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
Dr. Marc Hannah: The Computer Scientist Who Brought Worlds to Life
Sometimes an inventor designs a device for a specific purpose. Sometimes it’s to try something new. But successful inventions often shape industries beyond those they initially intended. Dr. Marc Hannah built an invention with far bigger effects than anyone could have imagined—like bringing dinosaurs to life, building liquid robots, and letting the Titanic set sail one more time.
Raqi Syed gives some context on the evolution of special effects in the movie industry. Mark Grossman explains how the graphics world was more than ready for an upgrade. Tom Davis recounts the difficulties that he and his team had getting people to understand what was possible with the Geometry Engine. Luckily, Steve “Spaz” Williams defied his bosses and showed them its power to bring worlds to life, starting with Jurassic Park. Camille Cellucci explains that from then on, everything changed for the movie industry—and for the broader world of graphics.
Mark Dean: The Inventor Who Made the Computer Personal
Dr. Mark Dean has a superpower. He wasn’t born with it. He wasn’t exposed to high levels of radiation. It’s a power he learned from his father. And because of it, he was able to revolutionize the personal computer.
David Bradley explains how in the 1980s, IBM had a reputation for building big, enterprise mainframes. No one believed IBM could make a competitive PC. But that’s exactly what “Project Chess” was tasked with creating. Tony Hey describes the monumental shift in strategy it was for IBM to enter the PC market. Pete Martinez and Dennis Moeller recount their days working with Mark on the skunkworks project. And how IBM's strategy for creating a computer in under a year changed the personal computing industry forever—opening it to innovators outside the walls of IBM.
Mark Dean holds 3 of the 9 patents for the IBM 5150—the first IBM PC—including the revolutionary ISA bus. He then went on to lead the team that created the first gigahertz microprocessor, and eventually taught at the University of Tennessee. Mwamba Bowa shares her most cherished lesson from the inventor—how to cultivate that super power for herself.
Dr. Gladys West: The Mathematician Who Reshaped Our World
Aristotle and Eratosthenes are big names in geodesy. They got pretty close to measuring the size of the Earth. But the woman who got it done? She grew up a farmer, dreaming of something bigger. And her work changed how we see the world.
Dr. Gladys West didn’t have much room for error in her quest for higher education. Marvin Jackson recounts the obstacles in her path—and the challenges she faced in her early career. Gavin Schrock traces how geodesy progressed before Dr. West, and how foundational her work was for the GPS systems that followed. Paul Ceruzzi describes the state-of-the-art technology available at Dahlgren that helped Dr. West model the world. Todd Humphreys explains how that model, and the GPS systems that use it, support our way of life in more ways than we realize.
It’s an astounding story that may never have been told if it hadn’t been for Gwen James, Dr. West’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister. She makes the case for telling these stories before they’re lost—because there are definitely more of them out there.
Jerry Lawson: The Engineer Who Changed the Game
Many of us grew up playing cartridge-based games. But there's few who know the story behind how those cartridges came to be. And even fewer who know the story of the man behind them: Jerry Lawson.
Few people realized how his vision would change video games. Jenny List explains how before Jerry Lawson, a console could only play one game. Benj Edwards describes how Lawson partnered with a pair of engineers to design a console with swappable cartridges. Pong creator Al Alcorn recounts the FCC limitations on Lawson’s Fairchild Channel F—and recognizes Lawson’s immense contributions to the gaming industry. And those in the know, like Jeremy Saucier, advocate for sharing Lawson’s story.
Because Lawson’s story was almost lost, he was recently recognized by Joseph Saulter at the Games Developer’s Conference—thanks to the work of journalist John William Templeton. And his children, Anderson and Karen Lawson, share how passionate Jerry was about electronics—and how much it meant that he finally got the recognition he deserved.
Command Line Heroes: Meet the Inventors
Inventors don’t always get the credit they deserve, even for world-changing breakthroughs.
Season 6 of Command Line Heroes tells the stories of ingenious inventors who haven’t been given their full due. These heroes did nothing less than create new industries, dazzle our imaginations, and reshaped the world as we know it.
The first episode drops on October 13, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.
What Kind Of Coder Will You Become?
The 10x Coder is often positioned as a mythical developer who can always save the day. Saron and Clive investigate how much of that myth is grounded in truth.
Greg Sadetsky argues that coding is much like professional sports—some athletes are bound to be much better than those starting out. Brianna Wu and Bonnie Eisenman pick apart the myth by sharing how much they have had to clean up after supposed 10x Coders. Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton recounts the story of "Rick," a self-proclaimed rockstar developer who assumed too much. And everyone considers the benefits of the 1x Coders—because what use is code without ideas and experiences to guide development?
Customer ReviewsSee All
My new favorite tech podcast — thank you!
This valuable and interesting content is presented in such an approachable, consumable, applicable, and fun way. I love Saron’s style of narration — blending stories and interviews — bringing drama and intrigue to these tech tales and concepts! I find the whole show really engaging and impossible to tune out or turn off. I am so grateful for this podcast as a go-to supplement to my tech education! Thanks and keep up the incredible work.
This is an example of great podcasting!
Love the show, never miss an episode. I am an RN building data science skills. I consider this show mandatory to help understand the tech world. Keep up the good work!
One of my favorites
Saron is the absolute best tech-podcaster out there!!!