A bit more navel-gazing than normal, the latest Bad Voltage clocks in at nearly 90 minutes. Whew.
It was nice that Jeremy was back, and I found it hilarious that in the past two weeks he hadn’t bothered to listen to the show he missed. Considering the fact that that show was one of the shortest of the year, I guess we know who is doing all the talking. Or, as Jono points out, Jeremy is the one who clutters up everything with facts. I thought Aq’s audio was a bit off at the beginning (it sounded like he was down a well) but it seemed to get better as the show progressed.
The first segment concerned the failure of open source mobile projects like FireOS and Jolla. I thought this bit ran long, but there were some gems to be had. Bryan was talking about running Linux on tiny mobile devices for which he was mercilessly teased, but I had to agree with him. While I would never want to be forced to run LibreOffice exclusively on a device the size of my Nexus 6, sometimes it would be nice to be able to do quick edits on the go. I hate using ssh on my handy, but when I need it, I need it.
Jono points out that a lot of people tie their personal identity to their mobile devices. A lot of the way people interact with each other these days is through SMS, Facebook and Instagram, and the constant use of an iPhone or an Android phone can cause people to get very attached to them. Any new challenger to the iOS/Android juggernaut has to not only support those apps, they have to overcome the fact that people (to some degree myself included) have strong ties to their technology choices. Unlike how OpenStack disrupted the nascent cloud market, it seems to be hard for open source projects to do the same in the mobile arena, and I had to laugh when Aq suggested replacing “disrupt” with “f*ck up”.
It was pointed out that if companies like Microsoft who can throw tens of billions of dollars at a market can only garner a little over 2% market share, it is doubtful that a new open source project would have better success.
On a side note, I just spend a few days up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the client liked to use Surface Pro tablets. I got to see them in action, and they are pretty amazing – for many they could be a laptop replacement just like the ads suggest. But I doubt that Microsoft is going to dent iPad sales just because of the brand Apple has built. Often it is not the superior technology that wins.
I have a couple of cameras at my place, although I don’t have the budget of these guys. Inside buildings I have the D-Link (DCS-5010L) which is a great little camera. It does pan and tilt and works in low light conditions. Since it wouldn’t do well outside, I have the Agasio A602W which is no longer available.
Why neither of them are totally wireless (i.e. you have to plug them in) they are both supported via open source tools like Zoneminder, although with the purchase of my Synology box I just use the Surveillance Station app that comes with that. It can continuously record, record only when motion is detected, etc., and you can set how much video to store per camera. I really dislike the thought of video from my house going “to the cloud” so I love the fact that I can control where it goes, and Synology has a mobile app that lets me access the video whenever I want it (plus, my DSL upstream would suck for constantly uploading video). The Arlo does seem to be compatible with the Surveillance Station, so as Jeremy’s pick I might have to try one out.
[UPDATE: WCCFTech is full of crap amd the Arlo is not compatible with the Surveillance Station]
One last comment from Aq brings up a coming issue with the Internet of Things. All of these toys should play nice together, but often they don’t. He calls it “IoT lockout” but I like “Internet of Silos” (i.e. Z-Wave vs. ZigBee). I do like how most of these cameras have a web interfaces where the video stream can be accessed by a URL, which means third party tools can access and integrate with them, but I can expect vendors to start locking stuff like that down to force people into their own particular cloud infrastructure.
The third segment concerned the “Luna Ring” – an idea started a few years ago by a Japanese engineering firm to ring the moon with solar panels and beam the energy back to Earth via microwave and lasers. I did laugh out loud at Jono’s comment that the name sounds like a contraceptive device.
Odd names aside, I think this is both a cool idea and one that will never happen. The guys point out some of the obvious flaws, but I can’t help but think of the resistance the world would have to high powered beams of light focused on points on the Earth. Sounds like something a James Bond villain would think up.
I did get embarrassed for my home state when it was brought up that the town of Woodland, NC, recently voted down zoning for a solar farm. The click-bait reason given was that one citizen pointed out that solar farms would “suck up all the energy from the sun”.
The actual story is a little more involved. There are already three solar farms in the area surrounding a local substation, so the town is obviously not anti-solar. Small towns like Woodland are getting hit hard with the decline of manufacturing, so I can see the residents there being frightened and looking for a scapegoat. Still, I had to be embarrassed by some of the comments, and it is obvious our educational system needs some work (but that’s a totally different topic).
One person commented that the solar panels were killing the plants. That reminded me of a project my friend Lyle produced called “solar double-cropping“.
As I write this, it is over 72F (22C) on Christmas Eve, the hottest Christmas Eve on record. Our climate is changing and plants that used to thrive are having issues. The idea of solar double-cropping is to use shade from solar panels to help those plants while generating electricity.
And yes, they came up with it in North Carolina.
The final segment was a “year in review”. The guys lamented the lack of innovation, but there were some good things, too. As a “freetard” (someone who runs open source software almost exclusively) I had to agree with Aq that those of us who feel this way are having to compromise less and less as the open source options get better (although I still have to tease him about the compromise he made for his closed source One Plus X phone).
We saw high definitions pictures of Pluto. I’m still amazed that nine years ago, we as a civilization chucked a bunch of metal up into space and it managed to rendezvous with a planetoid without major issues. We lobbed another piece of metal at a comet, and while not as successful it was still quite a feat.
In entertainment, the amazing Mr. Robot television series offered us a portrayal of hacking that wasn’t totally made up.
Speaking of entertainment, the show closed with a reminder that Live Voltage will be happening at next month’s SCaLE conference. If you can, you should go, and they are still accepting ideas for “upSCALE” talks. From their latest e-mail:
UpSCALE Talks: There is still room for an UpSCALE Talk or two – UpSCALE Talks are held in the style of Ignite presentations offered at various O’Reilly-sponsored events where participants are given five minutes with 20 automatically-advancing slides. Those interested in submitting an UpSCALE Talk can submit through the SCALE CFP system – https://www.socallinuxexpo.org scale/14x/cfp – and mark your talk with the UpSCALE tag.
So that’s it for 2015. I’m off to put on some shorts and sunscreen. ♫ Oh the weather outside is frightful … ♫