Guests: John C. Dvorak, Patrick Beja, John Graham Cumming, David Pogue
Recorded: September 20, 2009
Published: September 21, 2009
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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, episode 213 for September 21, 2009, The Dog In The Bookcase.
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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, the show that covers all of your favorite technology topics, roughly in order but mostly not. Joining us today in studio, Mr. John C. Dvorak, the real Dvorak, and by the way, THErealDVORAK, not real Dvorak, THErealDVORAK on Twitter.
John C. Dvorak Right.
Leo Laporte David Pogue is going to join us at the end of the show, we’re going to –
John C. Dvorak And channeldvorak.
Leo Laporte And channeldvorak.com.
John C. Dvorak And also the real blog. I don’t do the channeldvorak or the real blog but they are approved.
Leo Laporte We, before the show began, recorded an interview with David Pogue, he wanted to respond to the criticisms that he got last week from the TWiT panel and even kind of the week before and he did so I thought well but he included you in the criticizers and it turns out, and I’ll make sure David learns this, that he was reading a spurious Dvorak tweet.
John C. Dvorak A fake.
Leo Laporte He was reading, well we won’t even give that out. I don’t want to give him any publicity, but somebody with a mere 200 followers. You have far more.
John C. Dvorak 60,000...
Leo Laporte Okay.
John C. Dvorak …although it could be millions now that I think about it.
Leo Laporte So anyway we’ll talk to David. He will get his chance to respond to what we talked about last week in terms of conflict of interest and the issues about how he talked to Steve Jobs and so forth.
Also joining us this week we have an international cast, I’m very thrilled about that, from France, Patrick Beja. He does a number of podcasts in France including one that I keep meaning to be on, the Phileas Club and never manage to get on. Patrick, what is the…?
Patrick Beja It would be great to have you on.
Leo Laporte I’d love to come on it. It’s frenchspin.com, is that the place people should go for your podcasts?
Patrick Beja Absolutely, frenchspin.com is the site and yeah you can find all of the different podcasts over there both in French and English.
Leo Laporte The Phileas Club is in English?
Patrick Beja Yes absolutely.
Leo Laporte And combines journalists from all over the world to talk about – it’s very much like an international TWiT.
Patrick Beja Yeah, well, it’s an international sort of general news TWiT, political and general topic. We try to get opinions from really different people, like we have a regular contributor from Saudi Arabia and we try to get people from the U.S., South America, etcetera, etcetera.
Leo Laporte Excellent. I look forward to it.
John C. Dvorak What’s the website?
Leo Laporte frenchspin.com.
Patrick Beja frenchspin.com.
Leo Laporte And I bet you they’d like you on that Phileas Club too, John.
John C. Dvorak I think it’s on at the wrong hour.
Leo Laporte It’s late night. Speaking of late at night, it’s almost midnight in the U.K. but that hasn’t stopped John Graham-Cumming from joining us. An old friend and a man I would like to honor on TWiT today. John, it’s good to talk to you.
John Graham-Cumming Well it’s very nice to be here, even if it is a little bit late. But I’m a programmer so this is actually normal working time, half past 11.
Leo Laporte It’s true, that’s right, that’s right, just imbibe more coffee. John is the…
John Graham-Cumming More coffee and then get up early, or get up late as possible.
Leo Laporte Right, sleep in. That’s the problem, that’s the hard one isn’t it because tomorrow’s Monday.
John Graham-Cumming That is the hard bit, yep.
Leo Laporte So John – I first met John I think during the Screensavers Days. He wrote a really good anti-spam, open-source anti-spam Bayesian filter called POPFile, which is on I think not just Windows but Mac and Linux too, yes?
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, it’s written in Pearl and it was done completely cross platform. I know it’s even been run on things like an Omega.
Leo Laporte Wow! John, you’d like that.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah. That wasn’t me.
John C. Dvorak You know, I still have one of the…
Leo Laporte He still has an Omega, yeah. So the reason I wanted John on – right, we’ve talked about John’s book by the way, The Geek Atlas which came out a few weeks ago. It was a wonderful, wonderful book, and it was kind of – it’s a series of articles about places that are famous in Geek history. Did you visit all of those places?
John Graham-Cumming A lot of them, not all of them.
Leo Laporte 128 of them fittingly.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, 128 places. When I got the idea for the book, I actually just went on Amazon because I wanted to buy that book. I thought it must already exist, and then when I found out it didn’t, I wrote down a list of about 70 places where I’d already been and then I started researching the additional number to make it up to 128.
Leo Laporte Wow! That’s cool. And like any good open-search programmer you scratched your own itch, you wrote the book.
John Graham-Cumming Yes, basically, I was like, well somebody’s got to write it, so I guess I will.
Leo Laporte Among the places you visit, of course Bletchley Park.
John Graham-Cumming Yes, absolutely.
Leo Laporte This is where – this was the top secret installation that the British government set up to crack Enigma. I am sure it had other roles as well, that’s where Ultra was right?
John Graham-Cumming Well, I mean the thing about Bletchley Park is it was a location owned by the British Secret Service just before the Second World War, and it became the place that was used to break basically as many as possible of the Nazi German and Italian and Japanese codes during the Second World War.
Leo Laporte Going there, was that where you learned about Alan Turing?
John Graham-Cumming Actually, funnily enough I learnt about Alan Turing when I was very young. My parents sent me to a thing at Cambridge University when I was quite a young kid. It was for bright kids to go and have fun in the summer. And I went up to a man there who was probably a professor at Cambridge University and said, “So, how does a computer work?” So, this is – we are talking in the 70s. And this man said, “Well, there’s this thing called a Turing machine.” And he drew on a piece of paper a Turing machine and he just basically told me the fundamental underpinnings of computer science as a – I was a young kid, and I was fascinated by this idea of this tape that goes back and forth, if any ones read about Turing machines, it’s mechanical. So, I’d known about Turing forever, and then of course I studied computer science and I studied cryptography. So Alan Turing was a man who I’d known quite a lot about for a while.
Leo Laporte 1999, Time magazine named him one of the most important people of the 20th century because of his role in creating the modern computer, although he never was able to build one I don’t think.
John Graham-Cumming Well, actually after the Second World War, he worked at what is called the National Physical Laboratory in Britain on something called the ACE, which was a computer as we would now recognize it. Ironically, one of the problems was during the Second World War he had worked on some part of a thing called Colossus. He wasn’t the main person on it but he was well aware of Colossus and that was a valve-based, special-purpose computer, built at Bletchley Park.
Leo Laporte For our ignorant American audience, valves are vacuum tubes.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, sorry, vacuum tubes for the American audience, and yes, funny you have to do the translation.
Leo Laporte A valve is a very different thing in America.
John C. Dvorak A valve is actually a valve.
John Graham-Cumming It’s actually a valve. Well it’s also actually a valve in the U.K. as well.
Leo Laporte Oh, so you have both, ok, all right.
John Graham-Cumming So, yeah, total confusion... But anyway Turing so then said well, we can actually make a computer using vacuum tube, valves, and designed it. And he was almost pooh-poohed because people said, no no, that’ll never work. But of course during the Second World War he had seen something related work but he couldn’t tell anybody because it was a big secret. So he was sort of stuck with this, “No no, I’m pretty sure it would work”, you know.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you should try it guys! It might work.
John C. Dvorak Try it out.
John Graham-Cumming So obviously other computers did get built using vacuum tubes and it did turn out that they work.
Leo Laporte Now the great tragedy, I mean Turing of course helped crack the Enigma code, he was a national hero really but the great tragedy, he was gay which was of course illegal and considered to be a mental illness in his lifetime.
John C. Dvorak Right, and we also know there are so few British gay men.
Leo Laporte It was so rare that the government went after him. In fact, this is really sad, they prosecuted him in 1952 and gave him a choice. What was that choice?
John Graham-Cumming Right, they gave him a choice. He could either go to prison which was the normal punishment for essentially being caught being gay and of course that’s what happened to Oscar Wilde. Under exactly the same law he got two years of hard labor. And Turing was given the choice of either that or he could try a sort of experimental cure thing for homosexuality which was to be injected with female hormones which would – the idea was it would kill his libido, which of course it did, and would sort of stop him being gay by curing him. Unfortunately, he did agree to it and then he grew breasts because of it and had a major effect on him mentally and physically.
Leo Laporte He killed himself just a couple of years later.
John Graham-Cumming Right and then two years later he killed himself by eating an apple that had been dipped in cyanide.
Leo Laporte So really kind of an unfortunate chapter in British history. But, John, I like it because you decided to something about it. Tell us that story.
John Graham-Cumming Well this is one of these stories that has always upset me because it’s like, basically if you look at the timing, Second World War ended in ‘45, seven years later Turing was arrested. And nine years after the end of the Second World War he was dead and then only 12 years after he was dead, what he had done was no longer illegal, i.e. being gay was no longer illegal in 1967. And so it’s just this awful thing, where you’ve got this man who’s an absolutely genius and then he basically, we essentially make him kill himself and it’s always annoyed me and then for some reason this year on Turing’s birthday which is June 23, I just got really, really mad about it and I put this blog post thing up on my blog and said – you know what? British Government ought to apologize to Alan Turing about this. Something ought to happen officially. And the next day after some comments came in, I thought you know – actually what I am gong to do is I am going to start a petition to the British Government.
It’s quite a long tradition in Britain of directly petitioning the Prime Minister. People go and gather all these signatures and they deposit this big pile of paper on the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives. And there’s actually a web2.0 version of that which is e-petitions, run by the government.
And so that night on the 24th of June I then signed up for a petition to say we ought to apologize for this treatment of Alan Turing. And about a month later, a little bit over a month later, on August 4, that petition became public so people could sign it. And what happened over the next 37 days was, through my effort and through a lot of people tweeting and all sorts of other things happening, 31,000 people signed that petition. And Thursday night – on September 10 I got a call on my mobile phone from the Prime Minister.
Leo Laporte Wow! Gordon Brown called you? He just called you?
John Graham-Cumming Well he didn’t call me directly. What happened was I had the flu and I had been at home and I hadn’t been looking at my email. And I – on the Thursday night I thought, I’ve got to look at my email because of a work thing tomorrow, I had to tell someone to do something. So, I log into my email and there is this email that says please urgently call Number 10 Downing Street Re: Your Petition.
Leo Laporte Oh wow!
John Graham-Cumming So, I looked at the number and I called and I was put straight through to somebody in Number 10 Downing Street who said well, we are actually going to make this apology. It’s going to happen. We think it’s a great thing and in about an hour it’s going to made public and they read the apology to me to give me an idea of what they were going to say. And I was completely blown away because if you read the apology there’s no nuance to it at all, which of course is always a worry with anything that’s political.
And then this woman says to me, Gordon would like a word with you.
Leo Laporte Wow!
John Graham-Cumming So I was – at that point my heart started beating and about 10 minutes later my mobile phone rang and she says to me again, well I’ve Gordon for you and hands him the phone.
Leo Laporte What did he say?
John Graham-Cumming Well, he – the sort of things you might expect. He thanked me for bringing up this petition, making – getting so many people to sign it. He said he thought it was very public spirited of me to go off and do this. He talked for a while about how he hadn’t really realized the story of Alan Turing, you know, hadn’t really seen what happened at the end of his life. And he thought it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about that. And he also links with of course with all the other people who were prosecuted under these laws.
So if you look in the – in the apology he talks about – probably about a 100,000 other people who had been prosecuted over the years. So he just – just an amazing thing that he suddenly came out with this apology. I was in it for the long haul. I thought, I’ve got 31,000 – I was trying to get to the number one spot on the website because I was number five, fifth most popular petition.
So it all happened rather quickly. It was a rather amazing month actually because there was a lot of things going on behind the scenes to get that number up there.
Patrick Beja Johnny…..
Leo Laporte Go ahead.
Patrick Beja Did you start the petition with the hopes that it would actually get through or was that just something to do because you thought it was the right thing to do without any hopes that it would actually happen.
John Graham-Cumming I really hoped it would happen because I really thought it was just an awful story, and every time I think about Alan Turing I’d suddenly get angry about it again, and think this was terrible; it shouldn’t have happened. But if you read my blog I said quite clearly gosh I don’t think I’ll get 500 people to sign this. He’s known of course to computer people, Alan Turing but he is not well – wasn’t well known in my opinion by the general public.
So I was pretty blown away. Actually I was pretty blown away once I got to 5,000 signatures. And then on August 31 the BBC wrote a story about it and that really blew it up. Because that night I had gone to bed feeling pretty happy about 5,000 signatures. And at some time later on in the day I punched up on my iPhone the petition website and there were 16,000 signatures.
And if you look on the story I wrote for O'Reilly about it, there’s this incredible graph where you can see the effect of certain news organizations, and there’s this almost vertical jump in the number of signatures when the BBC spoke about it.
Leo Laporte Yes, yes, it obviously touched a nerve. Yeah it obviously touched a nerve.
John Graham-Cumming You can see, there’s a bam, it just goes up like that.
Leo Laporte That’s the power of the Beeb. I have to say Gordon Brown who’s not notorious for his eloquence is really quite eloquent in this apology.
He says “Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction. I am proud that these days are gone. In the last 12 years, this government has done so much to make life fair and more equal for LGBT community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia, is another step toward equality and long overdue.”
Have they ever apologized to Oscar Wilde?
John Graham-Cumming No.
Leo Laporte Maybe we should start another petition.
John C. Dvorak Yeah do another one, do number too.
Leo Laporte He says...
John Graham-Cumming I’m not going to do another one, it was a lot of work.
Leo Laporte ...on behalf of the British Government...
Patrick Beja I could think of a lot of things we should start petitions for. I want that system in France.
Leo Laporte Yeah it’s a great, it’s kind of – it’s a wonderful thing.
John Graham-Cumming Here’s the really cool thing.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John Graham-Cumming The really cool thing is that all the code for that petition’s website is open source and you can just go download it.
Leo Laporte So we could set up our own petitions website or – in the U.S. here, we just take the code. Look at that.
John C. Dvorak I think I need an apology from David Pogue.
Leo Laporte Okay we can start, let’s start – can we have the Prime Minister give you that apology?
This is, it’s really an eloquent apology. It’s actually quite moving at the end. He says, “on behalf of the British Government and those who live freely, thanks to Alan’s work. I am very proud to say we are sorry. You deserve so much better.”
John Graham-Cumming Yes, it’s pretty amazing. Even when he was on the phone with me he was really quite clearly moved by the story and happy to be talking about it, so it was an interesting evening.
Leo Laporte Well John, thank you for doing that. I think it’s wonderful that you did that. It brought a lot of attention to a guy who was very important to our industry and to a grave injustice that was done to him. So I think in a number of ways you’ve done a really great thing.
John C. Dvorak Well, lets get him some publicity for this book. Tell us about some of these places that you visited.
Leo Laporte Oh it’s so cool. I have a copy here, you’ve got to look at this book.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well I am looking at it – I have it online, but if you have a copy...
Leo Laporte Oh, it’s so cool, yeah let him get a copy. Go ahead, John.
