DTNS 2487 – Mother Trucking AI

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJeff Cannata and Scott Johnson join the show to talk about the Oculus Rift’s announcement that it will ship in early 2016. Begun this VR war has.


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Show Notes

Today’s guests: Jeff Cannata and Scott Johnson 


We start with a gaming announcement you all have been waiting for a long time. Snake is coming back to phones, iOS, Android and Windows Phone this Thursday. Also there was something about headgear. Headset? Oculus Rift? That’s it. Apparently it ill be available pre-order later this year and ship by March 2016. Seems a long time away to get excited. Also it will be better than the last prototype. And E3 is coming. I don’t know why Oculus felt they needed to tell you E3 is coming, wouldn’t that be E3’s job?

The Next Web reports that Reddit is about to launch several more video series the first of which will be based on its Ask Me Anything sessions. The videos will be produced by Stephen Greenwood and Jordan Oplinger, two former Verge video team employees. Reddit previously created a video series based on “Explain Like I’m Five.”

Got extensive data processing needs and complex workloads? TechCrunch reports Google has a new NoSQL database offering called Cloud BigTable. BigTable is the data storage system that powers things like Gmail and Google’s search project. Google says Cloud Bigtable will offer single-digit millisecond latency and 2x the performance per dollar of HBase and Cassandra. It’s available in beta, which means you can sign up but don’t expect and SLA or tech support just yet.

People familiar with the plans tell Technology Review that Apple is offering some iPhone owners a chance to get their DNA analyzed. In two initial studies planned, data would be collected by academic partners and maintained by scientists in, with some findings potentially appearing on participants iPhones.

Reuters reports Myanmar, called Burma by some, has seen mobile SIM cards in use shoot from 1 million three years ago to 18 million now. Norwegian mobile company Telenor posted an unexpected profit in Myanmar and will now accelerate its rollout. Qatar’s Ooredoo and Myanmar Post and Telecommunication in partnership with Japan’s KDDI are the other carriers. All three companies have seen unexpected demand. SIM card prices have dropped from thousands to $200 in April 2013 to around $2 now.

Yamaha’s RMAX unmanned helicopter that has been used for cropdusting in Japan received a ”Section 333″ exemption from the US FAA according to Ars Technica. RMAX is a remote controlled helicopter with line of sight control. Powered by a 2 stroke engine it weighs 141 lbs. and can carry 61 lbs of spray or granules. The RMAX recently gained approval for use in Australia, and is also flown for agricultural purposes in South Korea. ALSO The Washington Post reports Wednesday the FAA announced the Pathfinder Program, which which will work with PrecisionHawk drones for farmers and BNSF railroad on extended line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight operations.

News From You:

Our top vote getter on the subreddit today was submitted by starfuryzeta. The Ars Technica article tells the story of Florida woman Cheryl Treadway who made a Pizza Hut order on her smartphone and wrote in the comments field “Please help. Get 911 to me.” A Pizza Hut employee alerted police who went to the home. Ms. Treadway and her children were quickly released and her boyfriend Ethan Nickerson was arrested. The order was for a large hand-tossed classic pizza with pepperoni with garlic butter and a side of 911hostage help!

spsheridan and dave42 submitted stories on the world’s first self-driving 18 wheeler, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration. Wired reports the truck is being tested on Nevada’s highways. A driver will be on board but when on the highway the truck can maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and stay in its lane. If it encounters a situation it can’t handle it will alert the human driver and eventually come to a stop if the driver doesn’t respond.

magoojc posted the Verge article that Comcast is doing what it can to win back customer trust. The company announced it’s creating 5500 new customer service jobs, reminding people they can get a $20 credit if a technician is late, and promising to always be on time by Q3. They even promise to train technicians so they know what they’re doing when they get to your house. The company also wants to simplify billing and create better policies to provide greater consistency and transparency to customers.”

