S&L Podcast – #167 – Spitcoin

We evaluate George R. R. Martin’s plans to stay ahead of the HBO show, look forward to spaceships returning to SyFy, congratulate Arthur C. Clarke Award finalists and ponder the disgusting need for spit as a payment method in Richard K. Morgan’s “Altered Carbon.”

Direct download link here!


FINALISTS: 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award

People Who Use E-Readers Dive Far Deeper Into Books

Incredible Game of Thrones pop-up book folds out to 3D Westeros map

J.K. Rowling has released History of the Quidditch World Cup online


George R.R. Martin knows how to stop ‘Game of Thrones’ from catching up to his books

Frederik Pohl’s dread-coated ateway to get a TV series adaptation

Syfy promises a return to space opera at last, with Ascension

Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson – who watched it?


Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

First impressions

Payment Methods


Our April book pick will be selected by Bryan Benson who backed our Kickstarter. Thanks Bryan. The book is “A Dance of Cloaks” by David Dalglish. — Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. Assassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.

Bryan also is an author so we’re going to make HIS book our official alternate pick. So check out Brand by Bryan Alexander Benson as well! It’s a fast-paced, Fantasy action novel with steam-punk tendencies. It is the first book in the Order of Luminan series. We’ll have Bryan on for our wrap-up episode at the end of April.


What good would come aliens arriving from another planet?

Recommend a book you think most people haven’t heard of

DTNS 2194 – Mama, Dadda, iPad

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNicole Spag is on the show to talk Sony and Oculus’s VR headset announcements AND whether that iPad is safe for your baby.


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:  Nicole Spagnuolo 


Project Morpheus: The Verge reports Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida announced the company’s Virtual Reality headset during a panel at the Game Developer’s Conference called “Driving the Future of Innovation.” Project Morpheus is a prototype headset, similar to the Oculus Rift, that currently works with a PS4 by HDMI and USB connection, though the company would like to make it wireless. It uses 1080p LCD screens and has a 90-degree field of view. The PlayStation and Camera and PlayStation Move integrate with the headset which tracks position 100 times per second. An SDK is on its way, but Yoshida told the Verge that the product would not be out for consumers this year.

Ars Technica reports the Oculus team had a little announcement of its own today. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 or DK2 bumps the pixel count to 960×1080 per eye, reduces image persistence to 2-3 ms, meaning smoother images,adds an on-device USB port for accessories, and an external CMOS sensor to assist in position tracking. DK2 will be $350 at launch and you can pre-order today at www.oculusvr.com/order, with the first batch expected to ship in July.

Engadget reports that Oppo unveiled the Find 7 phone in Beijing and yes it can take 50-megapixel photos, if you have a use for such capability. Although before you get too pixel crazy it’s just a 13-megapixel sensor using software tricks to boost the count. It can also record 4K video. The 5.5-inch Android-based Color OS phone will sell for The $499 for Find 7a or Lite in China, with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, or for $599 Find 7 with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage,and a quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display. The Find7a should arrive mid-April and the Find 7 follows in May or June.

Flappy Bird to fly again?

GigaOM reports GE and Quirky are teaming up on an Air Conditioning unit that learns your preferences over time and can cool your room perfectly without any input from you. The unit will work with the Wink app which you’re probably already using for your connected egg carton, right? The 8,000 BTU WiFi -enabled unit will be out in May for $300.

Remember how Huawei was bucking the trend and going to put out a dual-boot Android and Windows Phone? Well they got to ‘em. TechCrunch passes along the FierceWireless report that Huawei has changed its mind and will not release a dual-OS handset, though it still plans to release a Windows Phone in 2014. Asustek recently backed off from a dual-boot phone of their own after reportedly getting pressured by Google and Microsoft.

News From You

 AllanAV submitted the Ars Technica article indicating Cogent isn’t the only Internet transit provider upset with ISP’s demanding paid interconnections. Level 3’s general counsel for regulatory policy Michael Mooney, posted to their blog complaining that ISP’s are using their near-monopolies over the last mile in the US, to strongarm providers into paying. The ISP’s say the ratio is out of whack because much more traffic comes into their netowrk than out. Level 3 points out that’s becuase end users do more downloaading than ulpoading, and proposes bit miles, the distance traffic is carried, rather than the direction, should be the basis for interconenction agreements. Level 3 also argues that FCC network neutrality regulation should cover peering agreements as well.

