Today in Tech History – Oct. 30, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1938 – Orson Welles pwned the US radio audience with his famous broadcast of War of the Worlds. It was correctly introduced as theater but those not paying attention were fooled into thinking the play was the real thing.

In 1987 – NEC started selling the first 16-bit home entertainment system, called the TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem or in Japan, the shorter catchier PC Engine. It was originally more popular in Japan than the FamiCom, which we North Americans call the NES.

In 2012 – Disney and George Lucas announced that Disney would acquire 100 percent of LucasFilm, including ILM, LucasArts and Skywalker Sound. The company also announced it intended to release Star Wars; Episode 7 in 2015.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

DTNS 2354 – CurrentConundrum

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAndrew Mayne is on the show and we’ll talk about the CurrentC attack and all this Apple Pay, Google wallet hoopla. Does this mean mobile payments have finally arrived?


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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 for the logo!

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

Show Notes

Today’s guest: Andrew Mayne, magician, illusion designer and filmmaker /co-host of the Weird Things podcast


Ars Technica reports the Merchant Customer Exchange let customers know that attackers have obtained some email addresses of people who signed up for more information, or were participating in the pilot program for Current C. Current C is the mobile payment system that uses QR codes and connects directly to your bank. MCE said some of the addresses obtained were for dummy accounts and they do not believe any other data was taken.

Gigaom reports that Reddit has created a crowd funding platform called Redditmade that lets reddit moderators raise funds by selling t-shirts and other items. All the redditors need is the deisgn. There is a time limit of 30 days for a campaign to reach its goal. Good news, the reddit secret santa sticker pack is 6% funded!

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reports that Microsoft aims to release the next version of Office 16 client and server applications in the second half of 2015. Speaking at Tech Ed Barcelona, Microsoft’s Julia White confirmed that the company still plans to releasethe next Office client and server apps together. Mary Jo’s sources also say Microsoft is expected to release its Office for Android tablet offering soon, possibly in early November 2014. The company also is expected to disclose timing and possibly a public preview of its next Office for Mac release soon.

The Verge reports on HP’s new Sprout PC, a 23-inch all in one with built-in 3D camera that ‘sprouts’ from the top of the screen and projects images down onto an multi-touch capacitive mat which can control projected objects and applications with 20-point touch, a stylus or a projected keyboard. The camera includes Intel’s RealSense 3D camera, a 14.6-megapixel high-resolution camera, an HP DLP projector, and an LED desk lamp, meaning. It doesn’t just project either it can also scan 2D and 3D objects.The Windows PC comes with 1TB of storage and an Intel i7 processor. It goes on sale November 9th for $1,899.99 and will be demonstrated at select Best Buy and Microsoft Stores this weekend.

Once you scan in your 3D objects you can then print them into a new Multi-Jet Fusion HP 3D commercial and manufacturing printer. CNET reports HP claims the technology is ten times faster than what’s inside existing 3D printers, because it builds an entire surface area, instead of one point at a time. HP also plans to develop new 3D printing materials, using color, ceramic and metal. The product won’t be fully available until 2016, although early customers may get access sometime next year.

Ars Technica reports attackers entered the administrative network of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. An unnamed official told the Washington Post “we are still assessing the activity of concern,” which we think means they don’t know if any data was taken yet. According to the Post’s anonymous sources the attack was discovered in October after a foreign government told US officials.

Hey, It’s me! Good news for Nintendo! Listen to my words closely. Strong sales of Wii U and 3DS software generated quarterly profit of 24.2 billion yen (about $224 million) in net income forthe latest quarter a big raise compared to the loss of over eight billion yen (about $74.2 million)last year. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS sold 3.22 million copies worldwide in September alone. The Wii U sold 6000,000 units to reach a total of 7.29 million, about equal to the Xbox One, which is a year younger of course. 3DS sales lowered to about half of the previous year.

TechCrunch reports former Google Wallet and Paypal guy Osama Bedier showed off his new future-proofed payment terminal, Poynt. The android-based tablet in a dock supports magstripe, chip and pin, NFC, Bluetooth, QR codes and beacon, in one device sold at cost which will be about $299. Poynt is looking to partner with banks and has deals with two of the top five in the US so far.

Tech Crunch reports that will give free data access to basic web services and local resources to Tanzania via its app which will be distributed by carrier Tigo. Tanzanians can use Facebook, Messenger, BBC News, and Wikipedia, and get local news, health info, online education, classifieds, and sports coverage. Users can buy access through Tigo if they want to explore more of the web.

News From You

Galcyon pointed out the Verge article that the US FCC is in fact considering a proposal to change the rules regarding what entities are considered multichannel video programming distributors. This is the rule change we’ve mentioned before that would let companies like Verizon or Aereo get the same deals for carrying TV channels over the Internet as cable and satellite providers get. In a blog post, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler wrote “The definition of an MVPD should turn on the services that a provider offers, not on how those services reach viewers.”

h82or8 submitted the Boing Boing post about Daily Dot’s report that Verizon’s new news site ‘Sugar String’ is telling prospective reporters that they will not be allowed to write about US spying or net neutrality. Patrick Howell O’Neil of Daily Dot received messages from SugarString editor-in-chief Cole Stryker detailing the policies. Howell says several other reporters were also recruited under the same stipulations.

and irishtechguy let us know about a Yahoo news story that every county town in Ireland could have access to gigabit Internet within three years. Eircom announced it will begin installing fiber-to-the-home next month through December 2017 covering 66 regions. Eircome is also partnering with Belcarra to bring fiver to rural Ireland. Yesterday the European Commission approved a partnership between Vodafone and ESB to build a similar network which will reach 500,000 premises in 50 towns during the first stage. Both networks will offer open access to ISPs.

Discussion Links:

Pick of the Day: Alive Inside via Stephen Ewell

Love the show. I had the chance to see to see a screening of the documentary Alive Inside the other night and they mentioned that it is now available on Netflix, so I thought the DTNS community might find it interesting. It’s a film that highlights the power of technology and music to make a difference in our lives, by highlighting a nonprofit using mp3 players to connect with individuals with Alzheimer’s. Great story and great cause.
Keep up the great work. Let me know if you plan to attend International CES this year and I’d love to meet up.

Thursday’s guest: Christian Cantrell, science fiction author and tech writer

Today in Tech History – Oct. 29, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1675 – Gottfreid Leibniz wrote the integral sign in an unpublished manuscript. It’s a sign that would later haunt the nightmares of students and be widely misapplied on blackboards in movies. So happy Integral Day!

In 1969 – The first ever computer to computer link was established on the ARPANET. UCLA student Charley Kline sent the characters l and o to Stanford. The connection crashed before he could finish sending ‘login’. The Internet has been crashy right from the start.

In 1988 – Sega launched the Mega Drive console in Japan. It would be released elsewhere in the world later as the ‘Genesis.’

In 1998 – The Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.

In 2012 – Apple announced Scott Forstall would leave the company in one year, and that retail head John Browett had left the company as well.

In 2013 – Motorola announced it’s modular phone project called Project ARA. It would end up becoming Google’s project after Google sold Motorola.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

DTNS 2353 – Google vs. Cancer

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja is on today and we’ll talk about the FTC suing AT&T over the word “unlimited,” YouTube considering ad-free subscriptions, and a company that wants to pay you $50 to film your neighborhood 24/7.


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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 for the logo!

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

Show Notes

Today’s guest: Patrick Beja, DTNS Grand High Inquisitor and host of Le Rendez-vous Tech


The Verge reports that the US Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T for throttling speeds of its unlimited mobile data customers. In a press release the FTC said AT&T has “misled million of its smartphone customers” by slowing down their data speeds after they’ve used up a certain amount of data in a month. According to the FTC, 3.5 million unique customers have had speeds slowed more than 25 million times. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. AT&T issued a strongly worded statement saying, “We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning.” and “The FTC’s allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program.”

