Guests: John C. Dvorak, Doug Kaye], Wil Harris, Dwight Silverman
Recorded: June 14, 2009
TWiT 199 •Previous episode – Next episode
This transcript is provided by our friends at Pods in Print
Bandwidth for this WEEK in TECH is provided by AOL Radio at aol.com/podcasting. This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 199 for June 15, 2009, I’m A Dinner Jacket.
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It’s time for TWiT, the show that covers all things technology, and a great panel we have here assembled around the table virtually so to speak. From his getaway in beautiful Washington State, John C. Dvorak.
John C. Dvorak Hello.
Leo Laporte Hey, John, good to talk to you. Also just back from his getaway, he had a nice, I hope, vacation. Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle. Hey, Dwight.
Dwight Silverman Hey, it’s good to be back and great to be doing this as my first semi-official act back after taking my daughter up to orientation at the University of Missouri. So...
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s where she is going. Oh, that’s great. Congratulations. So, I remember the last time, a few months ago, we talked you were doing college tours and getting ready for all that, and so she is going to U-Mizzou. Old Mizzou, is that it?
Dwight Silverman It’s called Mizzou.
Leo Laporte Mizzou.
Dwight Silverman Incredibly rich in tradition. It was the school that started homecoming and it was the first journalism school in the U.S.
Leo Laporte She’s not going to study journalism?
Dwight Silverman Yes, she is. Yes, as much as I tried to dissuade her, that’s what she wants to do.
Leo Laporte You must be very…
Dwight Silverman But she is good at it.
Leo Laporte …worried and proud.
Dwight Silverman Yes.
John C. Dvorak And buggy whip manufacturing.
Leo Laporte There is a future in buggy whips, kids!
Dwight Silverman Well, she is going into the convergence. She is going to do – she’s going to focus on online. So, at least she is taking the right track.
Leo Laporte Well, I think it’s actually great. I mean you still need the traditions of journalism. You still need the ethics, the background. I think that’s – I mean online journalists are still journalists. Just because the dead tree newspapers are going away doesn’t mean that we don’t need journalists.
Dwight Silverman Right, right.
Leo Laporte Also here Doug Kaye, the proto-podcaster, the guy who – I think now you are officially the longest continuous running podcaster in the world.
Doug Kaye You didn’t say oldest podcaster. Thank you, I appreciate that.
Leo Laporte You are not the oldest, I guarantee you.
Doug Kaye It is the longest. Yes, six years old, six years...
Leo Laporte IT Conversations.
Doug Kaye Six years last week.
Leo Laporte He is also at conversationsnetwork.org, and he’s really been one of the people who’s really forwarded this medium. You are way ahead at it. You knew.
Doug Kaye If you don’t count yourself and about half a dozen other people.
Leo Laporte You beat me!
Doug Kaye Yes but you are discounting 20 years of radio, Leo!
Leo Laporte I don’t know. Does radio count when you are talking new media. Does that…?
Doug Kaye It’s all the same. You are sitting around talking into a microphone, right?
Leo Laporte I guess, I guess. It’s kind of actually all the same.
Doug Kaye Thank you. It’s been a fun six years.
Leo Laporte It’s great to have you back. You haven’t been on in ages.
Doug Kaye I haven’t. People – somebody said to me today, “weren’t you just on TWiT?” I said, “No, it has been nine months.”
Leo Laporte Nine months.
Doug Kaye I’ve been coding. I have been busy.
Leo Laporte You still code?
Doug Kaye Yes. Well, no; I code again. I went…
Leo Laporte You are back to…
Doug Kaye Well, I went for 15 or 20 years with no coding as an executive.
Leo Laporte What are you writing?
Doug Kaye I was an executive. What am I writing? PHP. Yes, I’m doing a new site but anyway…
Leo Laporte I’ll ask you about it later. Also here Mr. Wil Harris from the U.K. He is in studio which is very nice.
Wil Harris Wotcha fellas?
Leo Laporte Out with his wotcha. Wait a minute. Doug says that he has been saying helloo.
Doug Kaye Helloo!
Leo Laporte Helloo!
Wil Harris Helloo!
Leo Laporte And you are now starting a new trend. Is that it?
Wil Harris Yes, it’s going to be a wotcha fellas from now on.
Leo Laporte Wotcha fellas.
Doug Kaye My wife is now saying helloo and she doesn’t know where it came from. She walks around saying the same thing.
Wil Harris Helloo!
Doug Kaye Helloo, helloo.
Wil Harris What can I say; I’m the king of slightly camp catchphrases.
Leo Laporte My new catchphrase; screw you! And it’s good; it’s been very useful.
Doug Kaye Did I hear a mashup on that?
Leo Laporte Yes, there have been a bunch of mash-ups, endless series of mash-ups. This is the…
Dwight Silverman Oh, I want a t-shirt.
Wil Harris Leo says…
Dwight Silverman “Leo says: Screw You!”
Leo Laporte You know what would be funny is to do “Leo told me: Screw You!” It will be like a special small club. So, a couple of stories. Actually, John, you had something you wanted to talk about. What was that? I forgot now.
John C. Dvorak I did too.
Leo Laporte Okay. So, we will start –
Doug Kaye The Pre, the Pre.
Leo Laporte The Pre. You wanted to talk about the Pre. It’s been out for a week.
John C. Dvorak So, I got my hands on one finally.
Leo Laporte Was yours free?
John C. Dvorak It wasn’t mine, it was somebody else. I borrowed it.
Leo Laporte Oh, good.
John C. Dvorak I didn’t even get one free or pay for one or get one loaned to me or anything, it was just –
Wil Harris Did you have the time that you had to get it back? Was it ascertained?
John C. Dvorak The guy, I gave it back to the guy. I don’t like it.
Wil Harris Now, that’s the solution. Go through a middleman, Leo. If you have a middleman, then you are never responsible. That can’t get to you.
Leo Laporte I just get John to get everything for me. So, you don’t like it?
John C. Dvorak No, I think the keyboard is unusable. I think the device has got – what’s the difference between that and an android? I like the fit and finish, I think it’s kind of cool. It’s got a nice little rubbery background and the screen feels really nice when you move things around on it, but I am not seeing that it’s anything out of the ordinary. It’s a little late to the game. I think it’s late to the party. I know that sprint set new records for sales and all these kinds of things happened but I am not seeing this things saving the company to be honest about it.
Leo Laporte But there is a challenge. I mean…
John C. Dvorak It has a few great apps –
Leo Laporte It’s going to be tough. Verizon has now apparently – well, Verizon’s president has said “we’re going to carry it.” They are saying now the scuttlebutt is January 1st. Does that change your attitude if Verizon sells this as well as Sprint?
John C. Dvorak No, I don’t care about the carrier to be honest. I am just talking about the phone per se. Or “Pre se”.
Wil Harris I think there’s a lot people that would say the best about the Pre is that it’s a usable smart phone that’s not on AT&T. Because the number one complaint I hear about the iPhone repeatedly over here anyway is that AT&T is just not the carrier that people want to use. And so even it is only half as good as the iPhone, it is twice as good as most other smart phones out there, and so to get in on Verizon and Sprint is an automatic win for a lot of people that don’t want AT&T.
Leo Laporte I talk to – when anybody says “I want to stay on Sprint,” I say “you got to get the Pre”. I mean that is – it’s number two. I am going to say it’s the second best smart phone.
Doug Kaye To me it’s all about the apps. That’s the big…
Leo Laporte There are very few apps, although more apps on this than when the iPhone shipped, the first iPhone.
Wil Harris Well, there were no apps when the first iPhone shipped.
Leo Laporte Right. That’s they start saying anything.
Doug Kaye The apps are something that actually make a phone something that becomes more valuable over time, and they aren’t that many phones you can say become more valuable over time.
Leo Laporte I like the form factor, John. I feel like it’s like a little pebble, it was supposed to be river rock and I think they have kind of done that. It multi-task, which the iPhone doesn’t do. It’s got a very good camera which the iPhone didn’t have until Monday. Now, of course, the iPhones leapfrogged it. They not only have a camera of equal quality, the new 3GS. You look at the picture. You tap the person you want it to focus on and it focused it. That’s something even a digital camera can’t do, and it’s going to have video that you edit in phone.
Wil Harris Well, that’s very nice segue to the news of the week.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s the news of the week but also the news of the week which is what you were saying which is that people hate AT&T. People are not blaming Apple for the price but they are blaming AT&T because a lot of people bought an iPhone exactly one year ago and they are going to be paying 499 and 599.
Wil Harris Yes, and it’s the same in the U.K. as well.
Leo Laporte Is it?
Wil Harris The official carrier in the U.K. has come under such a lot of heat, especially for gouging on the data tethering charges.
Doug Kaye But to be fair, that would be true of any carrier. Anybody – what carrier is going to let you have a two year plan and walk in after one year and get a new phone at a discount? They don’t do that.
Leo Laporte Should –
Dwight Silverman Yes, that’s just the standard way that AT&T handles its smart phone upgrades, it’s really not that unusual.
Doug Kaye But is it just AT&T though? Is it –
Leo Laporte Everybody does it.
Doug Kaye Everybody does it, yeah.
Dwight Silverman Right, everybody does it that way.
Leo Laporte I guarantee you; if a year from now you want to buy a new Pre, you’ll be paying 4 or 500 bucks.
Wil Harris I don’t understand why these carriers, given that they have got people wanting to give them money, surely the sensible thing to do would be to make sure, okay, you can have a subsidized upgrade, but you have always got to keep a two year contract. Every time you upgrade, you have always got to make sure push it out to –
Leo Laporte There you go. Or pro rate.
Wil Harris Either pro rate it, or keep it pushed out to a two year. So, you can upgrade in six months but then you have got to add another six months to your contract. Or, you can upgrade in 18 months, you’ve got to add another 18 months.
Doug Kaye But you know, you’d have to look at the economics. I am not trying to defend the carriers, but you have to look at it and recognize that they counted on a certain amount of revenue for all those sales. The phones are underwritten and question is can they really do that within the economics of the plan? I don’t know.
Leo Laporte So, what were you about to say?
Dwight Silverman Well, it’s funny that whenever the iPhone comes up, and for example there was some of this during the introduction of the first iPhone, that what people end up talking about is how crappy AT&T is. You remember David Pogue’s video for the first iPhone where he is explaining the iPhone to his colleagues at the New York Times, there’s a big crowd around him and he mentioned and it’s only on AT&T. And everybody goes “aww” and walks off. And I think that one of the problems with this, with the iPhone is that every time it is mentioned, it shows off or emphasizes the weaknesses of AT&T. I think in some ways the iPhone is bad for AT&T’s reputation.
Leo Laporte Well, but what was it, 30% of iPhone owners are new AT&T customers. I mean it certainly has not been bad for business.
John C. Dvorak Bad for their reputation. What reputation?
Leo Laporte But is there somebody we love. I mean come on, aren’t all cell phone carriers sleazy?
Dwight Silverman Here is something interesting. I went to Missouri and that requires travelling through the wilds of North Texas and Oklahoma. And AT&T has no 3G there and sometimes there is not even EDGE network in some of those locations. And I took with me the Verizon MyFi and used that to talk to Verizon’s network with my iPhone. And it was dramatically better.
Leo Laporte Oh, dear.
Dwight Silverman It was kind of like, here’s what the iPhone would be like on Verizon. And it was much, much better and I think that if when the iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T ends and Verizon is able to strike a deal with Apple, I think the stampede is going to begin.
Leo Laporte 2010 it ends.
Dwight Silverman Unless they get an extension.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Isn’t it Apple’s interest to dump – well, not dump, but at least diversify.
Doug Kaye To open it up.
