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Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.

Welcome to HPR the Community Podcast Network

We started producing shows as Today with a Techie 10 years, 8 months, 25 days ago. Our shows are produced by listeners like you and can be on any topic that "are of interest to Hackers". If you listen to HPR then please consider contributing one show a year. If you record your show now it could be released in 27 days.

Latest Shows

hpr2063 :: My 3rd HPR Beer Podcast

Introducing 2 beers that I feel you may like

Hosted by JustMe on 2016-06-29 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Series: Beverages | Comments (0)

JustMe here again.

This is my 3rd HPR Beer podcast report.

We're going to introduce you to two (2) beers. The first is Rebel Rider IPA & the second is Red Seal Carousel.

As always, thanks for listening & supporting HPR.

picture of rebel rider ipa beer

picture of Red Seal beer

hpr2062 :: Now The Chips Are Definitely Down

Show about an interesting documentary I recently came across and new piece of hardware

Hosted by MrX on 2016-06-28 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Comments (1)

I’d like to start by apologising for the rather fast and excited speaking style of this show particularly towards the end, hope it doesn’t spoil the content too much, it was all done in rather a hurry.

In this show I describe a thought provoking documentary I stumbled upon from 1977, the documentary is about the the silicon chip and explores the far reaching implications it will have on society.

The title for the original documentary was “Now the chips are down”.

I came up with the altered title “Now the chips are definitely down” to signify that not only have the changes already happened but that it’s also had a massive cost reduction impact as my newly purchased piece of equipment demonstrates.

The new piece of equipment that I bought only became so affordable because of the great advances and massive reductions in cost over time. A similar piece of equipment cost me around £120 maybe ten years ago and due to inflation you can probably double the cost again. The price of my new piece of equipment was astonishingly cheap I thought though on reflection its cheap price may also be down to it being a more mass produced item than normal amateur radio equipment.

Links to Horizon documentary

Standard C510A /C510E links

Baofeng UV-5R links

Chirp links

hpr2061 :: Handwriting

droops argues why people should use handwriting to gain super powers

Hosted by droops on 2016-06-27 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Comments (2)

Yesterday I listened to an episode of Freakonomics ( on handwriting. As a child I disliked penmanship and was horrible at it (still am). Eventually my teachers just told me to print so that they could read my answers. This is also a tech show, which should have an audience that leans toward the fact that computers are awesome. But most of you fine listeners should be interested in what is the best solution to a problem. Especially if that solution is contrary to conventional thought.

Many reasons were given for handwriting to be a thing of the past and I think most of them are a lot of bull.

First some more qualifications for me. I am a college dropout that did eventually graduate. Until last week I was a teacher who worked with students who were not always the best. I have been without a cell phone for two years and I love fountain pens. This probably does not qualify me for much, as I am certainly not a doctor or a scientific researcher, but I do have some real world experience and have been experimenting on my students (all in a good way).

So here are some of the cons:

  • Handwriting is old fashioned – true
  • Typing is faster – true. Cursive is on average 30 words per minute.
  • Hands hurt after writing – true
  • Lack of success as a child demotivated me, left me “school damaged” – true

These are all excuses that I have made and are all excuses my students have made. As a computer science teacher, I require all of my students to keep a handwritten notebook in my classes and they can use it on all of their tests, quizzes, and assignments. What an old fashioned stick in the mud I must be (they must have a cooler way to say this).

There is nothing wrong with using tech to help with anything, but if you do not understand concepts of why and how, all the tech in the world will not help you and many people try to use tech as a crutch.

Typing is faster, most students get to the point they can type everything that is said in a lecture. This skips a crucial part of learning where you use your brain to analyze what is being said. Writing is slower but should force you to put content in your own words by thinking about it and being an active listener.

The pain in your hand should go away with practice, good form, and proper tools. I like fountain pens as they glide over the paper and you do not have to hold them in a death grip. Form means to use your arm, not your wrist, to write. With practice this can be done.

I was bad at handwriting as a child and my teacher was wrong to tell me to stop. Part of education is to teach about failure and difficulty. If people only do the easy things who will do the hard ones? A person interviewed on Freakanomics said their school put too much emphasis on handwriting so they moved their child to a different school as this was having too much of a negative effect on his feelings. Way to teach your child to run away from hard things. I hope no college professor ever hurts his feelings to requires too much from them. Life gets harder, education should be hard to prepare students for the work of life.

So enough cons, how about some pro argument.

Laptops are full of distractions, most adults I know cannot focus with their email and social media trying to grab their attention.

In an independent study talked about on Freakanomics, two researchers found that handwriters and laptopers had no difference in learning faces, unless they were allowed to review their notes before the quiz, where handwriters gained an edge. Concepts on the other hand, handwriters always held and almost like they thought about the concepts more than the students who just typed everything that was said.

Something not really covered was writing new content. I give my students fountain pens as rewards and this makes writing so much more special. They take more time to write things and think more about what they are trying to say. This is a win-win.

Now everyone is different. Please try handwriting for a few weeks and see if it helps you retain more. If you are not a student, watch a lecture on the internet or read a book and see if you learn more.

Finally handwriting is personal. I am willing to mail a postcard to almost anyone that sends me their address (droops @ gmail) so that they can get that personal feeling.

So I made some arguments, handwriting makes you smarter, helps you develop grit, makes you feel special, and gives you super powers. Hopefully you will try it out.

This has been droops and this is Hacker Public Radio… HPR.