The Verge reports Verizon’s latest Droid from Motorola was announced today. The Droid Turbo has 5.2-inch screen with quad HD, Snapdragon 805, 3 GB of RAM, 21-megapixel camera and a 3900 mAh battery. It’s similar to the Moto X but with better specs. It comes with a Turbo Charger than can add 8 hours of battery life on a 15 minute charge. Droid Turbo will launch with KitKat but get Lollipop after release. It arrives Oct. 30th for $200 on contract for 32GB and $250 for 64 GB.

BBC News reports that Google is working on technology to diagnose cancer and heart disease much earlier, using nano particles that can identify slight changes in a person’s biochemistry. The nano particles would enter a patient’s bloodstream in a pill, and communicate with a wrist-worn sensor. The Google X project is not meant to be a consumer device. The project lead, molecular biologist Dr Andrew Conrad, made clear that Google would invent the technology and license it to medical partners. It would not be comemrcialised or monetized directly by Google. So no adsense in your bloodstream.

ZDNet reports on a report from security firm FireEye called “APT28: A window into Russia’s cyberespionage operations?” The report describes an Advanced Persistent Threat focused on collecting intelligence from military, security and governmental organizations in eastern Europe. The report notes the malware involved were developed in a Russian-language environment and 96% was compiled during working hours 8AM- 6Pm Monday – Friday in Moscow’s timezone. FireEye believes APT28 is likely sponsored by Russia’s government but showed no direct links.

TechCrunch reports Tim Cook, speaking at the Wall Street Journal D technology conference, said Apple Pay activated one million credit cards in its first 72 hours. According to The Verge, when Cook was asked about retailers choosing not to support Apple Pay, he said, “In the long arc of time you’re only relevant as a merchant if your customers love you,” and called the CVS and Rite Aid incident “a skirmish.”

Be prepared to pour a little out for plasma TVs. LG says it will wind down its plasma TV business by the end of November and switch to LCD-based technology for its TVs. Samsung is the last major player manufacturing plasma TVs. This also confirms the “Tom Merritt buys TV tech that soon dies” principle as his lat two TVs were plasma and DLP.

TechCrunch reports the W3C published its recommendation of HTML5, the final version of the standard. Browsers already support most of HTML5’s features but the standard was still open for revision until now. Non-interoperable features, like support for DRM, have been moved to HTML 5.1.

The Wall Street Journal reports Facebook announced it’s Q3 earnigns of $3.2 billion in revenue with adjusted EPS of 43 cents. Analysts expected revenue of $3.1 billion and 40 cents a share. Daily active users was 864 million with mobile making up 703 million. Monthly active Users was 1.35 billion up 2.27% with mobile making up 1.12 billion up 4.67%. But what about the teeeens?

News From You

metalfreak posted the liliputing article about researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology that have developed an LCD screen that can hold a static image for years without power. It uses an optically rewritable liquid crystal display (ORWLCD) that does not require an electric current to display an image.

habichuelcondulce sent in the Washington Post article about T-Mobile upgrading its network to make surveillance more difficult. The upgrade involves using A5/3 encryption on 2G GSM networks. Stronger encryption is already used on 3G and 4G service. An estimated 13 percent of cellular connections used 2G technology in 2013 in the US compared to 68.4% worldwide.

StarfleetMedical sent in the post describing a package manager in Windows 10 called OneGet. The Linux-style package maagement system ships as part of PowerShell. It’s also available as part of the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview for Windows 8.1. Microsoft’s Garret Serack wrote about the new feature at Technet. Install-Package -Name VLC for instant would download and install VLC.

Discussion Links:  Placemeter

Pick of the Day: MoveMouse via Allison Sheridan

This one might be too obscure but I bet you’ll still like it.

One of my blind listeners asked if there was a way to move the cursor on a Mac by a specific distance on screen. Slau said that sometimes there’s an unlabeled element on screen that he needs to click, and if someone else could tell him where it was relative to a labeled element AND he could move the cursor by precise increments, he could get to the unlabeled element.

So…Dorothy wrote him an application to do it!  She’s packaged it up pretty nice, and I did a blog post on it so there’s a link for download.