Wil Harris Well, again, it comes to this question of Doug’s there about the economics. If it makes more economic sense for AT&T to keep paying Apple to have it…
Leo Laporte Well, it probably does.
Wil Harris Yes.
Leo Laporte But how much? But see for instance, here is Phil Shiller talking about we are going to have tethering on the new 3GS and we are going to have MMS on the new 3GS. And then he shows all the carriers are going to support MMS: no AT&T. He shows all the characters are going to show tethering: Rogers T-Mobile, Orange. No AT&T.
Doug Kaye This is with the 3GS you are saying?
Leo Laporte Yes.
Doug Kaye Which implies that –
Leo Laporte AT&T says well, we will have it later this summer.
Doug Kaye Well, that implies that they will eventually get it, right? In 2010.
Leo Laporte Someday.
Doug Kaye Yes.
Leo Laporte Someday, someday my MMS will come.
Doug Kaye I mean thank goodness there’s some competitive pressure. Unfortunately, those of us with iPhones are going to just suffer for another year.
Leo Laporte So, here is the question. I mean how many people are going to buy, are going to bite the bullet. I already did. I’ll tell you the truth.
John C. Dvorak As usual.
Leo Laporte As usual and buy the new 3GS even though I am not out of contract.
Doug Kaye I’m waiting my second year. I have got a 3G.
Leo Laporte Me too.
Doug Kaye I will wait a year.
Leo Laporte You are going to wait a year?
Doug Kaye Yes, yes…
Dwight Silverman I’ll wait a year also.
Doug Kaye There’s not enough for me to go. I mean, I like it. If it didn’t cost me anything I’d do it.
Leo Laporte You know what the big announcement really was the $99 3G. The 8GB 3G.
Doug Kaye That is remarkable.
Leo Laporte That is going to be very good for AT&T and very good for Apple.
Dwight Silverman Unless you just bought one of the 8GBs for 199….
Leo Laporte Yeah, which I did of course.
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Leo Laporte And for my son and now I am screwed.
Doug Kaye Well, see what it did, I bought a 3G, I ordered a 3GS for my son. So, that’s my way of getting it.
Leo Laporte Well, you did get one then!
Doug Kaye Yeah, but – I get to play with it. I get all that.
Leo Laporte There are some features I like. I love the idea that you can leave the phone in a restaurant and the GPS says oh, look, this is where you left it. And then you call the restaurant and you said hello, I left my phone there. Do you hear a screaming sound coming from the cushion in the booth in the back. That’s my phone, go get it. You push a button and this phone goes “Aaargh!” or something.
Doug Kaye That begs a question though. Do you leave location services turned on all the time?
Leo Laporte Well, I don’t know.
Doug Kaye Do you need them for that feature?
Leo Laporte We will see. Friday I will get this and we’ll let you know what you need. Yes, you need it.
Doug Kaye Do you leave your –
John C. Dvorak Dead as a doornail in 10 minutes.
Doug Kaye It sucks the battery.
Leo Laporte Dead as a doornail in 10 minutes.
Doug Kaye Yes, it sucks battery, it just pulls it right down.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Dwight Silverman Well also you’d have to have MobileMe in order –
Wil Harris You need MobileMe to make that work, right?
Leo Laporte Of course because I am a complete fool, I have a MobileMe and all that crap.
Wil Harris I also have a MobileMe.
Doug Kaye Oh, you do? I thought you were kidding. You do need MobileMe for that?
Leo Laporte Oh, yes.
Doug Kaye Oh my God.
Leo Laporte They got to give you some reason to buy that thing.
Wil Harris Well, that’s the reason to buy it, right?
Leo Laporte No, there are few other things.
Wil Harris And you can automatically lock it if it gets stolen. And you can put a little message on it saying, “if I’ve lost this phone, please call” your home number. So, there are a few Brucey bonuses in there that make MobileMe kind of useful.
Leo Laporte I use Back to My Mac, I like that.
Wil Harris Wait. Back to My Mac works?
John C. Dvorak According to one of the mavens on the TWiT IRC, he says it doesn’t scream, it just beeps. He’s tried it.
Leo Laporte Yes, it’s loud annoying beep. Well, he has tried on the old phone.
John C. Dvorak Ellen Feiss; it’s her voice.
Leo Laporte Boy, that is a memory I tell you.
Wil Harris Do you know, I was looking that up only the other day?
Leo Laporte That was the girl who did the Apple ad that she – she’s clearly high and they never aired the ad but it was online everywhere. She was clearly high and she said “you know, like, I was using a PC and it lost my paper. It went beep beep beep”. It was very funny.
Wil Harris “It was like, boop! And it was gone.”
John C. Dvorak It’s a classic.
Leo Laporte I will play it at the end of the show. You be the judge. When we come back, Wil Harris is going to say Achmamajin – Ahma – so, what are you going to say?
Wil Harris Ahmadinejad.
Leo Laporte Ahmadinejad and?
Wil Harris I’m A Dinner Jacket.
Leo Laporte I’m A Dinner Jacket and Moussavi. Yes, we are going to talk about Iran and the colossal CNN fail of the week. But before we do that I want to mention our friends at GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting from Citrix is the online meeting service that’s just so easy to use and saves you money. How can a product that costs $50 a month save you money? Well, how much did you spend on business travel? A ticket across the country; 300 bucks, not to mention the stress, the time wasted, even driving across town today as gas prices go up again, is expensive.
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I’m A Dinner Jacket. What is it?
Wil Harris Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So, this is the CNN fail of the week. Right?
Leo Laporte Of the week? This is, I think you could say, this might be a turning point.
Wil Harris Of all time?
Leo Laporte No, look at it. Here on Saturday afternoon. I went home after the radio show. You are seeing on Twitter just literally live, people saying “I am being tear-gassed right now!” You even can see Moussavi’s tweeting, saying “they have got me under house arrest.” I am going oh, my god, this is huge. The election is being stolen in Iran. Quick, turn on CNN! It’s a Larry King rerun with American Chopper. There’s guys without sleeves talking about motorcycles! I go, well jeeze, maybe MSNBC. They are talking about prisoners. They’re doing their, like, documentary. Their sleazo documentaries about people in jail. Maybe Fox? Now they got a rerun on too.
Nobody, none of news stations were covering this story all day Saturday. But if you go to Twitter, now admittedly, you are not getting news on Twitter but you are getting I mean the stuff as it happens. It turns out that in Tehran, of course for those who do not know, I’m A Dinner Jacket decided that he won the election even regardless of what the actual vote is. Although, we’ll I’m going to raise some issues about that, but we don’t know. The supporters of Moussavi, who really, the Green Revolution, I mean they were really progressive Iranians at least in the cities and I think that’s the issue here.
They were burning cars, they were protesting, they were being shut down, the Iranian authorities immediately turned off text messaging, they blocked Twitter on the internet, they did everything they could to keep people from getting out but people still had Twitter applications on their phones and tweets were still getting out. And if you reading these tweets you were watching a revolution in the streets live in real time, and meanwhile CNN, well if you want to build a motorcycle.
Doug Kaye I did see one news crew, I think it might have been NBC, who was in Tehran who was videotaping had their videotapes taken away by the police and they covered it with their mobile phones.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that amazing?
Doug Kaye So, they actually covered it and sent footage back and you see the burning –
Leo Laporte And to CNN’s credit this morning on GPS, they did very good coverage Christiane Amanpour was there, she is Iranian. So, I mean, there were people there. The New York Times though did a brilliant – it’s ironic. The newspapers did a brilliant job on their websites. So, my point is that, I think this might be a turning point, if you want to see breaking news, you go the web now. You do not turn on the news stations.
Doug Kaye And it’s not just that. I mean first of all, there’s another irony which of course is that when people did start to catch up, what did they do? They read Twitter on the air.
Leo Laporte Yes, that was their source.
Doug Kaye It’s not just a matter of change in media; it’s a matter of a change in source. You actually are getting – you’re getting this information not from reporters but from the first person, from the people who are Iranians who are there.
That’s almost as – maybe that’s a bigger story or a bigger issue than the fact that the media didn’t cover it, right, the fact that this is citizen journalism. Or it’s beyond –
Leo Laporte Well it does raise an issue, and this is the second issue I wanted to raise, is that you are getting the point of view from the cities, from the people in Tehran. And it may be in fact Ahmadinejad did win the election because he won in the countryside where people don’t have Twitter.
Doug Kaye Well, we will never know who actually won the election.
Leo Laporte Right. I am just pointing out that the twitterati in Iran may be a very small group compared to the overall electorate.
Wil Harris It was interesting, though, to see –
Leo Laporte You get first person news, but you get it kind of –
Doug Kaye But you get –
Leo Laporte Without analysis.
Doug Kaye But you get a large number of people supplying this information.
Leo Laporte That’s true and if you looked at the hashtag, Iran Election, in fact today if you look at it there’s still stuff going on. Half a minute ago “the riot police are now shooting at protesters”, I mean, this is still going on.
John C. Dvorak When you say you get news but not analysis, Leo, news is not analysis ever.
Leo Laporte Okay.
John C. Dvorak This reportage is actually – accounts for news of some sort, is eyewitness accounts, which I think is quite valuable. By the way, Christiane Amanpour is Lebanese I think.
Leo Laporte They say it on CNN that she was born in Iran. But anyway, okay. She is certainly on the ground there and doing a great job as was, by the way, a New York Times reporter who was, I mean, there’s a dramatic video on the web of him up on the roof saying we have to get off the streets, here’s what’s going on. And that was yesterday.
They were doing video on the web, New York Times, yesterday. They were doing great coverage.
Wil Harris And it’s kind of ironic that in –
Dwight Silverman Leo, have we seen any kind of an explanation as to why CNN and FOX and MSNBC did not cut away and try to provide live coverage? Have any of them kind of addressed the anger and the questions that people have?
Doug Kaye I saw one crew was saying that anytime there were more than two people together, they were being beaten by police.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Doug Kaye I think it was a –
Leo Laporte They couldn’t, in other words.
Doug Kaye They were not able to cover it. And I think that comes back – I want to just go back to this one more time, I won’t beat this to death. But the fact is that we often talk about comparing people who are tweeting to CNN and I think the comparison isn’t valid. I wouldn’t even make the comparison. We are just going to have to get used to fact that whatever we want to call it, news or journalism or something else, we are going to get a lot more information from things like Twitter in the future. And I am not sure that we need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it is, we just need to – we need to embrace it because it is going to be there.
It’s a very – in this case it’s an important source.
Leo Laporte This is from silencednomore, this came out a minute ago. “We want to keep tweeting; this is the only place the real news is getting out.” This is – I think remarkable, the source, the information direct from Iran.
Doug Kaye Somebody in the chat room, I didn’t see the whole thing but mentioned The Daily Show, did you see a thing a last week where they went and talked to The New York Times? Did you see? Oh God, it was great. In the interview, they interviewed a guy at The Times and he says, so tell me; this is a daily newspaper, what in your newspaper happened today? Is there anything in your paper that happened today?
Leo Laporte Nothing.
Doug Kaye No. It’s all yesterday’s. Right.
Leo Laporte Yesterday’s.
Doug Kaye It’s a – that’s a fundamental issue right there. Isn’t it?
John C. Dvorak Well, a daily newspaper means it comes out every day. It’s like a one hour cleaners; a guy goes in says, “Is this one hour cleaners?”, “No, that’s just the name of the place.”
Leo Laporte 24-hour finish, we are not open at night but if you needed it, we –
Doug Kaye But the fact is that you are talking about somebody who is – if you want to sit back and not see the world in real time but you want to see the world as it was a day ago, that’s a valid choice.
Leo Laporte I think in a way, Newsweek did this about –
Doug Kaye I read the Times every day, don’t get me wrong, right.
