TWiT 196/Transcript

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Episode 196


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

This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, episode 196 for May 25, 2009, The Flesh Colored Tapes.

This WEEK in TECH is brought to you by Sign up for the Platinum plan and get two free books. Go to and follow Audible on Twitter, user ID audible_com, and by GoToMyPC. Skip the rush-hour traffic and save time, money and frustration by working from home with GoToMyPC. For your free 30-day trial, visit

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 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 is really high – much higher level than it used to be.

Dan Bricklin Well, there are different places to do it and being able to run on all different machines has its advantages and you have to sort of pick where you want to spend your time.

Leo Laporte Right

Dan Bricklin And I decided to spend my time much more in – oh, a lot of the open source languages and client side and things like that for a while. By the way, I found that URL. If you go to…

Leo Laporte Oh, jumpstart. Yeah.

Dan Bricklin Jumpstart, yeah go to them. Today’s comic is about a guy getting arrested and he wants his handcuffs off so that he can tweet that he was arrested.

Leo Laporte Who was it? The guy that got arrested – the student got arrested in Egypt. The blogger got arrested in Egypt and he tweeted about it. Worked for him. Oh, that’s so funny. Oh, that’s so funny.

‘Would you mind removing my handcuffs, I have to tweet?’ ‘You should have thought about that at home.’ ‘Officers, I got to tweet as soon as possible.’ ‘You’re just going to have to hold it.’ ‘Actually, tweeting involves his PDA. He tells his pals what he is up to, all during his day.’ ‘Sounds stupid and boring.’ This guy looks kind of like you, John.

John C. Dvorak Hey!

Leo Laporte ‘Usually, it is, but today was different. I got busted by the cops.’ ‘Anything you tweet can and will be used against you.’

That’s pretty funny, I guess.

Dan Bricklin It was the first time I have seen a full Twitter comic on a major comic.

Leo Laporte It shows it’s mainstream enough that people would – who read comic pages, funny pages, would get it. I mean, that the general audience will get it. I guess it is, once Oprah starts talking about something.

John C. Dvorak So, let’s go back to something that Dan said which is that the idea that you can clip a wire in an IBM computer and the speed triples or somebody [expletive] you about the amount of memory you can access through pagination or however you want to describe it, is the same as trialware which is something – I disagree with that concept, because trialware is something you sign on to – it’s just essentially to try something and then they give you a code to use it after you either pay for it or something. I mean, it’s a process, it’s not like somebody tricking you. It’s not as though you bought something, product A, and it turns out to be trialware, and after you’ve paid for it you have to go through some rigmarole. So, I don’t think that analogy is very good. And just – I was mulling it over there.

Leo Laporte It took him a while.

Dan Bricklin I meant it, in terms of you only have to ship it once, so you don’t have to have something else come in. You can right away, get instant gratification in terms of them being able to give you the improvement that you want. Remember, some of the things that you get are – you have the free version and then you download a code, like Eudora or something and then suddenly you get…

John C. Dvorak Yeah, it opens up a box.

Dan Bricklin Right. A box.

Leo Laporte Right, Windows Vista does that. When you get that disc with Windows Vista, it’s got every version on it. And if you want to – I mean, that actually was pretty smart of Microsoft. You know, you are sitting there, you are saying, gosh, I really need Ultimate. It’s there, you got it. All you have to do is get a code and unlock it. So, I guess, in that – kind of is in that respect. Although you can’t turn it into 64-bit Windows. You see that, you got to reinstall that.

John C. Dvorak I just find it disturbing that Microsoft, essentially – I don’t understand these multiple. I mean, is there one best Windows Vista and why do we need all these little ones that are…

Leo Laporte Well, they are going to pretty much do the same thing again. Although – with Windows 7 -- although, my buddy, Paul Thurrott, and we will talk about it on Windows Weekly this week. Got a little scoop. Microsoft said, there’s going to be a Windows 7 starter edition, pretty much intended for developing nations that will have – it will be cheap, but you can only run three applications at the same time. If you try to launch a fourth, it will say, sorry you can’t do that with this version.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, no, we have talked about that on Cranky Geeks actually. I think, it’s ridiculous.

Leo Laporte Well, they backed down. You were right. According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is taking that restriction out. I know, I guess, it’s ridiculous.

Dan Bricklin John, I agree with you on that one.

Leo Laporte I guess it’s. Is it ridiculous? I mean, really come on if we want to make a cheap version for developing nations.

John C. Dvorak You know that is just another excuse to – It’s just a rationalization because you know Microsoft overcharges for its products and everybody knows it by now. I mean when you can get – you want something cheap for the developing nations; take – give them a copy of Ubuntu and some reference machine…

Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s a good point.

John C. Dvorak And it’s free and you can use AbiSoft – AbiWord. It’s a beautiful clone of Windows Word 2003, and there’s – they have got the browsers and all the rest of it’s all there.

Leo Laporte Yeah, why not just use a free operating system. Really in fact they shouldn’t use the phrase developing nations it’s really intended for the pirating nations. That’s who it’s meant for.

Dan Bricklin Places where they can’t charge the full price.

Leo Laporte Right. Places where it’s – well, look at China, I mean…

John C. Dvorak It is a dollar. It’s a dollar! You go to the store and it’s openly sold in most of the Southeast Asian area. You get the disk, it’s a dollar. In fact they have got the most expensive version I have ever see one time I was in – I think I was in Kuala Lumpur, I saw – and it was a store in a mall and they had a copy of I thought it was really one of the more interesting bootlegs. It was a copy of up to – I think it was up to XP at that time. Every single version of Microsoft DOS and Windows, so you had DOS 1 –

Leo Laporte Oh, I wish you’d picked that up for me, I could have used that.

John C. Dvorak You know thinking about it, I probably should have grabbed one.

Leo Laporte Yeah, that would be really handy.

John C. Dvorak There’s DOS 2, DOS 2.3, DOS – just all of them. And it was like the idea was it would be just handy for people developing the ultimate compatible software.

Leo Laporte Sure, that would be very handy. I could…

Dan Bricklin Developers get copies of everything. I mean if you sign up as a developer and get all their super CDs you get all this neat stuff and you can put it on all these different machines.

Leo Laporte I used to get that; the MSDN ultimate subscription. And you get these big notebooks, I mean it’s like six feet on the shelf for one year’s worth of stuff, it’s everything. You must get that I mean you are developing.

Dan Bricklin I did for years but there are – it takes up a lot of the space over there.

Leo Laporte You can download it all now, I think you can get it all online.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, I sort of stopped doing that and now as I said I am mainly working in AJAX an stuff.

Leo Laporte Nielsen reports – oh, get this. I’m going to – this is a little quiz for you all. Internet TV is growing, it’s growing fast according to the Nielsen which monitors not only regular television viewing but they do monitor internet use. About 131 million people watch internet video per month, they average about three hours. Now that’s a big increase; it was 116 million averaging two hours a year ago. They also say about 13 million people watch it on their mobile phone, which is up 52% from last year. And they watch even more, people watching on the mobile phone watch 3.5 hours. However, those numbers pale when you compare it to actual television watching. Do you want to guess, do you gentlemen wish to – don’t – no peeking – guess how many hours of TV Americans watch on average every month?

Dan Bricklin I don’t know.

John C. Dvorak See, I would guess…

Leo Laporte Couple of hours a day, right?

John C. Dvorak I would guess two to three hours a day, so I think you can probably hit three times 30 which would be – let’s say 100 hours easy.

Leo Laporte 153 hours averaging more than five hours a day.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, that’s too much.

Leo Laporte That’s too much.

John C. Dvorak It’s too much watching TV.

Leo Laporte What the hell are they watching?

John C. Dvorak I don’t know, I actually do watch a number of shows religiously. I think the mentalist is a really good drama. I like – I still watch the Law & Orders, and I watch 30 Rock, and maybe one of the show – I probably watch…

Leo Laporte You are bringing the average up John.

John C. Dvorak I am probably watching 10 hours a week, which is about 40. Maybe 40…

Dan Bricklin Well how much – how much people are just leaving it on sort of like while you are doing the dishes, while you are doing other stuff, while you are talking to people?

Leo Laporte Well, that’s true, I think there’s a lot households where it’s just on all day. It starts in the morning and is just left on all day. 99% of video viewing – 98.8% is television only, 1.2% is on the internet.

John C. Dvorak It’s a growth market.

Leo Laporte Yeah, thank you John. I was looking for that spin.

John C. Dvorak That’s what it is. It’s like wide open. Unless there’s a trend where it freezes, where in other words it stops growing, even though I don’t see the growth rate going up that fast obviously from those figures it’s like, but it is growing it’s not a dead market.

Leo Laporte 116 million to 131 million, that’s growth in a year.

John C. Dvorak Yeah. It’s something but the – what do they mean by video? Are they talking about YouTube or are they talking about Hulu?

