Guests: John C. Dvorak, Dan Bricklin
Recorded: May 24, 2009
Published: May 25, 2009
TWiT 196 •Previous episode – Next episode
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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 196 for May 25, 2009, The Flesh Colored Tapes.
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It’s time for TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, the show that covers all things tech and a few things Twitter and so forth. That’s John C. Dvorak, already registering his disgust.
John C. Dvorak I’m just registering my amusement.
Leo Laporte John’s in his country home right now, enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. Happy Memorial Day weekend, John.
John C. Dvorak Thank you, same to you. It’s very nice up here today.
Leo Laporte I bet it is, it’s nice everywhere. Isn’t it? It’s required. End of May is supposed to be nice. We used to have a regular barbeque on Memorial Day. Also, with us and I’m really please, I think for the first time on TWiT, Dan Bricklin, who is pioneer in software. The guy who created VisiCalc, about 8000 years ago, it seems like…
Dan Bricklin 30 years ago.
Leo Laporte You know 30 years isn’t that long ago, but in computer terms it’s ages.
Dan Bricklin It’s half your life.
Leo Laporte Dan, I’m so glad to have you on. Look at this great shot we’ve got of Dan, if you are watching the video, this is professional. This is how – John, you’re being put to shame.
John C. Dvorak Hey, so, Dan, do you have a black cloth, a felt cloth behind you? What’s the deal? What’s your – how do you do that?
Dan Bricklin I sure do, want me to zoom out?
Leo Laporte Yeah, let’s see the whole set.
John C. Dvorak Zoom out, let’s see what you got.
Dan Bricklin All right let’s zoom out. Well, you can’t see all of it.
Leo Laporte He is doing the Charlie Rose thing.
Dan Bricklin Yeah, let’s see, you can see I have my…
Leo Laporte Oh, the illusion is destroyed.
Dan Bricklin I have a backlight up there, you know, and a light over there.
Leo Laporte So, do you do a lot of video? I mean, why is it that you have this great setup?
Dan Bricklin It was an interesting story. I wanted to do a video about copyright, open source, stuff like that and I had a choice. Either pay a videographer to do it or do it myself. So, what I did is I taught a videographer how to blog and in return he told me what to buy and what – and set up my studio for me here in my office.
Leo Laporte Great idea. What a great idea.
Dan Bricklin So, I ended up buying all this cool equipment, which ended up being my initial podcasting equipment also.
Leo Laporte That’s very cool. And now you could be doing what I’m doing. You could be doing 24/7 Bricklin TV.
John C. Dvorak Oh, sure.
Dan Bricklin It’s hard work.
Leo Laporte It is hard work.
John C. Dvorak There is only one maniac in the world.
Leo Laporte Well there isn’t unfortunately. Somebody called me on the radio show and said Leo, ‘I want to start the first 24/7 internet network.’ And I said ‘well, you may not be the first, what is it about?’ ‘Twitter. ‘
John C. Dvorak Oh, my god.
Leo Laporte And I said ‘god bless you, good luck. ‘
Dan Bricklin Well, with Twitter, you have a little hole about this big that you can see things through, it’s not HD, it’s very small.
Leo Laporte Yes, it’s – so, I can’t wait, I want to talk to you about your new book, ‘Bricklin on Technology’, about what you been up to, about blogging. I mean, and so forth. But I guess, kind of traditionally on TWiT we go through news stories too, so we are going to do a pro forma look at the week’s news and then I want to grill Dan Bricklin. Yeah, you can download VisiCalc now, it’s like 64k.
Dan Bricklin Less, it ran in less. Yeah, it’s like 40, 30k, because it had to2 run in 64k, with all of the –
Leo Laporte Of course
Dan Bricklin Plus, the OS. Plus the screen buffer.
Leo Laporte When – what year was that?
Dan Bricklin The original VisiCalc came out in 1979, it was announced, a few weeks from now, 30 years ago.
Leo Laporte So, this is the anniversary?
Dan Bricklin This year is the anniversary. A couple of weeks ago was the first time it was shown privately to the computer press, that was at the West Coast Computer Fair. And then it was shown publicly in early June at the National Computer Conference in New York and shipped in October of ‘79. And the version that you can download is a little more advanced, it was an early version of the IBM PC version that we shipped right when the IBM PC came out.
Leo Laporte But the first version was Apple II.
Dan Bricklin Yep.
Leo Laporte In fact, it was the first – the original killer app. It was the program – there you go, it was the program that made the Apple II succeed as a business tool.
Dan Bricklin Yes, it already had succeeded as a game tool and for other things.
