216: TZ Discussion – Warp Speed

Justin and Jason talk about how Jason’s mail was stolen, some of the limitations with Phone Gap, the engineering salaries of Silicon Valley startups, the ridiculous cost of housing, Jason’s idea for gamifying personal finance, incentivizing kids with cash, how NASA’s Advanced Propulsion Physics Lab is working on the possibility of a warp drive, the new matter created by the Large Hadron Collider, how an advanced alien race (if they exist) might not be all that interested in communicating with us, Jason’s Freakonomics and Singularity Summit binge, the future of 3D printing, the meaning of life without money, Micho Kaku’s vision of the world in 2030 and what he envisioned a phone would do and look like, why Jason still hasn’t purchased a backup system, how Brendan Dunn is making five figures a month off a bootstrapped product, whether or not to do interviews, a new approach to recruiting AnyFu experts, how to explain functions to kids and the possibility of using a combination of both a challenge system and personal projects in Catalyst, Jason’s idea of how to explain advanced algorithms without using mathematical notation, Jason’s bizarre knee problem and finally how a provision in the House-passed NDAA bill would overturn the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 prohibiting the U.S. government from using propaganda against it’s own citizens.

  1. Andrea says:

    Will splitsville be an Android app as well? Not all of us have iPhones.

  2. Justin says:

    Yes, one day it will be released on Android… Just not sure when though! That’s the harsh price you pay for not following the crowd! 😉

  3. Best description of Functional Programming you’ll find: http://www.defmacro.org/ramblings/fp.html

    Describes both the what and the why.

  4. Doug Martin says:

    Hey guys,

    I met the guy behind this site at a party last year:


    He is a software engineer turned technology teacher. I heard in the podcast you were thinking of MindStorms – he recommends using WeDo instead (I was asking him as my youngest daughter loves to build things).

    Here is a direct link:


  5. Justin says:

    @Peter, thanks very much for that very informative.

  6. Andrea says:

    I think that bringing back the interviews would be good for the community and your podcast. I started listening to the interviews and I was not a fan of your chat shows. I now like the chat shows and have listened to them from about 150 onward. Listening to a chat show a few months ago at home on my speakers my wife asked me what is that drivel about? . I think the chat shows are an acquired taste that is easier to accept when softened by the interview shows. I have not found a better interview show for technical/solopreneur people. You get into the meat of the topic instead of leaning towards marketing the topic. Thanks 🙂

  7. Jason says:

    @Andrea – That’s a very good point. I also think it might be hard for a new listener to get much of a foothold with the discussion shows at this point. It’d be like jumping into the 4th season of Lost. You’d be like – “what the hell are these guys even talking about?!” 😉 And to continue with the television show analogy, one clever thing the writers did with the show The X-Files, is they slotted in self-contained “monster of the week” episodes between the “mytharch” installments so that new viewers would have a chance to get into the show. I think interview shows probably serve the same purpose for TZ.

    Also, thanks so much for the positive feedback. 😉

  8. Jason says:

    @Doug Martin – I spent some time looking into Mindstorms vs WeDo and I think that WeDo is probably the best option for kids 10 and under, and vice versa. That said, while Colby is only 8, he’s pretty advanced when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I went ahead and purchased a MindStorms kit yesterday to see if he (and the our other Catalyst kids) would be able to handle it. Once we got the software installed and got the computer to communicate with the NXT brick via Bluetooth, it was pretty much off to the races. While he’s only had a fews hours to mess with the MindStorm kit, I don’t think it’s going to be too difficult for him to master it. That said, we have a Catalyst session tomorrow night, so we’ll soon find out whether I overshot on this or not. 😉

  9. Rob Walch says:

    If you guys want to program fighting robot tanks check out http://fightcodegame.com/

    The source is on github https://github.com/timehome/game-off-2012

    I participated in the same game dev competition as these guys. Coding these tanks was so addictive it distracted me from working on my own entry for a full day. Maybe tank battles is a bit too competitive for the catalyst kids, but I think there are some good ideas here you can apply to your lesson software.

    Who’s tank would win? Jason’s Bayes Classifier tank vs. Justin’s SwarmPlugFu tank.

    They’re hosting it on hiroku, using node, postgres, and some ruby (gems). I got it running on my Mac so I could code my own tanks locally. The site has gotten a bit sluggish since the players who want to score the most are making lots of page requests and db writes.

    Another cool feature is that the robot scripts are saved as gists using your github profile… GitHub for kids could be a great product 😉 at which belt do you start teaching version control!?

  10. Jason says:

    @Rob Walch – Wow, that is REALLY cool! I’ve been wanting to build something like this myself for quite a while, so it’s cool to see that it exists. I’m definitely going to either get the kids to build bots for this, or if it’s not “kid friendly” enough, I’ll put together something for them. Thanks so much the info. Awesome.