Leo Laporte They’re talking about YouTube. They’re not talking about this. Well I think Hulu is hugely successful.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, are they talking about you, are they are talking about YouTube, or talking about Hulu?

Leo Laporte They are not talking about me, I can tell you that, but they are talking Hulu, they are talking about YouTube. And yeah I mean I look at my kids; that’s what they watch. For them that’s their TV time. If they are going to watch the Office it – well, here’s, I think, what’s telling. It doesn’t matter to them if it’s on TV, if it’s on TiVo, or if it’s on Hulu, they just watch whatever is convenient. They don’t care.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, and it used to be that the TV that they had was this big 13 or 15 inch TV that they had in their room or maybe – right? That used to be a big TV.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, and now you get a laptop, it’s going to be 15 inch.

Leo Laporte Exactly, it’s bigger than your TV, your old TV. When we were kids, why you are lucky if you had black and white. I actually do, I have –

John C. Dvorak I had green and black for a while.

Leo Laporte Yeah well the early color was so bad I remember very well when I was a kid, my dad refused to buy a color TV because everybody is green. We had a black and white TV I think until the late ‘60s, maybe even the early ‘70s. I remember our first color TV was a Sony Trinitron. Boy that was big deal because – and he was right, you know what the color was really awful for a long time.

John C. Dvorak You know I wonder if the – if this viewing thing would be – if the way the numbers are skewed would be affected by things like initiatives like Boxee which essentially is internet viewing but on the TV in fact and I was looking at –

Leo Laporte That’s future; I think that’s the future.

John C. Dvorak I was looking at a Sony by the way, that David or that Harron had – Robert Harron had in the back that ZD was looking at. And this Sony was one of the – I can’t remember the model number but it had Internet connections on it and it had all these weird things on the side. And you just plug it, basically, just plug it into the Internet or to an Ethernet cable and then it had one menu item that brought you to all this online video stuff including a bunch of pre-packaged stuff; they had Cranky Geeks on the menu.

Leo Laporte Really?

John C. Dvorak Yeah. So I hit the button to watch Cranky Geeks, and I am watching Cranky Geeks on a 50 inch Sony.

Leo Laporte How did it look?

John C. Dvorak It looked a lot better than it should. They did a real good job of fixing whatever kind of – it had no artifacting but it didn’t have full 30 frames per second. It seemed to be more like 24 or something like that. Just a – but it wasn’t bothersome. And the mouths were synched and it was actually watchable as a show.

Leo Laporte That’s actually very intriguing. Basically it’s an Apple TV built into Sony TV set kind of thing.

John C. Dvorak That’s what I am guessing.

Dan Bricklin Have you taken Hulu and gone right from you Mac or whatever right to your big screen TV?

Leo Laporte Oh yeah.

Dan Bricklin I have friends who do that and they just sit – they would rather watch it, in HD it looks pretty good. And we have pilots in our town.

Leo Laporte That’s what Boxee did and that’s – and Hulu stopped them, kept – keeps stopping them, Boxee keeps fixing it. But yeah that’s how I’ve watched it, it’s fine. I mean it’s not – because I am watching on a Wi-Fi, I’ve a decent cable connection – you know cable internet connection but the Wi-Fi I think slows it down a little bit. So the frame rate is a little worse. I think kids probably aren’t going to have the same sensitivity to frame rate that we will going forward. They might just get used to it.

John C. Dvorak Well you know that reminds me of my daughter who was in the room a second ago, but now she’s gone, so I can talk about her behind her back. She has like a penchant for – we have this big screen TV up here that has all the HD stuff going into one of the inputs, and then the games and all the other stuff going to another one of the inputs and when she flips to a game and then flips back to TV, it – the TV also goes into it. In other words we have two feeds and she doesn’t care to took – to push it over to the HD feed ever. And she keeps saying “eh, there’s no difference.” And even though there’s a huge difference because it’s – for one thing the whole screen is filled up instead of letterboxed and it’s crystal clear and the other – she doesn’t care.

Leo Laporte Wow.

John C. Dvorak It’s baffling. Maybe she is just giving me a [indiscernible]

Dan Bricklin John, remember the days of we worked so hard on letter quality printing, we wanted to get output that look really, really good, looked as good as a good typewriter? And then people took it and stuck it in a fax and the fax made it look horrible. And they didn’t care, because they got what they wanted.

Leo Laporte Well, and there’s a whole generation that’s growing up listening to music on crappy MP3 players.

John C. Dvorak Yep.

Leo Laporte They don’t know any better.

John C. Dvorak Right, and they don’t care. You talk to them about getting a big speaker system that makes it sound like you are in the place; “eh, who cares.” I’m reminded we had – when I was doing Silicon Spin once we had Todd Rundgren [ph] on the show and he – we got into a discussion about HiFi – super HiFi and some of the new stuff coming out and he made the comment that he didn’t think it was important in the least. People don’t care that much about the sound.

Leo Laporte Really?

John C. Dvorak And I – you know there’s just a group of people that –

Leo Laporte He was right.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, apparently.

Leo Laporte He was right.

John C. Dvorak People don’t even – you know they used these ear buds and it’s just decimated the high – the old stereo HiFi business we are used to. You know, get a receiver and a bunch of big speakers and you know a big sub-woofer and you shake the house.

Leo Laporte I’ve realty forgotten how – you used to be able to have really sound – have great stereo sound and – the music would move you, it would be incredible. And now you forget about that it all sounds kind of cheesy and tinny now, and that’s just what we’re used to.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. Well just think what happened with the telephone. We went from telephones wired that were supposed to be so good and whatever and then we went to the cellphones that are very unreliable.

John C. Dvorak Don’t get me started.

Dan Bricklin Right, Okay. Then we…

Leo Laporte But now – well listen, we’re on Skype, listen how good it sounds.

Dan Bricklin Right. And people when they hear Skype they go “oh my God, that’s incredible! It’s like I’m in the room!” So eventually it gets there, you can tell – you can tell the difference but most people don’t know that they can tell the difference. I mean, the same thing happens with video, with –

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin I mean, as I learn about microphones, this – you know, a pro, they listen to some of the crap that I do and then they go, “well, if you used the right mic, you wouldn’t have to, you know, put pillows all around” and stuff like that. And it does make a difference. I remember listening to some pod – some of the early podcasts when Dave Winer would do his podcast. Some of them – he would do like with the mic that’s built into the PC.

Leo Laporte He’d be off, like here.

Dan Bricklin Right and…

John C. Dvorak And he doesn’t even sound that good.

Dan Bricklin I found out that what – if I was out there running you know, I was listening to a podcast while I was running, if I went by traffic I couldn’t understand it.

Leo Laporte Right.

Dan Bricklin But if I had really good sound, it would work in those situations and I realized aha; I am doing my listeners a favor by going to all that trouble but they won’t know it. You know, if it’s really poor, the content does matter, John I don’t know if you remember or Leo a long time ago there was an online – not online it was a CD encyclopedia like thing and one of things it had was video. It was very early video, this horrible crappy little stuff you know, you could barely see it…

Leo Laporte Postage stamp.

Dan Bricklin Postage stamp and people laughed about that. And I said let me show you this one video, it’s a video of a giraffe giving birth. So they start watching and in this horrible little video you see a giraffe giving birth and you know the giraffe stands up when it gives birth it falls down, the after-birth comes down after and splashes all, and they’re fascinated and they forget that they’re…

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin …looking at that; they get lost in the content.

Leo Laporte The content trumps the presentation.

Dan Bricklin Yes.

Leo Laporte I guess that’s what happened I just kind of you know –

John C. Dvorak Financially though, I mean, there is a thing like with the microphones for example. I mean, people do notice these – Leo and I are using right now – we’re both using these very nice big diaphragm mics that makes you sound very clear even though it’s kind of bassy and it’s…

Dan Bricklin Yeah.

John C. Dvorak People noticed that – it’s a more relaxing sound, it doesn’t fatigue you. I mean, there’s a thing called listener-fatigue which is…

Dan Bricklin Right.

John C. Dvorak People just don’t even want to think about, which is that you use these crappy mics that are poorly balanced and you – you start listening to these – to people on these systems and after a while it actually tires because the brain has to do so much work to piece the thing together, so you can hear. Like you’re talking about complaining about the noise and the traffic and then trying to hear somebody talk, and it wears some people out and I think at some point it damages the quality of the product overall because people just stop listening to it and they don’t know why.

Leo Laporte They don’t know why, yeah.

Dan Bricklin It’s like fonts. You know good fonts and why they have serifs and all these other things. There are all these little things that were developed over many years that we didn’t realize, but the pros know about it and as you say, it does help us, which is why I have my expensive mic sitting here.

John C. Dvorak So what mic are you using?