Leo Laporte Me too, Newsweek about a month ago said we give up. We can’t cover, we’re a weekly, we can’t possibly cover news as fast as it’s happening. So we are going to become an analysis magazine. I don’t know if you’ve looked at Newsweek lately, but it is not the same magazine. I think that that – maybe that’s what CNN’s doing, maybe they don’t have the budget to do anything but re-runs on the weekends, certainly MSNBC that’s what they were doing.
Wil Harris But I think the problem is it purports to be real time.
Leo Laporte Well, we know now it’s not.
Wil Harris The whole point of a 24-hour news channel is CNN Breaking News, it’s 24-hour news.
Leo Laporte As John says, it’s just a name.
Wil Harris Yes, so it seems really strange that there’s something that’s set up, we are always talking about how we live in this 24-hour news culture. But it seems that even that is now not enough, like we need like a second to second news culture.
Leo Laporte Well there’s – stuff happens real time and the Internet has connected us in a way real time. When Iran – when you had to send a telegraph dispatch from Iran you are not going to have real time news but we can now, thanks to the Internet really be real time. And I think that’s very powerful. We are tied together.
Dwight Silverman There were some people who said that what CNN should have done was gone on the air and even if they couldn’t report, if they couldn’t get any video, was to begin working with the social media…
Leo Laporte Yes.
Dwight Silverman …and reporting what was being said there and try to provide some context and they might even have been able to do a real time verification of some of the things that were being said because they do have reporters there. And so it just struck me and others who were watching it as very odd, is that they did not cut away. This was the network that cut its teeth on cutting away.
And on Saturday night everybody was taking the night off and I think that that struck a lot. What happens is people see this initially on Twitter, on social networks and then they go to television to get it live as it is happening.
Leo Laporte And put together and get pictures.
Dwight Silverman Right. And that failed them. And –
Leo Laporte That’s exactly right. Twitter –
Dwight Silverman That process failed them.
Leo Laporte Twitter was the early warning system and we expected then to follow up on news.
Doug Kaye Right, so what happens when Iranians in the streets of Tehran have – can initiate live streaming video from their mobile phones.
Leo Laporte Which is imminent.
Doug Kaye Right. Then you’ll say I’m sorry, I’m not going to go – think of things that you’ve done, the live video events, think of Scoble standing at the iPhone, first iPhone thing in New York –
Leo Laporte Right.
Doug Kaye Or Palo Alto or wherever it was. At some point the event is the coverage through a streaming mobile device. And you don’t go anywhere else because you are not going to get closer to the action.
Wil Harris And I think that’s really interesting because the word that you had was like coverage and it’s true because you can have lots of Iranians on the streets of Tehran with streaming mobile phones and you can see what’s happening. But nobody can really kind of tell you what that means or put it together.
Doug Kaye But you are getting the raw material.
Wil Harris You are getting the raw material, sure.
Doug Kaye And then you’ve got somebody like Leo who will sit here and he will watch half a dozen videos streams from half a dozen people in Tehran and he’ll switch back and forth. And he’ll be the anchor/technical director.
Leo Laporte Well, I do notice that nobody’s –
Dwight Silverman Leo, get on it.
Leo Laporte I do notice nobody’s doing live tech coverage and I do think that that’s an opening for me in a very poor man’s way to do coverage of that kind of thing. I don’t know if it will ever be covering revolutions in Iran.
Doug Kaye How much of it is that timely, though?
Leo Laporte Well, some of it is not, some of it is. So we have this kind of programming which is – we are covering last this week’s news, we are not covering today’s news. Well we are a little bit –
Doug Kaye It’s not “This Minute in Tech.”
Leo Laporte But on the other hand if a big DDoS attack happened all of a sudden on Yahoo! or if Microsoft announced that it was getting out of business, we’d go – we’d cover it live and we have the capability of doing that.
Doug Kaye You and I have talked about this before, a live anchored control room and I can see that –
Leo Laporte I think that’s where we are headed.
Doug Kaye It’s going to be on mobile devices and you’ll cut away to somebody –
Leo Laporte We’ll be able to pull from all the sources.
Dwight Silverman Exactly.
Wil Harris And then in 10 years time there’ll be somebody else going, “that Leo Laporte, I can’t believe he didn’t cut away to that story.”
Leo Laporte 10 years? 10 minutes!
Wil Harris It’s absolutely ridiculous!
Leo Laporte 10 minutes, but that’s the beauty of it is now anybody can do it. It’s not expensive and if that coverage is out there, now what about – but now here’s the issue; how do stringers make any money anymore? Do they make any money, who is going to pay them? I am not going to pay them.
Doug Kaye No, but again you are comparing it to an old system.
Leo Laporte So the whole system falls.
Doug Kaye You are trying to shoehorn it into the old system.
Leo Laporte You are right, the whole system falls.
John C. Dvorak Can I ask a question amongst this – during this little debate here?
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak What’s the rush – what’s the rush? Why do we need to know what’s happening in Tehran this very second?
Leo Laporte That’s a very good question.
Doug Kaye It’s not that – John, it’s not, I think that –
John C. Dvorak It’s not going to have no effect on our lives at the moment. We could sit back and wait for it to be analyzed, and we’d probably get more out of it. What is the rush?
Doug Kaye I understand that, John, but the fact is – I think there’s a human nature aspect. Why do we watch car chasers on television in Los Angeles?
John C. Dvorak I don’t.
Doug Kaye I know, but I will ‘fess up to the fact that I have done that. I have been in Los Angeles where that seems to be – they ought to have a car chase channel down there, don’t you think?
Anyway I have watched car chases, I have –
Leo Laporte They really should because it’s pretty much 24/7.
Doug Kaye And the fact that there is sense of immediacy, there’s the fact that I want to know when something happens and I think that’s inevitable.
Leo Laporte Well, I think that there are some compelling reasons to do this in real time.
John C. Dvorak This is a scoop mentality that always leads to bad information.
Leo Laporte It’s dangerous and that was kind of the point I was making.
Doug Kaye Well this is beyond a scoop; this isn’t a scoop, this is the raw material.
Leo Laporte This is as it happens.
John C. Dvorak No, it’s a scoop. I still see it as a scoop. It’s only one persons perspective from one spot, delivering maybe a picture or something like that. It’s a scoop.
Dwight Silverman It would be a scoop if only one person had it, but everybody can get it.
Wil Harris Surely, it’s the anti-scoop. Because at that point, because a scoop is one person has some exclusive information. Twitter is everybody can see what everybody is seeing; it’s the anti-scoop.
Doug Kaye That’s right, you have disintermediated the scooper.
Wil Harris That’s got to be the title for today’s show. Disintermediating the scooper.
Leo Laporte I’ll write that down right now.
John C. Dvorak Yeah that’s it exactly. Disintermediation is what it’s all about.
Leo Laporte Well I think John, you’re also doing the same thing I did, which is kind of interpreting it through the lens of old media. And I think what we – my – just as a possibility for it how might end out playing out is the thing happens, the fire, you see the pictures live. There’s a swarm of attention around it, there are people putting the story out. People watch it, think about it, a conversation starts around it. That’s what we are seeing on places in FriendFeed, where people start analyzing it themselves and consensus is reached through these conversations that happen over a period of a day or two or three, that actually in the end I think produces a better understanding of the story than waiting a day and reading what The New York Times has to say about it.
Doug Kaye I spoke at a conference last week, the Beyond Broadcast Conference. And this is primarily people in public media; public radio, public television as well as academic journalism. And I came away with it from the same sense that I get all the time with these events, which is there’s still such a sense of preserving – try to understand new media in the sense of how do we adapt what we have to new media?
Leo Laporte Right.
Doug Kaye Instead of going directly to new media.
Leo Laporte Right, right, right.
Doug Kaye How do we keep the jobs, is of course one way to look at it.
Leo Laporte That’s always the case. Look at the record industry – if you’ve built a business around a business – I am starting to understand this now, having a business. When you build a business around a business model, it’s deucedly hard to change the business mode underneath the business.
Doug Kaye The innovator’s dilemma.
Leo Laporte Yeah. You’ve kind of – the whole thing is set up around – we print these broadsheets that have a display ad on it and some – copy and we deliver them via truck to a newsstand where somebody picks it up for $0.20. If that’s your business model it’s very hard to say what happens when we get rid of the truck, the newsstand, the broadsheet, the display ad? Now what’s our business?
Doug Kaye Right, well, they’ll focus on – well ‘maybe we should do it by getting more gas efficient trucks.’
Leo Laporte Right!
Doug Kaye I mean, that’s –
Leo Laporte It’s very hard. I think Microsoft’s got the same problem, it’s the innovator’s dilemma.
Wil Harris It is true. But I think a big part of the innovator’s dilemma is that the alternative, the so called sort of new way of doing things doesn’t generate the same amount of money that the old way of generating things did.
Dwight Silverman Not at first.
Wil Harris Well possibly not ever. I mean, if you look at what a page in –
John C. Dvorak Not at first, not ever!
Leo Laporte Well if that’s it, that’s it. So be it.
Wil Harris If you look at what The New York Times charges per page then look at what it can charge online…
Leo Laporte They can’t do it.
Wil Harris …you physically can’t do it.
Leo Laporte But what if –?
Wil Harris You either have to accept the fact that it’s a smaller business. I mean I saw a great statistic out of – from Rupert Murdoch of all people last week, saying that the amount of web advertising inventory online doubles every year and has doubled for the past three years. And that means that every year it gets doubly it’s hard to keep an audience and build an audience, your advertising rates halve and you’ve got double the number of competitors. And that’s just not true on the newsstand.
And so it’s not a case of adapting old business models. I mean, as you say it’s really is…
Leo Laporte It’s fragment is what’s happened.
Wil Harris There is no business model for generating something like The New York Times online, there is no – no online publication that can sustain…
Leo Laporte If The Times goes away, is there a fixed amount of advertising money that’s now available and floating around?
Wil Harris Yes.
Doug Kaye No, it’s a decreasing amount of advertising revenue.
Leo Laporte Okay that’s it, that’s the issue.
Wil Harris See this is the problem is that – there are – there is $X billion in the advertising market and in the print world everybody gets 10% of $X billion.
Leo Laporte Right.
Wil Harris Whereas in the online world everybody gets…
Leo Laporte 1/1000th
Wil Harris 1/1000th and the rates are dropping and there’s another 1,000 people to compete with every year.
Leo Laporte So what happens?
Wil Harris Well everybody gets screwed.
Leo Laporte ‘You’re all screwed!’?
Dwight Silverman No not everybody gets screwed.
Doug Kaye So what’s one of the reasons that people think that newspapers have gotten into trouble? Who’s the guilty party? Craigslist right?
Leo Laporte Craigslist.
Dwight Silverman The guilty party are the people who are trying to take this old model and shoehorn it into the Internet. That’s the guilty party.
Doug Kaye No, but who is being blamed? I think Craigslist is getting a fair share of the blame?
Leo Laporte Yes, yes.
Dwight Silverman No well it depends on who’s talking. I don’t think – I think a lot of the higher ups in the newspaper industry are using that as a scapegoat.
Doug Kaye You’re right.
Dwight Silverman I think those of us who are actually like doing it on websites and still, yes, in print, we kind of understand what I think is really happening. And what I think has to happen and some of us are doing, we’re trying to do that at chron.com, is to change fundamentally what journalists do. The classic journalism activity was for a reporter himself or herself to go out story, make sense of it and distill it.
Now what I think journalists have to do is we have to be curators of what the community is saying about itself so we can help people make sense of the community covering itself. So the comment that was made about somebody like Leo piecing together all the best video and kind of making sense of all the individual streams that are coming out of an event like Tehran. That’s where the future of what we call newspapers now will be.
