Guests: Veronica Belmont, Dwight Silverman, Harry MacCracken
Recorded: May 3, 2009
Published: May 4, 2009
TWiT 193 •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 193 for May 4, 2009: Toodle Loo, Tuvalu.
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 follow Audible on Twitter. User ID audible_com.
And by GoToMeeting, picture yourself at a phone call sharing and explaining something visual with GoToMeeting. For your free thirty day trial, visit gotomeeting.com/twit.
Hello everybody this is TWiT episode 193. Some great people joining us today to talk about the week’s tech stories in an informal and happy-go-lucky fashion starting with the happy-go-lucky Dwight Silverman from the Houston Chronicle and ……
Dwight Silverman Hello.
Leo Laporte Hey, Dwight. Is it chron.com/blog, is that right?
Dwight Silverman It’s blogs.chron.com/techblog/.
Leo Laporte I am going to change your lower third right now. And I just want to let you know that all of the stories we’re doing today I stole from Dwight. He has a link list –
Dwight Silverman Yay, steal away.
Leo Laporte He has link list that is – well, I like to include stories that the panellists have already been thinking about and writing about. So, I also stole stories from Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla. Hi, Veronica.
Veronica Belmont That’s not true; you didn’t steal any stories from me.
Leo Laporte You guys do tech news everyday now, though, don’t you? You do a tip.
Veronica Belmont Well we do our daily tip show, it’s not tech news.
Leo Laporte You don’t cover tech news. Yeah, you do a little bit, don’t you?
Veronica Belmont On the weekly show, usually.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah. And then also with us, Harry MacCracken of the Technologiser blog. Hi Harry.
Harry MacCracken Hey, Leo, how are you?
Leo Laporte Great. Great to have you back.
Harry MacCracken Nice to be here.
Leo Laporte I was watching, I was on I think the History Channel the other day, watching a history of computing in the ‘80s.
Harry MacCracken They must show that a hundred times a week because I did that five years ago and everywhere I go people see that.
Leo Laporte It’s a good thing to do.
Harry MacCracken Oddly enough, I’ve never seen that but it’s the most played thing I ever did by far
Leo Laporte It’s really funny. They’re talking about Atari and stuff. And actually I thought there was something I got out of it frankly. There was, they were talking about how Atari, the failure of Atari and the 2600 because it was an open platform. Atari did what we would today think was the right thing, which was to allow anybody to develop software for the Atari platform. And of course a lot of crap games were developed and it killed the 2600. And I thought well, that kind of applies to a little bit to today to the iPhone. I mean, that’s what Apple does with the iPhone.
Harry MacCracken Actually, Atari 2600 and iPhone is a pretty interesting comparison in a lot of ways.
Leo Laporte I mean, it’s odd to compare the two, but Apple has an absolutely closed environment and they are doing it for the same reason that Atari didn’t do it, the same reason that Nintendo, looking at Atari said, oh, we really can’t let that happen, we better license everything. And as a result Apple has full control, but they get a lot of heat from people who say it’s not an open platform.
Harry MacCracken Certainly, none of the – none of today’s gaming consoles are anyway near as open as the earlier ones were
Leo Laporte No, they learnt their lesson.
Harry MacCracken They all want to make money selling the games, even if they lose money on the consoles.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman And you know, some of the games that started on the Atari 2600 are now starting to show up on the iPhone. You’re starting to see a lot of these classic games coming on there.
Leo Laporte What goes around comes around.
Veronica Belmont I love that, I love that. I want to see more ColecoVision games on the iPhone, personally.
Dwight Silverman Got it.
Leo Laporte You know what they just realised? If you’re an old Mac person, you’d recognise it. Myst is available for the iPhone, the full – This shows you how much the platform, how powerful the iPhone platform – the full game. a hundred and something Megabytes.
Veronica Belmont It’s a huge download.
Leo Laporte Did you get it already?
Veronica Belmont I didn’t get it yet, but I saw the story today actually when I was going through the Delicious links. I said oh my gosh I’ve got to get that, that’s so fun.
Leo Laporte That’s so cool. You must have been pretty little one when Myst came out.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, what year was it?
Leo Laporte I don’t know.
Harry MacCracken Wasn’t it like 1995 or something I think? Mid-90s.
Leo Laporte Oh Okay.
Veronica Belmont Okay, I was like 13.
Leo Laporte It wasn’t that old. It was actually the perfect game for a 13-year old. That was exactly right for a 13-year old.
Harry MacCracken That was the golden age of games on CD-ROM.
Leo Laporte That’s right.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte Which lasted about a minute.
Dwight Silverman Well and you know, and as a corollary to that this is the week that Encarta died.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont Oh! That made me sad actually, because I used that all the time.
Leo Laporte That was sad.
Dwight Silverman I think my kids grew up going through elementary school using Encarta on a CD-ROM as a way to study and so when it went away it was kind of like sad for all of us.
Harry MacCracken And that was a great program and if you were to do a list of the top ten best things Microsoft ever did, I think Encarta would be on that, because for the mid-90s it was really well done.
Veronica Belmont I used it all the time for school work, definitely.
Leo Laporte You’re making us feel old now.
Veronica Belmont I am sorry.
Harry MacCracken I reviewed it back then.
Veronica Belmont I’ve got that perspective, right.
Leo Laporte Used it for school work. Didn’t they start with like Funk & Wagnalls? They started with like the worst encyclopaedia, the one that they gave away in the grocery store. And everybody –
Dwight Silverman That was the only one they could license.
Harry MacCracken They wanted some of everything…
Dwight Silverman Britannica turned them down and World Book turned them down.
Harry MacCracken They licensed that and Compton's and bunch of others and they had...
Leo Laporte Compton’s?
Dwight Silverman Yeah
Harry MacCracken They had a great user interface though and the multi-media aspect was great. Even Wikipedia today does not really do multi-media in the way that Encarta did.
Veronica Belmont You know, I remember using it a lot like Wikipedia the way I use Wikipedia now, which was going through an article and then continuing to browse through related articles and just spending hours and hours just learning about totally random stuff, because it was relevant to my interest or just something that was cool to see.
Harry MacCracken At the time it came out there was Encyclopaedia Britannica available on CD-ROM, but it cost $1,000, it had no art work of any type.
Leo Laporte That was a smart move on their part. Where are they now? I guess they’re where Encarta is. Actually it didn’t really matter. Nobody needs the encyclopaedia. I have a World Book Encyclopaedia right here, printed World Book Encyclopaedia that I got because I thought the kids would use it. And no, they never used it. They use Wikipedia.
What happened – the whole CD-ROM thing was a big flop.
Dwight Silverman Well, not at that time. At the time it was –
Leo Laporte I don’t know, was it, Dwight? I mean….
Dwight Silverman Yeah, we bought – particularly it was for kids and obviously a lot of games came on, a lot of the early games, shooters and popular PC games would not run unless the disk was in. So, I guess that counts as a CD-ROM. But particularly for kids, a lot of educational software and so forth came on CD – yeah.
Leo Laporte Well that’s what I’m thinking of. I am thinking of like oh, I remember there was tours of museums, there were games like Myst, there was Encarta. I mean some of those, I remember reading later that some of those titles sold dozens of copies. I mean, they put millions of dollars into production and they just – nobody would buy them. The internet completely superseded it and it happened within a few – I mean, look it was 95.
Dwight Silverman Yeah, I mean, the CD-ROM thing started about 1993 maybe. And by 95 the web was taking off and so 680 MB or whatever a CD-ROM held, went from being a huge amount of data to being nothing.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.
Dwight Silverman The web –
Veronica Belmont I remember going to Staples.
Leo Laporte Say again.
Harry MacCracken The web is generally free and CD-ROMs cost money.
Leo Laporte Yes. What were you saying Veronica?
Veronica Belmont I was saying I always used to go to Staples and they would have these bargain bins just full of CD-ROMs. Vocational titles and games and you could pick up a whole armload worth for like 50 bucks.
Leo Laporte But educational, the educational market just died. I mean that I feel a sign of sad about. My kids did the Brotobund [ph] Living Books. Remember those? Did your kids do those Dwight, the Living Book series with the –
Dwight Silverman Yes, yes, they loved it.
Leo Laporte They were great and they are gone. It was one generation got those and now they are gone and I don’t know why that is.
Harry MacCracken That would be a perfect addition for the iPhone. If whoever holds the rights is listening: hey! It does make a great iPhone app
Leo Laporte It’s pretty funny that you can get all of Myst now on my phone. And the graphics are good. I mean it looks pretty much, it looks just the same.
Veronica Belmont Did you download it already?
Leo Laporte No.
Veronica Belmont Did you get it?
Leo Laporte No, I have – I was going to wait until after the show. I don’t want to kill my bandwidth. It’s like – what is it, 143 megabytes, something like that?
Dwight Silverman How much does it cost?
Leo Laporte 5.99. It’s not expensive.
Harry MacCracken And the original one was 39.95 or something on CD-ROM. You remember that?
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just think that’s kind of a neat story.
Dwight Silverman You know, Dvorak is not on and here we are already going down memory lane.
Leo Laporte Yes, yes, what’s wrong with us? We don’t got the old guy on and we are still doing it.
All right, let’s talk about the present. Disney buys into – this was a very interesting story, 30%, some say, of Hulu. And Disney’s put all of the ABC shows on there. Lost. I mean just tons of shows on there. Just – I mean this is a huge victory for Hulu, this is a real proof that Hulu’s the future of television, don’t you think?
Dwight, why did ABC see this as something they wanted to be part of?
Dwight Silverman This – I think it was probably in the works before this but this was also about the same time that there was report that Hulu had a huge increase in traffic. And I know that almost everybody I know has at least sampled Hulu. I hear from a lot of readers who ask about – who started asking about Boxee even though they don’t have a Mac or Linux, Boxee being the kind of the interface that can sit on top of – sit on top of the Mac or Linux or Apple TV and make it easier to look at internet video and Hulu, they keep trying to block them and they keep coming through.
Leo Laporte Yes, Boxee yes, yes, yes.
Dwight Silverman I think there is just a lot more buzz and people are kind of getting the idea of doing it over the web. And it has commercials just like regular television, but they’re not as intrusive and they’re not as long.
Leo Laporte Yes, yes. Do you watch or are you a Hulu watcher, Veronica?
Veronica Belmont Oh, yes, I use Hulu all the time. I was really bummed out by the whole situation with Boxee in particular. Because when I miss shows on TV, I like to watch them on Hulu, but I also like to still do it in the comfort of my own my living room. I mean my computer is great and all, but it’s a lot better to be able to sit on the couch and control it that way. So, this makes me even a little more angry, because it has now got all the ABC content on there and – NBC rather. Is it ABC or NBC that just signed up? I forgot.
Leo Laporte ABC.
Veronica Belmont ABC, right. And I am big Lost fan and I have wanted to watch it on Hulu for a long time, yes. So, it’s kind of a disappointment for me actually.
