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It means being bad at researching how to use a spout. Oh, right, this is a Q&A episode! This month we discuss the potential of open smartphones, Fermi's paradox, French toast supremacy, electronics in the bathroom (yea or nay), Brad's dwindling sardine hoard, a bunch of barbecue-related subjects, mispronouncing tech, and more. Support the Pod! Cont…
 
The simple data transfer tool curl, and its associated library, are estimated to be installed on roughly 10 billion computers, VMs, and embedded devices around the world. For this ep we had a wide ranging conversation with Daniel Stenberg, curl's longtime author and maintainer, about starting up such an essential project back in the '90s, juggling …
 
Will got his hands on his very own Steam Deck and he's bursting at the seams to talk about it, so we're back with a follow-up to our first Deck ep with an updated trip report. How has compatibility, performance, and system software shaped up in the months since the device first started shipping? What are some of the fun third-party apps you can ins…
 
As summer heats up, we're cooling things down with another (now-semi-annual?) cube of cold opens. Thrill! to the long and sordid tale of Will's Stripe fraud saga. Chill! at the campsite mishap that demolished someone's data plan. Spill! your drink everywhere when you realize that the innocent Roblox scammers of today may become the business leaders…
 
Home Assistant is the one-stop shop to control every single smart home and IoT device you own. It's also one of the biggest open source projects around, and for this ep we sat down with its founder Paulus Schoutsen to talk about where the project is at and where it's going, how he's backing an open-source project with a company that generates reven…
 
We've been mulling the idea of donning our game dev hats and attempting to make our own little Playdate game as an educational exercise, and this week we commit ourselves to this task publicly with a consideration of the hardware and controls at our disposal, followed by a bunch of brainstorming different game ideas. Plus, a few interludes about th…
 
It seems like it was only last month that we answered our last batch of questions, and yet here we are with another one. This time we address subjects like getting squashed by an asteroid (or meteorite), who in the world ever used eSATA, the ancient noodle superset, Will's scandalous views on cats, diving into the ol' money bin, coding showcases fo…
 
Foone Turing regularly performs feats of retro-computing resurrection on Twitter, but convincing Microsoft to release the source code for its classic '90s animation program 3D Movie Maker may be their greatest achievement to date. We sat down with Foone to talk about their plans for expanding 3DMM, asking a big software company to dig through their…
 
Part two of our 1993 retrospective is here, with our consideration of the following: Power Computing's Macintosh clones, Apple's first Newton, the proving of Fermat's last theorem, happenings in SPAAAAACE including the Hubble mirror kerfuffle, the loss of Mars Observer, and the discovery of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, computing miscellany from Lua to U…
 
On the occasion of Will's birth we're back for another year in review, this time taking a look at the year he went off to college, 1993 (or at least as much of it as we can fit into one episode). Join us as we gab about everything from NCSA Mosaic and the creation of the World Wide Web at CERN to the founding of Nvidia, the Pentium FDIV bug, the CG…
 
Design researcher Abbey Ripstra has spent her career making technology more approachable, and nowhere has her work and expertise connected with more people than at the Wikimedia Foundation. On this ep Abbey joins us to talk about what human-centered design research means, methodologies for conducting user-experience studies in a wide range of terri…
 
This week we're putting ourselves to the test by bringing a list of PC and tech peeves, and then passing judgement on our own complaints. Do we have a legitimate grievance, or are we just being crotchety about things like monitors that don't behave themselves, the disappearance of PCIe slots, Internet of Things things going off the grid, useless mo…
 
Queeeeeestions and aaaaaaanswers. This month we field Qs from you, the listener, about better electric vehicles versus better mass transit, the mysteries of the L-shaped desk, extreme climate-change preparedness, throwing bread like a frisbee (??), monitors that double as modems, (mostly) useless domain names, how many Discord servers is too many, …
 
Creative software is getting more expensive all the time, but by the same token FOSS alternatives are getting more and more robust. On this ep we check in with what's new in some of the biggest open-source creative applications like Blender, Audacity, and the GNU Image Manipulation Program, plus we talk through some tips and tricks for more of our …
 
With Will briefly trapped in the great frozen north(ern California), we got together for a chilly, scrappy two-fer this week with a couple of short topics. First we chat about Panic's Playdate, with an emphasis on our time spent compiling sample games and otherwise fiddling around with the new handheld's SDK and web-based Pulp game creation tool. T…
 
It's time for another visit with Stewart Cheifet and the Computer Chronicles. This time we're heading back to 1995 for a computer games special that includes Microsoft's ill-fated DirectX event Judgment Day, a very silly Bill Gates promo video, demos of MechWarrior 2 and Phantasmagoria (with Roberta Williams!), a random PlayStation-versus-Saturn he…
 