Leo Laporte Aggregation.
Dwight Silverman And it will be aggregation and curation and it will be done in cities, nationally and globally. And the person or the people who kind of find that model first and hone it and make it palatable are going to be the people who win. And we’re trying to do it.
Doug Kaye Dwight, what – just as an – another irony, can you imagine what would happen if Craigslist who’ve – what do we hear, 100 million in revenues or profit or something, suppose Craigslist decided to fund some journalistic activity, wouldn’t there be a fascinating irony there?
Dwight Silverman It would be a fine irony, bring it.
Doug Kaye I would love to see it too.
Leo Laporte Well certainly aggregators are going to be some of the winners. And if you are a big enough aggregator, you’ll get a big enough chunk of that old advertising dollar, so you might be able to survive. And then one hopes that some of that income will trickle down to the stringers and reporters. It’s interesting, how –
Doug Kaye But the fact is there are going to be fewer dollars in the business.
Leo Laporte That’s probably true.
Doug Kaye The business will shrink.
Leo Laporte Huffington Post just – what did they put aside, $1 million for investigative journalism?
Dwight Silverman That’s not that much.
Leo Laporte Yes, compared to – what kind of budget is a typical newspaper budget, is it a lot more?
Wil Harris Oh yeah.
Dwight Silverman Yes, yes. It’s millions of dollars a year.
Leo Laporte So do we lose investigative journalism?
Wil Harris The New York Times has got over 1,000 people working in its newsroom to produce the daily – to produce the news.
Leo Laporte Meanwhile, over on MSNBC, we are learning the rates for call girls in New York State. So I am glad that they’re…
Dwight Silverman That’s investigative journalism.
Leo Laporte …covering the big story.
John C. Dvorak I think it’s going down.
Leo Laporte See this is the problem is that these guys, not the Chronicle obviously, but some of these guys are just shooting themselves in the foot. They just don’t get it.
John C. Dvorak One of the things we should always mention when we are talking about newspapers and the problems that they’re having is the fact of the matter is there’s a – they are a redundant product. And they can maybe blame the Associated Press for part of this and also The New York Times Syndicate, I am guessing, and perhaps The Washington Post. But if you pick up any newspaper around the country, it essentially has the exact same news in it as another paper nearby and when they all go online it becomes patently obvious that these guys –
Wil Harris It’s exactly the same. Its four different re-writes of AP copy.
John C. Dvorak Yeah and you’ll see these stories and if you go to the – look at – go to Google News where they show you the number of stories that are similar and they break – like the Iranian story, there’ll be like 5,000 stories and they are all the same.
Doug Kaye There’s one site that – Dwight, you may know these guys, voiceofsandiego.org, do you know them?
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Doug Kaye Yes, so this is an interesting sort of transitional group. Voiceofsandiego.org is a non-profit, investigative journalism organization. I think they got started with a particular story on covering some local scandal and has become so popular they receive a lot of non-profit institutional funding and so forth, but this is a very lean, mean, low-budget, investigative journalism site which I think has a lot going for it. I met some of the people –
Leo Laporte Your daughter’s getting into journalism. She is going to college for journalism, Dwight. Are you discouraging her?
Dwight Silverman She knows the reality of it. I mean she lives in my house so she knows.
Leo Laporte She’s seen it first hand.
Dwight Silverman She’s seen it first hand. We had 90 lay-offs here in the Chronicle newsroom earlier in the year. And it’s – so, I did not know if I was going to be on that list. I hoped not and I was not, thankfully. But she understands it, she’s, like I said she is taking the convergence track and is going to be studying video, audio, is going to be learning to write, is going to learning work on the web and report for the web. She’s already got a very active Twitter account and communicates with other journalists and talks about stories with professional journalists online.
So she is doing the right things. It will be interesting to see what kind of a job she can get when she gets out of there, but – because that will be at least four or five years from now. So she is aware of the reality, she also has one eye on law school.
Leo Laporte I was just thinking, if I were starting out, especially in California, I would buy a lot arable land suitable for growing marijuana and maybe get into the bong business, because I think marijuana is going to be legalized in about a year.
Dwight Silverman I’ll pass it onto her.
Leo Laporte And I think that’s going to be really a great business to be in the next year in California. Just a thought. Just, you know.
We’re going to take a break. When we come back there are other big stories, the digital transition happened on Friday. 300,000 calls to the FCC, most of them sounded something like this; ‘what happened? My TV’s not working!’ We’ll also talk about the Facebook land grab.
But before we do that, I want to talk about audible.com, the place to go for audio entertainment, the greatest books. It’s your digital library online, 60,000 plus titles. Some wonderful literature, all of the – and I’ve got a deal for you this is the platinum deal. I have a platinum account, that’s two books a month. Well worth it. I go through two books a month easily and in a way I’m building a library. The neat thing about Audible is those books are yours forever. You can go back to Audible, download them again, put them on a difference device, plays on everything, iPods, Zunes, most of the MP3 players, iPhone of course, even the Kindle and some GPS devices. And with two books a month, you’re building a library.
Audible.com/twit2, that’s the place to go to sign up for that gold account and your first two books are free. Two books free.
Wil you said – are you – were you listening to some Audible on the way over here?
Wil Harris I was, I just finished listening to a fantastic book called Making Money by Terry Pratchett, it’s the latest Terry Pratchett book.
Leo Laporte I love Terry Pratchett.
Wil Harris It’s a real return the form, there was – been a segment in the last couple of years where some of the books have been slightly ropey. The last couple of books have been really good, a new cast of characters. You can get the abridged version on Audible narrated by Tony Robinson of Black Adder.
Doug Kaye Is this the counterfeit.
Wil Harris The counterfeit money.
Doug Kaye Yeah, right.
Leo Laporte You have read it, Doug?
Doug Kaye No I’ve heard about the book. Heard it’s excellent
Leo Laporte Terry of course has Alzheimer’s and he’s writing very slowly right now…
Wil Harris Yes
Leo Laporte …but this is a new book from him
Wil Harris And it’s a new book and I would argue it’s definitely one of his best.
Leo Laporte Well isn’t that great?
Wil Harris So narrated by Tony Robinson…
Leo Laporte He was saying he was able to write sometime a sentence a day.
Wil Harris Yes.
Leo Laporte So this is a book that a lot of heart and soul put into. Wow. So which do you recommend abridged or unabridged
Wil Harris Well the unabridged is read by Stephen Briggs who, no offense Stephen Briggs, is a bit of a no name, as opposed to Tony Robinson who is…
Leo Laporte So get the abridged. Wait a minute…
Wil Harris Who is a very famous name in a…
Leo Laporte You get two. So get them both.
Wil Harris So get them both
Leo Laporte They’re both free.
Doug Kaye That’s what you want to do is listen to an audiobook twice.
Leo Laporte Once abridged, once unabridged. I think that’s nothing wrong with that. I am just thrilled that – you know, much of the Discworld series is on Audible. In fact I recommended –
Doug Kaye A lot of it is on Audible. And a lot of it is read by Nigel Planer
Leo Laporte Yes he does a great job.
Doug Kaye Fantastic of course off The Young Ones, another great old British comedy.
Leo Laporte See I didn’t know. I don’t know the name – but he’s a wonderful reader.
Wil Harris Oh he’s a very famous British actor, well in Britain.
Leo Laporte So there you go. Terry Pratchett’s Making Money. I am looking for the abridged version, I see the unabridged here by Stephen Briggs, I wonder if in America – what we may not have. It may be a U.K. only.
Wil Harris May be a U.K. thing.
Leo Laporte Oh dear.
Wil Harris No, no, no, it says I am looking on the site and it says, it’s definitely – it’s in dollars, so it’s definitely on there.
Leo Laporte Oh dear, I am looking for it, okay well I’ll find it. Making Money, we’ll put a link on the show notes. But you know, any of the Terry Pratchett books will be great. What’s the first Discworld one it was called the …
Wil Harris The Color of Magic.
Leo Laporte The Color of Magic.
Wil Harris No, The Light Fantastic.
Leo Laporte No I think it was The Color – well anyway, both of them. Get them both
Wil Harris They’re both on there.
Leo Laporte You get two. Audible.com/twit2, but now we’ve told you four books and maybe you want to just get two next months as well. Audible.com. I love Audible, I know you will too. It’s the greatest. Listen to the books, next time you are on the plane, in the car, on the train, stuck doing the laundry, working out in the gym, I listen to the Audible at all time. Audible.com/twit2. We thanks them so much for their support. And thank you Wil, for – I had no idea that the Making Money was on inaudible
Wil Harris Well having just done an 11 hour plane trip I can attest to the usefulness.
Leo Laporte And you know how long the unabridged is? you should have got the unabridged. 11 hours 8 minutes. Would it have taken you to the tarmac?
Wil Harris That would have just about done it actually. Maybe for the way home. Listen to it again.
Leo Laporte Listen to it again, the full unabridged. Usually I don’t mind abridged in non fiction but I hate to listen to unabridged (sic abridged) novels. I want to hear every word. Especially if it took him like a day per sentence. You just like took a year of his life and threw it on the street and said ‘I don’t need it.’ No, just teasing. Audible.com/twit2.and Sir Terry Pratchett, we love you, keep writing, we love those books. Have they make movies out of any of them, Rincewind and –
Wil Harris They’ve made TV movies in England. The TV movies were not quite there.
Leo Laporte I’d love to see somebody put their heart and soul, like Harry Potter quality movie.
Wil Harris It should be Lord of The Rings, Harry Porter style. It really should be and it amazes me that it isn’t.
Leo Laporte That would be wonderful.
Wil Harris I am sure it’s sat in a Hollywood back lot somewhere or somebody’s desk, optioned and…
Leo Laporte Sad. So John I am going to give you a choice, you can talk about digital transition or Facebook, which will it be?
John C. Dvorak I am going to choose something, I’m going to take a third choice, I think it’s something we should discuss.
Leo Laporte ‘A new car!’ No, I am sorry, what..?
John C. Dvorak ‘Come on down!’
Doug Kaye Wait a minute let me look under my chair.
John C. Dvorak Video game industry sets, or hits, two year low
Leo Laporte Yeah we just got off E3 the big video game convention
Doug Kaye My son’s in that business
Leo Laporte Is he?
Doug Kaye Yeah.
Leo Laporte Is – what’s happening, is it..?
Doug Kaye It is because my daughter who is sitting here, she says it’s because there’s no – which is I thought too, there’s no good games.
Leo Laporte They suck. What’s your son’s game?
Doug Kaye Transformers II.
Leo Laporte Oh. So he does –
Doug Kaye Comes out this month.
Leo Laporte He’s working for..?
Doug Kaye It’s Activision I think. Well, like everybody he freelances.
Leo Laporte Now is he design, what is he, what part of it does he?
Doug Kaye He’s in QA.
Leo Laporte Oh cool. So he sits there and plays games all day.
Doug Kaye That’s what he – yeah, that’s what it sounds, he wishes it were that easy.
Leo Laporte He had the dream. The dream of every adolescent everywhere, someday to get paid to play video games
Doug Kaye Right. Well after three years I don’t think it’s quite that.
Leo Laporte No it loses some of its thrill I’m sure. Yeah they say that it is a bad time right now for the video game industry. U.S retailers in May hit the lowest marker, nearly two years overall sales dip, below a billion for the first time. No when you say below a billion, you can’t exactly…
Doug Kaye That’s a billion per month
Leo Laporte Per month. It’s not exactly, you know, tanking. It’s not like CD ROM sales or something.