Dan Bricklin It’s a SM7B Shure which I have for a strange reason I was listening to, what was it – the early podcast with Adam Curry.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin And Adam said that’s what he was using and I figure if it’s good enough for Adam Curry it’s good enough for me. And he sounded so good, but I didn’t realize it was his voice too. So –

John C. Dvorak He actually has a crystal clear voice.

Dan Bricklin So I have this –

John C. Dvorak You know what he uses now?

Dan Bricklin What?

John C. Dvorak There’s a lavalier that he has fallen in love with.

Leo Laporte No. That’s the one that goes on your lapel.

John C. Dvorak Yeah.

Leo Laporte Oh please.

John C. Dvorak And he – and I swear, he’s talked about it before, it’s not like a secret and he hangs it, so it’s dangling in front of him and it’s – and he just for some reason he thinks he sound so much better on this particular – and there are some good lavaliers, I mean you have – for people out there we don’t want to go too much inside baseball but Leo, at least at studio there, has a couple of these things called Countrymen.

Leo Laporte Yeah they’re great.

Dan Bricklin Who are – which is not quite a lavalier but they do make one.

Leo Laporte They’re small enough. The capsule – it’s a condenser mic. So the difference between what you and I are using…

John C. Dvorak It’s a little bitty thing.

Leo Laporte …and these is that – we’re using dynamic microphones that aren’t powered. These are powered condenser mics and they are – it’s tiny, this is what the TV preachers use.

John C. Dvorak Right.

Leo Laporte It’s really small.

John C. Dvorak In fact they’re very small and they – the first time I used one which was a couple of years ago, because someone said “these are – you won’t believe what you sound” – they, for some reason, are astonishing.

Leo Laporte Yeah. But they have to be close miked.

John C. Dvorak They have to be close miked and it keeps – they keep falling off your ear, I think overall I –

Leo Laporte Well you know what they do in – they use these in Broadway and they do in the Broadway shows is they’ll use a flesh colored tape and they’ll tape it to your cheek. I don’t think they sound as good – that’s why I mean, we use them – we stopped using them, I don’t think it sounds quite as good. You know what I’ll do, I’ll plug it and I’ll switch over to it and you can hear what it sounds like.

Dan Bricklin I think that’s where a lot of our processing power is going go in the future just sort of take all the crappy mics and stuff and try to figure out how to make things sound better, so that you can walk around like Dave did and end up with sound that sounds like what you’re getting right now.

John C. Dvorak Well, you know one of the – it’s about five years ago, Texas Instruments has a digital amplifier that they like to play around with and it’s gone into the market in different forms. And they bought out one of the great digital amp companies and they’ve done all these different things and one of the demos they gave was to – using software, to recreate the exact sound of various expensive speaker systems on a pair of the cheapest little realistic dogs, you know, that they got at RadioShack and they did it.

Leo Laporte Well it seems like, by the way I am now the Countryman.

John C. Dvorak And you sound terrible.

Dan Bricklin Oh, it’s awful.

John C. Dvorak It’s because he’s over-modulated.

Leo Laporte Over-modulated. How’s that, is that better?

Dan Bricklin Yeah.

Leo Laporte It seems like you could with intelligent DSP technology probably clean it all up, right? It’s just a software issue.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. Hey, where did that deep voice disappear to?

Leo Laporte I know, see it’s much hollower because you don’t have that – I’ll have to talk like this. You don’t have the big diaphragm to resonate.

John C. Dvorak Doesn’t sound bad though…

Leo Laporte No, in fact if you hadn’t heard the PR 40 before you’d say this sounds fine.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, and the PR 40 is specifically mellow microphone that is just…

Leo Laporte It’s made for my voice.

Dan Bricklin A lot of people have the right voice for it, it’s just a great microphone.

Leo Laporte Yeah. So, actually I’d like – Conan O'Brien’s quote, he says “television allows you to watch things just as you would on your computer or cellphone, except while seated in a more comfortable chair.” It’s really just – it’s really just the seating. That’s the difference.

John C. Dvorak I agree.

Leo Laporte We’re going to come back; more stories, we’re talking with Dan Bricklin the creator of VisiCalc and blogger extraordinaire, software guru. Who still has his hands in just as many pies, he is not retired and…

Dan Bricklin And a new book.

Leo Laporte And a new book, thank you. Let’s give it a big plug: Bricklin on Technology, it’s Wiley & Sons.

Dan Bricklin Yes.

Leo Laporte And it’s great, we’re going to actually talk about that book in a bit. And John C. Dvorak is also here from Channel Dvorak, but I do want to mention our friends at GoToMyPc. I know you both know Ed Iacobucci who created Citrix many, many moons ago and really began a journey that GoToMyPc is kind of the culmination of. A journey of remote access, he was very instrumental in the OS/2 team, he was at IBM. Really I think wrote much of the NT kernal and became an expert on the NT kernel and remote access. And the software that Citrix has created is still used today licensed by Microsoft, they do remote access better than anybody else.

GoToMyPc puts that super high quality, super fast, super secure, remote access in your computer. In fact you can try it right now for 30 days absolutely free, avoid rush hour traffic, heading to work, avoid going in on the weekends. Anytime – I hear it all the time it’s – I thank my lucky stars, I listen to the radio and I hear the traffic reporters say, “oh yeah, the Golden Gate Bridge is tied up, it’s a three hour commute in.” I go; “I don’t have to do that, I got to GoToMyPc.” I don’t have to commute anymore, I don’t have to get in the car, I can get to my office just by going online from anywhere, not just home. An internet café, a hotel. Save time, save money – it’s popping on me. Save time save money – I’ll have to move it out.

Save stress,, you can try and free right now by going to and you get a 30 day free trial. fire it up, you can use any program, access any network resource, any file, check e-mail, secure, there’s never been an exploit, uses industry standard TLS and SSL. The best remote access service out there I want you to try it free. give it a try, I know you’re going to like it. I use it all the time, in fact I have five accounts now.

Five accounts and counting. I’m going to get rid of this microphone, it’s driving me crazy. It’s too – I want my bass back.

John C. Dvorak I wish you could go bing-bing-bing back and forth and back and forth with it.

Leo Laporte To give you an AB comparison.

John C. Dvorak Yeah.

Leo Laporte Yeah, I need a switch or something. I could probably do that – I would just have to – see isn’t that much better? That’s nicer.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, it’s cause there’s a lower mid range that exists in the PR-40 – or is it the 42? 40, sorry.

Leo Laporte 40.

John C. Dvorak 40. That is very noticeable.

Leo Laporte And you know that – I think that lower mid range is critical for – that’s the pitch that you – I think that you use to understand speech. So if it’s got a little bump there – I think it makes it more intelligible I don’t know. That’s where Adam Curry’s voice is perfect because it’s got that, it’s like – it’s almost an edge I’d call it. But it gives you that – if it’s too wooo, you can’t understand it, you need a little edge in there to understand the articulation.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, but you still have to enunciate.

Leo Laporte He enunciates very well. He’s also got beautiful hair.

John C. Dvorak You know you’ve got a good hair for a guy your age.

Leo Laporte For an old guy. I’m thinking Dan looks pretty good; look at that.

Dan Bricklin Thanks. Well I’m the oldest of the three of us, so – by just a little bit.

Leo Laporte I think we’re all of the same, roughly, the same generation.

Dan Bricklin Oh yeah.

Leo Laporte Other, there are some – actually now that I look at that there are some very interesting stories this week, for instance, the OQO is gone. That’s kind of sad, but I guess inevitable.

John C. Dvorak Pssh. From day one.

Leo Laporte Yeah, you know, in some ways the fact that they lasted seven years –

John C. Dvorak It’s a miracle.

Leo Laporte It’s almost kind of amazing.

Dan Bricklin You know, when I read that I was running around looking for my old Poqet, you know the old pocket computer.

Leo Laporte Oh yeah, Poqet yeah.

John C. Dvorak The Poqet.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. I couldn’t find it, it’s back in the warehouse.

John C. Dvorak I have it, I have mine.

Leo Laporte You do?

John C. Dvorak Oh yeah, I have two interesting ones, I got a Poqet and I also have that little radio shack piece of crap that they came out with.

Leo Laporte Tandy Model 100?

John C. Dvorak No, no, no, they came out with a Poqet clone.

Leo Laporte Oh, I don’t know that.

John C. Dvorak That used an operating system called iDOT or something that was a clone of Microsoft, and that’s floating around. But the Poqet I think is collectible.

Dan Bricklin Was it an Atari?

John C. Dvorak Or maybe that’s what it was – I’m sorry you’re right, that’s what it was, it was the Atari.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, I have both of those two but they’re boxed away in the warehouse.

Leo Laporte So this just proves that these little teeny weeny computers are fetish objects for geeks?

Dan Bricklin Oh, no, no, no.

Leo Laporte Yeah, they collect them.

John C. Dvorak You just have two geeks that collected those two items.

Leo Laporte No, I think it’s universal.

