DTNS 2473 – Microsoft Excitement Pro XP 2

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNate Lanxon is on the show to talk about Microsoft’s secret strategy to dominate and what things we DON’T want in the cloud.


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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 headlines 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, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests:  Nate Lanxon 


Business Insider reports Yahoo has renewed its search deal with Microsoft. Bing ads must show up against 51% of traffic now instead of the exclusive deal it had before meaning Yahoo can monetize 49% of its traffic in other ways if it likes. Microsoft is also taking over sales of all the BIng ads.

If you want to walk into an Apple store and buy an Apple Watch you will now have to wait until at least June. 9 to 5 mac shared an Apple memo from SVP of Retail and Online Sales Angela Ahrendts wjo wrote: “due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May.”

Tech Crunch reports that Jawbone has partnered with American Express to allow the new Jawbone UP4 fitness tracker to pay for things at NFC enabled card readers. The authorization token is stored on the band itself, and the credit card information can be deactivated if the band is stolen. The UP4 will cost $200 at launch — $20 more than the payments-less UP3 and launch “this summer”. Jawbone also introduced a new mid-range band called the UP 2 for $99 which replaces the UP24.

Good news Big Data fans. TechCrunch reports from the Hadoop summit in Brussels that Google launched the open beta of Cloud Dataflow and updated BigQuery. CloudDataflow can process data asboth streams and batches and automatically scales to the dev’s needs. BigQuery’s update lets users store data in Google’s European Data centers to keep it out of the US’s surveillance system and only in danger of the French one. It also adds row level permissions which will keep the marketing department from messing up your supply chain data when their pulling sales info.

The New York Times reports China’s Banking Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology sent a letter to banks Monday that suspends rules that would have required tech companies to turn over source code. The rules will be reissued after a revision to take into account amendment suggestions.

Engadget reports the World Bank’s latest Global Financial Inclusion database states that 12% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have mobile wallets, making it the most advanced region for the etechnology. Kenya leads the way with 58%. BizTechAfrica notes M-PESA, one of the most popular payment systems, will launch the 2nd generation of its platform in Kenya next week bringing improved speed and efficiency. Meanwhile a Pew Research report notes cell phone ownership has reached about 90% in Nigeria and South Africa. Texting is still the most common activity on phones in the region followed by photos and video and mobile banking.


News From You:

Jaymz668 sent us this story from TechDirt. Netflix will be begin rolling out encryption via HTTPs over the coming year for all of its infrastructure including streams. Although previous trials impacted server capacity by 50% Netflix is now confident that it can implement HTTPs at a lower capacity cost. Tests start this quarter. And from the same story, Mozilla has proposed to deprecate unencrypted web pages – sites that use http: – in a move they hope will encourage web developers to move to HTTPs. As a carrot the browser will only implement new features on sites using HTTPs.

Starfuryzeta let us know about the Ars Technica story that Cynaogen is partnering with Microsoft to integrate Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office into Cyanogen OS. MS has committed to creating native integrations of those apps as well.


Discussion Section Links:  



Picks of the day:
Mistobox – Personalized Coffee Delivered
Blue Bottle at Home (formerly Tonx)


David from finally Spring has sprung St. Paul:
As dominant as Google is in Europe people can still choose to use another search engine. Why don’t these companies that are claiming they are affected by Google’s dominance use advertising to point people at other search sites or create partnerships with other search sites to help cover the cost of advertising in things like magazines and bill boards and their own web pages?

Ian in Sunny San Diego on government collection of metadata:
I think a possible solution would be: any government collecting data from its citizens should be required to open source that data. This has two positive effects to help ensure that only “appropriate” data is collected.

First, since the data will be public, we can see if any of it is dangerous to law-abiding citizens.

Second, faster detection of illegal activity since more eyes are on it.


Friday’s guests:  Darren Kitchen & Len Peralta


S&L Podcast – #213 – Our Thoughts on the Hugos

We’re excited and fearful about a new chapter from George R.R. Martin’s Winds of Winter, we’re hopeful about new books from John Scalzi and Ann Leckie and we’re just a little wistful and/or angry about the Hugos.  