Dwight Silverman I use Hulu primarily when I travel. When you are in a hotel room and you just don’t want to – you just kind of want to chill out for the evening, Hulu is how I watch television. I don’t even turn on the television in the hotel room anymore. I just fire it up and catch up on stuff.
Leo Laporte I love Hulu and I watch people like Veronica and Coleen younger – people in their 20s and I think a lot of times – I think the reason Hulu got pulled off of Boxee is because some of the content creators somehow thought that displaying it on a computer screen was different than displaying on a TV and they didn’t want it displayed on the TV, right? For some crazy reason.
Veronica Belmont Yes, they definitely complained directly to Boxee about that. And they tried to come up with some kind of work around. Boxee worked very, very hard with them in order to keep that content on there. But at the end of the day, they wanted to pull it.
Leo Laporte The downloads of our shows are on Boxee odtv.me. I bet Tekzilla is on Boxee right?
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte It’s stupid of somebody like NBC to say – or Fox say we don’t want to be on Boxee because if you are not on Boxee others will be.
Harry MacCracken I think it’s a huge problem for broadcast TV, because Hulu and Boxee is so good, it is such a good experience. But they are not making millions of dollars on ads on Hulu. If you look at the ads on Hulu, a lot of the time they’re public service messages. And I think they are all afraid of the notion that they might be giving up those expensive Superbowl type ad campaigns for whatever they can get for Hulu. And I think it’s really regrettable that they are being obnoxious and screwing up Boxee but I also on some level sort of understand why they are terrified of it catching on.
Leo Laporte This is I think –
Veronica Belmont But don’t you think it’s short-sighted? I mean –
Leo Laporte It is. Oh it’s very short-sighted.
Harry MacCracken It’s very short sighted. Because eventually all TV will be that basic meta-form. It willall come over the internet and it’s going to happen fairly soon.
Leo Laporte I just think people like Veronica and Coleen, the younger people, a screen is a screen is a screen. It does not make a distinction between being on your screen in your living room, Veronica, and your computer, or does it?
Veronica Belmont Like I said it is nice to be able to watch it in my living room but –
Leo Laporte You like to sit at the couch.
Veronica Belmont At the end of the day I am going to go where the content is.
Leo Laporte Right. I think it’s very good for people like you, for independent content creators if the big – see the big guys have – and this has always been the case, when you have an existing business, whether you are the record industry, the television business, the movie industry and you don’t want to cannibalize it, so, you stay away – or the New York Times. So, you stay away from these new distribution media, because you go oh gosh, it’s going to cannibalize our TV viewing. That is an opening for everybody who doesn’t have all that existing relationships, you know that’s why –
Veronica Belmont We don’t have all the baggage.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Dwight Silverman Right, right. The other thing is that Harry mentioned that they don’t have a lot of ads on there. But when they do have ads on Hulu, you don’t have the choice to not watch them. When they play, you can fast forward them.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s interesting.
Dwight Silverman You can mute them. That’s about as much control as you have. If I was an advertiser looking at the way people deal with ads say on a DVR now, where they can fast forward through them and skip them and certainly mute them, I would look at Hulu as more of an opportunity. Probably more people are actually sitting and watching the ads rather than say on the DVR.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Veronica Belmont That’s a really, really great comment because it’s true. I mean I have sat through tons of commercials on Hulu and not even thought twice about it. But if I am on my TV watching it over TiVo, I fast forward through those suckers as fast as my thumb can hit the button. So, it’s a captive audience when you’ve got them on Hulu there. They don’t really have a way of not watching it unless they switch tabs I guess on their browser and mute it.
Harry MacCracken It doesn’t seem like Hulu’s heart is in the right place and that it’s the content owners who are preventing them from doing things like Boxee. It sounds as though Hulu, for that stuff, they have been moving a lot more aggressively and you have to give Hulu – Hulu is owned by old Hollywood, but they really do a great job. The interface is great.
Leo Laporte They did a deal with the devil and now the devil wants his due.
Harry MacCracken Yes. So, they have to get those guys to understand and sooner or later they will, but I hope it sooner rather than later.
Dwight Silverman I am also curious as to the number of people who watch Boxee on a computer, use Boxee on a computer…
Leo Laporte I do.
Dwight Silverman …even though it’s on something like Apple TV. If you are doing it that way, it just presents it in a really nice wide screen version. I use it on my 24 inch iMac and in that case, it is just the same as watching it on Hulu.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman I don’t know how many people are actually using it say through Apple TV or some other hack, whether getting it on their big screen TV, which is what they are afraid of. So I would love to see some numbers as to how people are actually using Boxee.
Leo Laporte And they’re dumb to be afraid and I think the ABC deal proves it, because ABC has its own website. You could watch those shows on the ABC website, but they saw the value of being on Hulu and some of the value of Hulu is not just that it’s another website I think it has to be that it offers more opportunities. I bet you ABC with a third of that company pushes them back towards things like Boxee. They must, otherwise what have they gained by going to Hulu? Except I guess there’s more eyeballs. But I mean they put the stuff on ABC. Why would you buy Hulu if you’ve already got a website?
Harry MacCracken Disney historically has been fairly progressive in terms of adopting new technologies and being open minded and Robert Iger seems to be fairly smart about this stuffs. So I would hope he would push them in the right direction.
Dwight Silverman And there is still a connection between ABC and Apple right?
Leo Laporte Well that’s actually the interesting thing. Yes I mean Steve Jobs is on the board of both, Pixar is owned by Disney. But business week supposes that it actually hurts Apple because Apple, it doesn’t create content, distribute it for free online. Hulu is going right up against the Apple’s model. Hulu is saying, yes, not only do we own the content, we’re going to offer it to you for free Yeah, you could buy it on the iTunes store…
Veronica Belmont Right
Leo Laporte But wouldn’t you want to get it for free?
Veronica Belmont Well I could see advantage – the advantage that Apple has in this scenario is that it’s very easy for you to download an episode of Lost, even though you are paying for it without commercials thought and put it on your iPhone or iPod touch and technique with you on the go.
Leo Laporte So which do you prefer?
Veronica Belmont It just depends on how you want to consume the content. I mean, I at the end of the day, I travel enough that it makes sense for me to want to have it on my iPhone there so I can take it with me. But you know when I’m home, I’d rather just sit through the 15, 30 second commercials on Hulu and watch it that way now.
Leo Laporte I have a opinion on this stuff. One of the reasons we are doing live streaming video is because – our bread and butter is still downloadable content, whether it’s audio or we start doing downloadable video. I think it’s too hard for people. And I think that the generation grew up with turning on the TV and watching prefers to watch on Hulu or live.twit.tv because you just go to a website and there it is You don’t have to figure out how to download it, you have to find the content, download it, put it on a device So I ..
Veronica Belmont I think there’s something about having a tangible copy of what you want to watch. I think people like having a copy on their hard drive for watching later or using on different devices I think there is still that feeling that goes way back to when we had everything on CDs and VHS and DVD. Streaming video is all well and good, but unless there’s some kind of copy that you can refer to later, people feel like they are not getting any sense of value
Leo Laporte Well you have to do both. I mean I know that people want to TiVo it, right We’ve offered streaming video and all that did was increase a drumbeat for downloadable video. But I think streaming is the future, just because it’s so easy And if you want to download a copy, fine, but it’s the starting point And I think it’s why Hulu is really, really, really important for these networks.
Dwight Silverman I think streaming is the impulse and…
Leo Laporte Right
Dwight Silverman …downloading is kind of the planning So, when you sit down to Hulu it’s kind of like when you sit down, I think I will watch some Hulu now I don’t think anybody says I’m going to go home and then after dinner I will sit down and watch Hulu. I think they do it on impulse or they do it on the road.
Leo Laporte They do that with their TV though right? They took a – sit – how many people – this is how we watch TV, you sit down and you watch TV.
Dwight Silverman Right, but I am saying in terms of if you are – if you are planning it, you download a copy to watch later, you save it to your DVR. I think that’s the kind of the planning, the forethought and streaming is more of an impulse
Leo Laporte So you don’t think it’s that it’s so hard, you think that it’s just that…
Dwight Silverman It’s easy It’s actually easy. Streaming is easy
Leo Laporte That’s what I am saying
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Leo Laporte It’s not merely planning It’s that it’s hard to figure out I think the – Look if – the early adopters are going to figure this out. The four of us have figured it out, anyone listening to TWiT has figured this out. But if you are going to get the mass audience which Hulu and Disney want, you got to make it really easy for them. And right now getting a Podcast, video or audio, is not that easy. I mean, I don’t know. Veronica, Tekzilla is downloadable only or do you stream it too?
Veronica Belmont You can watch it on the site and you can also download it.
Leo Laporte That’s it, you have it on the site and it’s playable?
Veronica Belmont Mmhmm.
Leo Laporte What – do you know what percentage of people watching it on the site versus downloading it?
Veronica Belmont You know I don’t. I have a feeling that it’s more downloads and streams, but don’t quote me on that, I’m really not sure.
Leo Laporte Oh, it’s – for us is more download for sure, but it’s a surprising, like 40% come to our site and listen to the audio, which to me seems inconvenient. Let me – but as far as our stream is far more you know maybe – maybe I don’t know, I’ll have to check, but 4 or 5,000 people are watching this compared to the 180,000 who will download it.
Dwight Silverman I expect that they listen to it while they work.
Leo Laporte Yes…
Dwight Silverman So it kind of just runs overlong.
Leo Laporte That’s a kind of the new model I think is, Yes you got it going all the time. It only if you – that’s what I think, that’s why we’re doing the stream, I mean I might be crazy, I don’t know but that’s why we’re doing the stream is that people just go there and they leave it running all day. It’s like a radio, it’s like having a radio in the background.
Dwight Silverman It’s like having a radio. In fact, it’s, for some businesses it’s an issue.
Leo Laporte Yes. We’re blocked.
Dwight Silverman We haven’t done it in a while.
Leo Laporte We are blocked in a lot of businesses.
Dwight Silverman Right. Because of the bandwidth
Leo Laporte Yes
Dwight Silverman So, I think that that’s you know, it becomes a little bit – a lot of people do use internet radio and streaming Audio & Video as kind of their, the way they used to have a Clock Radio next to their desk all day.
Leo Laporte Well get this, talk about bandwidth. Cablevision, which has always been kind of the most forward looking cable company, I think, they pretty much serve, it’s mostly New York City, Long Island, a little bit in New Jersey, a little bit of Connecticut. They have announced that they are going to offer uncapped, this is a response to Time Warner and Comcast, right. Uncapped 101 megabit service starting next week in the entire service area for 99 bucks a month. I’d buy it. I’d buy it.
Harry MacCracken I wonder how fast it will really be given that any broadband they’ve ever had has never come any where close to what they claim on a reliable basis
Leo Laporte Yes, but if they claim 100, you might actually get 50 right?