John C. Dvorak I don’t have the Tandy 100, that I would have collected.

Leo Laporte You can buy those still on eBay, I mean those – at a premium I might add. Those are still beloved by journalists everywhere. That was – there was a time if you went to a baseball game every single person in the press box was using a Model 100

Dan Bricklin And that was the last machine that Bill Gates actually did real live code for that was not just a little game or something, he – if you ever ask him about coding –

Leo Laporte Did he do BASIC on that? What did he do on that?

Dan Bricklin I don’t know he did something in it, but if you talk to him about coding I think he wrote one of the games that was shipped with the IBM PC or something, in BASIC one of the sample games. But you know the real – the last production real live code I think was the 100 he says, he waxes poetic, I mean you can see his eyes go, “that was the last real code that I got to ship.” Maybe now that he’s out of Microsoft, he’s getting to write some real code for fun.

John C. Dvorak Oh Please.

Dan Bricklin If you’re a coder, it’s so much fun, and that’s why I’m doing that.

John C. Dvorak He doesn’t have enough time in the day, I wish he would go write some code. How about some code to fix Vista.

Leo Laporte It’s called Windows 7.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Dan Bricklin He’s out of Microsoft, he can write stuff in whatever he wants and for purposes like to help fight malaria or something while he’s flying over there.

Leo Laporte Do you think he might do that?

Dan Bricklin I don’t know.

Leo Laporte That’ll be very cool.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, it depends on the right languages and stuff.

Leo Laporte Don’t you get – now Dan, I mean, be brutally frank. Don’t you find that your brain just doesn’t have the capacity to focus and retain all the lose threats and stuff that it did when you were a younger guy?

Dan Bricklin I don’t know, I’m able to do some stuff that I’m still pretty proud of. I mean, I look back at some old code I’ve written and I go, “who wrote that, that was incredible! I wrote that? How did I do that?” I look at other stuff and said “what horrible person wrote that, oh my god it’s me.” Sometimes, I mean, I – if you have to be able to get into it, I mean, it still takes sometimes, you know, the 10-hour straight to be able to do the one little piece of code or something and do it for days, so.

Leo Laporte Yes, Steve Gibson, who is also our age is working on a new project and he goes to Starbucks, gets there about 5:30 when they open and stays till seven or eight at night, he stays 12-hours non-stop assembly language programming. And I think that’s it: you have to kind of get in the zone, don’t you?

Dan Bricklin Yeah, and you have to get into your tools, it takes a while to get into the tools.

Leo Laporte Right, right. Somebody said, I think it was Randal Schwartz, the Perl programmer said if I don’t program in Perl three hours a day, I lose it. That’s Perl. That’s Perl.

Dan Bricklin It depends. That’s Perl, I program in Perl too and – but I program in Perl that looks more or like Visual Basic not more or like APL, like lot of people do.

Leo Laporte Perl is one of those tools that if you don’t use it regularly you completely forget the syntax.

Dan Bricklin Oh yeah.

Leo Laporte But there are some languages that aren’t like that.

John C. Dvorak I mean there’s programs like that I mean, Adobe Illustrator’s a good example.

Leo Laporte Yeah. Bézier Curves; what are those? So OQO, I guess it was 2002, I remember showing it on Regis and Kelly right around 2002. You know why, they finally just – what was that that finally put the nail on the coffin on this thing? I’ll back through an article on this thing. We are sad to report that due to financial constraints –

John C. Dvorak Maybe nobody wanted to buy any of them? Maybe – you think that –

Leo Laporte Financial constraints. They’re saying “we are not able to offer repair and service support at this time. We’re deeply sorry that despite our best intentions we are unable provide continued support for our faithful customer. That’s sad, because that means –

John C. Dvorak “Faithful customer”, is that what you said?

Leo Laporte Yeah, I forgot to pluralize it. There were two of them.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. Well, that’s – I mean, you have to try, I mean, we did all that software for these old pen computers for GO and all…

Leo Laporte GO, Slate, yeah.

Dan Bricklin Right and we write this really cool software and stuff but nobody bought the machines, so we sold, like, two copies of some of the software.

Leo Laporte But it was just ahead of its time.

John C. Dvorak I always referred to them as GO broke. Yeah.

Dan Bricklin Well, they kept changing the spec on the software – on the hardware. So you had to change your hardware, so first we wrote to a 286, then you had to rewrite the whole thing for the 386. Then they change to the Hobbit chip, and each time you’re all, so before you could ship you had to re-code everything. So, you know, plus people really didn’t want a computer that was based upon handwriting and stuff, they like touch type of stuff and they couldn’t do color, the digitizers didn’t do well with color.

Leo Laporte Right.

John C. Dvorak And the contrast sucked.

Leo Laporte Oh yeah, you couldn’t see, you couldn’t read it. The GRiD – was the GRiD the same kind of…?

Dan Bricklin Yeah the GRiDPAD, the GRiD convertible was a good machine. The GRiD convertible was a good machine but the thing is that they couldn’t do digitizers well through – except for I guess the Lacem or something which was expensive, true colour displays.

Leo Laporte But they have to have layers and they have to have capacitance layer and all that stuff, and it would just get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer. By the time you were seeing through all these layers it was like through a cloud.

John C. Dvorak Now isn’t there an item floating around the news, a gossip item, that Apple will be doing a pad computer?

Leo Laporte Oh yeah, there’s – the rumors are strong, although the question is timeframe. Some think maybe they’ll announce it June 8th ay the developers’ conference just coming up. That seems unlikely. Others – now the latest rumor is it’ll be next year. But they bought – according to, I think it was in EETimes, one of these Chinese electronics…

John C. Dvorak EETimes is [indiscernible] Menlo Park.

Leo Laporte Maybe it’s not that one. They bought a bunch of 10.5 inch touchscreens.

Dan Bricklin Well, if you use a netbook a lot you realize that that’s a – it’s a really good idea to make a tablet…

Leo Laporte Yes. Yeah, I agree.

Dan Bricklin …of the type they’re talking about. Because you – netbooks, the problem is they’re horizontal and you like to read and they have small screens so you really want to turn it sidewards and the keyboard’s sticking out. And for a lot of stuff we don’t need keyboard if we have touch.

Leo Laporte Right.

Dan Bricklin And so, it looks like it might be the time for it finally, we’ll see. But it’s good that these people tried, I mean, the fact that that old little Windows machine you know they tried and tried for a few years and it just turned out that Windows wasn’t right for little machine when you could have a bigger machine.

Leo Laporte It ran – I remember the first ones ran XP and then it ran Vista and it was so tiny. You had a little stylus. It was just – it was like just teensy and you could barely, I mean, I don’t know what the dot pitch was on the screen…

John C. Dvorak I know. The one you’re showing there’s, like, huge by comparison to the original.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

John C. Dvorak The original had like little bitty keys and was just super miniature.

Dan Bricklin Now, suppose it had a user-interface that was kind of like Android.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin That would have been a lot different.

Leo Laporte Intel announced this week a mini operating system for netbooks called Moblin. It’s an open-source project, it’s based on Linux. I downloaded it and installed it on my Wind and immediately took it off. Immediately. They keep trying to do this and I think Android might be a little bit like that, where it’s a little stripped down and you just – I can see the motivation for the OQO, you kind of want a full operating system. But the problems to solve are pretty significant to get a full operating system on something that size.

Dan Bricklin Well, at least we’ve learned with the iPod and the iPod touch and all that there is a subset and a different set of applications that are worthwhile having in a portable environment. And because everything is wired you can do things that are dependent on being wired, I mean – or wireless, you can be connected and you can do reading and things, that you didn’t used to be able to do. You know the Kindle’s been relatively successful.

Leo Laporte Love the Kindle.

Dan Bricklin Right, and it’s – it barely does anything but it does at least one thing very well. So you can see that that foreign factor might be okay because now there are enough useful things we can do with it that you don’t need to bring your laptop, your full set of applications with you. You don’t have to run Photoshop on it. You don’t have to run full Word on it or things like that.

John C. Dvorak Hey, Dan, do you use an iPhone or an Android and why?

Dan Bricklin Yeah I use Android.

Leo Laporte Not surprised. I would have picked that.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, but I have an iPod Touch that I used to learn about the interface and stuff like that. And I’ll probably get a Pre.

Leo Laporte I’m excited about the Pre. The more I see about the Pre, they just – Engadget has a leaked pre-launch manual for the Pre for business.

John C. Dvorak I think your Pre excitement is Pre-mature.

Leo Laporte I think it’s going to Pre-tty good. But I think I have to pre-order the Pre. It’s a pre-Pre-order.

Dan Bricklin There’s an interesting thing about the Pre that the programming is done in systems that people are already used to.

Leo Laporte Yeah, you like Ajax. This is Ajax, essentially.