Download direct!
Tom: Newcastle Brown Ale    
Veronica: Viognier White Wine    
Sword & Laser Collection Contest    
Sandra: Behold!  A new chapter from Winds of Winter    
Eleanor (via Steven): BBC Radio 4 have three sets of programs celebrating the work of Ursula Le Guin. 

Dara: Ann Leckie sold another Ancillary story to Orbit, to be published in 2017.     
Sandra: Cover Art and Release Schedule for John Scalzi’s The End of All Things Novellas

Paul: The Tiptree awards and for 2014 have been announced. 

People are dropping out of the Hugos    

Aidan –  Two Hugo nominees have been disqualified due to ineligibility  

Pssst: Aidan’s also got a short story collection coming out    

Ewan: The whole Hugos Thing   

Just a quick heads up that the Discworld Reading Order Guide now has an official Facebook page!
We are gearing up toward releasing the final (sad, I know) 3.0 version of the Guide soon and will be taking suggestions for the draft on the /r/Discworld subreddit and on Facebook once the draft is published. Looking forward to hearing from S&L Pratchett fans.

– Krzysztof Kietzman 

What COMICS Are You Reading    
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett    
Brendan: Discworld graffiti showing up in London    
Neil Gaiman on Terry Pratchett’s inspiration
Question about selecting out of print books as our book pick    
Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons at patreon.com/swordandlaser Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser
You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks    

DTNS 2472 – If You Can’t Beat ‘em Buy ‘em

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNatali Morris joins the show to discuss the EU’s antitrust objections to Google and Patrick Beja drops back in to tell us why France wants to record all data from its ISPs.


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

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines 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, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests:  Natali Morris and Patrick Beja 


EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the issuance of a Statement of Objections to Google regarding the search engine’s placement of it’s own comparison shopping results. Google has 10 weeks to respond. If the objections are not resolved Google could face a fine of up to 10% of annual sales and possible requirements to change business practices. The EU also announced the beginning of an investigation into Android and Google’s practice of requiring bundles of software be included as well as accusations that Google tries to prevents forks of the open source operating system.

TechCrunch reports a new Tumblr mobile app has added several desktop features of the site to the app like creating secondary blogs or posting to submission blogs. There’s also a Tumblr Widget that you can add to your today screen to show what’s trending. And a iOS users can now cut and paste video links to make video posts just like their android cousins. Better post filtering options are among the other new features.

CNET reports Samsung told Reuters that demand for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge is much higher than expected. The Korea Times reports a source says Samsung expects to ship 10 million S6s and S6 Edges in the first 26 days after launch.

Reuters reports that Chinese transportation robotics firm Ninebot has acquired Segway makers of a competing self-balancing scooter. The terms were not disclosed, but Sequoia Capital China and Xiaomi invested 80 million dollars in Ninebot to help fund the acquisition. Segway named Ninebot in a patent infringement complaint in September 2014. So remember kids, can’t beat ‘em? Buy ‘em.

PCWorld has just posted a review of Alcatel’s Onetouch Watch. Highlights include the, price: $150 – making it the cheapest smartwatch on the market, standard USB charging interface, 3 days of battery life at medium brightness, and works with iPhone and Android Smartphones. Misses include design and feel, small feature set, semi-useful notifications, and limited activity-tracking tools that do calories burned, miles walked, minutes active and hours slept.

The Verge reports that Twitter has unveiled a new homepage for people who aren’t signed in. Targeted at new users, it displays a curated collection of timelines showing off popular parts of Twitter, including pop artists, cute animals, space news, business news, actors and actresses, and tech news sites. Click on one and you’ll see a real-time conversation from those accounts. The new homepage also includes a prominent search bar that suggests queries for popular trends and hashtags, like #2016Election.

Tech Crunch reports that Tinder released an update today that integrates with Instagram. Users can scroll through the most recent 34 Instagram pictures from their potential matches to see what food they’ve been eating and how they rock a selfie. Users with private Instagram accounts, will have the option to grant Tinder access, which would make your Instagram public on Tinder only. Tinder now also supports common connections, letting users see degrees of separation and Facebook interests.

The Huffinton Post India is reporting India’s Cleartrip, NDTV, Newshunt and the Times Group announced that they are pulling out of Facebook’s internet.org initiative today, citing support for net neutrality as the reason. Internet.org provides access to services without counting against data usage costs. Many net neutrality supporters criticize such ‘zero-rating’ as creating an unbalanced playing field for startups.