Wednesday’s guest: Andrew Mayne

Today in Tech History – Oct. 28, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1793 – Eli Whitney applied to patent his improved cotton gin, capable of cleaning 50 pounds of lint per day, and powering patent metaphors and arguments for centuries to come.

In 1955 – A pair of proud Seattle parents welcomed their new son into the world, having no idea he would become one of the most loved and hated man of all time. Happy birthday William Henry Gates the third. You know him as Bill.

In 1998 – President Bill Clinton signed into law the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, making it illegal for you to use computers the way they were designed to be used, if big companies didn’t want you to.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

Cordkillers Ep. 42 – Gore Porn

Amazon’s crazy cheap Firestick, Netflix made Coach Taylor do something bad, Roku wants some money.

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CordKillers: Ep. 42 – Gore Porn
Recorded: October 27, 2014
Guest: Scott Johnson

Intro Video 

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

  • Netflix has two more TV shows for 2015: ‘Bloodline’ and ‘F is for Family’
  • Two new Netflix originals
    - Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, who were the creators of Damages.
    - Coach Taylor says “We’re not bad people, but we did a bad thing.”
    - 13-episode original, with the plot focusing around “a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother returns home.”
    - March 2015
  • F is for Family
    - Animated by Bill Burr, EP with Vince Vaughn set in the 1970s
    - Voices from Laura Dern and Justin Long
    - Burr will premiere his new stand-up special I’m Sorry You Feel That Way on Netflix December 5th, 2015

Gear Up

  • U.S. TV startup Roku to confidentially file for IPO: WSJ
  • Roku Seeking Secretive IPO: Report
  • Roku planning to file for an IPO in the US – selected bankers
    - Companies with less than $1 billion annual gross revenues can keep confidential
    - Last month, the company announced the Roku Powered program, an initiative aimed at helping Roku strike up direct partnerships with pay-TV providers. (BBC, Dish etc)
    - The Information reported Roku pulled in $190 million in revenue in 2013.
    - Says it is near profitability
    -Could Roku be the box to unify two worlds?

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

What do you mean by “all the spectrum” if you look at the swath of spectrum actually being used for OTA (uhf and vhf) there is very little actually being used when compared to other technologies like Lte, wimax and wifi.

I am looking at it from a wireless engineer / networking side as such that trying to reuse what is there for another purpose.

There is more spectrum that is licensed and used for the private sector than any other form. Direct TV, dish, xm radio, airline cell carriers just to name a few own more spectrum combined than those that are used for public OTA TV services.

So in a way yes I’m saying that for quality of service and sheer reach of consumption OTA is as good as it gets. Now sure we can transition to mpeg4 OTA and get better use of it but to say that we could replace the spectrum in favor of an on demand solution for everyone just could not happen with the limited bandwidth that uhf and vhf have combined.

Thanks for the reply,




If we end up paying a-la-carte for our programming, then our money will be going directly to the channels we care about instead of being divided across the hundreds of channels that we don’t care about. I wonder if that will make better programming or less commercials. Thoughts?



Dog House Systems Cordkiller box



DTNS 2352 – Baby pictures or Buzzfeed?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAmber Mac joins us to talk about Facebook’s offer that journalism fears it can’t refuse. Is it AOL all over again or the death of journalism? probably neither. we’ll explain why.


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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 for the logo!

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

Show Notes

Today’s guest: Amber MacArthur, Host of TechDownload on AOL/Delta & TV Host, Bestselling Author, Speaker, Blogger, Exec. Producer, Entrepreneur


The Next Web reports that Fitbit has revealed three new activity trackers to wear on your wrist. The Fitbit Charge tracks steps, distance travelled, calories burned and allows you to see incoming calls. It costs $130 and is only available in the US today. The Charge HR adds a heart monitor for more accurate tracking, costs about $150, and will be available in the US in early 2015. Finally the Fitbit Surge has all of the above plus a GPS chip for collecting pace, distance, elevation and route history. It will also allow you to see incoming called, message and control music playback. The Surge will cost $250 in early 2015.