Dan Bricklin A lot of people know how to program in JavaScript --

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin And CSS and stuff like that rather than having to learn Java or use a Java System --

Leo Laporte Right.

Dan Bricklin Or objective C or something like that.

Leo Laporte Is there support, Dan, do you know for things like jQuery for some of the Java – JavaScript libraries?

Dan Bricklin I don’t know. I haven’t played with it yet. So I’ll find out.

Leo Laporte Do you use jQuery for your stuff?

Dan Bricklin No, the people I work with at Socialtext use it a lot. It’s been really helpful for them.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin But for my stuff I’ve written it to run on its own so that I have a pretty clean system. And the early versions of jQuery that I had were – slowed things down a little bit and affected the recalc that I was doing with my SocialCalc software for the spreadsheet. And I wanted it to run on really small systems like the One Laptop, which it’s running on now.

Leo Laporte Is it?

Dan Bricklin Yeah, apparently there are people in Nepal and in Colombia who are using my Open-Source spreadsheet written in JavaScript to do real work.

Leo Laporte So tell us about that. I didn’t know you had done that. You wrote a spreadsheet in JavaScript?

Dan Bricklin What I did was – originally I had written a spreadsheet in Pearl that used a little bit of JavaScript and ran – it was called WikiCalc and it’s Open-Source GPL that I released out there. And it used the browser somewhat. But it was kind of clunky. And I started working with the guys at Socialtext that have a commercial Wiki. And so when trying to figure out how to do it right, I realized I really had to move the whole spreadsheet client-side.

So I’ve re-implemented the whole thing as a JavaScript spreadsheet that let’s you – you can scroll around. You can have split panes. It does a lot of the stuff that while you’re editing, is like what you can do with Google Spreadsheets and came out around the same time. But it doesn’t need a backend to do the calculations and all. And it handles very large spreadsheets compared to – I mean it’ll handle 1,000 or more rows, 2,000 rows of data.

Leo Laporte Wow, wow.

Dan Bricklin And people I think have already incorporated it to Drupal. And Socialtext has been talking about it and they have it in limited Beta to some of their customers. And we’ll see what will happen over the next few months.

Leo Laporte Compare it in power to VisiCalc?

Dan Bricklin Oh, it’s like there’s no comparison. It’s much more powerful than VisiCalc. It’s – it does a lot of the display that Excel did let’s say back in Excel 97. You can do the different colors and formats.

Leo Laporte No pivot tables, nothing like that.

Dan Bricklin No, it doesn’t have pivot tables.

Leo Laporte Not yet.

Dan Bricklin Not yet, it doesn’t have pivot tables.

Leo Laporte That’s okay because I still don’t understand pivot tables.

Dan Bricklin Right, yes but it has like 100 different functions --

Leo Laporte Wow.

Dan Bricklin And internal rate of return and all that stuff. And it takes advantage of the browser in many ways. And now you can even cut and paste from Excel. And it feels like a spreadsheet.

Leo Laporte Wow

Dan Bricklin And the guys at Socialtext are working to make it fit in really well with their commercial level Wiki system so that you can use all the – you can calculate something that uses a sheet, that’s another page, that’s another page, that’s another page, and does all the right roll ups for you.

Leo Laporte Wow, that’s great.

John C. Dvorak Do you have a URL that people can go check it out?

Dan Bricklin Not yet. Wait and see what Socialtext does.

Leo Laporte If you go to you can actually find –

Dan Bricklin .com

Leo Laporte .com

Dan Bricklin They write – they talk about it. But you can’t try it yet. You can actually download the One Laptop version and in fact I think it’s on a lot of the One Laptops and run it on your One Laptop. I think the version that I have listed under – on about SocialCalc, I think you can download it and play with it. That’s a much older version.

Leo Laporte I’m seeing 1.1.0 at

Dan Bricklin Nah, that’s a whole other thing. That’s --

Leo Laporte Oh, that’s not it, huh?

Dan Bricklin That’s – that was a Pearl.

Leo Laporte That’s the Pearl version. Yeah, yeah, yeah okay

Dan Bricklin Yeah, let’s forget about that and you won’t able to – I think it’s not even there if you click on it.

Leo Laporte Oh, you’re right.

Dan Bricklin You can download WikiCalc and play with it. But --

Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s even older, right? That predates that.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, wait a little while. I’ll be posting some stuff. I’ve just finished doing a lot of updates to it. Now when I do my recalc I have a little timer loop and it will -- it lets you have very long recalculation. You get progress bars underneath and stuff. And it can go out and ask for another sheet and another sheet and another sheet as it’s rolling up in a big calculation.

Leo Laporte How -- where do you stand on the idea of Software as a service or cloud computing? I don’t –

Dan Bricklin They’re different.

Leo Laporte They’re different, but it’s not clear. Okay. So first of all, tell me the difference.

Dan Bricklin Well, the way I see it, I mean I’ve been learning about this by listening to others talk about some of it and reading some books. I think Amy Wohl has a book about Software as a service, it’s pretty good, that she publishes herself on Lulu. And Software as a service, yeah, it’s like time sharing used to be.

It’s – we provide applications that actually run, that you get through your browser or something of that sort, and of course with AIR and Silverlight and stuff, we are able to do some pretty incredible applications. And JavaScript has just jumped everything up in terms of what we’ve been able to do. But then we have Adobe AIR, et cetera. So – but if you have a full application, that’s what I would call Software as a service, when you are getting it over the browser.

Cloud computing is, you go down a level. It’s where there is – a lot of the parts of running the backend are available as a service. So for example, Amazon gives you the ability to have storage as a service that you can take advantage of and other places, let’s say like SmugMug, use their backend that’s provided in the Internet for storage.

Leo Laporte They actually use Amazon I think.

Dan Bricklin They actually use Amazon’s, right, yes. They use S3. They use the Amazon storage. SmugMug uses that, which is using – taking advantage of cloud computing. So – but, cloud computing has different things that could be available on demand in the cloud that you can just get when you need it but it’s not yours. You’re using it as a service but it’s usually a service in service of the thing that you are doing.

So they also provide – Amazon also provides you just plain CPUs running on operating system like Linux. So you can have web browsers and you can fire them up just by saying give me one, it’s not yours. You are just using it as a service. And then there are other services you could provide like credit card services and I think Google is starting to provide a variety of services in the backend. And would you view Google Maps taking advantage of some of the things Google Maps does, is that Software as a Service or is that cloud computing where they provide you with something?

Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s where the confusion lies. The line is blurred for sure.

John C. Dvorak I had – I was just recently in Holland and went to a meeting of the cloud computing folks that were, I mean, they had this club sig. Their argument that they are using now, kind of, Dan, kind of, touches on it. But it boils down to kind of the following as one guy told me. He says a lot of big companies that are getting sick and tired of their IT department, period --

Leo Laporte Yes. Yes.

John C. Dvorak And they just want to get them – they just want to fire them all but they can’t quite do that but what they can do is move to the cloud and let these -- like a professional IT department that is not so meddlesome run the backend of their operation. And that would be –

Leo Laporte That’s a sad – that is a sad statement.

Dan Bricklin That’s right. Or one piece of the operation, it’s a piece – you may not want to be the person who takes care of the storage.

Leo Laporte Right

Dan Bricklin And you don’t want to buy racks of storage. You don’t know how much you’re going to need. And you may have – well temporarily you need a lot. And then for a while, let’s say, around Christmas time you need an awful lot for some reason. And then after the big buying season you don’t need it. Why buy all that stuff when you can sort of rent it from Amazon or somebody else?

Leo Laporte So you are bullish on cloud computing/Software as a Service?

Dan Bricklin Yeah, well it’s time sharing it’s like, I mean this stuff is --

Leo Laporte Well I mean, that’s – I think that’s John’s objection to it is that it’s time sharing.

Dan Bricklin So?

John C. Dvorak Always a big, is kind of a bigoted thing to say. I think the thing is – what I complain about is not so much Software as a Service or cloud computing for a large corporation that wants to outsource its IT department because it just can’t take it anymore. I am just complaining about the individual who starts to rely too much on offsite mechanical or offsite software or offsite storage when you can buy a terabyte drive at Costco for $89. And you got plenty of storage. You don’t need to put your photos online. I mean a lot of people have put their photos – and I have no objection to SmugMug and all these companies with –

Leo Laporte I do. I mean I keep a local copy, but I put on SmugMug.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, a lot of people do use these different systems. And it’s fine. Gives you one way of distributing at least thumbnails but nowadays –

Leo Laporte No, I put the raw files up there on the…

John C. Dvorak It’s just so it’s written – how long does it take – well you are sitting, okay, you are sitting on – let’s remind people you are sitting on –

Leo Laporte I am sitting on a lot of bandwidth.

John C. Dvorak On a 10 megabit per second.

Leo Laporte I don’t use that though for the uploading.

John C. Dvorak Upload.

Leo Laporte I mean all this stuff – I mean, it takes a while but it – I do it at home.