News From You:

Ninja3000 gave us a heads up on Huawei’s new P8 smartphone announced at a London launch event. According to Android Central the P8 features a steel body, 64-bit 8-core Kirin 920 processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, microSD slot for up to 128GB of additional storage, a 13-megapixel optical image stabilized camera,, 5.2” 1080p display and a 2600 mAh fixed internal battery. The P8 will ship with Huawei’s EMUI 3.1 software on Android Lollipop and come in black, gold, grey and champagne. It will launch in 30 countries costing 499 euros for the standard version or 599 euros for the P8 Max with 64 GB of storage in black or gold. An affordable version may come to the US this summer.

JohnEllsworth3 shared this ArsTechnica story about Chrome version 42 disabling old Java and Silverlight plug-ins. Those plug-ins use the 90s era Netscape Plugin API to extend browser functionality. Chrome 42 will be turn that API off by default. Users who need that functionality can re-enable the API setting. However, by September Google plans to permanently kill the plug-ins because they cause “hangs, crashes, security incidents and code complexity”. The company suggests developers who are reliant on the plug-ins should move to more open web standards. Chrome for Linux since version 35 and mobile browsers do not support the plug-ins either.


Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the day:

Tom from terrific Toronto writes in:

Hello Tom and Jennie:

With regards to DTNS 2462 and your conversation about Windows unveiling an accessibility dev centre. I would like to pick the weekly Assistive Technology Update podcast.

The latest episode #200, is a special look-back episode, but generally speaking each week they cover the key news in assistive technology, have app reviews, and have an in-depth interview. There are very detailed show notes that include links and a transcript of the interview.

I find it very useful to keep up to date on what’s going on with assistive technology!





Stacey Byerly from rainy Georgia :

Hi Tom
Love the show THANK YOU for a great show

I think Patrick has something there with people being scared to use their phones because of data caps being so low. I suggest apps to many of my friends and family members some of these people don’t know what a gigabyte is. Some don’t want to do anything on their phones because data caps scare them. That might be how the big networks keep traffic down.
I myself used a lot of data this month I’m one of the lucky ones that have an unlimited data plan with unlimited tethering for 60USD (picture attached) haven’t been throttled yet
Stacey Byerly

Gaspare from once again rainy in Tampa Florida has a comment on the Reddit button.

“As you described it, it reminded me instantly of a social experiment called “the game.” Thought you might find it interesting, and btw… We all just lost the game…

Christian Cantrell said:

It reminded him of stock trading by employees with limited shares and he theorized: “the button experiment was created by a bored employee of a publicly traded company with no more stock to trade, and who wanted to share his or her pain with millions of fellow Redditors.”

Christian (still waiting to click)

Jason, from springtime Seattle which cannot decide between six more weeks of rain or apocalyptic levels of sunshine and clear skies.

Dear Tom, Jenny, and NotPatrick –

How is it that Monday’s news of the security fix in Mac OS X 10.10.3 wasn’t the lead story? Effectively, there’s a major privilege escalation bug in every version of OS X ever. Apple released a patch for 10.10 (Yosemite) and told every user of previous versions “look, the upgrade to Yosemite is fee, so we wont be patching earlier versions. You’re on your own.”

Users of applications that just don’t work with Yosemite are, of course, left swinging in the wind.

Can you imagine the crapstorm that would ensue if Microsoft fixed a major security release in Windows 10 and told users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 “hey, the upgrade is free, we won’t be patching your old version”.

Why the free pass for Apple?

Chris in Irvine wanted to comment on the teen being charged a felony for using the teacher’s password.

Turns out when Chris was in school he I created a visual basic application that was a clone of the software used to lock down the PCs. He writes: “The teacher would use a key combination to enter the application and unlock the PC after entering the password. My program intercepted this and displayed it’s own password entry box which would then log the password in a hidden file…. the password securing all of the school’s computers was “book”.. ” He got a three day suspension he continues ” I feel what I did was considerably worse and my punishment of a three day suspension should be more than sufficient in my eyes.

