Digital Planet [World Service]

Episodes

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An introduction to new technology, how it works and what it can do for us.
20070102An introduction to new technology, how it works and what it can do for us.
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20070206As part of the India Rising season, Digital Planet comes from Calcutta, the next big thing in the Indian digital world, and home to increasing numbers of software companies.
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20080422Technology news with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson.
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20081125Technology news with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. Every Tuesday.

Technology news with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. Every Tuesday.

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Synopsis

Technology news with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. Every Tuesday.

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20090407Steve Wozniak
  • daisyphone lets you make music collaboratively on your iphone with friends, even if you're not in the same room. researchers from queen mary university in london designed the application to find out how musicians work together to create music.

    india’s high-tech ambulance service

  • on today's episode there's an exclusive interview with apple co-founder steve wozniak.

    this week 'the woz' has been voted off us tv series dancing with the stars. gareth asks what compelled wozniak, a computer engineer by training, to take part in a dancing contest.

    plus, he airs his views about the iphone, google's android platform and apple's future plans.

    jamming with the daisyphone

  • tinku ray from the bbc’s delhi bureau visits emri, the emergency management research institute in hyderabad.

    all emergency calls – for ambulances, firefighters and the police – come through to this central unit. state-of-the-art gps technology is used to locate the caller and deliver accident victims to the nearest hospital for treatment.

    apple co-founder steve wozniak, daisyphone music app, and high-tech ambulances in india

    apple co-founder steve wozniak, daisyphone music app, and high-tech ambulances in india.

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    20090630Technological and digital news from around the world.

    Technological and digital news from around the world.

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    Technological and digital news from around the world.

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    20090901Vint Cerf Pt 1, technology in neuro-rehabilitation, internet dating in Africa & India

    RUNNING OUT OF CYBERSPACE

    Simon Morton, from Radio New Zealand, talks to 'father of the internet' Vint Cerf.

    In his initial internet 'experiment' Vint created enough space for 4.3billion devices to connect to the net. But it turns out that wasn't enough.

    He's now working on an 'internet protocol' called IPV6 - which will increase the internet's capacity to 340trillion trillion trillion IP addresses.

    MOBILE STROKE SOLUTION

    Husband and wife team Kevin and Sarah Brown talk about their joint project to help stroke patients communicate more effectively using a simple tech solution.

    INTERNET DATING IN AFRICA & INDIA

    Gareth discusses internet dating protocol in with Simdul Shagaya, founder of Alarena.com in Nigeria and Guarav Rakshit, from Shaadi.com India.

    Does being able to choose the caste or tribe of you potential partner online increase segregation and racial tension?

    Or is it just a reflection of real life relationships?

    Vint Cerf Pt 1, technology in neuro-rehabilitation, internet dating in Africa & India

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    20091229Digital art at the V&A; Tagging rubbish; Mapping Sao Paulo for accessibility

    Mehmet Akten and Jason Bruges are amongst the designers and computer programmers at the Victoria and Albert museum in London revealing that data can be beautiful. Gareth Mitchell wanders the floors of a highly interactive exhibition which invites visitors to throw virtual paint onto virtual canvases and become innovative digital artists for the day.

    An experiment in tagging refuge in Boston, USA, is allowing citizens to track the rubbish which they put out for collection. It is causing some to become more conscientious about recycling their refuse.

    The Catalan artist, Antoni Abad, has unveiled a project at this year's Mobilefest in Sao Paulo to help people with disabilities. Activists have taken to the street armed with mobile phones to help map the city for disabled access.

    Digital art at the V&A; Tagging rubbish; Mapping Sao Paulo for accessibility

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    20100126Technological and digital news from around the world.

    Howard Schmidt on cyber crime; Malaysia's love of Twitter; BBC's MyWorld doc; cMatrix12

    Howard Schmidt explains the importance of cyber security, and what individuals and countries can do to avoid coming under cyber attack.

    Jennifer Pak reports from Malaysia about the rise of social networking amongst the countries politicians, from the prime minister down.

    The BBC unveils a new competition to encourage listeners to create short documentary films.

