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Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.

Welcome to HPR the Community Podcast

We started producing shows as Today with a Techie on 2005-09-19, 17 years, 4 months, 20 days ago. our shows are produced by listeners like you and can be on any topic that "are of interest to hackers". if you listen to HPR then please consider contributing one show a year. if you record your show now it could be released in 7 days.

Call for shows

We are running very low on shows at the moment. Have a look at the hosts page and if you don't see "2023-??-??" next to your name, or if your name is not listed, you might consider sending us in something.

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Meet the team

Latest Shows

hpr3788 :: Nitecore Tube torch

I have owned one of these for many years and find it very useful

Hosted by Dave Morriss on 2023-02-08 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
torch,flashlight,rechargeable,Lithium Ion.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (0).


This torch (aka flashlight) came up during the recording of the Community News for May 2022. I have owned an example of this device since 2016. It’s been extensively reviewed elsewhere but I thought I’d briefly tell you about my experiences.

Nitecore Tube (V1)

My Nitecore Tube

I bought this from Amazon after seeing a video of it on the Big Clive YouTube channel. It was under £10. This version is no longer available but there is a version 2 for a similar price. I haven’t tried this one.

The Nitecore Tube is a small plastic-bodied torch with fittings for a key ring. I have not been keen to keep it on my keyring for fear of damage from the keys, so I keep it always in my shirt pocket.

The torch is controlled through a rubber-like button on one side, and has a micro USB port on the edge which is covered by a rubber cap.

While charging, a blue LED can be seen inside the body of the torch, which turns off when the charging process is complete.

The torch can operate at a number of brightness levels and has a lock mode:

  • Single press - turns the low light level on and off
  • Double press - turns on the permanent high level mode, a single press for off
  • Single press and hold for more than 1 second - temporary high mode
  • Press and hold when in low mode increases in brightness in steps
  • Press and hold for more than 5 seconds when in high mode will lock the torch against accidental button presses. The light blinks to show it’s locked. Press and hold to return to normal.


I don’t use this torch a huge amount. The fact that it’s always in my pocket means I have a source of quite bright light when I need one. The lower level light is useful for moving around in the dark or in a gloomy place. The brighter level I tend to use to read labels on jars, bottles and other containers. For some reason, these labels are often designed with minimal contrast (like a dull orange lettering on a purple background) which my eyes just can’t cope with. The Nitecore is my saviour with this sort of stuff!

I don’t charge it very often, but it is easy to do it with a phone charger - I have several micro USB cables around, so it’s no problem.


This is a great little device. I have other torches for when I need a stronger, more broadly illuminating light source. I wouldn’t be carrying any of these around with me though. The Nitecore is small and compact enough that I can keep it on me all the time.

If I lost this one, or it died, I’m pretty sure I’d get another!

hpr3787 :: It shouldn't crackle like that

Rho`n describes fixing the wiring to a ceramic Christmas tree

Hosted by Rho`n on 2023-02-07 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Christmas, electrical, safety.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (0).


The Friday before Christmas, my partner's mother called and asked if I had a short indoor extension cord she could borrow. When I arrived at her house, she showed me her display of ceramic Christmas trees for which she needed the extension cord. These decorations have two pieces. A base which holds a small light bulb, and then the tree which sits over the light and has translucent colored plastic 'Christmas lights' which are illuminated by the light bulb inside the tree. There were four ceramic trees of varying heights—from 14" (~36 cm) to 6" (~15 cm) tall. While helping to arrange each of the trees electrical cords and plugging them into the extension cable, one of the trees wouldn't stay lit. If you turned the base or moved the cord it would light back up, but then go out once you took pressure off the cord. I could also hear crackling at times when moving the cord—not a sound you want to hear in an electric ornament.

After separating the pieces and turning over the base, I could see not only the sparks, but why it was sparking. At some point, one of wires had come lose from the light socket and was taped back in place with what looks like duct tape. The ornament was made in the 1950s. I'm not sure when the repair was made. It is an ornament that has been passed through the family over the years. The plastic which held the wire in place had failed over the years, and the tape was also failing from the electric sparks that would occur when the wire was moved around. You could see burn marks on the tape around the wire.

