Category Archives: podcasting

News Updates for Aug. 26, 2009

This past Wednesday's Bytemarks Cafe on Light Rail turned out to be quite a spirited discussion. Although I intended it to be educational, some callers felt we were "clubby" and one-sided. We did not have the elevated rail option represented and that was a shortcoming on my part. We will work on getting someone from the City and/or Parsons Brinckerhoff on a future show to balance out the conversation, if they are willing. Topics like these that have a history of politics, varied viewpoints and hidden agendas can be a power keg just waiting to explode. I think we just scratched the surface with this subject. In my previous post I explain how I met architect, Scott Wilson. Speaking on behalf of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) he's been making the rounds, telling the story of light rail. Coincidentally, Ian Lind on the day of our show, posted a couple of entries on the light rail topic in his blog, After the show I got an email from Cliff Slater directing me to his site Honolulu Traffic, for another perspective. This story is not finished and we hope to continue to provide our perspective into it. Our news guest this week was Ted Peck from DBEDT to tell us about the upcoming Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit. The Summit takes place from Monday, Aug 31st to Wednesday, Sept 2nd. And now the news:
  • Environmentalists have long denounced plastic as a long-lasting pollutant that doesn't break down. A new study indicates that plastic does decompose, at least in the ocean. But that's not a good thing, either. Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist at Nihon University in Japan, said, "Plastics in daily use are generally assumed to be quite stable. We found that plastic in the ocean actually decomposes as it is exposed to the rain and sun and other environmental conditions, giving rise to yet another source of global contamination that will continue into the future."
  • The Maui High Performance Computing Center doubled its computing power last week thanks to "Mana." "Mana" is the name of a new, giant, parallel processing machine brought on line to replace its two-year-old predecessor, "Jaws." The specifications for "Mana" are impressive. It's based on Dell hardware incorporating over 1,100 nodes, each containing a pair of 2.8 GHz processors and 24GB of RAM. It has access to nearly 400 terabytes of data storage.
  • A fleet of six double-hulled canoes will set sail from French Polynesia for Hawaii next year in the ancient wake of one of the world's greatest migrations. The 2,500 mile journey from the traditional heart of eastern Polynesia on Raiatea island aims to do more than recreate history. The project involves 16-member crews from six Polynesian islands, including New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, and Tahiti.
  • Scientists are eager to explore and understand the structure and chemistry deep within our planet, and researchers here in Hawaii are on the cutting edge of using "geoneutrinos" to essentially look down into the Earth as we already do scanning deep space. First detected in a Japanese mine in 2005, "geoneutrinos" originate from the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium and potassium in the Earth’s crust and mantle. Scientists have largely focused their study on deep mines on land, but UH researchers are developing a mobile, submersible deep-ocean detector.
  • Finally, a quick heads up on an upcoming opportunity to engage with the Centers for Disease Control on plans to initiate a fall vaccination program against the novel H1N1 pandemic influenza virus. The CDC has scheduled "public engagement web dialogues" where members of the public can join a two-day online conversation to discuss various aspects of vaccination.

iPod Touch

iPod TouchI finally treated myself to a new gadget. It was a toss up between getting an EeePC or the iPod Touch. Although I think the EeePC is a pretty cool device and affordably priced, I decided to go for the iPod Touch. I've been looking for something that added mobility to my online life, but I wasn't up to paying at&t $80 a month for the iPhone. Granted the iPod Touch is limited to only available wifi hotspots so I am constantly looking for places I can get access. In the area I work there are a bunch of access points that show up on the grid but have not been of much use. The Roadrunner Speed Zone shows the entire section between Walmart, Sam's and Starbucks but those turn out to be not accessible by the iPod Touch. The Speed Zone tech support told me that the access points are located on Ala Moana Hotel and are pointed down to that area on Keeaumoku so it's probably due to the signal strength and/or the receiver capability of the iPod Touch. I also tried the McDonald's wifi hotspot, which is nicely touted on their website but found it a pay-only service. I can tell the Keeaumoku McD store doesn't get many users. The store manager there couldn't find any information on it and thought it was a free service. The only place that I've found to work, so far is the Apple Store at Ala Moana shopping center. No problem getting connected there but a bit out of the way for me to be hanging out during the day. So what mobility benefit am I getting out of this iPod Touch, you might ask. Well definitely I am reacquainting myself with the podcasting world. I am enjoying stuff like Buzz Out Loud, This Week in Tech, the Transmission and cool music podcasts like KEXP's Music That Matters. I've been enjoying it so much that a cop called to me while I was walking and told me to pay attention to the cars. I think he was over reacting but what the heck, it must have been a good song.