Leo Laporte Yeah, people were playing Shoplifter and then they said, wow, you can induce – you can – well and nobody – well, we are going to get into this, nobody had ever heard of a spreadsheet before. I mean, there were paper spreadsheets but the idea of doing it on a computer was brand new. Really cool. And yes, you can get the executable, what I’m saying, it’s on Bricklin.com. You have it, you offer it.
Dan Bricklin Yep, I got permission from IBM Lotus to let you download it.
Leo Laporte Oh, I see, that’s really good – did they buy it?
Dan Bricklin Well, our company was eventually bought by Lotus, which was eventually bought by IBM and IBM gave us permission to put that up.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s neat. All right news stories and there are a couple of Twitter ones. So, John, if you want to just walk away from it, right now, you can. I won’t blame you.
John C. Dvorak Actually, these particular stories interest me.
Leo Laporte I think it’s kind of interesting too. Lance Armstrong, who is a very active twitterer, actually kind of pissed off the press. He’s in the Tour of Italy right now. And he twitters a lot and, in fact, to the point now where he refuses to speak to the media. After the time trials on Thursday, he just – he tweeted, he went right to the fans and refused to talk to the Italian media. Now, you don’t do that to Italian media. They had a tantrum. They said, well that’s it, we are not covering you. They – sections of Italian and English-speaking media announced they will no longer report on Armstrong’s messages because he won’t talk to them. He says ‘I will talk to you, but I like twittering.’ Remember when he broke his arm, he was – or whatever it was he broke, he was...
John C. Dvorak Probably from twittering.
Leo Laporte You don’t twitter while you bike. But I think he twittered it before anybody knew and it was like a couple of hours before it made the media. So, I think – what, is this disintermediation John? I mean, is this kind of…
John C. Dvorak Oh, absolutely. I think that’s a really good example of it. I don’t know how far it’s going to get but I know a lot of people that use Twitter as a source of news, breaking news in particular. And the thing you are going to see is one of these days CBS is going to be reporting from somebody – be reporting or using Twitterers, somebody doing some tweets as a source, which will be kind of interesting, kind of like free stringers. The thing you have to note, which I think is slightly objectionable, is that when people start picking up on using this as a news source. They are not going to be paying anybody, and in the olden days, they would.
Leo Laporte You mean the stringers would get paid.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, these guys – twitter is just going to be bragging rights.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you get what you pay for. 140 characters, is that much...
Dan Bricklin I don’t know. You know, if you happen to be the only one there, who is on the spot, I can see you starting to do an auction right on the spot and say, who am I going to direct message to?
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s what happens with photos, isn’t it.
Dan Bricklin Right. Look what happened to the guy, the first photos were tweeted. Right, the plane that fell – that went into the…
Leo Laporte The miracle on the Hudson, yeah.
Dan Bricklin Yeah.
Leo Laporte But he didn’t get any money for it. But you are saying that – in fact, this one might be a road to revenue for Twitter. They could set up an auction.
Dan Bricklin Yeah, well, immediately, whoever is there is going to get a tweet from an agent and the agent is going to say, hey I will get you a good deal.
Leo Laporte That’s unbelievable.
Dan Bricklin Well, once it becomes, that’s the way that it is. I mean, it takes a while to do it, you know.
Leo Laporte But the story is going around that Twitter is finally going to figure out how to monetize. They are going to start charging companies to be on Twitter. Do companies stick around if they get charged? I guess, they do. I guess, you have to be there. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t pay for it.
John C. Dvorak Well, it depends on how much. If it’s a dollar a month, I mean, what is the problem?
Leo Laporte Well, yeah. Depends how much it is.
Dan Bricklin It depends on what it is they give you for that.
Leo Laporte I mean, they can’t prevent Comcast from being on Twitter. They’d have to give them something. And I will tell you, Twitter doesn’t have a lot to give right now. Its infrastructure is terrible, their searches isn’t working, again. They just don’t seem to be able to scale this thing at all.
John C. Dvorak But if you pay them, maybe they will let you have a secret account that –
Leo Laporte Maybe it will work. Yeah. Pay us, we’ll make it work!
John C. Dvorak They’re just getting you used to having it at a low level. They can really move it up if they want.
Leo Laporte No fail whales! 5 bucks a month. Come on!
The other story from Twitter is that – kind of surprising you know, maybe not. Maybe this is – this is the kind of thing that companies would pay for. United Airlines is offering deals to twitterers. According to mashable, United Airlines is tweeting what they call ‘twairs’. Oh god.
John C. Dvorak Terrible.