At first I thought I may be able to fix the side with the bad wiring. Maybe solder the wire onto the socket to give it a good electrical connection, and then use electrical tape to cover the hole where the socket casing had failed, but in the process of taking the wire out and removing all the old duct tape, the socket's electrical contact fell apart. This was for the best, the whole socket needed replacing, but I wasn't sure I could find a replacement socket that would fit through the hole in the ceramic base.

While doing my last minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, I stopped at one of the big box hardware stores to browse the electrical section and see if I could find a replacement socket that might work. Of course I hadn't brought either the old socket or the light bulb, but I found a small rack with replacement sockets that looked like it might work. The candelabra style socket replacement looked like the correct size—for both the light bulb and the hole in the base of the ornament.

Once I was home, I tested the fit of the light bulb, and the socket was the correct size. It was just a little to big for the hole in the base, but I was hoping I could just grind off some of the raised plastic lettering and maybe a little off the sides of the socket here and there to get it to fit in the base. I was leery of using my Dremel tool to make the hole bigger in the ceramic base. I didn't want it to crack or chip the finish. I ended up doing both. Grinding down some of the plastic on the replacement socket and grinding out the hole in the ceramic base.

A bit of electrical tape wrapped around the new socket created a snug fit between the hole in the ornament's base and the socket. I then hot glued the socket to the inside of the base to provide extra stability. Next step was attaching the old cord to the new socket. The cord was in good shape except where it was connected to the old socket. I evened up the end of the cord, then stripped it, and then connected the cord to the new socket with wire nuts.

After flipping over the base and screwing in the light bulb, I tested the repair. Success!

Top view of old light socket
Top view of old light socket
Side view of old light socket
Side view of old light socket showing extent of damage where the cord was attached.
Original cord
Original cord after removing it from old light socket.
New candelabra style light socket.
New candelabra style light socket with raised plastic lettering removed by Dremel.
Side view of new socket
New socket showing more shaping done with the Dremel.
New wiring in base of ceramic ornament
New wiring in tucked into base of ornament. Wire nuts used to connect old cord to new socket.
Top view of ceramic base with light bulb screwed into new socket
New socket installed in base with the light bulb screwed in.
Lighted ceramic tree ornament
Ceramic tree lit up after completed repair.

hpr3786 :: HPR Community News for January 2023

HPR Volunteers talk about shows released and comments posted in January 2023

Hosted by HPR Volunteers on 2023-02-06 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Community News.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. HPR Community News. | Comments (0).

New hosts

Welcome to our new host:

Last Month's Shows

Id Day Date Title Host
3761 Mon 2023-01-02 HPR Community News for December 2022 HPR Volunteers
3762 Tue 2023-01-03 Existence is pain operat0r
3763 Wed 2023-01-04 The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon Mike Ray
3764 Thu 2023-01-05 My text-focused journey into tech enistello
3765 Fri 2023-01-06 Fixing clock events in GBA pokemon cartridges Celeste
3766 Mon 2023-01-09 ACER Nitro 5 laptop review Bookewyrmm
3767 Tue 2023-01-10 LP article from Wikipedia Archer72
3768 Wed 2023-01-11 Jeep Ignition Repair Stache_AF
3769 Thu 2023-01-12 Crouching laptop, hidden server (part 0). Some Guy On The Internet
3770 Fri 2023-01-13 Tucson Ahuka
3771 Mon 2023-01-16 How I eliminated pain naturally Paul Quirk
3772 Tue 2023-01-17 Adventures with a small solar panel Andrew Conway
3773 Wed 2023-01-18 My Public Speaking Rules Mike Ray
3774 Thu 2023-01-19 Emergency Show posted in 2014. Chump Car Report David Whitman
3775 Fri 2023-01-20 Emergency Show posted in 2014. How to make a punch-card computer Mike Ray
3776 Mon 2023-01-23 A linux distro review Bookewyrmm
3777 Tue 2023-01-24 Running Haiku on Bhyve, the BSD Hypervisor Claudio Miranda
3778 Wed 2023-01-25 A Squirrel Beeing on Google Products and Google Security Zen_Floater2
3779 Thu 2023-01-26 Just Because You Can Do a Thing... Trey
3780 Fri 2023-01-27 Fediverse Update May 2022 Ahuka
3781 Mon 2023-01-30 The Joule Thief Andrew Conway
3782 Tue 2023-01-31 Content Format article from Wikipedia Archer72

