The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.

Randal L. Schwartz, the widely known computer programmer and programming consultant, is our featured guest today.

Randal has acquired a level of renown through his longstanding work in popularizing and promoting the programming language called Perl. He has authored and co-authored many widely used books on the subject, and has written over 200 articles about it for various computer magazines.

He is also the co-host of FLOSS Weekly (a podcast from the TWiT podcasting Network which features prominent guests from the free software/open source community).

In today’s interview Randal discusses the following topics:

How ethanol is not only raising food prices world-wide but its production is also a major source of carbon dioxide (a concern for Global Warming), some have suggested that switch grass may be a better answer. Google's announced desire to offer free nation-wide wireless internet access; and the legal catch-22 that municipalities have always found themselves in when they tried to provide wi-fi at the taxpayer's expense. How passports with RFID chips can be hacked wirelessly as you walk through an airport; why it is that Japanese users are getting 25 times faster high-speed internet than American high-speed users; and how is scrambling to keep from outpacing them.

Randal also describes his involvement with Geek Cruises and the Scientific American Cruises; his podcast FLOSS Weekly (which stands for Free Libre Open Source Software and may be found at; and his enthusiasm over a powerful new programming language called SeaSide. (Examples, BTW, of open source software include: Wikipedia, Blender, Gimp and Open Office.)

Randal also gets to gloat over his prediction from last year because the New York Times has reported that pacemaker heart implants with wi-fi internet connections can be hacked through the internet by a hacker on the other side of the world, who can make the device stop working or even give the patient electric shocks strong enough to kill.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 16, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 69 minutes]

Randal L. Schwartz is a founding board member of the Perl Mongers, the worldwide Perl grassroots advocacy organization and, since 1985, has owned and operated Stonehenge Consulting Services which specializes in the teaching, training and programming of Perl.

Also included in this episode is your host's eyewitness report on the Yuri's Night celebration that took place on April 12 in the city state of Extropia inside Second Life. David Brin (the award-winning and best-selling author) was the featured speaker. David was easily recognizable since his avatar wore a photorealistic skin created for the occasion by a skilled avatar artist.

During the all-day festivities in Extropia your host: met two NASA representatives as well as some Russians, drove a moon buggy; sat inside a life-sized model of Yuri Gagarin's space capsule, danced with a wide variety of beautiful women, admired Vidal Tripsa's space suit (possibly the sexiest space suit ever), watched David Brin pack the house for his open forum discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of virtual worlds such as Second Life, and took over 300 photos of the day's events. (Many of which can be viewed on Flickr.)

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT