Favourite Pragmatic Episodes

Note: "x" is default for no-vote/not-listened, with 1 indicating little interest/enjoyment to 5 indicating most interest/enjoyment. The results will be tabled and announced during the final episode of Pragmatic.

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Episode 1: Faraday’s Cage
In Pragmatics first episode, John and Ben explore the evolution of the iPhones hardware from the original model to today. Looking at mechanical design tradeoffs and improvements in wireless John presents a realistic reading of the iPhone myth.
Episode 2: The Battery Problem
John and Ben discuss the past, present and future of energy generation, distribution, storage and consumption. We explore the future of conventional and alternative energy sources as well as the changing nature of the grid and our relationship to it.
Episode 3: Turn The Damn Light Off
Today’s show focuses on the history of industrial control and automation systems, and the growing potential of automation in the home.
Episode 4: The Morality Issue
John and Ben discuss the moral implications of an increasingly automated world. As we’re living in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution, what can we learn from the past that will prepare us for the future?
Episode 5: The Next Ubiquitous Thing
John and Ben discuss the convergence of wireless communication from radio telegraphy to analog mobile phones, then from analog to digital, and handover-transition-unified devices and the importance long awaited jump to 100% IP-based telephony.
Episode 6: Design Reviews In Name Only
John and Ben discuss the importance of design reviews, personal experiences and suggestions for how to constructively approach a process often fraught with confusion and hidden danger.
Episode 7: A Category Called General
John and Ben discuss the challenge of digital storage, filing, tagging and categorization as well as associated workflows and technology.
Episode 8: A Nice Quiet Serene Environment
In this episode John and Ben talk about noise. Noise is a big problem. A lot of people tend to overlook it. A lot of people tend to shrug it off like its no big deal. But you only get one set of ears, and once theyre wrecked youre out of luck.
Episode 9: The Internet Makes It Even Better
John and Ben discuss the practical risks associated with connecting every single device we own to the internet. What happens when ore functionality is tied to a remote server and the company changes or closes? Timely in light of Nest Labs acquisition.
Episode 10: Passion Over Academic Proof
John and Ben discuss the problems that arise when we rely on qualifications alone to gauge a persons potential. Just how valuable are degrees, certifications and tests in evaluating someones passion, work ethic or dynamism?
Episode 11: Cause And Effect
John and Ben discuss the process of analyzing failure, from broken alternator belts to plane crashes. Starting with Toyotas five (sometimes six!) whys, John explains some different approaches including fault tree and root cause analysis.
Episode 12: Pages Blocks Planes Die Bank Device
John and Ben discuss SSDs, data transfer bottlenecks and the evolution of PC data storage architectures.
Episode 13: Safety, Safety Everywhere
John and Ben discuss ways to take reasonable but meaningful safety precautions in the workplace, and around the home.
Episode 14: The Worlds Most Popular Camera
The iPhone has disrupted the consumer photography industry and is the most popular camera in the world. But is it the best camera? John explores the limitations of using the iPhone as your only camera, drawbacks of a DSLR and how accessories can help.
Episode 15: Extend or Recode
When asked to, or need to use someone else’s software code in your project it’s not always a clear cut choice how to approach it. Do you extend or recode? John and Ben explore the pros-cons and put forward some practices to reduce the potential damage.
Episode 16: One Mans Hopes And Dreams Of An RF Bubble
John critiques the Artemis pCell, a lengthy article about how pCell might work and walks through the key pieces to understanding if this is real life or is this just fantasy; and whether Steve Perlman is the right man to make this dream a reality.
Episode 17: Stuxnet
John tackles the Stuxnet virus intended to disrupt Uranium Enrichment in 2010 in Iran and in the process explores what SCADA is, how to purify Uranium and of course, the anatomy of the Stuxnet worm.
Episode 18: Mediocrity, Consensus and Perfectionism
John and Ben tackle design consensus and dictatorship/auteur styles of design development. Is the dictatorship model better and if so what makes a good dictator?
Episode 19: I’ll Take The Gold-free Extra-Oxygen Cable Please
Tackling two types of common cable, Speaker cable and HDMI cables. HDMI some obsess over gold plating; Speaker cable some obsess over OFC. Which is worth the extra money or are neither? Hardcore audiophiles may be upset by the contents of this episode.
