Hear the epic true tales of how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape. Command Line Heroes is an award-winning podcast hosted by Saron Yitbarek and produced by Red Hat. Get root access to show notes, transcripts, and other associated content at https://redhat.com/commandlineheroes
Robot as Servant
The 1980s promised robotic servants were in reach. They’d clean up our houses. Bring us drinks. Usher in an era of leisure. We didn’t get robot butlers. But if we look around, we’ll find an army of robotic servants already automating away domestic drudgery.
Richard Rowland recounts the extent to which Androbot over-promised on its ability to build a robot servant. 40 years later, we still don’t have robot maids. Monroe Kennedy III walks us through the complexities of seemingly simple tasks. To make things more difficult, each attempt to build a robot had to build the hardware AND write the code from scratch. Keenan Wyrobek explains that’s why he helped write and share the Robot Operating System (ROS). Leila Takayama describes how beneficial ROS was to the field of robotics. And Terry Fong shares how NASA is using ROS to build the robots that explore our solar system.
Command Line Heroes Season 8: Broadcasting the Robot Revolution
Robots have a special place in our imaginations. Writers, artists, directors, and more have shown how robots can change our world—for better or far, far worse. In the real world, robots seem a long way off. But are they? Season 8 of Command Line Heroes is all about the rise of the robots. They just may not be what you expect.
We meet the first industrial robot, take a journey through the uncanny valley, and investigate a possible robot crime. Season 8 covers the robots that are in our midst—and the determined dreamers who bring them to life.
The first episode drops September 7, 2021. Follow today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.
After the Bubble
The Y2K bug generated a lot of fear, but all that hype fizzled when the new millennium didn’t start with a digital apocalypse. It turns out that fear was just aimed at the wrong catastrophe. While plenty were riding high on the rise of the internet beyond the Y2K scare, another disaster had been brewing since 1995—and would bring them back down. But the dot-com bubble wasn’t the end. The internet was here to stay.
Not long after the turn of the millennium, the dot-com economy collapsed. Peter Relan points to the flawed business plans that fueled the dot-com bubble, and how many entrepreneurs and investors underestimated the complexity of building a business on the internet. Ernie Smith tells the story of Pets.com, and how a similar idea a decade later had a much better chance of succeeding. Gennaro Coufano reveals the element of luck that saved Amazon from going under —and how it evolved in the aftermath. Julia Furlan reflects on the changes the dot-com bubble brought, and what’s left to consider. And Brian McCullough describes how the dot-com bubble paved the way for a more resilient digital economy.
The World of the World Wide Web
1995 laid the groundwork for a truly global World Wide Web. But not every country took the same path to connecting to the internet. Some resisted, wanting to create their own version. Others had to fight for access, not wanting to be left behind. And while we made huge strides in connecting the world in those early years, we still have a long way to go.
Julien Mailland recounts the rollout of France’s Minitel service—how it was years ahead of the internet, but eventually lost its lead. Steve Goldstein explains what was involved in building the infrastructure to expand the NSFNET beyond the United States. Gianluigi Negro shares how China pushed for its connection, and how different it would be compared to the typical U.S. connection. And Christian O'Flaherty covers how costs weighed heavily on Argentina’s attempts to join the growing international network.
Looking for Search
The web was growing quickly in the ‘90s. But all that growth wasn’t going to lead to much if people couldn’t actually find any web sites. In 1995, an innovative new tool started crawling the web. And the search engine it fed opened the doors to the World Wide Web.
Elizabeth Van Couvering describes trying to find websites before search engines, and how difficult it was becoming in the early ’90s to keep track of them all. Louis Monier talks about having to convince others how important search engines would become—and he showed them what a web crawler could do. Paul Cormier recounts taking the search engine from a research project to a commercial one. And Richard Seltzer wrote the book on search engines, helping the rest of the world see what a profoundly vital tool they would become.
Shopping for the Web
We put a lot of trust into online shopping: sharing our names, addresses, and handing over money. In return, we have faith that the purchased item appears at our doorstep in a few days or weeks. That trust didn’t come easily. In 1995, we took our first steps out of the brick and mortar store to load our digital shopping cart.
Robert Spector reveals how Amazon.com’s business foundations are in data—and being early to the internet. Sandeep Krishnamurthy recounts the rise of eBay. Angela Robinson describes the technology that makes secure transactions and trustworthy e-commerce possible. Kartik Shastri shares how difficult it was to store and process consumer data. And Katie Wilson explains how some big tech companies are different from previous monopolies, but are following many of the same paths.