Today in Tech History – Jan. 30, 2015

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1925 – Doug Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon. He is most famous for his work on the first computer Mouse, but also worked on many other innovations involving graphical user interfaces, hypertext and networks.

In 1975 – Hungarian Interior Design instructor Erno Rubik filed for a patent on his twisty toy cubes. The patent worked out for him. Erno Rubik became the first self-made millionaire from the Communist bloc.

In 2007 – Microsoft released Windows Vista for home use. Though not as many homes would end up using it as other versions of Windows.

In 2013 – RIM announced it was changing its name to BlackBerry and also unveiled BlackBerry OS 10 and the new Z10 and Q10 smartphones.


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DTNS 2418 – Outlook is Good?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comMyke Hurley is on the show. We’ll talk about Apple’s declining iPad sales and what that means for the tablet as a product. Plus some good tips from listeners on buying TVs.


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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 in Tech History – Jan. 29, 2015

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1886 – Karl Benz submitted a patent for his Benz Patent Motorwagen, a three-wheeler vehicle with a one-cylinder four-stroke gasoline engine. The world’s first patent for a practical internal combustion engine powered automobile. Previous automobiles had been steam-powered.

In 1895 – Charles Proteus Steinmetz received a patent for a “system of distribution by alternating currents.” His engineering work made a widespread power grid practical.

In 1901 – In Brooklyn, Allen B. DuMont was born. He would go on to perfect the cathode ray tube, sell the first practical commercial television and found the first national US TV network to fail. The DuMont network was eventually sold to Fox Television Stations.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get the illustrated Year in Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

FEATURED REVIEW: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Welcome to our Featured Reviews! In this series, we’ll be highlighting book reviews by the S&L audience. If you want to submit a review, please check out the guidelines here! -Veronica

Review by Daniel Eavenson

Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch Book 2)

By Ann Leckie

I’ve read the first part of the Imperial Radch series, Ancillary Justice, which I enjoyed very much.  It was an excellent introduction to a new world of science fiction, and an interesting arc for a series where an empire would wage a secret war against itself.  Therefore, I went into this second entry with a set of expectations about the content of this novel.  Expectations that were thoroughly thwarted by the author writing something else.

I had expected more intrigue and action.  More surprises and technological horrors that raged through the last third of Ancillary Justice.  I guess I had forgotten the first two thirds of quiet introspection and excellent world building that had proceeded all that fun. Instead, Ancillary Sword takes us to new places, but they are small intimate locations that hold none of the galactic level chess game that the end of the first novel had primed me for.

Ancillary Sword follows the same main character as Ancillary Justice.  The cybernetic former ship AI turned revenge driven walking corpse Breq takes command of a new ship at the behest of the emperor of the titular Radch.  Instead of pursuing the secret war raging at the heart of the empire, Breq decides that personal matters must be seen to, and travels to Athoek station, where the only living relative of his beloved Lieutenant Awn works as a Horticulturalist.

This is an extremely personal story for Breq.  The character is trying to come to grips with a new position while also dealing with the ongoing degradation of the empire due to the secret war.  On Athoek station this is mostly through the examination of class.

Of course, this being a continuation of the themes of Ancillary Justice, class is explored through an additional layer of what it means to be human.  Are you still a worthwhile being if you have been ordered and cataloged by the society around you?  Are you even human if you don’t speak the language of civilization?  This of course all being explored by someone who is decidedly not human.  An AI walking around in a stolen body.  It’s the best quality of the series and Leckie doesn’t let us down with her continued examination of our own society through the lens of the one she created.  The strength of her vision is evident through every carefully chosen word of the novel, continuing the thought provoking work she started in Ancillary Justice.

Even her “trick” of avoiding the naming of characters specific gender is continued here and used to great effect. The true genius of it is that you grow to simply not care who has what set of genes in their pants.  The trick is not to leave you guessing, but to reach the point where you stop guessing, because it just doesn’t matter.  Her other themes are done with the same deft hand, not getting in the way of the story, but always there and available to be found without a lot of guessing and pretentious philosophizing. It’s one of my favorite points of the series is that Leckie doesn’t just ask these questions but shows us the path her created empire takes when it tries to answer basic questions about who is human and what it takes to be human.