John C. Dvorak But what’s some of the places – because – I am – be kind of a challenge for people to like come up with places that you’ve left out because you actually have a lot places that I didn’t even think about.
John Graham-Cumming Let me grab the book. The book is right behind me up here, here. Since you’re looking for it. Hold it up to the camera. This is the Geek Atlas.
John C. Dvorak I am guessing a couple that you might have left out. I can try, as a game.
John Graham-Cumming Go on, go on.
Leo Laporte Yeah, go ahead.
John C. Dvorak Well how about Area 51, do you have that one in there?
Leo Laporte Yes, it’s in there.
John Graham-Cumming No. Because it’s not – because there’s nothing to –
John C. Dvorak Area 51 is not – okay good, I got one.
Leo Laporte I thought it was? Oh alright.
John C. Dvorak How about Cape Canaveral?
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, of course Cape Canaveral is in there.
John C. Dvorak Wait, wait, wait. [Ph] Alan McGordo (18:35) New Mexico.
Leo Laporte That’s a good one. The testing range where – is that where the sound of…
John C. Dvorak Where they sent some rockets up and then they……
Leo Laporte [Ph] Alan McGordo (18:41), yeah, yeah.
John Graham-Cumming A couple of things – the old …..
John C. Dvorak I am sorry, there [ph] weren’t any on (18:45) brown kind of …
Leo Laporte Right, right.
John Graham-Cumming White Sands Missile Range is there.
Leo Laporte White Sands is in there.
John C. Dvorak White Sands is good.
Leo Laporte Pretty good.
John C. Dvorak What about Vandenberg?
John Graham-Cumming No, I didn’t have Vandenberg. This – one of the problems with the U.S. sites is a lot of military and NASA sites are sort of, you get lots of overlap. So in the end I had to cut a few. So if you look at the NASA ones there’s the Glenn Research Center because they do lots of interesting basic science stuff there. And of course, there’s Kennedy Space Center. But you know, lots of people have written to me and said well what about Houston, what about, you know...
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I know I mean, that’s what you are going to get obviously. But those are places that I think would be cool to visit.
John Graham-Cumming Oh, they are.
John C. Dvorak The [ph] Skunk (19:23) works at Lockheed, you cannot get in.
John Graham-Cumming Funny that, actually I wrote to them and asked them if there were ever any public visits. And they did have the good humor to actually reply to me. And probably put me on the no-fly list as well.
Leo Laporte I’d like to visit your super secret facility. I am writing a book.
John C. Dvorak [ph] Skunk works (19:45)
Leo Laporte No, I think I brought the book home but, John, it’s a beautiful book. It’s glossy, it really is like a regular – like a travel guide but with lot of pictures, it really is – you did a nice job. I love it.
John C. Dvorak Well, people should go buy it then. What’s it sell for? Where can you get one?
Leo Laporte Everywhere.
John Graham-Cumming Where can you get it? Well, it’s just – you know. How much does it cost? I actually don’t know. I’ll have to look at the back. It says it’s 29.99.
Leo Laporte Is it O'Reilly?
John Graham-Cumming It‘s O’Reilly, yes.
John C. Dvorak Oh.
Leo Laporte Yes, so it’s everywhere.
John Graham-Cumming So it’s everywhere.
Leo Laporte John says oh, O’Reilly, oh.
John C. Dvorak You know, I was thinking it’d be Random House or something.
Leo Laporte It’s beautiful – you know they did a gorgeous job, there is no animals on the front or anything, it’s a really nice…
John Graham-Cumming No, no, there’s no animals or anything. Let me – I’ll show you the cover one more time.
Leo Laporte It’s beautiful, look at it, seen lots of pictures…
John C. Dvorak Oh, yes.
John Graham-Cumming It’s got Darwin and Marie Curie and various other people on the front cover, so...
Leo Laporte What was your – give us one of your favorite places and then we will move on to the news of the week.
John Graham-Cumming I – the one that’s most unusual I think in the U.S. is probably experimental Breeder Reactor 1 which is in Arco, Idaho. And the best thing about that, it was a breeder reactor, obviously but in the parking lot outside there are two nuclear aircraft engines. The U.S. had this idea that they were going to use nuclear reactors to power...
John C. Dvorak Oh, yes I remember that.
Leo Laporte Terrible idea.
John C. Dvorak Yes, I remember vaguely that concept.
Leo Laporte Such an awful idea.
John C. Dvorak Yes, they were even talking about putting it in cars with...
Leo Laporte Oh, yes.
John Graham-Cumming You know, as long as…
Leo Laporte If the oil crisis continues it may happen.
John C. Dvorak A little car with…
John Graham-Cumming As long as the plane didn’t crash…
Leo Laporte Right.
John Graham-Cumming ...Or you know, you need to get the crew back alive or anything like that than it was pretty much fine, you know, so. But the engines are worth going and looking at because they are simply the sort of completely crazy contraption, you know, here is a nuclear reactor, here is half a jet engine and it seems like the size of a small house and you’ve got to say to yourself how big was the aircraft that was going to go in, well the answer is pretty freaking big.
And the runway was going to have to be miles long, but...
Leo Laporte Oh dear. It’s like a dreamliner – we are going to talk tech news in just a bit. The book again, we’ll just give you another plug and I know it’s really late in the U.K., so if you start to pass out just, you can go to bed and we’ll just…
John Graham-Cumming I’ll get a pillow.
Leo Laporte You can get a pillow for yourself, but we are going to cover the tech news, all of it in just a little bit, before we do that I do want to mention our friends at GoToMeeting, got to send you to gotomeeting.com/twit so you can get that great deal on the best meeting software in the world. Our friends at Citrix are big sponsors of the show and we thank them so much for all the support and one way you could support us is by taking a look at GoToMeeting.
Now, we have arranged a 30-day free trial so you can see if it will help you with what you – let me give you an idea what GoToMeeting is, it’s a very affordable way to meet with clients and colleagues. You know I think we all have decided that travel is kind of not in the picture these days, it’s awfully expensive, American Express says the average cost of a business trip is, what would you guess, $1,000.
John C. Dvorak That’s low.
Leo Laporte Yes, I’d have thought more.
John C. Dvorak Yes.
Leo Laporte Maybe – because it include business trips across town and stuff but pretty serious costs, $49 a month as many meetings as you want and these are – I have to say effective, we use them on the shows, we use them all the time in meeting with other people because it is a very engaging, effective way to meet. You know conference calls are a snooze but this way you are seeing something, it’s visual, you can collaborate, I can give you control of my computer so it’s great for training; you can actually, while we are having a GoToMeeting, give me control of your computer as a meetee. Therefore it’s completely flexible that way.
Very easy to install, if you go to gotomeeting.com/twit right now you’ll have it installed in just a couple of minutes, set up that account but make sure you use that site so we get credit for that and you can try it free for 30 days. I think you are going to find a lot of uses for it. Highly recommended. Tell the boss and your colleagues, and your clients, gotomeeting.com/twit. We thank them so much for their support of this WEEK in TECH.
Once again with us, John C. Dvorak from Channel Dvorak, also here for the first time, I’m very glad to have him, Patrick Beja, from The Phileas Club and other podcasts in France. Where – are you in Paris, Patrick?
Patrick Beja Yes. Absolutely. I think France is pretty much Paris. There is no other city…
John C. Dvorak A Parisian would say, right?
Leo Laporte A Parisian would say that. I know it’s not true because my daughter was in Rennes for a year last year…
John C. Dvorak First time I went to France it was years ago and I didn’t know it, I was down in Bordeaux and the people kept running me off the road and giving me the finger and I kept saying what do they hate Americans and the guy says no you are driving around a car with Paris plates.
Leo Laporte They thought you were Parisian. Really is that true?
John C. Dvorak I’m telling you it’s a fact.
Leo Laporte That’s very interesting.
Patrick Beja It does – it does happen some times.
John C. Dvorak And by the way can you move a camera and show that dog, you actually have a giant bookshelf in here…
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak And in the bookshelf within the bookshelf itself there is a – the dog sleeps.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that nice, it’s a little cozy little den for…
John C. Dvorak The dog sleeps within the bookshelf.
Leo Laporte The dog sleeps within the book – that’s our spy code, if you meet John at an airport, you say the dog sleeps and he goes within the bookshelf, and then you’ll know.
John C. Dvorak And then we’ll know.
Leo Laporte Then you know. Stories ladies and gentlemen, there is some really, really big stories this week, the Department of Justice filed its brief in the ongoing Google Book Search settlement issue; in about a month a judge is going to decide whether to let this settlement go through, the Department of Justice said some interesting things; one thing it said that I thought was – I was glad to hear them say is that allowing Google to scan in the works of the world, even ones currently in copyright, is of benefit. However, they said, we don’t want you to re-invent copyright law with this settlement, and we think that that’s possibly what it’s going to do. We want you to make sure you consider visually impaired people, the full access is important and we also think that the data has to be open in a variety of ways. I mean a lot of criticism on this data because Google has asserted the rights to sell it, to own it; they say we’ll scan it but we get to keep it. Also Google has been criticised for privacy – for potential privacy issues, everybody would know what you are reading and Google – we trust Google with a lot of information about us so I’m not sure that’s a…
John C. Dvorak Has anybody actually run this thing down in any meaningful way that makes sense? Because every time I read the stories it’s all – it’s all a lot of vagaries. I mean what – I mean people are moaning and groaning about what Google is up to but…
Leo Laporte Well, I’ll give you an example; there is a guy named Jeffery Number, I love him, he is a regular contributor on NPR’s Fresh Air, he is a linguist. I think he is at Stanford, maybe he is at Cal, he is in the Bay Area. And he said, you’ve got to look at the metadata that Google is recording on this stuff, it’s worthless, he says this stuff is worthless for research, Google is attributing the year 1899 to half the books, just kind of randomly. He has got a long list of metadata issues, so that’s one. The privacy complaint, you know you are always going to hear about that whenever Google’s involved, what are they doing, where are they keeping our information. I think that’s – I don’t that’s – I think that’s a red herring.
I do think that the biggest issue is that Google seems to want to control these orphan works, and once they have scanned them, they have the right because they have paid to this – you know to this fund to re-sell them, to use them in various ways and I think that that’s something that’s concerning to a lot of people.
So I think there are some legitimate concerns about it.
John C. Dvorak No, I think there are too but I have never seen a really good breakdown, you know what I mean, it’s like it is always…
Leo Laporte I think you should read the DOJ’s brief actually, I thought it was surprisingly good, and not particularly legalistic, Danny Sullivan has a good kind of breakdown and analysis of it, and a link on his Search Engine Land to the full PDF.
John C. Dvorak Okay, well, I’ll make sure to read that before the next show.
Leo Laporte Yes. It says the United States is committed to working with the parties constructively and – so I think the DOJ is saying, we want to support this going forward but we just think that – they say, “the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status is a matter of public, not merely private concern”.
John C. Dvorak Yes, it is, I think it is a huge deal.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Patrick Beja It is a big deal but the real problem is everyone is having problems with Google doing this but really Google shouldn’t be doing this. I mean, they are only doing it because no one else came in and did it before.
John C. Dvorak I agree.
Patrick Beja They have been waiting and waiting and waiting and whereas maybe even the government should have done it or…
Leo Laporte But I think it is clear now that nobody is going to do it; Google has been doing this for five years; they have a huge head start, they have done million of volumes.
John C. Dvorak You know the…
Leo Laporte Microsoft started it last year and abandoned their book.
John C. Dvorak Actually they started in 2006, Google I believe started in 2004
Leo Laporte Four, yes.
John C. Dvorak Microsoft two years later and then they abandoned it.
Leo Laporte And then they said, well, I don’t know why but…
John C. Dvorak Now, the thing, I agree with this, why is Google having to do this? Because I remember in the 1980s when we were – when computers were really getting ahead of steam and people were talking about these issues and the big concept was ‘everything is going to be digitized; all the books in the world will be digitized, the entire library of Congress is going to be digitized and we are going to have information at our fingertips’ kind of thing. You know, before the Internet came along, that was the buzzword. And meanwhile, so Google, nobody does it, like you said, and then Google starts doing it and everybody starts complaining about it.
Leo Laporte Eric Schmidt said, “I’m open to a better solution. You’ll recall, we had our solution and we were sued over it and then we had a God knows how many years of negotiations with 27 parties and we’ve actually produced a deal.” This is quoted by Danny Sullivan again in Search Engine Land, we didn’t think we should be sued in the first place, in fact a lot of people said that Google was – what Google was doing is fair use. They weren’t – you know, well, they weren’t scanning to publish. They were scanning to index and then they would put an excerpt on if you search for the…
John C. Dvorak Yes.
Leo Laporte So, that’s kind of what they do with the websites, right?
John C. Dvorak Yes, but they…
Leo Laporte Is it so different?
John C. Dvorak Well, the difference – well, that’s the problem. I mean, this is what makes it weird. Website are just – a website is – you presuppose that when a website exists it’s there to be scanned, it’s there to be accessed, it’s there to be linked to, there’s a bunch of givens with websites. But books that are published, or newsletters or newspapers or magazines are meant to be distributed only by the print medium; there was never any assumption that they were going to be scanned and then show up in the Internet, so I’m not absolutely sure that argument is valid.
Leo Laporte EFF are worried about privacy, of course. I mean, hey it’s good somebody is watching us. So Patrick, what is the attitude – a lot of the critique of this has come from the EU because, I think there is just – I get the sense that there is this kind of an anti-American corporate sentiment in the EU in general. Microsoft is not much beloved, nor is Google. What is the sense in France? What do you hear from people about this?
Oh, we lost Patrick. Patrick, you are muted. Hello Patrick!
Patrick Beja Yes. I’m sorry.
Leo Laporte That’s okay. Go ahead.
Patrick Beja Am I back? Okay, sorry. Yeah I feel like there is really – we are really behind in that field. We don’t have any – we are not worrying about digitizing books yet. It’s really not something that we care about. So, we really don’t have an opinion about it. We are always…
Leo Laporte Don’t you think this is as John said a huge – I mean this is what we always wanted, everything that is known available for search and scan and find online?
Patrick Beja Yeah I personally – I personally think it’s very important and definitely it should be done – it’s too late – well, not too late but it’s definitely time. And the real fault is on the industry which hasn’t modernized enough. It’s this, you know the same way Apple came in with iTunes to force people from the music industry to get with the times. And that’s definitely something that should be done and we want to have everything at our fingertips. But in that – in Google’s, with the orphaned works issue, the problem is that they are appropriating these works for themselves, isn’t it? Can someone else then go and digitize these books and use them also or..?
John C. Dvorak Oh, yeah sure.
Patrick Beja That would be the main concern.
John C. Dvorak You can. But you have to do the whole process.
Patrick Beja Okay. So, if Google...