Comments this month

These are comments which have been made during the past month, either to shows released during the month or to past shows. There are 27 comments in total.

Past shows

There are 8 comments on 6 previous shows:

This month's shows

There are 19 comments on 11 of this month's shows:

  • hpr3762 (2023-01-03) "Existence is pain" by operat0r.
    • Comment 1: Trey on 2023-01-03: "Thanks for sharing."
    • Comment 2: one_of_spoons on 2023-01-28: "Character entry devices."

  • hpr3763 (2023-01-04) "The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon" by Mike Ray.
    • Comment 1: Viv on 2023-01-05: "Meta Baader-Meinhof"
    • Comment 2: Mike Ray on 2023-01-06: "I rest my case"

  • hpr3764 (2023-01-05) "My text-focused journey into tech" by enistello.
    • Comment 1: brian-in-ohio on 2023-01-25: "emacs rocks"

  • hpr3766 (2023-01-09) "ACER Nitro 5 laptop review" by Bookewyrmm.
    • Comment 1: ClaudioM on 2023-01-12: "Good Review, but Still Avoiding Gaming Laptops"
    • Comment 2: bookeyrmm on 2023-01-13: "reply to claudio"

  • hpr3767 (2023-01-10) "LP article from Wikipedia" by Archer72.
    • Comment 1: Celeste on 2023-01-10: "Riaa curve and italian youtuber video"

  • hpr3768 (2023-01-11) "Jeep Ignition Repair" by Stache_AF.
    • Comment 1: one_of_spoons on 2023-01-28: "Ear pieces."

  • hpr3771 (2023-01-16) "How I eliminated pain naturally" by Paul Quirk.
    • Comment 1: brian-in-ohio on 2023-01-25: "music"

  • hpr3772 (2023-01-17) "Adventures with a small solar panel" by Andrew Conway.
    • Comment 1: brian-in-ohio on 2023-01-25: "good info"

  • hpr3773 (2023-01-18) "My Public Speaking Rules" by Mike Ray.
    • Comment 1: mpardo on 2023-01-18: "A "must listen" to all who aspire to speak to an audience"
    • Comment 2: Trey on 2023-01-18: "Thanks for sharing."
    • Comment 3: one_of_spoons on 2023-01-19: "Professional demeanour."
    • Comment 4: Mike Ray on 2023-01-20: "Thanks very much to everybody. I listened back to this when it was published. I hope the Christmas b"
    • Comment 5: Mike Ray on 2023-01-21: "Messed up that last comment"

  • hpr3776 (2023-01-23) "A linux distro review" by Bookewyrmm.
    • Comment 1: brian-in-ohio on 2023-01-25: "how to do it"

  • hpr3778 (2023-01-25) "A Squirrel Beeing on Google Products and Google Security" by Zen_Floater2.
    • Comment 1: brian-in-ohio on 2023-01-25: "2fa"
    • Comment 2: JohnnyLawrence on 2023-01-26: "Whoafully misinformed"

Mailing List discussions

Policy decisions surrounding HPR are taken by the community as a whole. This discussion takes place on the Mail List which is open to all HPR listeners and contributors. The discussions are open and available on the HPR server under Mailman.

The threaded discussions this month can be found here:

Events Calendar

With the kind permission of we are linking to The Community Calendar.

Quoting the site:

This is the community event calendar, where we track events of interest to people using and developing Linux and free software. Clicking on individual events will take you to the appropriate web page.

Any other business

Show transcripts

Transcripts of audio have been generated for shows since December 2022, using the Whisper tool. Ken Fallon has been working on this project, and has also been transcribing the older shows from hpr0001 to the present day. This part of the project is complete.

