Guests: LeVar Burton, Patrick Norton, Veronica Belmont, Brian Shaler, and Chris Hutchins
Recorded: March 8, 2009
Published: March 9, 2009
TWiT 185 •Previous episode – Next episode
This transcript is provided by our friends at Pods in Print
Leo Laporte Bandwidth for this WEEK in TECH is provided by AOL radio at aol.com/podcasting.
This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 185 for March 9, 2009, Craig's Lust.
This WEEK in TECH is brought to you by audible.com. Sign up for the Platinum plan and get two free books. Go to audible.com/twit2, and by GoToMyPC, wherever you go, access your PC and all your files, programs and email remotely with GoToMyPC. For a free trial of this award-winning service, visit gotomypc.com/twit. And by listeners like you, thanks so much for your contribution. We couldn't do TWiT without it. This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH. We talk about tech news and, this time, we've got a whopper, a doozy of a cast to do it, starting with my friend, I'm proud to call my friend, LeVar Burton. Good to have you back, LeVar.
LeVar Burton Leo Laporte, I love you, man.
Leo Laporte You’re a geek, man!
LeVar Burton You know what, and proud of it. I am waving my geek flag as we speak.
Leo Laporte You know that on Valentine's Day, the moon was in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars.
LeVar Burton That's true.
Leo Laporte Peace will guide the planets. And you can let your freak flag fly LeVar.
LeVar Burton There it is we are in the age...
Leo Laporte Of Aquarius.
LeVar Burton ...Of Aquarius.
Leo Laporte It's actually true. Also here, you heard that laugh, the distinctive laugh. Yes, it is Patrick Norton of Tekzilla.
Patrick Norton Hey, Leo.
Leo Laporte ...and my old friend from the Screen Savers. Hey, Patrick. Now, where's the kid.
Patrick Norton The kid is upstairs. She and Sarah are practicing mayhem.
Leo Laporte All right, because the last time you were on the show, there was a diaper emergency.
Patrick Norton Yes.
Leo Laporte And I just wanted to make sure you’re prepared.
Patrick Norton I am – there are no di – if there’s a diaper emergency today it’s because it's come through an oak floor.
Patrick Norton It’s an old oak floor.
Leo Laporte That would be quite an emergency.
Patrick Norton ... construction, so, it's entirely possible.
Leo Laporte How’s Shamus doing? He is over a year old. He must be walking around like crazy, right?
Patrick Norton Running, actually. Running and climbing, and his molars seem to be coming in, which is not my favourite aspect of the whole teething thing.
Leo Laporte Has he said any words yet?
Patrick Norton Oh, he’s been talking for like, almost, I don't know, five, six, eight months.
Leo Laporte Are you teaching him marketing-speak?
Patrick Norton Oh no, teaching him an entirely different line of…
Leo Laporte Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Also here Veronica Belmont, your partner from Tekzilla.
Veronica Belmont Hello.
Leo Laporte Host of the Qore on PS3. QORE. All three of you...
Veronica Belmont Yes, thank you for having me
Leo Laporte ...active twitterers, Veronica, are you – juston Twitter.
Veronica Belmont I am. I was lucky enough to grab just Veronica back in the day.
Leo Laporte Wow! That’s pretty good. LeVar is.
LeVar Burton I wanted Veronica, but it was taken.
Leo Laporte Yeah. See, a lot of us felt that way and, of course, Patrick is... Are you just Patrick. You are not The Real Patrick Norton or anything?
Patrick Norton No, I'm.
Leo Laporte Also with us in studio today, Brian Shaler who is the guy who jumps.
Brian Shaler I am not a monkey.
Leo Laporte He who jumps. I don’t know if you’ve seen his pictures on the interwebs, but he is famous for his jump. In fact, there’s a Flickr tag, Shaler Jump.
Brian Shaler Yes, there is.
Leo Laporte You can just go to...
Brian Shaler [3:52] And it's such a great thing to be known for like, oh, wow! He’s such an accomplished guy, he jumps.
Leo Laporte He jumps for a living. Isn't he cool.
Brian Shaler He's good at jumping and flailing and looking like an idiot. Let’s all be his fan.
Leo Laporte Thanks for being here. I appreciate it.
Brian Shaler Love to be here.
Leo Laporte Brian currently is employed by a company called Bit Gravity, about which more later. Also with me, Chris – in studio, Chris Hutchins. Chris has a lot of time on his hands. He's the creator of LaidOffCamp.
Chris Hutchins [4:21] Yup, we launched our first event on Tuesday in San Francisco and over 500 people, talking about how to better their laid-off time.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that wild?
Chris Hutchins Yeah.
Leo Laporte That's great.
Veronica Belmont So, I guess you're looking for – you hope for less people to show up.
Leo Laporte Oh, that's a good point.
Veronica Belmont Ultimately.
Patrick Norton Yes, I was going to say I don't know if – I mean, not taking anything away from the effort but we would all rather have ‘happily employed and searching for better jobs’ camp.
Chris Hutchins Absolutely, although Leo and I were discussing the future of work and how he might use LaidOffCamp to...
Leo Laporte It's kind of an opportunity to say – I'm not gonna...
Patrick Norton It’s very Republican of you, Leo.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Chris Hutchins Finally turning the corner from this liberal lifestyle.
Leo Laporte Fine. Yes, it’s an opportunity to. No, it's an opportunity to reinvent yourself and reinvent the notion of work. You don't have to go back to the cubicle if you don't want to – of course you have to make a living.
Chris Hutchins You have to make a living.
Leo Laporte But that's what LaidOffCamp’s all about, is.
Chris Hutchins Yeah, finding a new way to – find something you’re passionate about and make a living out of it.
Leo Laporte And branding and using these new tools, these social media tools, we were just talking about Twitter.
Chris Hutchins Exactly.
Leo Laporte In fact there’s a – It’s twitter.com/laidoffcamp.
Leo Laporte It’s you. And Shaler is...
Leo Laporte Brianshaler. B-r-i-a-n-s-h-a-l-e-r.
Brian Shaler Exactly.
Leo Laporte Don't follow me because I have too many followers anyway. Actually, I'm looking for a tool that will delete followers. If anybody can find one.
Brian Shaler You'd have to block, and then unblock them. That would work.
Leo Laporte Block and unblock?
Brian Shaler Yeah.
Leo Laporte Well, what I'm thinking though was doing it en masse because what I want to do is to find a tool that will say if you don't have a picture, if you haven’t tweeted in, what is it? 30, 60, 90 days. We’ll figure it out some time, arbitrary time. If you’re only following the 12 people that Twitter suggests plus me, then you’re a bot or something and I would...
Brian Shaler Or Al Gore
Leo Laporte Or Al Gore. No, Al Gore is posting. Somebody....
Brian Shaler I think that tool, Leo, that you’re looking for is called Facebook, isn’t it?
Leo Laporte [6:21] Story one, Facebook wants to be the next Twitter. Facebook announced Mark Zuckerberg. First of all, Mark Zuckerberg created a crypto Twitter account. He is finked. F-i-n-k-e-d. He only has 4,000 followers quick.
Brian Shaler This morning.
Leo Laporte This morning, yes, I think it's too late now to follow, he is probably in his limit, 5,000 followers.
Brian Shaler Twitter doesn't have that problem.
Leo Laporte No, I guess not, does it?
Brian Shaler 6,533 followers.
Chris Hutchins He did tweet, I think about having unlimited followers on Facebook.
Leo Laporte Oh, did he?
Chris Hutchins He said for his most recent tweet.
Leo Laporte I find it funny that it’s on Digg that I'm here. I'm looking forward to when people can have unlimited connections on Facebook soon. It’s too bad he doesn't have any clout or anything. No, there's no way he could make that happen.
Patrick Norton I wonder if that's an architectural issue for them.
Leo Laporte Oh, really?
Brian Shaler Well.
Veronica Belmont You know something I've noticed with the follower limit. It does seem to take a long time to populate certain lists that you're using while on Facebook, for example, if you're searching for someone or using some kind of application. It seems that the more friends you have on Facebook, the harder it is for it to find things, and for you to be able to use it properly. So, maybe it is something on their backend.
Brian Shaler I think they need to re-architect a lot of their different features like those dropdowns that allow you to search through all your friends. You know it should start maybe a hierarchy where you have friends’ lists and then you only pull a hundred people from there instead of all 5000...
Leo Laporte Well, it’s true, any tool that looks at all your friends, you’re screwed.
Chris Hutchins The left column of the new Facebook page has friend lists. That's one of the features.
Leo Laporte Ah. It’s hard to tell exactly with the new features are because they're kind of blurry. It's not a great screen shot. So, okay, one will be friend groups. It looks like they're going to have a real time streaming status update like it's gonna scroll up. That would be kind of cool.
Chris Hutchins Okay, I didn’t see that, I saw a still – just a still shot.
Leo Laporte Well, I got the impression maybe I just thought it’ll look a little bit like FriendFeed’s real time feed which would be very cool.
Brian Shaler Well, they do have a live button on Facebook. Are you not talking about that. Yes, they do. But...
Leo Laporte What does it do? Nothing?
Brian Shaler It auto updates just like FriendFeed.
Leo Laporte Oh, okay. So, they already have that.
Brian Shaler Yes, what they don't have that really bugs me is that, I have friends lists, which is great, then they have the live feed, which is great, but you can't do live mode on the friends list. So you know,...
Leo Laporte Doesn't quite work.
Brian Shaler ...if you want to get away from the noise, you can't have live.
Leo Laporte Does it make sense for Facebook to – if you go there right now, it says changes to the homepage are coming soon. Does it that it makes sense for them to go after Twitter? Is that what they are doing? What is the...
Veronica Belmont Oh, I think they’re definitely going after Twitter in a big way. I mean they are trying to open it up and make things a little more public so you're not so locked into the friends that you already have. So you can have that public live feed type of situation, which is very similar to what, or exactly what Twitter is doing.
Leo Laporte That's the big difference right now, isn't it? Because on Facebook, it's only your friends.
Veronica Belmont Right.
LeVar Burton I have found that I only use Facebook for family and friends and I'm on it less and less the more and more I just become enamoured with Twitter.
Leo Laporte There's the problem. Therein lies the problem. 175 million people are signed up on Facebook but something like 50 million people use it weekly. It's a huge, that’s a huge number.
Brian Shaler Yes.
LeVar Burton Yes.
Leo Laporte I mean it's certainly successful. The real question I have is can they go – can they become an open standard. Some people are saying this is an opportunity for them to get away from the kind of walled garden that they are, and to support open standards. They signed up – they’re on the OpenID committee now, which is odd because they have this Facebook Connect which is kind of a competitor of OpenID.