Sheala writes pointing out lots of schools have old tech, insufficient password policies and:

“Added to all that is the fact that the teachers computer is often the only one in he room. So it often gets used for a quick but of research by students. Or teachers will get students to help out. There are any number of activities that make it normal for a kid to be at a teachers computer. And so bad behavior is easily missed.

There are a lot of computer classes in my district taught by teachers that know the bare minimum. And they aren’t teaching information security.”


Wednesday’s guest: Nate Lanxon


Get published with Sword & Laser on Inkshares!

Good news, everyone! You know we love Inkshares, and now we’ve partnered with them to kick off their Collections. What does this mean?

To debut the Sword & Laser Collection on Inkshares, we will publish the five science fiction and fantasy projects with the most pre-orders by May 31st, 2015. Sword & Laser will choose their personal favorite from the top five and make it the debut book in their Collection.

The debut Sword & Laser Collection author will receive an interview on the Sword & Laser podcast. All five winners will receive a coaching session from Gary Whitta, Star Wars: Rogue One co-writer and author of Abomination, in addition to having their book published and distributed into independent bookstores, Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

You can read all about the content over on Inkshares. Can’t wait to see what you guys are working on!

DTNS 2471 – The Guitar Hero We Need, Not the One We Deserve

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja is on the show and we’ll bring on Russ Pitts to talk about the new Guitar Hero Live and how it’s almost the exact opposite of Rock Band 4.


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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 headlines 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, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests:  Patrick Beja and Russ Pitts


TechCrunch reports that Apple’s 26th annual Worldwide Developer Conference is scheduled for June 8th through June 12th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Starting today devs can sign up for a random selection process to get a ticket. Devs will be notified by April 20th whether or not they get to pay $1,599 to attend. Possible announcements at WWDC could include, OS upgrades, a new music streaming service, maybe some Apple TV hardware, and maybe even the SDK for Apple Watch Apps.

TechCrunch reports Microsoft began replacing Lync with Skype for Business as part of the Office 2013 April update.  Skype for Business resembles regular Skype but has enterprise-grade security and administration features.  The transition will be complete by the end of May.

CNET has the news that Google has launched a new program called “Designed For Families” which identifies apps in the Google Play store that Google deems safe for children. To earn the family friendly label, app makers must go through a review process that includes receiving a rating of “Everyone” or “Everyone 10+” from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, and making sure the app complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. App makers can begin to apply now, and consumers should see the label in a few weeks.

The Next Web reports Opera Mini’s latest Android browser has a scalable interface that works with high-resolution screens, as well as options to customize the layout for larger devices.  The main menu has been simplified and the Speed Dial feature redesigned. Other updates include a new private browsing mode, a refreshed discover newsfeed that brings more new content from the Web and a counter to show you how much data you’ve saved.

Apple made its open-source ResearchKit tools for developers available today. The kit allows developers to create apps intended for medical and health-related research. Modules in the kit include Participant consent, Surveys and Active Tasks. Some applications were created prior to the public release that have enrolled 60,000 users in studies related to asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

The Next Web reports that Netflix is beginning to add narration tracks for the visually impaired today. The narrations describe the movements, facial expressions, costumes and scene changes. The first series to get the additional narration is Daredevil to be followed by shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

The net neutrality lawsuits continue. Added to one filed yesterday by the USTelecom organization, The Verge reports the CTIA, NCTA and American Cable Association have all filed suits now as well. In addition, Ars Technica reports US Rep. Doug Collins introduced a “Resolution of Disapproval” regarding the Open Internet Order which would use Congress’ fast track powers to cancel the FCC rules. While it is likely to pass, it is also likely that the President will veto it.

The Net Neutrality fight is just getting underway in India and TechCrunch reports it took its first victim.  Flipkart announced it will withdraw from Airtel Zero, a platform that would’ve given Bharti Airtel subscribers free data for services that paid to be in the program.

Cloud communications company Twilio has launched Twilio Video according to The Next Web,to make it easier for developers to embed real-time video experiences into apps and websites and such. The service uses WebRTC and leverages Twilio’s existing data centers to handle up to 4 people on a call, unlimited video connections, low latency relay calls and full optimization for iOS and Android users. Although no pricing was mentioned the company said that there will “always be a free tier of usage”. Interested parties can register for a private beta today.