Doug Kaye I mean you’d expect in this economy for everything to be down. One of the interesting things about the video game business that always fascinates me is that, do you know it’s bigger than the Hollywood?
Leo Laporte Oh yes, well maybe not now but –
Doug Kaye No it is still, yes
Leo Laporte Is it? You wouldn’t – that’s the thing, you wouldn’t expect movies to go down in a bad economy or video games. These are relatively inexpensive things you can do. That – you don’t have to leave house, you don’t have to go –
Doug Kaye Movies won’t have gone down, except we now have rental.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Doug Kaye Right. In the 30’s movies did fine.
Leo Laporte Right. Huge. But they were only a nickel.
Doug Kaye But there were no rental – you couldn’t rent them. You couldn’t watch them at home.
Wil Harris So I think another point, I mean this is a good story in general. I think another point for the particular dip in May is the fact that, I mean May is a really slow time for video game sales.
Leo Laporte June is gonna take off.
Unknown Speaker Summer is notoriously bad.
Leo Laporte Oh! Summer is bad?
Wil Harris I mean summer is great for movies and the flipside being that it’s almost always bad for video games.
Leo Laporte I thought kids getting out of school would help video games, but I guess they don’t want to play them if they can’t procrastinate on homework.
Wil Harris I mean the run up to Christmas, the holiday season is always the huge season and there’s going to be a bonanza this holiday season.
Leo Laporte Biggest decline hardware sales, which fell 30% from last year. Games themselves, 23% down while there were very strong new releases this month along with continued strong sales of evergreen games, the top ten games sold only 2.6 million units compared to 3.6 – 3.7 million last year
Wil Harris And you’ve just got to look at – I mean there’s a great article on the Reg Hardware comparing them. The top game this year for May Is UFC 2009, which by all accounts is a little bit lame, it’s Wii Fit, Infamous, again a bit lame, Pokemon Platinum, come on, whereas last May the biggest selling game was Grand Theft Auto IV, which had just gotten released. So, if you compare Grand Theft Auto IV versus Pokemon Platinum.
Doug Kaye It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.
Wil Harris It’s not quite the same.
Leo Laporte So John is your daughter saying the games suck these days?
John C. Dvorak That’s what she said. Yes. And she should know.
Leo Laporte Does she like spend a lot of time on the..?
John C. Dvorak As far as I can tell it’s all she does.
Leo Laporte All of your kids are big video gamers.
John C. Dvorak She just gave me a dirty look by the way.
Leo Laporte What grade is she in?
John C. Dvorak She’s in the ninth grade.
Leo Laporte Yes .
John C. Dvorak Straight As by the way.
Leo Laporte My son’s in the ninth grade, plays a lot of video games, not straight As though. Maybe he should play more.
Doug Kaye All the big games we have mentioned are all sequel games aren’t they?
Leo Laporte Well that’s one thing about video games, sequels are better – usually better than – unlike other movies, where the sequels are usually worse, video games are usually better.
Doug Kaye I mean Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Transformers even.
Leo Laporte Yes they get better, but look at the first Grand Theft Auto compared to the most – GTA IV, I mean it’s like night and day. The first was like top down, little characters, 2D.
Wil Harris 2D. I remember playing it on like a Pentium 90 or something.
Leo Laporte It was fun but it wasn’t anything like today’s games.
Wil Harris No nothing of.
Dwight Silverman I think it’s mostly economic, I mean somebody mentioned that these games are inexpensive and they’re not. The – people pay, what 300, 400, $500 for the hardware and then a game like Grand Theft Auto IV is 60 bucks. The Sims 3 just came out which is usually played by younger kids, a lot of the times girls. I bet John, your daughter is interested in it. You can get that for 50 or $70, depending on the version. That’s not cheap and in this economy. And the titles that you listed are all less expensive Wii titles or –
Leo Laporte That’s true, those are the best sellers aren’t they? Yes.
Wil Harris Well the Wii is the cheaper machine by a country mile.
Doug Kaye I think it’s an economic thing.
Leo Laporte That might be. They’re just too expensive. Should they cut prices and..?
John C. Dvorak I think so.
Wil Harris Well they should, but the trouble is the cost of development of these games as the systems get more and more complex is getting higher and higher, so it takes –
Doug Kaye My son needs a job. Keep those prices up!
Leo Laporte Let me tell you something –
John C. Dvorak Grand Theft Auto IV cost $150 million
Leo Laporte 150 million. I was at a – I won’t say the name of the game or the company, but I was at a big scoring session for a video game. They rented Skywalker sound 70 piece orchestra, four day recording session. This is the music for a video game. It sounded great, but that must have cost alone several million dollars
Wil Harris In the millions for sure.
Leo Laporte I mean you’ve gone musicians there all day.
Dwight Silverman This is one of the reasons why a lot of game developers are really interested in the iPhone as a game platform.
Leo Laporte Casual gaming.
Dwight Silverman Is they can do things a lot cheaper, the development is a lot cheaper and it’s – they can also recycle a lot of games.
Wil Harris And potentially you can reach a much a larger audience. I mean the amount of people with iPhones now, what are we into, like 10, 20 million? We must be up in that direction. Whereas the sales of most video game consoles are still not quite there yet.
Doug Kaye I go back to that Hollywood comparison. An individual can still make a documentary let’s say, or even a small theatrical film. But an individual cannot make a game that’s going to compete for the Xbox or…
Leo Laporte But they can make an iPhone app.
Doug Kaye Exactly , so this really – it’s really the change of platform that enables the individual developers or the small groups of developers, because the skill sets that you need to produce a competitive game are essentially the same skill sets now as a Hollywood feature film.
Wil Harris Well, you look at the biggest selling, I believe the biggest selling video company on the iPhone is this company ng:moco, who nobody has ever heard of before the iPhone came along.
Leo Laporte I think I should learn iPhone development, that’s really…
Wil Harris Well it’s a really interesting space to be in.
Leo Laporte And by the way, Palm Pre development. Anybody who is lining up to develop for the Palm Pre, no. I mean they may know, it’s easy as java script, but I think the platform is the iPhone. I really do. What games does your daughter play yet John .I don’t think it’s Sims 3 somehow.
John C. Dvorak What do you play? She doesn’t want to answer.
Leo Laporte I think it’s killing things.
John C. Dvorak No she actually plays a lot of Wii games and she plays on the DS a lot.
Leo Laporte The DS is great. In fact Henry and are going to China –
John C. Dvorak And she’s also – she also comes into the living room here and she turns off the HD Feed on the big screen and plays on the XBOX 360 and leaves it on standard definition video, never changes it back, she just left, she stomped out.
Leo Laporte Kids today, I tell you. They don’t know, we used to be happy with SD. So while your daughter is playing Nintendo and my son is playing XBOX 360, a 14-year-old student from New York State has become the youngest person in history to discover a supernova.
Doug Kaye Oh really, I missed that one.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Wil Harris Wow. That kind of puts it in perspective.
Leo Laporte Caroline Moore, using a relatively small telescope spied the faint object 70 million light years away from Earth. Yes, they dubbed it sn2008ha. It’s actually a new kind of exploding star, a thousand times more powerful than a super – than a regular nova but a thousand times weaker than a typical supernova. And I guess she’ll be going to Harvard next year. I don’t know.
John C. Dvorak That’s good work.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak That’s better than playing games. Get on that telescope.
Leo Laporte ‘Get that telescope out, look for a nova or something. Maybe you can get it – something named after you.’
John C. Dvorak So, now what were these other stories that we were going to discuss?
Wil Harris Face squatting.
John C. Dvorak Face squatting.
Doug Kaye There we go.
Leo Laporte Face squatting. I like it. I like it.
John C. Dvorak Face squatting?
Leo Laporte Facebook announced earlier this week that come midnight Eastern Time on Friday, you would be able to apply – because you know when you have a Facebook URL, it’s facebook.com/?:=13748711. You could apply to have whatever you wanted as be your name. So for instance I have facebook.com/leolaporte. And there was presumably a big land grab. They said in the first 15 minutes half a million names were signed. By the way…
Doug Kaye The Infrastructure handled it.
Leo Laporte …kudos to Facebook. I went there in the first three minutes I got three domain names, because I got ChiefTWiT for my personal page, Leo Laporte for my fan page, and TWiT Live for my TWiT page and flawless, nothing, no delays, nothing. I was stunned.
Doug Kaye I saw one of my favorites.
Leo Laporte What’s that?
Doug Kaye index.html.
Leo Laporte And they got it?
Doug Kaye No, actually that one I just – I had to, I wanted to check on it and it was available. I think now, by now I’ve said it, it’s gone, but index.html was available.
Leo Laporte Because dots are ignored. So really it would be index html.
Doug Kaye Well, the point is the URL looks like.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it looks like the URL. Or you could put a little MySQL command in there, drop tables, that’d be good.
Doug Kare Somebody looked like, missingpage.jsp or something like that. It was great.
Leo Laporte I think most people, however, opted for their own name. So, here’s the question. Is this kind of, from Facebook’s point of view, I think they’re looking over at Twitter saying, gosh this could be the phonebook for the internet generation? We got to get into this game. Is it –
Doug Kaye Yeah, but everybody’s got a phonebook.
Leo Laporte Now there’s phonebooks everywhere.
Doug Kaye I mean everybody who has a large base of customers has a name space.
Leo Laporte Whilst no one has a larger base than Facebook.
Doug Kaye I mean AOL had this 10 years ago.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Doug Kaye Everybody…
Leo Laporte Was there value at AOL, that you’re – Leo Laporte at aol.com, was that…?
Doug Kaye I think it was tied to…
Leo Laporte …screen name.
Doug Kaye It was tied to the fact – in their case it was critical, because if you gave up your AOL address, you lost your e-mail.
Leo Laporte Somebody took facebook.com/default. Now that’s a name.
Doug Kaye It’s…
Leo Laporte So, there – is there value or is it so fragmented that there is not value? Is it possible that something like Facebook could become kind of the de facto? In other words, somebody said instead of saying @leolaporte, you will say /leolaporte.
Wil Harris Well, I think it’s definitely possible. I mean isn’t it already – I think for a lot of people, particularly the younger generation, Facebook is their directory. Everyone has their phone number listed on Facebook. Nobody bothers using e-mail, you just facebook them.
Leo Laporte You know what you do on the Palm Pre, you enter your Facebook ID in here, and it takes all the phone numbers from all your Facebook friends and populates your contact list.
Wil Harris I have an app for the iPhone that does the same thing to your address book. And that’s exactly what you want, because that means they can update their Facebook page. You can automatically have their latest numbers. I think it’s certainly going, you know, I can see in six months to a year, Facebook is your address book and I mean I think that...
Leo Laporte There’s value to that.
Wil Harris There’s got to be some kind of Twitter Facebook.
Doug Kaye I was going to say why…
Wil Harris I mean there has to be.
Doug Kaye Again, once you have a few million users, you have a certain amount of problem with that. I mean how many people do you know on Facebook who aren’t also on Twitter?
Wil Harris I know a lot of people on Facebook that aren’t on Twitter.
Leo Laporte Oh tons. Oh yeah.
Wil Harris But that’s because, I think, Facebook now has expanded into a…
Leo Laporte Well, we know there’s a lot.
Wil Harris …much, much, much larger group of people.
Leo Laporte Facebook is universal almost.
Wil Harris I mean my mother is on Facebook. And my mother would not dream of being on Twitter. But everybody she knows is on Facebook, all her old friends. And so she’s got to be on Facebook as well. Lord help me.
Dwight Silverman Facebook is the new AOL and that’s why. And Facebook is AOL, if you look at it –
Doug Kaye Yeah I think it probably I, that’s probably true.
John C. Dvorak It’s going to end up like AOL.
Doug Kaye I agree with John.