Fountain Pen Suggestions

hpr2060 :: Introduction to sed - part 5

Finishing covering sed commands. Looking at some example scripts

Hosted by Dave Morriss on 2016-06-24 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Series: Learning sed | Comments (0)

Introduction to sed - part 5

This episode is the last one in the "Introduction to sed" series.

In the last episode we looked at the full story of how sed works with the hold and pattern buffers. We looked at some of the commands that we had not yet seen and how they can be used to do more advanced processing using sed's buffers.

In this episode we will look at a selection of the remaining commands, which might be described as quite obscure (even very obscure). We will also look at some of the example sed scripts found in the GNU sed manual.

To read the rest of the notes for this episode follow this link:

hpr2059 :: More Tech, Less Magic

More Tech, Less Magic

Hosted by Todd Mitchell on 2016-06-23 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Comments (2)

This was my first show for HPR! I wanted to offer up something unique–hopefully not too much so to enjoy.

In this episode I talk a bit about the differences between how my son will grow up with gaming technology, and how I did. There’s a lot of nostalgia, a little humor, and also a bit of language.

All in-show music was created by me.

hpr2058 :: My 14th Beer Podcast

Talking about Troegs Brewery's Java Head Beer

Hosted by JustMe on 2016-06-22 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Series: Beverages | Comments (0)

This is my 14th Beer Podcast. I know. I know. I've only put two (2) up online so far. But trust me, the other ten (10) are coming. This one's just out of sequence is all.

Oh, yeah. A little other morsel/tidbit for those of you inclined to brew your own. Go to and download BrewDog's DIY Dog pdf of all of their brews/beers.

You ask, who's BrewDog? Well, they're two guys and a dog, who in 2005, began home brewing in a garage in North-Eastern Scotland. Two years and countless successes & failures later, BrewDog came howling into the world. Eight years after that - and more than 200 different beers later - they've released the recipe and story behind every single one of those brews.

Picture of Beer Bottle

So, if you've ever wanted to try to brew your own, here's another reason to start.

hpr2056 :: Interview with a young hacker

This is a short interview with a young member of my makerspace and local Raspberry Jam

Hosted by Tony Hughes AKA TonyH1212 on 2016-06-20 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Series: Interviews | Comments (3)

The following interview is with a young member of the Maker Space and Raspberry Pi community here in the North West of the UK.

You can find more of Josh's work at:

Blackpool Makerspace and LUG

Blackpool Raspberry Jam

hpr2055 :: GNU Nano Editor

Why GNU Nano is a real Text Editor and Simple Word Processor

Hosted by JWP on 2016-06-17 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Comments (2)

I recently heard an HPR Podcast where it was mentioned that Nano was not a real text editor. That somehow VI or Emacs or Kate or Gedit were in some way better than Nano. I just wanted to set the record straight that Nano is a serious editor that has a huge following and a facebook page.

hpr2054 :: Blather Configuration Part 1: Desktop Management

Blather Configuration Part 1: Desktop Management

Hosted by Jon Kulp on 2016-06-16 and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Series: Accessibility | Comments (2)

Blather Configuration Part 1: Desktop Management

In this episode I show how to start adding more commands, how to use the language updater script, and how to start doing some basic desktop navigation. I'll show you how to open and quit applications, and how to switch from one application to another using your voice.

For information about installing blather for the first time, as well as the startup script that I use, please refer to episode 0 of this series, which has examples and links for this stuff.

To start using the language updater script, you need to move it or copy it from the blather source code directory into your path (e.g. ~/bin/). To add new commands you will have to edit the main command configuration file:


Commands are configured in a "key: value" pair, where the key is what you wish to say, and the value is the command that will be executed when you say it. We will start out with some very basic ones, but these can be as elaborate as your imagination and scripting skills will allow. You can execute built-in system commands, or you can write your own scripts that will be executed upon the voice command.

Here's an example of a basic desktop application command set:

OPEN CHROMIUM: chromium &
GO TO CHROMIUM: wmctrl -a "google chrome"
QUIT CHROMIUM: wmctrl -c "google chrome"

The first command launches Chromium, the second one will switch focus to Chromium when you are currently in another program, and the third one closes Chromium. This makes use of the command line tool wmctrl, which is a very handy window management tool. The wmctrl -a command chooses which window to put focus on (or close) based on the window title, which in the commands above is given in quotation marks. There are many options to how wmctrl can find windows and take actions, but for now we will just use this basic option.

Once you have one command set of this kind working as you like, it's very easy to set up additional command sets for all of the desktop applications you use most often.

Some applications are more difficult to handle than others. For example media players typically change the window title based on which track is playing. This makes it impossible to use the static window title option above, so I resort to a bit of scripting to help it find the right window to put focus on or close:

OPEN clementine: clementine &
GO TO clementine: rid=$(pgrep clementine -u $(whoami) |head -n 1) && rwinname=$(wmctrl -lp |grep $rid |sed -e "s/.*$rid * //" | sed -e "s/$(hostname) //") && wmctrl -a "$rwinname"

Opening the music player is easy. Switching to it is something else. To make this work I first find the process ID of the Clementine music player, and then I use the wmctrl list command to list all of the windows that are open and I grep for the process ID that I found in the first part. Then I extract the window name from that command's output and use the result inside quotation marks in the very last command to change Focus to that window. Whew!

One last basic desktop navigation command for this episode. This is one that I use probably more than any other command. What it achieves is the alt + Tab Key stroke, which switches Focus to the previous window. Here's how I do it:

BACK FLIP: xdotool key alt+Tab

This makes use of the wonderful xdotool package to execute a virtual keystroke. Magic!