The Next Web reports Microsoft announced that Office 365 subscriber will get unlimited cloud storage in Microsoft OneDrive as a part of their subscription. The offer is rolling out to home, personal and university accounts over the next couple of months.

CNET reports on Amazon’s announcement of the Fire TV Stick in the US for $39. It comes with a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage as well as apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Video and a remote. You can also get the voice-recognition remote from Amazon for an extra $30. Fore the first two days of sales, existing Amazon Prime members can get the stick for $19. Other purchasers will get a free month of Prime.

The New York Times reports Facebook has been on a “listening tour” with media outlets suggesting the begin serving pages of content within Facebook Mobile in exchange for a revenue share. That deal would drive a lot of traffic of course but also put Facebook in control of customer data and the reading experience. News outlets have been struggling with the fact that large amounts of their traffic are driven from Facebook these days.

The Next Web reports the Xbox One will get a $50 price cut in the US during the upcoming holiday season, down to $350. Special edition bundles get a cut as well. The price cuts go into effect November 2nd, 2014 and lasts through January 3rd, 2015.

The latest in the saga of your TwitPic pictures is reported by the Next Web. TwitPics archive and domain name will be acquired by Twitter. No new pictures will be allowed but existing pictures will not disappear.

ReCode reports Twitter announced its Q3 earnings of a penny per share on revenue of 361 million dollars. That’s pretty much what the analysts expected. Twitter also had 284 million active users up from 271 million in Q2.

News From You

the_corley sent in an Engadget report that the US FCC fined phone carriers TerraCom and YourTel a combined $10 million in penalties for storing their customer information in the clear, including addresses and social security numbers. The carriers also failed to notify their customers after the mistake was discovered. TerraCom and YourTel provide lifeline cell phone service to low income customers.

habichuelcondulce submitted the CNET report that Elon Musk continues to warn us to be careful with Artificial Intelligence. Speaking at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s 2014 Centennial Symposium, Musk said, “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s like… yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon, [but] it doesn’t work out.” Musk has warned on this matter before and believe some kind of national or international oversight should exist.

And KAPT_Kipper submitted a Torrent Freak article informing us that the European Union has ruled that embedding content on a website is NOT copyright infringement, even if the work in question was uploaded illegally. The full decision has not been published on the court’s website, but it states that embedding a file or video is NOT a breach of creator’s copyrights under European law, as long as its not altered. So give it up for iframes, people!

And many of you wanted us to talk about this. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports pharmacy chains, CVS and Rite Aid have both decided not to support Apple Pay options in their stores even though some terminals reportedly would accept the payments. The two companies are part of the Merchant Consumer Exchange’s system called CurrentC which uses QR codes to conduct transactions, and more importantly lets merchants keep all the money rather than giving credit card companies a cut. (Justin Robert Young has more on the Merchant Consumer Exchange with a look at the numbers)

Discussion Links:  Facebook’s Mobile Content Play

Pick of the Day: Writeometer via Danny

Howdy Tom and Jenny,

For the last couple weeks, as I’ve been gearing up for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been using a free Android app called Writeometer. It’s primary function is to allow writers to track their word count progress. It can track several projects at once. In addition to that, it adds a bunch of other features such as a timer, a reward system, motivational quotes, a dictionary, thesaurus, and word-of-the-day function with WordNik as the backend.

I’ve been very pleased with it, and it’s become the Swiss Army knife of my writing tools.

Tuesday’s guest: Patrick Beja, DTNS King in the North

Today in Tech History – Oct. 27, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1904 – The first underground New York City subway line opened. The line ran from City Hall in lower Manhattan through Grand Central, Times Square and ended north in Harlem. Rides cost five cents.

In 1994 – HotWired launched bringing with it the first large quantity sales of banner ads. AT&T, Zima, MCI, Volvo, Club Med and 1-800-COLLECT all plunked down for the privilege.

In 2005 – The European Space Agency launched its first satellite, a micro-satellite called the SSETI Express Satellite, designed and built by European students.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.