Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 12 – Oct. 22, 2008

This week Lorelle VanFossen will join us in the studio to tell us about her work with Word Press and a couple of upcoming events. And later, we’ll talk to Hunter Downs and Erin Nishimura from local tech company Archinoetics. We’ll talk about brain painting, brain to computer interfaces, and Project Niu.

The headlines:

  • Honeybee populations around the world have seen troubling decreases around the world, with scientists studying what they’re calling Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Now, a Hawaii company says its using nanotechnology to fight CCD, developing a protective hive coating that blocks potentially harmful particles from getting in, but still allows air to flow through.
  • Keeping kids safe online is a hot topic once again, with new laws at the federal level taking different approaches to protecting children on the Internet. Last week, President Bush signed the KIDS Act of 2008 — KIDS being an acronym for “Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators.” Among other things, the KIDS Act requires convicted sex offenders provide their email and instant messaging addresses as part of their registration with the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), a private community hospital in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii, has partnered with Phoenix Health Systems, a national healthcare information technology management, and consulting company, to provide IT related management and infrastructure services.
  • Hawaii will be one of ten states included in the Real World Design Challenge, a new annual competition for high school students organized by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Design Challenge is described as one way to ensure America’s economic competitiveness and national security, inspiring today’s students to become tomorrow’s engineers. The theme for the first challenge is “Aviation and Fuel Consumption,” and will require students to redesign an existing aircraft to improve its fuel efficiency without drastically reducing its performance.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 11 – Oct. 15, 2008

This week, Eugene Villaluz will join us in the studio to tell us about HMAUS Mactoberfest and later, we’ll talk to Shari Tamashiro, Cybrarian from Kapiolani Community College about Digital Storytelling, the Hawaii Nisei Story and Hawaii Memories.

It’s day 8 (don’t ask me why I say day 5 on the recording) of Celebration 2008 so if you enjoy Bytemarks Cafe and want to support tech reporting in Hawaii, please do consider making a donation online or by calling (808) 941-3689. Be sure to mention Bytemarks Cafe!

  • Mauna Kea will soon be the center of attention for NASA scientists when they test a robot designed for lunar prospecting. From  November 1st  through the 13th, the Big Island volcano will stand in for the moon so that the robot — called Scarab — can simulate a lunar mission to extract water, hydrogen, oxygen and other compounds that could potentially be mined for use by future lunar explorers.
  • Speaking of Mauna Kea, spectacular new photos of the planet Uranus taken from the Keck II Observatory were unveiled Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. Since Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the sun, suffice it to say space observation has evolved considerably since the last time astronomers got a good look at the icy blue planet.
  • With fluctuating oil prices and a challenging economy, both public and private sector organizations are turning to alternative work environments such as telecommuting, flex time, work at home and four-day workweeks to ease the pain to their bottom lines and their employees’ wallets. That includes the Hawaii state government, which is piloting a four-day work week. Information Technology, or IT, is key to making it work.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 10 – Oct. 8, 2008

This week, we speak with Anderson Le of the Hawaii International Film Festival about “Metal Samurai.” Then, we’re joined in the studio by Lisa Gibson and Mike Hamnett to discuss the state of the tech industry in Hawaii, as profiled in a comprehensive report just released by the Hawaii Science and Technology Council.

It’s pledge week at Hawaii Public Radio, so if you enjoy Bytemarks Cafe and want to support tech reporting in Hawaii, please do consider making a donation online or by calling (808) 941-3689. Be sure to mention Bytemarks Cafe!