Well, we're only about *check's Apple Watch* a month late to the most recent Apple event, which we're using as an excuse to talk about a whole range of topics like: the (potential) death of millimeter-wave 5G, whether the Mac Pro line has truly left us or not, Brad's time so far with an M1 MacBook Pro, the weirdness of spatial audio in your ears, t…
 
We've often said that open source is for more than just software, and on this episode Project North Star's Bryan Chris Brown is here to prove it with a freely available, modifiable design for an augmented reality headset you can build yourself. Join us for a discussion about topics like the ins and outs of open hardware design, sourcing parts from …
 
Will sure had a wild, weird week on Twitter following last week's, uh, historic showdown at the Oscars, and now he's here to decompress. What were the first 24 hours like? How close did he get to being on cable news? Have Twitter's tools improved for managing torrents of incoming tweets? What kinds of questionable business offers came in? C'mon, yo…
 
The monthly questions came in, and now the answers go forth, pertaining to such topics as these: weirdly named folders on our desktops, regrettable usernames, paltry American downstream speeds, Brad's delusions of cross-coastal VPN grandeur, an unprecedented round of answers seeking questions (??), a spirited debate about showering protocols, some …
 
The United States Senate proved to be full of Tech Pod listeners this week as it passed a measure to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. But wait, did they pick the right time? This week we're reissuing our in-depth DST explainer from last Fall, complete with a new intro looking at what's going on in Congress, musings on overnight-flight and time…
 
Will just happened to watch a whole bunch of Star Trek: TNG when he was laid up recently, so we got together this week to decidedly NOT talk about Best of Both Worlds, Measure of a Man, Darmok, or The Inner Light, but instead to run down some of our favorite sleeper eps, genre work, and picks for some of the most under-appreciated gems from one of …
 
Another round of your questions meets another round of our answers this week, with queries about delayed eating habits, the "break-even" point on fixing or replacing old appliances, the mystery of cryptic crosswords, a theoretical number of monitors that's too many, the criminal bottom-charging Apple mouse, and a SHOCKING revelation about Windows N…
 
It's a little reunion this week as our Steam Deck-equipped friends Norman Chan (of Tested) and Wes Fenlon (of PC Gamer) join us for a deep dive into Valve's new handheld after a couple of rigorous weeks of trying it out. Topics covered include the performance you can expect from games of various eras, a thorough breakdown of the controls, battery l…
 
Building a NAS served as the gateway into free and open source software for both of us, so in this ep we're looping back around and checking in on the current state of FOSS-y network attached storage options like OpenMediaVault, TrueNAS, and Proxmox, plus dishing out some practical tips about why you'd want a NAS in the first place, some advice on …
 
Building a NAS served as the gateway into free and open source software for both of us, so in this ep we're looping back around and checking in on the current state of FOSS-y network attached storage options like OpenMediaVault, TrueNAS, and Proxmox, plus dishing out some practical tips about why you'd want a NAS in the first place, some advice on …
 
That pleasantly floral scent you're detecting means it's time for another potpourri ep! This time we dive into the nitty gritty of our podcast workflow and Brad's forthcoming adventures with XLR recording chains, a laparoscopic trip report, the collapse of the Nvidia/ARM deal, Will's mad-scientist experiments in RGB synchronization, the perils of r…
 
Hey, we're launching a new spinoff podcast alongside the Tech Pod! It's a biweekly show about free and open source software called The FOSS Pod (which we think is extremely on brand), and this here is the first episode, in which we consider the Open Broadcaster Software--commonly known as OBS--and talk at length to founder and maintainer Jim Bailey…
 
Jim Bailey wanted a way to stream StarCraft – so he wrote his own software to do it. From humble origins, the Open Broadcaster Software has become the de facto standard for streaming video online, and we sat down with Jim to talk about the present and future of OBS, what it’s like maintaining such a critical project, getting your code vetted by NAS…
 
You have questions, we have answers about what we thought was cool in 2021, a couple of our war stories working in media, repairing a classic flip clock (and other old gear), the ins and outs of a hologram group-buy, a short love letter to neofetch, the ideal monitor size, what might come after "FAANG," and more! Support the Pod! Contribute to the …
 
Microsoft's mind-boggling purchase of Activision this week prompted us to look back on other tech acquisitions large and small over the last two decades. Herein, a chat about the big winners, the stinkers, and everything in between. Which company has swallowed up the most smaller fish? Was Compaq seriously worth $25 billion dollars? Who exactly own…
 
Will just successfully shipped his first game, and Brad has spent years asking questions about shipping games, so this week we met in the middle with a freewheeling chat about some of the technical nitty gritty of making and promoting a game. Listen in for topics from build servers to CNAMEs, working with varying storefront CMSs, running playtests …
 