John C. Dvorak I’m sorry, if Google grabs one of these books and Microsoft grabbed a lot of books, in fact a lot of them are, you know, you can turn into books because they gave – released everything to the public domain. But essentially what Google is doing is that they are – they actually own a copyright in some sense to the scan itself – they don’t own the book. Let’s say it’s even a public domain about from 1910, they scan it in and they now own the scan – they don’t own the book, they don’t own the words, they own the scan, and what you’d have to do if you wanted – say, you wanted to republish the book for some reason or make it a part of collection, you’d have to either scan it yourself or find someway to extract the scan from the Google scan, but in fact there may even be codes in there to catch people doing that – I don’t think they’d go that far, but I can imagine it being possible.
Leo Laporte Both Germany and France have – both Germany and France have filed briefs to the judge to this court against it saying it will essentially create a monopoly for Google. That's what their concern is. Now there is – I found on...
John C. Dvorak A monopoly only in the sense that have – they’ll have more books than anybody else.
Leo Laporte Because they’ve done it.
John C. Dvorak That’s right. But you could still sit down tomorrow and scan in 500 books and you got your little collection that you could distribute.
Leo Laporte There was….
John Graham-Cumming I had an interesting problem with this when I was writing my book which is that I wanted to include a diagram drawn by Charles Darwin in one of his note books, the famous diagram of the Tree of Life.
Leo Laporte Yes.
John Graham-Cumming And that is definitely out of copyright. Darwin’s dead long ago…
Leo Laporte My mother – my mother made a hooked rug of that as a matter of fact, as a gift for my paleontologist father, I have it.
John C. Dvorak You have it – I think that explain it all.
John Graham-Cumming So that diagram is actually in Cambridge University, they have the original. To get a high-quality scan of that you have to pay a license fee to Cambridge University because what they are licensing is the scan. So the claim is that the scanning is a new work.
John C. Dvorak Right.
John Graham-Cumming And they can then apply copyright law to that.
John C. Dvorak I agree. And that’s is actually absolutely true.
Leo Laporte That’s reasonable.
John C. Dvorak And that’s why a lot of museums around the world won’t let you take photos of the art work in there because they are selling slides usually of the same artwork in the front lobby store. But the fact of the matter is a Monet, for example, typically is in public domain and if you wanted to copy it, make another painting that, which is exactly the same…
Leo Laporte Well how would you, because they won’t let you take a picture.
John C. Dvorak Well the thing is the great museums are not – that’s not their business to…
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak And so you go to a museum, the Met in New York, and you can take all the pictures you want.
Leo Laporte Oh, really.
John C. Dvorak But you can’t – yeah, and in fact most great museums let you take photos – but you can’t…
Leo Laporte Yeah, I took pictures in the Louvre, that’s right, i remember that, yeah.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, but you can’t take usually pictures of the special collections that are on loan because the people who loan those paintings…
Leo Laporte They want the rights.
John C. Dvorak They want the rights.
Leo Laporte There is a European answer to Google Book Search, it’s called Europeana. When it went online, it went down, 10 million hits in the first week. You think Patrick this is not – this is not the answer?
Patrick Beja Oh, no, sure, I mean there are efforts, but there are other efforts in the U.S. also. Google is the only one who is doing this really seriously and really systematically. And they are the only ones who can bring the costs down enough that it’s feasible on a large scale. So I think – I don’t know, I just don’t get what the big deal is. If they want to go and do it and license it properly and then want to use it – why do the people who complain not go and do it instead of complaining.
John C. Dvorak Yeah. That’s my gripe.
Leo Laporte There is – I think the libraries have a – in the States also have an initiative which is way, way, way behind, why not let Google do it. I think this is what's going to happen and I think this is appropriate. It’s appropriate for the judge to look at this, it’s appropriate for these parties to weigh in, Google has not said we won’t negotiate, they have not been intransigent, they have been trying to solve this. It’s appropriate to assert all of these interests and work it out with Google if they can, if we can and let them go ahead. I mean I don’t think they should have free reign.
John C. Dvorak One of the writers unions, not the Writers Guild in LA, but I think it’s called the writers union or something, some group out of, I can’t remember which group it is, but they were moaning and groaning about this to an extreme, saying that Google is stealing their copyrights. But you know again one of the things that we are missing out on here is that most of the books, despite the fact they have a lot of new books that they’ve scanned in, are these weird books that are out of print, they are out of copy...
Leo Laporte They’re orphan!
John C. Dvorak ...and they are being thrown away. I might want to mention this by the way, the University of California which has one of the largest libraries in the world, I think only second to the – third to the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, those are huge, but the – U. C. Berkeley has the other one, the big monster. You can go over there to a couple of the rooms there and they are selling off lots of the books because more – so many books are still being printed that their collection is out of control and there’s books that are just basically being lost to time, I mean they are not going to – there will be no copies of this books available for anyone who wants to do some back research. And who knows what valuable products or books are being discarded. I see nothing wrong with any of this personally. I think, let them scan everything in.
Leo Laporte You don’t worry about it creating some sort of rights for Google or limitations in what you can do or..?
John C. Dvorak You know, you can always nationalize them, you know.
Leo Laporte You are a socialist.
John C. Dvorak Just go in, bring in the cops and just bust up the place.
Patrick Beja Without going the French route, at least let them – let them just get it in digitized form and then we’ll worry about what we are going to do with it. At least get it on the computer.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, don’t stop them in other words. Let them keep doing this. I mean I’m actually disappointed that Microsoft crapped out in this deal because they worked – I think they did about two years worth of scans and they did I think about 700,000 books or something along those lines and then they copied most of the University of California. I know because I keep working on this perpetual projects that I never finish, and I was using that Microsoft Search because their search was actually superior to the Google one for going – plowing through books. And I was searching, finding all kinds of interesting thing in some things, especially in these economics books that were written around in the late 1800s and early 1900s, then I could search them this way and I was thinking to myself at least for this two-year period, god I should go back to grad school because I could do research on a thesis or a – any sort of paper so quickly with really good data and find stuff really fast, it would be – it just was marvelous, but then boom! They decided to just drop it. The Google – Google is harder.
Patrick Beja Yes, I guess that’s the point. I don’t just want – I don’t want people to think that I’m a Google fan boy or that I want to defend them. I don’t want just Google to do this. I want Microsoft to do this, I want Amazon to do this also, and I want every government in the world to digitize all their books in their national libraries.
John C. Dvorak Right. And actually all the publishers, in fact the publishers were working with John Warnock's (39:08) son for a while with some company he had, I can’t remember the name of it, you might.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah, yeah, that sounds familiar.
John C. Dvorak And he was – they were sending him all the digital files that – because books today – there is not really a book being published today that doesn’t have a digital format somewhere along the line in the publishing process. And so they were giving him stuff and then he would resell it in a digital form in someway that would make them money. And I don’t know what happened to that initiative. But the fact is that everything should – yeah, everything should be digital and should be backed up all kinds of different ways and kept here and there and then be searchable. So, somebody for example in Lawrence, Kansas can walk into their little library that’s run by one of these modern librarians, and there is many of them, who know more about how to search and find things than anybody else, and go up to a terminal and be able to get all the world’s great works, and be able to do some research in Lawrence rather than having to be in some big university somewhere.
John Graham-Cumming I agree, and also these books then become printable with these Espresso book machines and I think that would be fantastic because there are so many books that aren’t available, that you might want to get one copy of in some random place.
Leo Laporte Ironically, that’s one of the plaintiffs’ in this, that put together the Gary Reback Alliance. He is of course the attorney that went after Microsoft in 1998. He is representing Microsoft and – actually he defended Microsoft. I shouldn’t say went after Microsoft, the DOJ went after Microsoft. He is representing Microsoft. I think the EFF is in on this. Amazon, but it’s also the internet archive which is one of the groups [ph] Bruce Cales group. Bruce Cales (40:44) the one who was going around with the book mobile and the instant print thing and trying to get books in people’s hands.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, and [ph] Bruce (40:50) was the one who picked up – the Microsoft, Microsoft people gave their huge collection to…
Leo Laporte He has got their huge database.
John C. Dvorak Right.
Leo Laporte So I am not sure why he’s…
John C. Dvorak But the search engine is missing. This database is there but there is no more search engine.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I don’t understand frankly why they would fight it, but we will give them a chance to respond. Hey, here’s an interesting story that really won’t affect you, Patrick or you, John Graham-Cumming because it’s a U.S. issue.
John Graham-Cumming And the U.S. doesn’t affect the rest of the world.
Leo Laporte Well, wait until you hear what I am about to say and you will understand. We are debating here in the U.S. about healthcare, nationalized healthcare and Roger Ebert who as you know had, he had cancer surgery. Lost his voice, went to Medicare, asked for a device that would help him talk. Medicare’s response, he said they offered me an $8,000 custom device with a tiny little computing power, small dim screen. He says I tried the built-in speech software on my Mac book, found it much more practical. It will read anything aloud including what i need to find on a web page or email message, several voices are built-in, others are downloadable. I combine talking and web surfing. He said for instance sharing a news headline with my wife. Insurance companies will not, Medicare will not allow him to spend the money on a Mac book, because, get ready for this, it can be used for something else.
John C. Dvorak So wait a minute, let me get the story straight.
Leo Laporte It can be used for something besides speech synthesis.
John C. Dvorak So instead of like the 2000 bucks for a reasonably decent Mac book, they, that’s no good...
Leo Laporte $8,000.
John C. Dvorak But $8,000 is okay. Okay, makes sense.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Many users with disabilities, this is from an article by an Apple insider are barred from choosing cheap off-the-shelf technologies by Medicare or private insurance companies who insist on only covering far more expensive devices that don’t work as well. For instance, in the New York Times article about a woman named Carolyn who had lost her voice to ALS, Medicare paid for an $8,000 windows PC running speech synthesis software, but government rules require the PC be disabled from doing anything other than speech in the fear that Lynn might benefit from features unrelated to her disability. The vendor will, after the insurer pays the vendor will, if you give him 50 bucks will reactivate the computer, but the government will not...
John C. Dvorak Ridiculous.
Leo Laporte The government... Now does that happen in...
John C. Dvorak This is the kind of dumb crap that’s got this debate out of control.
Leo Laporte No kidding.
Patrick Beja It’s a cheap shot, I am sure there is a perfectly good reason…
John C. Dvorak Oh yeah, there’s a Frenchman talking.
Leo Laporte ‘There is a reason why the government would do that’. Instead of buying this $8,000 computer she bought herself an iPhone for 300 bucks running a $150 text-to-speech application. She says it works better, it’s portable and I don’t care if it’s not insured. I don’t want the $8,000 broken computer.
Patrick Beja All right, there is always, you can always frame, they have to have rules and special sets where they can accept some things and not some others and you take one example where it doesn’t make sense at all and then you make a generalization.
Leo Laporte You’re going to be reasonable in all of that, I don’t know.
Patrick Beja And I am not a fan of the U.S. healthcare system, believe me, I mean you spend more money to get crappier healthcare than basically any other country in the world.
Leo Laporte I’ve never asked John who is our resident conservative. Where do you stand on the healthcare debate?
John C. Dvorak I think that we need a single payer system.
Leo Laporte I am with you; that’s very liberal of you.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Patrick Beja Wow. I am surprised.
Leo Laporte You mean like in France.
John C. Dvorak No the French system right now is one of the best in the world. I mean people always moan, I mean the British, the British, the British. The British go to France.
Leo Laporte Is that true John Graham-Cumming?
John Graham-Cumming Actually it’s interesting you say that because I have lived in the U.S., Britain and in France and I have had healthcare in all of them of course.
Leo Laporte There you go, here’s an expert.
John Graham-Cumming Well, an expert... At least I have sampled all three. And I actually had my LASIK surgery in France and I have to say that the French system for me was the best, absolutely no question…
John C. Dvorak And it’s a known fact.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think it’s widely agreed, France and Germany have the best healthcare.
John C. Dvorak Well I worked with some, a group that’s involved in the medical system and they told me that, yeah, France may have the best system but the way the infrastructure is, the French doctors don’t make as much money and they are all, they come out of school they are actually trained a different way, the whole, the entire French health industry infrastructure is so alien to what we do here or England or Canada for that matter that there is no real apples and oranges comparison.
Leo Laporte Yeah, but what about those death panels, Patrick Beja? What about those death panels? Do you have them?
Patrick Beja We have those of course. I mean there is no way it could work...
John C. Dvorak Twice as many in England.
Leo Laporte Actually there was a, I won’t get off on too much of a tangent but there is a very good article…
John C. Dvorak Yes, we musn’t...
Leo Laporte Well, it’s kind of technology because one of the reasons it is so expensive is because it’s so highly technical.
John C. Dvorak It’s true, because they have to do over testing too that’s one of the problem.
Leo Laporte Over testing, because of – well that’s – but there was a great article in News Week where it said nobody can talk about the real truth of it which is most of this money is spent in end-of-life attempts to keep you alive for a few extra weeks. Nobody wants it but it’s, the doctors feel they must do it and that’s really where the expense is.
John C. Dvorak There is a lot of expense there.
Leo Laporte But nobody will talk about it.
John C. Dvorak Nobody wants to talk about anything.
Leo Laporte No, I don’t know.
John C. Dvorak They said that the Democrats have their shot at ramming it through and if they can’t do it well then there you have it.
Leo Laporte Well, they have lost their nerve.
John C. Dvorak I guess.
Leo Laporte Hey, here’s a good thing the Democrats did for us, finally the FCC…
John C. Dvorak Wait, let me get my pen.
Leo Laporte Write this down, John. Mark this day and date, 4.07pm on Sunday. On Monday the Chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski will urge rules from the FCC requiring internet service providers to protect net neutrality to treat all traffic on the internet equally and in fact it is expected these rules will apply to wireless networks too which is a really great thing. It is expected that he does have the votes on the commission; three out of five is what he needs, a simple majority to make these be the rules. It may be that we will have net neutrality in this country.
Patrick Beja That’s unbelievable, I’d never have...
Leo Laporte How about, in France you don’t have anything like that. In fact in France, now let’s contrast. The French…
Patrick Beja I knew, I knew it wasn’t going to [ph] leave off (47:28) French for too long...
John C. Dvorak Pick on the French.
Unknown Speaker [Indiscernible] (47:30).
Leo Laporte I had to do this, but the French national assembly has passed a draft law that would allow illegal down loaders to be thrown off the net, probably the hardest line policy in all of the world.
Patrick Beja It’s absolutely ridiculous. We have been trying to fight it for a few months now and they have had a really hard time to pass it, but yeah, so to explain to people what it is, it’s a three strikes law where if you are caught “downloading something illegal” three times. The first time you get a letter from your ISP, second time same thing, third time you are barred from using the internet for two months to a year and you are on a list that doesn’t let anyone provide you with internet access and…
Leo Laporte Nobody, nobody in the country, it would be illegal for them to give you access to the…
John C. Dvorak Isn’t that great.
Patrick Beja Exactly. And...
Leo Laporte Who’s idea is this?
Patrick Beja When you’re found guilty…
Leo Laporte Yeah, in defense of the assembly it’s probably American music companies, movie companies and television companies that have proposed this.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, oh, yeah. Probably?