Leo Laporte Terrible. Special fares if you follow them on Twitter. ‘Hurry’ it says ‘and get your first ever time sensitive twair, $63 one way, Chicago to DC, plus tax. Additional terms’ and then they give a tiny URL, ‘book soon.’ Again, I think this is probably a good way, not only to build followers, which is of value, but also to build a clientele.
Dan Bricklin I’m sorry, what’s the ‘at’ thing for that, if you wanted to sign on?
Leo Laporte It is – I don’t know, it just says, @UnitedAirlines, one word @UnitedAirlines I guess. You could follow them.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I will.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s the thing. Won’t everybody, right? I mean, this is a –
John C. Dvorak Well, people who travel.
Leo Laporte Yeah. If you sign up for a company’s email deals then you would sign up for this.
Dan Bricklin But this can be really fast. I mean, they could tweet to people online or something like that. Do you want to upgrade or whatever? All sorts of cool things.
Leo Laporte Well, it’s also valuable for – you know, airlines, there is nothing staler than an unsold airline’s seat. This would be a great way. They could do their own consolidation. We’ve got five seats left to the flight to Singapore if you get down to the airport in one hour.
Dan Bricklin Do auctions.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak I’m in.
Leo Laporte All right. That was it, that’s the Twitter. Unless I come up with something else, that’s the Twitter.
John C. Dvorak No, you don’t have to come up with anything else, Leo. Those were great.
Dan Bricklin Hey, did you see the Sunday – in the Sunday funnies, there was, on one of them at least, it was all about Twitter.
Leo Laporte Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
Dan Bricklin Yeah. At least in the Boston Globe, it was.
Leo Laporte This is an interesting article from a guy named Geoff Chappell, who is a software analyst. That’s the name of his blog. Geoff Chappell, Software Analyst. Only thing missing is Frontier Software Analyst. But he makes an interesting point. He says that the light – we have always said that, well, if you want more than – if you want 4 gigs or more of RAM, you should go 64 bit OS, 32 bit versions of Windows won’t support more than 3-some gigs of RAM, because some of it’s reserved for video space and so forth. He says, because of PAE, every version of Windows will work with more than 4 gigs of RAM. Microsoft just turns it off.
Dan Bricklin Oh, really?
Leo Laporte Well, and there’s been some dissent. I kind of posted this on FriendFeed and got some expert input. People said, well, PAE, which is physical address – what it is, it’s – I can’t remember what it stands for. It’s basically that segment – remember this is something that’s been part of Intel. I’m sure, Dan, when you moved to the Intel processor, you had to live with this. Physical address extension, is the idea of, I guess, segmentation. And it does – yeah, the address registers at 32 bits, that would top out at 4 gigs. But you can segment – page it effectively and see much more. And it works just fine. In fact, this guy removed some registry code and was able to get Windows 32 to see 8 gigs of RAM, no problem.
Dan Bricklin So, does he have the – this registry fix posted?
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s on his site. Now he says, I didn’t do any testing for speed and stuff, but he says it works – he shows the picture of it, he shows it all working.
John C. Dvorak Well, at least that dialog box works.
Leo Laporte Yeah, well, that’s if – I guess, that’s the question. Do you have any experience with PAE, Dan, and does this seem credible?
Dan Bricklin Well, it seems credible to be able to make parts of something know about more memory and use different ways. I mean, segmentation goes back to my college days and stuff. But to test it – I mean, it may be the same code, it might not be the same code. And anyway, they can charge – this goes way back. IBM used to have a thing where if you cut one wire, some of their machines would suddenly run faster. This goes back 40, 50 years.
Leo Laporte Great.
Dan Bricklin And that way they could ship the one machine and you just paid for whatever speed you wanted.
Leo Laporte Intel did that with the Celeron. They disabled the L2 cache.
Dan Bricklin Right, so that’s just how much you want to pay for it. The fact that they’ve already shipped it, is that any different than somebody sending you trialware and then sending you a code to turn it on.
Leo Laporte No, I guess, the thing that would upset me is that it’s been widely brooded about that, oh no, it’s a 32-bit operating system. It cannot access more than 4 gigs and you have to have 64-bit if you want to do 4 gigs or more. And if that’s not technically true, if it’s just a licence issue, then that’s not quite honest. I mean, if there is a technical reason it can run on – you know, run more RAM, then they should say. Well, we don’t license it for more RAM. They are not going to do that. I understand, but…
Dan Bricklin Yeah, it may be more complicated than that. Well, that’s – I’m not into the current and the differences of all those. I spend much more time client side, working with Ajax and stuff like that.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that funny now, how that’s changed. I mean, hacking now