Brian Shaler Right.
Leo Laporte Just this week, they kind of made some movement towards the open community, which is kind of an interesting thought. Would that be the key to making Facebook the success it really needs?
Brian Shaler [10:13] It’s weird because they actually position themselves as having the walled garden means more power, more money. So, in a way, they're positioning themselves or they have been as, it's a good thing to be the walled garden because then we can take on Google in this way that they can’t fight back, they can't search our content because it’s closed down. So, they become open, then they are letting in all kinds of competition.
Leo Laporte But if you're a developer, an application developer and you have to work within their walled garden, you're running huge risk because they could at any point they could pull the plug. They could say hey we don't like what you’re doing just like Apple, right? Doing an Apple...
Veronica Belmont Yeah, yeah, it's very similar.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Patrick Norton Well, I mean I think though it – the only reasons Zuckerberg really cares about Twitter is because a) Twitter is becoming popular, and b) it's becoming a de-facto means of disseminating information. You know what I mean. Like, think about that huge argument Calacanis and I were having about whether or not Obama should be on Twitter, and not once in the course of that argument did anybody say: ‘You know the White House needs a Facebook page!’
Leo Laporte I think it does. Obama’s got a LinkedIn page. Does he ever...?
Patrick Norton Well yes, but how many citizens are there in the United States, Leo, upwards of 300 million. So, 5,000 citizens get to be part of the Facebook page.
Leo Laporte Right. That’s why he can’t do it...
Veronica Belmont Well no, but I mean they can have a fan page...
Leo Laporte Right. That's unlimited.
Veronica Belmont And then they could have more.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Patrick Norton I think in terms of though – I think what Zuckerberg is looking at, is something that is taking away mind share and becoming a communications tool in a way that nobody ever really thought of Facebook.
Veronica Belmont But that's exactly why they're trying to promote these fanpages and the public pages because they want to have an open door policy for companies and businesses and public figures to have a landing page of their very own that lives on Facebook that can be promoted outside of your network.
Leo Laporte Do you use a fanpage Veronica?
Veronica Belmont Yeah I have one but it's not – I don't get as many requests for that as I do my personal profile …..
Leo Laporte People want to be your friend.
LeVar Burton Yes, exactly. They want, I mean, they want the contact. They want to be a part of your community that's what connectivity is all about isn’t it?
Veronica Belmont I wish there was a way that I could migrate people from my personal page to the fanpage but it gets very confusing and complicated.
Leo Laporte I would like to do that because…
Patrick Norton There is a way…
Leo Laporte …is there a way? Because I opened every – I opened, I’m up to the 5,000 and I don't have any distinction between friends and family. I'd love to have – a Facebook page that’s a real page like yours, LeVar.
LeVar Burton I saw Gary Vaynerchuk...
Leo Laporte Is he going to do that?
LeVar Burton … tweeting about how he had so many friends, that he couldn't add more friends so he had emailed someone at Facebook and they transitioned all of his friends to a fanpage. So, they will do that for the right person which all of you probably are …
Veronica Belmont I don’t know. Right person, that sounds interesting.
Leo Laporte Oh, you are the right person.
Brian Shaler If you hit the limit you are probably the right person.
Veronica Belmont And then my mom would get really teed off when I put her on my fanpage and she can’t be my friend anymore.
Leo Laporte But then so – so what you presumably would do is you'd say, oh, but I know these 200 people. I am going to move them back.
LeVar Burton Yeah, or you would manually – yeah, I don't - that would be different
Chris Hutchins But is that saying to your fans?
Leo Laporte That's the problem, you can’t do it.
Veronica Belmont Right.
Chris Hutchins That’s a slap in the face in a way.
Leo Laporte You can’t do it. I love you, man, but I’d like to kind of move you off from my page.
LeVar Burton I don’t know…
Veronica Belmont Yes this is one sticky subject because; I think the best way is to gently remind people if you are in the situation that you have a fanpage. And then hopefully either they’ll go over, or still be friends you know whatever works.
Leo Laporte I just gave up. I just gave up on Facebook using Facebook in a normal way.
LeVar Burton Well, I'm going to try and hang onto it. But is MySpace just a dead horse now?
Leo Laporte Do you have a MySpace page LeVar?
LeVar Burton No, I don't.
Leo Laporte I don't either. Anybody here have a MySpace page?
Patrick Norton No.
Veronica Belmont I do but I'm the weirdo that uses it just for friends and not as a promotional tool… I got it all backwards.
Patrick Norton Yeah, I mean I know a huge number of people who would never – basically – would never have trusted any of the other kind of Web 2.0 – Web 2.0ish kind of stuff and didn’t get into MySpace but are constantly re-discovering friends from high school and college on Facebook and using it as a means of communication with their friends. And it's kind of interesting to actually see that happen for a lot of these people because it’s the kind of stuff that they wouldn't they would never done this on MySpace.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
LeVar Burton But isn't that the perfect application for Facebook I mean for really keeping your immediate circle in touch with you and you would them.
Veronica Belmont That is the correct purpose for Facebook.
Chris Hutchins My mother just joined Facebook. Big big move.
Leo Laporte Are you going to allow her to be your friend?
Chris Hutchins She is my friend I walked her through the process, but now she’s since connected with all of her college buddies, and now they're planning a reunion, and there's like hundreds of them coming.
Leo Laporte See, Facebook is for real people Twitter is for the digirati and Ashton Kutcher.
Veronica Belmont I wouldn't agree with that these days.
Patrick Norton Have you taken a look at the top hundred on Twitter now, Leo?
Leo Laporte I can't help it because I’m like, 98 now. It’s so depressing. I was like, in the top five and then everybody else arrived. I wish it were just quiet and small and only people I know again.
Veronica Belmont Just think yourself as a trailblazer. These things always get way blown out and then mainstream figures out about them and just take comfort in the fact that were an early adopter and you spread the word …
Leo Laporte Oh, shut up.
Veronica Belmont Oh, you shut up.
Patrick Norton I guess I feel better because I was in the top five before you were there.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah well I was there twice. I came and went.
Veronica Belmont Hey, I’m like, twenty-one now or twenty-five now it’s changing.
Leo Laporte Brian. Yeah – you were like very high up early on yeah.
Brian Shaler Early on yeah but now – I try to avoid that page.
Leo Laporte The TwitterCounter, the Twitter-holic page?
Brian Shaler Yes it’s really depressing because….
Leo Laporte Yeah you've been through this, help me, counsel me.
Brian Shaler Okay, so first of all I was fairly lucky to have decent mindset at the beginning of – like, this isn't all that big of a deal. I am not going to think I’m important because I have 3000 followers…….
Leo Laporte Oh, that was my mistake…
Brian Shaler …most people have less…
Leo Laporte …I thought I was important because of that.
Brian Shaler So I started seeing it – I kept telling myself I don't care, I don't care, I don't care, but then I checked in and saw that I went from 100 to 400 now I'm over 500.
Leo Laporte Yes, and then you start to care.
Brian Shaler Yeah, well it still hurts a little bit and I thought – exactly, I'm with you, Leo.
Leo Laporte You know why it doesn't hurt. Here it’s why it hurts. I think that when you are in the top two or three on Twitter, it's Barack Obama, Kevin Rose and you. That – that people say something that says something that people kind of value you, don't they?
LeVar Burton Yeah, you're absolutely right, Leo
Leo Laporte And now I'm just another guy, and Veronica's like the top person.
Veronica Belmont No I’m not. No I'm – it's all – it's becoming major news organizations and actual real famous people.
Leo Laporte Well, you know what, it's not even that.
LeVar Burton It’s CNN and Britney.
Leo Laporte It's not even that, it's whoever Facebook puts there because they – their suggestions page when new people – I’m sorry, Twitter puts there. When you sign up they automatically populate unless you uncheck it.
Brian Shaler It's let's, let's, let's, let's, let's, let's call. Let's, let's just let's be straightforward if CNN, Barack Twitter or Britney Spears or Stephen Fry or The New York Times are suggested by Twitter, they’re going to hell of a lot more followers than I am.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Brian Shaler A lot more people know about Ashton Kutcher and automatically you are going to adopt something like that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, so it’s going to…
Veronica Belmont …I’m happy to be able to have a conversation with the people that follow me, you know who I am…..
Leo Laporte I agree.
Veronica Belmont It’s nice to have that list and to be on there. It's cool, yeah, I won't deny that fact. But you know, I have a feeling that once – all the people that add me immediately realize, oh! well, she's talking about a lot of technology stuff I'm not really into that. I’m going to move on to someone who’s more interesting to what I deal with in my everyday life. That’s fine too because I want to be able to have good conversations with people. And I want to share my stuff that I'm doing in my life and jobs that I'm working on with the people that care about instead just people who are like., Oh! You are a chick what's up? You have to – it’s quality over quantity right.
LeVar Burton Do we know how many people there are on Twitter.
Leo Laporte No one knows. I’ve guessed three million, four million something like that.
Brian Shaler Registered accounts is definitely over 20 million.
Leo Laporte 20 million registered accounts?
Brian Shaler Definitely. The trick. I haven't done it in a while.
Leo Laporte Because you can look, there's a number, right?
Brian Shaler There is an ID number. If you can find it – it’s
Leo Laporte Yea, that’s right…
– it’s actually what you do is go to someone's …
Leo Laporte Were they serialized? Was it like one, two, three, four, five?
Brian Shaler Yes.
Chris Hutchins My mother, recently I put her on Twitter. You can check; she's pretty – in the last couple weeks.
Brian Shaler Well what you do is you actually find their RSS feed link.
Leo Laporte Right, the number’s in there.
Brian Shaler If you mouse over that it’ll tell you the number dot RSS. And that number’s your ID number in the database and it's all…
Leo Laporte So, it’s over 20 million? Well that’s pretty impressive.
Brian Shaler Registered accounts, that doesn't mean – you can create accounts pretty quickly and easily and there are tons of fake accounts, tons of spam accounts. So, it's not a very good benchmark.
Leo Laporte There has been a lot of spam lately.
Chris Hutchins I have a friend who has like, 200 Twitter accounts.
Leo Laporte What?
Chris Hutchins Because he took the…
Leo Laporte Wow! 200
Chris Hutchins You know, he got on early…
Leo Laporte He got Veronica.
Veronica Belmont I had to pay a lot of money to get that name.
Chris Hutchins But now he has since decided that he doesn’t want to be the guy that sells them, and so he is going to just put them up and say if anyone’s legitimate come grab your Twitter handle.
Leo Laporte One last Twitter story, then we’ll move on. Twitter was hacked again. About 200 accounts hacked but you had to be one of those dumb people that clicked on a link.