Harry MacCracken True, that would be fabulous…
Leo Laporte It’s [indiscernible] 3, which is capable of that.
Dwight Silverman And it depend on what you know the server you are talking to is capable of giving you too and what the rest of the pipes between here and there…
Leo Laporte Yes, really nobody – none of my servers are 100 meg. If you came to our server, if ten people with 100 megabit connections came to our server, that’d be saturated. They’d be over.
Dwight Silverman Right.
Leo Laporte I mean that’s a gigabit right there. We can’t do that. However I think the more important word in there is uncapped. That’s really what – this is a response – and this is why competition is so important. There is no competition in the cable industry. But I just love the idea that when Time Warner has, you know, they’ve gone back and forth, the latest is well all right maybe we won’t do capped service, but they were talking really low caps. Even Comcast with its 250 gigabyte cap was bothering some people. It bothers me, because if you watched all of our content, you’d have 250 gigabytes a month. So I like this. But what it’s also saying, I remember talking to these Cablevision guys at CES about 5 or 6 years ago and I said, why don’t you guys just think of yourself as an Internet company, just provide bits. And they said, that’s not our business model, we can’t do that, we would go bankrupt, there’s not enough value in bits, we have to sell premium content. And I think that’s why Comcast and Time Warner are saying, we’re going to do caps, is they are afraid of people using this high-speed Internet to get all their video, to watch everything on Hulu. So, this is almost Cablevision capitulating, saying, okay, if we can get $100 out of you, I guess you can get all your content on the Internet.
Dwight Silverman Well you know and as you watch AT&T, which has not gone into this yet, but keeps talking that they – as though they might start capping things, as they get more and more involved and sell more and more subscriptions to U-verse, they are starting to pay more attention to it,. And I wouldn’t be surprised if – because they have to sell premium content too, but you don’t see AT&T getting capped.
Leo Laporte I think when one company like Cablevision comes along, it might cause us a shift. I would love it if all these companies would say – and I think, what do they need to make, I mean $100 is a lot of money. If they could get all their customers to pay them $100, wouldn’t they be happy, I mean, how much – what’s your cable bill, Dwight?
Dwight Silverman My cable bill, I have, I use unbundled Comcast, I think it’s, I think it’s 8 megabits for close to $70. If I bundled it with Comcast Cable, it would be about 50.
Leo Laporte And, and, and do you – so you don’t get any TV on your Comcast?
Dwight Silverman No, I use U-verse Television and Comcast Internet.
Leo Laporte So if you combine the Television and the Internet, what are you spending? Probably 150, right?
Dwight Silverman Probably about $120 altogether. But it’s less actually than when we were using TiVo and Comcast and Television and Internet. So, it’s actually less.
Leo Laporte So you’re what scares these companies, because you’re spending less and less money as you get more and more...
Dwight Silverman Right, I am breaking it up. I am not bundling.
Leo Laporte Yes. How about you Veronica? I mean, you are someone who watches a lot of Internet Television; do you have a big cable bill for TV?
Veronica Belmont I think our cable bill total, oh, jeez, I pay it automatically, so I don’t even remember what the charge is. I think it’s like $140 for TV and Internet.
Leo Laporte God, that’s a lot.
Veronica Belmont I am guessing, it’s up there.
Leo Laporte So if you were smart enough to get all your TV via this 101 megabit connection, you would be saving money at $100.
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte And they’d be saving a customer, they may be happy to get your $100 instead of your 150, just because at least they keep you. How about you Harry, what do you think? Is that..?
Harry MacCracken It’s, for me, I think – I also pay automatically, I believe it’s 140 for TV…
Leo Laporte Yes.
Harry MacCracken …Internet access and a phone line, which I don’t really use.
Veronica Belmont Oh, phone line, I don’t have a phone line. That’s fancy.
Leo Laporte Are you VoIP, are you all VoIP?
Harry MacCracken I’m going to get rid of that though, so I’m going to give Comcast less money, and if Comcast save me and instead I was to give them more money it would be a good thing for them.
Leo Laporte Right.
Veronica Belmont I think we have the same Comcast deal.
Harry MacCracken And of course I signed for the Triple Play at some absurdly low rate and then discovered it didn’t include HD, it didn’t include even really basic TV channels like MSNBC, so the moment I actually started to get it, it jumped from $50 for Triple Play or whatever to 140.
Leo Laporte I am going to go out on a limb and say that this could be the first domino, that Cablevision may have finally said, this is the way it is, let’s at least get the $100. And when people start looking at their cable bill, as soon as they get smart enough to figure out that they can watch everything for free using the Internet, this is going to be, this maybe the beginning of the end for this whole mess. It’s a huge conflict of interest right now…
Veronica Belmont That’s true, that’s true.
Leo Laporte …for Comcast to say, well, we don’t want you to use VoIP, we don’t want you to download files, we don’t want you to watch streaming video, because you’re undermining our business model. They are not going to get away with that and I think the new FCC Commissioner Julian Genachowski is not going to go for – Julius Genachowski is not going to go for that. I think that this is – they are seeing the writing on the wall, the regulatory environment is not in their favor anymore, and I think they might be saying, all right. But is $100 too much?
Dwight Silverman How big is Cablevision?
Leo Laporte Cablevision’s not that big, they’re small, but they are very technologically sophisticated. I would say they are the most sophisticated cable company. Their Optimum Online is very, it’s always been very fast and good. And they are in a very dense metro. I mean they are in the most dense metro of all. So that makes them, I am sure, very profitable, they don’t have to string as much cable to get to the customers.
Dwight Silverman But in the ecosystem of cable television and cable Internet providers, how influential are they? In other words, for example, if Comsat were to do this, that would be, I would sa, that you may have point that it could be the domino, but Cablevision is a relatively small player compared to Comcast and Charter and Time Warner.
Leo Laporte No, you are right.
Dwight Silverman And so I am not sure that – I’ll play the John Dvorak role here. I don’t think so.
Leo Laporte Maybe it’s a little wishful thinking on my part, it might be a little wishful thinking on my part, but I what do believe is Cablevision is a, kind of at the forefront of all this. They’re very advanced thinking, so that’s why I think they might a bellweather for this.
Dwight Silverman Although, in looking at the statements that Time Warner made, when it backed away from it’s tiered and multiple capp service, which it was testing right down the road here in Belmont, when they backed away from that, kind of their closing word was, this is what we want to do and we are going to figure a way to do it.
Leo Laporte We’re going to do it, yes.
Dwight Silverman Right and – but I was real intrigued by your comment about the regulatory environment. I wonder if, granted they had a consumer uprising, but I also wonder if they didn’t look at what was happening at the FCC and said we got two fronts against us here.
Leo Laporte Genachoswski is big on Internet net neutrality, huge net neutrality guy. And in fact, we’re going to get – Debbie Jones wants to come on the show and I will get her on maybe next week. She’s big on this broadband access, Universal Broadband Access, Genachoswski very big on that too. I think those are two important initiatives already that are in the forefront. And I think that this impacts them, I think that they are – this is not the friendly FCC. And it wasn’t so friendly in the last eight years, but this is not the friendly FCC that they might have had. Comcast had their own tussles with the FCC for the last few years. But I think you’re going to, I think there is some push in that direction, I’d love to see that.
Dwight Silverman I hope you’re right.
Leo Laporte I hope I am right, too and I hope you are wrong.
Dwight Silverman I’d be happy to be wrong.
Leo Laporte I hope you’re wrong.
Dwight Silverman Please make me wrong.
Leo Laporte Let’s talk about – I’ll tell you what. When we come back, I want to – actually there are few other things we might want to talk about; that Palm Pre and the Pixie. So you know there is a little trouble in paradise, we’ll talk about that. Time Warner is going to spin-off America Online, could be good for both. Apple says they might want to design their own chips and 60% of Twitters are quitters within the first month. All of that coming up in a just a little bit.
I do want to mention Audible.com. You use sometimes on Sword and Laser, your science fiction podcast, Veronica, don’t you use Audible, listen to science fiction on Audible?
Veronica Belmont I do, I am actually a listening to The Eye of the World Series right now on Audible.
Leo Laporte I was hoping, I was going to ask you for –
Veronica Belmont The – sorry, The Wheel of Time series.
Leo Laporte Wheel of Time – that sounds familiar. Who does that?
Veronica Belmont That is Robert Jordan.
Leo Laporte Is it good?
Veronica Belmont Is that right? did I, is that right? Sometimes I get my authors confused. Yes, it’s really good, right now I am on The Dragon Reborn, which is Book Three. And I listened to the second Book also.
Leo Laporte Oh, my God, there’s like a – there’s like a dozen of them.
Veronica Belmont There is literally a dozen.
Leo Laporte Oh, my God.
Veronica Belmont I think they are working on Book Twelve, right now.
Leo Laporte And do they go one to the other or are they – tell me a little bit about these stories.
Veronica Belmont It’s one continuous story and we’ve read – I read the first one in regular book form, and then I was reading so many others book at the time that I was like, I want to something to take with me to go during my commute, so I download the second and the third book and listened to them while travelling and also during my commute, just sometimes at home, also. And there’s two different voice actors that read all the parts, and they do a really great job.
Leo Laporte Well, if you are in a book club that’s a great reason to join Audible, it’s a great way to read your books. They have beefed up their Science Fiction section immensely with the Audible Frontiers and so forth and I think I am just going to make this a recommendation, The Eye of the World, Book One: The Wheel of Time.
Veronica Belmont There you go.
Leo Laporte And there are 11 Wheel of Time – see I love it if you could find something you’re really into. Book One, by the way, 30 hours.
Veronica Belmont It’s a long, long book.
Leo Laporte Holy cow.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, they’re all pretty long.
Leo Laporte Are they all that long?
Veronica Belmont Yup.
Leo Laporte Is it fantasy, what is it?
Veronica Belmont It’s fantasy, yeah. And actually Robert Jordan passed away this past year and so his – they are getting another author to finish the series on book 12.
Leo Laporte Isn’t it awful when that happens, you know you get…
Veronica Belmont I know.
Leo Laporte …so close.
Veronica Belmont Can you believe it? It was going to be the last book and so it’s someone who’s really familiar with the storyline and the characters though and who writes in a similar tone. So, hopefully it will be as good as all the other ones have been.
Leo Laporte Let me – this is Kate Reading and Michael Kramer.
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte Let us play a little bit of this just so you can hear kind of what it sounds like. This is going to be one of those books really got like 8,000 names you have to keep track of?
Veronica Belmont A little bit. They stick with the same characters so they – so, you get used to them. And it’s funny because the male voice actor does female voices in the book and vice versa. There’s a female voice actress who does the male parts.
Leo Laporte That’s fun.
