Episode 193 – Icy Robotic HomePods

Curling at the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympics

Michael M welcomes the HomePod and it’s robotic assistant Siri to his home, and shares some of his good experiences with his new smart speaker, not the least of which was listening to the radio broadcast of the Tar Heel Sports Network synchronized to the television video courtesy of the Tunecast app and the HomePod.

The 2018 Pyeong Chang Olympics’ opening ceremony incorporated augmented reality and drones, much to the delight of the Games At Work crew.  Michael R pointed out the challenges involved in the droneshow, remembering the Super Bowl 51 weather, wind and security conditions that required that the drone performance be taped beforehand, just like what was done in South Korea.  Nevertheless, an impressive performance by the Intel team!

Touching on The Void’s newest virtual reality experience, and remembering their earlier Ghostbusters example from episode 176, Michael and Michael discus how to optimize your home automation & Internet of Things setup, making suggestions on router configuration and the importance of frequent updates to keep current with security patches.

Closing out the episode, the team returns to Olympic competition and this time the thrill of victory goes to skiing robots, although the frozen trampoline does get honorable mention.  Hope you enjoy!

Selected Links

iFixIt article — HomePod Teardown — https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/HomePod++Teardown/103133

CNET article: Apple’s HomePod gets a warm welcome from Google Assistant — https://www.cnet.com/news/apples-homepod-gets-warm-welcome-from-google-assistant/

The Verge article:  Sonos made a playlist for Apple’s HomePod launch — https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/9/16995262/sonos-apple-homepod-launch-day-playlist

The Scholarly Kitchen article: What Will Scholarly Information Providers Do About Voice User Interfaces (VUI)? — https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2018/02/01/will-scholarly-information-providers-voice-user-interfaces-vui/

TuneIn Radio — https://tunein.com

iMore article: Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire blew my mind and made me cry — https://www.imore.com/star-wars-secrets-empire-blew-my-mind-and-made-me-cry

The Void’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire — https://www.thevoid.com/dimensions/starwars/secretsoftheempire/

Games at Work Episode 176 — I Got Slimed — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/08/24/episode-176-i-got-slimed/

Nerdist’s Star Wars Episode IX Opening Crawl Revealed?! — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht9kRsLLhjg&feature=youtu.be

MIT Technology Review article:  A fast-evolving botnet could take gadgets in your home to the dark side — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610056/a-fast-evolving-new-botnet-could-take-gadgets-in-your-home-to-the-dark-side/

Gizmodo article:  The House that Spied on Me — https://gizmodo.com/the-house-that-spied-on-me-1822429852

The Verge article:  Robots compete in their own Olympics ski tournament, capture our hearts — https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/12/17004084/winter-olympics-pyeongchang-robot-ski-tournament

Mashable article:  This kid jumping onto an icy trampoline in slow motion is actual magic — https://mashable.com/2018/02/12/kid-frozen-trampoline/

What games are the hosts playing?

Michael R:  Darts of Fury — http://www.dartsoffury.com
Michael M:  Watching Olympic curling and learning new terminology, like the hog line, eh!


Episode 192 – PVP-Y


On a Games at Work busy day — the co-hosts start with follow up to the last two episodes dealing with smart speakers about the new HomePod being released.  While not said on the show, Michael M is looking forward to experiencing the dulcet tones of the Games At Work podcast on his HomePod in just a short few days!

Robotics & automation loom large for this episode with many stories converging on the concept of whether automation will be a net job destroyer or creator.  The MIT Technology Review article gives a comprehensive snapshot of a variety of sources estimating the net jobs created and lost due to advances in AI — and the need for advanced education as the technology behind smart speakers and virtual assistants begins to take hold in the knowledge economy in the same way that physical robots have in warehouses and assembly lines.  Education is key to the new roles being created and in preparing people for the next set of opportunities: how Artificial Intelligence bots are trained to do their jobs, the human-computer interface design, the maintenance of these systems as well as the integration to other systems.

Moving from virtual robotics, to physical robotics, Michael and Michael talk about the new Cyberdyne Medical Exoskeleton HAL.

Continuing the trend of finding examples of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the Games At Work team found two compelling stories published in the MIT Technology Review:

Joining AI and AR, the article on a lidar-enabled augmented reality experience to help construction workers know when something is not correctly installed can easily save time and money by making improvements when it is the easiest to do so.

The US Ski Team is taking advantage of virtual reality for practice on slope visualization to prepare for the Olympic events.  Michael and Michael talk about the idea of using an augmented reality version of this to show the optimal apex & route, taking advantage of snow conditions to guide the skier, in a rich HUD fashion in the ski goggles.

Finishing up the episode, Michael and Michael conclude with a couple of intruding games, including TrapAdventure 2, a Mario Brothers-esque side scroller that had us in stitches, and the South Park game which requires player vs player gameplay in order to advance the storyline and upgrade (hence the tile of this episode!).

Hope you enjoy!

