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Category: Technology

Tech, science, gaming, entertainment, space exploration, energy, and anything else tech-related.

May 27, 2015

Citizens of Tech 005 – Saga of Lucimia Special, Part 1


In this special episode of Citizens of Tech, Eric Sutphen (@zutfen) and Jeff Pugliese (@tpyowritr) interview game developers Tim Anderson and Giovanni Martello from Saga of Lucimia.

Topics covered include the inspirations for the game, world concepts, and the core game play. This is your chance to find out what goes on behind the scenes in complex game creation.

There’s a second part to this recording that we’ll post later in the week. And then we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled format. Enjoy!

May 23, 2015

Citizens of Tech 004 – Retro Virtual Reality Kittehs


Hello, fellow Citizens! This is Citizens of Tech show #4, recorded on the 21st of May, 2015. You can follow the podcast on Twitter @citizensoftech. You can give us feedback or just interact in whatever way you so desire.

Your host today is Eric Sutphen, who you can follow @zutfen on Twitter. Ready to take a nap immediately following his distillation and application of techie goodness to your earbuds is Ethan Banks, @ecbanks. (Seriously, Ethan was really tired when we started recording this show. Because nightmares.)

citizens of tech logo


“Retro VGS” console aims to revive the humble video game cartridge


  • Old Atari Jaguar hardware manufacturing tools
  • *NOT* Jaguar internals, just the shell
  • 16-bit Graphics? 32-Bit? 2D? 3D?
  • Cart-based games – Single game per cart or SD with loader?

Researchers craft network attack to “hack” surgical robot (sort of)


  • Planned test.
  • Intended to expose platform issues.
  • Remote telemedicine is a growing field.

With podcasts and video, Spotify becomes an all-in-one streaming service


  • “Keep all of the things you listen to in one place.”
  • “In terms of content selection, ESPN, ABC, NBC, Comedy Central and many more — including a load of popular podcast networks — will be available inside the app.”
  • “Spotify’s website says it has more than 60 million active users, of which 15 million are paying subscribers. Still, the company has yet to turn a profit.”

Nvidia turns on 1080p 60 FPS streaming for its Grid cloud gaming service


$199 Console to go with that service


NASA: 10,000-year-old ice shelf gone by 2020: http://www.wmur.com/national/nasa-10000yearold-ice-shelf-gone-by-2020/33060844?absolute=true

  • “One of the last remaining sections of Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf is dramatically weakening, according to a new NASA study.”
  • “Larsen B measured 4,445 square miles in January 1995. It went down to 2,573 square miles in February 2002 after the major disintegration, and a month later Larsen B was down to 1,337 square miles. At present the Larsen B remnant is about 618 square miles. That’s less than half the size of Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state. Two decades ago, Larsen B was slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut.”

Cat’s purr breaks decibel record: http://www.wmur.com/entertainment/family/cats-purr-breaks-decibel-record/33042748

  • “Tracy Westwood’s cat Merlin appears to break 100 decibels on an iPhone in the YouTube video below, but Guinness World Records officially recorded Merlin at 67.8 decibels, still good enough to beat the old loudest purr of 67.68 decibels.”

Deathwatch – we add fax machines.

  • Pop over ads
  • FM Radio
  • Tidal – New $9.99/mo plan may be saving them?
  • Fax machines


We reminiscence about toys that allowed us to create whatever our minds could conjure up.

Tinkertoys — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinkertoy

Lincoln Logs — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Logs

Capsela — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsela


Nucleus Scientific – Cutting battery charge times by 20x?


  • Nucleus Scientific revealed a solution onstage today at TechCrunch Disrupt NY that can charge a phone in minutes. With this technology, the company aims to allow a Tesla can be fully recharged in the amount of time it takes to pump a tank of gas.
  • Nucleus Scientific’s Intelligent Energy System marries hardware breakthroughs with custom software to achieve their results. The complete system of custom batteries, sensors, feedback control systems and algorithms not only allows for unheard of charge times, but also extends the life of the battery.
  • The company constructed a large battery testing facility to build-out this technology. In the lab, the company recharged 14,000 mAh batteries (equal to nine smartphones) in 100 seconds. But if the charge time is increased to three minutes, the company was able to double the life of the battery.