As impressed as I was by the quality of the writing I still felt that there were missed opportunities by staying with the small personal stories of Athoek station and not going out into the deep problems of the war inside the Imperial Radch.  I would probably have less concerns if the ideas and concerns of the war weren’t constantly being brought up in the story.  If I could have just been left to live in Athoek station I might have come to terms with the breaking of my expectations.  The story, though, constantly takes me back to all of the galactic level problems that Breq is actively avoiding and risking by going to Athoek to deal with his own personal issues.  Issues that I ultimately just found less interesting the possibilities that existed out in the warring universe that Leckie had crafted for us.

This is still an excellent extremely recommendable book, but it loses a star for me for breaking my expectations and then reminding me over and over about how broken they were.  3 out of 5. (Honestly 3.5 but goodreads don’t got half numbers :( )

DTNS 2417 – The Big TV Game

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comRobert Heron joins the show to talk about the quality of Sling TV and what TV to get whether you’re watching the Super Bowl or not.


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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: Robert Heron, technologist and home theater expert at 


Sony and Spotify announced a new partnership today that will let PS4, PS3 and Xperia users link their PlayStation Network IDs with the Spotify service to subscribe to Spotify Premium. The new service will launch in 41 markets. At the same time Sony’s current Music Unlimited service will close down in 19 markets as of March 29. Active Music Unlimited Subscribers on Feb. 28 will get 30 days free access through the close of the service on March 29.

The Next Web passes along the WSJ report that Amazon is launching a corporate backend email and calendaring service called WorkMail. The service starts at $4 per email inbox for 50GB of storage, or $6 if bundled with Amazon’s document management service Zocalo.

After one of their drones ended up on the White House lawn, drone maker DJI plans to release a mandatory firmware update that will restrict Phantom drones from flying in the Washington, DC area. The Verge reports that DJI’s drones currently use GPS to enforce restrictions near airports. Now Phantom pilots will not be able to take off or fly within a radius of 15.5. miles (25km) of downtown DC. The update will arrive in the next few days for the Phantom 2, Phantom 2 Vision, and Phantom 2 Vision+.

The US FTC ordered prepaid mobile provider Tracfone to pay $40 million for slowing down speeds of customers who had paid for unlimited data service. The FTC said Tracfone generally slowed data service after the customer used 1 to 3 GB, and suspended data service at 4 to 5 GB. Before those of you on other unlimited plans get too excited keep in mind that Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection told ReCode that “if a company advertises unlimited, but very clearly discloses their practices with regard to throttling we would not challenge that action.”

Ars Technica reports on vulnerability in the ultrasecure BlackPhone. Mark Dowd, a principal consultant with Australia-based Azimuth Security reported a “type confusion vulnerability” in SilentText. Attackers could send a payload to a SilentText account that would overwrite a pointer in memory and allow surreptitious decryption. Silent Circle, the makers of Silent Text and BlackPhone have fixed the vulnerability. There is no evidence it was ever exploited.

TechCrunch reports on a new keyless deadbolt from Lockitron. The previopus crowdfuned project from the company cost $179 and to put it nicely, had problems. The new smaller Bolt sells for $99 although it replaces the deadbolt altogether rather than fit over your old one. The new Bolt connects to a smartphone by Bluetooth LE. There’s also a $49 adapter that can allow for remote unlocking, although this can be done without the adapter by email or SMS.

Ars Technica reports on another round of good news for Nintendo’s Wii U. Wii U sales rose 40% in the Americas in the past year and 64% in other non-Japanese countries (Europe and Australia mostly). The bad news came from the home country. Wii U sales dropped 40% last year in Japan. The new Nintendo 3DS shipped 1.84 million units after its debut in Japan and Australia. Nintendo reduced annual sales projections for the current fiscal year by 6.8% citing a weakening yen.