Speaking of regulation, Draconos sent in the Engadget story reporting attorneys general in Florida, Indiana and a few other states are working with the US Department of Justice to determine if the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable would violate antitrust laws. This gives the DoJ a few more resources, though it isn’t unusual for states to join in antitrust investigations.

cincyhuffster submitted the Pandora blog post announcing price increases for new subscribers. Existing subscribers will continue to pay the 1009 rate of $3.99 a month. New subscribers will have to pony up an extra buck at $4.99 a month, starting in May. Annual subscribers, who were paying $46 a year will be moved to the monthly $3.99 plan when their next year is up.

ChaseLaursen posted the Globe and Mail story celebrating the arrival of the Google ChromeCast in Canada for $39. The Chromecast also launched Wednesday in ten European countries — Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Finland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain. App compatibility varies by country. Canada for instance gets YouTube and Netflix. Britain gets the BBC and in France, you can use it with FranceTV Pluzz and SFR TV.

Discussion Section Links:





Pick of the Day:  Nite Ize Gear Ties

Whats Up!

Something that I use on a daily basis to keep my cables organized are Nite Ize Gear Ties. Granted, they are glorified twist ties, but they’re super durable and useful. I use one to keep the usb with my external, one for my macbook charge cable, and one for my headphones. When they’re not holding cables, they make great stands for phones/tablets.

Thanks for the great Show!

Tuesday’s  Guest:  Farhad Manjoo, of the New York Times

DTNS 2193 – Wear IT

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comDon Reisinger joins me to chat about Android Wear, the new line of clothing from– wait– nope just another smart watch platform. Does this one catch your eye or wrist?


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: Don Reisinger


Wear IT: GigaOM reports Google’s SVP for Android Sundar Pichai took to the Google Blog to announce Android Wear, an implementation of the mobile operating system for wearables. Of course the wearables demonstrated were watches. The system uses Google Now to surface information the wearer needs, responds to voice commands triggered by the “OK Google” phrase and also does fitness tracking. A preview SDK is up at developer.android.com/wear. Expect more on the SDK at Google I/O in June. Lots of partners were announced but LG went ahead and said it’s G Watch will arrive next quarter and Motorola’s Moto 360 should come this summer. Plus it’s actually round. Like a watch.

MYSTIC Leakza: The Verge posted about the Washington Post’s latest Snowden leak story about an NSA tool called MYSTIC. The tool can record 100% of a country’s phone calls and play back any individual call for up to 30 days. It’s like the DISH hopper but for private conversations! The system launched in 2009 and became fully operational in 2011 and is deployed in at least one country, with at least six others others up for consideration.

Peace in our time!  Ars Technica reports Google and Viacom have settled the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright case. In fact they seem to be buddies now since the joint statement said they look forward to working more closely together. Vicaom filed the suit against Google in 2007, alleging YouTube operated outside the parameters of safe harbor. Most judges along the way didn’t agree. The seven years of fighting the suit can be indirectly held responsible for the amazing google robot that helps takedown potentially infringing content like news reports, public domain photos, and garage band music loops.

The Next Web reports on Mozilla and Unity announcing plans to bring Unity games to the Web without needing to install plugins or extensions

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports Microsoft has scheduled a March 27th press briefing in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific with news, “focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing.” CEO Satya Nadella will kick off the briefing, which will be WebCast. Foley, and the rest of the Internet, speculate Microsoft Office for the iPad could be the centerpiece of the briefing. Sources tell her that the iPad version of Office will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, be downloadable from Apple’s app store, and require an Office 365 subscription.