Episode 20: The Critical Path
Many people bandy-around the expression The Critical Path but what does it mean? The truth is that its a part of Project Management and this phrase carries negative connotations for a lot of people but its a tool to help us get to where we need to be.
Episode 21: Daylight Saving
Daylight Saving was introduced as a means of conserving energy but does it achieve that in any way? Do the benefits truly outweigh the confusion and frustration it causes? John and Myke Hurley go through the history and draw their own conclusions.
Episode 22: Core Business
Understanding what is and isnt your core business is critical for success. Horace Dediu joins John Chidgey for a very special episode of Pragmatic where for once John doesnt do all the talking!
Episode 23: Maximum Erasability
What is it about WhiteBoards that makes them so invaluable as a collaborative design tool? John is joined by Seth Clifford of Nickelfish to explore the reasons why.
Episode 24: Downloaded vs Streamed
John is a proponent of downloading. Josh Centers is a proponent of streaming. Which is the one true, most efficient and economical solution?
Episode 25: Software Entropy
John and Guy English discuss software entropy as it relates to the User Interface and the code itself and explore if there’s a way to stop it.
Episode 26: Gambling Machines
Gambling is all about the odds of separating you from your money and todays gambling machines are making lots of it for the government. Ben Alexander returns to discuss the Pokies.
Episode 27: Military Software
Casey and John have done some development and engineering in a military environment that comes with its own set of unique restrictions and pressures. We explore the good, the bad and the downright annoying aspects but dont worry, its not all bad.
Episode 28: The Changing Face of Writing
Jason Snell has been writing for 25+ years - the most recent two decades in the Tech space. We dive into how writing styles for tech have evolved recently, how to structure and focus your writing, understanding editors and having passion when you write.
Episode 29: You Can’t Fight Physics
The Surface Pro 3 claims to be the best of both a laptop and tablet experience but in trying to compromise for both, new issues about its optimisation for either use case become evident. Myke Hurley joins John to dissect the Tablet Laptop category.
Episode 30: Coffee
On the day following the launch of his new app Overcast, Marco Arment joins John to talk about coffee. We cover the history from the 13th century to present with brewing techniques and a bit about our personal journeys with that wonderful brown liquid.
Episode 31: It’s Supposed To Be Raining
Since information could travel faster than the weather we’ve strived to predict the weather more accurately into the future. Joel Housman joins John to dig deep into just how hard weather prediction can be and why.
Episode 32: A Slice Of A Physical Machine
Where does one host their site or service on the Internet? There are lots of choices, places and trade-offs to consider. David Smith joins John to walk through the options as we explore which is the right choice for different use cases.
Episode 33: The Shopfront Window Is Still The Same Size
Loyalty to a single platform can be a risky business position for developers. Russell Ivanovic of Shifty Jelly joins John to discuss his experiences on Android vs iOS and shows that putting Android willingly in your blindspot may cause you to miss out.
Episode 34: My Code’s Nicer Than Your Code
Everyone thinks they know the best way to write code. Irrespective of the platform there’s some common concepts that every programmer should try to follow. Guy English joins John to discuss everything from comments to object structures and more.
Episode 35: Written by Kernel Hackers for Kernel Hackers
Why write open source code and when you should start. If youre interested in Python, Johns found just the man, Nick Coghlan of Red Hat joins John to discuss open source, python and how a casual interest can turn into big part of your career and your life.
Episode 36: Prevailing Wind Direction
Working in Engineering construction sometimes requires working away from home and this comes with its own set of challenges. Vic Hudson joins John to talk about good and the bad and the issues no-one else seems to think or talk about.
Episode 37: The Sledgehammer Solution
Cancer is the number two cause of death in the US and can affect anyone at any age. Federico Viticci joins John to talk about the history of the disease, what it is, how we fight it and Federicos first-hand experience with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Episode 38: Watch This Time and Space
The Apple Watch promises new functionality from a smartwatch. John dissects the detail behind the power demands of wristwatches, screen types, movement types, GPSs, super-capacitors, batteries and why the Taptic engine could be a big deal.
Episode 39: Look Ma, No Wires
Radio and Amateur/Ham Radio played a huge role in John’s career in Engineering. We delve into EM Waves, Antennas, Transmission Lines as well as many of the facets of Amateur Radio including DX-peditions, Fox-hunting, Hamfests, Moonbounce and more.