John C. Dvorak It’s the new – right, I agree.
Doug Kaye I think Facebook’s days are numbered.
Leo Laporte Really?
Doug Kaye Yeah.
Dwight Silverman Yes. Yes.
Leo Laporte Why?
Wil Harris Facebook made money last quarter.
Leo Laporte Because it’s a walled garden?
Doug Kaye I don’t like their attitude.
Wil Harris I don’t think, I mean if you look at what Facebook is doing –
Doug Kaye I just don’t like them.
Leo Laporte I don’t like them, that’s why.
Doug Kaye No, but I think that’s a…
Wil Harris Not only are they creating a universal address book, but they’re – Facebook connect is just the most genius thing I’ve heard in the last 12 months, because they’re allowing you to use that address book as a plug in everywhere else.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that was very smart.
Doug Kaye Yes, right.
Wil Harris I was giving a talk the other day and I was saying there is no reason, if you’re building a web app today, to ever build your own sign on system. You should – there is no reason, because everybody can just sign on with Facebook.
Leo Laporte Except, aren’t you kind of a prisoner of Facebook then, I mean doesn’t that…
Wil Harris But what you lose, what you lose in terms of like the flexibility, and somebody also owning that user data, you gain in the fact that theres no barrier to entry for whatever your service is.
Leo Laporte Well, it’s true on my – for instance, I use discuss on my blog comments, and discuss automatically allows Facebook log-in, and I get many more comments because they don’t have to create an account. They already have one, although now they’ve added Twitter and also people can sign in. Twitter’s got OAuth So, now that OAuth is the engine behind this, is the open source authentication system. Twitter supports OAuth, Facebook supports OAuth. It’s open ID basically and they just become…
Doug Kaye Different.
Leo Laporte It’s different open ID are different.
Doug Kaye Open ID and OAuth are different, yeah.
Leo Laporte Related?
Doug Kaye Conceptually the same.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Doug Kaye But not related technically.
Leo Laporte Okay. The nice thing about OAuth Flickr uses OAuth, is that you can give somebody access to your account without giving them the keys to the kingdom. And that was the problem with Twitter. You have to give them – you used to have to give them your password. Now you could just say authorize.
Doug Kaye I’m not sure – somebody in the chat room will tell us. I’m not sure that Facebook is OAuth. OAuth is more for APIs.
Leo Laporte Yeah, Facebook’s using open ID. They may not be OAuth.
Doug Kaye Yeah, open, and I’m not, but is it really?
Leo Laporte Yeah, that was the big deal that they supported. They are now an open ID provider.
Doug Kaye Certainly as a user, it doesn’t look like it but that…
Leo Laporte But no, that’s kind of that Facebook connect, I guess could also be used as an open ID identify.
Doug Kaye I should try. We use open ID for our sites, I should try it.
Leo Laporte Go ahead Dwight.
Dwight Silverman There’s a story at Silicon Alley Insider, Nicholas Carlson has it that, in which, it’s an interview with Zuckerberg, and he says that Facebook’s future is not as a website, but rather it’s as a platform spread across the web. And if they do that, and do that successfully, I think Facebook has a future, but if they stay kind of as a walled garden that is as much irritating as it is useful, which is, I think, kind of the way a lot of people feel about it now, I don’t think they have much of a future.
Leo Laporte And here’s a key…
Dwight Silverman Then I really don’t like them.
Leo Laporte Here’s a key. You can’t be a platform unless you’re open, in my opinion. So…
John C. Dvorak I think Microsoft would disagree.
Leo Laporte But I agree with you that they disagree…
Doug Kaye I don’t want like them.
Leo Laporte I think that’s why they’re going to lose in the long run because they are a closed platform. Look at Google Wave versus, whatever, SharePoint, or whatever Microsoft’s going to do in the collaboration field, who are you going to adopt? You’re going to adopt the open one.
Wil Harris Google Wave being open is possibly game changing.
Leo Laporte Huge.
Doug Kaye Yeah.
Leo Laporte So, I would say the same – I would submit the same thing about Facebook if they – and this is the problem. I actually had this conversation with Facebook, with Dave Morin. If - the promise, the culture at Facebook. They even said this, our users don’t want us to be open. They come there with an expectation of privacy. It’s very difficult. Facebook in effect has to change its culture. You go to Facebook because no one can see what you’re doing there. I asked my daughter at 9 o’clock on Friday, well aren’t you going to create facebook.com/abbeylaporte. She said no, the colleges will see me. She doesn’t. The point of Facebook for her is privacy.
Wil Harris But I think there’s a difference between being open with data and being open as a platform to allow people to do what they want with their data.
Leo Laporte Right.
Wil Harris I think it’s perfectly acceptable for Facebook…
Leo Laporte I agree.
Wil Harris To be very, very open about its platform but still use that openness to enable people to choose what you want and what you share.
Leo Laporte That was my point. I said look you’ve already got this everybody switch on your privacy controls. Shouldn’t – if somebody says chosen, it’s not the default, somebody’s chosen, everybody can see my data, shouldn’t you make it open? And Facebook did not. In fact, they said sites like FriendFeed can only cash it for 24 hours. They have to dump it. It isn’t open and they said the reason we didn’t make it fully open is because our users expect privacy, even though I agree with you Wil. You could make that a switch. You could say, you can have a public facing Facebook, but they say we’re not public facing. Twitter’s public facing.
John C. Dvorak Leo, why doesn’t your daughter use that name of hers anyway and just keep kind of a facade site, so that the colleges do see her. They’re going to see her as some prim and proper person who is very dedicated to academics.
Wil Harris So Abby Laporte just has lots of photos of really, really, really proper things as opposed to lots of teenage things.
Leo Laporte Well don’t you think I, as a dad, wondered, well, what the hell is on your page that you don’t want anybody to see?
John C. Dvorak Yeah, really no kidding.
Leo Laporte What is it, the drunken photos not for public consumption, Abby, what exactly is on there?
Doug Kaye How many Facebook users are there compared to Gmail users?
Leo Laporte Gmail’s pretty small. Facebook much, much, much, much bigger. Gmail is surprisingly small. Yahoo and Hotmail much bigger than Gmail.
Wil Harris Much, much bigger. But Gmail has such a mine share among the technorati.
Leo Laporte The digerati.
Wil Harris Technorati’s the wrong word.
Doug Kaye So is there anybody who’s, I mean it’s a numbers game. Is there anybody who’s close to Facebook...
Leo Laporte Nobody.
Doug Kaye …to have that kind of quantum?
Leo Laporte No and Facebook’s growing at a faster rate than anybody. Facebook is growing…
Wil Harris Not even twitter is close.
Leo Laporte Facebook’s growing by like three twitters a month. I mean Facebook is growing, I don’t know what the actual number is but it’s huge.
John C. Dvorak Well last number I heard was 40 million but it must be a lot bigger than that.
Leo Laporte Facebook? No, no it’s well over 200. I think it’s 200 now.
Dwight Silverman It’s over 200 million.
Wil Harris That’s a fantastic measure of user currency, how many Twitters are you?
John C. Dvorak 300, somebody in the chat room says.
Leo Laporte 300 now I think. Now, and these, by the way, as far as I know, are active users. This isn’t even people who signed up for a Facebook account and haven’t used it again. This is, this is per month 300 million people. I mean it’s, that’s huge power, and is one of the reasons I think we should really be pushing Facebook to be open. So I like your threat Doug, you’re going AOL if you don’t open up. I told them you’re going to be classmates.com if you don’t open up. Now that was a threat.
Doug Kaye I mean there’s a big difference between, I think Wil had it right. There’s a big difference between an open platform and everything being public, those are not at all the same thing.
Leo Laporte Right, I agree with you and I said that to them and they said, well I know but we still think…I think they’re preserving –
John C. Dvorak Here’s an interesting observation that somebody made, he said most of the Facebookers I know are over 40, and Leo you’re a big user. My daughter doesn’t have a Facebook page and I don’t know if my so does or not.
Doug Kaye John, most of the people you know are over 40.
Leo Laporte They say the same thing about twitter. They say, oh twitter’s really not kids.
John C. Dvorak I think twitter is for an older demo.
Leo Laporte Isn’t it odd that social networking has actually taken over in a, with older people better than younger people, why is that? Are we more social? We don’t have any friends.
Wil Harris I think that we’re more tied to computers than friends.
John C. Dvorak I don’t know, my daughter who came back into the room finally, she says that we don’t like to be surrounded by old farts.
Leo Laporte So where are they going?
Doug Kaye Neither do I.
Leo Laporte Right, who does? Are they going to MySpace? Where are they going? Where are the kids going?
John C. Dvorak MySpace is dying.
Leo Laporte Yeah, in fact that’s one of the stories, MySpace, supposedly big, big layoffs on the way.
Dwight Silverman I don’t think, I don’t think Facebook is full of old people. I think older people are now joining Facebook faster but you got to remember what Facebook’s roots were, it was as a college, a way for people in college to find each other at university. And that’s also where the privacy comes from, is from its roots and the design of it originally. And I think that’s kind of built into it and it’s hard for them to get away from it. But I don’t think Facebook is mostly old people, I think that’s who’s getting on now.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I agree. I agree –
John C. Dvorak Well somebody said, one of you guys there said something like your mom or your grandmother?
Wil Harris Yeah, my mom.
Leo Laporte But your mom’s like my age.
John C. Dvorak Doesn’t that say…
Wil Harris Super old.
Leo Laporte Your mom’s probably younger, your mom’s probably much younger than that.
John C. Dvorak I mean what would it take for something new to come along that was creative and interesting and that attracted younger people and…
Leo Laporte They’re using Facebook.
John C. Dvorak Listen, we have gone from AOL to live journal, to MySpace, to Facebook, what, is that the end? We’re going to stop at Facebook. I don’t see why.
Leo Laporte Clearly not.
Doug Kaye I agree with John. I think it’s…
Dwight Silverman And I think also twitter has some legs there. I mean my – I don’t know a lot of kids my daughter’s age, but she’s gotten on Facebook and she, I mean on twitter and has found it useful and is beginning to kind of evangelize it to her friends. She’s The Jub. She asked me to mention her Facebook name, so she’s The Jub, t-h-e j-u-b, so you go follow her, treat her nice.
Doug Kaye Just got a few thousand hits.
Dwight Silverman And more and more people, more and more people who are younger I think are getting on twitter, and I think the kind of the rap that it’s for old people doing social networking is probably going to end soon.
Leo Laporte I think what you’re seeing is the universality of these platforms that, as people start to realize – it all, it doesn’t happen until your friends are using it, but it sweeps through groups virally. So I remember in Facebook the fastest growing town was Toronto, and Toronto was growing faster than like the whole United States, because everybody, there was this viral spread, and I think that’s how it kind of goes, in patches.
Wil Harris Well that’s because social networks are only useful if you have a network of people on them.
Leo Laporte Right.
Wil Harris And so they inherently sweep through groups of people, because one person tells the other person, tells the other person.
Leo Laporte Although twitter’s not quite that way, because twitter you can follow people you don’t know. It’s got, it’s broadcast.
Wil Harris Yeah, because Twitter is not really a social network; twitter is kind of like a fan club.
Leo Laporte So here’s your daughter’s site The Jub, everybody go see The Jub. My daughter’s also on twitter by the way. In fact she started using it more. But – to actually give the lie to your daughter John, my daughter, when she went to France as junior in high school, everybody that was going, that she was going to be going to school with was on Facebook. They connected that way, they got to know each other that way, they stay in touch now that way. Everybody in her high school is on Facebook. I think that that’s, it’s not for old farts. It’s for everybody now. I think everybody’s using it. That’s, I mean that’s how you get to 300 million active users, that’s stunning.
