Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Facebook Wants to Build Hardware; What Could Go Wrong?

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Death Star schematic.

According to a Bloomberg Technology report, Facebook Inc. is building a team to design its own semiconductors. Just what this new hardware will be used for is not known for sure, but one surmise is for artificial intelligence applications on its servers. But the hardware could also extend to personal electronics. Like Han Solo, I have a bad feeling about this.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Astrophysicist Dr. Brian Keating

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Dr. Brian Keating on Background Mode.

Dr. Brian Keating is an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. His specialty is cosmology, and he is the father of the original BICEP project (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) that sought to unravel one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Big Bang. He is also the author of over 100 scientific publications. We chatted about his early years at age 12 in New York and the spark that ignited his interest in astrophysics. And then we got very geeky on cosmology. Brian recently published a terrific, courageous book about his team’s research, some life lessons, the challenges of scientific research, and he makes some valuable suggestions concerning changes to the Nobel Prize award process. After listening to our chat, you’ll want to read his excellent book.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Gravitational Wave Astrophysicist Dr. Chiara Mingarelli

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Dr. Chiara Mingarelli

Dr. Chiara Mingarelli is an astrophysicist currently working at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics where she’s a Flatiron Fellow. Chiara received her Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2014, and her specialty is the study of gravitational waves: ripples in spacetime born of a cataclysmic collision of distant, super-massive objects. She’s been a Marie Curie International Fellow at Cal Tech and has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. We chatted about her early years, how she was inspired by the night skies of her hometown in Canada and her early years studying mathematics and physics. There were definitely some challenges in her early career, but her mathematician father nurtured her through. If you’re curious about gravitational waves and Pulsars, this is the show for you.

Endless Refinements and Updates to Autonomous Cars - How Will THAT Work?

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Autonomous car concept

The myriad of different traffic, road, lighting, and weather conditions  presented to autonomous cars will pose endless challenges to automotive software engineers. The complexities are beginning to temper initial optimism and portend a future of continuous updates, according to this Particle Debris linked article at Wired.

Here's How Daisy Ridley Trained for 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

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When they do some of their own stunts, adventure film stars usually have to hit the gym, work out and then practice for weeks before filming even a short action sequence.  Daily Ridley, worked out five hours a day, five days a week for months prepping for the action scenes she did in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Here’s the video from Mashable.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Ruby Receptionists CTO Katharine Nester

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Katharine Nester on Background Mode.

Katharine Nester is the CTO and Chief Product Officer for Ruby Receptionists, a virtual receptionist service. She owes early influence to her father, a computer engineer, and that led to her B.S. degree in computer science from the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley. Her first job was as a Hewlett Packard software engineer. Katharine is an active member of Portland’s growing tech community where she advocates for more inclusive environments to support women and minorities in the field and is a benefactor of App Camp for Girls. We chatted about the founding of Ruby Receptionists, early technical decisions that were made and how it operates. Katharine tells a great story about her personal career arc as well as what it’s like to be the CTO of a company that supports 7,600 other companies.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Tidbits Security Editor Rich Mogull

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Rich Mogull on Background Mode.

Rich Mogull has twenty years experience in information security, physical security, and risk management. He specializes in data security, application security, emerging security technologies, and security management. Prior to founding Securosis, Rich was a Research Vice President at Gartner on the security team where he also served as research co-chair for the Gartner Security Summit. Currently, he is the security editor at Tidbits. We chatted about Rich’s career, then delved into some security issues of interest to Apple customers: the relative security of macOS vs. Windows 10, the security of iOS, whether AES-256 encryption is still “good enough,” iCloud security, and the technical feasibility of an unhackable backdoor into our iPhones for law enforcement. If you’re interested in all things security, this is the show for you.