Selected Links

MacRumors article:  HomePod: Apple’s Smart Speaker, Order New for February 9 Launch — https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/homepod/

MIT Technology Review article:  Every study we could find on what automation will do to jobs, in one chart — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610005/every-study-we-could-find-on-what-automation-will-do-to-jobs-in-one-chart/

The Impact of Automation on Everyday Life by Irving Wladawsky-Berger —


Microsoft:  The Future Computed ebook — https://news.microsoft.com/futurecomputed/

NPR article:  ‘Don’t Think A Robot Could Do This’: Warehouse Workers Aren’t Worried For Their Jobs — https://www.npr.org/2018/01/25/579160550/don-t-think-a-robot-could-do-this-warehouse-workers-aren-t-worried-for-their-job

IEEE Spectrum article:  Cyberdyne’s Medical Exoskeleton Strides to FDA Approval — https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/cyberdynes-medical-exoskeleton-strides-to-fda-approval

MIT Technology Review article:  VR is the US Olympic ski team’s secret weapon — https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/610054/vr-is-the-us-olympic-ski-teams-secret-weapon/

MIT Technology Review article:  A 3-D imaging robot could help construction workers make fewer mistakes — https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/610065/a-3-d-imaging-robot-could-help-construction-workers-make-fewer-mistakes/

@Steve_OS’s tweet on TrapAdventure 2 —


TrapAdventure 2 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trapadventure-2-hardest-retro-game/id1110037150?mt=8

What games are the hosts playing?

Michael R — South Park Phone Destroyer Gameplay — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwWHgQVq1PY

Michael M’s “I Game Alone” from 2011, sung to George Thorogood’s song I Drink Alone, and is kinda partial to the Live album from 1986 —> https://www.georgethorogood.com/live.html & https://itunes.apple.com/cz/album/george-thorogood-live/723353640

I game alone, yeah
With nobody else
I game alone, yeah
With nobody else
You know when I game alone
I prefer to be by myself

Every morning just before breakfast
I don’t want no mana, coffee or tea
Just me and my Infocom text adventures
That’s all I ever need
‘Cause I game alone, yeah
With nobody else
Yeah, you know when I game alone
I prefer to be by myself

The other night I lay sleeping
And I woke from a terrible dream
So I called up my pal Duke Nukem
And his partner Leisure Suit Larry
And we game alone, yeah
With nobody else
Yeah, you know when I game alone
I prefer to be by myself

The other day I got invited to a party
But I stayed home instead
Not to be grinding or crafting,
Just me and my pal Sid Meyers
And his brothers Techmo and Mario
And we game alone
Yeah, with nobody else
Yeah, you know when I game alone
I prefer to be by myself

Yeah, my whole family done give up on me
And it makes me feel oh so bad
Don’t want to be PvPing in a MMORPG
Just give me my plain ol’ Plants —
versus Zom-om-bies
And I game alone, yeah
With nobody else
Yeah, you know when I game alone
I prefer to be by myself


Episode 190 – Crazy to the Macs

The Michael’s welcome in the new year with a philosophical discussion on why do we need a dedicated speaker for a digital assistant? What’s the secret sauce as to why a dedicated device is worth it verses just using the one on your phone? We also tweeted out a quick poll on which device do you use?

We then discuss Magic Leap’s finally announced Developer kit. Are you getting your’s? What do you think about it’s form factor? Is it the next great dev kit, or will it just be another Google Glass like launch? We look at the design and Michael R. appreciates how people got the tethered part wrong (as they usually do from early prototypes).

Going from AR we look back at virtual assistants with two apps, Fin and Filld, which help people with a busy life get mundane things done. Is it just Task Rabbit or something more? Is it within the reach of average consumers? Not yet, but who knows.

We then look at unrolling tweet storms and turning them into a blog post, via a google chrome plug in. An finally we go back to a few old favorites with Civilizations and the Animaniacs.

What will you do this year? We plan on doing the same thing we do every year, Try and take over the world!!!

Happy new year!

Show Links:
There’s no place like HomePod –

Multi-Timer by Persapps – http://www.persapps.com – Direct link:

A quick tweet about which device do you own? https://twitter.com/GamesAtWork_Biz/status/949363822560768006

Magic Leap Finally Reveals AR Headset – https://uploadvr.com/magic-leap-finally-reveals-ar-headset-magic-leap-one/
The Fin Assistant – https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/22/fin-assistant/
Fill Your Tank with Filld – https://www.filld.com/

Amazon will deliver to the trunk of your car – http://fortune.com/2017/10/10/amazon-phrame/

Unroll your Tweet Storms – https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/04/thread-reader-app-twitter/

Civilizations VI is now on the iPad – https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/12/the-full-real-actual-civilization-vi-just-came-out-on-ipad/
Animaniacs are back for another season on Hulu – http://www.slashfilm.com/animaniacs-reboot/

What are we playing:
Michael R. InstaSaber – http://instasaber.com
Michael M. – Doing yearly time-suck cleanup of apps on his phone.