Veronica Belmont But you get used to it so quickly.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah. There’s two different styles of audiobooks. One, where they guide like Jim Dale does every voice and everyone’s a distinct character. In fact, it’s funny because the Harry Potter books in the U.S. were recorded by Jim Dale. In Audible England it’s Stephen Fry. And Fry is much more of the thing where he gets slight differences. But he’s not trying to act out every voice. And it’s just a different style. I kind of like the Fry style to be honest. I don’t mind it at all. All right well I’m going to –
Veronica Belmont It’s just a slight difference between the different voices.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont It’s subtle enough that you can tell who is talking. But at the same time it’s not too distracting.
Leo Laporte Sometimes it takes me out of it when “all of a sudden is talking like this”. You know – “hello! And then” and it just kind of, it sounds, it’s like the guy is kind of a crazy to be honest with you. So I kind of like it, I like it a little bit more subtle in my book. Have you read – I’m reading, talk about another long series. It’s, what’s its name? I think you would like this. This is another fantasy series I’m reading on Audible.com. Seeing if I could find it here.
Veronica Belmont So you say you’re reading an audible.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont I say – I say listening.
Leo Laporte I get in trouble. People say you’re not reading, you’re listening. But I’m reading, it’s every word of the book what’s the difference, whether they comes through your eye balls or your ear hole?
Veronica Belmont Your ear hole. Good point.
Leo Laporte What’s the difference? It’s reading, it’s reading a book. I think it counts. I’m going to – anyway.
You can call it whatever you want. Go to Audible.com right now, if you actually go to Audible.com/twit2 you get the Platinum plan. You’re going to need it if you’re going to read the The Wheel of Time. The Platinum plan gives you two books a month and your first two books are free.
Veronica Belmont Oh.
Leo Laporte So you want this.
Veronica Belmont I have the regular standard plan, the one book a month.
Leo Laporte You’re a Gold.
Veronica Belmont But that’s all I need because it takes so long to get through these.
Leo Laporte You don’t have a long commute. You don’t have a long commute, if you had a long – if you had a two hour as I used to, I’d go through three books a month. I know people have two Platinum plans because they do four books a month.
Veronica Belmont You’re a fast listener.
Leo Laporte Yes. You know you can, by the way, turn the speed up.
Veronica Belmont Speed listener.
Leo Laporte You can turn the speed up on these. I don’t.
Dwight Silverman How fast can you go but while – and still understand it?
Leo Laporte The iPod only lets you go slow, medium, fast. It doesn’t so – I don’t know, it’s like 30%. It doesn’t – it’s you know your brain’s very good at absorbing – in fact it turns out it’s better at hearing stuff that people talk quickly.
Harry MacCracken So it doesn’t sound like Alvin and The Chipmunks?
Leo Laporte No, no, no, they’re doing – it’s the iPod that does some sort of pitch shifting. Anyway, this plays in the iPod, The Kindle, The Zune, pretty much every portable device. I’m told that the GPS devices are big for Audible because people have them in their car. They often have memory and they all play Audible. So give it a try. Audible.com/twit2. I’m going to let Veronica pick her book this week, Book One of The Wheel of Time, 30 hours of the The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. And then you can go to SwordAndLaser.com and talk about it.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, we had our – that was one of our recent books. So we actually had a whole podcast on that one as well.
Leo Laporte So, you do a podcast and then is it like a book group or you have like forums and people will come and talk and that kind of thing? Or how does that work?
Veronica Belmont Yeah, we have Ning forums at swordandlaser.ning.com where we do all our discussions about the books that we’re reading and then once a month Tom and I get together, Tom Merritt from CNET of course and discuss the book a little bit and talk about readers’ comments and just, you know, regular book club stuff.
Leo Laporte Did Tom like this book? Just give us a little…
Veronica Belmont Yeah, he liked it. He really did.
Leo Laporte Oh, good. All right then I’ll read it. It’s not a chick book?
Veronica Belmont It’s not a chick book, don’t worry.
Leo Laporte Well there are fantasy books that are just really romance novels, right.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, you might not like the Jacqueline Carey novels.
Leo Laporte Right, some…
Veronica Belmont I’ll put that out there.
Leo Laporte …some of them are kind of romancey. And then there is – but there are some where there’s some like sword fighting in this, right?
Veronica Belmont Well, yes there’s a good amount of sword fighting and magic.
Dwight Silverman And explosions, don’t forget explosions.
Leo Laporte As long as they’re magical explosions.
Apple has decided – this is a very interesting story, I don’t know what to make of it, that they’ve been hiring, you remember that they bought PA Sami. So they have engineers in-house that could design chips. It’s not clear whether these are ARM – they’re basically ARM chips for, I would assume the iPhone, but maybe other portable devices including the rumoured tablet iPhone. And now there are more than a 100 job listings for Apple looking for chip designers, chip engineers, quality control engineers. It’s pretty clear Apple has decided to design and build its own chips.
Veronica Belmont So they would be taking that away from like Samsung, for example.
Leo Laporte Yeah, if it’s ARM
Veronica Belmont Who’s made chips for them in the past.
Leo Laporte Yeah, if it’s ARM, but what if they decided to do this for desktops too? And here’s one conspiracy theory. It would be a way – one of problems Apple has is, it’s really easy build a hackintosh, right. It’s trivial. You could put OS 10 on a – I have it on MSI Wind. It’s easy. They haven’t been able to shut that down. If you made your own chips that only you sold, you wouldn’t have that problem. You’d have absolute control of hardware and software.
Dwight Silverman But haven’t they been down that road before? I mean to a certain extent their early processors were primarily used in their machines…
Leo Laporte No they were always off the shelf. No the –
Dwight Silverman PowerPC. The PowerPC processor was a joint development between IBM and them and Motorola. And it seems like they kind of have done that before and then they moved to Intel because of performance and heat and battery issues
Leo Laporte So you think it would be a bad idea.
Dwight Silverman I think I can see them doing it for a hand held device. I think that makes a lot of sense. And increasingly things like the iPhone are becoming more and more a part of what they do. And I could see them wanting to get some kind of an edge and hold it in that area. But for desktops, at this point, I think there’s a benefit for them using a relatively open platform. I think the percentage of people who’re actually doing hackintosh’s aren’t enough to really impact their sales.
Veronica Belmont Well, I feel it’s more them trying to control their supply line because I mean – wasn’t it back in the day when the iPhone first started coming out that Samsung couldn’t meet up with the demands for the chips and that kind of restricted how many iPhones were coming out at first? Am I – is that wrong?
Leo Laporte That’s right. No, that’s a good point. You’re absolutely right.
Veronica Belmont So if they actually control their manufacturing line with the chips they might not have to worry about that kind of situation. And also Samsung is technically a competing company and they have to worry about less leaks that way if they aren’t putting in orders for new products.
Leo Laporte That’s exact –
Harry MacCracken Although presumably somebody other than Apple will be manufacturing these chips so they’ll still have that issue.
Leo Laporte They don’t have FABs.
Harry MacCracken I really feel like the operating system which is currently on the iPhone is going to be around after there are no longer Mackintoshes as we know them now. And I don’t know whether Apple is thinking the way I am, but I think they could be preparing themselves for that because I think we’re at the beginning of the end of desktop.
Leo Laporte You think desktop – woah, wait a minute. Now this is interesting. You think desktop PCs are going away.
Harry MacCracken Eventually, I mean I really believe that the phone is going to be the new PC over time, like the beginning of the end of Windows and WIntel and I don’t know whether is Apple is thinking that way, but I feel fairly confident that the descendents of the iPhone will be around after they are no longer descendents of today’s MacBook or iMacs. And they’ll probably will be a little bit more proprietary then today’s Mac’s.
Leo Laporte It will be a wise thing for them to plan for an era, a post-PC era.
Harry MacCracken I sure would be, if I were them.
Leo Laporte That’s really interesting. It’s the kind of thing Apple would do. They really, they do think ahead like that in a way that a lot of manufacturers don’t. What do you think of that, Dwight, do you think that’s a good, that’s a reasonable scenario. Is it PC – how soon, what’s your timeframe for that Harry?
Harry MacCracken I always feel like it’s better to guess that things will happen more quickly than you expect it, so I feel like a decade from now we will be well into sort of a primarily past post-PC era. Not completely, because there are still mainframes out there, but I think that most of the things that people do on traditional computers today they will be doing on something which is a descendent of a phone at some point – still not large screens and large keyboards, but there’s no reason why you can’t use them with phones too.
Dwight Silverman Oh, that’s interesting. I heard that somebody described the iPhone as being the multimedia server that everybody – maybe that was you Harry, did you write that? That the iPhone was a – is kind of, everybody was talking about the multimedia server controller in the home and that the iPhone is turning into that.
Harry MacCracken Well, I mean people have written about the idea that may be the iPhone is going to turn in to the next Apple TV. We don’t even need the Apple TV if you have a TV with an internet connection, a Wi-Fi and an Apple and an iPhone, it might be how you get media on to the TV directly and maybe so. There is kind of no technological reason why you can’t do it, particularly as you get faster access to stuff on the cloud. I feel like the cloud and the phone will replace the PC sooner or later.
Veronica Belmont You are just looking for an interface into the cloud basically. Something that’s user friendly and easy to get online with. That you can take with you on the go.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s what OnLive, that’s what Steve Pearlman’s trying to do with OnLive. He is saying, you don’t need a graphics chip to play high-end video games. We will do it all for you on our servers. All you need, in fact it is ironic because the OnLive controller looks a little bit like an iPhone.
Veronica Belmont Have you talked about that a lot on the show?
Leo Laporte You’re the gamer expert, what do you think of that? This is the – I will just – for people who didn’t hear about this, we talked a little bit about it after GDC, the game developers conference. Steve Pearlman announced this, he has big partners, Electronic Arts, Atari, this, it looks pretty real. The idea being you’d sign up for the service, you could use an old low cheap PC or buy one of their kind of interface devices and attach it to your big screen TV and now play games even as high-end as Crysis. They do the rendering on their servers and with some proprietary technology – I would be worried about the latency but…
Veronica Belmont Yeah, I think that’s probably the biggest worry is the latency issue, lag issues. Especially with bandwidth caps, is that going to be a major problem sometime in the future?
Leo Laporte Well, I will tell you my conspiracy theory. This is the cable company. This relies on a deal with the ISPs, because that’s who you are going to end up buying this service from, is you’re going to buy – you’re going to go to Comcast. Comcast will say you want a gaming package, 10 bucks a month, you could play any game, then they prioritize, they do QOS stuff with OnLive. OnLive In other words, I think OnLive’s whole business model relies on partnership with the internet service providers.
Veronica Belmont I absolutely agree with you. I think this is something you are going to see on Comcast boxes, I think that’s probably where they are planning on going on with this in the near future. Because that total sense. I mean if you don’t need to have a separate console or a separate PC, you want it just on your TV right there, If it’s on your cable box already you don’t need to have to worry about it. You just need a controller it to play it on.
Leo Laporte And it introduces – I mean from Atari and EAs point of view, it introduces a whole new group of casual gamers who don’t own PS3s and Xbox 360s, as customers. It broadens their base, no piracy, makes a lot of sense for all the players. It’s a technical problem, but I think the ISPs can solve that one.