Patrick Beja And by the way, if they, the way they find that you download illegal material is, I mean the commission that will bring down the hammer once again is – receives anonymous or maybe not even anonymous, but tips from maybe the music industry. So they will say this IP address has downloaded this and this material, they should be banned.
Leo Laporte Is there any due process, I mean can you defend yourself, is there…
Patrick Beja So that was the reason for the delay because the constitutional counsel said that you couldn’t do that kind of condemning, oh I am losing my words here, you couldn’t…
Leo Laporte Sorry, it happens to me all the time. You couldn’t convict.
Patrick Beja There you go, you couldn’t convict someone like this without due process and that was the initial plan which of course was ludicrous, and so now what they are doing is that they are liking this offence to something like a speeding ticket.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Patrick Beja So you will have due process but in an accelerated fashion.
Leo Laporte All right.
John Graham-Cumming And it’s worth saying, it’s not just France who’s doing this because Britain has this thing called digital Britain, which is a report about how we’re going to make everything digital and wonderful. And part of that was also cutting people off who were persistent file sharers. So this is been – inspired the British to do something similar.
Patrick Beja I think they had something like that in New Zealand too but the real shame in this is that the people who are doing – who are writing these laws, I had I remember one reaction from one of the people who was behind the law which was – we lived perfectly well before we had the Internet. There’s no need for it.
Leo Laporte Oh geez.
Patrick Beja And that’s …
Leo Laporte Who needs, you don’t really need it. It is a luxury. So …
Unknown Speaker We had minitel, so you didn’t need internet….
Leo Laporte It worked perfectly well…
Patrick Beja ... before we had minitel, before we had the – electricity.
Leo Laporte We have talked about this before.
John C. Dvorak I think the argument is the same – you don’t need electricity.
Leo Laporte No, in fact who needs indoor plumbing really.
John C. Dvorak We don’t need it.
Leo Laporte You don’t need it. This is asking …
John C. Dvorak Running water? Forget it.
Leo Laporte Too much.
Patrick Beja So now it’s basically passed, it needs to be approved by the council again but it probably will be this time. So…
John C. Dvorak You think it will?
Patrick Beja It might be because...
John C. Dvorak What is wrong with these people?
Leo Laporte Well – I think there’s some pressure being placed in this countries, I mean it’s no accident that it is England, French and New Zealand, by Wipo and by eventually American copyright interests who…
John C. Dvorak I think they probably would like to get couple of precedents out there, especially the Wipo people.
Leo Laporte You bet, you bet.
John C. Dvorak And then bring it over here and see how far it gets.
Leo Laporte Well, I don’t know if the Wipo treaty calls for something like this but if you want to be a trade partner – you’ve got to protect other countries’ copyrights and this is oftentimes seen as what you have to do, to be a trade partner.
Patrick Beja With the Net Neutrality Act, act I am sorry, the law that’s going to be probably voted…
Leo Laporte Rules, we called them rules.
John C. Dvorak To be a rule.
Patrick Beja Okay, does that meant that the ISPs cannot do deep packet inspection and cannot see what’s your – restrict on …
Leo Laporte You know I imagine they can still do but they can’t act on it. So this is what Comcast was accused, was running software from Canada that – found out that you were doing Bitorrent and terminated that Bitorrent.
John C. Dvorak Well, they throttled you.
Leo Laporte They throttled you or they terminated it, yeah. And I know in Canada it’s certainly a big problem whenever we’re on a Skype call with somebody after about an hour, it starts to deteriorate because the ISPs up there just say well you’ve had enough.
John C. Dvorak That’s enough of a free phone call.
Leo Laporte Enough void for you.
John C. Dvorak You’re done.
Patrick Beja So, yeah I guess as important as it is for us in the negative sense of this law that we just passed, it’s extremely important and the net neutrality one is extremely important, and I really want to applaud you guys because I consider you – as part of the American people, for voting it because it might show us the way. It’s an extremely important rule and it should be voted.
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak Well there are people that debate that.
Leo Laporte Well there are – mostly it’s people...
John C. Dvorak And they are wrong.
Leo Laporte ...who don’t think that the government should be involved in this; that they should let the market bear on this, is that right.
John C. Dvorak No, no it’s even that so much. It’s, I don’t know Andrew Orlowsky is the biggest. He is the biggest complainer about this of anybody and everyone – if you actually listen to him, we should get him on the show even though to be honest about it he’s hard to understand because he is so British, but he actually makes a logical argument and it is actually more complicated that that. And there are other people I have heard that don’t like the idea of this net neutrality thing because it’s not even just the market, it’s just some – I mean if I am paying for – paying extra money – it’s going create a situation... So I am paying for the Comcast double speed, blah, blah, blah.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak And I am going to pay a hundred bucks a month for it. You get the half the speed for half the price or let’s say. How’s that net neutrality?
Leo Laporte This is Orlowsky writing in the Guardian. He says “the U.K is most prominent engineer, Professor [ph] Jon Crowcroft (54:01) of Cambridge University, thinks that activist had imagined a bogus demon. Net neutrality is a misdirection, a red herring” he says. It’s true that we haven’t – well no, I gave an example in Canada but we haven’t – I don’t think we have an example in the U.S. or do we of discriminating against Google let’s say or Skype …
John C. Dvorak No, this whole thing began largely because I think it was the CEO of AT&T who came out shooting his mouth off about stuff...
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak ...he doesn’t know anything about, ‘I don’t see why Google should be getting a free ride’.
Leo Laporte Orlowsky quotes…
John C. Dvorak As if Google is not paying for their bandwidth.
Leo Laporte Orlowsky quotes Robert Kahn, one of the fathers of the Internet who says “the Internet has never been neutral”. Oh no, this is [ph] Crowcroft (54:43) talking. “Without traffic shaping we won’t get the convergence that allows the innovation of TV and online games we’ve seen in data and telephony. That’s the defense that Comcast uses too, is well, we’ve got to shape bandwidth. We’ve got to keep the bandwidth hogs from stopping everybody else from using the Internet in a useful way.
John C. Dvorak Yeah you can open a million pipes up and just bloom – you can bring the whole thing down.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Patrick Beja I didn’t think that was the issue of net neutrality. I mean sure you can do tiered speed and pay more to get more speed. That’s fine but the real issue with net neutrality is selecting who you allow to, your users to have access to and who you don’t allow. That’s a much deeper more troubling thought.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am with you on that.
Patrick Beja Speed, who cares.
John C. Dvorak No I agree with that too.
Leo Laporte We’ll get Andrew on, I’d like to get Andrew to...
John C. Dvorak I am on both sides of this argument because of the – the Orlowsky points are interesting but the other points are more logical and so what, you know...
Leo Laporte Well he does make a good point when he says; this is a straw man because it hasn’t been a problem so now you’re making rules.
John C. Dvorak Right, I agree with that too, this hasn’t been a problem. I haven’t seen anything, I don’t get my Skype choked off, it doesn’t get cut off.
Leo Laporte Right, right.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, and it would be interesting to see an ISP try and cut access to Google and then see how the market reacted to that. I mean that would...
Leo Laporte Well this is the problem, at least in the States, and I don’t know but I imagine it’s the same in the U.K and France is that there isn’t really any competition among Internet Service Providers. There’s a – paucity of potential companies you can worked with, so…
Patrick Beja In France there is.
John Graham-Cumming No, that’s not true at all. I mean in the U.K and in France we have much higher bandwidth available and there’s a lot of competition. When I lived in France I had a 100 megabit connection at home and it was costing tens of Euros a month. There’s tremendous competition…
Leo Laporte So in French, in France and in England it’s not government run, it’s run by private parties for the most part?
Patrick Beja Yes, of course.
John Graham-Cumming Absolutely, I’m in the process of switching broadband providers at home because I’ve got fed up with the one...
Leo Laporte And you have, how many different companies could you chose from?
John Graham-Cumming Oh I don’t know, I mean 10s.
Patrick Beja Five or six.
Leo Laporte Yes, see in most U.S…
John C. Dvorak So you can choose... and you’re going to get a... So wait a minute, let me get this straight. You can chose from like six providers and you’re getting like a 100 megabits per second and you’re paying like 10, 20 bucks a month or 30 bucks..
Unknown Speaker So.
John C. Dvorak Wait a minute, you’re saying €10 which is about $50 U.S.
Leo Laporte No, €10…
John C. Dvorak Well, it’s something like that; it’s something ridiculous isn’t it.
John Graham-Cumming When I lived in France I had a choice of 1 megabit, 20 megabits or 100 megabits and I think the 100 megabits had 20 megabits up but I, my memory is fading...
Leo Laporte Wow, I’ll take that.
John Graham-Cumming And it was not expensive because it was a package...
Leo Laporte I pay $700 a month for 9 megabits up and down. Of course it’s a...
John Graham-Cumming Yeah.
John C. Dvorak You’re on a dedicated fibre...
Leo Laporte It’s a quality line, but...
John C. Dvorak It’s not shared...
Patrick Beja I was €30 a month for 30 down and 8 up.
Leo Laporte See in the States, we generally have a couple of choices. You’re going to have a – you might if you’re lucky have a cable company that’s offering Internet service, your phone company might be, there might be a few independent ISPs on that phone company’s line.
John C. Dvorak Or maybe a fiber provider...
Leo Laporte Maybe.
John C. Dvorak Well it depends if you’re out in the suburbs where there’s fibers providors you can get it.
Leo Laporte [ph] Verizon, (57:49) but usually most people have two or three choices and not many more, so that and that’s what keeps it, that’s what makes net neutrality an issue because if you get a couple of people colluding, saying well, let’s cut back on that YouTube, it’s killing us.
John C. Dvorak Well either that or if they just collude on the price.
Leo Laporte Well they clearly do that.
John C. Dvorak Yeah the prices are too high.
Leo Laporte Way too high.
Patrick Beja It’s two different issues really. I don’t think we should lump them together, maybe they are effectively lumped together but pricing is one issue and selecting which content you throttle is another one. Throttle or cut because you were talking about Google just now. Google is not going to be the issue. Bitorrent is going to be the issue.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s well it depends what you’re business is, if you’re a cable company…
Patrick Beja Well that’s...
Leo Laporte It’s Bitorrent, if you’re a phone company providing the Internet access, it’s Skype.
John C. Dvorak One of the reasons I find these arguments kind of – maybe I don’t care so much about it because we’re having so much non net neutrality now that’s, that’s part of the system, for example and Leo will agree to it when I bring it up. My site, Dvorak Uncensored, dvorak.org/blog is blocked all over the country and that for no other reason other than the word “Uncensored” is in the URL or not even in the URL, it’s just in the header and it’s done by these 3rd parties that are filtering systems that are all over the place. They are in libraries, they are in corporations, they are in universities, they are in research companies. They are everywhere and there are about 25 or 30 of these guys and they block content and this – where’s the laws against this nonsense. I thought if you are on the Internet you should be able to see what’s on the Internet.
John Graham-Cumming Well, imagine the situation if your last name was Cumming.
Leo Laporte Do you get blocked John?
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I get blocked, and I also famously, would flash up this warning...
Leo Laporte Oh you get the hot paper, the red, the hot red paper.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John Graham-Cumming Using disgusting language, e-mailing this guy.
Leo Laporte In fact how do you get any e-mails delivered it all?
John C. Dvorak [ph] Yeah, really..I’m surprised he doesn’t get nothing (59:55)
Leo Laporte It’s like being named Freddie Viagra, I mean it’s not a good...
John Graham-Cumming It’s funny because my whole family at one point had Hotmail accounts and Hotmail would not allow you – us to use our actual name, and so we all had to have fake last names. And so we all actually had quite offensive fake last names which just happened to get through the filter on Hotmail.
John C. Dvorak There’s a very large – you may be related, but there’s a very – well, I guess this is Cumming’s, which is a very large motor manufacturer in the United States. They make some of the top diesel engines in the world.
Leo Laporte You know, there are so many things to think of now, while you’re naming a child. You’re really got to pay attention.
John Graham-Cumming Well of course, when it’s your last name it’s a bit more difficult, but it is a problem and I do get blocked in some places and it’s actually got to the point now where it just amuses me because it’s so stupid. But early on Google use to serve up pornographic ads if you searched for me.
Leo Laporte Oh geez!
John Graham-Cumming And I actually wrote to Google, and asked them to stop it. And to their credit they did do something that that doesn’t happen now.
Leo Laporte Oh! Wow.
John C. Dvorak Yes, I actually haven’t seen much porn on a Google search recently.
Leo Laporte I don’t think they did search – they don’t do that – sell those ads anyway.
John C. Dvorak They have done a good job, right now.
Patrick Beja So, you write to petition to 10 Downing Street and you get it like a written apology. You write to Google and they stop sending you the spam you don’t want. How exactly do you word these things? I want to know.
John C. Dvorak He is British, he words them properly.
John Graham-Cumming I actually – what you do is you ask very, very politely. That’s what – in Britain that works. I actually published some of the e-mails I sent to people about the petition on the O’Reilly website and you can – like particularly for the BBC, because that big hit from the BBC; I actually just wrote to them and said, ‘you need to cover this story, it’s important’ and they did. So it’s always worth a try.
Patrick Beja Asking nicely, I never thought of that.
Leo Laporte ‘Freddy Nigerian-Bank-Scam wrote and tell us…’ All right we are going to – I want to remind people that you can – I said this briefly last week, but I want to emphasize it, you can now call us. We have our own Google voice number and leave a massage and I like to start incorporating your thoughts into this show, we don’t want to leave you out. So we have an easy to remember number, its 95-13 TWIT VM. Okay, I lied; it’s not the easy to remember. But that’s number 95-13 TWIT VM, that’s 9513894886. It’s one of those cases for the numbers are actually easier to remember than the letters.
But, do calls us, leave us a message and maybe next week we’ll be including your message. Try to keep it short. Remember that if you leave us a massage, you’re giving us permission to use it on the air and we do reserve the right to edit it for clarity and length. Isn’t that what the New York Times says when you send them a –
John C. Dvorak Is that what they say?
Leo Laporte Yes. We reserved the right to edit for clarity and length. We’re going to get back to our great panel John C. Dvorak of ChannelDvorak.com, John Graham-Cumming of gcg.org. (sic) [jgc.org]
John Graham-Cumming jgc.org
Leo Laporte jgc – note the use of initials in the URL. And Patrick Beja of, what is it, French Spin?
Patrick Beja Yes, it’s really not the easiest name to remember is it?
Leo Laporte frenchspin.com.
John C. Dvorak French Spin.
Leo Laporte I like it. I like it. But right now I want to remember our friends from Squarespace who have been very supportive of the show and we love Squarespace right back at them. Go ahead John, you can just sneak right by, he’s going to get a little drink of water, take a break. You all can if you want.
Squarespace is the place to go to create your website, whether it’s a blog, a photo blog, a forum – they have a huge variety of templates and boy is it great. Now I’m just – I don’t want to knock them when they’re down, but lately a number other blogging platforms, have had major security issues. And that’s one of the reasons why running a hosted blog at a place like Squarespace is just the right way to do it. You don’t have to worry ever about security, you don’t have to worry about sudden bandwidth demand, because Squarespacel, boy, they have a very sophisticated technique for keeping the sites up no matter how much traffic; you get their virtual hosting.