John C. Dvorak And this endorsement has been brought to you by Facebook on the internet.
Leo Laporte How many of you guys got your vanity URL.
Wil Harris I just got mine like two seconds ago. I literally just sat here and typed it in.
Leo Laporte It’s a good thing if you didn’t do it, so you got Wil Harris?
Wil Harris So I got Wil Harris.
Leo Laporte Not ChannelFlip.
Wil Harris So I got Twitter.com/WilHarris, facebook.com/Wil-Harris. I think I already had ChannelFlip for the fan page.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think they did something weird with the fan pages because I had Leo Laporte before this all happened.
John C. Dvorak I’m hoping somebody else takes mine so I can sue them later. Thank you Tony La Russa
Leo Laporte Well they – yeah Tony suing Twitter. They actually had a mechanism which I took advantage of, if you’re a trademark holder, you could send a note to Facebook saying I have a trademark on TWiT, which I did, and they will monitor for people using your trademark and block it. But now they sent me a note back saying we’re kind of swamped right now so it might be a little while before we do that. I think it’s quite interesting. Denise Howell has a blog post on her ZDNet legal blog logarithms. I always confuse it with blogarithms by the way.
Doug Kaye Which is my blog.
Leo Laporte Which is your blog, Doug. Six things to know if your Facebook user name has been squatted. See, once you pick a name you can’t change it. You’re kind of stuck with it.
Doug Kaye Can’t get more than one.
Leo Laporte Can’t get more than one. It’s kind of bad. I mean I chose ChiefTWiT for my personal page but it’s like getting a tattoo. What if in a few years I want to be a dignified fellow and now I’m stuck.
Wil Harris I’m sure if you call Mr. Zuckerberg, I’m sure he’ll do something.
Leo Laporte He’ll take my calls.
Doug Kaye Uh, Mr. Zuckerberg, ChiefTWiT on line 4.
Leo Laporte Here’s some things to keep about, to keep in mind about username squatting. There is a form, the IP Infringement Form that you can say, hey I don’t, so this is on Denise’s blog. Six things to know. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org/Howell. Many jurisdictions, including California, where Facebook is headquartered, restrict or prohibit, I didn’t know this, unauthorized use of a person’s name, image, likeness or unequivocal aspects of one’s identity. So if somebody’s posing as Doug Kaye on Facebook and pretending to be you, not that their name is Doug Kaye, you can’t do anything about that, but if they’re pretending to be the Doug Kaye, you can pursue them. She says it’s not squatting if somebody happens to share your name and that’s kind of the legal thing. Did you get Doug, are you DougKaye, facebook.com/dougkaye?
Doug Kaye I’m Doug.Kaye.
Leo Laporte Doug.Kaye.
Doug Kaye The dots are invisible.
Leo Laporte Well you could use it or not, doesn’t matter.
John C. Dvorak So what was that, there was one other story you wanted to get to before we finished.
Leo Laporte Yeah, the digital convergence. So…
Doug Kaye We have three minutes left.
Leo Laporte We have three minutes left. There’s not much to say. I don’t think, you know it’s funny, my friend…
Doug Kaye You’re talking about the digital convergence.
Leo Laporte No the digital – analog to digital. Look at – actually, as a moment of silence for analog television, which died after a long and healthy life on Friday, June 12, 2009.
John C. Dvorak So I guess it wasn’t the big catastrophe they expected, they probably could have done this a year ago.
Leo Laporte I don’t know, I mean they got 300,000 calls on Saturday, as I said most of those calls were, it’s not working.
Doug Kaye Is that the FCC got the calls.
Leo Laporte FCC.
Doug Kaye Who’s going to know to call the FCC? If they know to call the…
Dwight Silverman I think most people call the TV stations.
Doug Kaye If they knew to call the FCC, they would have known about the converter –
Leo Laporte That’s a good point. It’s a very good point. We should probably ask…
John C. Dvorak Maybe the TV stations put a message on, call the FCC, it’s not our fault.
Leo Laporte Don’t call us. Oh my television’s not working, I can’t figure how to use the television. You know the thing that’s scandalous to me is how all the cable companies have used this as an excuse to befuddle people, yo, the digital transition, this is something you probably don’t have to deal with yet in London but…
Wil Harris Not until I think, like, I think we have another couple of years.
Leo Laporte But at some point it’s going to happen, and the cable companies go, oh the digital transition is happening, you better get a digital box, as if that had anything to do with anything.
Doug Kaye Yeah, but they, see, you were talking earlier today.
Leo Laporte They re-digitized Petaluma. Hello?
Doug Kaye Yeah.
John C. Dvorak God.
Leo Laporte Hello?
Doug Kaye So.
Leo Laporte What phone is that, is that the E71?
John C. Dvorak It’s an analog clunker.
Leo Laporte Oh, it’s a real phone.
Wil Harris Analog?
Doug Kaye Is it a princess, a pink princess phone, John?
Leo Laporte I could see John with that.
John C. Dvorak If I had those, believe me I would love to collect a few of those.
Leo Laporte You know what my wife wants me to buy desperately? A phone that hangs on the wall on the kitchen and has a really long cord. She says we keep losing the dang wireless phones. The kids keep taking them! I want a corded phone!
Doug Kaye You got to cradle it and tangle the coiled cord…
Leo Laporte When you had the really, really long coiled cord. You’d kind of get it wrapped all around you…
Wil Harris It’s funny how the more you go forward the more you want to go back.
Leo Laporte Yeah, please bring back cords.
Dwight Silverman That’s what I have on my desk, is a corded phone with a long cord, because in a hurricane when the power goes out, you want a corded phone, and so I make sure I have one.
Doug Kaye And you want to be able to carry it all the way into the bathroom.
Dwight Silverman The cellar.
Doug Kaye So Comcast, John do you have Comcast?
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I think its comcastic.
Doug Kaye Have you seen the spots that they’re running telling you that if you have Comcast, whether you have a converted box or not, you don’t need to change anything.
John C. Dvorak You know I, actually if you watch the last cranky geeks we did, I think it was either the one that was ran on, maybe it’s the one running on Wednesday or the one last week. Somebody brought in the card that they’re sending out to all their customers too, which has all this vague information, oh you’re going to lose this channel and that channel, you better get a hold of us. So, it’s very confusing, but I actually only use – I have Comcast but I really only used it for a slingbox and for my internet connection.
Leo Laporte Their goal, they really want to go all – I remember this when we were at TechTV. They want to be all digital because they can get more channels jammed in there and they can’t, FCC won’t let them force customers to do this. I think there’s a few more years before they could say willy-nilly, you’ve got to get a digital box. Customers don’t want a cable box. I don’t want a cable box. Who wants a cable box? So, they’re trying to trick you.
Doug Kaye Well, but now they’ve made a technological change that requires it. They have disabled the analog channels. They don’t tell you that. They tell you if you’re on Comcast you’re covered. So, you know they’re doing it – sort of area by area. We lost our analog channels about 45 days ago and you have to get a DTA.
Leo Laporte You have to get a box.
Doug Kaye They’ve disabled the analog, it’s gone.
Leo Laporte I thought they couldn’t do that legally.
Doug Kaye No, that’s the scam. That’s why I am jumping up and down.
Wil Harris I think what’s really interesting is that – I think these companies really do realize the amount of cool and clever and money-saving, or money-making stuff that you can do when you can get people on to digital. I read an amazing article yesterday about how, I guess the equivalent in the U.K. is Sky TV which runs digital satellite, about how they’re now doing user profiling based on what you watch, and they’ll stream you your own bespoke ads to insert into your TV service. And so, they’ll pick up what it is you like to watch and they’ll stream you the ads digitally that they think is going to be most relevant to you in your TV breaks. So, you might be watching Lost on TV. The person next door gets you know like a Chrysler ad, but you’re really interested in technology, you get a Microsoft ad.
Leo Laporte But what’s wrong with that?
Wil Harris And they store it on the hard drive, and…
Leo Laporte Isn’t that a good thing because then I’ll see ads that I care about and not ads that I don’t know.
Wil Harris Well, you can argue about whether it’s good or bad, but you can’t do that with analog.
Leo Laporte Right. So another reason for them to go to digital.
Wil Harris So just another reason for them to push digital.
Doug Kaye I mean, about a year ago they stopped sending the channel guide down channel 11 where I live. It just stopped, channel 11 went empty, they didn’t put another channel on it and now you have to get the DTA to get that back.
Leo Laporte You want a channel guide.
Doug Kaye I hate the channel guide, but – sometimes it’s the best thing to watch.
Leo Laporte Do you know what the most watched cable channel is? Always has been, the TV guide channel.
Doug Kaye Hm, pathetic.
Leo Laporte It’s the most watched cable channel.
John C. Dvorak Because it’s so fascinating.
Doug Kaye Oh, look, people…
Dwight Silverman. People just leave it on.
Leo Laporte I think that, I think it must be the default in some way, that just, it’s what’s on.
Dwight Silverman Well another way that the cable companies are trying to kind of push this on to people is with DVRs – if you have a DVR, you don’t need that either and that actually makes a separate box, something that’s worth having.
Leo Laporte At least it’s valuable.
Dwight Silverman Right it has some value to it. I switched to UVerse a while back, and they have that in our area. And it basically works the same as cable, comes in over the phone lines – great DSL service if you choose that, and so people where, they have Verizon’s FiOS, or where they have Uverse – you’re starting to get some choice, but it’s not everywhere yet.
Doug Kaye I lost my FM too. That was a nasty problem.
Leo Laporte Yeah, we used to be able to get a radio on the cable.
Doug Kaye Yeah so now you can’t – DTA won’t give you any audio outputs.
Leo Laporte ‘You’re supposed to subscribe to the music channels.’ You are one of those old people. You should call the FCC. ‘I lost my radio!’
Doug Kaye I happen to know the phone number of the FCC.
Leo Laporte I got a call on the, I got a call on the radio show this week from somebody who has, remember those old radios that you could get TV stations on? She says ‘what happens’ – you don’t have those in the U.K.
Wil Harris What the heck is that?
Leo Laporte In the U.S. you could buy a radio that tunes the television dial and listen to the TV on the radio, which is great – 90% of the time it’s plenty.
Wil Harris That’d be awesome!
Leo Laporte Yeah! She said ‘what’s going to happen?’ I said ‘ it doesn’t work anymore.’
Doug Kaye Do you know the iPhone app public radio tuner?
Leo Laporte No I don’t know that.
Wil Harris Publicradiotuner.org.
Leo Laporte Okay.
Doug Kaye Just before we go, go to publicradiotuner.org
Leo Laporte Is there a little some – a freebie for ya?
Doug Kaye It’s a nonprofit op. It’s a great app. It’s a – version one is available now and this gives you access, no matter where you are, to almost, almost all the major public radio stations in the country.
Leo Laporte I use Wunder Radio, it’s from Weather Underground, and it has the most complete list of everything, including all the public radio stations. You don’t have to be limited that.
Doug Kaye No but does it give you the stations or just the listings?
Leo Laporte No, you can listen on your iPhone. In fact most of them work on EDGE.
Doug Kaye This works on EDGE.
Leo Laporte Wunder Radio, I would say also another good choice. But I will give a plug for this one.
Doug Kaye Oh thank you. And what they are working on, coming soon, will be all of the public radio programs on demand.
Leo Laporte This is nice though. Yeah, yeah many of them do that. KQED does it on demand.
Doug Kaye Right. But on the phone it’s a beautifully done app.
John C. Dvorak I think people should be listening to podcasts.
Leo Laporte ‘Yeah, forget this radio, what’s radio?!’ Actually the BBC, to their credit, has most of their shows on demand as well.