Veronica Belmont I mean then you have to be – you have to make sure that everyone has the same kind of level of connection, or I guess you’d have to make sure that the host at least has a very high speed connection. Because when you get 16 people playing on the same game there is going to be some problems. I mean there is problems now with the systems that we already have set up.
Leo Laporte When this happens though, not only does cloud computing become capable of word processing and spreadsheets and calendaring and email, cloud computing becomes capable of high-end computing, video editing. I mean gaming is just the beginning of all this. So, I think Harry, you might be right.
Dwight Silverman The cloud though has to get a lot more reliable and you do have to have the bandwidth that’s used before people, I think Veronica mentioned earlier, people want to have a physical copy and I think that before you get the point where people trust that and that’s where their primary computing is done, it’s got to get a lot faster and a lot more reliable and you don’t have to worry about bandwidth caps. That is serious.
Dwight Silverman Definitely and even Gmail is cool as it is, I mean let’s say about 15% of the time I have minor to major problems getting my email off of Gmail and –
Veronica Belmont Hey you can’t complain! It’s Beta.
Harry MacCracken Always Beta.
Veronica Belmont You can’t complain. It’s Beta.
Dwight Silverman I think they are going to change the name of the company from Google to Beta.
Harry MacCracken And if Google can’t scale this stuff, nobody is going to – has it figured out yet. So it does have to get way more reliable.
Leo Laporte You’ve painted an interesting picture though, Harry, of a world with very simple devices that aren’t PCs, connected to very powerful devices on the cloud.
Harry MacCracken That’s my guess, I mean I worked at PC World and who knows, maybe I’m overreacting the shift in the opposite direction and think about the future, but so often in the past stuff has happened more quickly, once it has got going than you would you have expected. I mean the whole thing with digital music is only about 11 years old, and look how much 11 years…
Leo Laporte Yes
Dwight Silverman Well, and here’s a prediction beyond the cloud. At some point as these cycles go, because essentially the cloud has returned to mainframes and terminals, we are going to start talking about the personal cloud where you have your own server at your house that is – that ultimately other people will be able to play on and remotely you will be able to connect up to your own system that you rely on. It will come back to that eventually.
Harry MacCracken Some of their HP PSS Server does that now
Dwight Silverman Right.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte This also relies on ubiquitous internet, because we are not talking about just a direct connect in the house now. I am going to go out the door and I want this device to also work there right? Everywhere. But I think we’re getting close to that, I mean all of these pieces seem to be falling in place. I hadn’t really thought about this, Harry, but I think you might – we might be heading quickly to the post-PC era and it might be faster than we think.
Veronica Belmont But I mean we are having so much trouble even just trying to get blanketed Wi-Fi in major cities that would seemingly support it like San Francisco. That’s a major hurdle too. I mean if you are not blanketed in Wi-Fi wherever you go, how are you going to access your content? I mean 3G is one thing but I was in a restaurant today, it didn’t even have edge connection and so –
Leo Laporte How did you survive?
Veronica Belmont I know I couldn’t even – I couldn’t even do the 5witter on my phone while I was eating, what a shame. Ruined the whole meal.
Leo Laporte That – you know they should put a sign up on a restaurant that says you can’t twitter here. I mean that’s terrible.
Veronica Belmont But there’s still major hurdles to the whole cloud situation, especially on the go.
Leo Laporte ZAGAT has to add a new thing, food, quality service, décor; Twitter capability. It’ll be a whole new section.
Veronica Belmont Cell phone reception.
Leo Laporte Cell phone reception, yeah.
Dwight Silverman There should be, there should be – there is Wi-Fi in ZAGAT now. Don’t they have a Wi-Fi listing in ZAGAT?
Leo Laporte Do they really?
Dwight Silverman I think so. I was at a restaurant last night, a fairly fancy one in Houston called Tarascos, which if you are ever in Houston, it’s the place to go for South American steaks and –
Leo Laporte Let’s go, we’re all on our way. We will be right there.
Dwight Silverman And I am buying.
Leo Laporte Okay.
Dwight Silverman They had a – and I just – I had my iPhone with me and I happened to check it and they had free Wi-Fi, their own Wi-Fi. Now this is a kind of place where – this is a very nice place to eat and almost a kind of place where if someone whips out an iPhone it’s semi frowned upon But they had free Wi-Fi for their customers and I was pretty surprised and pleased.
Leo Laporte Fancy – it is odd in a fancy restaurant to have.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Leo Laporte But you know everybody does it now. In fact it’s almost the bane of modern life is that everybody is not looking at – they are all looking at their iPhone.
Dwight Silverman Both my daughter and I now have iPhones. We got my daughter one a while back and we sit in the living room while my wife watches television or whatever and we are both like going on our screens.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I can’t watch TV without a screen in my lap anymore.
Dwight Silverman That’s right but what’s interesting is –
Veronica Belmont It’s like picture in picture.
Leo Laporte Yeah, exactly.
Dwight Silverman I no longer sit there with my laptop. I use the iPhone instead of the laptop I used to have.
Veronica Belmont This is going to sound really bad. Ryan and I actually have a Touch that we keep in the living room for exactly that purpose. It’s the living room iPod Touch. If we need to look up like a cheat in a game or something about an actor on a TV show, you’ve got the iPod Touch there.
Dwight Silverman See when Apple does its tablet, its alleged tablet.
Leo Laporte This is going to happen. Next month. This is going to happen next month.
Dwight Silverman You will have that on your coffee table instead Veronica.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, yeah.
Leo Laporte I think Veronica and Ryan are the couple of the future. We need to watch them. There needs to be glass, one-way glass put into your apartment.
Veronica Belmont No, no, no.
Dwight Silverman Reality TV.
Veronica Belmont Oh god no.
Leo Laporte Yeah. And we will see what the future’s going to be like. The future is now. Ryan by the way is Ryan Block who is the host of the GDGT and the former founder of Engadget who is, between the two of you, you must be completely wired. I mean…
Veronica Belmont It gets a little scary sometimes, yeah.
Leo Laporte You’re not one of those couples that goes to a restaurant and sits across from each other and talks via IM are you?
Veronica Belmont No, we are not that bad. There’s is actually kind of an unspoken rule that you take out the iPhone after the check has arrived.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s good.
Veronica Belmont No iPhone until the check has arrived.
Dwight Silverman Oh I like that, I like that.
Leo Laporte There is some etiquette here. You have to...
Veronica Belmont You have to make some kind of etiquette, because we are all – this is like the final frontier. You have to make some ground rules early in the game.
Leo Laporte It’s the etiquette for the new world.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte I love that. So the Pre, you know you were talking about how Apple struggled with supply problems. It’s apparently that, at least one analyst says Palm’s going to have some problems, they cut back their initial order for the Pre from one million to just a few hundred thousand, not as some thought, to create an artificial scarcity but because they cannot make enough of them. Mike Arrington at TechCrunch told me that he thought that he heard that the Pre was kind of cheesy feeling in the hand and he and others now, Engadget also have broken the story that there is a pixy device which is a much smaller Pre that will come out just a few months later with an actual keyboard instead of a soft – I guess the Pre has a slideout keyboard but it will have a – it be more like the Centro, where it’s a smaller screen and a keyboard right, like a candy bar phone. And some say that’s the one you want. Both will run the new Palm WebOS. Palm’s betting the farm on this one. It would, would it be disastrous if they couldn’t get enough to market?
Harry MacCracken Seems like it.
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte Have you played with it? Anybody played with a Pre here?
Harry MacCracken You know they don’t let people touch them hardly ever, even in demos. I have seen it close-up in terms of software. It does look terrific.
Veronica Belmont I have seen it in a guy’s hand but they won’t, they didn’t let us touch it.
Leo Laporte They won’t let you – oh there is a cat behind you, watch out. He may leap.
Veronica Belmont Oh I know. That’s Mr. Little Jeans. Or add Mr. Little Jeans on Twitter if you are interested.
Leo Laporte I would laugh at you, but my dog has a Twitter account too so.
Harry MacCracken We don’t let our cat near the Twitter.
Leo Laporte No. I had a caller on the radio show today said my cat was sleeping on my Lenovo keyboard and now the backspace, delete and enter key won’t work. I said you didn’t sit on the cat while it was on the keyboard, did you? A little something came out there, what happened? Anyway we don’t know what the story is on that one.
So, I think the Pre – we agree the Pre is very important for Palm’s continued survival.
Veronica Belmont There is a huge amount of anticipation with this device and I think if they don’t deliver big very early people are going to start calling it as a failure and that’s really depressing to me because it could do well over time but people are so looking forward to seeing how it does right away, right off the bat and comparing it to the success of the iPhone when it first came out that, you know. It’s a lot of anticipation there, a lot of I don’t know, I mean Palm definitely went on a limb with this and the reception so far at least, when we saw it at CES for the first time it was very good. So I hope if they can meet up with demands, it will continue to go along on that positive route.
Leo Laporte I am going to get in line. I will go to the Sprint store and buy one. I am going to get in line.
Dwight Silverman Is it similar to kind of what happened with the G1, which had a huge amount of hype and a lot of anticipation for it and they sold a decent amount of them but it has not been the game change.
Leo Laporte A million. T-Mobile says one million, yeah.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, it definitely hasn’t been a game changer
Dwight Silverman It hasn’t been a game changer.
Leo Laporte No.
Harry MacCracken It’s going to be hard for either team Mogul or Sprint to change any game given that they are the weakest of the big carriers and if the Pre came out on Verizon, say, it would have a bigger chance of being huge instantly.
Leo Laporte Do you credit Verizon?
Unknown Speaker And I say that as somebody who is very excited about the Pre. I might switch to Sprint to get a…
Veronica Belmont Yeah. I mean Sprint has really great data but they just don’t have the numbers there. There’s not enough people on Sprint and I don’t know if Sprint has a big enough draw to get people to switch over for this one device.
Leo Laporte That’s the real problem right now. If you want an iPhone, you have to go to AT&T. If you want a G1, you have to go to T-Mobile. This is not good for consumers. I wish they wouldn’t do this but I guess it’s good for the companies. Do you credit the rumour that Apple might be doing a deal with Verizon, putting in the iPhone or something like it, or maybe an iPhone Light on the Verizon network?
Dwight Silverman It makes some sense and it, in one – some ways it makes, it doesn’t make any in another. For one thing, if Apple were to do it now, they’d have to do it with CDMA, which doesn’t have a long shelf life. But on the other hand with LTE coming along and them swapping out phones every year like it seems that there are on that cycle, it would give them a foothold with Verizon and would expand their market share quite a bit. So, it’s probably good for a long-term play, I mean a short-term play. And then if they keep up with the technology it will do good in the long-term.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I like Android and now we are seeing a lot of news that Android is going to show up on other devices. That Google will put the Android operating system or offer the Android operating system on some net books.