  • The Senate last month passed SB 1492 which would require the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to issue an annual report on the availability of broadband access across the U.S., instead of the current law, which requires the FCC to issue a report “regularly.”
  • Hawaii’s emerging life-sciences industry received its first comprehensive check-up in a report released last week by the Hawaii Science & Technology Institute. The institute surveyed 10 tech-based sectors in the life sciences arena, finding them anchored in agriculture as well as in traditional drug discovery.
  • Aqua Engineers, a Kauai company located in Kalaheo, has been awarded a $229-million contract to take over the government-owned sewer systems on U.S. Army bases on Oahu and run them for the next 50 years. 
  • A five-person startup here in Honolulu is looking to harness natural wind power to generate electricity — but not in the way you might expect. Humdinger Wind Energy is the brainchild of Shawn Frayne, who envisioned a new way to get power from wind after studying the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 9 – Oct. 1, 2008

This week, after the news, we’re joined in the studio by Mark Hakoda, who tells us about a special event called “Pecha Kucha 3.0.” Then, we talk with Larry Wiss and Scott Belford about eWaste. Old computers and electronic gear are piling up. What do you do with all this junk?

  • Representatives from Hoana Medical, a local biomedical company, will be presenting findings from a study of nurses who have worked with their “LifeBed” at a Nashville conference later this month.
  • U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaii state officials have just launched “Anuenue,” a new inter-island digital microwave network. The network will support the day-to-day and emergency data transport needs of federal and state government agencies and improves emergency communications capabilities in Hawaii.
  • Research conducted here in Hawaii almost 10 years ago is proving to be timeless. Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs), a group of chemicals formed during high-temperature cooking of meat and fish, are potent mutagens and are suspected to play a role in colorectal cancer.
  • Space Exploration Technologies, a US space company founded by an Internet multi-millionaire, has become the first private venture to successfully blast a rocket into Earth’s orbit. Falcon 1, a liquid fuel rocket built by SpaceX, took off from Kwajalein Atoll on Sunday and entered orbit carrying a dummy payload.
  • Apple opened its third Hawaii store in Honolulu this past weekend, building its largest local retail location yet in the heart of Waikiki. The store, in the Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue, is situated between Apple’s Ala Moana and Kahala Mall locations.

We close with our song pick of the week, Trash 80 and a song called “Say Goodbye.”

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 8 – Sept. 24, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe - 9/24/08This week after the news, we speak with Laurie Gerber, Board member of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, who tells us about an upcoming Machine Translation conference. Then, we’re joined in the studio by Rob Farrow to discuss social networks, online identity, OpenID, and This week’s song pick is inspired by “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton.

In the News…

  • A team of astronomers has identified the least luminous galaxy known, but found it is surprisingly massive. Using the Keck Observatories up on Mauna Kea, Marla Geha, an assistant professor of astronomy at Yale University along with her colleague Josh Simon at the California Institute of Technology, has observed about half of the two dozen dwarf satellite galaxies that orbit the Milky Way.
  • At the University of Hawaii, chemists traded their lab coats for surf shorts, breaking out of the lab to test their theories on the waves. UH chemistry professor Robert Liu and his colleagues found that local surf spots provided ideal conditions to study photochemical reactions, and by building a special boogie board with a test-tube mounted in it, they were able to use the sun’s rays to make variants of vitamin A.
  • Dana Slaymaker of Resource Mapping Hawaii developed a camera system that can map thousands of acres by airplane with images so detailed that tree leaves can be identified. The development of this technology is expected to revolutionize conservation work in Hawaii and around the world.
  • Increasing demand and a changing climate have led to the collapse of several once-rich fisheries around the world, and many are still in danger. Regional overfishing can lead to extinctions of native fish species, and in the long term, huge shortfalls in the food supply for millions. Around the world, policymakers, environmentalists, and fishermen have been searching for a solution. And a university of Hawaii economist — along with colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara — say one controversial solution may have merit.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 7 – Sept. 17, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe - Sept. 17, 2008This week in the studio, we speak with Sid Savara who’s helping to organize “Startup In A Weekend.” Then, we discuss online health care with Fred Fortin, Senior Vice President who oversees strategic policy development, legal affairs, privacy and security at Hawaii Medical Service Association, Ido Schoenberg, Chief Executive Officer of American Well, and Nate McLemore, Senior Director of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, talks about Microsoft Health Vault.