News From You:

Doorsrio and KAPT_Kipper send us this ray of sunshine for victims of the CoinVault ransomware. PC World has a story on a new tool released by Kaspersky Lab that exploits decryption keys uncovered on a CoinVault command and control server during an investigation by Dutch police. Kapersky researcher Jornt van der Wiel said the tool isn’t 100% effective but police hope to uncover more keys as their investigation continues. No arrests have been made in connection with the CoinVault ransomware operation but the perpetrator is believed to reside in the Netherlands.

Goofball_jones posted the Ars Technica report about an opinion piece written by industry analyst Jack Gold and published by Verizon. Gold makes the fair point that if everyone had unlimited data and used it fully networks would suffer. He also argues that users don’t require more data and wouldn’t want to pay for the infrastructure to deliver it anyway. Network management company Sandvine’s CTO Don Bowman has said Data caps do not do a very good job of managing congestion.


Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the day:

Jack wrote in saying:

“I have been a long time listener since your buzz out loud days and know you have mentioned Audible over the years and just found out something I did not know before. Audible has an option to stream your books on a browser. This is such a great little surprise for us chromebook users like myself that I can now pop the headphones on and listen to books as I surf the web and my 5 year old claims my phone as his own.”


Ian writes:

Dear Tom,

I just donated to your Patreon because I feel like I give back some value before I insert my opinion and potentially take up air time. I love the show and the coverage you guys give to wearables, even if you’re skeptical of smartwatches. I wanted to write in just to remind folks that wearables is a much broader category than just smartwatches. While, as you noted, most of the products in this sector are aimed at women, there are a growing number of products that aren’t gender specific. I’ve compiled a short list of some wearables that are not smartwatches for you and your listeners:



Garin writes in:

Hey Tom, Jenny and Patrick,

I am emailing in response to the story in the headlines yesterday from Ars Technica (and covered widely across the internet) about TWC increasing internet speeds in Charlotte, NC in response to Google Fiber. I just wanted to point out that they might have rolled this out “early” in response to Google, but this particular instance it is not necessarily anything new.

I have Time Warner Cable in LA County (Santa Clarita, by Magic Mountain) and we got these exact speed increases a year ago. Coworkers of mine also got these increases in Pasadena and Covina, so it appeared to be the wider LA area. At the time I researched it and discovered it was actually rolling out as a pilot program in LA and NY (Press release here.) So this increase has probably been in the works for a while, and will likely come to many other (if not every) Time Warner area in the near future.

I just wanted to email in and point out that a story that seemed to blow up all over yesterday was really less of a deal than it looked (Although I totally get that it has happened previously in other instances.)

Love the show and am a proud Patron!


Nathan the school tech in weird weather Washington (state) sent us this email:

Hi Tom

I do network and desktop support in a medium-large school district.

I agree that some form of punishment for the student involved is warranted (the original suspension seemed reasonable).

A large portion of the responsibility for the incident lies with the teacher as well as whoever was allowing the use of completely insecure passwords for administrative access to the computer.

The adults in the area are responsible for attempting to prevent the irresponsible, dumb things children do because they are children. When a child does gets caught breaking the rules their behavior should be corrected.

When a teacher creates or allows a situation to continue that leads to inappropriate student behavior, they need some serious correcting as well.


Tuesday’s guests: Natali Morris

DTNS 2470 – Felony Wallpaper

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comRoger Chang is on the show today to talk about 4K phone screens, whether changing a background image should be a felony, and the many faiths of the Reddit Button.


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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 headlines 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, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests: Roger Chang


The US FCC’s Open Internet Order was published in the Federal Register today. A trade group representing ISPs called USTelecom filed suit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Sharp announced a 5.5 inch 4K IGZO display with an 806 pixels per inch density according to phone arena.com. The Ultra-HD display will sport a resolution of 2160 x 3840. IGZO or Indium gallium zinc oxide is a semiconducting material used in the TFT Backplane of flat-panel displays. Rival smartphone maker Samsung has hinted at a 4K display for their upcoming Galaxy Note 5.

Engadget reports that ASUS is getting ready to launch the VivoWatch, a fitness-centric wearable with a claimed 10 day battery life. The watch will have a tough stainless steel body, your standard IP67 rating against dust and water, heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking. No price has been revealed yet, but expect that info to emerge during Milan Design Week which begins tomorrow.