Wil Harris It does, well they’ve made a new thing.
Leo Laporte Not just iPlayer but you can listen on the audio, yeah.
Wil Harris So you can also, you can get – they make a lot of podcasts through the iTunes store or RSS, which you can get just downloaded, but of course they have also got the iPlayer, which is their kind of I guess Hulu equivalent, which you can watch on the iPhone. What’s more exciting is that –
Leo Laporte Unless you’re outside the U.K.
Wil Harris Unless you’re outside the U.K., in which case you need to proxy your connection and you can waggle it. But what they’re working on now, which is fantastic is an open standard for set top box on demand over IP. So in five years time, theoretically, every TV will be built to a standard that includes IP streaming straight from the internet, so you can go BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, TWiT.
Leo Laporte That’s great. That’s awesome.
Wil Harris And you can create your own channel guide and it can include any on demand service.
Leo Laporte Will the TVs have to be updated to do that or..?
Wil Harris Oh, there’ll be new TVs.
John C. Dvorak There’s actually a couple of Sony sets out there now that do that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, the IPTV sets.
Wil Harris But that’s a Sony standard.
Leo Laporte That’s the future.
Wil Harris Whereas BBC is creating an open standard...
Leo Laporte Fantastic.
Wil Harris …that anybody can contribute to.
Leo Laporte What’s the name of the standard, you know?
Wil Harris Well the code name of it is called the Canvas Project. And so the idea is that it’ll just pipe any IP channel to your TV like any other channel of TV and when that comes that is the –
Leo Laporte It’s all over, right. It’s all over.
Doug Kaye So all video, all on demand. That means DVRs go away completely because everything’s at hand.
Leo Laporte Well it’s a challenge that we have, because we do streaming video and we need to offer it downloadable so that we don’t, you don’t have – because you can’t TiVO streaming video. So we need to solve that. I think it’s a small fraction of people who watch the downloads, but nevertheless you got to offer it.
Wil Harris And the ability then for indies, for indie producers to be alongside –
Leo Laporte Well you do ChannelFlip you must be thrilled.
Wil Harris Yeah, I am quite excited.
Leo Laporte Well that’s great.
Dwight Silverman Well two words. Bandwidth caps.
Leo Laporte Yeah, in the U.S. we’ve got to fight that.
Dwight Silverman All that video? Bandwidth caps.
John C. Dvorak Good luck.
Leo Laporte We got to fight that baby. Yeah, good luck is right. Ladies and gentlemen I’m going to buy this PRX. In fact, not only that, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do Doug – I’m going to plug it – I’m giving – on the next MacMania in about a month, I’m giving a lecture on 60 great iPhone Apps. This will be one of them.
Doug Kaye Hopefully version 2 will be out then. Version 2 is terrific.
Leo Laporte Did you know about that already Dwight? It’s really cool.
Dwight Silverman Yes. In fact I think version 2 is out. I think I have it on my iPhone.
Doug Kaye It’s in Beta.
Leo Laporte Oh, okay.
Dwight Silverman It works really well and the new one – our – the Wednesday night Technology Bytes radio show wasn’t the first one and it is on the new one. So, I was really happy about that. And we are on a Pacifica station and not all of those are carried on apps like this.
Leo Laporte That’s great, that’s really great. Well I’m – we are out of time, but what a great show this has been. I want to thank you so much for coming all the way from London, England, I mean Oxford, England. Ladies and gentlemen, Wil Harris.
Wil Harris Well we flew out of London.
Leo Laporte You flew out of London, so that’s counts.
Wil Harris So can I get a twitter.com/wilharris plug. My numbers are miniscule compared to the mighty Laporte.
Leo Laporte Can I get a tweet tweet?! Did you see the New York Times did a, I think, fairly scathing article on the suggested users list on Twitter, I was very happy to see them out that.
Wil Harris Oh, really?
Leo Laporte Not scathing, but they revealed the truth about it, which is it has nothing to do with anything. So it’s twitter.com/wilharris.
Wil Harris Someone get me over 14,000, I’m so close.
Leo Laporte I think we can do that. You are currently at 13,880 followers and a lovely background. What is that?
Wil Harris It’s a –
Leo Laporte Looks like a ninja.
Wil Harris It’s a cute ninja. It’s from one of my favorite web comics, which is Little Gamers, little-gamers.com, a massively underread webcomic with some fantastic illustrations. It’s from Sweden. So it’s very pro-Pirate Bay, et cetera.
Leo Laporte Awesome, as is Sweden apparently. 7% of the vote for their EU representative going to the Pirate.
Wil Harris Yeah, which is fantastic, I mean how exciting.
Leo Laporte It’s bizarre. I also want to thank you for coming out, Mr. Doug Kaye of the Conversations Network. So good to see you!
Doug Kaye Thank you.
Leo Laporte Proto podcaster.
Doug Kaye You can find me at twitter/dougkaye but you can also see our new website, SpokenWord.org, which is a project I’ve been doing for about the last year and it’s almost working.
Leo Laporte Tell me about that – what is it that’s going on there?
Doug Kaye Well, rather than try to grow our own podcasting, we realized that the new challenge is finding and sharing podcasting. So it’s a site for finding and sharing everything in online spoken word; video and audio.
John C. Dvorak A metasite.
Doug Kaye What's that? It’s a metasite, yeah, it’s a metasite and we’ve got over a 0.25 million objects in there now. We’ve got audio books, public radio shows, podcasts, you name it.
Leo Laporte Ladies and gentlemen, I also want to thank our good friend Mr. Dwight Silverman for joining us from the Houston Chronicle, blogs.chron.com/techblog. He is on Twitter also, dsilverman on Twitter, and this guy is so wired. He is always on Twitter, so he has to put an apology on Twitter when he is not going to be there, to do the show.
Dwight Silverman Well it’s just I don’t want to – I don’t want people – I want people to like me.
Leo Laporte Well, 5,844 people like you Dwight.
Dwight Silverman And that’s thanks to you, because every time I’m on here, I get another thousand followers.
Leo Laporte I’m glad to plug your Twitter. We have the TWiT suggested users list. It’s much, much better than the official.
Dwight Silverman You want to do that? Actually that would be quite cool. Your suggested users list.
Leo Laporte We could do that. All you have to do is go to my Twitter account and look at who I follow, that’s kind of who I would suggest you follow. Everybody has got a different Twitter. John, of course, TheRealDvorak, John C. Dvorak. Thanks for being here today.
John C. Dvorak Always a pleasure. And don’t forget channeldvorak.com, which you have there on the thing – on the Chyron.
Leo Laporte I do, it’s on the thing. On the Chyron.
John C. Dvorak And yeah, I’d like to get to 55,000 before midnight tonight on my Twitter account. I only need 200, would you please help me out?
Wil Harris Oh you show-off
Leo Laporte Everybody’s shilling.
Doug Kaye I’ve got 205.
John C. Dvorak Who started it? Wil did.
Leo Laporte What is the – what is the picture – is that the Swedish flag? What is that for your icon?
John C. Dvorak That’s a semaphore for the letter D which…
Leo Laporte That’s about as obscure as you can get John.
John C. Dvorak Well curiosly somebody pointed out to me that it also, if you just run it by itself on a boat, this is a boa, it’s for the letter D, when people like to signal to each other, it means when it’s running by itself, distress, boat out of control, look out!
Leo Laporte Couldn’t be more appropriate for your icon. I love that. Look out, the real Dvorak is out of control!
John C. Dvorak Out of control!
Leo Laporte I’m Leo Laporte, we thank you for joining us. We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT – wait a minute, wasn’t they’re going to play...
Wil Harris You were going to play Ellen Feiss.
John C. Dvorak And by the way there’s a bunch of people betting on whether you would or not.
Leo Laporte Play Ellen Feiss?
John C. Dvorak No, there’s a bunch of people in the chatroom saying, “I’ll bet you ten bucks he doesn’t play it even though he promised he would.”
Dwight Silverman And actually Leo, that aired, that did air.
Leo Laporte It aired?
Doug Kaye Yes.
Wil Harris Yeah.
Leo Laporte It did air but only briefly, didn’t they pull it?
Dwight Silverman Right. Right. They did air it, like, a few times.
Leo Laporte Because otherwise we wouldn’t – otherwise we wouldn’t be able to – we wouldn’t have it if it hadn’t aired I guess.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte Or maybe they put it – I thought they maybe put it on a website.
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] I was writing a paper on the PC. And it was, like, bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep blip. And then, like, half of my paper was gone.
Leo Laporte So l lit up a doobie, and got relaxed.
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] And I was like, nnh? It devoured my paper. It was a really good paper.
Leo Laporte Look at her!
Wil Harris Look at the size of her pupils…
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] And then I had to to write it again and I had to do it fast so it wasn’t as good.
Doug Kaye Was this a real spot?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Wil Harris Was it one of their first Switch spots?
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] It’s kind of … a bummer.
Wil Harris And I read the story about that –
John C. Dvorak Bummer!
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] I’m Ellen Feiss, and I’m a student.
Leo Laporte And I’m high as a kite.
Wil Harris She’d gone on set, or she’d gone to a company…
John C. Dvorak She says it was cough syrup.
Wil Harris …with somebody else who was auditioning for it and she’d gone to accompany somebody else and they were sort of, talking to her.
Leo Laporte She wasn’t there to be on the show?
Wil Harris She wasn’t there to be on it – and she suddenly had this story and they said this is amazing. The only problem was she had – she’d been on some kind of drastic pain medication. So she was kind of hopped up on the pain medication which they didn’t realize, and it was only kind of afterwards when they put it out. Well I think is Apple is very stoner-chic.
Leo Laporte I’m going to play it one more time, now that you say that I think we should end the show with lovely Heidi Fleiss, not Heidi Fleiss. She was a madam.
Wil Harris Entirely different! She was a madam.
Leo Laporte Ellen Feiss.
Wil Harris Ellen Feiss.
Leo Laporte Not Heidi Fleiss.
Wil Harris No.
Leo Laporte Although we could end the show with Heidi Fleiss too.
Wil Harris But that would possibly get us imprisoned.
Dwight Silverman Actually, there is a second one; there is another one with her in it.
Doug Kaye Oh, no!
Leo Laporte Let’s find it.
Dwight Silverman The other one didn’t air.
Leo Laporte I’m sure that – yeah here’s the second one.
Wil Harris Ellen Feiss strikes back?
Leo Laporte I figure if you’re going to do – if you’re going to do one, do two, right?
John C. Dvorak Never seen the second one.
Ellen Feiss [2002 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] Take it someplace fun, skiing or something you know. The beach, by the pool. It’s really fast and I just got it, and it’s silver and it’s really exciting and the sound quality is really good and I don’t have to watch airplane movies anymore. You’ve got your feet in the sand and you’re typing away and it’s – it’s fun. I was thinking about how my friends were doing their homework at home and I was like, wow, this is really great. Yeah, I really love my G4.
Leo Laporte Oh my god.
Doug Kaye Marvelous.
John C. Dvorak I never saw that one. That’s interesting.
Leo Laporte Have you ever seen this one? This is my favorite.
Will Ferrel [2002, 2003 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] Get your iPod.
Wil Harris Oh yeah.
Will Ferrel [2002, 2003 commercial for Apple Computers Switch campaign] iPods here. I sell iPods at Dodger games. Two, and then you got to pass them down kind of the way they sell hot dogs. I got about 1,500 in the trunk of my car. I’m usually shirtless just for effect. The money just starts flowing in.
You can listen to all of these songs. I say at least over 50 songs. I’m not quite sure the amount. I think it’s like 2 million songs. My name is Will Ferrell and I’m a porn actor.
Leo Laporte We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can.
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