Also TechCrunch reported this happened today. In Gregory Ferenstein’s words: “Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin hung out with whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was attending the TED conference via a telepresence robot.” TED will post an interview with Snowden soon.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is building modules that will allow the military to capture solar power in orbit and project it back down to Earth, potentially capturing more energy than ground-based solar collectors. The power would be beamed back to the ground using high-energy radio waves. In other news, Australian researchers want to beam lasers into space to clean up space junk. This is all good as long as the scientists, remember not to cross the streams.

News From You: 

MikePKennedy pointed us to our daily Amazon set-top box/dongle rumor, this time from the Verge passing along WSJ sources. Amazon will begin selling its mythical dongle in early April on its own site as well as in Best Buy and Staples.

tekkyn00b submitted the 9to5 Google post where they explain they’ve heard Google’s going to get rid of Google Voice and incorporate most of its functionality into Google + hangouts. The hangouts app already allows voice calls over the app, but if Voice was folded in, the hangouts app could be able to make and receive VoiP calls to and from traditional phone numbers. Google has already rolled in it’s messaging and Android SMS functions into the hangouts app.

KAPT_Kipper posted the CNNMoney story of the curious case of a Turkish developer named Ibrahim Balic, who was testing a vulnerability in the Google Play store and it worked. WAY too well. IN fact it crashed the Google Developer Console which is used to submit new apps and app updates. Balic told CNNMoney he did not have malicious aims, he just wanted to be sure about the vulnerability. He has contacted Google about the issue he discovered. Balic previously claimed to be behind the attempted hack of Apple’s Developer Center last summer.

BullioMarf, submitted the gog.com announcement that the game website will support Linux. Initital evidence of the support will be in GOG.com website support for Ubuntu and Mint. They hope to come with 100 Linux games ready for people to play this autumn. Games the website sells that already have Linux clients will be the easy ones to include but they also promise a variety of classics as well.

Discussion Links: Google Wearables






Pick of the Day:  Pocketcasts

Hey Tom, I wasn’t planning on sending another one of these for a while but yesterday, what I consider the best podcasting app on Android, Pocket Casts. Pocketcasts got updated with Chromecast support (iOS update coming soon). But the real reason I am recommending it is that the Daily Tech News Show is one of the featured podcast on the Chromecast standby image that you see on the television between podcasts. For that alone it gets my tip of the hat. Love the show, Marlon


Hi Tom and Jennie!

I have a suggestion for a pick, one that seems very appropriate for DTNS. Pocketcasts is one of the best podcast apps on Android and iOS (I’m listening to a DTNS episode with it as I type this).

It’s been around for a while and offers sync between devices, great for if you have a phone and tablet that you both use for podcasts, supports audio, video, playlists, everything you would expect.

I mention it because it was just recently updated to add chromecast support, which is a pretty nice add for it, especially on video podcasts.

It is how I’ve been consuming content created by Tom for years, and I imagine that many of the listeners use some kind of podcast app, and this one is absolutely worth checking out.

Tomorrow’s guest: Nicole Spagnuolo!

DTNS 2192 – ICANN Haz Independence

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTim Stevens joins the show to talk about the future of the Internet as the US gives up the last of its control over how it’s run.


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:  Tim Stevens, CNET.com, editor at large


Ars Technica reports Dorian Nakamoto issued a statement today saying “”I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.” Nakamoto also said he has retained legal counsel and this will be his last public statement on the matter. Newsweek said it has not received any statement from Mr. Nakamoto yet.

Engadget reports on leaked documents from O2 Germany saying Apple is looking to launch an 8GB version of the iPhone 5C that would retail for 60 Euros less than the current 16GB model. An Engadget reader also sent in a photo purporting to be of the 8GB iPhone 5C.

Microsoft’s OneNote organizing software has been made available for free along with the launch of a version that runs on Mac OS X

TechCrunch reports Japan’s LINE messaging app launched a flat-rate voice calling service called LINE call. Android users in Columbia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, Spain, Thailand and the US can now call phone numbers in addition to other LINE users. Landline calls start at 2 cents a minute and mobile phone calls start at 4 cents a minute. users can either pre-pay or choose a plan that includes a certain number of minutes per month.