Brian Shaler Oh, phishing?
Leo Laporte …Phishing. To see a video of a girl and… It’s really embarrassing.
Brian Shaler Click grabbing or whatever they call it.
Leo Laporte No, it wasn't click grabbing.
Brian Shaler It’s phishing?
Leo Laporte It was actual – you have to look at this picture of a girl. And then you'd – you click it. So, it's kind of embarrassing if you are one of the people who got hacked because you fell for it.
Brian Shaler Because you were the one clicking to see the girl.
Leo Laporte You kind of – you kind, it shows you up.. But I am proud to say nobody here was phished as far as I know. Right?
Unknown Speaker Shhh!
Leo Laporte Enough Twitter, who cares. It's what it is.
Brian Shaler But I need to remark on that – with Twitter to use all the apps and whatever out there. You’re – they get you into this model of typing in your password everywhere you go.
Leo Laporte Oh it’s terrible.
Brian Shaler It's a terrible, a very disturbing idea that they're leaving it like that for as long they have. They need to have API keys.
Leo Laporte Supposedly, they've got, in-process they've got a beta but – it's pretty appalling what they're doing.
Brian Shaler Are they going to put it in as an option and not break backwards compatibility with all the other apps?
Leo Laporte Right, I've said it many times and people see it as a bitterness. You know but I think Twitter is not the best custodian of this type of thing
Patrick Norton No way, definitely.
Leo Laporte And I don't think Ev likes me. Ev was at the White House by the way. Did you see that? He was part of an economic summit.
Brian Shaler I saw him on TED.
Leo Laporte He’s all over the place. He went in and he met with the – this is actually strange event at the White House. Barack Obama met with the young entrepreneurs, an interesting group of people, including Evan Williams the founder of a Twitter. I’m not sure what they told him. That he's going to have any use for in terms of you know, it's not great economic advice. I don’t think it’s a model we can all follow. Well, you go, you get some rich guy to give you 20 million dollars and you hire a Ruby programmer and the rest is gravy.
Brian Shaler And then two years later start talking about a business model.
Leo Laporte Yes exactly and he brought in a bunch of people aren’t making any money.
Patrick Norton So you're wondering why Ev doesn't like you?
Leo Laporte Yeah I know, I know.
Veronica Belmont Twitter is a tool and we are all tools for talking about it, still.
Leo Laporte All right let's move on.
Patrick Norton [21:48] So, yeah what's – is the audience total gone back down below 4,000 again.
Leo Laporte Almost six, it’s LeVar Burton, he brings them in.
LeVar Burton And for the record I’m going to pimp you on Twitter like there’s no tomorrow, Leo.
Leo Laporte It’s okay, LeVar, it really is – in fact I see is story here from MSNBC dot com. Oh! My god. Shut up about Twitter already. Helen A.S. Popkin, actually it's a pretty funny story if you want to read it.
Brian Shaler So, after talking about Twitter for ten minutes we are going to talk about not talking about Twitter for five minutes.
Patrick Norton. No, now that we’ve talked about what we have to say about Twitter. Let’s talk about what they have to say about Twitter. Who cares about Boxee and Hulu. Does anybody care about …
Leo Laporte I love – I use Boxee. I love Hulu, I want Hulu to be supported on Boxee – what's the story. Hulu partners said we don't want you to be using us.
Patrick Norton Hulu says – their content partners said they do not want to be on Boxee.
Leo Laporte Right.
Patrick Norton Boxee said okay. Then they take access out. The next step is that somebody either inside or outside of Boxee makes the ability to point to the RSS feeds from Hulu just like any browser would look for them and then and Hulu calls back and says – Hulu doesn't call back – Hulu then shuts down, by browser identification, shuts down Boxee’s ability to access their RSS feeds.
Veronica Belmont Then it came back.
Leo Laporte Yes, came back. Dave Matthews who is a friend of ours actually created the Q-cat [ph]. Of all things. He's an evangelist forum, he says these guys, Hulu, are so shortsighted, it's an RSS reader. What our open source community will do is just make the Boxee browser look at the Firefox browser. You can't do it forever.
Veronica Belmont Now there's no there's really no way to block it time and time again. People aren’t just going to workarounds for it and if they really want the content that much. I mean, haven't – hasn't that already been proven before. I don't really understand why Hulu wants less people to see their content.
Brian Shaler I don't think it’s Hulu.
Veronica Belmont If the ads are still be going to running on it.
Leo Laporte Well it’s Fox or who?
Veronica Belmont Okay.
Brian Shaler NBC Universal, right?
Leo Laporte And why – I don't understand it.
Brian Shaler Well Hulu, think of who's behind Hulu?
Chris Hutchins Hulu is a website so they are ... it’s not directly competing necessarily with TV...
Leo Laporte So, if you’re watching it on your TV we don't want you to use Hulu.
Chris Hutchins So Boxee’s set up is, here's a way to take your computer.
Leo Laporte Right.
Chris Hutchins And kind of set it up as a media center, and now it's replacing your TV.
Leo Laporte And it's fantastic, I love Boxee.
Veronica Belmont It shouldn't, it shouldn’t make a difference whether you're watching it on your television or on your computer, it's one way to watch the content that’s going to keep you from watching the content another way.
Patrick Norton Well, if you think of it as, if you think of the difference between ad revenues based on online distribution through Hulu versus ad revenues through.....
Leo Laporte But the ads are embedded in the video.
Patrick Norton You’re not hearing me, I am talking about the actual amount – if, the amount of money, the CPM, you sell advertising into TWiT. Now, imagine if TWiT was a – imagine if TWiT during – through one avenue was worth a heck of a lot more money to you use than TWiT through another avenue.
Leo Laporte Sons of bitches, are they broadcasting TWiT on Boxee? Shut ‘em down. Actually they are, believe it or not, they are.
Veronica Belmont They should change model then, if it’s not the ads.
Leo Laporte No, we're on, we're on, we're on, we're on Boxee, they rebroadcast the odd TV stuff, so the video’s on Boxee. I have no problem with that, but I understand what you're saying Patrick, if, for instance, somebody takes – the way we get monetized is the link has a referrer in it which our advertising agency, Podtrac uses to count the number of unique people who downloaded the product. And that's what advertisers use, they pay us by the thousands of those. And you're right, Patrick, if some – there's no reason why you couldn't strip that out, in fact there was a guy in Britain doing a rogue RSS feed of TWiT minus those, and we had, we sent him a nice note, we can – the truth is, we can't legally shut him down because we're Creative Commons licensee, as long as he is not doing it for money, he can, he can do anything he wants. We just say, hey you’re undermining our revenue model, can you not – can you include the referrer link, but you're right Veronica, all they have to do is rethink their revenue model.
Patrick Norton No, no, no, no, it's not about rethinking the revenue model, it's about revenue contracts that are in place. It may be about their – it may be about a party’s distribution deals with the cable companies, remember all the stuff with MSOs, that, that TechTV went through. It could be – the problem is we don't really know – or it could be a MacGuffin and Hulu was just ticked off that Boxee was using their interface.
Leo Laporte [26:27] You’ve got to love Jon Stewart, his reaming of Rick Santelli and CNBC, did you see that, oh, man that was last night.
Patrick Norton Missed it.
Leo Laporte Oh, you’ve got to, well, now see I would normally say go to YouTube and watch it, but no.
Patrick Norton No, right.
Leo Laporte Viacom doesn't want you to watch it that way.
Patrick Norton Oh, Sumner.
Leo Laporte God.
Veronica Belmont Well you’ve heard about the new, the new YouTube music video channel, what is it Vivo or Viv, Viv, something like that.
Leo Laporte And that’s with the deal with...
Veronica Belmont That would be with Universal, right.
Leo Laporte That's a deal with the record company, yes. So, they are starting to wake up.
Veronica Belmont They’re just trying different models, they're trying to figure out a good way to have people see their content and still get paid, although I think it's funny that YouTube has to make an entirely separate business in order to lure the content providers into a sense of comfort and place their videos online instead of, God forbid, it's actually on YouTube.
Leo Laporte The good news is, Veronica, my band mate, you know Veronica and I performed together on the stage at The Great American Music Hall, along with Merlin Mann and a guy you might know, a little guy named Jonathan Coulton.
Brian Shaler Wow!
Leo Laporte Yes. "THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND" debuts September 9th oh, and the world goes crazy.
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte Maybe, maybe The Beatles waited a little too long, you think, maybe they should’ve hurried up with that digital distribution model?
Patrick Norton I didn’t realise they had a digital distribution model.
Leo Laporte They don’t, this is it, right here, $59.99 you can get the game, and another $100, you’ll get a bass guitar that you play with your left hand, a microphone, and Ringo Starr's signature drum kit.
Veronica Belmont Wow, that’s fancy.
Chris Hutchins What’s sad is they’ll probably sell a lot of that.
Leo Laporte I am going to buy it, I always wanted to be in The Beatles. But I'll stick with songs like Octopus's Garden, I won’t do like the signature songs. “I'd like to be under the sea”.
Patrick Norton It is a signature song.
Leo Laporte I can do any Ringo song, how many were there? “Octopus’s garden in the shade”.
Veronica Belmont You’re such a song bird, listen to you.
Leo Laporte Why don’t we get the band back together, Veronica?
Veronica Belmont Someday, someday.
Leo Laporte Let's take a break, come back, all this talk about money is making me itchy, so I think I'm going to mention the folks at Audible, right now, audible.com/twit2 for the Platinum plan. The Platinum plan gives you two, yes two, two books a month, they have a Gold plan that will get you one book a month. Now, I happen to go through two books a month, because I listen to Audible books everywhere I go. I'll go to a business meeting, I've got the earbuds in. What, what did you say, I'm sorry, I can't hear you, I'm listening to David Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty Some Day”. I’ll do it in the gym, I do it in the car, I am doing it all the time, I am listening to audible.com. Audible is basically an online bookstore. 51,000 titles. Amazing stuff, LeVar Burton is on Audible, he’s got quite a few books on audible.com, including that Grammy winning performance. Was that the, what was that, The Malcolm X, what was that Grammy for?
LeVar Burton The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leo Laporte That’s right, MLK’s autobiography.
LeVar Burton Yes, MLK, MLK.
Leo Laporte I just said that like I knew him. MLK’s autobiography. Marty, we call him Marty. No, it’s actually a beautiful book, and you do a beautiful job reading it, but that, that's what's different about Audible. These are performances. You're an actor, I mean, you don't just go there, sit down and read it like you would, like you’re reading the daily paper.