Dan Bricklin So, I have five – I mean, because I have Thios here. I mean we are going to have it like that.

Leo Laporte Yes.

Dan Bricklin The thing is John, I think I agree, you should keep your own copy, it is so cheap to be able to do that. But it’s also good to be able to have it up there. But a lot of this, if you think of from a company viewpoint where they do have – needs the change, being able to take advantage of more than you have whenever you want extra, to have that extra stuff being able to get it out in the cloud. It’s a nice thing.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, no I’m not going to argue with that.

Leo Laporte Well, I’ll give you an example –

John C. Dvorak And I’m not going to argue the fact that it’s nice to have offsite storage in case your house burns down.

Leo Laporte But it’s not relying on the cloud. It’s a secondary –

John C. Dvorak But that’s what I object you.

Leo Laporte Yes.

John C. Dvorak Yes

Dan Bricklin I think you are right, because we see all the problems when these things go down. You really need a way to not have a single point of failure.

Leo Laporte Yeah, I’ll give you an example. Because my kids’ high school, I was talking to them about technology and it’s a very expensive thing for a school to invest in hardware and software. It gets obsolete much more quickly than they’d like it to be. It’s – it adds up. Whereas they could do a lot of this stuff, instead of buying Microsoft Office they could use Google Docs or Zoho Office, what’s wrong with that? I mean, isn’t that a better way to go?

Dan Bricklin For some things and some times.

John C. Dvorak For schools, maybe. For school.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. I mean there are times when it’s right. There is a time for this and a time for that, a time for this. And John’s right, there’s some times when it’s wrong and sometimes it’s right. And the trick is knowing when to use the right thing. And things change over time. Something that used to be right may be wrong and that’s one of the things to get into my book. Things evolve and I think people have to understand how a lot of this stuff evolves over time. Ideas that were bad ideas in the old days may be good today and vice versa.

Leo Laporte I mean how many of us rely on Gmail these days? That’s cloud computing.

I want to actually get back, circle back around to the Pre with you Dan in just a bit and talk a little bit about that. But I want to also take a break right now. So, John, if you want to baste your meat, go right ahead.

John C. Dvorak I’m going to go baste.

Leo Laporte Well we do this on Sunday afternoon and John, often, is cooking, I guess he gets the cooking detail on Sunday. Dan, if you want to go baste your meat you may as well.

But I want to mention Audible is our great sponsor. We love Audible. We love audio books. I’m a big audio book fanatic. I live on Audible is basically your online library. You download the book. Comes, by the way, in seconds. It does not take long. A couple of minutes and you’ve got an entire novel or history or a – great sci-fi novels. And they’re all available to you. You browse your pick.

I want to recommend the audible platinum account today., because with you get two books for free. Sign up today and you get two credits towards your own books. You get to keep them even if you decide not to stick around. But let me tell you, you might have a little bit of difficulty choosing. There’s so many good ones. Dan I don’t think your book is on audio unfortunately, but…

Dan Bricklin No not yet, but at this point I would rather it maybe be on audio before it would be on the kindle.

Leo Laporte Really, why is that?

Dan Bricklin Well, one of the things about audio is that you have all that ability in your voice to do what you do in typography on the page.

Leo Laporte That’s true, it’s expressive.

Dan Bricklin Right. And the kindle has very limited typography initially, especially when you move a book automatically over to it. When they first tried moving my book over, it lost a lot and had a lot of errors we had to nix it. But it you had somebody reading it with a good voice, who’d be able to let you know when it was quote and use different voices in place of typography, you have a lot more freedom.

Leo Laporte Very interesting, I never thought of that. But you are absolutely right. And the readers they use are the best. I mean these guys are so good. I’m going to recommend a book that’s a classic. In fact, many have said one of the most influential books of all time. Times Literary Supplement said it’s one of the hundred most influential books since the Second World War. It’s Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.’

We know you TWiT listeners are smart people. This is a great choice for somebody who wants to read a classic. Unabridged, read by Dennis Holland and just in a stunning rendition. Let me play a little bit of this for you. Just to give you an idea of what it might sound like.

“Those conceptions were ones I had previously drawn, partly from scientific training itself and partly from a long standing avocational interest in the philosophy of science.”

You can hear the typography by the way. You can hear because he is speaking as the writer. This is a landmark in intellectual history, a classic.

Now that’s just one. You get another one. So I’m sure you’ll find from our many recommendations you are going to find a second book you want. This is – I have to say Audible is, to me, it’s like going back to school. It’s like being entertained, it’s like watching great movies, it’s all of the above, I want you to try it out for free. Go to Your first month’s free and includes two free books and Thomas Kuhn’s classic, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions would be a great one to start with. He was from – an MIT professor, really talks about these paradigm shifts that change everything. We are in the middle of them. I mean, we see them happening almost yearly in this business. This book is – when was this written? I think it was written, I don’t know in the 60s I think. 196 –

Dan Bricklin It’s a very popular book amongst the kids nowadays in college.

Leo Laporte Is it, really?

Dan Bricklin Big time. My son is the one who turned me on to it.

Leo Laporte Wow, that’s cool. Yeah it’s really good. I’m trying to remember where I got – turned up. Probably somebody sent it in an email. It’s really fun now, I get a lot of recommendations for audio books from audible from our listeners. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions; it’s big with the kids. Thomas Kuhn, 1962. Thank you. That’s when it was written., we thank them so much for their support. They’ve been asking be at audible what book I want to read. They said we want you to read a book. Maybe It’ll be Bricklin on Technology. I’ll channel you. Actually Dan you should read it.

Dan Bricklin In fact, I Just put up a little YouTube video this afternoon where I read a little bit of the first chapter.

Leo Laporte Oh good.

Dan Bricklin And a little bit of another chapter. Yeah.

Leo Laporte That’s a great idea.

Dan Bricklin But I’m not a professional reader. So…

Leo Laporte Neil Gaiman did that…

John C. Dvorak You can read.

Leo Laporte Oh yeah you sound great. You got the Shure mic Neil Gaiman did that with his most recent book. He YouTube’ed – it was actually really cool. He videoed his book appearances and in each appearance he’d read a different chapter. So eventually he got the whole thing and he put it up on YouTube.

John C. Dvorak What a great idea.

Leo Laporte Isn’t that great?

John C. Dvorak That’s a great idea.

Leo Laporte And I don’t think that that slows sales.

John C. Dvorak And I’d like to read an excerpt, Dan.

Leo Laporte Chapter 1. Well, it was a juvenile, so it wasn’t that long. But I mean that doesn’t reduce sales, that just improves sales if you ask me. And Neil is a very, Neil –

John C. Dvorak No there’s actually a lot of studies that indicate that’s the case.

Dan Bricklin Yeah.

Leo Laporte Neil is a great reader too. He does…

Dan Bricklin Yeah, I’m going to start reading and putting up on youtube a reasonable amount of it. We’ll see. If I get some good feedback on it. I have a section I know – whatever people tell me in an interview or something that they liked a section, then I know maybe that’s the one that I should read and put up and…

Leo Laporte That’s a good idea.

Dan Bricklin …I’ll do some of those

Leo Laporte That’s a good idea.

Dan Bricklin So if there’s anything that you like, John, let me know and I’ll read it.

John C. Dvorak What I’d like is some – one of the things I’d – the book was very enjoyable, but it didn’t have in my opinion, enough dirt.

Dan Bricklin Yeah.

Leo Laporte Where is the gossip, Dan?

John C. Dvorak Well, he had – there are stories to be told about and – you know in the early day, in fact, I was chronically, as it occurred and then later as I kind of deconstructed the whole event, talking to Dan and Bob and also –

Leo Laporte Bob Frankston who also…

John C. Dvorak Bob Frankston and Fylstra

Dan Bricklin Right.

John C. Dvorak And then there is the fourth guy who I actually never managed to run into who was –

Dan Bricklin Peter Jennings

John C. Dvorak Yeah, Jennings, I don’t think I’ve ever met him. I might have but I –

Leo Laporte These are the four horseman of VisiCalc.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, and there was a – it was an interesting – it was one of the early kind of blowups that took place in the industry. I mean, there has been other examples, but the industry was shaky and it was easy for things to blow up because these guys were – like you said, this was the first killer ap ever. And it actually triggered the revolution, the desktop computing revolution in many ways. It would have not taken the same direction had this product not appeared. And so these guys were on new, were kind of in a new space and it had a interesting effect on the various egos and it resulted in a very – an unfortunately collapse of the company, the marketing group and everybody in between because and, well the story’s never been adequately –

Dan Bricklin Oh yeah, it’s Lawsuit City. I mean it was – now as I point out in the book, I say ‘hey there are bitty, bad times’ but the book is not a business book, it’s a technology book. And that’s a business story. And it’s a story that will hopefully be told one of these days and I would have need help from the others involved.

