Berin Szoka is president and founder of the tech policy think tank TechFreedom. The group promotes a wide variety of digital rights and privacy issues. Most recently, they have started a petition demanding reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) so that law enforcement will have to get a warrant before accessing emails stored in the cloud. With so much attention paid to the NSA snooping, Berin believes that the over 25-year-old ECPA has been overshadowed and is in dire need of changes. Mr. Szoka has agreed to answer your questions about privacy and government policy online. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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With her signature pink hair, MIT engineer Limor Fried has become a force in the maker movement. Last year she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine, and her company, Adafruit Industries, did $10 million in sales. Limor has agreed to take some time away from soldering and running a new company to answer your questions about hardware, electronics, and Adafruit. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
In this video, we talk with author David Craddock about his investigation into the early days of game studio Blizzard for his new book, Stay Awhile and Listen. He's joined by Dave Brevik and Max Schaefer, two of the co-founders of Blizzard North. They talk about some of the ways in which making video games was different back in the early '90s -- and the ways it's similar to making games today. They also discuss the importance of having lively debates, and how one of those arguments led to Diablo being a real-time action game, instead of being turn-based. (This is the first half of an extended interview -- part 2 will be available on Monday.
Jason Calacanis gained notoriety first through Silicon Alley Reporter and later for being a co-founder of Weblogs, Inc. He's now an angel investor and has a company called, LAUNCH, which holds conferences and technology related events. The upcoming Launch Hackathon will be the largest in the world with over 1,000 developers already signed up and prizes of $800k invested in two of the top ten finalists. We had a chance to sit down with Jason to talk about what makes this hackathon so special and the future of angel investing. Read below to see what he had to say.
Anant Agarwal is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and the President of edX. A massive open online course platform founded by MIT and Harvard, edX offers numerous courses on a wide variety of subjects and is affiliated with 29 different institutes of higher education. Mr. Agarwal has agreed to take some time out of his schedule and answer your questions about edX and the future of learning. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Jim Jagielski is likely best known as one of the developers and co-founders of the Apache Software Foundation, where he has previously served as both Chairman and President. He also is a director of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and now serves as President of the Outercurve Foundation. Formerly known as the CodePlex Foundation, the Outercurve Foundation is "a not-for-profit foundation created as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects." Jim has agreed to answer your questions in real-time about his new position and the Outercurve Foundation itself on Wednesday, August 28th from 12-2pm ET (16:00-18:00 GMT). Check back tomorrow and hear what he has to say.
Guido van Rossum is best known as the creator of Python, and he remains the BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life) in the community. The recipient of many awards for his work, and author of numerous books, he left Google in December and started working for Dropbox early this year. A lot has happened in the 12 years since we talked to Guido and he's agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the new movie 'Elysium,' Earth a century and a half from now is an overtaxed slum, low on niceties like clean water and riddled with crime and sickness. The ultra-rich have abandoned terra firma in favor of Elysium, an orbital space station where the champagne flows freely and the medical care is the best possible. Mark Uhran, former director of the International Space Station Division at NASA headquarters, talked with Slashdot about what it would take (and how much it would cost) to actually build a space station like that for civilians. It turns out NASA did a report way back in 1975 describing what it would take to build a Stanford torus space station like the one in the movie: rotation for artificial gravity, a separate shield for radiation and debris, the ability to mine materials from astroids or possibly the moon, and $190.8 billion in 1975 dollars (the equivalent of $828.11 billion today). Looks like the ultra-rich are stuck on Earth for the time being." And still artificial gravity experiments languish.
A while ago you had a chance to ask Jimmy Wales about the amazing growth of Wikipedia, and his role advising the UK government in making academic research available online. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.
James Gosling is probably best known for creating the Java programming language while working at Sun Microsystems. Currently, he is the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Among other projects, Liquid Robotics makes the Wave Glider, an autonomous, environmentally powered marine robot. James has agreed to take a little time from the oceangoing robots and answer any questions you have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: 'I'm sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build...People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.'"
Last week you had a chance to ask Jon "maddog" Hall about his work on Project Caua and FOSS in general. Below you'll find his answers to those questions.
The last time we talked to Jimmy Wales Wikipedia had just reached the 300,000 article mark, and there was some question about whether it would be a viable competitor to World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica. Things have changed a little since then. Wikipedia now includes over 26 million articles in 285 languages, and Wales is advising the UK government on making taxpayer-funded academic research available for free online. Jimmy has agreed to answer your questions about internet freedom and the enormous growth of Wikipedia. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
It's been over 13 years since we did a Q&A with Linux International executive director Jon "maddog" Hall. For decades, maddog has been one of the highest profile advocates for free and open source software. He is currently working on Project Caua which aims "to promote more efficient computing following the thin client/server model, while creating up to two million privately-funded high-tech jobs in Brazil, and another three to four million in the rest of Latin America." He's also gearing up for FISL in Brazil, and helping to plan the FOSS part of Campus Party Europe in London. maddog has graciously agreed to find time to answer some of your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
An anonymous reader writes "Maybe you've been intrigued about working at Google (video), but unfortunately you slept through some of those economics classes way back in college. And you wouldn't know how to begin figuring out how many fish there are in the Great Lakes. Relax; Google has decided that GPAs and test scores are pretty much useless for evaluating candidates, except (as a weak indicator) for fresh college graduates. And they've apparently retired brain teasers as an interview screening device (though that's up for debate). SVP Laszlo Beck admitted to the New York Times that an internal evaluation of the effectiveness of its interview process produced sobering results: 'We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It's a complete random mess.' This sounds similar to criticism of Google's hiring process occasionally levied by outsiders. Beck says Google also isn't convinced of the efficacy of big data in judging the merits of employees either for individual contributor or leadership roles, although they haven't given up on it either." This has led TechCrunch to declare that the technical interview will soon be dead.
For around a decade programming was not part of the computer curriculum in the U.K.. Through a lot of hard work from advocates and the industry this will soon change, but a large skills gap still exists. Tim Gurney is just one of many working on closing that gap. His Coding in Schools initiative aims to "work with schools and students and inspire the next generation of computer programmers and software engineers by creating and spearheading schools based programming clubs." I recently sat down with Tim to talk about who's working on the problem and what yet needs to be done. Read below to see what he's doing to change the state of things.
James Logan founded MicroTouch Systems in the 80s and served on the on the Board of Directors of Andover.net, the company that acquired Slashdot back in 1999, but it is the company he founded in 1996, Personal Audio, that has garnered him much attention recently. Personal Audio sued Apple in 2009 for $84 million, claiming infringement on patents for downloadable playlists. Apple eventually lost the case and a jury ordered them to pay $8 million in damages. More recently, Personal Audio has filed suit against several prominent podcasters claiming that “Personal Audio is the owner of a fundamental patent involving the distribution of podcasts.” The EFF challenged the patents calling the company a patent troll saying, "Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now." The vice president of licensing for the Texas company counters that the EFF is working for "large companies against a small business and a couple of inventors," adding "Every defendant calls every plaintiff a patent troll. I've heard IBM called a patent troll. It's one of those terms everyone defines differently." Mr. Logan has agreed to answer your questions about his company and his patents. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Last week you had the chance to ask Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the crew of Blood Kiss about the upcoming Kickstarter movie, vampires, and their past projects. The film has reached the initial funding goal with the new target being $200K, making it an entirely fan funded film. Below you'll find their answers to your questions.