You don’t have to know about this, but the virtual hosting that they use is very sophisticated. Starts at $8 a month for blogging, building, hosting, designing and impressing your friends and fans, but try it free right now for two weeks by going to squarespace.com/twit. You will find importers there for the all the major blog platforms, exporters too so you never stuck. There is a Squarespace iPhone app, great statistics, simple redesigns, great templates to start with, but you can use the Squarespace AJAX capabilities to just drag and drop your site, adjust it the way you want.
There is forum building, there is social media integration for Twitter and YouTube and MySpace and Facebook and FriendFeed and Digg and all of that. Try it free for two weeks. Go to squarespace.com/twit and if you decided to sign up, you’ll save 10% when you use the offer code TWiT, squarespace.com/twit. You wanted to see Squarespace Blog, go to our Inside TWiT Blog, there we post all of our Inside TWiT postings. They did a great job, setting up a wonderful blog for us. In fact that’s a good place to go today, because we are giving a way the Ultimate Gaming Machine. Yay!
Finally – and you can win or actually we have the entries already. So you can’t win unless your entry is one of the top 10 we’ve picked. But we would like you to vote, so go to inside.twit.tv, read and look at the 10 entries and you then you can vote for your favorite and we have a couple of weeks, I think we’re going to end this October 2nd, something like this. But we want to give everybody chance to vote and you can vote by creating an account on our – it explains it all there, but you create an account on our TWiT Army site and you can cast your vote there.
But Colleen’s got the entries up. All the different reasons, we ask people, ‘what are your top 10 reasons why you of all people should get the Ultimate Gaming Machine that we designed last year?’ Really beautiful, beautiful box, Colleen did a great custom paint job, it’s custom cooled. It’s at inside.twit.tv and while you’re there, you can really take a look at what you can do with a Squarespace blog. They’ve done such a nice job. Squarespace.com/twit we thank them so much for their support of this WEEK in TECH. So John have a seat, John is back with his beverage. Would you like a glass of wine or anything?
John C. Dvorak Do you any Bordeaux in the house, or some…
Leo Laporte I don’t think we – I think we’ve gone through all the Bordeaux.
John C. Dvorak …Chenin or something decent?
Leo Laporte You want a Chenin or a Bordeaux?
John C. Dvorak I don’t think you have any Chenin. That would be what the Parisians drink.
Leo Laporte That’s what Patrick is drinking. Are you drinking any wine today Patrick?
Patrick Beja Well it’s half past one, so not right now.
John C. Dvorak Half past one? Should be drinking the Armagnac.
Leo Laporte Yes, that’s right. It’s time for brandy!
Patrick Beja Yes, that’s a good suggestion actually.
Leo Laporte Intuit!
I’m going to stick to the water though. It’s my first TWiT, you know; maybe in a couple of times.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you’re probably wise. In fact I used to drink and now I realize it’s really a bad idea.
John C. Dvorak One time you got the whole group half sloshed, it was quite good.
Leo Laporte Everybody was sloshed. You know it’s funny, we haven’t done that – I think we did it for few episodes because we had a wine sponsor and we haven’t done it since. But we still have the reputation as being a bunch of drunks.
John C. Dvorak Well you know the Woodford is still around isn’t it? Or did you guys wipe it out?
Leo Laporte I believe it would be there, is that a wine?
John C. Dvorak No, that’s the bourbon.
Leo Laporte Oh, I think – let’s see what we have her, would you like some bourbon?
John C. Dvorak Well, you know. Why not? Oh yes, it’s right there. Oh, no this is that stuff, right –
Leo Laporte This is the Evan Williams, it’s named after the founder of Twitter. By the way I just wanted to say I did apply to Twitter, because you told me where and somebody put a link up, where you fill up the form for the verified thing. And I guess it shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but look what happened. It says ‘something is technically wrong.’ I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprised but I guess I won’t be getting my verification either.
John C. Dvorak No. well, you know what the funny thing is? I was thinking about it and say you don’t – even Pogue who was suckered by the phony – that other one.
Leo Laporte The phony Dvorak.
John C. Dvorak The phony Dvorak. I mean it doesn’t say verified on there but whose to know that it’s still not me? Because I don’t –
Leo Laporte That’s right.
John C. Dvorak So, what good does the verified do? If know about the real guy, about the real site.
Leo Laporte They saying on here, we can’t verify everybody, so don’t expect a miracle.
John C. Dvorak Yes, I know. But they verified their certain supporters. [ph] I hear… (1:08:31).
Leo Laporte They verify the celebrities, the Oprah’s of the world are verified.
John C. Dvorak O'Reilly is verified. What does he do that’s so special?
Leo Laporte Yes, I mean, I think you and I both are probably more famous than O'Reilly.
John C. Dvorak Not, if you go and look at his numbers, he’s got over a million –
Leo Laporte Well that’s because he is on the suggested user list along with Whole Foods and Dell.
John C. Dvorak Oh, so you think – what you’re kind of telling me here, even though I don’t think you’re expressing it properly, is that there is a level of corruption.
Leo Laporte That’s one way to put it, yes. I don’t if there’s bribes being handed out or anything like that.
John C. Dvorak I never thought of it that way.
Patrick Beja I want to disassociate myself from this discussion. I love Twitter.
Leo Laporte What is your handle on Twitter; Patrick?
Patrick Beja notpatrick. Because Patrick was taken.
Leo Laporte Really, not Patrick?
Patrick Beja Yes, you know my – well Patrick was taken so I figured I should find something that’s somewhat similar and so I started with notpatrick and then a few people started – a few listeners starting naming themselves ‘not-their name’. So there’s a few ‘not-someone’ on Twitter who named themselves like me. Leo Laporte But that’s confusing because you are Patrick.
Patrick Beja That’s the whole genius of it.
Unknown Speaker Am I really good?
Leo Laporte Some might call it genius. John Graham-Cumming, what is your pornographic Twitter handle?
John Graham-Cumming It’s not pornographic, it’s jgrahamc.
John C. Dvorak Well, there you have it.
Leo Laporte Would they have let you have Cumming, I wonder?
John Graham-Cumming I have no idea. I have my real name on there. So they didn’t block me for life.
John C. Dvorak So what’s the – so the chat room, I am watching the chat room going on with the jokes about the basting the meat. But – just because I get –
Leo Laporte Whenever John gets up during the show we –
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it’s an old gag. It goes way back.
Leo Laporte It goes way back.
John C. Dvorak They are asking what that zipper is doing on your shirt and I’d know like to know myself.
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak He has a zipper like in the middle of nowhere on his shirt. Like in case he had a shoulder operation, that needed to be – It’s like a plug or something goes in there.
Leo Laporte You could get in there! I could get out arthroscopic surgery in this shirt without taking it off. That’s true, it is rather prominent. I didn’t really notice it. This is a SCOTTEVEST polo shirt, a Twit polo shirt and this you could put your –
John C. Dvorak Did you get that shirt free Leo? Did you get that shirt free?
Leo Laporte I did actually.
John C. Dvorak You gave it your –
Leo Laporte Yeah I got it for free. I did.
John C. Dvorak Oh there you go.
Leo Laporte I did. And look; I put my iPod in there and now it looks like I did have that shoulder surgery. There is a big clunky thing on my left breast.
John C. Dvorak Looks like you got some sort of old grandma breast that has been flattened and pushed over to the left.
Leo Laporte This is the [ph] Alan Turing problem. (01:10:57)
Patrick Beja You know Leo, I was at the cottage, I think last year with Nicole and Marc Spagnuolo and you gave me a ca.
Leo Laporte Yes there is a zipper in it as well, yes.
Patrick Beja It has 30! You have a zipper inside, you have a zipper on the side, it’s like –
John C. Dvorak They own stock in a zipper company.
Leo Laporte I think so. No I love SCOTTEVEST stuff because that’s exactly his idea: it’s pockets and zippers everywhere. So that’s why I have a zipper on my shirt. That’s all. It’s a very comfortable shirt.
Er, let’s see…
John C. Dvorak News, hey there’s a thought.
Leo Laporte I could get back to the news. The Nissan Company is adding Blade Runner sound effects to their electric cars.
John C. Dvorak Yeah I don’t get what that means.
Leo Laporte Well an electric car is so quiet.
John C. Dvorak Woop woop woop…
Leo Laporte No, no, no it’s like [buzzing sound effect]. I have to listen back but I think Blade Runner’s cars made a kind of a hum.
John C. Dvorak [Whistling sound]
Patrick Beja Is that the issue of the electric cars not making any noise, so you can’t hear them coming?
Leo Laporte They are very quiet, that’s exactly right. People are getting run over by electric cars because they are expecting –
John C. Dvorak I was in a parking lot in San Francisco and one of those little things came by and scared the crap out of me.
Leo Laporte Yeah; where did you come from? Exactly.
Patrick Beja Hey here’s an idea for you…
John Graham-Cumming But that’s just Darwinism at work; eventually we’ll kill all the people who don’t realize there are electric cars around and it will just move on.
Leo Laporte Yeah, but I get to Britain and I look to the right and the car is coming from the left.
John C. Dvorak Oh yeah that happens. It takes weeks to get over that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you look the wrong way.
John C. Dvorak You go and you look the wrong way, and even though there’s big – you know they have it plastered all over the street in England; ‘look left, look left’. But you still fail to look left.
Leo Laporte You’re looking right. Yeah, you look right and you step into the traffic and there is an electric car and you are squished.
John C. Dvorak Well I mean in Amsterdam you’re always getting hit by bicyclists doing the same thing because they are racing around and just – I don’t know. It’s dangerous I think.
Leo Laporte They say once they get to 20kms an hour they are going turn off the electric sounds because the cars are more noisy anyway. But at the slower speeds where they can creep up on you…
Patrick Beja I have an idea.
John Graham-Cumming Do you think maybe this is an opportunity for iTunes, like ringtones. Now we’ll have cartones where you can download them.
Leo Laporte Cartones!
Patrick Beja Damn it John, that’s what I was trying to say!
John Graham-Cumming There you go!
Patrick Beja We think alike; we Europeans we’ve got good ideas.
Leo Laporte Cartones; new!
John C. Dvorak I’ve got an idea; cartones!
Leo Laporte That’s because they can’t get any music on their iTunes. [Whistling buzzing sound]
John C. Dvorak That’s a good one.
John Graham-Cumming It’s like a theremin noise. You know that sort of ‘Day the Earth Stood Still’.
Leo Laporte Yeah. [Further demonstration of Leo’s theremin imitating abilities] 22 states have made texting illegal while you drive.
John C. Dvorak I didn’t know it was ever legal.
Leo Laporte It’s legal – well, it’s a loophole I guess, and California is considering it. However –
John C. Dvorak Why would anybody consider it? It should just be illegal.
Leo Laporte Many of these states have traffic updates via Twitter. So they are asking that you tweet when you get in a traffic situation.
John C. Dvorak Well that makes no sense.
Leo Laporte However it is illegal.
John C. Dvorak Of course if you’re stopped dead on the freeway that would a time you could tweet that you’re stopped dead. That would be okay.
Leo Laporte I don’t know. I don’t think so.
John C. Dvorak I mean not if you’re running around at 60 miles an hour and the road is clear.
Leo Laporte State transportation officials insist these are not mixed messages. The tweets are to read prior to driving. Know before you go. Driver will be –
John C. Dvorak They’re supposed to be read, but how are they presented before they – ?
Leo Laporte Well yeah. We don’t want people reading their tweets –
Patrick Beja They don’t require you to send an update. This is all done by GPS and things like that, isn’t it?
John C. Dvorak I think it should be done as a heads up on the – right on the windshield. Just have a heads up display that has all the stuff right there and you drive while reading –
Leo Laporte My Facebook feed, my YouTube, my Twitter
John C. Dvorak Everything. Just have it all up there like a jet pilot has.
Leo Laporte You know what you want; you want that new Motorola click phone that has like, as a screensaver, just floats Twitter tweets and stuff past you.
John C. Dvorak But it should be on the windshield.
Leo Laporte It should be heads up. I think there is a device, isn’t there, that you could put like on your phone that would project it onto the –
John C. Dvorak That would be cool.
Leo Laporte If it’s not been invented it should be. Well good news, the Supreme Court upheld an order on Friday to reimburse $300 million in overpayments collected from residential phone customers. That’s the good news. The bad news is it was in Canada.
John Graham-Cumming Well I don’t know. That’s part of the British Commonwealth, I don’t know what you’re complaining about.
Leo Laporte Oh you are happy. Okay, good; I’m glad. I’m so glad to hear it.
John Graham-Cumming I’ll get the Queen onto you.
Leo Laporte Would you like to buy Gene Roddenberry's old Mac Plus?
John C. Dvorak So what you are on the topic of – Gene Roddenberry gave his Mac Plus apparently, which is an 01 serial number.
Leo Laporte They say it’s 01 although apparently it’s – well, it’s confusing.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well the serial – yeah it is confusing.
Leo Laporte Because they upgraded it.
John C. Dvorak Now I don’t know, there is a – when was the last time you got to see Woz? Does he come in much up here?
Leo Laporte I haven’t seen him lately, he doesn’t answer my emails.
John C. Dvorak I’d like to get him up here, because I want to come here with my – I have one of the original Macintosh’s, not the Plus, the real one; the first one.
Leo Laporte The 128?
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte Wow.
John C. Dvorak I have a 128 with no shielding inside. So it still has all those autographs inside. You know about that, right?
Leo Laporte Yeah, they signed the plastic mould.
John C. Dvorak Yeah they signed the plastic mould.
Leo Laporte All the people on the team, yeah. Oh that’s cool.
John C. Dvorak Right. I want Woz to autograph the outside because one of those – I can’t believe there is one of these things showed up on the antiques road-show.
Leo Laporte Yeah?
John C. Dvorak You know, there is money to be made.
Leo Laporte Did they say that it was worth something?
John C. Dvorak Oh yeah.
Leo Laporte Really?
John C. Dvorak Oh, mm hmm.
Leo Laporte He is not saying anything. He wants to keep it a secret. I’m going to talk to Woz, we’ll get him to come. Woz will sign anything you know.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well get him up here I’ll get the felt tip pen or a sharpie.
Leo Laporte We’ll supply the sharpie.
John C. Dvorak We’ll get a sharpie. And we could use a box of sharpies if anyone is listening.
Leo Laporte The auction house profiles in history is auctioning of a Macintosh Plus give by Apple to Gene Roddenberry. They say this is the very first Mac Plus 1MB personal computer to come off the assembly line. It is serial number F4200NUM0001.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it sounds like the first one to me.
Leo Laporte Well apparently they were only planning to make 10,000 because after that you run out of numbers.
John C. Dvorak You got lots of letters.