LeVar Burton No, it’s storytelling, and a biography like that is one thing, but other titles that are non-fiction, you get an opportunity to play all the characters.
Leo Laporte That's kind of fun.
LeVar Burton Yes, that's absolutely a blast.
Leo Laporte You want, I know you want to do, you’d like to do more, you’d like to do some Public Domain reading and so forth.
LeVar Burton We are actually in a conversation with your good friends at Audible.
Leo Laporte Oh, I love that. I'm glad.
LeVar Burton Yes, well, we don’t know what it's going to look like or sound like, yet, but we know that there is commonality there, and there is a strategic alliance to be made, and we're in the process of figuring it out.
Leo Laporte Oh, that's fantastic.
LeVar Burton Yes.
Leo Laporte So is it, so it's – do you treat it like you would a movie script, where you see the quoted text and that dialogue and think of – do you come up with voices for people for instance?
LeVar Burton You do, absolutely. You absolutely do, and oftentimes it depends on the producer, sometimes you do it on the fly. It’s absolute, basic storytelling at its highest. I just, I totally, totally love it.
Leo Laporte Yes, yes, I did one, I did one short story. The Tale of Little Golden Riding-hood. It sounds like a joke, but it's actually the name of the book, and it was really fun. And I did, I made up voices for everybody. But it was more like a table read where you just, you haven’t seen it before, and you’re just kind of going through it, and I would, I think it’d be so much fun to spend some real time, I know Jim Dale will. Create a voice for every character, and he has hundreds of voices, and then record them, so that when he is about to do Hagrid in Harry Potter, he'll listen back to the tape and get, and oh, yes that's the Hagrid voice. And have that voice, and it's a unique voice and it’s the same every time.
LeVar Burton Yes, you want it to be consistent, you want those characters to sound the same every time they come up in the story, and, Jim Dale is a master, he is one of the best there will ever be at audio literature.
Leo Laporte It is, it’s theatre, and I love that, and so when you get an Audible book, and you are listening to a performance, you're listening to theatre, but bringing a book, you love, alive, and I just, it's so much fun, sometimes I'll read a book and then listen to the audio version of it, just to kind of, to have that extra experience. So here's how you can get involved, go to audible.com/twit2, sign up today, you're going to get two credits. And by the way that's, your first month is free, so if you stick around, of course you can continue, but even if you don't, you get to keep those books, they are yours to keep for free forever. I can't recommend this more; you might want to listen to The Autobiography of Martin Luther King read by a cat named LeVar Burton. That's audible.com/twit2, and by the way Little Golden Riding-hood, that's free. They couldn’t charge for that, that's a, it's short too, it’s five minutes, but it was fun, I just got to experience what it was like to have – Audible now have these studios, you go in, and it’s really nice, you have a producer sitting across the glass from you, and he keeps saying to me, slow down, slow down, stop slurring your words, are you drunk, Sir? That kind of thing, it's really fun, audible.com/twit2. We thank Audible so much for their support of this WEEK in TECH, they’ve been a really great supporter for the show.
LeVar Burton They love you, Leo.
Leo Laporte They do, and I love them, it's a mutual admiration society. You’ve got to feel for this lady, oh, my goodness! She – her name is Billy Park, she lives in Oklahoma, she saw a RadioShack made a sign out front, $100 for a Netbook.
Veronica Belmont Nice.
Leo Laporte And, the deal is, you sign up for AT&T contract, it’s got E-Video built in the Netbook, and you’ve got two years of AT&T. $60 a month, she said, this is a great deal, I get the Netbook for $99, I get the always-on Internet service, first bill they say, she knew it’d be a little bit bigger because there's a $36 activation fee, and they bill you a month in advance, and some pro-rated charges. She didn't realise that any Internet usage over five gigabytes would cost her like $1 a megabyte, her first bill, $5,077 from AT&T.
Brian Shaler Ow.
Leo Laporte Ouch!
Patrick Norton It's unfortunate, even, even, Sprint, who actually, until, until recently like November had unlimited E-Video access, they don’t have, it’s punitive in the case of AT&T. And, I want to say Verizon, but especially so, in the case of AT&T, if you go over their five gigabyte cap, they are going to make your life miserable.
Leo Laporte It's, it’s, now they say we disclosed this, here's – I'm looking at the data rate plans, and here's how they disclose it. It’s $60 a month for five gigabytes, and then after five gigabytes, it's an additional 0.00048 per kilobyte. That doesn’t sound like much, right? What is that, there is a lot of zeroes in that, that's pretty cheap, that's nothing. But when it adds up to considerably more, I think it's $0.48 a megabyte. And doesn't take long before you’re up to $5,000. Her point is, yes they might have disclosed that, she says, “They didn't tell me”. AT&T says, “it's right there, you see that 0.0048 cents it's right there”. I’ve got to tell you, I don't think that's disclosure, she's suing them.
Brian Shaler I’ve got to wonder what was the woman using all of that.
Leo Laporte Hulu, she was watching Hulu, of course.
Patrick Norton Well, if you watch high definition video, or if you start downloading some of the applications, I mean, if you watch, we actually went through it on Tekzilla two weeks ago, where we actually went, this is the data rate for something like Hulu regular versus Hulu HD. This is what happens if you start downloading movies from Netflix or Amazon. And it can add up, It doesn’t take a lot of work to get to 10 or 20 gigabytes.
LeVar Burton Turns out maybe she was watching TWiT, Leo.
Leo Laporte Yeah, well that's the problem. It’s somebody who streams a lot of data. I can see these – five gigabytes sounds like a lot, it is if you’re just looking at email.
Patrick Norton Five gigabytes is three and a half movies. Three and half near HD movies from almost any of the online services.
Leo Laporte Nothing.
Brian Shaler Well people were getting upset about Comcast and that's 250 gigabytes, I mean, five seems just like. You can hit it in a day.
Leo Laporte Right.
Patrick Norton Yeah. And all of the E-Video providers now have a five-gigabyte cap. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Sprint was the last –Sprint was the only one that really had an unlimited cap anytime recently.
Veronica Belmont I think it’s good. They should be a little more maybe forthcoming with the overage charges but at the same time people have to be kind of informed about how all this stuff plays out because if you're just not reading the small text or not paying attention enough to what the terms say, then you're going to get in trouble. There’s no two ways about it like you have to figure that stuff out before you start downloading films and movies and all sorts of other stuff over EVDO.
Leo Laporte I’ve got to check because I have a Verizon card and they didn’t used to charge, they just would say, “five gigabytes, we're going to cut you off.” And now they charge and they charge a pretty high rate.
Veronica Belmont Now, which would you rather have? Would you rather have that they cut you off?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont Or would you rather have that they charge you?
Leo Laporte You don't want to get a $5,000 bill.
Veronica Belmont Right.
Leo Laporte And you really can't. What are you going to say? I mean, she's suing but she – it's not a slam dunk by any means. AT&T is saying “well, we told you what – you know it's all very clearly disclaimed.”
Chris Hutchins Well, one thing that I think is a bad play for them PR wise is when these people get slammed for five or $10,000 they're not being told that they're about to go over or that they have gone over; they find out when they get the next bill.
Leo Laporte You need to let me know. Yeah.
Chris Hutchins Yeah, call you up and say, “You know at this rate, tomorrow you're going to be over.”
Veronica Belmont I know, it’s kind of a different thing but with like PG&E for example I do auto-pay every month and if for some reason my bill goes over $100, which it almost never does, they tell me, they let me know that this is happening before they charge my account. It would be better if companies like AT&T and other EVDO providers could definitely have something like that, I mean, that would be nice.
Leo Laporte Well they should. You can check. They say there's a tool on the computer that you could see how much you’ve used but it doesn't – it doesn't flash a sign up.
Chris Hutchins But I had Verizon before I had an iPhone and I got a text message at one point in time and I don't remember frequently saying I'm out of minutes…
Leo Laporte Right.
Chris Hutchins …for the month.
Leo Laporte That's nice.
Chris Hutchins So they have that feature set up somewhere.
Leo Laporte They have the capability.
Patrick Norton But that’s – but it’s not as clean cut with an EVDO modem or a tethering device as it is with a cell phone usage. You know what I mean they could send into an email account. But it’s not like they can actually have the EVDO modem show on its personal screen like what's going on.
Leo Laporte If you watched us all, not even all day, if you watch us eight hours a day just five days a week it would be a terabyte a month, it would be 500 megabytes a month, it would be a gigabyte a month, it would be a lot of data. And if you then download a few podcasts, watch a little daily show on Hulu, I mean it wouldn’t be hard to get up, you’re not going to get up to 250 gigabytes may be but…
Brian Shaler Unless you are a really avid Twitterer.
Leo Laporte If you're – yeah, Twitterer, right, 140 characters at a time.
Brian Shaler Oh, I thought you're saying watching TWiT.
Leo Laporte No. Don't confuse TWiT and Twitter, that’s...
Brian Shaler No, no I am sorry. I thought you said watching Twitter.
Leo Laporte No, you – actually I should do the calculations. Because we – it's 500 kilobits a second. So I can – oh, poor Patrick just fell right over.
Chris Hutchins So that’s 60 kilobytes a second.
Patrick Norton That wasn’t me.
LeVar Burton That was at my house.
Leo Laporte That was your…
LeVar Burton That’s got to be just the wind. I'm actually – I'm outside this afternoon and we’ve got a huge gust of wind that blew over the umbrella.
Leo Laporte Oh you're outside on the pool, on the porch with the umbrella. Living it up. Now I am sad we didn’t get video of this show. Now I am sad.
LeVar Burton I told you we went to great lengths to set it up for you here, Leo.
Leo Laporte Oh, thank you. I’m sorry, LeVar, we’ll do it next time.
LeVar Burton Next time, next time, next time.
Chris Hutchins We got about 200 megs an hour.
Leo Laporte Yeah, 176 gigabytes a month if you’d watch 24/7. So even then it’d be hard to get to that 250, easy to go past five.
Chris Hutchins Yeah.
Leo Laporte Trivial.
Patrick Norton I mean, it’s interesting because the five gigabyte cap, I want to say AT&T had one; Verizon put one in place in place; Sprint finally followed up in November of 2008 and it's – you got to wonder what was the motivation – were people, because I suspect people were dropping other accounts or satellite internet to be able to use the EVDO.
Leo Laporte Sure, that's why AT&T won't let you tether or they wouldn’t let Apple sell that tethering application, you have to pay extra to tether your iPhone.
Brian Shaler Oh, they introduced…
Leo Laporte They are going to introduce a plan but it will cost you extra.
Brian Shaler Oh, of course.
Leo Laporte Unless you are one of the lucky people that downloaded that tethering application within the first 12 hours and if you were can I have a copy of it please?
