Archives for December 2011

Turing to Telecomix

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Jamillah Knowles | 07:00 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hello Outriders and season's greetings to all of you!

In the last edition of the podcast we looked back a little and a lot and then looked forward into 2012 for another year of interesting electrical and online intrigue.

2011 has been a phenomenal year for news. From global uprisings and protest, to the passing of some of history's finest technological innovators, we've seen online communications change real world situations and we've been moved by the every day ideas that our Outriding guests continually surprise and delight us with.

One organisation that has successfully mixed technologies with activisim and innovation is Telecomix. If you've been following news of the Arab Spring or wondered about the recent internet blocks in Khazakstan, then you'll probably know that this organisation is one that has been working to connect people to the internet in order to provide an opportunity to share their situation online.

Stephan Urbach is an activist and Internet politician in Germany who works with Telecomix. He kindly looked back across a year of setting technology free and crossing borders with alternative connections.

From looking back through connections in 2011, let's now think about times long past and activities in the new year. 2012 has been dubbed Alan Turing Year and all over the world people are celebrating Alan Turing's all too brief life in many different ways.

I chatted with Barry Cooper who is a mathematician in Leeds who works on computability and incomputability. He explained his connection with Turing and how almost everything may be connected with "The Prof".

If you're celebrating the Turing Centenary, helping people to connect online or working on something of your own, then as ever, we'd like to hear about it.

Whatever your project whether it be wired, wireless, electronic or just plain geeky, let us know so we can talk about it and share.

You can email me at Outriders at bbc dot co dot uk, find us on Twitter @BBC_Outriders or search for outriders on Facebook where so you can see our updates in your feed.

I'm looking forward to learning more about your lives online into the new year.


~ Jamillah


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Jamillah Knowles | 09:11 UK time, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Hello Outriders!

On the podcast this week I've been talking to a selection of very creative people who are making things that we can all hopefully try. We're also revisiting with a guest I chatted with last year to check in and see how his project has grown.

Talking furniture

First up - What if we could communicate more easily with the things that are in our environment. Now, we all have moments where we talk to ourselves and possible moments where you'd have a stern word with your computer, but what if some of these things could talk back?

There are projects that make inanimate objects communicate their whereabouts or their status, but to a majority of people, the method of setting this up can be complicated. Don't give up though, I had a chat with David and John of Supermechanical who are hoping to fix that and make it easier for people to know more about their environment via a smart system of messaging.

Cloud chambers

Another creator this week and another person who is sharing their work to teach and make electronics more accessible.

Rich Olson came to my attention with his app to help people who are colour-blind. A closer look into his website, Nothinglabs, showed me a world of creation that is too interesting not to share. He told me more about his work and we talked about whether a hobbyist is also an inventor.

Your voicemail to music

Now a revisit with a past Outrider. Jared Brickman is the creator of One Hello World and his site of audio and music has grown to the point where he is now moving toward making an album. I got him to remind us what the One Hello World site does and share a couple of the mixes he has created this year.

It's always nice to catch up with past Outriders and new ones. So, if you are working on something creative or electronic, then you should definitely be getting in touch.

You can email me at Outriders at bbc dot co dot uk, tweet at us at @BBC_Outriders or search on Facebook for Outriders and add our updates and reminders to your feed.

Until next week!

~ Jamillah

Mathematical art, search and robots

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Jamillah Knowles | 17:36 UK time, Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Hello Outriders!

This week on the podcast our Chris Vallance has been out again - we keep letting him out, is this wise? Well it's certainly wise this week as he has been considering the idea of our robotic friends.

Meanwhile, back in the broom cupboard, I've been finding out about a new modifiable search engine and talking to the creator who accidentally turned beautiful mathematics into, of all things, a rather attractive hair accessory.

First a story of maths. No! Don't run away! This is a story of mathematical art. Henry Segerman is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne in mathematics and he's also mathematical artist, we talked about the surprising world of 3D mathematical shapes and their possibilities when transferred from the virtual to the real world.

Also this week I had a chat with a creator of a new search engine. You might already be thinking of some large and well known companies on the web who do this, but you should maybe think again.

Michael Christen is working as a freelance consultant with the German Digital Library and he has created Yacy - a highly adjustable search engine that is in its infancy - so in fact you can help it grow.

Chris Vallance dropped by Outriders towers armed with tapes from a visit to Robotville at the Science Museum. He also spoke with two sci-fi authors with science backgrounds, Alastair Reynolds and Daniel H Wilson about the interplay between robot fact and robot fiction.

That's all for this week, but if you would like to get in touch about your own electrical adventures, then there are many ways. You can email me at Outriders at bbc dot co dot uk, you can tweet at me as @bbc_outriders or find us on facebook - just type Outriders into your search box.

Until next week! ~ Jamillah

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