Discussion Section Links:  


Pick of the Day:

Jeff writes in:

Here’s another pick for you. It’s called Unchecky. It runs in your system tray, monitoring for installers and other activity that may covertly make changes to your system and/or add undesired software. For example, Java updates historically and notoriously have come with the Ask.com toolbar or some other such nonsense. Unchecky will warn you if you’re about to inadvertently click through a screen that installs bloatware like this.


Lore writes:

As a person who supports Universal Design for Learning, at first when I saw emojis replacing text I groaned, thinking my students who are blind are now left out of this new communication. But, I was so happy to have one of my students show me that with VoiceOver turned on in iOS devices, there is an audio description of each of the emojis (if you turn on VoiceOver and tap on the 💩 you’ll hear “smiling pile of poo”). So, rebus stories created with emojis in iOS–as in 🐔 + 🚽 will finally be accessible to my students with visual impairments. Now, if I don’t know what an emoji is, I turn on VO and have it described to me. Now, if only all the graphics posted on the internet only had alt-text tags to describe the images–let’s get working on that!

Sara in sunny Seattle 🌇

In 2012 Chinese artist Xu Bing wrote a novel about 24 hours in the life of an everyman completely in simple pictograms, including many emoji symbols. 😀


It suddenly occurs to me as I write this that I have no idea if he speaks English at all. 😕



Stepeh has been a GOG customer for years now but finds the current way to buy and manage games cumbersome. He writes:

“To me GOG Galaxy means that like Steam I can install a game and just play it and updates will happen in the background and I don’t have to hunt them down. I don’t really see GOG Galaxy as a Steam competitor as I also have a large Steam library as well. I just see it as a vast improvement in usability of games I buy through GOG.”

Joshua says:

“Your conversation on brain waves reminded me of a deep space nine episode where Dax is concentrating / meditating to turn a ball into the same colour in the holodeck, this is shown at the very start of the episode and if anyone is curious, its easy to check out without having to watch the entire episode.

A man alone, episode 2 from season 1”

From Finley who posted on the blog:

“Really enjoyed this show, esp the brain monitoring. One technology you did not mention that monitors stress levels is called Galvanic Skin Resistance. This is used in Lie Detectors along with Heart rate monitoring. When a person is nervous, they sweat, which changes their galvanic skin resistance. This is also the technology behind the so-called “E-meters”, that are used in Scientology. I believe this technology dates back to the 1940’s. Would love to see all these things put together commercially. They could assist a person wanting to meditate!”


Thursday’s guest:  Tim Stevens


3 thoughts on “DTNS 2487 – Mother Trucking AI

  1. ahhhh! Please Scott Johnson, Semi Trucks don’t go 80mph, they don’t drive like you.

    On the road, Truck Drivers are the most educated, well versed, knowledgeable people about driving. They have to be, it is their job. Ask ANY truck driver about the interstate system. They will quote you the entire structure, reason, philosophy, past and future.

    Read the signs, literally.
    The speed limit for large trucks is 5mph slower. Trucks are required to be in the right lane only. Most large Trucking company have governors, GPS and logging that prevents a truck from going over 65mph.
    And to blame a truck for cars swerving around them is just wrong. Truck drivers are relegated to the late nite because that is the only time they can drive without a doofus ballet of cars breaking the law pulling in front of them.

    The next time you are driving 80mph, watch people pull in front of trucks. I see it happen all the time. It is not the trucks that cause the accidents, not the trucks that cause the traffic.

    I am dissapointed with Scott Johnson(what happened to Auto-Pilot?), accusing Truck Drivers is such a a junior level mistake.

  2. Is that why truck drivers so often pull into the passing lane and then go the exact same speed as the truck they’re “passing”, essentially blocking traffic for miles? Because I do see a lot of behavior like that and what Scott described, although I know I’m noticing the exceptions, not the norm. Personally, I’m in favour of taking the driving out of the hands of MOST people on the road, since there’s a lot more bad drivers out there compared to good ones.

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