Patrick Norton Any application downloaded through the store can be disabled.
Leo Laporte But they haven't disabled it oddly enough.
Veronica Belmont But with the new app store – the third party app stores that are coming up like CEDIA there actually is a tethering program available on that app store.
Leo Laporte Sure. But you have to jailbreak.
Brian Shaler You have to jailbreak and then you search for PDA not – I'm not saying that I've done it because what they – weren’t they threatening that…?
Leo Laporte Apple says…
Brian Shaler Individuals could also be, not fined but…
Leo Laporte No, Apple says it's illegal to jailbreak your iPhone.
Veronica Belmont Ah, take a chance.
Brian Shaler Yeah, so I'm not going to admit that I used...
Leo Laporte Veronica, have you jail broken? Of course you have.
Veronica Belmont I have. My current iPhone is not jail broken, my previous first generation iPhone was.
Leo Laporte I jail breaked – jail broked – jail briked– and unlocked my first gen, just for fun but I haven’t touched my second gen. You know what, the App Store kind of solved – 90% of what I want.
Brian Shaler Yeah.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Brian Shaler Especially when you need to tether...
Leo Laporte Well except for tethering…
Brian Shaler Yeah.
Leo Laporte …or background operations or cut and paste. But other than that – so this is one for you, Chris Hutchins creator of LaidOffCamp, email scams get a makeover for the recession. Turns out phishing scams now are laden with links to, well here's a good one, sorry we can't give you a job but here's your resume back hoping that you'll open the file to see whose resume it was and maybe read it.
Veronica Belmont Oh no.
Leo Laporte Spammers are sending emails pretending to reject people for jobs instead of re-trying to recruit them. It says you weren't selected. And here's your application back...
Chris Hutchins ... because I'm sure you couldn’t keep a copy on your computer, when you printed it out that was the only copy.
Leo Laporte Well, you know it's not yours, right? So you go, I wonder – but you’re going to open it, right?
Brian Shaler Curiosity, of course.
Leo Laporte Curiosity killed the cat. Also messages laden with links to job – here’s a job application, fill this out or come to our website we've got a job for you, that's really low.
Brian Shaler Kicking the people while they are down really.
Leo Laporte That is so low.
Veronica Belmont I can’t believe that, spammers man, they know all the tricks in the book.
Leo Laporte They don't care, they don't care.
Veronica Belmont That’s unbelievable.
Leo Laporte Well they are scumbags. They are scumbags.
LeVar Burton They are also students of human nature. I mean, they really – they target…
Leo Laporte Well, they’re good
LeVar Burton ... yes, they target, they look at the demographics…
Patrick Norton Much like the credit companies
LeVar Burton Exactly right. They know what they are doing.
Leo Laporte They know exactly.
Patrick Norton And the mortgage companies and politicians and both parties.
Leo Laporte [43:34] One more Twitter story. Patrick Norton Oh no.
Leo Laporte Okay, never mind. Just one more.
LeVar Burton Go for it Leo, go for it.
Leo Laporte Ron Sylvester reporter for the Wichita Eagle in court twittering the trial. Sylvester has been using Twitter for a year to cover hearings and trials in state courts. He's covering a racketeering trial of six Crips gang defendants in federal court, the judge – he asked the judge. Judge – U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said, “go right ahead, you may tweet from the control room – the courtroom. He says he's recanted testimony and offered courtroom color including quote, Judge Marten is talking to reluctant witness in chambers with a court reporter transcribing the conversation or quote, the witness who is yelling in the hallway early has not returned to the courthouse.
It's actually an interesting idea I think.
Brian Shaler Much more functional than the guy who tweeted his wedding.
Leo Laporte Yeah that's pathetic, that's just pathetic. But you know, I always hated those sketches that you do, you know, with the…
Veronica Belmont Oh I love them.
Leo Laporte You like those? But they’re always so awful.
Veronica Belmont That’s why they are hilarious. I would like to have like 10 of them and just frame them and put them up in my office…
Leo Laporte Oh you are right.
Chris Hutchins Why doesn’t anyone have a face?
Veronica Belmont …of famous people on a trial. They are like caricatures basically.
Brian Shaler That would be fun.
LeVar Burton I met the artist who did a lot of the O.J. Simpson trial.
Leo Laporte Really?
Veronica Belmont Wow
LeVar Burton Yeah. He was a storyboard artist. I used him for a commercial that I directed last year.
Leo Laporte You’re kidding.
LeVar Burton And the man is an incredible artist and he promised me an original Lance Ito, Judge Lance Ito.
Leo Laporte Oh my god, that would be so awesome.
LeVar Burton Absolutely.
Leo Laporte All right, I take it back
Veronica Belmont You know, you changed your tone.
Leo Laporte I take it back. No, now I'm thinking.
LeVar Burton Yeah.
Leo Laporte That's history right there on the wall.
Unknown Speaker Right.
Veronica Belmont Like the ones of Michael Jackson and stuff are so cool and like creepy looking, they’d be perfect.
Leo Laporte They don't really look like anything but it would still be fun to have.
Veronica Belmont Are you going to go to his comeback tour?
Leo Laporte You have to go to London, right? But it's a little weird. He said, “I'm – this is the last time I'm playing in London.” He didn’t say, “I’m retiring.” He said I’m not going to be here again. So you buy a lot of tickets.
Brian Shaler Kind of like the Stones and The Who
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte We might be retiring this time for sure.
Veronica Belmont Very noncommittal.
Leo Laporte This is the last time I’ll be playing here for the next two years. I went to see the Stones the last time there were in town. I can't – I just think it's amazing that this guy, I mean, this gives an old guy like me hope. This guy in his sixties is dancing and shaking, he’s got, you know, the lips and the thing and he’s doing the whole thing, it's amazing.
And of course Ron Wood looked – well Keith Richards looks like he's been dead for twenty years but I think…
Patrick Norton Yeah, but he's looked like that for twenty years.
Leo Laporte He’s always looked like that, right.
Veronica Belmont Hey, as long as they can keep doing what they love and they’re doing a good job and getting people willing to pay money for it.
Leo Laporte They’re happy.
LeVar Burton God bless them, absolutely
Veronica Belmont Yeah, exactly.
LeVar Burton Absolutely.
Leo Laporte They’re happy.
Veronica Belmont Good on them. Good on them.
Leo Laporte Let’s see what else here.
Did you see – we were talking about this before we started. I don’t think we talked about it on the show. Wolfram who is famous for Mathematica is creating a new website that will allow you – it's, I guess, kind of an artificial intelligence site, to ask any question it will give you any factual answer to any question you ask.
Steve Wolfram is a genius, some say. What do you think Patrick? Is this – I think it's kind of a cool idea. Do you think he can do it is the question.
Patrick Norton Well, yeah, I mean the thing that kind of fascinated me was one of those things that first burbled up in the blogosphere and then it's up on Slashdot and TechCrunch. You know he's saying he has an initial version of a computer that answers factual questions.
Leo Laporte Wow.
Patrick Norton A la, and I quote, Star Trek ship computers from an anonymous poster on Slashdot. So it's a web based application, Wolfram Alpha and it's a really interesting idea that it's going to respond – rather than a link of web pages it's going to give you a actual answer.
Leo Laporte Yeh, it’s not Google. It's – they're hand entering all the data.
Patrick Norton This is like – yeah, this is more like pseudo Turing stuff and that's what I want to know is like, is it actually doing this. They are calling it a computational knowledge engine. And it's a really interesting. It's going to open in May and it's a really interesting idea there, because Wolfram’s not talking a whole lot about it yet. But they're saying you ask it a question and it will compute an answer for you.
Leo Laporte Is that – somebody said well what about biases you know you can say, he says – it’s only going to answer factual questions, what was that Apple’s stock price on January 20, 2000. But you know you could – you might ask it to about things that are more controversial like climate change and it certainly whatever – there’s some bias isn’t there in the data that's been entered in there?
Veronica Belmont So there’s people entering in answers to questions that may or may not be posed to this service?
Leo Laporte I don't think it's exactly that. Apparently they've been doing it for some time kind of in a stealth mode, like years.
Brian Shaler But here's the thing if you've got – if you've got a database that – that has been entered into. The input has been handled by human beings then there's going to be a bias.
Leo Laporte There is bias, yeah.
Brian Shaler It's – it's only a matter of how long it takes you to determine what the bias is?
Veronica Belmont See now, this would be a good time to have Calacanis on. So he can talk about...
Unknown speaker Mahalo. Yeah, Mahalo is human.
Veronica Belmont Right.
Patrick Norton Yeah, but this isn’t – this isn’t human what this is like – what this is, is the idea, of they got the engineering on and they broke down like you know, these are the types of factual questions there are, these are different models that are, you know computational models for answering these questions, what they – what they manually entered or pull, automatically pulled in – and I’m quoting from the TechCrunch article here – is masses of raw factual data about various fields of knowledge
Leo Laporte But then they have to connect – software has to connect it somehow right and…?
Brian Shaler Well it has to be able to interpret the question.
Leo Laporte And then in a natural language.
Brian Shaler Because you’re asking a question in English, and you can ask one question, like about Apple’s stock price on whatever day, you can ask that question in many different ways, maybe not that one specifically. But there're lot of questions that, it takes a lot of artificial intelligence to be able to decrypt the English language to see what they're trying to ask.
Veronica Belmont But can it answer how is babby formed?
Leo Laporte No, but we can. We know the answer. Well, you can – you can kind of do that in Google. I’m going to type, what is the capital of California in Google.
Brian Shaler I remember this kind of coming out and being talked about a while ago I think it was when Live Search was just starting, they were transitioning to the Live brand, Microsoft was, or MSN was, and one of the awesome new features that makes it so much cooler than Google was that, and they had this as an example, what does an alligator eat? You could type that in and it would talk about the diet of an alligator I think. In Live Search and that was two plus years ago. I don't know how they were entering information.
Leo Laporte You remember Powerset that did that using Wikipedia, and it was attempting to do the same thing, it didn’t do it very well.
Brian Shaler But this is kind of the difference between…
Leo Laporte By the way the American alligator feeds on a variety of animals. They will eat almost any prey. So there you go – and that was Google.
Veronica Belmont Right.
Brian Shaler Right, but that’s not answering the question, that is actually giving you a search result and it happens to be answered in that snippet.
Veronica Belmont Google does do direct answers to certain questions. If you give it a mathematical question or you know a computation of some kind it’ll give you that answer. If you ask it for a capital, it will tell you the capital…
LeVar Burton Today because of daylight savings time I typed in current time into Google and it told me different cities or what time it is there.