Leo Laporte Well maybe they were going to use letters too. It’s 1MB of RAM expandable to 4 MB but then, which is kind of weird, the machine was originally a 128k Mac that was upgraded to a Macintosh Apple Plus by Apple. But you know what they’re saying, so if you look at the back of it they have a picture of the back of it and it does say M0001 on it.
John C. Dvorak Well it might be legit then.
Leo Laporte Yeah. On the other hand they say they only expect to get 8 to $1,200 at it which would kind of – maybe if Woz had signed it.
John C. Dvorak Well it’s like if – if actually, if Roddenberry had signed it with a big felt tip pen it would be worth something.
Leo Laporte That would be worth something. I got this – did you get that free Gene? He got it free.
John C. Dvorak So I got a – I have a keyboard from Northgate and the back of it is signed by Stan Freberg with a big felt tip pen.
Leo Laporte Wow. What’s the connection? You just happened to have a keyboard lying around and –
John C. Dvorak No, no. Freberg was doing some promotion work and advertising for Northgate when they had their – that special keyboard that had the asterisk in the right place, and it had a bunch of – it was like meant for visa [ph] users (1.18.21)
Leo Laporte Oh. And they got Stan Freberg? It must have been ancient!
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well this was years ago. And Freberg was there, I met him, talked to him asked some different questions about you know radio and why he liked it so much. And – but anyway he gave away few of these keyboards that he signed because they were like giving these keyboards to people to evaluate. And so –
Leo Laporte Did you get that free?
John C. Dvorak I – to evaluate and so I grabbed the keyboard and Freberg stopped me; ‘hey no, hold on a second.’ He signed it.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s neat. Now I’m sure Patrick and John aren’t familiar with Stan Freberg. He was a radio pioneer, did a lot of ads, you’d recognize his voice.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte He had a very famous voice.
John C. Dvorak He actually started off as a puppeteer with Beany and Cecil.
Leo Laporte Oh, I remember Beany and Cecil, that’s right. That’s right, that was his voice.
Patrick Beja Absolutely. He was born on August 7 1926.
Leo Laporte Wikipedia, Wikipedia.
Patrick Beja And he grew up in Pasadena actually.
Leo Laporte Yeah I believe you are right Patrick. As long as Wikipedia is accurate. So real quickly I want to get to the – one of the bigger stories that we have left out, but we will, which is Skype. Again more in court and just a mess.
John C. Dvorak Have you figured out the story? I mean, I have been reading –
Leo Laporte This is like the Google Book search story. This is one of those crazy stories. Well here is the issue. It happened again. Well I’m going to explain what that means in just a second. It happened I thought it wouldn’t, I thought it couldn’t happen again but it did, it happened again. I thought that only eBay could be that dumb but it happened again. And you’d think they’d have learned, but no. but before we do that I do want to mention our friends at audible.com. You could baste your baste your meat John if you – yeah, wait a minute you are not cooking today. He is not making…
John C. Dvorak I am having raw oysters. We’re back in the month with r’s so I’m going to start checking the oysters out again.
Leo Laporte Oh, September. Oh yeah! Because August doesn’t have an r.
John C. Dvorak Right.
Leo Laporte It’s the hot months.
John C. Dvorak In fact, and you can get some confirmation from our French friend. The French believe that the absolute great month for eating oysters is January, and I have to say that I started picking up on that concept.
Leo Laporte Because it’s the coolest.
John C. Dvorak I am telling you, oysters in January are astonishing.
Leo Laporte Now, Patrick, I know the French are very proud of their huîtres but I thing that we have better huîtres here.
John C. Dvorak Oh, I think if you go up, move up to – if you get to the ones in Oregon, and you get up to British Colombia – Patrick Beja I am sorry. I am afraid I’m going to have to leave this panel.
John C. Dvorak You get the British Columbia oysters. They’ll just blow your mind.
Leo Laporte Even Hog Island out here, just our local oysters, just a very delicious, fresh, crisp flavor, but all right we won’t get in a battle over this. You’re an oyster lover, Pat? Are you an oyster lover?
Patrick Beja I am going to start speaking with a French accent if we do. It’s going to be messy.
Leo Laporte One thing that is available everywhere that this show is heard including the U.K. and France is the great audible.com; I want to tell everybody about the Audible deal. Now, this Audible deal is available in the U.S. only but you can get your audible books all over the world and it’s just a wonderful place to get online and find something great to listen to. My friend, Roz Savage, just got back. She has been rowing across the Pacific. She was three months at sea. And before she left, I gave her my iPod stocked with 323 Audible books and she says I could not – I mean she is rowing solo for three months all by herself. She said audible saves my life. She loves these Audible books. Now if Audible can get her across the ocean, Audible can get you across town, home from work, great for your commute, great for the gym. Here’s one for John. Ron Paul’s book, End the Fed.
John C. Dvorak Ron Paul. Yeah, thanks.
Leo Laporte It’s actually – I think this is a speech by Ron Paul. That’s one of the neat things about Audible or maybe not.
John C. Dvorak No, I think he did come out with a book.
Leo Laporte He wrote a book, yeah.
John C. Dvorak I mean he has been trying – it’s a long – I don’t want to get into politics on the show, but Ron Paul…
Leo Laporte Ron Paul. But that’s the point. You can – from left, from right, from the center, from way out in the left field or right field, you can find books about all the topics in the world. Science and technology, sci-fi and fantasy. Audible is even recording some of the great sci-fi books that were never recorded and I just have to thank them for that. You can get stuff that was never been on audio before. In fact, go to their Audible frontier section. These are books that they have recorded. When I first [ph] joined (1:22:54) Audible, they had a handful. Now they have almost 2,500.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it’s amazing, great. Have you done – you should do a book or two.
Leo Laporte I want to do a book. They’ve asked me to do a book, and we’re just trying to find one. I’m going to recommend – I mean there’s so many – our friend, Jerry Pournelle, last time he was on, they did not have this on Audible they do now, Lucifer’s Hammer. By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; what a great book. I mean this is a – 24 hours worth of listening and you can get it absolutely free. Actually you know I think The Mote in God’s Eye – that would be the one I’d start with. What a classic this is. Go to audible.com/twit2. You get them both. Get the Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven collection and absolutely free. You’re going to sign up for the platinum account. That’s two books a month and the first two books are yours to keep free even if you decide not to stick around. I know you will though. This is a great way to listen. On your iPod, on your iPhone, on your nano, on your Kindle, on your Zune, it works on the Zune HD. audible.com/twit2. We thank them so much for their support of this WEEK in TECH.
As I mentioned earlier, David Pogue will be on in just a few minutes. He is going to – for his – he is going – we recorded this earlier; rebuttal. A rebuttal for all the nasty mean things we said about him last week.
John C. Dvorak You said he recorded this earlier though.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well then I don’t get to complain.
Leo Laporte You don’t get to complain to him and he will mention that he considers that you are one of the people who’s savaging him.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, because he was on some bogus site –
Leo Laporte It wasn’t you, it was somebody else.
John C. Dvorak It wasn’t me. I have never ever mentioned him on Twitter, ever.
Leo Laporte Okay. So I am going to send a note…
John C. Dvorak I mean on here I have talked about because you brought it up in the conversation. I did say he’s a fanboy, but so what?
Leo Laporte It’s obvious.
John C. Dvorak Yeah. Now there’s a new story here that – I don’t if you covered that last week or not. I want to…
Leo Laporte Please, go right ahead.
John C. Dvorak Did you – Google acquires reCAPTCHA.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that wild?
John C. Dvorak Why?
Leo Laporte I don’t know. You know what a CAPTCHA is of course, folks, is those are those funny letters that they put on – in fact, once you sign up for Gmail you have to decipher the letters. Apparently no computer can but only humans can. It keeps the spammers from signing up for a million Gmail accounts.
John C. Dvorak It’s not the way they do it of course. What you do is they have these systems available where a spammer will run into – they essentially have, they get to a – the machine gets to a CAPTCHA and then it sends the webpage en-mass like 100s of them to people in India or wherever they have them so they can just type in the thing.
Leo Laporte What does this mean? Oh, it means this – I can take type that in.
John C. Dvorak And they type in the…
Leo Laporte But they type it in with an accent. So does that work?
John C. Dvorak They don’t type in – so they type it in, and then they’re actually not only in but they’re in like permanently so the CAPTCHA’s never come up again. They are like members now and then the spammers just go crazy.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak So CAPTCHA doesn’t work.
Leo Laporte They even got a man in the middle, a really a clever man in the middle. When you go to a porn site to sign up, you’ll get CAPTCHA which is just forwarded from Gmail so they have humans signing up for their sites and they just use them and they say ‘oh, thanks.’
John C. Dvorak Right. Now – so the question in my mind is why does anybody –
Leo Laporte Well, it’s interesting. Now reCAPTCHA was created at Carnegie Mellon with a kind of altruistic bent. It gives you two words, right? One word is the actual CAPTCHA but they don’t tell you which of them. The other one is something that was scanned in from a book that they can’t figure out that what it is. It’s part of a book scanning effort. And so Google is getting users for their Google book scan. When they get to a word that their scanner can’t interpret, they add it to the CAPTCHA. You don’t know which one is a real word, which one is a CAPTCHA word. You type in both because it’s a two-word CAPTCHA and now they’ve got a human doing their work for them. Clever, eh? They have learned something from the pornographers.
John C. Dvorak That’s actually genius.
Leo Laporte Is that genius?
John C. Dvorak It is genius. But what did they pay for this company?
Leo Laporte A lot! A ridiculous amount because what’s interesting is that I thought that reCAPTCHA was kind of a, I don’t know I got the impression it was more of an open-source thing but...
Patrick Beja I thought they were going to use it for that idea that – I can’t remember which blogger had which was to put ads in the CAPTCHA. But that makes sense too.
Leo Laporte Oh, wouldn’t that be cool?
John C. Dvorak That would be good too. There is lot of uses for them now. I’m starting to see the light.
Leo Laporte Now you realize why Google bought reCAPTCHA.
John C. Dvorak Little light bulbs going off – there are all kinds of possibilities.
Leo Laporte Let me see, let me see. It’s funny I took that out of the stories because I thought…
John C. Dvorak ‘Drink Pepsi.’
Leo Laporte …there will be nothing to say. Wow! Drink Pepsi.
John C. Dvorak Drink and then you type in Pepsi so it gets embedded in your brain. It’s great, pure genius. Drink Pepsi. Okay, I’ll drink Pepsi.
Leo Laporte Wow, that’s brilliant. In fact, I am getting thirsty right now. I want some Pepsi. It doesn’t say how much they spent for it.
John C. Dvorak No, I can’t find it either.
Leo Laporte I am looking for a number.
John C. Dvorak I think it was a private company. So they’re probably never going to give –
Leo Laporte They’ll never publish the number.
Patrick Beja So they are also buying Brightcove.
Leo Laporte Well, that was a rumor. That rumor which came from a fairly reliable source was never confirmed and nothing ever happened. So I don’t know if they actually are or…
John C. Dvorak I don’t know why they’d want it.
Leo Laporte Well, they bought On2. They have been buying video companies. Brightcove is kind of, what, like Ustream or Stickam for business. They stream video – or BitGravity – they stream video for business, right?
John C. Dvorak Apparently they also store and forward stuff.
Leo Laporte Okay, so they are lot like BitGravity then.
John C. Dvorak MarketWatch used to use Brightcove for its videos that it has on the MarketWatch site. I don’t if they do anymore.
Leo Laporte Right, right. Why would Google want that? They’ve got YouTube.
John C. Dvorak And they’ve got Google Video which they were supposed to take down and yet to do so.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak Remember they said they were going to kill it and they haven’t done anything?
Leo Laporte They are hoping to make some money, unlike YouTube.
Patrick Beja Maybe they’re preparing – they need a steadier infrastructure for the movies that are going to be served through YouTube.
Leo Laporte That’s an interesting speculation.
John C. Dvorak Maybe.
Leo Laporte That’s how you would do the movies. That’s very interesting.
John C. Dvorak Maybe.
Patrick Beja But they would have to buy it first.
John C. Dvorak Google is up to something.
Patrick Beja Must be a rumor.
Leo Laporte We know they are up to something. Also Intuit does a very smart thing, buys Mint. Do you use Mint?
John C. Dvorak No, I don’t use Mint. I don’t even know what Mint is.
Leo Laporte Oh I love Mint. And I don’t think John or Patrick, I don’t think you can use Mint outside the U.S.
Patrick Beja No, I tried.
John Graham-Cumming There are competitors in the UK that do the same thing.
Leo Laporte You’ve got something – you’ve got something we don’t have though. You have Spotify, so…
John C. Dvorak Well, tell us about Mint, what is this thing?
Leo Laporte Mint is something that I resisted because I thought, oh this is a terrible idea. When they first came about a year ago, they came out I think at TechCrunch50. And I said ‘oh this is cool.’ You give them and a red flag should go up here in a moment. You give them all your bank account long-ins…
John C. Dvorak Ack!
Leo Laporte Your loan long-ins…
John C. Dvorak I don’t think so.
Leo Laporte …all your investment account long-ins and they collect all the data from your bank account and kind of balance your check book and tell you how much money you’ve got. They even warn you – I have mint on my iPhone; they’ll send me warning when a big transaction happens so I can. It will budget for you.
It looks back in history and says well, you are spending $50 more on fast food, it keeps saying that to me, I don’t know why, then you have before. So it gives you – and this nice, this is the iPhone app that gives you kind of like a – oops, and now it wants me to log in. Oh well. It gives you a summary of what your worth; you can go online at mint.com. Really the – I didn’t sign up at first. I thought oh, this is terrible. I can’t use this, I’m not going to give them this information. But they – but Gina Trapani – who does our This Week in Google show, and who I trust as a smart programmer – wrote an article about it saying well, you know they use a third-party, the same third-party that the banks use. In fact the truth is this third-party already knows all your log-ins because the banks are using them. So it’s safe to –
John C. Dvorak Oh, that reminds me of the people when you – if you do mail order or direct marketing, and you can put up a website and people can type in their stuff…
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak … to a web browser and then – but some people say, “I don’t want to do that because it goes on the internet and I can’t handle that.” But if you are in the mail order business or the direct marketing business and you actually set up shop with one of these guys who take phone orders because “Oh, I’d rather do the phone order”. They require that you have that same exact internet account…
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak … so, they bring up the information on the web browser and type it in instead of you typing it in. So the whole thing is this –
Leo Laporte And they are probably using prisoners anyway.
John C. Dvorak Right. Which is probably worse.
Leo Laporte They are probably using – exactly….
John C. Dvorak So, the whole thing you can’t get around. Well that’s an interesting thing – point to make.
Leo Laporte It’s a great service. I have to say I love this service because it does do a really good job of analyzing. Ad you know they’re – the – it’s a smart service because it’s free, totally free. The way it works is they monetize it by selling ads but they are smart ads because they’ll be ads saying, “Well, I see you are using Fidelity as your broker unit. You could save $53 a week based on the number of transactions you’ve had...”
John C. Dvorak By going to E*TRADE.
