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Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.



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Host ID: 1
episodes: 17

hpr2208 :: Kayak Camping

Released on 2017-01-18 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

I talk about my setup for camping out of my kayak and ways to do this for very little money using stuff you already have and getting good cheap gear.

Getting out into nature is my favorite thing and I love going where I will not see others for days at a time.

hpr2191 :: Building a Soundboard Android App with App Inventor

Released on 2016-12-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Building quick Android Apps is simple with App Inventor. Droops walks through how to build a simple soundboard to play fun fart noises. This is a great project that he has done with his kids to bring computer science and computational thinking to the young ones.

gui screenshot

hpr2061 :: Handwriting

Released on 2016-06-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

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

hpr2035 :: Building Community

Released on 2016-05-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is droops and this is also Hacker Public Radio.

I love HPR and noticing our current need for shows, I put it on my list that I needed to help out. But what to talk about?

Let’s talk about growing HPR. It is a cool show and project, but if the community does not grow the show will end. People run out of shows to host and others have to fill that space.

I think we do a great job doing outreach to the community by going to conventions, getting mentioned in articles and magazines, and being cool with everyone. But as a community we could do a little more to get to the 4000 show mark. Even my lazy butt can help with these things.

First, let’s bring more traffic to the site. To do this we need content, which is really all we have. But we need to be more clever with how we use it.

We need to transcribe all of our shows. This allows search engines to better index our content and bring more people to our site. Maybe they won’t subscribe or even listen to a show with the content being readable, but they were not going to listen anyway by not finding us. This is a big chore and we would need a team with leadership to do it.

We need more popular hosts (this sounds bad taken at face value) to guest host shows and mention HPR on their shows. We used to do this by sending in bumpers like “this is droops from Hacker Public Radio and we live whatever this show is. Hacker Public Radio is a daily show created by the community”. Let’s make a list of podcasters we want to guest host or mention our show and go after them.

Speaking of guest hosts, let’s work on interviewing more people who will put our show on their blog/social media. We did this in the early days of Twatech with Moka5 and we got a lot of traffic from this. I do know that we already do this, but not everyone who listens contributes a show and this is an easy way to do it.

What if we made it easier to record shows? Maybe have an Android/iOS app to record and submit shows from.

We could have a tool to submit show topics or do a survey to find out what people are interested in. This may prompt people to record shows by knowing that someone would be interested in it.

Someone could get some free stock photos (or better yet we could just take our own) and put show titles over the images to share on social media. People click on images. I will do this so that everyone can see my ugly face.

a photo of droops

On that note, how about a video that explains what HPR is. This may be a good droops project. That would be something awesome to share on social media.

The website, which is a lot of work, needs to have related shows listed on each individual shows page. This will take a tag system and someone to tag all of the almost uncountable previous episodes.

One of my favorite show formats is reviews of software/media. This is so much in our community to keep up with and HPR is perfect for this. Everyone should do a show about some unique software they use or a cool book they are reading or a cool documentary they watched. Five minutes about something cool would bring me into learning more about it.

Currently my classes are watching a documentary about the Silk Road called Deep Web ( I should do a show on it to talk about privacy, government, all the cool things it brings up. We have not gotten far into the documentary yet as we keep stopping it to have discussions.

Also I love stickers, we should set up a store to sell stickers and t-shirts. Heck this is HPR, we should have tote bags. We can either sell them at cost or make a profit to pay for hosting or swag to give away.

Hacker Public Radio is driven by the community and our community as a whole is much smarter than I am. Let’s put our minds together and grow our show.

hpr1908 :: Arduino Pumpkin

Released on 2015-11-25 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Code for Pumpkin

int ledPin1 = 5;
int ledPin2 = 6;
int motorPin = 8;
int lightPin = 3;
int lightVal;
int potPin = 0;
int potVal;

void setup(){
  pinMode(ledPin1, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(ledPin2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(motorPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(potPin, INPUT);
  pinMode(lightPin, INPUT);
  digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);
  digitalWrite(ledPin2, LOW);
  digitalWrite(motorPin, LOW);

void loop(){
  potVal = analogRead(potPin);
  lightVal = analogRead(lightPin);
  if (lightVal < potVal){

void animate(){
  digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(ledPin2, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(motorPin, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);
  digitalWrite(ledPin2, LOW);
  digitalWrite(motorPin, LOW);

hpr0786 :: Streaming sporting events

Released on 2011-08-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.
In this show droops asks for help on live recording a sporting event.

hpr0673 :: droops returns to geocaching

Released on 2011-03-02 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

droops talks about his return to geocaching and how he is trying to solve the worlds problems.

Geocaching with droops and Johndoc from droops on Vimeo.

hpr0657 :: HPR Video Proposal

Released on 2011-02-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Myself and others would like to release video shows to acompany regular HPR shows. I am propsing this to the HPR audience and am looking for comments.

hpr0643 :: What's on my MP3 Player

Released on 2011-01-19 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Not all of it it tech, there is some history and some business thrown in there. If I do not listen your show, it is either too smart for me, too awesome for normal listening, or I do not know about it. Please tell me.

Some of this can be found on, let me know what the site is missing.

The big list:

I did not mention a new show that I just started listening to that is pretty awesome and about photography, Tack Sharp (

hpr0639 :: Podcasts are not Radio

Released on 2011-01-13 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Radio hosts and Podcasters have different goals and ways to go about them. Do not follow my example, but instead keep your podcasts all about the content.

hpr0632 :: Notebook Method for ADHD

Released on 2011-01-04 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
I recently graduated college and wanted to share a coping skill that I call the Notebook Method, it is used for organization and study.

hpr0201 :: phreaknic

Released on 2008-10-07 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
droops interviews skydog the lead organizer of phreaknic

hpr0157 :: New Hackermedia Content

Released on 2008-08-06 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Some new Hackermedia

The Hacker Voice Digest Issue 3
Rough guide to number stations - Part 3 By Demonix
History of BT Strowger Systems - By Belial
List of interesting phone numbers - Blue_Chimp
VoIP spectacular with 10nix and Belial
Hacking Vonage - Belial
Easy Peasy ID theft - Hyper
Urban Exploration - BT exchanges
and a fuckton more!......

Citizen Engineer
Phil Torrone

They Might Be Giants, Friday Night Video Podcast
Making of
Rss Feed

hpr0104 :: Not about Airsoft

Released on 2008-05-23 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
droops discusses feedback in the internet age, leave comments now, leave them before, during and after this show!
Link to Video
Link to Hacktv

hpr0100 :: Hackermedia Awards: RFA

Released on 2008-05-19 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
100th episode special droops and enigma cohost with special guest.
RFA Hackermedia Award

Thanks to all the Hosts for all their hard work!!

hpr0096 :: Xfce, Oh I how I love you

Released on 2008-05-13 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
droops rehashes a presentation he has given to his local lugs on why he loves xfce. you can download the presentation and follow along.
Link to presentation

hpr0035 :: An interview with John Whaley

Released on 2008-02-18 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

droops interviews John Whaley from Moka5.

John Whaley is responsible for the technical vision of Moka5. He holds a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University, where he made key contributions to the fields of program analysis, compilers, and virtual machines. He is the winner of numerous awards including the Arthur L. Samuel Thesis Award for Best Thesis at Stanford, and has worked at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center and Tokyo Research Lab. John was named one of the top 15 programmers in the USA Computing Olympiad. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from MIT and speaks fluent Japanese.

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