Episode 40: Productivitus Interruptus
Remaining productive in your projects with limited time and constant interruptions can lead to giving up. John delves into strategies for being productive in a real world situation and it’s not about the tools but about how you set your time and goals.
Episode 41: Meaningless Token Award
Independence and job satisfaction is a consideration whether you work for yourself or for a large corporation. Understanding what matters to us the most we consider how recognition plays a role and the differences between whichever path you choose.
Episode 42: Hopefully They Don’t Burn It
eReaders have many advantages over paperbacks and although Amazon would have you believe that eBooks are leading the way, the paperback is far from dead and we look at both sides of the debate.
Episode 43: It’s The Best Thing For Everybody
When you create a product the time inevitably comes when you have to either hand it over or shut it down. Marco Arment joins John to look at how they have approached the problem of letting projects go.
Episode 44: Order a Steak and Get a Piece of Rat
Working in retail and in customer facing roles comes with its own set of challenges. We dive into coping mechanisms, closing a sale and identifying when youre being worked over, Apples Genius Training manual and the effectiveness of tipping.
Episode 45: Not Part of the Plan
Managing features and requirements on your project is difficult and scope creep is your constant enemy. John and Seth explore classifying features, dealing with client requests and making it all work to a plan for internal and external projects.
Episode 46: Out of Steam About Steam
We delve into energy conversion efficiencies of solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, the Hydrogen Economy, steam and hydro-turbines and ways you can conserve energy in your home.
Episode 47: Interrogation Signal
We delve into Barcodes and RFID tracing their history and dissecting exactly how they work and where the future of identification technology is headed specifically for shopping experiences.
Episode 48: You Say Data, I Say Daaa-taaa
SCADA User Interface design has many things in common with other graphical design methodologies. We look at how SCADA works, what it does, the limitations of the human eye and colour perception, buttons as buttons, indicators as indicators and more.
Episode 49: A Bow On The Handlebars
With holiday cheer Vic and John dive into some of the finer details of Christmas and the Holiday season looking at wrapping paper and sticky tape, what to wrap, what you shouldn’t and why, and a bit about Santa (warning for young kids POSSIBLE SPOILERS!)
Episode 50: Accidental Clicking
John Siracusa joins me to discuss RSI in depth, drawing on both of our experiences we look at what works, what doesn’t and why you should care. Keyboards, trackpads, trackballs, mice, chairs, we cover it all.
Episode 51: Psst Come Here I Want To Tell You Something
Automation in OSX, iOS and the PC can save lots of time for users prepared to invest some time up-front. We delve into the history on these platforms, where it can be useful and when you should use it.
Episode 52: Your Mileage May Vary
Are electric cars going to save you money? We look at all electric and plugin hybrids, charging habits and being energy independent.
Episode 53: Overlapping Signals
There is a growing trend to eliminate the wires and go wireless for data and for power. Can it work? Is it practical? Dive in.
Episode 54: Stop Rubbing Your Reader Against My Butt
The Apple Watch promises to make Apple Pay even easier and safer than traditional credit card transactions. We look at the history of Credit Card data transactions and consider the practicalities. Of course.
Episode 55: Cautiously Concerned
Privacy online is becoming a bigger issue with more servers hacked every week our personal data has never been at more risk. Seth Clifford joins me to talk strategies to reduce your exposure on the internet.
Episode 56: Lovely Platitudes Don’t Help Me
Brianna Wu is the CEO of GSX and is one of the women behind Revolution 60. Join us as we talk about gender imbalance in Engineering and Technology, and how we can help bring balance to the force.
Episode 57: Lap Band Bypass Gastric Sleeve
My wife joins me as we discuss our recent experiences with being obese and undergoing weight-loss surgery. Its extreme but it works though its not without serious risks.
Episode 58: I Want My Hovercar
The next disruption in transportation is coming to a car near you soon. We walk through the history and evolution of personal transportation and look to the future.
Episode 59: Roll With The Seasons
Erik Hess of Technical Difficulties and Dawn Patrol joins me to talk about the things that motivate and demotivate us, and turning hobbies into jobs and then back into hobbies again.