Leo Laporte “…by going to E*TRADE”. It’s very smart. Or, “We can get you a better credit card deal”. So that’s how they monetize. The interesting thing is they have been eating Intuit’s lunch. I mean Intuit, because of Mint had to make Quicken Online free. And people still are –
John C. Dvorak Also a smart move by Intuit.
Leo Laporte Smart move – they bought the competition out. $170 million, big exit and there was a lot of criticism by people who said – criticism of Mint for selling out, for $170 - $170 million because that’s not the new web way to look for an exit to a big company. You should be ….
John C. Dvorak When did –
Leo Laporte … more like Facebook. You should be building value, you should be turning away the suitors.
John C. Dvorak Yeah. right.
Leo Laporte If anybody comes to me with a $170 million…
John C. Dvorak You’re out of here!
I’ll do it for ten! I am out of here!
John C. Dvorak You’re out of here. You’re in the South of France.
Leo Laporte Yeah, Patrick, you got a room for me, there?
John C. Dvorak In Provence.
Patrick Beja Sure, no problem. Come on over.
Leo Laporte Do you have anything like Mint in France?
Patrick Beja No, I looked and we don’t. The banks all have online services but nothing like Mint. And I even tried opening an account with Mint and was all happy when it accepted my account – I mean opening the account but then there was only American banks, and that reinforced my anti-American [ph] feelings (1:33:01).
Leo Laporte Right, it won’t import any of your data.
John C. Dvorak Well it’s because – well, then this is largely due to the fact that the EU has privacy and security laws that are alien to ours and they won’t let you do that stuff.
Leo Laporte Oh, Jeez. This you know – I mean, talking about a violation of privacy and security. I've given them everything. I keep – I go on iPhone, you press a button, it tells you what my net worth is, where all money is.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, somebody just has to knock you over the head with a sack of pennies and then grab your iPhone and they got…
Leo Laporte Exactly
John C. Dvorak … they’ve got your balance sheet.
Leo Laporte They got my balance sheet.
John Graham-Cumming There’s another thing that people don’t quire realize about Mint and Quicken which is – there’s a much bigger story which is that Intuit actually runs a lot of the online banking for banks in the U.S. already.
Leo Laporte Oh interesting.
John Graham-Cumming So they actually are a service provider and so this whole issue of – Mint actually uses a thing called Yodlee as the backend. Intuit is actually a pretty big deal in actually hooking up to banks.
Leo Laporte So is Yodlee an Intuit competitor as well?
John Graham-Cumming Sort of, Yodlee has actually been around for a long time. They were – in the late 90s, they were around. They were trying to do what Mint is doing today. They actually had a thing that was bit like Netvibes or Pageflakes, but also with all your financial information in it.
Leo Laporte Wow!
John Graham-Cumming And they then turned themselves into a B2B company. They do actually still provide the B2C bit, but Mint really came along and did a great job of it. Intuit has been building this business in the back-end, which is all of the bank connectivity –
Leo Laporte Now I wonder if they all abandon Yodlee and make Mint use Intuit some – because I have to say one of the reasons I loved Mint was I never got Quicken to do a very good job of importing all my data. I had to do a lot of by-hand tweaking and stuff and Mint just does it automatically, it categorizes it ….
John C. Dvorak It’s a surprise you haven’t got banks of book-keepers.
Leo Laporte I do, actually
John C. Dvorak Oh, okay. I just haven’t been here on a Tuesday, I suppose.
Leo Laporte They come in on Tuesday and they count my money for me and then we have a little vat that we keep all in.
John C. Dvorak You’ve got the little thing that flips through the dollars.
Leo Laporte It’s just like that.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Just like that. Hey, I really want to thank you all for being here, and I especially want to thank you Patrick and John Graham coming for staying up so late with us. Patrick Beja is a podcaster from Paris.
Patrick Beja Absolutely.
Leo Laporte His site isfrenchspin.com. And will you do – return the favor and allow me to be on your show, at some point?
Patrick Beja Absolutely, that would be a great pleasure.
Leo Laporte I’d love to be on the [ph] spot (1:35:22).
Patrick Beja Do you watch movies at all? You could be on The Movielicious.
Leo Laporte I do. You have a – is that an English language one as well, Movielicious?
Patrick Beja Yes, it is.
Leo Laporte Is it – do you talk about movies, you review movies?
Patrick Beja Yes. Well I am reluctant to say review because it really implies a level of professionalism that we don’t really have. But we just – we discuss the movies that we’ve just seen…
Leo Laporte Modern movies, oh good.
Patrick Beja …and sometimes trash them.
Leo Laporte You know what I loved, and I just saw is Inglourious Basterds.
John C. Dvorak You liked it?
John Graham-Cumming Hell yeah..
Patrick Beja It was a great –
Leo Laporte You know why? Because Hitler gets it in the end. I don’t think I am spoiling anything when I say.
John C. Dvorak I think we have come to some understanding that Hitler actually did die.
Leo Laporte But not the way it shows it in the movie.
John C. Dvorak No, not that way.
Leo Laporte It’s really kind of – it’s – you know – it’s Quentin Tarantino so it’s very, very violent.
John C. Dvorak Or you think they are revealing the absolute truth, though? I mean is it possible that –
Leo Laporte Maybe this is what really happened.
John C. Dvorak This could be – it could be a cover-up for what really happened.
Leo Laporte It’s actually – as violent as it is, it is a comedy. It’s very funny.
John C. Dvorak All his violence has been comedic, generally. I mean that one with that – Kill Bill –
Leo Laporte Reservoir Dogs? Oh, Kill Bill – crazy.
John C. Dvorak Reservoir Dogs, I don’t think he really had the soft touch with that one. But with the Kill Bill when that girl chops off the woman’s head and then the blood squirts up like a little geyser that goes on forever?
Leo Laporte That’s so horrible.
John C. Dvorak It’s so ludicrous, it was ridiculous.
Patrick Beja Tarantino does have a talent for making gruesome stuff sort of funny.
Leo Laporte I think you need to get John and me on – have you done Inglourious Basterds yet?
John C. Dvorak No. I mean, I haven’t seen it.
Patrick Beja We have, but I’m sure we’ll find some other – other new movies.
Leo Laporte You’ve got to see it. I think you’d enjoy it.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I will watch it.
Leo Laporte Because of the World War II history.
John C. Dvorak I will watch it on the 100 inch screen at home.
Leo Laporte Oh shut up! You have a 100 inch screen?
Patrick Beja You know what you should see though?
Leo Laporte Did you buy that?
John C. Dvorak It’s a projector.
Leo Laporte Oh go ahead Patrick, John and I were bantering.
Patrick Beja No, I was, I just wanted to mention the movie 500 Days of Summer.
Leo Laporte Oh, is that good?
Patrick Beja Amazing.
Leo Laporte Alright, I have to go see that.
Patrick Beja Amazing movie. Everyone please go out and see it. And that’s all I’ll say about it.
Leo Laporte 500 Days of Summer. Yeah. I love what’s her name? Chloe? What’s her name?
Patrick Beja Zooey Deschanel
Leo Laporte Zooey Deschanel. I’m in love with her.
John C. Dvorak So 500 Days of Summer is about global warming?
Leo Laporte Yeah. Very good, very quick.
Thank you for being here, Patrick. We really appreciate it. I also want to thank my friend, John Graham-Cumming and I really want to thank you for the great job you did rehabilitating and bringing people’s awareness to the great injustice that was done to Alan Turing.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, that was great.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Success there.
John Graham-Cumming Thanks very much.
Leo Laporte Don’t forget his book. A must read Geek Atlas. It’s on Amazon, it’s available everywhere from O’REailly and Sons. His website, Jgc.org. Thanks for staying up late with us, John.
John Graham-Cumming Yeah, no problem. Nice talking to you.
Leo Laporte And John C. Dvorak, we appreciate your great contributions as always.
John C. Dvorak You can find me at ChannelDvorak.com and on Twitter, I am THErealDVORAK spelt t-h-e-r-e-a-l Dvorak, d-v-o-r-a-k if I can get that right.
Leo Laporte And he has never mentioned David Pogue on Twitter.
John C. Dvorak And I have never mentioned David Pogue and really had no desire to until now, which I did mention him in a Twitter asking people to give me the – where I mentioned him and somebody on Twitter in my audience, somebody said, here, here it is.
Leo Laporte Twitter is a great crowd-sourcing tool
John C. Dvorak It is, I love it.
Leo Laporte Love it.
John C. Dvorak In fact I don’t know if I could do it – I’m at the limit where you know, if you crowd-source with 60,000 it’s harder than 30 because you –
Leo Laporte You can start getting a lot of results.
John C. Dvorak You get too much redundancy
Leo Laporte Yeah. Well thank you for being with here, John. We really appreciate it. Thank you all for being here East Meets West is coming up next. Remember, you can watch this show live, every Sunday afternoon 6 pm Eastern, 3 pm Pacific at live.twit.tv. But make sure subscribe on iTunes or the Zune Store as well, because those subscriptions make us lots more money, frankly than you watching on the stream. Did you know that?
John C. Dvorak I am glad for you.
Leo Laporte You make no money on the stream.
John C. Dvorak Well the stream is just a –
Leo Laporte It’s just floating out there. Yeah. Another TWiT is in the can.
John C. Dvorak Has hit the can? You said hit the –
Leo Laporte It’s in the can.
John C. Dvorak You said hit the can
Patrick Beja Hit the can!
Leo Laporte Don’t gom we are not done yet because David Pogue joined us right before the show; I asked David on – actually he asked to be on and I was very glad to have him on to rebut our conversations about him and the conflicts of interest that we considered were happening at The New York Times with his coverage and particularly of Apple, so David agreed to call in from the road, he is in Syracuse, and the conversation went something like this.
David Pogue is here with us and just to kind of set this up over the last couple of weeks we’ve been pretty hard on David which is hard for me because I consider David a friend and I really like you David, but we’ve been very hard, I know you’ve received criticism in other areas as well because The New York Times public editor responded to a) conflict of interests issues, in particular the public editor responded to the issue of you reviewing Snow Leopard while at the same time writing a book on Snow Leopard which might lead one to think that you have some vested interest in the success of Snow Leopard and then I think we were more critical in general of the fact that as time has gone by you have become more and more apparently a Mac fan and that it just seemed like you – it was inappropriate for the Times to use you as a reviewer because it just didn’t seem like you were unbiased in the issue.
So I wanted to give you – is that fair, is that a fair summary of what you feel like we’ve been saying about you?
David Pogue Yeah, I think that’s about right. Well I think –
Leo Laporte So I want to give you a chance to respond absolutely, and…
David Pogue Well sure.
Leo Laporte …I do want to say upfront, I think the world of you David, you are super-talented and I really admire you, I don’t believe that you are – that you would in any way act unethically and I don’t – and I hope that that wasn’t the feeling that you got from this, but I do think that there is an issue and it’s a different issue than perhaps somebody like me who is a podcaster, who is an opinion person that because you write for the Times you have a higher standard to adhere to.
David Pogue Well, I think you are right, I think there is clearly an evident and apparent conflict of interest but what I thought was interesting about your segment with the panelist to talk about me when I wasn’t there is that, I think you had Dwight Silverman, right, from the Houston Chronicle?
Leo Laporte Well, it happened several times, so last week it was Jason Calacanis on TWiT and then the week before I believe it was Dwight Silverman.
David Pogue Right.
Leo Laporte And Dwight I think was defending you because he in fact also writes books about these topics.
David Pogue Right. In point of facts this is a problem with the industry and not so much with me alone and this is what I wanted to bring up to you; it’s about context, so Dwight admitted to you that he writes for the Houston Chronicle, and he wrote a Windows book at the same time that he was writing about Windows…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue ...for the paper…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …and Ed Baig who is an even, Ed writes for an even bigger newspaper than I do, he writes for USA Today, the equivalent column, he wrote Macs for Dummies, Palm Pre: The Missing Manual, he wrote an iPhone book at the same time he was reviewing those. Walt Mossberg, for The Wall Street Journal, makes I think the New Yorker said a million dollars a year off of The D Conference…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates makes exclusive appearances, the very guys whose products he reviews. So it’s a growing problem, it’s – you’d probably have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t have a problem like this. So, you know, I’m not going to say there is no visible conflict of interest, obviously there is one, the question is – the only thing I can say in my defense, our defense is: does that conflict of interest affect the writing? Does it affect the conclusions? So, in other words, can you look at a column I’ve done about some Apple product and say, oh my gosh, this thing that he has a book about is so much more of a positive review than any of the national reviewers gave them and –
Leo Laporte Well, I can. So, let me…
David Pogue You can?
Leo Laporte …yeah, let me bring that up, so and this is where, you know, to be honest with you for a long time I have been aware of the conflict of interest and you are right, it is endemic and I think it is a big problem. But we can – well, let’s talk about that because I think it’s a good subject, but let me talk specifically about you first, so, where it really started to surface for me as issue was your Snow Leopard review, which was a very positive review, and left out what I thought was something fairly critical. You talked in a blog posting and I’m trying to remember who you talked to about some significant problems you’ve had with Leopard.
David Pogue But, Leo this – there are – there are two paragraphs about the glitches in the review that’s what boggles my mind is –
Leo Laporte But you didn’t mention the fact that you hadn’t – you never got CS3 working, that your printer never did work, it felt to me like you downplayed the glitches, that it was – and in my opinion – and I realize I was swimming upstream on this because you are right most of the national reviewers are very positive about Snow Leopard – I was much more critical of Snow Leopard and really felt that the tech reporting had done a disservice to Apple users by recommending the upgrade when in fact I don’t think it was ready for most people – the problems that it caused did not outweigh the benefits that people were going to get.
David Pogue But I must disagree with you about that. I specifically in The New York Times mentioned Microsoft Word, Photoshop CS3, the FTP program that – that was crashing all the time and a couple of other – I named them specifically…
Leo Laporte Okay.
David Pogue And so when Paul from VentureBeat e-mailed me and asked me to elaborate I said – I named the exact same problems except for the printer one which happened later, later I was not able to, after the review for The Times was done, I was not able to connect to my HP Laser Printer which turns out is because they took out AppleTalk and it’s pretty easy to flip back in and you just switch it to IP address. And so, it really wasn’t an incompatibility.
As a matter of fact, the Word problem went away as soon as I did a reinstall, I think my normal template was corrupted, that turned out as far as I know not to be a Snow Leopard thing at all; the Photoshop CS3 crashes, a few people, other people have had, Adobe’s talked about it a lot on their website and supposedly that was corrected as I predicted by the 10.6.1…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …update from Apple. So you’re wrong, I did not, not mention that in The Times, in fact I mentioned the same things except – that I mentioned the VentureBeat and the reason it was only two paragraphs was because these things always happen when something new comes along and then there are bugs-fix and patches and they go away. I said exactly the same thing about the Microsoft Zune the following week, there were little glitches and I’ll say the same thing again this week about the product I’m reviewing now that’s brand new with a 1.0 operating system.