This week we avoided traveling to Las Vegas for CES and instead tried to absorb all the news coming out of the show from the comfort of our desks. Listen on for some loose chatter about goggles-shaped VR headsets, Samsung's entry into the OLED market, the travails of dealing with the latest HDMI standard, the latest from AMD and Nvidia, Will's Vega…
 
New year, new set of listener questions! This month's Q&A has us addressing CES survival strategies, how to lose 77 terabytes of data overnight, the wisdom of dumping irradiated water into the ocean, the baffling continued existence of WinZip, lifelong breakfast meats, and a long overdue consideration of Marty the Stop & Shop robot. Check out Wordl…
 
This week we're reaching deep into the vault for the holidays and unlocking one of our favorite Patron-exclusive episodes, featuring dramatic readings of some of our most excruciating old posts from places like Usenet and the Ars Technica forums. Thanks to everyone for supporting us, have a safe and happy holiday, and we'll see you in 2022! Wait, i…
 
The weather is getting frigid (at least some places), and that means one thing: it's time for us to deliver another cube of cold opens. This time around we tackle everything from long-term Christmas tree planning to VPN strategies, the perils of teaching your child to use a can opener, freeing A Charlie Brown Christmas in the public interest, to ha…
 
We had such a good time talking about Hackers a few weeks ago that we're back with that other seminal '90s computer crime movie, Sneakers! Join us for a deep dive into the movie's stellar and surprisingly august cast, the prescient view of information warfare and government power, the joys of the Rube Goldberg heists, that saxophone, some chatter a…
 
The holidays are here again, and with them, the need to gift. This week we offer an informal not-a-gift-guide chat about gift giving and receiving, including topics like how to pick thoughtful gifts, trinkets and doodads our community loves, the ever-expanding (and surprisingly erotic) offerings on Etsy, a quick primer on Harbor Freight, the simple…
 
This week we're thankful for our listeners and the many questions they provided to this Q&A ep, which got us talking about topics including how we research a new tech project before diving in, using VR to desensitize yourself to real motion sickness, the ravages of space on the human body, the .png pronunciation, a deep dive on stuffing recipes, an…
 
This week Apple announced an effort to begin offering service manuals, replacement parts, and other self-repair services to its customers. Who better to discuss this landmark move than iFixit CEO and right-to-repair advocate Kyle Wiens? Kyle joins us to talk about his DIY repair efforts over the years, what opening up your own iPhone will be like, …
 
We've been holding video game controllers for most of our natural lives, and now we're attempting to put them in a qualitative, ordered list; a sort of "ranking," if you will. In this ep, we go decade by decade, from the NES to today, considering the technical innovations, ergonomics, fit and finish, historical influence, and general usability of o…
 
By the time you hear this ep, Daylight Savings Time will have departed for another year, so DST is naturally what we're chatting about this week. We clear up some myths and history about DST's origins, talk about the axial tilt of the planet a bunch, swap tips about time changes and home automation, look at DST's relative safety and economic effect…
 
It's the most horrifying Q&A episode we've ever recorded! This month we field Qs about such topics as: how to teach your kids to view Internet content and influencers with a critical eye, our home electronics protocols for going out of town, essential gadgets we just can't bring ourselves to splurge on, listening to podcasts at super speed, and our…
 
Will's daughter recently had her first encounter with a corded telephone, which got us thinking about other technologies that are on the way out or have already vanished from society. In this ep we touch on a wide range of aspects of the old phone system, what things were like before every product had a barcode on it, whether we're trending toward …
 
It's been nine years since Will's last big house cleanup, and the time has come once again to discuss... THE PURGE (of all his stuff). In the interest of general decluttering, this ep is a rambling consideration of such topics as: What should you do with all your fancy Lego builds? Is it better to hoard stuff, or data? Can you dig a basement under …
 
Well, this was one heck of a week. On Monday, Facebook experienced a historic outage of its infrastructure that impacted services used by billions of people. On Tuesday, a new Windows came out. On Wednesday, Twitch disclosed one of the largest data breaches in years, maybe ever. We were duty-bound to talk through our view on all these momentous eve…
 
Will Smith, this is your life! Or at least one month of it, specifically November 2009, when you published an issue of Maximum PC that included a review of Windows 7, speculation about ray tracing in video games, a breathless report about absolutely enormous 160GB SSDs, and other historical curiosities. With Windows 11 looming, we thought it would …
 
Our monthly Q&A episode is all over the place in September, addressing such wide-ranging subjects as the fastest Internet we've ever used, surviving bear attacks, why they're so stingy with the USB-C ports, when exactly the week begins and ends, and a housewares block including electric kettles, cleaning bathrooms, letting go of boxes, and a debate…
 
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