over as CEO of the new mobile-phoneless Nokia as of May 1st. Suri perviously served as head of the company’s network infrastructure equipment business. He has been with Nokia since 1995.

The Verge reports on the MIT Bitcoin Club’s program to give $100 worth of bitcoins to every MIT undergrad this autumn. The club raised a half million dollars from alumni and the bitcoin community in order to research what happens when an entire community has access to the currency. The club will work with the campus, local merchants and faculty for support in the project.

Twitter earnings

News From You

Our top story on the subreddit was submitted by spsheridan, pointing to a DSLReports post that the FCC has taken the unusual step of creating an email for feedback, regarding its open Internet guidelines, before the notice of proposed rulemaking has officially been approved in a meeting. You can send your thoughts about the proposed ‘net neutrality’ rules to [email protected]. The meeting to approve the notice happens May 15th, after which a period for public comment will open. 

gowlkick posted the CNET story about Firefox’s major interface refresh, the first big design change since 2011. Among the new features are a Firefox account to smooth cross-browser sync, a customizable graphic menu and rounded tabs that better emphasize what tab you’re looking at. You can now get to menu items from a triple-lined icon at the upper right, similar to Chrome and IE. Overall the changes attempt to unify the look across mobile and desktop. Firefox 29 is available at getfirefox.com

KAPT_Kipper sent in the Verge story that Netflix announced it has agreed to an interconnect agreement with Verizon, similar to the agreement it struck recently with Comcast. Netflix hopes the agreement will, “improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months.” After the Comcast agreement Verizon had indicated it was close to such an agreement itself. AT&T is said to be prusuing a similar deal.

ArokTheBourbonGuy submitted the Gizmodo story that University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released. Graphene in groundwater was found to settle out or be removed by subsurface environments. The work makes it important to reduce the risk of spilling graphene into surface water.

Discussion Section Links:  





Pick of the Day:  Xboot via Justin “Chivalrybean” Lowmaster

XBoot is a program to create a bootable USB stick from various ISO files. I use mine to load SpinRite, MemCheck, Ubuntu Live and some others. I found it while looking for one by watching this review on Hak5:  Thanks for the show, Tom and Scott!  

Wednesday’s guest:  Brian Brushwood of the Night Attack

DTNS 2222 – XP-loitable

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comRafe Needleman joins us to talk about why you shouldn’t use any version of Internet Explorer for awhile, and how far off we are from Google’s self-driving car becoming available for everyone.


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: Rafe Needleman, editorial director, Yahoo Tech  e


Our top story on the subreddit today was submitted by both tekkyn00b and jaymz668. Ars Technica is among those reporting that attackers are actively exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11. There is no fix yet, so all users are advised to use an alternate browser. If that isn’t possible for some reason, users should install Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. FireEye wrote that disabling Adobe Flash neutralizes the attack. Disabling vector markup language support also mitigates the attack. 

Google’s Director of the Self-Driving Car project, Chris Urmson, made a blog post today about the project’s emphasis on city street driving. The self-driving car has logged 700,000 autonomous miles, but most of that is highway driving. City driving is much more complicated. New advances enable the car to read stop signs, recognize other objects like buses and pedestrians, and even tell when a bicyclist is indicating a lane change. 

Ars Technica reports that AOL is now urging all its customers to change passwords after an investigation into hacks reported last week. Turns out the breach affects at least two percent of accounts, with attackers getting email addresses, encrypted passwords, security question answers and other contact info. 

Recode has the story that Alibaba’s pre-IPO quiet period is not as quiet as you might have expected. The company invested $1.22 billion in video site YouKu Tudou today giving it an 18.5% stake in the popular video-sharing company. Alibaby also set up a joint venture with China’s leading mobile browser, UCWeb, to build a new mobile search engine called Shenma, in order to take on Baidu on mobile. Services like AliPay, Taobao and Tmall will be integrated into Shenma.

News From You

Spsheridan pointed us to the Skype blog post announcing that Skype group video calling is now free for all on Windows, Mac and Xbox One, with all platforms, including mobile, to get it free in the future. Existing paying users will be informed of the change, everybody else can just fire it up anytime they want.

KAPT_Kipper pointed us to the TorrentFreak article about Netflix posting a job for a software engineer experienced in peer-to-peer. Ars Technica spotted the ad which describes a focus on researching the possibility to allow users to stream videos via peer-to-peer technology. Netflix has pondered what would happen to peering agreements with it if ISP users were uploading as much as they downloaded. 

the_corley submitted the GigaOm story that Comcast has agreed to sell operations serving 1.4 million of its subscribers to Charter Communications and create a spinoff company to serve 2.5 million customers that would be part-owned by charter. The point would be to reduce the combined number of subscribers of a merged Comcast and TWC to less than 30% of the market by getting rid of 3.9 million subs. The FCC has tried to enforce a 30% subscriber market cap, though the courts wouldn’t allow it. COmcast is trying to follow the rule anyway as a way to win approval for the merger.

sebgonz posted the LA Times article about the discovery Saturday of the legendary ET Atari cartridges dumped in a landfill in Alamogordo, new Mexico. The excavation was done as part of a documentary being made to show on Microsoft’s Xbox game consoles later this year. No report yet if any of the cartridges were playable. 

metalfreak submitted the liliputing article about a new HP Slatebook running Android on a Tegra Chip. HP has not officially launched the device, but Notebook Italia discovered a promotional video on the HP website that describes it. The device will have a 14-inch HD display, 2 GB of RAM and 16GB storage, with microSD, HDMI, 3 USB ports and Beats Audio. No price or launch date was mentioned in the video. 