Leo Laporte That's very neat and also it knows where I am. So it gave me my time.
LeVar Burton It assumes, yeah. But it also gives you a lot of other cities. Leo Laporte Wow.
Veronica Belmont Once you start indexing all the world's information you have some answers for people.
LeVar Burton I would hope so.
Patrick Norton Well not necessarily because information is not knowledge and it’s not necessarily an answer but it empowers them to create the tools to give you answers. Leo Laporte But is Wolfram trying to do knowledge?
Patrick Norton Well – but Wolfram – and yeah actually in a way it is right because what Wolfram is trying to do is build a machine that can do like a fifth grader’s essay. And there's a difference between listing sources and actually giving you a – this is the answer. You know. It’s an interesting concept.
LeVar Burton But an essay – an essay implies a point of view.
Patrick Norton Well that's why I said a fifth grader’s essay, remember, remember that…
Leo Laporte You have to start with a topic sentence.
Patrick Norton But it was like, what is you know, what is your report as a fifth grader, you know I'm writing about the zebra. The zebra has stripes.
Veronica Belmont I wrote an excellent report on black bears one time.
Leo Laporte Really, let’s hear it.
Patrick Norton Exactly
Leo Laporte Do you remember it?
Veronica Belmont Oh, I just remember that the – if I remember correctly the female black bear weighs like 300 pounds and the male black bears weighs like 500 pounds. Never mind.
Leo Laporte You'll never forget those important things you learned in that report.
Veronica Belmont That’s probably all wrong.
Brian Shaler I think I now understand why in the chat earlier people were saying Bear– ronica.
Veronica Belmont Bear-onica see – I’m an expert on bears. Little known fact.
Leo Laporte All right, all right, we're going to come back. Melinda Gates apparently living a life of horror as she and the kids are not allowed to own iPhones or iPods. She reveals to Vogue. A response from Funny or Die coming up in just a little bit, before, yes it's called a tease. Before we do that I want to tell you about go to my PC, go to my PC. com/ TWiT. It'll set you up with a thirty day free trial of this amazing remote access software. Coleen’s on me she says, you know if you're going to tell everybody to go to my PC you got to start using it on the TriCaster. Okay I'm going to start using another – I'm going to be able to control the TriCaster from my home.
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Have you guys seen the Bill Gates Funny or Die bit?
Brian Shaler [54:45] I thought you were just going to start a conversation about that article. I was like, oh yay more Apple fanboyism but, I'm eager to see this Funny or Die…
Leo Laporte No, it's not really, it's not really Melinda.
Veronica Belmont I haven’t seen it.
Brian Shaler Well, yeah I heard about the story, I didn't know that there was a Funny or Die sketch based on that story.
Leo Laporte Yeah, so this story, just to recap is Melinda is talking, I think it's to Vogue and says. Yeah I mean she's fine about it she says no – see Balmer same thing he says I wouldn't let my kids touch an iPod, I guess that's loyalty I mean, I guess. I guess, it seems like kind of a, it seems like pretty tough stance.
This is a Bill Gates' wife Melinda, this is an actress portraying her, I just have to explain that for Funny or Die.
Audio Clip I don’t have long, if Bill finds out I’m using this iMac he’ll freak out! I told Vogue magazine that we don't any Mac products in the house but you know what? I lied, okay. I had to. A couple of months’ back Bill found out I had an iPhone, and an iPod, and seven I Macs and he lost his [expletive]. Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe, he freaked out, but you know what, give me a break, come on. We're bazillionaire’s here and Bill has me and the kids living like we’re cave people. It’s a nightmare. Like last Christmas ok, I tried to put together a family photo album using this crap program. Dell mega picture video storage library or something like that. It was awful, it was hard, it took forever. I hated it! I mean it would have been faster and easier for me drive out to Venice and get some [expletive] boardwalk to draw pictures of us.
Here he comes. Oh my God that was close. I told him I was taking this to the garbage. As if. No iPhones in the house. Why Bill? Why? Why is that? Oh wait a minute, I can tell you. I know why. Because you don’t like anything that’s awesome. You [expletive] nerd.
Leo Laporte Okay, I'll let you watch the rest. That's taking the theme and running with it that's all – that's all I can say. But you have to think Melinda might be thinking that.
Brian Shaler In her heart of hearts.
Veronica Belmont That's pretty funny. I mean if you work for a company would you be upset if your kids use their competing product?
Leo Laporte I let my kids watch Tekzilla.
Veronica Belmont I’ve never been in that situation obviously so. Oh, oh.
Leo Laporte If they wanted to watch Tekzilla, it’d be okay, I could live with that. I guess I understand but…
Veronica Belmont We’re supplementary to each other, Leo, we’re supplementary, not competing.
Leo Laporte No, I'm just kidding of course but I think that's going a little far saying you may not have an iPod in the house.
Brian Shaler Well, I mean it's humor, I can't imagine Bill Gates giving a…
Leo Laporte No, no she said this in an interview for real.
Brian Shaler Really
Patrick Norton Yeah, well the real solution should be tell me why you want the iPod so we can make a better product.
LeVar Burton Or be the first kid get on your block to have a Zune.
Leo Laporte Melinda, Melinda, I’m sorry Microsoft – this is I’m reading this from. theage.com.au. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has banned iPods and iPhones from his household. The software billionaire's wife Melinda has revealed, this is not the joke this is the story. The rivalry between Microsoft and Apple and Gates and Apple founder Steve Jobs is legendary but the pair have made valiant efforts to conceal any animosity. But behind the scenes Apple is the forbidden fruit in Microsoft quarters. She's talking with Vogue. She says there are very few things that are on the banned list in our household. But iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids. Every now and then says Melinda I look at my friends and say ooh, I wouldn't mind having that iPhone.
Veronica Belmont Oh snap. Snap. I’m not saying that from an Apple like fan person perspective I'm just saying man if Bill hears her say that, he’s going to be pissed.
Leo Laporte I think it's I think this Funny or Die skit is not too far off.
Brian Shaler Maybe and I think that's why it inspired it. They are like wait a second there’s something to this, something going on.
LeVar Burton Quite as it's kept, I’ve banned @WilWheaton from my house.
Patrick Norton I knew there was something there.
Leo Laporte Now, but wait; didn’t Shatner have a rivalry with…?
Brian Shaler George Takei.
Leo Laporte They didn’t get along very well.
Brian Shaler Oh yeah, there was a big, big, big time big time rivalry between the two of them.
Leo Laporte So I mean it happens. It happens, you got to work together, you’re wearing the outfits and maybe you know, you both wore red that day and it's embarrassing, you know sometimes stuff can blow up and get bigger.
Patrick Norton Yeah, I don't know, on one hand it seems really petty and on the other hand it's like you know if you enjoy the lifestyle we lead. You know what I mean, like it would be like the kids of the chairman of GM having Toyotas. Well maybe not Toyotas since there's some stuff they worked on together before.
Brian Shaler Or maybe they’re flying jets instead of driving their own cars.
Leo Laporte Yeah, there you go.
LeVar Burton There's a good analogy.
Leo Laporte Engines by Rolls Royce, okay, so yeah, or do you think that Steve Jobs does not allow Windows machines in the house? That’d be kind of weird.
Patrick Norton Oh absolutely.
Leo Laporte Really? No.
Patrick Norton He probably doesn't allow like colors in the house, you know.
Leo Laporte It’s all white. It’s got to all be white. How about Zunes? If – look, if Steve Jobs’ kid came home and said “dad, I want a Zune”. Steve Jobs is not going to say you may not have a Zune. He is going to say...
Chris Hutchins No, you know what Steve Jobs is going to do. Steve Jobs from what I've heard from people that have worked with him, is going to scream at the top of his head about “if you want an inferior piece of whatever, if you want to use an inferior product, go ahead!”
Leo Laporte Zune, go ahead!
Chris Hutchins Go ahead! And every time the kid, like walks around with a Zune, so he’d be like, you know what, you could have an iPod which is the real device for listening to music but no you wanted an inferior...
Leo Laporte Zune. That's pretty funny.
Chris Hutchins Oh my goodness.
Veronica Belmont It’s given me a headache just pretending.
Leo Laporte [60:57] Barney Frank wants to bring back online gambling. This is interesting. The Republican’s banned online gambling, making it illegal in the United States in 2006, barring businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with Internet gambling which was already illegal. So basically the credit card companies said “guess we can't help you”. This cost European companies, where mostly gambling sites were, a lot of money. In fact people were arrested the minute they stepped out of a plane on U.S. soil. Advocates of lifting the ban say it's an impingement of personal liberty and by the way couple of billion dollars in revenue that you are losing over the next decade by not allowing Internet gambling. Think of all the tax money you can make. What do you guys say about that?
Veronica Belmont Has anyone here ever internet gambled?
Leo Laporte I have not. I do not play –
Veronica Belmont Be honest, it’s cool. No one will judge.
Leo Laporte I had – no, I wouldn't – you know I’d go to party – I would go to partypoker.com. I'm afraid of getting – I’m afraid of being the, you know, the fish at the table that they just...
Veronica Belmont I don't know how to play any, any gambling games like that. So, I wouldn’t even know where to start like I...
Leo Laporte LeVar, you must – you must play, you must play.
LeVar Burton I love, I love poker and part of the appeal is being eye to eye with other competitors and reading them, that's so hard to do online. I just don't – I don't see the appeal. For me, it's – it's better engaged in a, you know, one-on-one setting with other human beings. I can't imagine getting any joy out of playing online.
Leo Laporte I think people, you know, in a way it might appeal to people who really have a gambling problem because it means you can gamble anytime, anywhere.
LeVar Burton Yeah, sure.
Leo Laporte Dangerous. It's actually dangerous, so you know...
Patrick Norton Well, with all due respect I mean on one hand, yeah, it means that you can blow the rent money without leaving the house. But on the other hand, you know there's an Indian casino in about every 500 yards.
Leo Laporte Well and that's why that law was passed, I'm sure, is Atlantic City, Las Vegas and the Indian casino’s said “uh, you’d better not allow Internet gambling”.
Patrick Norton Well, it was also...
Leo Laporte That’s not good for America.
Patrick Norton A lot of people also say that it simply takes a huge amount of, you know, it’s like a 52, how many, I don’t know how many billions of dollars. But they were basically saying it was taking the money offshore.
Leo Laporte Interesting. There's also the bigger issue of cheating. It's very hard to police this stuff.
Patrick Norton Yeah like you would know if they are cheating you in a casino, Leo. I mean there's –
Leo Laporte Well, that's why we have gambling commissions to watch this stuff, I mean, I don’t know how good a job they do...