Veronica Belmont I think the problem with the G1 is that it’s just a little too geeky for the average consumer.
Leo Laporte Do you think that’s it? Yeah.
Veronica Belmont I don’t – you know that’s the only thing I can think of…
Leo Laporte It’s kind of clunky.
Veronica Belmont …because it’s a cool device. It’s a little bit on the large side compared to most of the cell phones that are out here these days. Not ones with sliding keyboards, I guess. But I just feel like it hasn’t caught on with that regular consumer set for one reason or another. And maybe it has to do with Android, I don’t know.
Leo Laporte Well Android Cupcake with a version 1.5 is now being pushed out of the T-Mobile, I keep waiting for it to show up on mine. Rumours are it really improves performance, adds nice features including a soft keyboard. Maybe that’s all the G1 needs. I mean a million phones is respectable. So, it is a third of Apple sales in the same time period, but it’s respectable.
Dwight Silverman It doesn’t have the apps though. The development – the developer crowd has not come to it. If you go and look through the store that is available for the G1, there’s not a lot there.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman Certainly not as what’s compared to the iPhone and I think that’s the big deal with the iPhone, is the apps.
Leo Laporte Developers, developers, developers.
Dwight Silverman Right.
Leo Laporte They’ve got 35,000 apps, they’ve sold a billion of them.
Veronica Belmont Well that’s the great thing. I read a great article recently about a – done by an iPhone developer and he was responding to a lot of criticism about why developers haven’t been creating more apps for Android. And the reason being is there is just not the amount of people there that are buying these applications. I mean so many rabid fans of iPhone applications were just downloading apps constantly from the iTunes apps store. They are not getting that same kind of response with Android and with the G1. So, obviously it makes more sense for them to focus their attentions on something like the iPhone apps as opposed to doing it for Android.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Yeah I mean it’s always been the case, whatever platform gets the most apps it’s going to win and that’s why Windows for so long beat McIntosh. If you get the developers behind you, you are going to have an advantage in the marketplace.
Let’s talk about Amazon just bought Stanza, speaking of iPhone. Stanza is the best e-reader, much better than Amazon’s own Kindle e-reader on the iPhone. And it’s an interesting choice to buy Lexcycle, which is the company that makes Stanza. Do you use Stanza, Veronica? It’s a really good e-book.
Veronica Belmont No, I didn’t actually. But I just bought a Kindle this week and I got in the mail on Thursday.
Leo Laporte How do you like it?
Veronica Belmont So, I – I love it, I fricking love it. But I downloaded the Kindle app for the iPhone and I haven’t used it yet. But I didn’t use Stanza before, because I have always had a hard time with e-book readers on the iPhone.
Leo Laporte Stanza’s pretty good.
Veronica Belmont It’s good. It’s my eyes, you know my eyes just get so strained after reading on the tiny screen for too long.
Leo Laporte You can pinch the text to make it bigger or smaller so you can get big fonts, but you are right. I mean it’s not as good as the Kindle. So you like the Kindle.
Veronica Belmont I absolutely. I am so happy with it.
Leo Laporte You fricking like it.
Veronica Belmont I fracking love it.
Leo Laporte You fracking love it. You know it’s funny.
Dwight Silverman We’re escalating.
Leo Laporte I don’t know, is frack worse than frick? The –
Dwight Silverman Yes!
Leo Laporte I saw some stats that said that more than half of the Kindle buyers are over 50 and a third of them are over 60 and I wasn’t surprised at all. I showed my 75-year-old mom my Kindle and she said I have got to have this because the font, the text size you can get it big enough and she can read. She said I had stopped reading, because I couldn’t – the text was too small on printed books and she loves the Kindle. She loves it, that she can order a book and it appears there. She loves the foreign feature, she’s getting one on – I hope she’s not listening. She’s getting one on Mother’s Day.
Veronica Belmont Oh, what a guy.
Leo Laporte That’s a good gift for Mother’s Day.
Veronica Belmont Deffo.
Leo Laporte But she really likes it. So that’s interesting. The Kindle’s audience is not the young hip kids, it’s...
Harry MacCracken Well it’s pretty expensive for a young hip kid.
Leo Laporte I guess so, yeah.
Harry MacCracken I mean it’s the cost of an entry level laptop.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s true but anyway…
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte …hey look Veronica bought one and she fricking loves it.
Veronica Belmont I had to sell a part of my kidney.
Leo Laporte But you are young, you can afford that.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte You got an extra.
Dwight Silverman Has there been – has there been any word if Amazon is going to replace its Kindle app for the iPhone with the Stanza app?
Leo Laporte No, but you got to think that –
Harry MacCracken The Stanza –
Veronica Belmont I am sure they will both probably integrate it, huh.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Harry MacCracken The Stanza phone –
Dwight Silverman I like the iPhone app for Kindle. I’ve been reading. I have read a couple of books with it and it doesn’t bother my eyes that much but the font is very nice. It’s the same font that the New York Times uses on its app, which is also very readable and I like it. I don’t have a Kindle but I’ve bought a couple of books to read on an iPhone.
Leo Laporte Download Stanza and see what you think. What does Lexcycle –
Harry MacCracken Stanza did a blog post saying that they had no plans to make any change to the app or add new sources of content and if they don’t buy Amazon how can Amazon not essentially replace Kindle for the iPhone, which is not that great with Stanza, which is so much better.
Veronica Belmont Interesting, yeah.
Leo Laporte I think they must. That must be the plan. The other advantage is Stanza is worldwide, right. You could buy Stanza anywhere. It would let Amazon, it would open up a market – well maybe they don’t want that global market, because of the publishing rights issues. But it would open up – everybody could use it. It’s a much better reader – the big thing about the Kindle app, the only advantage that Kindle app has is that when you read on the Kindle app, it updates your Kindle and vice versa. So, when you get to page 69 on the Kindle it suddenly page 69 on the Kindle app. That’s all I have to add to Stanza – that and one more source, Amazon. It wouldn’t be a big change. So, when do they say that, Harry, do they say that after the sale?
Harry MacCracken Yeah, after the sale there was a blog post saying essentially they had no plans for changes. But who knows may be Stanza will say the same, but there will be a new version of the iPhone app.
Veronica Belmont I am reading confessions of a shopaholic on mine.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s a great book, that’s a great book. Have you read it like a lot on the iPhone, or you read a lot of pages?
Veronica Belmont No, I just downloaded it just a second from my Kindle.
Leo Laporte Well I just downloaded Myst, but you don’t see me playing it. By the way –
Veronica Belmont I just wanted to show you what it looked like. It’s for the show.
Leo Laporte I am sure you are not reading – I am sure you are not reading during the show.
Veronica Belmont No I wouldn’t do that, ever.
Leo Laporte That’d be crazy. I am playing Myst, however.
Veronica Belmont Nor have I ever played World Of Warcraft while on the show. I have never done that, really.
Leo Laporte The way you say it makes me think you have. Are you playing World of Wordcraft?
Veronica Belmont What? No. That’d be awful.
Leo Laporte You got to 71 I saw.
Veronica Belmont No, I am at 80 now.
Leo Laporte You got to 80?
Veronica Belmont I got to 80, yeah.
Leo Laporte That’s as high as you can go, right.
Veronica Belmont Yep. Levelled out. I am sad, let’s not talk about it anymore.
Leo Laporte A level 80 Vixen Warrior.
Veronica Belmont Oh, no. I am a Tauren Shaman for the horde.
Leo Laporte A Tauren Shaman. For the horde! Such nerds.
Veronica Belmont For the horde. Moving on.
Leo Laporte So sad. Just two losers sitting there.
Veronica Belmont I just totally rat-holed us, didn’t I?
Leo Laporte No, I love it. First of all I love rat holes, but I love talking about World of Wordcraft. And it’s completely appropriate since I am now going to play Myst. 773 megabytes was that download. It only takes they say 100 megabytes on the phone , but you need to free 773 to install it I guess. I wonder how long this sync will take. Oh boy.
Veronica Belmont But then you have Myst on your phone so it’s awesome.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I can’t wait. Before the show is over I will boot it up and we will take a look at it. We are going to take a break, come back. I would like your impressions of the DVD copying trial. This is a big, big story which we have not yet covered. It is happening in San Francisco right now, the night circuit court it’s Judge Marilyn Patel, back to her old tricks. GoDaddy says don’t buy dot TV, the island is sinking. And Windows 7 comes out Tuesday, release candidate one, supposedly the only release candidate.
Before we do all of that though I do want to mention our friends at Citrix and GoToMeeting. Has anybody here who used ToGoMeeting, just you can be honest, you don’t have to…
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Leo Laporte What do you think, Dwight?
Dwight Silverman I liked it, I wasn’t driving. It was for a meeting at work but it worked quite well.
Leo Laporte I am using it more and more. In fact we just asked for a few accounts for some of our hosts who are using it actually during the show to show screens, which is very cool. You said you have used it too, Harry?
Harry MacCracken No, a fairly significant percentage of the demos people do for me today are done via it.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s – everybody is moving to GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting from Citrix, they are the company that does GoToMyPC as well. They really know the ins and outs of Windows and how to do remote access in Windows, I don’t think there is anybody better frankly at remote access than the Citrix folks.
GoToMeeting – basically here’s the problem. You are on a conference call, you are talking to somebody and you’re showing them something visual – you are talking about something visual, a PowerPoint or a key note presentation or a drawing or a slide, and you are describing it and it’s just frustrating as heck. What you can do if you’ve got GoToMeeting installed is say, well, hey let me show you, this is kind of wild, and you say go to GoToMeeting.com – it takes you about a click of the mouse to get it started and then you tell them go to GoToMeeting.com. Here is the meeting ID and it’s kind of cool because they go wow and they are looking at your computer on their screen no matter where they are, they see the presentation. It is great for sales, great for product demos, for training, for collaboration too. You can both work on a document together, very affordable and right now free for 30 days when you use this special URL, GoToMeeting.com/twit. These guys, I have known these guys going back to Ed Yakabuchi who founded Citrix many moons ago and I have always thought the world of them and their technology.
It’s secure, it’s affordable, it’s effective. gotomeeting.com/twit, I invite you to give it a try. So, Microsoft is going to Windows 7. According to Acer, Acer will have a Windows 7 PC available for sale, October 23. Somebody is going to get spanked at Acer for that one but it may even be sooner. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be September and the Acer is just saying but we are going to have our computer by October. Are you using Windows 7, Harry?
Harry MacCracken As we speak, I am installing it on a netblock. I installed it on a larger laptop yesterday. I am gearing up for Tuesday so I can have more hands-on experience with the release candidate, but I had been using the early preview version since last October, whenever it was it was released.
Leo Laporte Yes, I have 7000 which is the preview version on a number of PCs and then the 7100 comes – I am not a member of TechNet or MSDN, so, I’m going to have to wait with the unwashed masses till Tuesday. But I look forward to trying it on Tuesday.