The transcripts have been attached to each show on the HPR website, and are in the process of being added on

Older HPR shows on, phase 2

This "re-upload" project is now ended. All shows from 871 to 2429 have been re-uploaded with all audio files and other assets.

hpr3785 :: Hacking Boba Bubble Tapioca Pearls Fail

Hacking Boba Bubble Tapioca Pearls Fail

Hosted by operat0r on 2023-02-03 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Cooking. | Comments (0).

Listen to me cook / fail / hack Boba Green Tea!

hpr3784 :: Two factor authentication without a phone number

Diving into privacy-aware and offline methods to generate one time passwords

Hosted by Celeste on 2023-02-02 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
2FA, OTP, TOTP, HOTP, security.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Privacy and Security. | Comments (0).

Many services implement 2FA (Two factor authentication) by sending you a OTP (One Time Password) using an SMS with a random code, but this forces you to give them your valuable phone number. What alternatives do exist?

Let's dive into the HOTP, used by some banks years ago through a physical token and the recent TOTP, which both let you generate completely offline codes without using any phone number or any other personal detail. They use the HMAC technique usually with a SHA-1 one-way hashing function, but other hashing functions can be used too.

Useful links:

  • a little visual explanation I found here
  • Aegis android OTP generator
  • use TOTP in KeepassXC for a desktop generator guide

Let's keep Webauthn maybe for a future episode, I'm still exploring it and have to do more research.

hpr3783 :: Accessibility, and Navigating the HPR Web Pages with a Screen Reader

Mike puts the HPR Web Site to the test.

Hosted by Mike Ray on 2023-02-01 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Accessibility, HPR, Screen Reader.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (2).

Accessibility, and Navigating the HPR Web Pages with a Screen Reader

Some time in the last year there has been some discussion on the HPR mailing list about some of the problems I was having, particularly with the tags page, on the HPR site.

Here is a show in which you can hear both me and my screen reader, as I navigate the HPR home page, and then the HPR tags page.

Dave Morriss has made a nice job of fixing the issues I had, and made the tags page a lot more friendly for blind and visually impaired users.

It's quite a long podcast, and it took a lot of editing. So most of the polish wore off by the time I 'finished' it and decided enough was enough.

hpr3782 :: Content Format article from Wikipedia

Wikipedia article on the various types of content formats

Hosted by Archer72 on 2023-01-31 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
media, formats, encoding.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (0).

Wikipedia article

hpr3781 :: The Joule Thief

Using the Joule Thief to suck energy out of flat batteries

Hosted by Andrew Conway on 2023-01-30 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (1).

The Joule Thief is a delightfully simple circuit that can light an LED that requires 2V or more from a battery that is depleted to 1V or less. There are three components in addition to the battery and LED: an NPN transistor, a resistor and a double wound inductor. The key thing about the inductor is that the same core shares two windings but in opposite directions.

The explanation of how it works is simple enough, as long as you already understand how inductors and transistors work. In other words, it isn't simple at all! In short, the double wound inductor and transistor conspire to generate a transient high voltage spike and so turn LED on and off so rapidly that the human eye cannot perceive it.

The idea of such a circuit is approaching its centenary but the name itself is only around 20 years old. I recommend you check out Big Clive's web site as it was he who came up with the name "Joule Thief". I also recommend this video in which he constructs a circuit using some ninja-level soldering skills.

hpr3780 :: Fediverse Update May 2022

This episode reports on some updates to the Fediverse that I ran across in May 2022

Hosted by Ahuka on 2023-01-27 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
social media, alternative, Fediverse, ActivityPub, Mastodon, Screen readers, WordPress.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Social Media. | Comments (0).

One of the things I love about the Fediverse is that there is constant activity and development. As I mentioned in the previous report on Bookwyrm, it is not unusual to return to an app a few months later and see new features have been added that make it better. In this report I want to highlight three news stories that I think may be of interest.

hpr3779 :: Just Because You Can Do a Thing...