What’sApp’s Jan Koum posted to the company’s blog today reassuring customers that WhatsApp data would remain private even after his company is acquired by Facebook. Koum talked about his time growing up in the Soviet Union. He then mentioned that WahtsApp does not collect data like email addresses, birthdays, home address, GPS location etc. and added “None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

TechCrunch reports multiple sources tell it that Amazon is readying a gaming/TV device produced by Lab 126 with a dongle form factor similar to the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. One source claimed the product will stream full PC game titles at 30fps. The device is allegedly still in testing.

The Next Web reports Google announced improvements to Google Play Games at the Game Developers Conference. New features include game gifts, multiplayer invites, and cross-platform multiplayer with support expanded to include iOS. The Google Play Store will also get 18 new game categories to help sort through all those titles out there. All the new features will roll out gradually, starting March 18.

News From You

Kylde submitted the Ars Technica story about GitHub’s reaction to engineer Julie Ann Horvath’s public revelations over the weekend that she left GitHub because of toxic office culture and the interference of the wife of one of the co-founders. GitHub CEO and cofounder Chris Wanstrath issued a statement apologizing and stating the company has put one engineer and one of the co-founders on leave, and has begun an investigation.

andrewboudreau posted an Ars Technica report about the US Department of Commerce announcing late Friday that it has asked ICANN, the non-profit organization that oversees the Domain Name System on the Web, to come up with a plan to transition out of US control. ICANN has a contract with the Commerce Department to oversee the Internet’s numbering system. That contract ends September 30, 2015 and the DoC would like itself replaced a new system of multiple non-government stakeholders to ICANN after that. The Domain Name system transferred to private control in 1997,and the contract with Commerce was the last vestige of governmental connection.

And nickgiulioni sent us the cityam.com post about Twitter user @savethemhood sending 14 million DogeCoin to the Doge4Water campaign which aims to provide safe access to water for Kenya. That’s more than $10,000 worth of Dogecoin. Demonstrating one big advantage of cryptocurrency, the donation was made instantaneously across borders with almost no cost. Similar transactions in traditional currency would have taken days and incurred fees.

Discussion Section Links: ICANN, Can You? 








Pick of the Day:  www.whenisgood.net

HI Tom,
Loving the show. Would just like to draw your attention to a neat little website, www.whenisgood.net It is a simple service which allows you to find the best time for an event. I am a regular user of shared calendars in Outlook (mostly in a professional context) and events on Facebook (mostly in a personal one), but I am using When Is Good more and more in the first instance these days because it allows me to propose several times up front and let attendees dictate the best one rather than proposing a single time and rescheduling if it doesn’t work out. It is also really useful because it is its own platform and it doesn’t require users to sign up: I am a part-time University student and I like the fact that I can invite classmates to a group project meeting without being Facebook friends with them and know that they won’t need to jump through hoops to deal with it (we do have a shared calendar but no one uses it). Wonder whether this could be a candidate for a pick of the day.
All the best, Matthew, Coventry England

Tuesday’s  Guest: Don Reisinger

Current Geek 09: Look at me!

This week on Current Geek, It’s a good day to eat pie, Tim Berners-Lee wants to make a better social web, Snowden speaks out at SXSW, Randall Munroe answers the hard questions, fixing your parents wifi, BBC updates the Hitchhikers game, fastet robot on earth, between two ferns, Google wants you to tango, modular phones and what the french think about it, Apple TV will never happen as a TV, our italian accents, and more!

DTNS 2191 – Drones > Pi

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comDarren Kitchen is back for Pi Day and a discussion of what freedoms we should preserve for flying drones. Also Len Peralta is in to draw 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 & Len Peralta


XBox One and OnLive sittin’ in a tree … :The Verge has a post about images found by Zatz Not Funny showing a purported Amazon game controller. The pictured controller looks like the Xbox One and OnLive had a baby and pasted Android back, home, and menu buttons across its face. Oh look, it has its momma’s media control buttons and its dad’s offset analog sticks! It’s so cute! So expect an Amazon set-top box game controller called the Kindle Fire At Aliens or something soon.