Are you ready for some football? Well, Facebook is. According to Engadget by way of Reuters, Facebook will be selling ads that target users based on what they’re talking about in real time on Super Bowl Sunday. That means there’s a good chance your Facebook feed will be full of American football chatter, which means lots of related ads, including video ads that will play automatically in your newsfeed. So if you live in Seattle, and you start seeing a lot of ads for bicycle pumps, proper car tire inflation, and nerf balls, you’ll know why. (For those who are not into sportball, this is about deflategate. You can look it up.)

Are you ready for some earnings? Facebook has 1.39 billion users up 2.96% over the previous quarter. The company had earnings per share of $0.54 on revenue of $3.85 billion, beating analysts expectations.


News From You: 

andrewdaley submitted The Intercept report on another Snowden leak this time about Canada’s Communications Security Establishment. According to documents a program called LEVITATION can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. LEVITATION analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. Only RapidShare, SendSpace and MegaUplaod were named int he documents. LEVITATION gets its data from a separate operation called ATOMIC BANJO that obtains data directly from tapped cables.

johnsie776 submitted this Engadget story. Need a new trachea? Within the next five years you may be able to print one on your MakerBot. Although you should let a doctor put it in. Engadget reports a team at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have developed a technique to produce cartilage to repair damaged tracheas using a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental to print a scaffold. The technique is faster than other reconstruction methods and a lot cheaper than current biological printers.


Discussion Section Links:

Pick of the Day:  Revo Uninstaller via Andrew Hughes

I use Revo Uninstaller often and think a lot of other people could benefit from using an uninstaller like this. Revo is a free program but has a pro version for a bit extra depth but what’s most important is that it removes all the files that programs leave behind so if I wanted a clean reinstall or I want to rid myself of a program that leaves behind a lot of excess clutter it is a quick and easy task.
Thank you to everyone at the DTNS crew I love what you do.

Tomorrow’s guest: Myke Hurley, co-founder of

Today in Tech History – Jan. 28, 2015

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1878 – The first commercial telephone exchange in the U.S. was installed at New Haven, Connecticut, and served 21 subscribers connected by a single strand of iron wire. Only two conversations could be handled simultaneously and six connections had to be made for each call.

In 1960 – The Communications Moon Relay System was inaugurated publicly when a facsimile picture of the USS Hancock was transmitted wirelessly by radio wave to Washington DC, by being bounced off the moon.

In 1986 – The Space Shuttle Challenger experienced an O-ring failure in the right solid rocket booster during flight. 73 seconds after liftoff a catastrophic explosion claimed crew and vehicle.

In 2001 – The Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants faced off in Tampa Bay, Florida, for Super Bowl XXXV, and facial-recognition surveillance cameras pointed at tens of thousands of fans entering the game. It found 12 false positives.


Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get the illustrated Year in Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

DTNS 2416 – Don’t Drink and Drone

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja and Justin Young are on to talk about Twitter getting group messaging, SnapChat getting news and Wickr getting cat steganography.


Using a Screen Reader? click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from


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

Cordkillers 55 – People Say Things

We get a review of Sling TV from an early user, Tom reviews Vessel’s private beta and Netflix conquers the world.


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CordKillers: Ep. 55 – People Say Things
Recorded: January 26, 2015
Guests: Luke BoumaAndrew Zarian

Intro Video 

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

2014 Winter Movie Draft

  1. Brett: $596,361,413
  2. Brian: $445,112,651
  3. Scott: $442,944,952
  4. Tom: $371,798,900
  5. Justin: $270,293,833
  6. John: $245,165,632

Dispatches from the Front

Hi Tom and Brian,

As a daily watcher of two ESPN shows (Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption), I’d like to chime in with my impression of Sling TV as a cord cutting alternative, given that it’s the first time I’ve been able to consider killing that cord!