In the News…

  • At an IEEE meeting last week at the Hilton Waikaloa on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Very High Throughput study group put the final touches to a proposal calling for the creation of a task group to carry forward the work of crafting a new Giga Bit wireless LAN standard.
  • A University of Hawaii physics professor has suggested that aliens could be sending signals by tweaking the brightness of stars. Professor John G. Learned proposed in the latest issue of New Scientist that “a sufficiently advanced civilization” may use “Cepheid variable” stars as beacons to transmit information throughout the galaxy and beyond.
  • The Hawaii State Department of Agriculture was recognized as one of the winners in the second annual RFID Excellence in Business Awards. TechInsights and RFID Revolution announced the winners at a formal ceremony on the opening day of the RFID World 2008 event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last week. The awards recognize companies and innovators whose products or implementations demonstrate the benefits of RFID or radio frequency identification technology.
  • An Air Force crew has performed the first known after-dark landing in Antarctica using night vision goggles. The mission was part of Operation Deep Freeze, which is commanded by the U.S. Pacific Command’s “Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica” and headquartered at Hickam AFB. The massive plane landed in complete darkness, guided only by reflective cones seen through night-vision goggles, proving that the C-17 can access McMurdo Station, Antarctica during times of the year previously only flown for emergencies.

We close with our song pick of the week, the multi-talented Fred Fortin and his cover of a jazz classic “Coming Home Baby.”

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 6 – Sept. 10, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe #6

This week in the studio, we speak with Roz Savage, who is on her way to becoming the first woman to row, solo, across the Pacific Ocean. Then, Tiffany Tanaka of WeSellThings4U talks about building a business buying and selling on eBay for a living. She started with friends and family and grew the business to include individuals and corporations looking to sell goods on eBay.

In the News…

  • Sorghum could be biofuel crop of the future: Sorghum – a genus of grasses, some raised for grain – could be part of the answer to fuel self-sufficiency for Hawaii. It is one of the crops that Hawaii BioEnergy will be exploring
  • State tech tax credits increase 43 percent: The economy in Hawaii and across the country is slowing, with prices rising and visitor numbers falling. But Hawaii’s technology industry is showing encouraging signs of growth. According to a state report release last week, local high tech companies received over $300 million from investors last year, while the total amount of tax breaks they claimed hit $100 million in 2006.
  • Hoku unit inks supply deal with Chinese company: Hawaii-based Hoku Scientific Inc. said late Thursday one of its units has signed a 10-year contract worth up to $455 million to supply polysilicon to a Chinese company. Hoku Materials Inc., which makes and sells polysilicon for the solar market, inked the deal with Solargiga Energy Holdings Ltd.
  • IfA Maui to Hold Open House September 12: On Maui, the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy is celebrating it’s first birthday. The IFA will be holding an open house this Friday at the Maikalani Advanced Technology Research Center in Pukalani. The family-friendly event will include laboratory tours, demonstrations, stargazing through telescopes and talks about the latest astronomical discoveries from atop Haleakala and in astronomy research on Maui.

Our song pick of the week, courtesy the Podsafe Music Network, is “Bei eBay” by Ricky Ganz Allein.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 5 – Sept. 3, 2008

This week, we speak with Joel Paschal and Dr. Marcus Eriksen, who voyaged across the Pacific to Hawaii aboard the “JUNK raft. Then we discuss podcasting with Roxanne Darling and Todd Cochrane and talk to them about the upcoming PodCampHawaii.

  • Honolulu Declaration Offers Ways to Curb Ocean Acidification: As the oceans absorb increasing amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, they are becoming increasingly acid, weakening the world’s coral reefs. Scientists aim to combat ocean acidification via limits on fossil fuel emissions, reduction of stress on reefs, and creation of marine protected areas.
  • Magmatically Triggered Slow Earthquake Discovered At Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Slow earthquakes are a special type of earthquake where fault rupture occurs too slowly (over periods of days to months) to produce any felt shaking. Slow earthquakes of magnitude 5.5-5.7 have been previously found to periodically occur on the flanks of Kilauea.
  • Hawaii’s Conversion of Coal Plant to Biomass Marks a New Trend: A coal-fired power plant in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, that formerly provided electricity to a sugar mill is now being converted into a 24-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant. MMA Renewable Ventures is financing the conversion and will operate the new plant, which will be called the HÅ« Honua Bioenergy Facility.