Dwight Silverman It’s excellent. I think it’s, in a lot of ways, even the Beta was a better product than this stuff.
Leo Laporte I know. That’s got to be depressing, but that’s true.
Harry MacCracken It’s way better than Vista in a lot of ways and my main concern is PC manufacturers don’t have a great track record of making Windows look good on their machines, because they loaded up with demo-ware and jock and they replaced the Windows utilities with utilities that aren’t as good and I think they might do that to 7 too. And I am hoping that because 7 is all about making Windows less annoying, I hope the PC companies move in that spirit and don’t mess it up, because they totally could if they wanted to.
Dwight Silverman Well, Microsoft was on top of the manufacturers when Vista came out. I remember talking to product managers who were working on Vista at the time and they were telling me they were leaning on the HPs and Dells and Sonys of the world not to crap it up as they had done with XP. And sure enough they did.
Leo Laporte That’s a good slogan. Don’t crap it up.
Dwight Silverman Don’t crap it up.
Leo Laporte It’s fricking fast. Don’t mess with it.
Harry MacCracken But Microsoft is in a much better position today to lecture people about not being annoying than they were, even with Vista.
Leo Laporte That’s a good point, yes.
Dwight Silverman And a lot of companies already offer ways to yank out the crap-ware. Sony and Dell both have ways when you can figure a machine bought online to remove it.
Leo Laporte You have to pay Sony extra for that.
Dwight Silverman Yes, that’s bad.
Leo Laporte That bugs the hell out of me.
Dwight Silverman That’s terrible.
Harry MacCracken I think they rescinded that.
Leo Laporte Did they change that?
Harry MacCracken I believe so.
Leo Laporte That’s like –
Veronica Belmont Oh, I remember that. We were real worked up about that.
Leo Laporte We would be glad to sell you a computer that runs fine but you would have to give us an extra $100.
Veronica Belmont It was like $50 I think.
Leo Laporte Yes, it was expensive.
Veronica Belmont I think it was $50 if I remember correctly. That’s a lot of money.
Dwight Silverman But I think that they will end up doing the same thing they did before. I think that that’s one of the ways that they subsidize the cost of PCs and one of the reasons why Microsoft can run the laptop hunters ads and people are buying $800 computers in them.
Harry MacCracken Totally, although I mean I’m worried it’s short-term thinking thought, if you make some money now but annoy your customers enough, eventually they will move elsewhere. Hopefully.
Veronica Belmont I hope so yeah.
Leo Laporte I love Windows 7. I think this is the best Windows in a long time and I do hope they don’t frack it up.
Veronica Belmont Yes, I have using the Beta on my HP Mini 1000 and I’ve really – I’ve enjoyed it.
Leo Laporte That’s the thing. It runs on a netbook, fine.
Dwight Silverman Yes, it runs great.
Leo Laporte Runs as well as –
Veronica Belmon It left me with only four gigs of space, total. But you know….
Leo Laporte Well you, so you have an SSD drive in your Mini.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah. By the way I bought a Corsair SSD 128 gig SSD, very pricy, they’re $330 for only 128 Gigs, put it in my MacBook Pro. I am loving this. Does your Mini seem speedy because it’s using an SSD, I don’t know if they put a very – they can’t put a very good one in there.
Veronica Belmont It’s pretty fast. I mean, I haven’t had any trouble with it.
Leo Laporte Your Mini costs less than the hard drive I bought. But I have to say it speeds up the MacBook especially boot time is like very very quick and application launch very very quick.
Veronica Belmont Which SSDs did you buy?
Leo Laporte The Corsair.
Veronica Belmont Oh! The Corsair.
Leo Laporte We have a show with Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective and Allan Malvintano [ph] and Allan is like the king of SSDs. He’s tested them all. And they talked me into it. I said I don’t want to spend $800 for 64 gigs for the Intel X25. And they said no, no, no, you don’t need to – you can buy the cheaper Corsair, you get more space, less money and it’s just as fast. And I have to say I’ve been blown away. I think this is the future. I think what you’re going to see in PCs going forward is solid state drives for the boot and the applications and then a terabyte or two terabyte spinning drive for the extra storage for media and all the other stuff you use.
Dwight Silverman You don’t think eventually that the price of SSDs will come down to the point that you can have that terabyte.
Leo Laporte Wouldn’t that be great? The problem is they’ve got the price on mechanical drives. I’m buying terabytes drives for $80 now.
Dwight Silverman Right.
Leo Laporte $150 for two terabyte drives. It’s just mindboggling, I would never have – Harry, PC World, if I told you six years ago, oh, you’ll be able to get two terabytes for $150, you would have laughed at me.
Veronica Belmont Laughed in their face. Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I mean, it’s unbelievable.
Harry MacCracken The one dependably popular story we ever did at PC World was always hard drive has reached x amount of dollars and even when it was like, them reaching 100 MB for, God knows how much, that was a bigger story, and if you’re like 10 years from now, it’ll still be a bigger story.
Leo Laporte I just can’t – I mean, yeah, 10 years from now, what is it going to be? Oh, yeah, I got a couple of petabytes running on solid state, that’s amazing.
So, I don’t know, if Go Daddy was just looking for headlines or what. But when you go to Go Daddy and try to buy a .tv domain now, a pop-up comes up that says, “Don’t buy this, the island is sinking.”
Harry MacCracken I can’t believe Go Daddy would ever do anything solely for publicity. That would be beneath them.
Leo Laporte Never. How dare they?
Veronica Belmont A sinking island?
Leo Laporte “Island sinking”, what the heck? It says why choose .tv note, but .tv by the way is Tuvalu, the island of Tuvalu which is in fact sinking. I mean, it’s not a joke. They say, no, the island of Tuvalu is sinking, recommended alternatives are .com, .net, .info.
Dwight Silverman If it goes away, does the domain go away?
Leo Laporte Well, that’s a good question.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, what happens to it, what difference does it make?
Leo Laporte Makes a difference to me. All my domains are .tv. What do I do twit – I don’t have twit.com. I have twit.tv, if twit.tv goes away, if it sinks, I am sunk.
Veronica Belmont It kind of sounds like a – just a...
Leo Laporte You think it’s just a publicity...
Veronica Belmont Yeah, a publicity stunt.
Leo Laporte I hope yeah.
Veronica Belmont Publicity stunt.
Dwight Silverman You could switch to TWiT.at which is for Atlantis.
Leo Laporte Yeah, they’ll give Tuvalu the Atlantis designation.
Dwight Silverman That’s right, yeah.
Leo Laporte I don’t – fm is Federated Micronesia, I use am, because – but that’s Armenia. But, yeah, tv is Tuvalu. And it is in fact – it’s just a little volcanic island that’s slowly sinking. By the way, somebody said, boy that’s for you to worry about that is pretty coarse because, I mean, what about the people who live there. But it’s of…..
Veronica Belmont No, I am pretty sure the people have been steadily moving off for the past few years, actually.
Leo Laporte Yes, they’re being resettled and there’s only have few hundred of them.
Veronica Belmont Yes, that’s sad though.
Leo Laporte And I’ve been spending a lot of money on there .tv domain. They got – they get a lot of my money.
Veronica Belmont They should be rebuilding with your money.
Leo Laporte Yes, build it, get some floats.
Dwight Silverman Maybe they’ll have their own little state in Australia and it’ll survive.
Leo Laporte I just want to – I am going to call ICANN and say please can you assign it to somebody else so I can buy it.
Dwight Silverman Their Royal anthem – I am looking at the Tuvalu I guess they pronounce it. I am looking at the Tuvalu website and their anthem is God Save the Queen.
Leo Laporte Well, yeah, yeah, they’re probably British.
Veronica Belmont Part of the Commonwealth
Leo Laporte It’s weird when you go to Canada – and you’re in Canada they play God Save the Queen. The Queen’s on their money. Yes, they’re part of the Commonwealth
Veronica Belmont Yes, but they don’t really do anything – I actually had a big discussion about this with our Canadian crew because we were just up in Vancouver shooting and we were asked – well, we were just in England. So, what’s the real relationship between Canada and the U.K. and with England, especially? And they were like well it’s just kind of symbolic. Like, we have our own Parliament and …..
Leo Laporte It’s not. It’s not.
Veronica Belmont It’s not.
Leo Laporte You know why it’s not? Because there’s a – and you should ask about…
Veronica Belmont ’Cause this is Canadians that told me this, so I’m interested to know...
Leo Laporte But they know and they just weren’t thinking – but there’s a – the Queen appoints a Governor General. There’s a Governor and she’s got some power because – there’s a term for it. I can’t remember what it is but they were – during this recent battle between the conservatives and labour with Stephen Harper and there was a whole thing going on – what is the – the Governor General can dissolve the government and then there is this weird thing that she can do.
Veronica Belmont There’s a huge argument going on in the chat room now…….
Leo Laporte They’re going no, she doesn’t, she has a... But there is and I remember I read a whole article about this. Pro rogue, she can pro rogue parliament. She’s not an elected official, she’s a representative of the Queen’s Government in Canada and I presume, appointed by the Queen, and she has this power, considerable power with the government. She can pro...
Veronica Belmont That’s very interesting.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that weird?
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte But it has to be a very – the Prime Minister appoints the Governor General, all right never mind. I take it all... She is fracking useless. 60% of this is – we are going to end with this story, there is a guy who wrote by the way, a program, I love this – that will eliminate the mentions of Twitter from this show. I encourage you all to get it. It’s a little Python program that actually goes through the whole show and redacts any sentence that has the word Twitter.
Veronica Belmont Through the audio show?
Leo Laporte Yes.
Veronica Belmont Wow!
Leo Laporte It redacts the words in the sentence that has the word Twitter in it, throughout the entire show. It’s brilliant.
Dwight Silverman And it works?
Leo Laporte Well, I didn’t – I didn’t actually try it. It’s called Twitter Killer. And it’s from dingoskidneys.com. I am thinking he’s Australian. I might be wrong. It says it’s a Twitter Killer, a TWiT podcast improver. "Like, many of you I grew tired of listening to this WEEK in TECH and the panel blabbering on and on about how amazing Twitter is. I enjoy the rest of the show but they have to ruin it with their incessant fawning. Not anymore, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...", he’s going to do another one. Kill Leo’s bad accents, that’s what we really need.
"I present to you Twitter Killer, this fabulous program uses pocketsphinx to detect, mark and edit out sentences containing the word Twitter. "
Dwight Silverman Can he do one for Scoble that deletes FriendFeed?
Veronica Belmont Ooh. Snap.
Leo Laporte Hey, I like the FriendFeed. We are using FriendFeed now, in fact we have a TWiT conversation’s room and we get a lot of really interesting comments via FriendFeed.
Veronica Belmont We were good in this episode with not talking about Twitter.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s why I mentioned this, that you may want…
Dwight Silverman At the end.