Just because you can do a thing, does that mean you should?

Hosted by Trey on 2023-01-26 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license.
aging, diy, health.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. general. | Comments (0).

Hello Hacker Public Radio fans. This is Trey, and I am throwing this recording together for several reasons:

  1. The queue of shows is abysmally sparse. There are far more openings for shows in the next few weeks than there are shows posted.

  2. This show is a pitiful excuse for why I haven't posted any shows recently

If you like what you hear on Hacker Public Radio, please express your gratitude by recording your own show. It doesn't need to be long, or sound professional, or anything. Introduce yourself and share something you find interesting.

If you do not like any or all of what you hear on Hacker Public Radio, then it is the perfect opportunity for you to take a few minutes and record a short (or long) podcast of your own which "fills the gap" of what you might feel is needed on HPR.

Alright. Enough preliminaries.

A long time ago, at an undisclosed university far, far away, I took my first class about Ethics. One of the things I remember most was the question of "Just because you can do a thing, does that mean you should do the thing?"

This was applied to many different scenarios - from nation states building weapons of mass destruction, to authoring computer viruses, and even to saying what you are thinking at any given moment.

It should quickly become obvious that you should not always do a thing simply because you can do it. And today, I would like to relate that to DIY home improvement projects, especially as we work our way up in years.

For regular listeners, you may recall my series "Everything You Always Wanted to Knox about PEX" recorded and shared in May through July of 2022 (hpr3604, hpr3614, hpr3624 & hpr3634). In this series, I recounted the process of replumbing my home using PEX with helpful advice for anyone else who wants to try it. What I did not realize at the time I was doing the project was the toll that doing so much work overhead, by myself, was taking on my old shoulder joints. It was only one straw, but a rather significant one, which eventually broke the camel's back. Or, in my case, resulted in several severe tears in my rotator cuff and bicep tendon.

Therapy was marginally effective, and surgery was eventually required to put things back together the way they belonged. My effort to save money and do the project myself "Because I could" helped lead to significantly more expenses and more than a year of recovery.

I am not sharing this for sympathy, but rather because I learned something important. Now that I am getting older, as I decide which projects I should do myself and which to pay professionals to do, it is important to factor in the potential impact on my body, my mind and those around me, even if all goes well.

Just because you can do a thing does not necessarily mean you should do a thing.

Unless that "Thing" is recording a podcast for HPR. THAT is something you can and should do.

Previous five weeks

hpr3778 :: A Squirrel Beeing on Google Products and Google Security hosted by Zen_Floater2

2023-01-25. 00:20:23. Clean. general.
I made a 'beeing" podcast about Google products, interoperability and their lousy security

hpr3777 :: Running Haiku on Bhyve, the BSD Hypervisor hosted by Claudio Miranda

2023-01-24. 00:08:51. Clean. general.
Claudio talks about installing and running Haiku R1/beta4 on Bhyve

hpr3776 :: A linux distro review hosted by Bookewyrmm

2023-01-23. 00:09:32. Clean. general.
A linux distro review

hpr3775 :: Emergency Show posted in 2014. How to make a punch-card computer hosted by Mike Ray

2023-01-20. 00:14:10. Clean. general.
How to make a punch-card computer from stuff from the kitchen

hpr3774 :: Emergency Show posted in 2014. Chump Car Report hosted by David Whitman

2023-01-19. 00:25:00. Clean. general.
The racing series for $500 cars.

hpr3773 :: My Public Speaking Rules hosted by Mike Ray

2023-01-18. 00:17:35. Clean. general.
Some tips on public speaking for technical talks or lectures.

hpr3772 :: Adventures with a small solar panel hosted by Andrew Conway

2023-01-17. 00:27:43. Clean. general.
I have a look at a cheap solar panel and learn a bit about how it works, and doesn't work.

hpr3771 :: How I eliminated pain naturally hosted by Paul Quirk

2023-01-16. 00:19:46. Clean. general.
I describe how I managed to eliminate pain from carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.

