Category Archives: series 16200

16337: Governments and Innovative Technology, A Binge

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What do we expect to learn about innovation from a government? Why did we take the podcast to Washington? And why did we take an office next to the Capitol Power Plant, other than the obvious benefits that the rents are cheaper than the tonier stuff and yet we are still near the center of the action? All of this will be discussed in our binge episode, which combines three shorter pieces:

  • Who Are We and What Do We Do?
  • Open Source Discussions
  • It’s Agile but It’s Not Software

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16320: First Principles of Science Policy

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The first principle of science policy concerns money, though it has ramifications that are not as obvious as they might first seem. To explore the ramifications of science policy, we talk with Peggy Kidwell of the National Museum off American History and send Anna and Rohit in search of Google Server #1.

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16275: A Binge for My Baby and a Binge for the Road

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A Binge episode for the end of April. Three combined podcasts. The first talks about context, how we think about development questions and whether our office manager has offended the host. The second: Position, Status & Function. The three elements of human organization. The last is a discussion of open source development and how open source affects our organizations.

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16265: Evelyn Hosts a Binge

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Time for a Binge. Need something as background for your workout? Or as something to fill a long commute? We have three pieces pulled together in this podcast, all hosted by Evelyn, our Business Manager.

We begin with a visit to the Consumer Technology Show in Las Vegas. Drones were big then. Little did we know.

Next, we attend an all hands office staff meeting. We discuss the themes for the podcast and Anna makes a plea to Elon Musk.

Finally, in something new, we have an essay on Disruptive Technologies from IEEE Computer.

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16250: Getting the Right People

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What kinds of qualities do you want on your team? We start discussing skills and the qualities of our personnel with guest George Dyson while our intern and our IT guy go in search of John Von Neumann’s early computer. Dyson identifies some useful lessons from Julian Bigelow, who served as the engineer on von Neumann’s computer.
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This episode deals with personnel lessons learned from an important early computer, the one built by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study.  Unlike some of its antecedents, this machine followed a basic pattern that has been replicated in modern processors.  That pattern is called the “von Neumann architecture.”

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The von Neumann architecture was first described,  in an incomplete way, in a paper called “The Draft Report on the EDVAC.”  Most scholars accept that this paper was conceived and organized by von Neumann, though it was probably drafted by von Neumann’s assistant and contains contributions, perhaps substantial contributions, from others. Beyond dispute is the claim, as Anna notes, that it was written in Courier Font.

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16240: When We Observe, What Do We See?

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Observing Technology and Technological Organizations. And while you’re at it, how do you explain a boating accident to your boss, who thought that you were going to meet George Dyson?

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16230: Scientific Observation with George Dyson

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We now live in the age of Big Data and believe that numbers hold the answers to all our problems.  But in dealing with technology, it is useful to return to first principles and start by asking what assumptions underly our data and whether or not those assumptions are true.

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UnknownOur guest this week is George Dyson, a historian of technology, a futurist and a kayak builder from Bellingham Washington.

 

 

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16220: A visit to Bucks of Woodside

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Negotiation. Negotiated Technology. How do we start to make the compromises that turn a technology into a product. We sit down with our CTO, Vinny and our Business Manager, Evelyn, in the famous Silicon Valley Restaurant, Bucks of Woodside, to discuss these issues. (And oddly, the waiter looks remarkably like Rohit.) This week, as we get ready for our visit with Historian George Dyson.

This episode introduces new cast member, Geoffrey Grier of San Francisco’s Recovery Theatre.

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Bucks of Woodside
Bucks of WoodsideBucks is a well-known Silicon Valley restaurant in the hills north and west of Palo Alto. In common with a certain class of business restaurants, it is decorated in a style that can only be described as “Eclectic junkyard”. Unlike many of these places, the decor has a certain authenticity because it doesn’t seem to have been carefully designed or arranged. The artifacts were acquired by the owner and simply fill the place.

Perhaps unique among such restaurants, the own of Bucks Slide3
apparently made an offer to purchase Lenin’s body after the disintegration of the U. S. S. R.  The exchange of letters between the restaurant owner and a mid-level Russian minister captures both the unconstrained deal making of Silicon Valley with the rapicious actions of Russia’s new oligarchs.   The restaurant offers a price in “the low six figures” and the Russian minister ducks the offer while suggesting that Russia might have some other cultural artifacts that could be purchased for that sum.”

 

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