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Bytemarks Cafe Episode 4 – August 27, 2008

On this episode we talk to Van Matsushige of Sopogy and Peter Rosegg of Hawaiian Electric Company. Both are involved with companies shaping Hawaii’s evolving energy landscape, one a solar energy provider and the other Hawaii’s primary electric utility.

In the News…

  • Google has said it invested $10.25 million to develop geothermal-energy technology aimed at extracting steam deep inside the earth to generate more electricity. The search giant’s investment arm,, has committed $6.25 million to AltaRock Energy, $4 million to Potter Drilling and $489,521 to the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab.
  • Students on Molokai have just received the first of 100 Apple laptops being distributed for “Project OHANA,”a program aimed at putting technology and connectivity into the hands and homes of students in rural communities in Maui county. Project OHANA — or Online Health and Academic Network Access — will ultimately distribute 100 laptops to students of Maui Community College, and it’s hoped that the computers will be used both by the students and their families.
  • With all the stories about sea faring vessels making their way across the Pacific propelled by low-carbon footprint methods like wind and rowing here is a land vessel going in the opposite direction. Laurel White has left her home in Paia, Maui in order to stage a North American environmental green energy tour in what she is calling her EcoVan.
  • Hollywood has built a fortune on the fear of meteors striking the Earth, wreaking “Armageddon” on the planet, but such disasters are not solely the realm of science fiction. There are scientists around the world dedicated to identifying “near Earth objects” or NEOs, and one of the most impressive efforts is being mounted here in Hawaii. It’s called the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS, and the first of four telescopes is already scanning the skies. But as it turns out, STORING the massive volume of data involved requires a serious database.
  • Muxtape, the love-child of the Internet and 80s cassette mix tapes, has had its plug pulled by the Recording Industry Association of America. If you go to you will be greeted with a brief statement that Muxtape will be “unavailable for a brief period while we sort out a problem with the RIAA.”
  • This week’s song pick come from Muxtape before getting shut down. Here’s We Were Promised Jetpacks and their song Moving Clocks Run Slow.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 3 – Aug. 20, 2008

Today we talk to Guy Kawasaki about entrepreneurship, evangelism and technology trends. Guy joins us from his home in the Bay Area, and in the studio we have his Chief Evangelist for, Neenz Faleafine.

  • PICHTR (short for Pacific International Center for High Technology Research) recently received a $5 million grant-in-aid from the state to create a fund specifically for so-called dual-use companies in Hawaii. The money is administered through a program under PICHTR called the Hawaii Technology Development Venture.
  • Geologists took the first direct measurements of volcanic gases at Kilauea this summer, floating meteorological baloons directly into the volcanic plume. Members of the geology faculty and staff at Michigan Technological University came to the Big Island, led by Adam Durant and Matt Watson.
  • The Project Notification Review System Board for the pacific island state of American Samoa has approved a land use permit for a fibre optic communications cable that will link American Samoa to Hawaii. The $9 million Pacific Rim cable that currently links Hawaii and New Zealand will be spliced to take a spur to American Samoa.
  • Sustainability, energy independence and food security were the top topics at the first “Island Sustainable Living Expo” held this past weekend at Maui Community College. The two-day event offered education, “edutainment,” local food and Hawaiian cultural presentation.
  • On Thursday August 21st the House and Senate will be holding a day-long event called “Hawaii’s Aerospace Industry: The Next Frontier“. There will be a number of high level people coming in from NASA, The Space Foundation, the FAA and others. In the studio to tell us more is Elliot Pulham, President and CEO of the Space Foundation.

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