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Podcast: The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload – Episode 31

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald are joined by Ryan Priest for an accidentally transport-heavy chat about the week in tech

On this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald are joined by special guest and CW sub-editor, Ryan Priest, to discuss the week in tech.  

  • Ryan joins the team once more as a stand-in for podcast regular Brian McKenna (who at the time of recording was flying back from Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco) and gets the discussion going with some chat about how technology helped him find his way home after Clare’s eventful 30th birthday celebrations.
  • With nothing more than some call log records and an Uber receipt, the team are able to (partially) fill in some of the gaps in Ryan’s memory about what happened after he left the party, before going on to discuss why getting drunk people to test app user interfaces is never a bad idea.
  • From here, the discussion moves on to a women in tech meetup Clare attended during the week, focusing specifically on bringing together individuals who are specialising in 3D printing technologies and their applications.
  • The Women In 3D Printing mixer is organised by Kadine James, the creative tech lead at Hobs 3D, who – as Clare explains – is geared towards “connecting people working in this space to get things done” and make the technology more accessible to a much wider range of people.
  • The team discuss the wide range of applications for 3D printing, and confess to feeling impressed by just how large and varied the use cases are for it, which provides a lead into the next topic of discussion, which is datacentres on the high seas.
  • On this point, Caroline discusses details of an interview she recently did with the CEO of barge-based datacentre developer Nautilus Data Technology about its plans to deploy a floating server farm in Ireland Limerick Docks.
  • The project is being billed as a means of helping ease some of the pressures affecting Ireland now that it is fast becoming a prime location for overseas datacentre investment, which means space for new facilities is at a premium.
  • This discussion prompts Ryan to reveal he is a closet shipping nerd, who regularly consults an app that tracks the location and direction of travel of ships around the world.
  • The trio then go on to pick apart some research carried out by Channel 4 News, which polled 100 reception teachers about the readiness and preparedness of children who are going to school for the first time.
  • A couple of areas flagged for concern within its results were the number of children turning up to school for the first time with poor communication and speech skills, with the blame being laid partly at the increasing reliance of parents on tablets and virtual assistants to keep their children entertained.
  • As a counterpoint to that, Clare shares details of a recent event she attended at the British Museum that shows how technology is playing an important role in helping children to engage with its exhibits while visiting, but also for those who wish to experience all it has to offer remotely, too.
  • Ryan then rounds out the episode with a recap of his most recent contribution to the Computer Weekly Downtime blog, in the form of his take on the news that Gatwick Airport is introducing facial recognition technology to aid the flight boarding process for air passengers.

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