Guests: Scott Johnson, Molly Wood, and Veronica Belmont
Recorded: August 9, 2009
Published: August 9, 2009
TWiT 207 •Previous episode – Next episode
This transcript is provided by our friends at Pods in Print
Leo Laporte Bandwidth for this WEEK in TECH is provided by AOL Music and spinner.com where you can get free MP3s, exclusive interviews, and more. This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 207 for August, 10 2009: Grandpa's Woody.
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This is TWiT; the show that covers all things technological every week. We bring together some of the most interesting people in the technology community to talk about this week’s tech news and we’re going to have some fun today.
We have – Scott Johnson says boys versus girls. Scott Johnson is Mr. Extra Life. He also does The Instance podcast and he is proto-podcaster, he has been doing this since long before anybody else.
Scott Johnson Very, very long time. I am thrilled to be here Leo, thank you so much for having me on the show.
Leo Laporte Oh!
Scott Johnson I am excited to talk Tech with someone I’ve watched since the Tech TV days. This is a big moment for me.
Leo Laporte Oh gosh. And your Web comic EXTRALIFE has been around since…?
Scott Johnson 2001, June of 2001 start of the comic and the shows started rolling in around 2003 – 2004, and most recent was AppSlappy the show for App Store lovers and iPone – iPhon – iPhone –
Leo Laporte iPone onners.
Scott Johnson iPone onners. iPhone freaks out there that just can’t get enough of the App Store, so we started that a couple – a few weeks ago and that’s doing well and -- having a great time.
Leo Laporte I did Scott’s – Scott and Tom Merritt have a new podcast called, Extra – I’m sorry, called FourCast, F-O-U-R-Cast.
Scott Johnson Yeah.
Leo Laporte And I did that last week and had such a good time and I thought, well I should get Scott on the show and then he said well if I come on the show, you better bring Ms. Veronica Belmont on the show.
Scott Johnson Heck yeah! She’s – we’re old friends.
Veronica Belmont Hello!
Scott Johnson I just love Veronica. She’s the greatest. She’s like the weird little sister I never had.
Leo Laporte Veronica is this – is Scott our GuildMaster? Should I be bowing down to him?
Scott Johnson Yeah.
Veronica Belmont He’s up there, Randy is really our boss guy in the Guild but, yeah, Scott’s up there too…
Leo Laporte For the horde!
Veronica Belmont …these days.
Scott Johnson Veronica and I were there the day we founded in it, day one.
Leo Laporte Alea Iacta Est.
Scott Johnson Correct, you should be in there.
Veronica Belmont Close, but yes.
Scott Johnson You should be in there, Leo. You’re still on our rolls.
Leo Laporte I am in it. What do you mean I should be in there? I am on the rolls dude; I just don’t play the silly thing. You know why – you know why?
Veronica Belmont My life’s work.
Leo Laporte Every time I launch Warcraft, World of Warcraft now it says “check back in five days, we’ll be updating”. You know, if you don’t update like every time, you pay the price – it takes hours.
Scott Johnson Yeah, it’ll back you up pretty bad [Indiscernible]
Leo Laporte And now they’re using peer-to-peer. So it’s even slower than before.
Veronica Belmont On the day I met Scott was through Buzz Out Loud actually. He was a listener and called in all the time with really great comments and then I think one time he mentioned that he had a World of Warcraft podcast, so I started listening to that.
Leo Laporte The Instance.
Veronica Belmont And we became buds, yeah
Scott Johnson Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, great – show. Well speaking a buds from Buzz Out Loud, ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Molly Wood is also here.
Molly Wood Hello.
Leo Laporte Another …
Molly Wood It’s so nice to be here.
Leo Laporte …alum from Buzz Out Loud.
Molly Wood I know, I didn’t understand the word of what was just said because I didn’t go the WoW route but the Buzz Out Loud thing – yay!
Leo Laporte I got two words from Molly, Bullet Bourbon, baby.
Molly Wood Oh. I hope that’s not the still the first bottle.
Leo Laporte I’m almost out. It’s still the first bottle. No, what do you think I am, a lush? Molly brought me this the last time she was in studio, it is good stuff.
Scott Johnson You fuelled your guest appearance on FourCast with that if I recall.
Leo Laporte Absolutely. I discovered that it goes very well with Odwalla lemonade.
Molly Wood That’s funny because I was also drunk when I did FourCast.
Leo Laporte Were you? I think that was the inspiration.
Molly Wood Your glasses of wine [indiscernible]
Scott Johnson [Indiscernible]
Molly Wood You should know that for today I have a nice summer Lambrusco, which is sort of like a fizzy red wine, and it’s really, it’s quite lovely.