    Colin Grant reports on cMatrix12, the work of art created by Bret Battey that grew out of a computer programming error.

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    20100406Robots that care; Robots past and future; Nubians in Kibera; Tina Shoulders on Fashion 2.0

    Jon Stewart reports on the desire to humanise Robots. He visits the laboratory of Maja Matarić at the University of Southern California and is given a demonstration of robots that care.

    The Granta magazine writer, Steven Hall, reflects on the past and future developments of robotics.

    The documentary photographer, Greg Constantine, reveals the back story to his digital archive of the Nubians who live in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.

    Tina Shoulders discusses how the elitist fashion world is waking up to the benefits offered by social networking tools.

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    20100504Internet security; Crowd-sourced film; Crowd-funding start-ups; Arabic keyboard

    Andy Jones from the Internet Security Forum reveals its 'Threat Horizon', the list of perils posed by cybercrime.

    Jennifer Pak reports from Malaysia on the film makers who have employed crowd sourcing to help develop the script for the film, Your Grandfather's Road.

    A new scheme in South Africa called Crowdfund has raised more than 150,000 US dollars to help start up tech companies. Its founder the web strategist, Eve Dmochowska, explains how it might kick-start the start-ups.

    Eva Dadrian is given a demonstration of Microsoft's Maren, a free download that allows users to type an Arabic script on a standard Latin keyboard.

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    20100601Ken Banks; Chile computer bus; Afropixel; Facebook experiment

    Ken Banks is the founder of FrontlineSMS. He’s also the recent recipient of a National Geographic young explorers’ award. He joins Digital Planet to discuss the myriad emergency uses of FrontlineSMS.

    Irene Caselli reports from Chile on the bus, touring areas of devastation three months after the earthquake that is bringing computers and connectivity to those regions.

    Sasha Gankin reports from Dakar on the Afropixel festival. One of the highlights this year is the 'pedagogical suitcase', an artistic computer kit that fits neatly in a suitcase.

    What do the images on your Facebook profile tell the world about you? How discreet are you? Would you rather the anonymous blue silhouette rather than a true-to-life photo? The young scientist, Nina Jones, embarks on an experiment to determine the meaning behind our Facebook profiles.

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    20100810Nuns in northern England use the internet to work out who to pray for

    A monastery of nuns in the north or England is using a digital dot matrix display that gives a news feed of global events and updates of the emotions and feelings of bloggers around the world. For the last eighteen months the Poor Clares nuns from St. Joseph's in York have been using the devise designed by Goldsmiths, University of London to guide their prayers. Bill Gaver from Goldsmiths explains how.

    Laura Sheeter reports on the latest developments from HOPE, the Hackers on Planet Earth, an event where three thousand delegates recently came together in New York.

    Gordon Bell was a principal researcher for Microsoft. Based in the firm's San Francisco labs, he has been embarking on a ten-year experiment called MyLifeBits where he is capturing every aspect and moment of his existence. He joins Digital Planet to discuss how storage and search technologies are converging to offer digital archives of our lives.

    Vishva Samani reports from Uganda about the next big thing coming from Kampala - a new workspace and community in the city called the Hive Collaborative space.

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    20100831A researcher builds a supercomputer out of PS3 playstations to decipher Big Bang.

    The Ashmoleum Museum in England has embraced new technology to lower its electricity bill and its carbon footprint. Jonathan Moffett from the Ashmoleum explains the benefits of automation that switches off computers when they’re not being used. Gary Shepherd explains how the technology work.

    Gaurav Khanna has strung together a set of sixteen PS3 playstations to build a supercomputer that has computing power equivalent to two hundred PCs. He talks to Digital Planet about how he is harnessing the power of the supercomputer to determine some of the mathematics behind the Big Bang.

    Scientists at the Zoo and Wildlife Research Institute in Berlin have begun employing a powerful CT scanner to investigate wildlife. Whilst doctors have had plenty of practice putting humans through CT scanners, animals because of their hugely varying sizes and shapes, pose more difficult subjects. Gareth Mitchell visits the zoo where scientists have been perfecting new scanning techniques for the animals, using them for autopsies on dead creatures and to diagnose illness in sick ones.

