Herding Code 170: NDC Geekout with Richard Campbell and Rob Conery

At NDC, Jon and Rob Conery quizzed Richard Campbell about books, nanotech, graphene, cooking, travel, explosions and more.

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Herding Code 170: NDC Geekout with Richard Campbell and Rob Conery

Show Notes:

  • Cryptonomicon and other Neal Stephenson books
    • (00:55) Rob Conery says he’s been rereading Cryptonomicon. Richard, Jon and Rob talk about their favorite Neal Stephenson books.
  • Nanotech
    • (02:26) Richard mentions nanotech in the context of Diamond Age. Jon asks Richard what’s going on with nanotech.
    • (03:31) Richard describes graphene – what it is, how it’s made, and what we can do with it.
  • BBQ!
    • (07:38) Jon asks Richard what he uses to barbecue things. No surprise, he’s got three different BBQ devices, electrical modifications and Excel spreadsheets. Intense food chemistry discussions ensue.
  • Turing and Electromechanical computing
    • (11:32) Rob talks about the Enigma machine discussion in Cryptonomicon. Jon and Richard talk about how the Enigma code was broken.
  • Quantum computing
    • (14:37) Jon asks Richard about quantum encryption and computing. Richard explains  quantum effects with the two slit experiment.
  • My Drunk Kitchen
    • (18:10) Jon asks Richard how it came to pass that he hosted an episode of My Drunk Kitchen. Richard tells the history of My Drunk Kitchen and how french toast turned into some kind of sourdough frittata.
  • Home brewing and stills
    • (22:37) Jon asks Richard if he’s done any home brewing. Richard owns a still but has not used it in anger yet. Richard lists the dangers of moonshining and one-upmanship contests with Carl Franklin. 
  • The geekiest house ever
    • (25:38) Jon asks how Richard handles his intensely instrumented house and Rob asks for more details about Richard’s house. Richard says he’s only been raided as a suspected drug grow-op house once and talks about all the server infrastructure he’s got at his house.
    • (29:50) Rob asks about Richard’s generator setup.
  • Modern media management
    • (31:23) Jon asks Richard how he handles the hardest problem in modern life: managing media. Richard talks about his media shares, networking, media center, and how he gets all the good stuff.
  • Favorite books
    • (34:28) Jon asks Richard for five book recommendations. Richard recommends Existence, Daemon and Freedom. Jon and Richard discuss the believability of Daemon and Richard talks about how some authors are good story tellers, others are good universe builders, and authors who do both are incredibly rare. Richard also recommends Lean Startup and The Phoenix Project. Rob recommends Ender’s Game and talks about Arthur C. Clarke; Jon says he liked The Fiction Author’s Guide To Time Travel and that got him into Heinlein. Rob and Richard liked Dan Simmons – especially Hyperion. Rob and Richard discuss the difficulty of ending a story well and Richard says Harry Potter put The Matrix to shame in that regard.
  • Travel tips
    • (41:45) Jon asks Richard for some travel tips. Richard starts with recommending local SIM cards and knowing your power plugs.
    • (42:33) Richard recommends beating jet lag using light and timing your meals. Rob has been pretty happy with some homeopathic jetlag whatsihoosie and likes baking soda too.
    • (45:08) Jon likes compression bags and big batteries with USB outputs. Jon and Richard discuss the frustration of the VGA to HDMI conversion.
    • (47:33) Rob always maps out the nearest Apple store before travelling.
    • (47:57) Jon has USB video adapters for both VGA and HDMI and figures he’s covered.
    • (48:15) Richard mentions wireless video in Windows 8.1. Rob mentions AirPlay and Jon talks about Windows PlayTo, but they’re all too fiddly for now.
  • Pretend ending
    • If you don’t like background noise, this is the end. Bye!
  • More stuff in the outtake
    • We had some more discussion that’s pretty hard to hear because of background noise, but we’re throwing it in just in case you want to listen through it.
    • (50:44) Rob talks about Benford’s Law. Rob talks about the application in detecting voter fraud, Rob talks about the application in counterespionage in Cryptonomicon.
    • (52:14) Rob wants to talk about submarines. Jon talks about some of the complexities of torpedo seek patterns. Rob talks about Russian supercavitation and mine hunting. Jon talks about old Russian wing-in-ground effect vehicles and ski-ramp carriers.
    • (55:30) Richard talks about rail guns, which reminds Jon of fuel air explosives. Jon and Richard tell FAE stories.
    • (58:47) Rob tells a story about big explosions at a YMCA camp on Catalina Island.

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