I’ve tried my hardest to get excited about Sling TV, but I just can’t do it! The main problem is that if I want to watch my ESPN shows, I have no choice but to watch them live and with commercials. Sling TV has no DVR functions, and only certain channels even let you pause live TV (and ESPN isn’t included). When I saw that Sling TV would also grant access to the WatchESPN app, I briefly hoped that I’d be able to watch my shows after the fact. Not so! Apparently ESPN doesn’t put ATN or PTI on WatchESPN.

If I went over the air and signed up for Sling TV, I’d be going from $55/month for my current TV service to $20, but adding a ton of complexity, removing all convenience, and I couldn’t watch my shows (having a 5 month old in the house makes it impossible to guarantee time in front of the TV every day at exactly 5pm). I’d also have to cobble together a bunch of sources for the other cable channels I couldn’t get from Sling like Comedy Central, adding even more complexity.

Sterling, VA




I was laughing after the last episode of Cord Killers because my Draft grades for your league were just about spot on – give or take a few million between you and Scott. :P . Also, thanks to you guys I got sucked into “The Man in the High Castle” and am mad that I have to wait for episode (rest of season)

Side question? Where can I find the rules that you guys are going by? Mainly, How long does a movie stay in the theaters before you stop counting it’s revenue?

Thanks Guys, love the show!


p.s – you totally got my name right by the way! lol – Congrats



Hi Brian and Tom,

A couple of things have changed for me in a period of 72 hours. I’ve been a cord killer for over 14 months. Brian asked all fans of CordKillers to re-subscribe to cable to watch “Hacking the System” on NatGeo. This Friday m ISP Charter called me and offered cable for an additional $26.00 a month with my 30mbps internet. I said yes and agreed to have it installed February 5.

But then this last Saturday, I talked to my neighbors who are also with Charter and are paying for all the channels offered in their triple bundle for $200.00 a month. While they declined to cord shave on my advice,they gave me their email and password to use their subscription to view HBO and Showtime and basically every cable channel available on Roku as I have a Roku 3.

My question as I was able with their login information watch “Hacking the System”, do I still re-subscribe to cable and view the same channels with my login info? Or do I enjoy the content with my neighbors login info that they willingly gave me as a gift and cancel the install? I realize not everyone has a nice neighbor who gives out their login info, but I’m really thinking of canceling my install and use their login info for authentication.

I’d appreciate a reply from either of you on or off the show.

David from Fond Du Lac,WI asking



I have to disagree with your assessment of Marco Polo. I’ve been getting caught up (thru ep5) to watch along with you and I’m really enjoying it. The political intrigue is great. Kublai Khan and his family are fascinating and well-acted. The cinematography is beautiful. All-in-all I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to finishing the series.

One question: who’s the white guy?

Thanks for a great show! Keep it up!




Hi Guys

As one of the many great bosses you have I think you should take a look at the DOKO .

Think Brian could find a few uses :)

Keep up the great work.




Hi guys,

Just wanted to know if you guys have ever discussed two separate podcast streams for cordkillers.

One for the show and another one for Spoilerin’ Time. The reason is, I use the podcast app Stitcher and it automatically loads the latest version of the podcast. So sometimes I haven’t heard the episode and Spoiler’ Time is already in its place. So then I have to dig into the options to look for the actual episode (all while driving my car *danger* *danger!*). Also for me I only listen to Spoilerin’ Time if I’ve watched what you guys are about to Spoiler (example Game of Thones, Breaking Bad, ETC). I don’t’ listen to the “slow season” of Spoilers (Amazon Pilots, The Shield, etc). It would be nice if I can subscribe to two separate podcasts.

Let me know what you guys think and remember this is the boss talking :)

Keep up the great work as always.




The place I work in Alabama took an informal poll today on how our employees watch most of their TV. 46.3% said Live. 34.6 said DVR and 19.1 said online service like Netflix or Hulu. There 5190 responses. Not sure what it means, if anything, but found it interesting.


Dog House Systems Cordkiller box