Patrick Norton Yeah but I mean I understand that, but there's a strong line between being cheated and having casinos play the legitimate rules as hard as they can because they are looking to maximize returns. So they play, you know, they – this goes back to our whole study of psychology thing that we were talking about earlier, and they – casinos don't – they may be legal but it's not fair and the house always wins, they just need to maximize.
Leo Laporte Yeah, but you know that when you go in there. There was a big story on 60 Minutes, it was quite interesting about online gambling. Apparently one of these online gambling sites, I think it was a poker site a former employee had access. See, and if you could see the cards of everybody you are playing with, you’d pretty much win all the time. And that’s exactly what happened, the guy had access to the backend software, was able to see all the cards that were dealt out.
And actually players became suspicious because these guys were betting when they shouldn't be betting you know by traditional poker rules. They are not playing poker properly and winning massive amounts because they knew the cards. And by the way there is very little recourse, there’s not much you could do if you – even if you discover this.
Brian Shaler It just – it lacks that reality of seeing a real card in your hand and you almost – and I wouldn't trust it.
Leo Laporte Exactly.
Patrick Norton You guys are also assuming that poker would be the only thing people will be playing, I mean, there is no reason there wouldn’t be blackjack and pai gow poker and slot machines. I mean the whole reason they have all these weird – well the difference is that – is that a lot of people, I mean there's not a lot of difference between playing slots in Atlantic City and playing slots at home except you don't have to deal with you know some angry bag lady slamming down her nickels down the row.
Leo Laporte It’s true; slots is a computer even if you’re playing in Atlantic City.
Patrick Norton And slots is a huge generator of revenue for casinos, and if you notice the fact that there are more slot machines now than there are gambling tables in terms of square footage, it means that they are generally more...
Veronica Belmont I would just – were I gambler, which I'm not because I'm just not good at that kind of thing, I would much rather play at a casino because at least I would feel even though the odds are probably stacked in their favor, that if it ever came out that somehow they were cheating players or somehow stealing money that the reputation of that casino would be ruined, and that it’s in their best interests to stay legitimate and you know have people win on a fairly regular basis, as opposed to an online site which I can't check that at all. I have no idea what their reputation is really other than a cursory search online. It just feels a little more legitimate in real life as opposed to online and if you are spending an awful lot of money to do this hobby you may as well go to the most reputable place you can.
Patrick Norton If online gambling is legalized in the United States, the first people that are going to be there are all of the familiar brands from Las Vegas and Atlantic City and the Indian casinos and it will be regulated like, you know, it will basically have some form of regulation and…
Leo Laporte So maybe it isn’t the casinos that are fighting this, who is fighting it? Is it a moral – a moral thing?
Veronica Belmont I don’t know, I still feel like unless they could really prove that they’d be making a lot of money online which they probably would they still want people to come to their casinos as opposed to playing online because they still make a lot of money on hotels and on food and all the touristy stuff that goes down at the casino, right? Or do you think they would just – they make so much of their money on gambling –
LeVar Burton No, the casinos make money on gambling. Gambling is the game, is the thing. The food, the hotel rooms –
Patrick Norton Actually that's not, that’s not true anymore, LeVar.
LeVar Burton They’re the loss leaders.
Patrick Norton No, no they're not. Leo Laporte Not anymore they’re not. Since they started $500 a room!
Patrick Norton No, since – since the corporations came in and especially in the last five to 10 years with the mega casinos, every branch of the casino actually has to generate profits. And the hotels – the hotels and restaurants have become – actually they are generating more revenue off the hotels and restaurants now in Vegas than they are off the gaming floor.
Leo Laporte They probably realize that gamblers will come even if they don't get the two-dollar buffet.
Veronica Belmont I'm going to start a card counting scheme, are you guys in?
Leo Laporte They still do free drinks. They still do free drinks while you're gambling?
Patrick Norton Yes, drunk people make stupid decisions.
Leo Laporte Yeah, what is your card counting scheme going to be? You know there is a card counting application for the iPhone.
Veronica Belmont Ah, we’ll go watch that movie.
LeVar Burton Yes, there is.
Leo Laporte Oh 21. Yeah, wasn’t that cool? 21.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
LeVar Burton Isn’t that interesting that they have an application for counting cards, and the casinos are doing what about this? I mean...
Leo Laporte They're banning – they’re banning the phone. Veronica Belmont You are not going to be able to use your phone at the table?
LeVar Burton They are banning iPhones?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Patrick Norton You’ve never been able to use your phone…
LeVar Burton You can have your BlackBerry at the table but just not your iPhone.
Veronica Belmont No, no, I think it’s cell phones in general.
Brian Shaler Yeah, you can’t have a phone or an electronic device at the table, the last –
Brian Shaler If you want to take a call, step away.
Leo Laporte Well that's appropriate. I don’t want somebody taking calls at that table while I’m losing my shirt.
Brian Shaler I am kind of curious about instead of just thinking about gambling as what you do at a casino now and doing that online. But online gambling, you can gamble about anything and especially if you think about gambling in, say, sports. If you can do that on the Internet, you know what's going to keep referees and coaches and players, you know, getting – jumping online to gamble on those games.
Patrick Norton If you make it legitimate, it actually could be more strongly regulated on the Internet because if you tie it into a credit card or something versus being able to walk in with a pile of… You know what I mean, there's nothing to stop a zebra from walking into the sports book at the insert name of casino here and laying down a bet on the game, you know? Who’s, you know, is the Circus, since I recently had the pleasure of staying at the Circus Circus, at CES.
Leo Laporte No, oh, that's sad.
Patrick Norton It was inexpensive and I’m at a start-up, so. But I mean like there's nothing that – it's not hard to circumvent controls, you know, such controls as they are. Gambling is essentially an anonymous event. You know, you walk in, you lay down cash, you get a receipt, you turn the receipt back in based on whether or not you won. You know, I mean you walk into a gaming table or slot machine with cash and you walk back out with cash unless you make more than whatever the current cap is on gambling revenues which is what makes it a – you know what I mean? There's nothing to prevent – it's very easy – and on top of that there's still a huge amount of illegal sports gambling in the United States.
Leo Laporte They still bolt the remote control for the TV to the table at the Circus Circus?
Veronica Belmont Oh gosh.
Patrick Norton No, not in the rooms I was staying in.
Leo Laporte That was when I knew this is not a great hotel. They bolted the remote control to the table, the lamp was bolted to the table like I'm going to take their remote control and their crappy clown lamp.
Veronica Belmont There’s a big difference between staying in like the outdoor – like motelly kind of area versus the towers. The towers are a lot better.
Leo Laporte Okay. I must have stayed in the cheap seats. That was, by the way, when TechTV was paying.
Patrick Norton The Palace used to be a lot worse. TechTV also had the habit of deciding to go to CES at the last minute, so I mean having stayed at the fabulous – I've stayed in, at this point, over 34 hotels in Las Vegas, because I’m usually, I’m out there for trade shows so much. And at this point I got to say that the most depressing thing about the Circus Circus is walking by little fleets of children waiting outside the gaming floor at 9:30 on a Saturday night for their parents is much more depressing than, say, staying at the Blair Witch House Inn and counting the hundreds of cigarettes burns on every horizontal surface in the room.
Leo Laporte You feel like Nic Cage must have stayed here at some point.
Patrick Norton No, Nic Cage refused to stay there.
Leo Laporte He wouldn’t even… Okay, one last story is as long as we are in the land of vice, Craigslist is being sued. A sheriff in Illinois accuses Craigslist of promoting prostitution. Cook County sheriff.
LeVar Burton No!
Leo Laporte I have a feeling gambling has been going on in here, Rick. Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart says the site was failing to block offers to trade sex for money. He wants a federal judge to shut down the erotic services section.
Veronica Belmont We talked about this on Buzz Out Loud the other day. Also – I guest sit on there. And my kind of stance on it is that Craigslist has been doing and working with law enforcement agencies for as long as they've been around and they do have a pretty good way of making sure that prostitution isn’t happening. Even though it does, they do make sure they call people back, they make people supply a phone number when they're leaving these postings. And it's going to happen from time to time, but I don't understand why the law enforcement agency in this case is suing them.
Patrick Norton Because they think having a category…
Veronica Belmont I mean in a way they're helping them find – yeah sure, they’re making it easier, but at the same time they're helping law enforcement agencies find these illegal prostitution rings. Isn’t that kind of helping them in a way?
Leo Laporte I agree.
Veronica Belmont I mean, do you think it’s really encouraging more people to take part in this or not? LeVar Burton Not that I know anything about it, Veronica, not that I know a thing about it but my understanding is that there's a lot of law enforcement on Craigslist looking for sex or for people have sex illicitly.
Leo Laporte With the intent of arresting them.
Veronica Belmont Yes, not to have sex with them.
Leo Laporte Or for fun?
LeVar Burton Or for fun. But law enforcement does use Craigslist as a sting tool.
Leo Laporte It does seem to me that if you wanted to stay undercover, advertising on Craigslist would not be a good way of doing it. I mean this isn’t...
Patrick Norton Well, if they advertise in the back of the Guardian and the SF Weekly and every major, every major town has ads for illicit naughty services.
Leo Laporte So, I am just looking here, Craigslist men seeking women. You get to list – unless all...
Patrick Norton It's not, it's not men seeking women – it’s an actual erotic services category.
LeVar Burton How could that not be prostitution. Are they free?
Patrick Norton I never really got into it.
Leo Laporte Oh yeah there is, look. Okay – here it is, erotic services warning and disclaimer unless all of the following points are true, please use your back button. That sounds dirty right there.
Veronica Belmont That’s what she said!
Brian Shaler Prostitution will be a subset of that. I'm not sure exactly what other services they are providing that are legitimate, but... Leo Laporte Well, I guess dancing is erotic, but not illegal.
Brian Shaler Yeah, like do you want to hire a stripper for your bachelor party.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont That would be an erotic service.
Leo Laporte Okay, that would be erotic, yeah.
Patrick Norton Having just skimmed this, and I highly recommend anybody with children not skim this if the children are around, there's nobody offering anything involving bachelor party services in here.
Veronica Belmont Theoretically, however, they could.
Patrick Norton Yes.
Leo Laporte I guess my real question is so, so clearly this whole thing is that. So is it just that there are so many in there that law enforcement just is going to turn their eye away? I don’t – I mean it's…
Patrick Norton You’ve got to remember something, you’re –
Leo Laporte Suing doesn't seem like the right answer.
Veronica Belmont Well, it doesn’t seem –
Leo Laporte Why are they, why is he suing?
Veronica Belmont They are suing for – because they have put a lot of time and effort into hunting down these people that are using it for illegal reasons and so they say that's money that they've wasted.