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    The best of 2010 in this special programme, including the film The Social Network

    Review of 2010

    We are looking back at 2010, when computer coding went mainstream and as geeks took centre stage in one of the year's biggest movies. There was also the World Cup, so Digital Planet went beyond the tournament and into the township to uncover some technology secrets in Cape Town. We asked you for your favourites and we have added them to ours.

    Digital Planet sent reporter Tom Brook to the premier of The Social Network the film where Hollywood took on the story of Facebook. Bill Thompson and Gareth Mitchell discuss what they liked and disliked about the movie.

    South by Southwest Quiz

    In March, the team went to the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin Texas – one of the big events on the annual tech calendar. Usually we were there to report on the happenings, this time round we were one of the events on the festival programme, with our Digital Planet Interactive Technology Quiz recorded in front of a live audience. Listener Chandra Sekar in Bangalore, India on our Facebook group wanted to hear some of that quiz again so we obliged.

    Brian Eno and David Hockney

    Digital Planet caught up with two very famous technology adopters – Brian Eno and David Hockney. Producer, composer and former Roxy Music member Brian Eno wrote the music for the Spore game title. We spoke to him about his music and his work 77 Million Paintings in which a series of Brian's drawings are digitised and then overlaid and manipulated randomly. In November, we heard from another big name artist who had originated his work completely digitally – originally using his iPhone and then on a tablet computer. This was British artist David Hockney, speaking to us at an exhibition of the work displayed on iPads hung on the gallery walls.

    Tech in Cape Town

    At the beginning of June and the build up to the World Cup in South Africa, Gareth Mitchell travelled to South Africa to report on technology not football. The goal was to sneak away from all the soccer hype, to venture from the tournament to the townships and dig out what digital means for everyday life for the people of Cape Town.

    Education

    Lecturer Nadia Hussain on our Facebook group said about this programme: "The show opened up my eyes to different possibilities of how I could further integrate technology in my daily teaching since I'm a professor of Physiology teaching medical students." We have been working a lot with our colleagues at the Open University this year and one of the collaborations that was a particular favourite amongst our Planeters on the Digital Planet Facebook group was our show in February about technology in education. We have chosen to replay the report on laptops into class in Sao Paulo in Brazil and a teacher in Melbourne podcasting his lectures as well a service to help with language learning in Bangladesh - just call a number from your mobile and listen in to a language class down the phone.

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    Where does technological innovation come from?

    To kick off the New Year, Digital Planet looks at technological innovation: where it comes from, what new technologies we saw in 2010, and where the world's innovation hotspots are.

    Gareth Mitchell talks to Peter Nowak, author of Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How war, porn and fast food created technology as we know it, about why these industries are so often the originators or early adopters of new technology. They are joined by technology reporter LJ Rich and Digital Planet regular Bill Thompson to discuss what drives invention.

    The panel also look at some of the new digital trends from the past year: 3D TV, social gaming, and human-assistive robots. Will they find the military, pornography and food industries behind these novelties, or are there other important sources of innovation?

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    20110308A report on the internet black out in Libya

    As this edition of Digital Planet goes on air, the internet in Libya continues to be blacked out, as it has been since last Thursday. How have the authorities managed such a lock down? Is there any internet traffic in Libya and if so how are people getting round the restrictions?

    Technology journalist Jamillah Knowles reflects on Apple’s improvements to its iPad. The eagerly awaited iPad2 has launched but was it worth the wait?

    Why download when there are so many streaming services out there? And which of them hit the right note and which ones chime with discord. Spencer Kelly offers an essential guide to music streaming.

    The musician and computer programmer Andrew Robertson has come up with new software that will enable drummers to be more integrated into live playing with band members. Robertson demonstrates the benefits of his B-Keeper software that enables electronics to follow the drummer rather than the other way round.

    Indians are famous for being swots, nerds, boffins and dorks, says the science journalist Angela Saini. In her new book Geek Nation, Saini looks at high-tech and innovation in India. She joins Digital Planet to discuss how India has become a superpower of science.