And there was one time when a lot of us came together for a history meeting of sorts and it was all recorded, where we talked about some of those things. And if you follow the links that my book points to you’ll eventually get to what Ed Esber has to say and what Fylstra has to say and whatever about different things. But we had an author-publisher relationship and an author-publisher relationship is not a good thing when you have a hit. In a hit business, that’s not really a good thing and that’s how things were structured in those days. Others learned from that, that that’s not what you should do, which is why Ashton-Tate ended up buying out Wayne Ratliff before they could go public. Or I think maybe around the time, whatever.

So they didn’t have that author-publisher relationship, which is an unstable relationship and there were a lot of personalities involved, a lot of things and my book is about technology evolving and the VisiCalc story I wanted to tell, was about how it was developed and how it got out there. Not the part about how it fell apart, because that would have been another 500 pages and I have material. One of these days maybe Bob and I will get together, maybe we’ll get you to talk about what you saw outside, because you were commenting around then. It was – there was a lot of intrigue. We haven’t even talked about half of what went on.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, no that’s my understanding. There’s still a lot of –

Dan Bricklin Yeah, so…

John C. Dvorak And a lot of – still some ill feelings, still kind of just residual. I don’t think anybody cares anymore that much but…

Dan Bricklin Yeah

John C. Dvorak …it’s just one of those things.

Dan Bricklin Less so. I mean, Fylstra and I actually, we get along relatively well when we see each other and you know he wanted a copy, I offered him a copy of the book, which he readily accepted a copy of and he’s been very nice about that stuff. And I sent him, as a courtesy, when I wrote, wherever I would mention him in advance. In fact, I did that for around 50 people who I quote in the book in some way. I got permission from them, whether or not I needed it. So…

John C. Dvorak Yeah. That fact checking, usually counts for that, which is a good practice if you have the time.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, well it was also – well some of them I had to get written permission from, because I use a lot of other people’s material on the book, because I try to be like a blog and a website where you have this back and forth with others and when you are reading a book, you don’t have the other side, you can’t just click on the link in the book. And a lot of the links don’t work anymore. I had to go to to find a lot of the material. So I got stuff from Evan Williams. I got stuff from Dave Weiner, Clay Shirky, I mean all these different people gave me stuff and I got permission to put it in there.

John C. Dvorak Yeah.

Leo Laporte It sounds exciting.

John C. Dvorak So how did you publish it? Who published the book and what kind of – you made a deal with – who is it again?

Dan Bricklin It’s Wiley. Wiley approached me.

John C. Dvorak Wiley. Yeah, Wiley.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, they approached me and said ‘hey you’ve got it all written, you know, it’s – just take stuff on your blog, maybe write a little new – few new things and you’ll be done.’

John C. Dvorak ‘And we’ll give you 5%.’

Dan Bricklin: Yeah, and so I finally accepted. I said ‘okay, I’ll write a lot of stuff. I have to write new stuff. I have to put things around it.’ It is in actually the order of the blog. It’s basically I’m talking about different themes that I’d been talking about over the years and where appropriate I brought something in it from my website and where not appropriate I’ll write something new.

John C. Dvorak: Yeah, the chronology resets quite a bit, which is fine because I think it gives people, it makes the book easier to read.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. And that’s one of the typography things I had to deal with, is how do I let you know that you’re reading something five or six pages long, that’s something from back in 1999? That if I talk about Napster – Napster still is around or cellphones weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now etc., etc. so I worked on that real hard. And actually if you go to my website I wrote a whole piece about what I went through, figuring out how to do the lay-out and how to write this book and how to put it together. It was a lot of work. But for people who blog, I think they’ll learn something from it about how they can take their blog maybe and turn it into a book if they want to.

Leo Laporte I love it that you have in your blog a little snippet from the business school paper you wrote that kind of inspired VisiCalc.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, that was about VisiCalc. I mean, it was – I was working on it and I had this paper I was writing that wasn’t going to be published and they said write something on an advertising situation’ so I’ll write about advertising this new product for VisiCalc.

Leo Laporte It’s about Calcu-ledger right?

Dan Bricklin Yeah, and the last line in it is the funniest. I mean I was thinking of calling it electronic spread sheet but I said that most people don’t know what a spread sheet is. More people know what a ledger is, so you know.

Leo Laporte It’s good you didn’t call it Calcu-ledger.

John C. Dvorak Yeah Calcu-ledger is bad.

Dan Bricklin I know. Well Dan Flystra made the decision to come – to use the name VisiCalc.

John C. Dvorak Yeah. No I think that’s a –

Dan Bricklin They both think that they came up with a name and we have whole stories about that but Fylstra said ‘hey, this is the name.’ We had all these meetings, we’d get together, what name? We had 50 different names and finally he said ‘okay, we’re going to go with VisiCalc, that’s it.’ And it was a good name.

Though it could have been cellar or 1 - 2. It could have been 1.

Leo Laporte Lotus 1.

John C. Dvorak So were you – how involved were you in the decision and the initiative to do VisiOn?

Dan Bricklin Not at all. Well that’s getting into the sore points. They decided to do – the people who published VisiCalc, the company that named it, it started out as personal software, renamed itself as VisiCorp.

John C. Dvorak Right. By the way, that’s another – you have to be careful, I always tell people in fact I hope that some people run these names by me, because any writer worth his salt immediately takes – and I think I wrote this in InfoWorld, takes a name like that and you immediately called it VisiCorps

Dan Bricklin Yeah, right and you know –

John C. Dvorak You can’t resist I mean come on, just like the pre-mature and the pre-bankruptcy and the go broke and the rest of them, you have to use that material.

Dan Bricklin Yeah like I don’t call it a Trash-80, it was the TRS-80, it was a machine that was really helpful for a lot of people. But the company VisiCorp decided that – I guess maybe they had seen – they had people who knew what was going on at Xerox PARC and they decided that they wanted to do something that was mouse based and graphics based and they did this whole system, which, from my visual, when I saw it, it took all the advantage – disadvantages of character based with all the disadvantages of graphics based for that day.

But it was a windowing system that ran on top of DOS. And it used a mouse and it was really cool and they developed some cool stuff. Unfortunately they decided that they wanted to find maybe their spread sheet they wrote themselves, even though our contract said they were supposed to pay us if they had a spread sheet, we sort of had a backend forth tight contract between us. There were business problems. And we ended up in a lawsuit. With them they had, unfortunately their product was under-powered, or took too much power on the PCs of the day and when it came out it didn’t sell very well. I have a copy sitting back there under the eaves that I picked up at a garage sale or something.

John C. Dvorak Well you must have – I actually think I have the original copies – I think after – didn’t they this to Controlled Data or something screwy?

Dan Bricklin Eventually, yeah. They – eventually they had to raise some money at all. After they tried suing us and then they lost that lawsuit, and there was all sorts of stuff, they were bleeding money and all sorts of stuff went on, which I am not sure of what happened, I wasn’t there. But I think they ended up selling some rights to Controlled Data but nothing much happened of it. But it helped spur Microsoft on with Windows to get Windows out there, and – but Windows, notice, took many tries, a long time, many years to get going. VisiCorp unfortunately didn’t have the runway that Microsoft had. And 1-2-3 was hurting there with VisiCalc. They sued us, which cost a lot of money in terms of stuff and all that went away. And they weren’t able to survive with that. If they had had the cash cow that Microsoft had to keep them going, I am sure they would have eventually made Visi on something really cool. They had – apparently they had some really good people working on it is what I was told. I never got to work much with it. We were at that time not on such great terms talking with them.

John C. Dvorak This era from about 1979 to about 19, I don’t know, ‘85 or so, it’s still somewhat foggy in a lot of kind of areas and it’s never been really – the history of the industry is kind of – beats around the bush about a lot of stuff that went on. Because, mainly because that period was so rich with stuff going on.

Leo Laporte So much going on you couldn’t keep track.

John C. Dvorak Some of the really – probably some of the more interesting stories that have yet to be told.

Leo Laporte I hope somebody does though.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, I hope we get that stuff, because it is really valuable from a historic viewpoint and the software industry part and the hardware business. The hardware, more of it’s been, I think’s been documented. But I try at least to provide whatever documents I have, start putting them up. Like you’ll notice in the book, I put a lot of pictures of stuff that are in my notebook, because I took notes about when we did things. So I know on that day I found out about CTRL-ALT-L. I found out on that day that that’s what happened. That’s when IBM came to us. And that’s why I put my paper up when I saw that paper. I said ‘hey let’s share this.’

I have an old video I am going to put up when I get to get it in the right form to put up on YouTube, where I took a home video system, you know one of those things you carry on your shoulder and the big box on the side. In 1983 one of my employees, Cheryl and I walked around Condex and for an hour and a half we took pictures. I have a demonstration of Windows, pre-Windows 1, when it’s being demonstrated, where they explain you know about the panes, remember that stuff?