Leo Laporte Oh, how delicious!
Molly Wood Yes, it’s my goal to do TWiT with some sort of liquor all the time.
Leo Laporte Let’s …
Molly Wood Also it’s hotter than blazes, so we need whatever we can get…
Leo Laporte It is and Molly is out on a deck of her lovely, palatial estate in the Oakland Berkley Hills. She actually owns the Oakland Berkley Hills.
Molly Wood That’s true, the whole thing.
Leo Laporte And it’s just gorgeous, the view is spectacular.
Molly Wood It is nice, it is.
Leo Laporte Spectacular.
So let’s get to the stories. And the big story of course was the Thursday meltdown that everybody experienced when Twitter was not online Thursday morning. Kind of an interesting story. It turns out that it wasn’t an attack on Twitter; it was an attack on one Twitter user, and not just on his Twitter account, but on his Facebook account, on his YouTube, on his LiveJournal, he’s a Georgian blogger – he’s a Georgian blogger straight out of the Soviet – former Soviet Republic of – blogging from Tbilisi and wearing the #42, it’s – and I can’t pronounce his name Cyxymu – some weird name.
Molly Wood Yup. That’s what I call him.
Leo Laporte But this started apparently with a – with somebody, and you just got to think it’s the Russian government, I mean who else would want to shut this guy down. He – they started sending out spam, ostensibly from him, with links to his articles, but they sent out so many millions of these, people clicked and pretty soon his blog, his Twitter, his YouTube, his Facebook are all staggering under the weight. Next step was to DDoS it.
Veronica Belmont DDoS, yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah. And you got to wonder about the fact that of all the sites, Twitter was the only one that really couldn’t handle the traffic.
Veronica Belmont Well Facebook had a lot of trouble for a while, especially – mostly in the United States, which is funny they brought up the servers back in the area that the particular user was located and people could get onto Facebook in that region but people were having a lot of trouble everywhere else in the world.
Leo Laporte So they – what actually turned out, according to Facebook, they blocked him everywhere else in the world.
Veronica Belmont Yeah.
Leo Laporte So the way that they solved their DDoS was, they said you can – if you are from Georgia, you can see his page but everybody else, we’re going to block it. And that way I guess most of the traffic – the DDoS traffic was not coming from Georgia, but from all of the owned-computers here in the United States and in China and around the world.
Scott Johnson Well, once again, a thing like this...
Molly Wood Well on Facebook – I mean Facebook had slowness, but Twitter was nuked. I mean it was absolutely unavailable for days and I think is still pretty flaky and Facebook did seem to, even though it had trouble, it seemed to weather it a little bit well than – a little better than Twitter.
Leo Laporte They recovered quickly, but what's interesting is Google, which also was hit didn’t even stumble, didn’t even quiver. But Twitter, yeah, I mean does this say something about Twitter’s infrastructure that one…
Scott Johnson Well doesn’t that – that’s what this serves to do, once again, is that an attack like this, that’s supposedly on one guy, takes down the entire service. It’s a total wake-up call to Twitter, they’ve got to figure out a way to scale better and I know we talk about – it’s been talked about a billion times on this show alone, but they don’t – they are not ready for something really, really major, for people who really want to take them down.
Leo Laporte Dave Winer has been saying – actually I asked Dave to come on the show but he couldn’t make it – Dave Winer has been saying this is – Twitter needs to be distributed, Twitter needs to be distributed, and boy this points it out. And what he’s – Winer’s saying is there shouldn’t be one Twitter, there should be a lot of Twitters, federated together so that – one goes down, it doesn’t mean Twitter goes down.
Molly Wood Well, and he’s been saying that for a long time because Twitter just had so many performance issues for so long. And this, I think, has got to be frustrating for Twitter because it is a giant setback in that sense like they kind of barely had recovered from the Oprah onslaught and then – after which they got embarrassingly slow. And then they basically proved that they can’t handle a DDoS attack as well as your local bank.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Veronica Belmont Yeah, but they are saying even now that they don’t even know when things are going go back to normal again, it could be any amount of time. It’s the – the scaling issue is definitely a big deal, but they’ve – they’ve done better. I mean they’ve added tons more servers and the more money they get, the more they build up their infrastructure. But I don’t think they were expecting this kind of thing; although they probably should have been. It’s only a matter of time before something like this happened.
Scott Johnson So who it really dings is people like – everybody with their – trying to use the API, to use their little services, I use TweetReel on my iPhone and they are down for days and days and days.
Veronica Belmont That’s one I’ve not heard of before.
Leo Laporte TweetReel is great, isn’t it?