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    Synopsis

    Earthquake Technology

    Amid efforts to treat the injured and shore up damaged property following the recent earthquake in Italy, there’s a team in the region deploying some novel technology that it hopes could help to save lives in future earthquakes.

    The new technology, called LIDAR, takes high resolution 3D images of scarps which appear on a fault during a quake - they’re like steps in the ground, or mini cliff faces a few centimetres high.

    Geospatial Research Ltd, a spin out company of the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University in England, is pioneering LIDAR in geology. Managing Director Richard Jones explains.

    Obama's Technology Policy

    Clark Boyd, technology correspondent on The World, talks to Gareth and Bill about how President Obama's well-known enthusiasm for technology has translated in to policy so far.

    WhereCampAfrica

    Google Maps has just arrived in Kenya, where it's feared that mapping the region could inflame inter-tribal tensions over land ownership.

    That’s one of the issues that came out of a meeting in Kenya last week called WhereCampAfrica.

    The gathering brought together geographers, cartographers and mobile mapping specialists to discuss the potential – and difficulties – of the ‘geographic web’ in Africa.

    Our BBC Nairobi reporter David Ogot reports.

    Steve Wozniak

    In the second part of our exclusive interview, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak tells Gareth about his plans for the future.

    He’s always on the look out for new innovations to get behind, and describes how he ends up getting together with various fledgling tech start-ups.

    Earthquake technology, Obama's tech policy, WhereCampAfrica & part 2 of our Woz interview.

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    26/05/2009 - History Of Home Computing Special20090526Gareth and Bill present a brief history of home computing, from Bletchley Park in the UK.

    This week, Gareth and Bill go back to BASIC with their potted history of the home computer. In this special edition, produced in collaboration with the Open University, they travel to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire England.

    Here, during World War II, top secret German codes were broken using the first electronic programmable computer. Gareth meets the giant 'Colussus' which deciphered messages sent by Hitler to his generals. He also talks to curator Tony Sale, the man who spent 15 years rebuilding this historic machine.

    Archive of Tommy Flowers kindly donated by the Science Museum in London.

    Chip tunes

    Composer Matthew Applegate makes 'chiptune' music by reprogramming old computers. He recently gave a performance at Bletchley Park called 'Obsolete?' using sounds from Colussus and other machines in the museum. He talks to Gareth about working with Colussus and how some spilt milk started his career.

    From codes to coding

    Gareth & Bill get nostalgic in the home computing gallery, full of classic machines from the 1960s onwards. Director Kevin Murrell guides them through the years, from the Acorn Atom, through the Sinclair ZX80, to the BBC Micro. Finally, convergence arrived with the Apple Macintosh and the IBM PC, the precursors to today's home computers.

    Website extras from the Open University

    You can download the free Digital Planet ringtone at the Open University website, see their link below. There you will also find a 3D Photosynth picture and video of the mighty Colussus!

    Gareth and Bill present a brief history of home computing, from Bletchley Park in the UK.

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    Digital Planet20090325

    Synopsis

    This week we have a special edition of Digital Planet that was produced in association with the Open University, exploring the world of Digital DIY.

    DIY fonts

    London-based font designer, Jonathan Barnbrook, shows Gareth how to create his own typeface on the web.

    Could your handwriting become the next Times New Roman or Comic Sans?

    Maker Faire

    Reporter Angela Saini visits the Maker Faire in Newcastle, organised by MAKE magazine. It has organised four events like this in the US since 2006, but this is the first in the UK.

    Scientists, hackers, crafters and general DIY enthusiasts show off their latest technologies.

    Inventor, Jimmie Rodgers, explains why the Arduino circuit board is so popular amongst people who want to build their own hardware.

    And we meet the creator of a life-size, fire-breathing mechanical horse.

    Photosynth

    Photos are taking on a new dimension.

    Josh Edwards from Microsoft Live Labs talks to Gareth about the website that reconstructs scenes using individual photographs.

    Photosynth’s software can stitch together different sets of holiday pictures by a group of friends into one three-dimensional image.

    Technology news with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. Every Tuesday.