OculusVR Shipping in 2016:


  • HTC Vive Launching November 2015? 90FPS – Full Steam Integration
  • Too late to the party, or will the name and established developer base save it?
May 16, 2015

Citizens of Tech 003 – Racing Cricket Phone Turbines



Hello, fellow Citizens. This is Citizens of Tech show #3, recorded on the 12th of May, 2015. Hey, we’ve gotten some good feedback on the show, so now you can tweet @citizensoftech. That will be the best way to talk to us, because our inboxes are already kinda full. So let’s keep it on the Twitterz.

I am Ethan Banks, you can follow me @ecbanks. Joining me, wearing a mitre, and with an air of suffused dignity, Eric Sutphen ministers technology oracles to you and joins me on the microphone.


We’re looking for good book recommendations. Anything you’ve got that you’d like to share with your fellow Citizens, let us know – tweet to @citizensoftech.


Citizens of Tech runs in 3 segments — present, past and future. We start off with newsy tech things we thought were interesting, take a look back and past tech we think was cool, then peer over the horizon to technology coming soon (ish).

citizens of tech logo


1. Exoprotein


“While the consumption of insects has gained renewed attention recently, it is in fact nothing new. As eclectic omnivores, it’s likely that humans have consumed insects, the most abundant terrestrial life form excluding bacteria, for an exceedingly long time. Today, 80% of the world still eats over 1,600 species of insects, from Jing Leed in Thailand to Escamoles in Mexico to Casu Marzu in Italy. Eating insects simply makes sense.”

  • Insects are exceptionally nutritious.
  • Insects have marginal environmental impact.
  • We need a new source of protein, one that can sustain the world into the future.

2. The Mr. Money Moustache Blog


  • Think of this site as finance hacking.
  • It’s not about “retirement” really. About financial independence. No assumption that you’ll stop working unless you want to. The point is that you could, not that you will.
  • Major ideas.
    • Stop spending. Save as much as possible.
    • Your dollars are little soldiers that can work for you. Build a mighty army. Grow your “stash.”
    • Budgets are dumb. They are freedom to spend, just up to a limit. That’s wrong thinking. Spending of any kind should be a careful, painful decision. Parting with your money means putting off your independence that much longer.
    • Stop commuting. Live close to your job. Bike, not ride. “Clown car” trips. Cars are for intracity travel, not trips to the supermarket. If you own a car, should be the least costly, most fuel efficient, reasonable car. A car should not be a status symbol, as they are grossly inefficient energy expenditures in general.
    • Frugal doesn’t mean cheap.
    • DIY. Stop paying others to do what you could if you took the time to learn. Those skills payoff in the long run.

3. Study Reveals Wikimedia Foundation Is ‘Awash In Money’


  • Wikipedia Costs about $2.5 Million to run per year
  • $53 Million in Investments – they keep running annual fundraisers anyway…

4. The world’s most dangerous racing simulator


5. Rapid Fire from TechCrunch

5a. Carly Fiorina for President



5b. Biobots 3D Printer


  • “Instead of plastic, BioBots’ 3D printer uses a special ink that can be combined with biomaterials and living cells to build 3D living tissue and miniature human organs.”
  • “The use-case at this point is for research and pre-clinical screening, such as drug testing (as a replacement for animal testing).”
  • “It’s not about 3D printing replacement organs from a person’s own cells.” But maybe someday.

5c. Liquidity 0.2micron filter water bottle


  • “Liquidity’s core technology is a membrane with pores of .2 microns in width, small enough to eliminate microbial contaminants that make up the vast majority of water quality incidents.”
  • “The water bottle flows at nearly the same rate as those without a filter included. The is possible because the filter is made up of between 80-90 percent open space, there is almost no pressure or wait time required to move water through the membrane making the product hugely convenient to consumers. (Traditional membranes hover around 20 percent of open space.)”
  • “To create the nano-fiber thin membrane that could be produced at scale, Liquidity had to invent their own manufacturing process.”

5d. Nikola Labs Launches


  • “A case for an iPhone 6. It converts the wasted 90 percent of energy the phone produces trying to pump out a cellphone signal, and puts it back into the phone, thus powering it for up to 30 percent longer.”
  • “This is not an extra battery; it simply works passively. Essentially it is harvesting back the ambient RF energy already being produced by the phone.”
  • “They aim to bring the product to market within one year.”
  • “Launching on Kickstarter in one month for $99, and they hope to ship it inside the following four months.”
  • Nerd cred. “Appropriately, Nikola Labs launched its product in the very building Tesla himself lived and eventually died in.”