Ars Technica reports on a shocking case of potential cause and effect in the free market. After Google Fiber announced its expansion into Charlotte, North Carolina, Time Warner Cable announced that their residential internet customers will “experience” internet speed up to six times faster than their current speed, at no extra cost. Customers who get up to 15Mbps will now receive up to 50Mbps, those who get up to 30Mbps will now receive up to 200Mbps; and customers who get up to 50Mbps, will receive up to 300Mbps, all at no extra charge.

TechCrunch reports Apple updated Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor software, with support for new camera hardware, and new 3D animation resources and effects features. Final Cut Pro 10.2 supports four video scope views at once, and support for additional video formats. Motion 5.2 adds improvements to 3D title building, and 12 new generator effects. Compressor 4.2 makes it easier to get a movie up for sale on iTunes. CNET reports Apple also sold about 1 million Apple Watches this weekend according to analyst estimates.

TechCrunch reports 3D Robotics launched a new quadcopter called the Solo meant to be easy to fly for beginners, with a focus on aerial photography. Pilots can use a GoPro to stream video to a phone through the 3-axis Solo gimbal. The Solo can update firmware over WiFi and has an accessory bay for future hardware expansion, like a forthcoming Lidar camera. The motor pods are also swappable for easy replacement. The Solo costs $999 and the Gimball an extra $399 coming to the US in May and globally in June and July.

The Financial Express reports Singapore-based FireEye released a report about online espionage operations targeting government and commercial organizations going back to 2005. FireEye believes the group responsible is state-sponsored likely by the Chinese government. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei “I want to stress that the Chinese government firmly bans and cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks,” and called for international cooperation against such attacks.


News From You:

AllanAV sent us this story from the Slate. 14-year-old eighth-grader Domanik Green of Paul R. Smith Middle School in Holiday, Florida, was recently arrested and charged with a felony: offense against a computer system and unauthorized access. He was released from Land O’Lakes Detention Center on Wednesday. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Pasco County sheriff’s department took action after Green used a teacher’s administrative password, a person’s last name which he saw the teacher type in – to log onto a school computer and change the background image. “I logged into a teacher’s computer who I didn’t like and tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him,” Green told the Times.

StarFuryZeta alerted us to a Gizmodo post about Mysterious Radio Signals being received by astronomers at the Parkes Observatory in Australia for years. Astronomers were puzzled over the source of these brief but intense bursts. Astronomer Emily Petrol installed a real-time radio interference monitor and it turns out they were coming from the microwave in the lunch room anytime someone opened the door before the timer was done.
Paulgannon01 sent us The Next Web report that in the UK, new regulations are in effect providing legal recourse to people subjected to “revenge porn.” The new offence criminalizes “the disclosure of photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public,” The sharing must be done deliberately with the intention of causing the person in question distress.

Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the day:

Dear Tom,
After hearing the pick from DTNS 2452 concerning RiffTracks, I wanted to expand on the selection of commentaries available online. Zarban.com (quoting from the website)

is a catalog of audio commentaries for movies and TV episodes available on the Web. You can download a commentary and listen to it while you watch the show and enjoy the scholarly insights and/or hilarious insults they offer.

They are mostly fan-made commentaries but some are official tracks (e.g. Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” commentary that he originally hosted personally is now archived by Zarban.com). Other contributors can be hit and miss, but I would highly recommend What Are You Doing Movie (formerly Down In Front), Tysto, and Film Grok. They generally have a countdown after a short minutes of introduction, and listeners can sync their copies with the recorded commentary audio.

At the time of this correspondence, Tysto has a commentary for “Resevoir Dogs” that I am very much looking forward to visiting. Listeners can also find entries for such gems as “Nightmare Sisters,” if that’s their bag.

PATRON since day 1:

Nic in Louisiana


Good day Tom,
I work for high tech manufacturing company like your guest, and single source parts are actually more common than your guest suggested. He was giving the text book answer.

It’s often normal with anything cutting edge to only have one vendor. And sometimes it’s easier too, especially if you have a relationship with a vendor who performs better than others.

Keep in mind that marketing’s plan is forward looking, and their dreams might not match what’s possible on a new product. They should dream. The goal normally is to reach marketing’s plans, not the other way around.