hpr3770 :: Tucson hosted by Ahuka

2023-01-13. 00:15:08. Clean. Travel.
We move to Benson, a town just southeast of Tucson, where we will stay for a month.

hpr3769 :: Crouching laptop, hidden server (part 0). hosted by Some Guy On The Internet

2023-01-12. 00:13:55. Clean. Virtualization.
Virtualized battlegrounds.

hpr3768 :: Jeep Ignition Repair hosted by Stache_AF

2023-01-11. 00:10:31. Clean. general.
Replacing ignition on my 1999 Jeep Wrangler

hpr3767 :: LP article from Wikipedia hosted by Archer72

2023-01-10. 00:42:41. Clean. general.
LP article from Wikipedia about the long playing vinyl record and its history.

hpr3766 :: ACER Nitro 5 laptop review hosted by Bookewyrmm

2023-01-09. 00:09:48. Clean. general.
ACER Nitro 5 laptop review

hpr3765 :: Fixing clock events in GBA pokemon cartridges hosted by Celeste

2023-01-06. 00:13:43. Clean. Hobby Electronics.
Tinkering with the RTC (Real Time Clock) hardware on Gameboy Advance cartridges

hpr3764 :: My text-focused journey into tech hosted by enistello

2023-01-05. 00:19:11. Clean. general.
My journey into technology covering some of the prose-writing technology I've used along the way.

hpr3763 :: The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon hosted by Mike Ray

2023-01-04. 00:12:47. Clean. general.
A look into this psychological phenomenon

hpr3762 :: Existence is pain hosted by operat0r

2023-01-03. 00:22:09. Clean. general.
RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and ergonomics

hpr3761 :: HPR Community News for December 2022 hosted by HPR Volunteers

2023-01-02. 00:44:55. Clean. HPR Community News.
HPR Volunteers talk about shows released and comments posted in December 2022

hpr3760 :: Bookwyrm hosted by Ahuka

2022-12-30. 00:13:45. Clean. Social Media.
This episode looks at a relatively new but promising alternative to Goodreads that is firmly in the

hpr3759 :: Chatting with dnt. hosted by Some Guy On The Internet

2022-12-29. 00:43:49. Clean. general.
Small talk on SBCs and free software.

hpr3758 :: First sysadmin job - war story hosted by norrist

2022-12-28. 00:28:05. Clean. general.
How I got my first job as a sysadmin and a story about NFS

hpr3757 :: Career changes. hosted by Some Guy On The Internet

2022-12-27. 00:27:05. Clean. general.
Chatting about recent career changes

hpr3756 :: Verify yourself on Mastodon with PGP and Keyoxide hosted by Klaatu

2022-12-26. 00:32:20. Clean. general.
Verify your Mastodon account using GnuPG and

hpr3755 :: Synergy over ssh hosted by Ken Fallon

2022-12-23. 00:24:55. Clean. general.
Control your other PC securely using synergy over ssh

hpr3754 :: GOD probably will use a Chromebook hosted by Zen_Floater2

2022-12-22. 00:37:30. Clean. general.
A Squirrels Rebuttal of GNU World Order episode 489 Cloud Services

hpr3753 :: Some thoughts on "Numeronyms" hosted by Dave Morriss

2022-12-21. 00:11:56. Clean. general.
AKA alphanumeric acronyms, alphanumeric abbreviations, or numerical contractions

hpr3752 :: It only took me 2 years to record using some 'new' hardware hosted by Jezra

2022-12-20. 00:09:42. Clean. general.
the why and what of some new recording hardware

hpr3751 :: Using Noisetorch hosted by Deltaray

2022-12-19. 00:07:07. Clean. general.
Noisetorch is a program for Linux that creates a virtual microphone that removes background sounds.

hpr3750 :: Southern Arizona hosted by Ahuka

2022-12-16. 00:17:02. Clean. Travel.
We move into Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.

hpr3749 :: Making your own parts hosted by Deltaray

2022-12-15. 00:14:15. Clean. general.
3D printers are useful for making your own custom parts and I talk about the parts I've made.

Older Shows

Get a full list of all our shows.