6. Deathwatch

  1. We add “popover” ads to the list, because we hate them so so so so so much. We WANT them to die. We’re not sure they’re going to.
  2. Still on the list – FM radio & Tidal.


We discuss lunchbox computers. Eric and I both had one from back in the 286 era. For example, Eric had one of these beauties. http://oldcomputermuseum.com/compaq_lunchbox.html – the model III.


1. Audi has made carbon neutral e-diesel from CO2 and Water + Electricity


  • Water heated up to form steam is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen by means of high-temperature electrolysis. 800 degrees Centigrade (use of heat recovery keeps this *relatively* efficient [70-ish %] )
  • In two further steps, the hydrogen reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at high temperature. Article is unclear as to the actual chemical composition, but standard Diesel is between . C10H20 (Cyclodecane) to C15H28
  • The reaction product is a liquid made from long‑chain hydrocarbon compounds, known as blue crude.
  • The efficiency of the overall process – from renewable power to liquid hydrocarbon – is very high at around 70 percent.
  • Similarly to a fossil crude oil, blue crude can be refined to yield the end product Audi e‑diesel.
  • This synthetic fuel is free from sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons, and its high cetane number means it is readily ignitable.
  • As lab tests conducted at Audi have shown, it is suitable for admixing with fossil diesel or, prospectively, for use as a fuel in its own right.
  • Generally, diesel engines operate well with a CN from 40 to 55
  • This is compelling from a theoretical standpoint – carbon-neutral fossil-fuel replacement, but issues persist pros and cons:
    • Pros:

      • Potentially Carbon Neutral
      • Sulfur Free
      • Aromatic Free – No “diesel smell”
      • High Cetane rating
    • Cons:
      • Shipping is still subject to spills and would still wreak havoc on ecology at a spill site
      • Ultimately it’s still putting carbon into the air
      • Production powered by Coal would still be a net negative to carbon output. – requires 100% renewable energy to truly be carbon neutral.

2. Micro Wind Turbine – Oscillation not rotation



Just a reminder that we’re looking for good book recommendations. Anything you’ve got that you’d like to share with your fellow Citizens, let us know @citizensoftech.


Thanks for listening to Citizens of Tech today. Follow the show on Twitter @citizensoftech. And please tell your friends. We’re going to keep the show in the Packet Pushers incubator for the first 10 shows or so, then we’re stepping out on our own. There’s 4,500 of you already listening, which is great start! See you next week.

May 9, 2015

Citizens of Tech 002 – Electric Space Trains


Citizens of Tech is a show about all things interesting to technology aficionados — not just gadgets. Gaming, science, energy, minimalism, cord cutting, financial independence, etc. We figure that if it’s interesting to us, it will be interesting to you.

This is show #2 in this grand experiment, incubating in the Packet Pushers Community Podcast channel. We’ll run it up to 10 shows or so, and give the show its own channel if we think Citizens has an audience. We saw over 4K downloads of the very first show with some good feedback, so thanks for that! Please keep telling us what’s good, bad, and ugly about the show. We’ll improve. We’re figuring this out as we go.

Citizens of Tech runs in 3 segments. The present (news of the day), the past (our ode to historical awesomeness) and the future (new first world problems on the way).

Please enjoy show #2!

With faces made for podcasting, your hosts…

Eric Sutphen @zutfen http://zutfen.com

Ethan Banks @ecbanks http://ethancbanks.com


Hubble 25th Anniversaryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Space_Telescope

Google Fihttp://www.wired.com/2015/04/google-make-wireless-carrier-irrelevant/

Project 1999 endorsed by Daybreak Games – https://www.everquest.com/news/project-1999-daybreak

Microsoft Universal Bluetooth Folding Keyboard – http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/universal-foldable-keyboard

US Defense Secretary: Snowden Caused Tensions With Techies – http://www.wired.com/2015/04/us-defense-secretary-snowden-caused-tensions-techies/


What’s On PRIME Now? – http://whatsonprimenow.blogspot.com/

How to Reduce VR Sickness? Just Add a Virtual Nose – http://www.wired.com/2015/04/reduce-vr-sickness-just-add-virtual-nose/


Trains – Efficient transit for goods and people - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_rail_transport


Tesla PowerWall – http://www.zutfen.com/powerwall-teslas-power-appliance/