Settings > General > Software Update: iOS 8 is probably Apple’s worst-kept secret yet. It’s almost as badly kept as a Samsung secret. 9to5 Mac reports its sources say Apple plans to simplify the notification center, more data-sharing options between apps, better voice memo access, eliminating the GameCenter app, and CarPlay support over WiFi. Also it’ll be faster. And betterer. And Jonny Ive-ier.

Just kidding, suckas: Remember the Asus Transformer Duet shown off at CES that dual-booted Windows and Android? Well, I’m sorry I brought it up because you can forget about it. GigaOm reports the WSJ sources say Asus is scrapping the touch screen laptop at the behest of both Microsoft and Google. One big loser will be Intel, which used the device to show off its versatility in supporting desktop and mobile on its chips.

Engadget reports Samsung introduced three new accessories designed to help disabled or visually impaired users.

UberX, Lyft changes: Ars Technica reports UberX has expanded its insurance coverage to include drivers waiting for a fare, not just drivers with passengers in the car. Lyft has also made a similar change to its insurance. Two months ago, a six-year-old girl was killed in an accident involving an UberX driver in San Francisco who was not carrying passengers at the time.

Everyone do the IPO! Bloomberg reports Chinese tech giant Alibaba is preparing to file for an IPO of stock in the U.S. as soon as April. Yahoo owns a 24 percent stake in Alibaba. A U.S. share sale by Alibaba would be a blow to Hong Kong, which hasn’t hosted an IPO of more than $4 billion since October 2010. In other IPO news, the WSJ says GoDaddy is finally about to interview underwriters for its IPO.

GigaOm reports Nokia’s Android-powered Nokia X has received one million pre-orders in just four days.

Oh, Russia: Reuters reports Russia has blocked access to the websites of government critic Alexi Navalny and chessmaster Gary Kasparov as part of a new law that cracks down on extremists or those who call for illegal activity. The state regulator said Navalny’s blog violated conditions of his house arrest, and Kasparov and two other sites called for “participation in mass events conducted in violation of the established order.”

Rdio nom noms Dhingana: MediaNama reports music streaming service Rdio acquired India’s defunct streaming website Dhingana which shut down last month after music label T-Series decided not renew its music license. Dhingana founders Snehal Shinde and Swapnil Shinde will be joining the Rdio team responsible for expansion efforts in India.

News From You

metalfreak pointed us to the eWeek article about the pwn2Own event taking place at CanSecWest in Vancouver. Security researchers at the Pwn2Own security challenge found new zero-day flaws in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader technologies. $400,000 in prize money has been awarded. VUPEN security is dominating again, earning $300,000 of that prize money by successfully exploiting Firefox for $50,000, IE for $100,000, Adobe Reader for $75,000 and Adobe Flash for $75,000.

robstak posted the Gizmodo article about GE’s method of cooling a refrigerator with water-based fluid and magnets. The magnets agitate particle in the patented water-based mixture to bring down its temp and the circulate it to cool the fridge. GE thinks the system could be more than 20% more efficient than the current electric compressor and chemical coolants we use now. GE thinks they could have one ready for sale in five years, and could even show up in other cooling appliances like air-conditioners.

habichuelacondulce posted The Guardian column about Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, making a call to U.S. President Barack Obama to complain about all the spying. Leaks from Edward Snowden yesterday showed the NSA has been spoofing Facebook in order to implant malware. Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook that the government should be a champion for the Internet, not a threat and be more transparent about what it’s doing. His call left him with the impression that it will take a very long time for true full reform. Somewhat echoing Tim Berners-Lee’s webwewant.org, Zuckerberg wrote “it’s up to us — all of us — to build the internet we want.” Dan Gillmore of The Guardian says he’ll join if Zuck will promise a Facebook option that doesn’t track or store data about its users.

Discussion Section Links: Here a drone, there a drone/Hacking the hackers







Pick of the Day:

Super passionate Patron, Marlon “TheGuyFromTrinidad,” recommends Interviewly.com, which basically makes reddit AMAs beautiful and easy to read.

Monday’s  Guest: Tim Stevens of CNET