Molly Wood Haven’t heard TweetReel.
Scott Johnson Yeah, it’s awesome, great app.
Leo Laporte It only does one thing. You don’t Twitter from it, you upload video or pictures from it.
Scott Johnson Yeah.
Leo Laporte But you can – so it solves the iPhone problem –
Molly Wood I don’t have a 3GS.
Leo Laporte Well I think it will work with – oh, you can’t do video, but you could still use it for pictures. But the problem with video on the iPhone 3GS is that even like a 10 second video, the iPhone says no that’s too big, I won’t send it. But TweetReel doesn’t care. So I was TweetReeling from China. In fact when China was blocking Twitter, I was able to use TweetReel to get out, which really…
Scott Johnson TeetReel’s awesome, it’s awesome.
Veronica Belmont It’s so odd. The downtime didn’t even affect me for some reason like was – I was shooting all day on Thursday and I just kept hearing about all these problems like I was checking Techmeme and everything every so often. But I sent out a couple of Twitters, I don’t know if they made it out there, but I didn’t have any actual issues doing anything or reading tweets that whole day. So I don’t know if I was just in some kind of like safe pocket or if I was just on at the right times, but I was like, what's everyone talking about? I don’t understand what's going on [indiscernible].
Leo Laporte I noticed it.
Molly Wood I think you must have been on base for sure because I was going crazy that whole day like I can’t believe how. I had to go ghetto with Facebook. It was just so depressing.
Leo Laporte Well, as EvilMonkey says in our FriendFeed room, is Twitter really that important?
Molly Wood Well, you know, I think it’s actually – I mean, whether or not it’s that important, it’s certainly is perceived that way because all day long the media was calling CNET for comment.
Leo Laporte It was the number one story on the Times, in Newsweek it was the number one story – number two story on NPR, it’s as if the Bank of America collapsed or something. It was huge.
Scott Johnson It upset your addiction.
Molly Wood It’s like some major communication infrastructure went down.
Leo Laporte Yeah, and it’s not.
Veronica Belmont Telephones are gone.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Scott Johnson I miss the people I follow, was my problem. So I – as soon this was hit, I was like wow! It’s quiet on Twitter, there is something wrong. It feels like apocalyptic almost. I hated it.
Molly Wood I felt lonely.
Leo Laporte Really?
Molly Wood I was all alone without my peeps. I didn’t like it.
Leo Laporte Wow! Twitter really is an addiction. It’s like Starbucks.
Molly Wood It really is, it’s bad. It’s bad, it’s a bad addiction and I think it’s totally bad for I think a certain – a certain kind of – maybe not a certain kind of person, because I don’t want to paint myself with some sort of personality brush. But if you have a really good dialogue going with the people that you follow and who follow you, then I think it can be really, it can feel like you are all of a sudden kind of off in the void and none of your friends are calling you right now.
Veronica Belmont But there’s so many other ways to reach out to people. I mean, we are all on Facebook, and we are all on FriendFeed, or at least we should be. And so I think there’s a lot of different ways to kind of feel that gap if you don’t have Twitter for a little while, for a day.
Leo Laporte FriendFeed got really busy. I live on FriendFeed, It got very busy.
Molly Wood No.
Leo Laporte No, no. You don’t need a replacement.
Veronica Belmont Molly’s like, no.
Molly Wood I don’t want to do those other things. I only want Twitter.
Leo Laporte Were you an early Twitter adopter, Molly?
Molly Wood No, I was late. Veronica knows. I was pretty late. I didn’t adopt it until 2007. I think it was right around the time I went on maternity leave, like right after I had my son and I had discovered it just shortly before that. So maybe February, April 2007, so I mean, I guess relatively speaking but it had been around.
Leo Laporte Kids don’t use Twitter. Teenagers don’t use Twitter. My teenagers kind of very sketchily – they like Facebook, they like MySpace. Younger people don’t use it, it tends to be professionals in their thirties and later. Yes?
Scott Johnson My daughter, my 15-year old daughter started using it. She un-followed me and I said, what are you doing? I asked her that and she said – she says, Dad you tweet too much. It was like well crap! I mean, I can’t even get my own daughter to follow me.
Leo Laporte Your daughter says you tweet too much!
Scott Johnson Yeah, yeah. So it that’s not a sign of addiction, I don’t what is.
Molly Wood That’s a Maury episode right there.
Leo Laporte Daughters…
Veronica Belmont My mom’s on Twitter but she only follows me and LeVar Burton. She just really likes LeVar Burton.
Leo Laporte Father who tweet too much…..
Molly Wood Who doesn’t?