Leo Laporte ….this program because I am going to give you one last story that actually mentions Twitter. I do that because there’s a Twitter drinking game for people who are listening to the show and they’re parched and I want them – I want them to have a little beverage here. 60% according to the Neilsen, 60% of Twitter users are Twitter quitters. They don’t return the following months.
Dwight Silverman No I believe that. I think that’s right.
Leo Laporte I think you know, Twitter has a problem because it’s very easy to sign up for and use but it’s a lot harder to get any value out of it. Takes you a while to figure it out.
Veronica Belmont It’s kind of like you either get it or you don’t and then you figure that out pretty quickly if this is something that’s going to be interesting to you.
Leo Laporte I don’t know. I think it took – I think if I look at my usage, I signed up in December 2006 and it took me about 4 or 5 months before I used it again and then I –
Harry MacCracken Me too. I think for a lot of people not signing up, trying it, not understanding it, going away is part of the process of eventually getting that ’cause I certainly tried it and did not know what I was doing and came back after a while, so I owed other people who love Twitter, a fairly high percentage abandoned it for a while and Twitter is trying to make it easier to get going because originally you know you had no friends when you signed up and there are now I reckon some folks.
Leo Laporte Yeah that’s what the suggested friends are about and why with you know if they’re going for the mainstream, that’s why there are so many celebrities in it, is that they’re trying to hook you that way. But yes, when you first get there, it’s like an empty room and I think most people look around and go okay now what do I do and they don’t come back. But then once they do come back and if they kind of work it and look through their friends, and look to their friends’ followers, they end up kind of figuring out what to do. But initially, yes it’s like an echo chamber there – it’s – there’s nothing there.
Harry MacCracken It’s finally added search for everybody this week
Dwight Silverman Yes, that helps.
Leo Laporte That’s a huge help. Yes because you could search for swine flu and get a lot of content and then you can follow up – I think that’s actually better and more important than the suggested users, because if you search for something you are interested in, you can see who is talking about it, add them as friends. That’s how you build a friends list.
Veronica Belmont Well, another thing too, I don’t they are taking into account with the studiers, people using desktop applications which may not reflect the numbers in the same way that web-users do...
Leo Laporte Yeah, but only counting websites, you’re right.
Veronica Belmont And I think the more people they – right so that probably does have an effect on this study.
Leo Laporte Facebook this week announced they have – an open stream initiative which I thought was kind of interesting. Facebook’s looking more and more like Twitter. I don’t know if you have noticed. And I would love to see, I think – in fact I think Facebook missed a bet a little bit. Essentially what they announced only meant that it was easier for third party developers to create Twitter style applications to access Facebook and Microsoft was there and Adobe was there, Seismic was there - what I would love to see though is for Facebook to open up much more completely so that you could for instance follow people on Facebook. They say well we’d like to do that but our privacy commitments don’t allow us to do so. But wouldn’t it be – don’t you think that’s one way Facebook could suddenly overtake and beat – well, overtake, they’ve got 200 million users but they could completely put Twitter out of business by just saying we’ll follow the people you are interested in at Facebook. Would you do that? If – would you?
Veronica Belmont I guess if they make better use of pages as opposed to just having private profiles. If you could follow pages that got more people into – interested in following pages as opposed to...
Leo Laporte Right. I’m sure that’s where they’re going.
Veronica Belmont ...just friending people. That’s what they are trying to do is make them landing pages where you can get all the information about the people you are interested in and then still be able to have a dialogue with them. So it’s a little bit – there is a lot more information there than maybe you would get from following someone on Twitter.
Leo Laporte Sure.
Veronica Belmont But you just have to get the people, the eyeballs there, to use that right trite term.
Harry MacCracken They give a total of 180.
Leo Laporte Go ahead, Harry.
Harry MacCracken It’s a total of 180 because I think at least until recently and maybe even now Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is not even for meeting new people, Facebook is for kind of organizing the people you know in the real world online and obviously Twitter is nothing like that. Twitter is for meeting new people and even following people you’ll never meet, and I think Facebook has to get their head around whether they want to – to be about more than just keeping track of the folks you know.
Leo Laporte I use them differently. I use Facebook. Well, I don’t use them appropriately but I would use Facebook to keep track of friends and family, and Twitter is more an informational tool where you follow people who say things that are interesting.
Dwight Silverman Yes, Twitter is increasingly for me used with search and increasingly used for both direct interaction with people who read me and who I am interested in following but when I go over to Facebook, I am looking at my co-workers, my family, my friends and it’s a completely different culture and it’s kind of odd that Facebook, almost in terms of the features it’s trying to bring in and the design that it’s moving towards, is almost obsessed with Twitter, it wants to be Twitter, but it’s kind of – it’s like you said, it’s already bigger and it’s a completely different thing, I think to paraphrase that 80s phrase, you’ve got to let Facebook be Facebook.
Leo Laporte Yes, I like that.
Veronica Belmont That’s – I think they definitely have a little bit of an identity crisis right now.
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Veronica Belmont Because, like we mentioned earlier, they – it’s meant to organize the people you know in the real world yet they see the success that Twitter is having and they want to implement some of those features, but that doesn’t work with the way they are set up, so it’s becoming a clash of ideals there a little bit.
Dwight Silverman It’s irritated a lot of users too.
Veronica Belmont Uh-huh, uh-huh.
Dwight Silverman With that set up.
Leo Laporte Got to be careful about the – irritating the users, you could lose, I mean it all comes down to the fact that none of these services are meaningful at all unless users pour content into it. They live on us, right. It’s interesting because these are sites that are created not because the site – it’s completely the opposite of the Houston Chronicle or the New York Times where you go to the site because the site creates content. There is no content on Facebook or Twitter or Digg or a lot of these sites without us.
Veronica Belmont Content on Facebook is a weird thing too because it’s really hard to take anywhere with you. It’s hard to – like if I leave a video comment on someone’s page I can’t tag myself within that comment. That video doesn’t then show up in my video section of Facebook. It’s like a total separate entity. There is not a lot of usefulness there for me in that kind of sense. That’s why I don’t create a lot of content for Facebook in particular.
Leo Laporte Right. Yeah it’s a different group of people that uses it, that’s for sure. Hey we are going to wrap this up. I just wanted to put the Twitter story at the end so that we could test this program. Let’s see how much shorter this show is with that. By the way he adds a setting – you could also reverse it and cut out everything except the Twitter mentions for those of you who want a really short show this week.
Hey Veronica I am so glad you could be here, Veronica Belmont is the host of Tekzilla. She does that with my buddy Patrick Norton and also on Qore for Sony which brings her all around the world. Q-O-R-E. You could subscribe to it on your PlayStation 3. Do you have to have a PlayStation 3?
Veronica Belmont Yes.
Leo Laporte Okay, it’s on your – it’s a PlayStation 3...
Veronica Belmont Sometimes, it’s on YouTube too.
Leo Laporte Shush.
Veronica Belmont You can tell.
Leo Laporte Is that illegal?
Dwight Silverman Not anymore.
Leo Laporte Is that right?
Veronica Belmont We don’t do that.
Leo Laporte No.
Veronica Belmont We don’t, we don’t agree with that at all.
Leo Laporte No, no, bad idea. And I thank you, it’s great to see you Veronica, thank you for being here.
Veronica Belmont Thank you.
Leo Laporte Harry MacCracken is the Technologizer, it’s very Googanator (sic) of you. The Technologiser. How’s that going? We first talked to you when you had left PC World and started it up, it’s been about what? It’s eight months now, something like that?
Harry MacCracken Yes, it’s a little over that, but I guess I started the site turns on in June, so it’s – I’m almost there and it’s been great, this is the best job I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some pretty cool jobs in the past, so it’s saying a lot.
Leo Laporte It’s really encouraging that you – somebody can strike out on their own, and I think a lot of reporters working for newspapers that are slowly pulling a toodleooh [ph] who are saying, this is good, this is good news, we can go out, strike out on our own, create content and make a living.
Harry MacCracken It’s doable, and I don’t need to make millions of dollars for anybody to be success, so it’s – the bar for being the success is fairly low and it’s doable.
Leo Laporte It’s kind of like, I mean, it’s kind of like what I am doing too, right?
Harry MacCracken Uh-huh, you’re an inspiration.
Leo Laporte Yes, the TV left me, so I started my own little TV station. I love it. Dwight Silverman is still an ink stained wretch at The Houston Chronicle.
Dwight Silverman I am mostly on the web, so I don’t have as much of ink on me as I used to.
Leo Laporte There is no ink from the web, huh?
Dwight Silverman No, there is little, there’s little grease and a few left over bits, but other than that…
Leo Laporte I love it.
Dwight Silverman And, you and Harry are my heroes. I love that people can strike out on their own and make it, and someday I may end up doing that, we’ll see.
Leo Laporte We all do it. Really, I mean I think that ultimately that’s the future is you have this brand around yourself and you come and you offer that, that’s what you offer, a value, it’s always been what you’ve offered, a value, but now I think, the individual is a little more valued than it used to be, thanks to the Internet, I think that’s really great. I think that’s really great. Well, thanks all of you for being here. Folks, I want to mention a concert that I am going to go to, on Memorial Day, it’s a charitable event, it’s on May 25 in San Francisco, it’s called “Let the Sunshine In.” It benefits Christopher Rodriguez and the scholarship fund at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and I wanted to give them a plug because it’s really cool. Christopher – it’s very sad, he was 11 years old, was hit a stray bullet while he was at a piano lesson, he is paralyzed from the waist down. You can read about it, we’ve made a tiny URL for you Chris@tinyurl.com/christopherrodriguez, there is a link to buy tickets, if there are any left at the City Box Office. I am so excited, I am going to see Sting, Bob Weir, Mary Wilson of the The Supremes, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., The Fifth Dimension, of course, Michael Narada Walden, because it’s his foundation that’s doing this. It’s all at Davies Symphony Hall, Monday, May 25, 7 P.M. and I invite you to find out more about it, at cityboxoffice.com or tinyurl.com/christopherrodriguez. You should come, you and Ryan should come to this, Veronica, it’s going to be really, really cool.
Veronica Belmont Yes, that sounds great.
Leo Laporte Yes. I get to see – I get to meet Sting. So excited, so excited. Well, thank you everybody. We appreciate your being here if you like TWiT, or even if you don’t, make sure you go to the iTunes Store and look for the podcast section and then search for TWiT, there are many shows in there in the TWiT family of shows, including this one, and you can subscribe to them, download them and listen to them automatically. We also kind of broadcast our taping session every Sunday afternoon at 6 P.M. Eastern, 3 P.M. Pacific, that’s 2,000 UTC at live.twit.tv and you can watch. It’s actually becoming more and more of a video show, thanks to Colleen and Skypeasaurus back here, we got all three of you on video, look at them, look at their shining, smiling faces. Hey, everybody thanks for joining us, we’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can.
Visit Pods in Print for bespoke transcription services.