John C. Dvorak Right in the clock.

Unknown Speaker Yes, the clock. And you get to see it. And I have the IBM demonstrating the – in a demonstration room with many of them, the PC junior. And they; ‘don’t touch it yet, now you can turn it on, you know, push this button.’ And it’s really funny to see that, how we were going gaga over these machines that were character based. And Apple was showing, now this is ’83, before the Mac and they were showing what looked like MacPaint with a mouse running on the Apple II.

Leo Laporte Oh wow.

Dan Bricklin Found that sort of buried in there. I found Bill Gates talking with Jon Sachs, Jon Sachs is the guy who wrote 1-2-3.

John C. Dvorak Right.

Dan Bricklin And Bill Gates was talking with him and –

John C. Dvorak He is doing Pictureare [ph] or something now.

Dan Bricklin Well, yeah. In Triumph of the Nerds, a few seconds of that video was used, but I didn’t give them permission to use the sound because I dint have permission from Bill, But I think now would be okay to put it up. Bill talks about how they used Xenix to do all their development. It’s really funny. You know we use - basically they are Xenix to do development at Microsoft and he’s talking with the guy who did 1-2-3.

Leo Laporte At least it was a Microsoft product.

Dan Bricklin Yeah. It was their version.

Leo Laporte You think you’d put that on YouTube? You’d put it on your blog? That’d be great to see.

Dan Bricklin I’d put it up – it’s too long to put on YouTube. I’d put it up on Google Video.

John C. Dvorak How big is it? Because you know they have changed their – you can put up a gigabyte now.

Dan Bricklin An hour.

John C. Dvorak Oh an hour, no.

Leo Laporte You can get permission. In fact I can hook you up. We were just talking with Kevin Marks from Google about that yesterday, because we want to start putting full length podcasts up on YouTube. And he said no, for somebody who is a producer, we know you are not going to be putting copyright material up, we can arrange that, so.

Dan Bricklin Yeah no, this one, the problem was that the DVD I had with it doesn’t read into my video program without breaking up right –

Leo Laporte Hey, at least you had a DVD. You don’t have to –

Dan Bricklin Well, no, DVD is from the tape, which I stuck in my little machine downstairs that converts tapes to DVDs and stuff.

Leo Laporte Right.

Dan Bricklin I did put up a video of GO Corporation, of Robert Carr demonstrating PenPoint.

Leo Laporte Wow.

Dan Bricklin That’s up on Google Video. And it’s like an hour demo and he demonstrates all the stuff about that.

Leo Laporte It’s great that there are stuff like Google Video and YouTube now. I mean you can see Doug Engelbart’s very famous park demonstration, whenever it was, ‘64 or ’62. And all that video, the entire video is there and people can see it. If somebody has the interest in this stuff, this material at least is still –

John C. Dvorak It’s good to have archives of that stuff…

Leo Laporte Thank goodness

John C. Dvorak …and it’s not chewing up a lot of bandwidth, because it is not like everybody – a million people want to watch it.

Leo Laporte Well, it’s historic. One of the things I’m really – I’m sad about with Tech TV and wanted to do with Tech TV is kind of document all this stuff. They – apparently – John and I had this battle. But apparently they have saved everything, so.

Dan Bricklin Maybe one of these days –

John C. Dvorak No way.

Leo Laporte They swear to me, John, and in fact they have been digitizing it. And they’re going to put it all online. I talked to them --

John C. Dvorak I’m sure they have one or two things but I guarantee they’re not going to have Silicon Spin –

Leo Laporte They say they have everything. They have everything.

John C. Dvorak How can they say that when I have, the Silicon Spin tapes in my basement?

Leo Laporte There were copies made.

John C. Dvorak Oh, why would they do that?

Leo Laporte I don’t know. They say they have everything. We’ll see. But they are digitizing.

John C. Dvorak So by the way, I just wanted to just interrupt for one second.

Dan Bricklin Yeah.

John C. Dvorak Jonathan Sachs has a company called Digital Light & Color. And I think it needs a plug. It has a product called Picture Window and it’s got – it’s Picture Window Pro 5.0. And you can go to for Digital Light & Color. And it’s a very interesting photo editor that does some things that none of the other editors do, including some geometric stuff, which is very valuable to people who have perspective control problems with some of their photos. Anyway just getting – I’ve always wanted to plug his product.

Dan Bricklin He was using it for, if you take pictures of the sky and you know the aberrations in your telescope, you could use it to make more exact versions. I think that was one of the initial uses for that.

Leo Laporte Oh that’s right. Wow.

John C. Dvorak He’s coded Lotus 1-2-3 in assembler

Dan Bricklin Did a wonderful job. Nobody was able to knock off his code in that – on that machine. It was an incredible code base, what he did. Guy did a great job.

John C. Dvorak Yeah. He is good at that.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, he really is. I actually knew him before we did VisiCalc.

John C. Dvorak You hired him.

Dan Bricklin But, in fact – I wish – actually I hired the guy who worked with him. I hired Ray Ozzie who worked with him.

John C. Dvorak Oh, that’s interesting

Dan Bricklin And then Ray left to go work over with Mitch over working on Symphony and then he did Notes, etc., now he is at Microsoft. And he blurbed the cover of my book.

Leo Laporte And architecting their cloud computing initiative.

Dan Bricklin Yeah, he is a good guy.

Leo Laporte Yeah.

Dan Bricklin Ray’s – they’re lucky to have him there. And let’s hope he is able to do the things that he wants.

Leo Laporte Well Dan I think we’re going to have you get back on TWiT, because we’ve just scratched the surface, there’s so much to talk about. It’s really been fun and what’s great is that not only do you have the historic background but you got your finger on the pulse of what’s going on right now. We didn’t get back to the Pre but maybe in a few weeks when the Pre comes out I’d love to get your impressions of that, as somebody who is a JavaScript programmer. That was Apple’s plan with the iPhone was ‘you don’t need to write applications we just support CSS Apple script’ I mean JavaScript, that didn’t work out so well.

Dan Bricklin Well, didn’t do the good things in JavaScript, you didn’t get mousedown and mousemove.

Leo Laporte Right, kind of need those, don’t you? Do you think the Pre will, do you think it’ll have little mac touches?

Dan Bricklin I have no idea, I have no idea. I haven’t looked at it that closely yet. And if I get one and play with it we’ll see.

Leo Laporte Well it comes out of week from Saturday, so just three days before Apple presumably will announce its iPhone 3rd-generation. Dan’s book is Bricklin on Technology, it’s in bookstores everywhere, but maybe just go to for a copy. That Dan’s log which is his blog, they call it Bricklin’s log, and also your podcast is there too and Dan’s got some great interviews on his podcast, highly recommended.

Dan Bricklin Thank you. Some of which are transcribed in the book.

Leo Laporte Even better. Double up. John C. Dvorak is at, but you also see him on Cranky Geeks. You’re still doing that No Agenda and Tech5 and all that stuff?

John C. Dvorak Of course, Tech5 and No Agenda, all that stuff, but you know it’s all kind of summarized and available for everybody at and I mean if they wanted to go to the blog they can go there at, but channeldvorak seems to have picked up the slack for what am I up to.

Leo Laporte And thank you for helping me become a Meme.

John C. Dvorak You are. You are now. You know we ran that thing of you falling and by the way see you bouncing off the ball again today.

Leo Laporte It’s a new ball, it’s a special, no-burst ball.

John C. Dvorak Oh is it filled with foam or something?

Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s got that slime that bicyclists use so it can never break.

John C. Dvorak So anyway, we blog your first collapsing and then we blog the cat one so you know I think it’s a good one.

Leo Laporte Yeah, I have to thank Maubrowncow, who was an editor at revision3 for merging my stability ball explosion with the cat, with the cat that plays the piano, play ‘em out keyboard cat, and it’s quite a good mash up I think.

John C. Dvorak Yeah it’s funny.

Leo Laporte John C. Dvorak, and of course the blog is Dan, thank you so much for being here, really appreciate it, we’ll see you soon.

John C. Dvorak My pleasure.

Leo Laporte And thank you John and thank you all for being here. Reminder you can catch the show, of course live, we do it live every Sunday at 6:00 PM Eastern, 3:00 PM Pacific, that’s 2000 UTC at, of course you can download it after the fact from or in the iTunes podcasts section, it’s free or the Zune store. And if you subscribe there you’ll get each and every episode, I apologize for screwing up the feed last week, I put a different show on the feed. It’s all better now. Though you know, that’s a good tip, if anybody wants to raise their podcast rankings in iTunes, because I screwed up the feed, everybody re-subscribed and I got to number ten in the iTunes podcaster, we haven’t been there in years.

John C. Dvorak Well that’s interesting.

Leo Laporte Just shows you. Just screw up your feed once in a while. Thanks everybody, we’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can.

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