And lifedownloaded pointed out the Reuters report that Chinese authorities have ordered several television shows removed from Chinese video sites. The shows were shown with copyright approval from their makers, so this is not a piracy issue. Four shows, The Big Bang Theory, The Practice, The Good Wife and NCIS, were ordered removed from Youkou Tudou Sohu and Tencent. Last week a directive from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television tightened the process for getting approval to put TV and short films online. It is not clear why these four shows were targeted, although state TV broadcaster China Central TV recently acquired the rights for Big Bang Theory.

Discussion Section Links:  Self Driving Cars & IE Security Flaws






Pick of the Day:  Tadpole bluetooth speaker from iFrogz

Just wanted to pass on a quick pick of the day. I have three kids with iPhones that love listening to music in various locations (work, camping, hiking, etc.). They love to share audio as well and bluetooth speakers can be too pricey to want to risk in some of those situations. Enter the Tadpole bluetooth speaker from iFrogz (www.zagg.com). The Tadpole is a keychain size “speaker” that comes in a variety of colors. The sound is much larger than it’s size would indicate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the highest quality sound but for the situations above and for only $20, it is well worth the price. it was definitely a hit with my kids and I will be grabbing a couple more. Love the show and thanks for all you do!  Greg in Houston

Tuesday’s guest:  Scott Johnson, of the frogs! With pants! 

Current Geek 14: The Federal Crap Commission

Tonight, on CurrentGeek, more starwars stuff, we have a new hobbit title, Unreal 4 is doing some strange things, MST3K gets some Wired time, GameStop is doing some changing, HBO coming to Amazon and people are pretty excited, is the internet going to die, Nokia deal makes MS really big, Drones are in Forcecast today, secure passwords in emails, and more!

DTNS 2221 – Slicing up Nokia

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comDarren Kitchen is here and we’ll give our thoughts on the future of Nokia’s mobile phone business now that Microsoft owns it, plus find out why if you’re not taking a selfie with your drone, you’re doing it wrong. Also a drone rock band exists. And Len Peralta illustrates the show!


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 guests: Darren Kitchen and Len Peralta


Microsoft announced it has acquired Nokia’s handset business for €5.44 billion (around $7.2 billion) although because of cash and capital adjustments over the 8 months since the transaction was first announced, the final price may end up being slightly higher. Nokia will make that clear next week. Their earnings report is scheduled for April 29. Microsoft now owns the Lumia, Asha and Nokia X brands of phones. It can keep using the Nokia brand for 10 years. Nokia can’t use its own name on mobile devices until after Decmber 31, 2015. Meanwhile Nokia retains its networking infrastructure arm, the HERE mapping division and Advanced Technologies which does research and licensing. 

GigaOm passes along a Boy Genius Report story with leaked information that Amazon’s rumored smartphone might be an AT&T exclusive and come with something called “Prime Data”. No details on what that would be, but Amazon’s Prime service gives free shipping, Kindle borrowing, and video streaming for a yearly fee. So some kind of data included in your prime membership is not too far-fetched.

The Verge reports Scott Croyle, head of design for HTC, will leave the company to work on his own projects. Croyle’s studio, One & Co. was acquired by HTC in 2008. Croyle will continue to consult with the company for a few months in a transitional role. Jonah Becker is widely expected to take over for his boss. Meanwhile User Experience chief Drew Bamford got a promotion to head of Creative Labs, making him in charge of all software and services.

CNET reports Apple and Samsung will have to extend their patent case for at least one more day, due to a decision handed down by a US Appeals court in a related Apple-Motorola patent case regarding the 647 patent on linking of phone numbers. The companies would have wrapped up testimony Friday but will now be allowed to present more evidence regarding the 647 patent on Monday. That would push closing arguments from Monday to Tuesday.

ReCode reports SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s Falcon 9 rocket first stage had executed a successful soft landing in the ocean last week, although the stage was not recovered due to subsequent ocean activity. The ultimate aim is to bring the stage down at Cape Canaveral by the end of the year. Musk also announced the company has filed a complaint in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, protesting the Air Force awarding of a contract to United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

News From You

The top vote-getter on the subreddit today came from KAPT_Kipper. TorrentFreak reports Hulu has begun blocking IP addresses of VPN providers in an effort to prevent people outside the US from viewing the US-only service. However the block also prevents US residents using US VPN servers from seeing Hulu. All blocked users receive a message suggesting if they are in the US to disable their VPN or proxy. In other words, you wanna watch Hulu, you need to surf less securely.

metalfreak submitted the PC World story that Google is considering deploying WiFi networks in places where it provides Google Fiber service. The information comes from documents given to the 34 candidate cities for the next round of Google Fiber. 

SPSheridan submitted an Ars Technica article reporting on the TechCrunch report that sources tell them that in the wake of the departure of Vic Gundotra from Google, Google + will go from being a product to a platform. The Google Hangouts team would allegedly shift to Android as would the photos team. Google + would no longer be required to integrate with Google products. A Google representative told TC “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

metalfreak and SPSheridan both submitted links about the death of the California KillSwitch bill. The legislation would have required all smartphones sold in California have a kill switch that would allow consumers to remotely lock and disable the phone if stolen. PC World reports the bill fell short of the 21 votes it needed in the State Senate. 

Discussion Section Links:  Dronies!










Pick of the Day: 

Meetup! If you live in the Los Angeles area, come by our meetup this Saturday! Jennie and I will be hanging out Saturday, April 26th, starting at 6pm, at the 326 Bar at The Original Farmers Market at 3rd at Fairfax. 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036 

Monday’s guest:  Rafe Needleman of Yahoo News