Leo Laporte Oh, they want their money back. Veronica Belmont But I think it’s money that they have used to actually catch people doing things that are illegal.
Leo Laporte Right, that’s their job.
Patrick Norton I didn't realize that they want 100,000 for, they want the 100,000 back that they spent pursuing Craig's List investigations.
Veronica Belmont Why? I mean what did they not find anything in these investigations like maybe then that would make sense.
Patrick Norton No, you know what he said, here he is. I could make arrests off Craigslist 24 hours a day but to what end – by filing this suit...
Leo Laporte Well, that’s right.
…he said I'm trying to go up the ladder. He says he's been working with Craigslist representatives for months, sending letters requesting them to take down or provide greater self- policing of their erotic services section, but his pleas have been met with no response. The sheriff said he believes the company has been unresponsive because the erotic services section generates a large portion of the company's eighty million dollars in annual revenue.
Veronica Belmont I almost don't even believe that. Leo Laporte How does the company make money, do they charge people for the listings?
Patrick Norton They charge, I know they charge…
LeVar Burton For ads. Patrick Norton No, Craigslist charges…
Veronica Belmont For job listings.
Chris Hutchins And apartment listings, I think in certain markets.
Leo Laporte But not anything else, right?
Veronica Belmont Not to my knowledge.
Leo Laporte The rest of it’s free.
Brian Shaler Well, look at that. Hold on there is...
LeVar Burton Job and apartments, job and apartments only I guess.
Patrick Norton No actually....
Veronica Belmont They charge $50 for major companies to post job listings.
Patrick Norton According to the Chronicle as of November 7, 2008, Craigslist was to charge for erotic services ads.
Leo Laporte There may be some merit to this.
Veronica Belmont I still don't really buy it because the company is so small. And Craig is so integral to the daily operations of the company that I just don't believe that if someone was trying to work with them, maybe I’m naive, but if someone in law enforcement was trying to work with them on making something bad like this to stop, that they wouldn’t even respond, like it just doesn't make sense knowing what I know about that company.
Leo Laporte Alright.
LeVar Burton Well, I guess there is a difference between the erotic services and just the dating on Craigslist then right?
Veronica Belmont Yes, not all dating is necessarily erotic.
Patrick Norton Having met my wife on Craigslist, LeVar, yes I would like to...
Leo Laporte Did you meet your wife on Craig’s List, did you really...
Patrick Norton Yes I did, thank you very much.
Brian Shaler In the erotic services section?
Patrick Norton No.
Leo Laporte Were you buying a sofa?
Patrick Norton No I was not buying a sofa.
Leo Laporte Wow, that’s cool. So, I didn’t know there was a…
LeVar Burton That’s a great story.
Leo Laporte Yeh
LeVar Burton And there was, no law enforcement had any hand in that deal.
Leo Laporte Unless she was a cop.
Brian Shaler ... be gentle.
Patrick Norton This is the mother of my child you're talking about here.
Leo Laporte Alright. Very interesting.
Veronica Belmont I got my job at CNET on Craigslist, that was not erotic.
Leo Laporte You did, wow. Not erotic?
Veronica Belmont Yeah, not erotic.
Leo Laporte I have never done anything on Craigslist at all but maybe I will.
Veronica Belmont You have never used Craigslist, period?
Leo Laporte No.
Brian Shaler I have looked, I don’t think I have ever actually converted.
Patrick Norton There is actually a great article on this from SF Gate which is our local paper in San Francisco. In November the attorney general of Connecticut threatened legal action after receiving complaints about photographs depicting nudity. Craigslist came to an agreement with forty attorney generals around the United States. Instituting policies aimed at reducing the amount of prostitution including requiring advertisers for erotic massage, strippers escort services and the like to pay a fee with a credit card.
Leo Laporte And what does that do, I guess?
Patrick Norton And Dart said the agreement between Craigslist and the attorney general has resulted in no appreciable reduction of ads of prostitution on the site.
Leo Laporte Yeh, it doesn't, doesn't get around anything.
Patrick Norton And he says Craigslist does not monitor it and when his officers have attempted to contact Craigslist they've been ignored.
Leo Laporte I think they have pretty good case if Craigslist, if the three things they charge for are rooms, jobs and erotic services then you can make a pretty good case. This is an important...
Veronica Belmont So get Craig on here, get Craig on here and ask him.
Leo Laporte Alright, absolutely, deal. Not the most, yeh, yeh, we'll do that, that's a great idea. Craig what’s the deal? What’s the deal?
Brian Shaler And Craig’s on Twitter.
Leo Laporte Yeah, oh yeah absolutely. He is a pretty active Twitterer, yeah.
Chris Hutchins That's really funny. In a statement Thursday Craigslist warned that Craigslist is an extremely unwise choice for those intent on committing crimes since criminals inevitably leave an electronic trail to themselves that law enforcement officers will follow. On a daily basis we are being of direct assistance to police departments and federal authorities nationwide. So could this be – could this be twisted as a violation of first amendment rights.
Leo Laporte It kind of sounds like a honey pot, they’re kind of luring people in, charging them money and then calling the cops.
Patrick Norton And then responding to requests from the cops, but it's interesting that Dart’s just annoyed, that Sheriff Dart is annoyed – in Chicago that he has to.
Leo Laporte I am shocked, shocked to learn that there are adult services going on in here.
Patrick Norton Exactly.
Leo Laporte Alright, Colleen says she wants to kick box you for charity Veronica, are you up for it?
Veronica Belmont No way, she could kill me.
Leo Laporte She is scary.
Veronica Belmont Are you crazy?
Leo Laporte Okay, I am just checking.
Veronica Belmont I am scrappy but she could take me, no problem.
Leo Laporte Scrappy, the scrappy Veronica Belmont co-hosts...
Veronica Belmont Although I have been working on my guns lately, so...
Brian Shaler What’s with all the violence recently like...
Leo Laporte Calacanis with his boxing, Howard Lindzon. Yeah, I don’t know.
Brian Shaler Everybody just duke it out.
Leo Laporte It's the bad economy.
Brian Shaler Settle it in the ring, people.
Leo Laporte Makes people turn towards violence. Chris Hutchins We have a violence free event on Tuesday.
Leo Laporte Tuesday, we’ll talk about that in a second. First I want to say Veronica Belmont and Patrick Norton are hosts of Tekzilla which you could find on Revision3 site, or just go to Tekzilla.com. And it's a great show, you get the Tekzilla daily news and you get the Tekzilla show and the whole thing, it's all there.
Patrick Norton Tekzilla Daily Tip, Leo.
Leo Laporte Tips now?
Patrick Norton We leave the news to the professionals.
Leo Laporte It’s not news, it’s tips, but it’s Tekzilla Daily I got that right.
Veronica Belmont Yes, you did.
Patrick Norton Thank you.
Leo Laporte LeVar Burton, what are you up to, anything you want me to plug for you, LeVar?
LeVar Burton Actually, I start rehearsals on a play tomorrow.
Leo Laporte Oh, how exciting.
Leo Laporte What's the play?
LeVar Burton In Los Angeles. The play is called The Caterer, written by my friend, Brian Alan Lane. It is the story of a man who sells you your own appropriate death.
Leo Laporte Oh, I like that and are you the guy who sells or are you a buyer?
LeVar Burton I am, no, no, no...
Leo Laporte What a great role.
LeVar Burton Purveyor of death.
Leo Laporte Is it true that the bad guys are more fun than the good guys to play?
LeVar Burton I am about to find out.
Leo Laporte This will be your first?
LeVar Burton Yeah.
Leo Laporte Really, you are always a good guy?
LeVar Burton Traditionally, yeah.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s interesting.
Veronica Belmont We should all make a field trip to go see him in the play.
Leo Laporte Deal.
LeVar Burton Come see me, come see me.
Leo Laporte Deal, when does it open?
LeVar Burton We open April 15.
Leo Laporte Alright, road trip, we are going down to see LeVar Burton in The Caterer.
LeVar Burton At the White Fire Theater, right here in Sherman Oaks, California.
Leo Laporte Awesome, oh I could go down and see my syndicators in Sherman Oaks, I’ll just, we all, just be great, it will be fun.
LeVar Burton Come on down. Come on down. Listen, it’s about 5 o’ clock on Sunday and that’s family dinner, Sunday dinner time.
Leo Laporte Sounds great.
LeVar Burton I am getting the high sign from Stephanie Burton.
Leo Laporte Well thank her for the pizza.
LeVar Burton Time for me to stop playing and come in and have dinner.
Leo Laporte See you later, LeVar, thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it.
LeVar Burton Leo, you're the man I love you. Veronica, Patrick, Brian, Chris, everybody, see you all very soon.
Leo Laporte Thanks, take care LeVar.
LeVar Burton God Bless.
Leo Laporte Chris Hutchins rather is doing a LaidOffCamp coming up next when and where?
Chris Hutchins The next, the next solid date is April 15 down in LA or April 13 down in LA.
Leo Laporte Right before LeVar’s opening night, that’s perfect.
Chris Hutchins Perfect timing, maybe I will be down there for the whole weekend.
Leo Laporte And you could find out more at laidoffcamp.com, that's a Wiki. And there are going to be LaidOffCamps all over the country.
Chris Hutchins All over the country and...
Leo Laporte But not sad, not solemn.
Chris Hutchins Not solemn, it's an opportunity to find something you are passionate about and put yourself to a new line of work that might make you happy.
Leo Laporte Absolutely awesome. Fantastic, thank you, Chris.
Chris Hutchins Sure.
Leo Laporte Brian Shaler is an engineer at BitGravity. We will soon be using his services to make this more grave and he is also the jumper.
Brian Shaler The jumper, I jump and write code.
Leo Laporte Jumps and writes code, not in that order. It is great to see you, Brian. Thanks for coming by really appreciate it.
Brian Shaler Totally. I am glad I cancelled my flight and stayed in town for you.
Leo Laporte Yeah, what fun we had. He had a brain tonic too and everything, so that’s great.
Brian Shaler Brain Tonic, it’s almost worth the $200 and I had to pay to cancel my flight, and the pizza, and the pizza.
Leo Laporte I’ll give you another can – and the pizza so…
Veronica Belmont Oh, Leo, thank you for the can by the way.
Leo Laporte Yeah, we were going to send you a case and then Kiki said, I really don’t think she wants to have a case at the movie theatre of brain tonic.
Veronica Belmont She doesn’t know me very well.
Leo Laporte We will send you a case and maybe we will get you some Diet Doctor Pepper too with caffeine, with caffeine, yeah. Another TWiT is in the can.