Leo Laporte Okay. I will – you know point taken, I felt the tone of the – I won’t defend it, but I felt the tone of the Snow Leopard review was more positive than I would have given it but that’s a difference of opinion.
David Pogue But you had problems right?
Leo Laporte Yes.
David Pogue Yes, so –
Leo Laporte And significant ones, and I feel like in general the Snow – people should have been a little harder on Snow Leopard. The second issue that came up was your conversation with Steve Jobs right after the Apple event where – and to your credit you immediately asked the question everybody was asking, “Why no camera?”. Steve gave you a pretty spinny answer and I would have – I was hoping for more follow-up there and I wonder if the impression I got was that perhaps you were reluctant to challenge Steve.
David Pogue Well, see that’s an – that was a really bizarre situation first of all. By the way what did you think of Walt Mossberg’s interview with Jobs and Ed Baig’s interview with Jobs the same day?
Leo Laporte I didn’t actually – I didn’t actually read them, I read you instead, David.
David Pogue Yeah. Because they didn’t write them, they didn’t write them at all.
Leo Laporte Well, so – did you have a – so, it was unclear to me, you did not have an exclusive? Ed and Walt did get interviews with him?
David Pogue No, all the big guys had interviews one right after another. We were all sitting in the same waiting room.
Leo Laporte And why do you think they didn’t write them?
David Pogue So, I think Apple clearly wanted to focus on the products. So they declined every Times and Wall Street Journal and USA Today reporters – business reporters’ requests for interviews. So only the product guys got in and not the business – not the business interviewers. So my editors ask me, by the way we’d like to do a news story about this why you were there, can you ask these newsy-related questions and we’ll use quotes from it for a business story.
And they gave me some questions that they hoped that I could pass along. So you have ten minutes with the man and already – by the way after this John Dvorak went on Twitter and said “David Pogue is a disgrace to journalism.”; Jason Calacanis said “No one in the tech business takes you seriously, it’s a joke that the New York Times employs you.” They were just unbelievably harsh. And one guy on the David Pogue blog said, “You should have nailed Jobs’ ass to the wall”.
And I’m kind of like, dude that is not how you get – I mean, yeah maybe I should have, but is that my job? Let me ask you this Leo. What would you have said if he spun you, if he said well the reason we didn’t put a camera in the iPod Touch is because we are repositioning it as an inexpensive game machine and you didn’t buy it. So what would you – let’s role-play. You said what you –
Leo Laporte It’d be hard not to laugh when he said that. Now I’ve talked to Steve and I know that the follow up question which I would have said is, you know I’m not sure exactly what I’d have said, but I would have said, well, Steve that doesn’t make any sense. He would have left. And this is the issue I think that a lot of trade press has and press that covers narrower fields have, and certainly it’s a problem in the beltway with balancing access with fairness.
David Pogue Now we are talking. That's the point, he would have left –
Leo Laporte And I’ve got to tell you, that’s why I was – I have never been offered an interview with Steve Jobs although I’ve asked many times. It’s why I was never allowed to speak to Bill Gates because every time you have to speak to Bill Gates, you have to submit questions in advance. And I, for ethical reasons don’t believe I should be doing that. So I don’t get those interviews. I will never get an interview with Steve Jobs. I think perhaps because – in fact I wasn’t even invited to that event perhaps because I have not been a Apple cheerleader in recent times. And I think that that is an issue David.
David Pogue So I think now it’s on the table. So is it better to have – to ask the hard questions and not nail his ass to the wall in the follow-up but bring the readers his answers? Or is it best not to interview him at all and get no answers. Listen, and by the way I want to add, this isn’t a David Pogue- Steve Jobs thing.
Leo Laporte No, I agree.
David Pogue I have – I have interviewed Bill Gates, I was not asked to submit my questions in advance. I have interviewed senators, I interviewed governors for CBS Sunday Morning, I interview lots of big people, and I’m always respectful. That doesn’t mean I’m kissing their ass. It means you are respectful. I ask them the tough questions. It came out later, but the blogs found a hole in the iPod Touch where someone could have put a camera, but that happened after the fact.
Leo Laporte Had you seen that before the – before the interview?
David Pogue No, that came out two or three days later.
Leo Laporte But, but, no I’m saying if you had, would you have brought it up?
David Pogue Oh, sure.
Leo Laporte Okay.
David Pogue Absolutely.
Leo Laporte So that’s really the – that’s really the issue. I’m not saying be disrespectful. But I think that it is an issue when in effect you are giving Apple – look, you are coming from the New York Times, you are giving Apple a platform for what is essentially public relations, you know, a press release. And so I think that there is an issue there. I think that because you have the weight of the New York Times behind you, that’s I’m certain that's why Bill Gates did not ask you to submit questions when he asked me to submit questions. You know you have some weight and you can go in the there and perhaps challenge him a little bit more. And I know that’s a difficult thing to do. But I think it’s your job.
David Pogue Well, I’ll – I’ll accept that. I – the thing that I objected to most about John Dvorak’s tearing me down on Twitter is “You’re are disgrace to journalism”: since when have I ever billed myself as a journalist?
Leo Laporte Well that’s – and that’s the question David. If you were a blogger – I mean, are you a blogger for the New York Times? I mean if you – I mean you have a blog. If you were a blogger, nobody would say this, it would say – or an opinion – let’s not say blogger, let’s say a columnist, an opinion person. Nobody says to David Brooks why is it that you aren’t a fan of President Obama, actually I guess he is, but I mean you are not a columnist, you are a reporter or are you not?
David Pogue No, no, you know by the way I’m suddenly realizing this is all just making it all worse for myself but I just – I got it that – the haters are going to hate David Pogue even more – .
Leo Laporte You know, you can’t win with the haters. David Pogue I am – I am not a reporter, I have never to journalism school, I don’t know what it means to bury the lede – okay, I do know what it means, but I’m not a reporter, I’ve been an opinion columnist…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …my entire career. I express opinions, I try to entertain and inform. And in this instance – and I’ve never, never interviewed Jobs in this sort of news-reporty way before and it was a mistake I’m – I don’t think I’m – I’m not an investigative reporter by any means. And it, again this is not a Jobs thing. This is a David Pogue thing. I like my interview subjects…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …to like me. I like them to feel comfortable because in my experience for CBS Sunday Morning, the interview subjects tend be more forthcoming, they tend to let things roll more when they feel comfortable as opposed to feeling – you know, feeling that they’re –
Leo Laporte David, that’s my style too. So I’m completely sympathetic. It’s, I think, one of the reasons we get along, I’m not a confrontational journalist. So maybe that’s a misapprehension about your role at the Times. And certainly you were putting the position of being a news reporter. Now, what is the Times’ reaction to this? I mean, I read the public editor’s piece. It sounded like they were content with your role and from now on they are going to put a disclaimer in your column. Is that the end of it?
David Pogue I don’t know. You know, as the public editor said, I was already doing the Missing Manuals when the New York Times came along. And from the very beginning that was – that was my offer. Look, I have to keep doing the books, that’s how I put food on the table…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue …so – anyway so they went into it with their eyes open. For nine years it’s never been an issue. Apart from the snarky bloggers, most readers seem satisfied that I’m being evenhanded and if you – again if you compare my review, I called MobileMe a MobileMess, I said that iMovie '08 was a trainwreck. I mean I’m not afraid to – and I had books on those subjects. So I’m not afraid to nail Apple where it’s due because why wouldn’t I? It’s my – my credibility is my bread and butter. If people think I’m, you know, going to cave just to increase the sales of my books, which by the way I think is a pretty – it’s [pretty far-fetched. You know…
Leo Laporte Yes/
David Pogue …David Pogue is doing this to get his $0.80 royalty –
Leo Laporte No, I – anybody who has written a book knows that.
David Pogue Yeah. So, so as far as I know, that's it for the Times I have offered repeatedly – I mean we’ve discussed this a lot over the years and I’ve offered repeatedly to take those weeks off.
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue I only have three Missing Manuals, right? So iPhoto – sorry, iPhone, Mac OS X and Windows, those are the three that I’m keeping alive. So it comes up three times a year, this subject. So I’ve said I could take those weeks off from the Times, you could get someone else to write it. Their feeling is that at this point readers are sort of expecting my voice and they know me and I’ve frequently said why don’t we disclose the book in the column and for nine years that’s been shot down because it’s like, “Dude you can’t advertise yourself!” It’s like putting a plug in the column.
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue So they never did that before. Now –
Leo Laporte That is the irony is the disclaimer is in a way a plug, isn’t it?
David Pogue That’s right. And you know what? I am sorry to tell you guys this, but now that the plug is going to appear in each column it’s going to raise the book sales.
Leo Laporte Right, right. Let me ask you about the video, the I Love My iPhone video. A lot of people have said, look this is a proof positive that David is a fanboy. He shouldn’t be reviewing any Apple products after making a video that says I Love My iPhone.
David Pogue Wait, you are talking about the song that goes, “I want to touch its precious screen…”
Leo Laporte That one.
David Pogue “… I want to wipe the smudges clean…”
Leo Laporte Yeah, that one.
David Pogue “…I want my friends to look and drool. I want to say look now I am cool. I took a stand, paid half a grand!”, that one? The one that goes…
Leo Laporte Yeah.
David Pogue Talks about the – it’s got no keys –
Leo Laporte So you are saying it’s a parody, it’s not a paean to the iPhone, it is in fact mocking it?
David Pogue Of course, it was a parody of the hype, dude! I mean it’s so obvious.
Leo Laporte All right.
David Pogue We went to the - all these guys who have been standing in line for the Apple store for a week – a thousand people and got them to sing the lines, one whole verse is about – no keys, no memory card, you can’t expand it, can’t change the battery, a whole verse about that – but never mind, it’s from Apple!
Leo Laporte Yeah, but all anybody remembers is “I love my iPhone” – , that’s all anybody remembers of it.
David Pogue Well evidently, but watch the whole thing. It’s a parody of the whole thing. Dude, like, it’s my credibility at stake, I am not going to – if I really did kiss Apple’s ass, I wouldn’t say it, I wouldn’t advertise it.
Leo Laporte That’s a good point, that’s probably a bad way to go if you had something to gain.
David Pogue Just one last thing. I know we have hammered this horse ‘til it’s dead, but one last thing is I am not an Apple fanboy meaning that I give Apple a pass. However, I think that Apple is relatively more often likely to do polished work. What’s interesting to me is that nobody nails me for being a Google fanboy or a BlackBerry fanboy or a TiVo fanboy, or a Sonos fanboy. All those companies have gotten a higher percentage of positive reviews from me than Apple. It’s because Apple and Microsoft are part of this religious war that people care and they get especially fired up about this. But I think it’s important not to mix up the two. The haters want me to cream Apple every time.
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue That’s not going to happen. I am going to give good reviews when it’s deserved and bad reviews when it’s deserves, just like a theatre critic may generally like Sondheim’s work, a restaurant critic may generally like Chef Pierre [ph] Boulou’s (1:58:37) work or whatever. I think that Apple and so do you, Leo I think I have heard you say many…
Leo Laporte I am in that category, yeah.
David Pogue In general, they do polished elegant work and I am going to call it when I see that.
Leo Laporte So what do we do then about the issue that you raised at the beginning, which is, I think a big issue which is that there, it’s very difficult to find people that there isn’t a conflict of interest to cover this stuff. I mean I have tried personally to distance myself from PR. I don’t take, I very rarely take products for review anymore. I buy the products to review. I have done everything I can to distance myself from that, and I don’t work for the New York Times or the Houston Chronicle. Can we, is it too late to expect a higher standard; is it impossible to find a reviewer that doesn’t have conflicts of interest?
David Pogue Consumer Reports?
Leo Laporte Yeah. That’s actually been my model as going forward is to try to move towards that standard. They don’t take advertizing either which makes it very difficult for me because I –
David Pogue I don’t want to be Michael Arrington and get you really pissed off here, but –
Leo Laporte The Palm Pre, I took a loaner of that, okay. But that was a rare exception and there were logistical reasons why I did that, because they released it on Saturday and have time to review with the radio show, I wouldn’t have been able to buy it in time. So I did take a loaner, but generally if I can buy something before the radio show including all the iPhones I own, all the Mackintoshes I own, I will buy them trying to keep my distance.
I don’t, I don’t get invited to these events anymore and I think it’s because I don’t take calls from PR. I don’t do vendor meetings whenever possible, again I recently did one for the Zune HD foolishly hoping to get it in time for the review, but that didn’t work out because they didn’t activate the damm thing. So I try as much as I can to do that and I think that that’s something we should ask of tech reporters, don’t you?
David Pogue Well except that as a result you are depriving your readers of your opinions a lot of times or delaying them. I mean, is that good too?
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think that that’s a worthwhile trade off. Because you are in print you have a longer lead time, I don’t have the lead time that you do.
David Pogue Right.
Leo Laporte But, and as a result I often have to give a, quote, “first look review” because I don’t have much time to look at it when the product is released. I think that that’s fair – it’s what I am comfortable with David. I don’t really want to have a relationship with these companies.
David Pogue Right. Well it’s –
Leo Laporte I feel like my job is to represent the user and if I am too close to the companies it makes it hard for me to do my job. I like these people and I – see that’s the problem. I don’t want to like Steve Jobs too much or anybody at Apple too much because then it would make me hard for them, for me to be honest.
David Pogue Well, it’s extremely admirable what you are doing. It’s also extremely unusual in this day and age, I mean…
Leo Laporte Well I am not – I apologize for bringing it up, because I am not trying to toot my own horn here. How do we address this as a business?
David Pogue So my message is it’s not just me. I felt like I was ganged up upon and I just wanted to point out it’s problematic but it’s not just me.
Leo Laporte No, absolutely not. I agree with you.
David Pogue The only solution is – I mean this genie is never going back in the bottle, not with newspapers crashing the way they are. We all need to earn a living somehow. So the experts in this field tend to be in demand for speaking, for television, for books, for newspaper, for blogs, for Leo’s show. I mean they are the same people who are going to recur. So it’s not going to change. So it remains I think up to the readership to judge if this guy is credible or not despite what appear to be conflicts.
Leo Laporte I guess in the new age that’s the bottom line anyway, because while today I could say well you write for the New York Times so you have a higher standard, the truth is it’s a level playing field – it’s an increasingly level playing field and why should anybody have a higher standard? We should all have a high standard. So I guess in the – you are right, the bottom line is we are all going to be faced with this – you can’t ask a blogger not to get products for review, they can’t afford to buy these products.
David Pogue I mean in my case, Leo I think the simple solution would be those three times a year when I have to review a product where I also have a book coming out that I let a substitute do it, but you know what that would not change the haters one iota.
Leo Laporte No that I know also.
David Pogue That would not satisfy Jason and Dvorak and those guys.
Leo Laporte David, I really appreciate your willingness to come on and talk. I apologize for not having you on in the last two weeks, but the truth was I didn’t know that this would come up as a conversation, certainly not to the degree that it did or I would have, but I am really glad you could come on today and talk.
David Pogue Well thanks for letting to speak my piece and you are right, it’s an interesting question; it’s a troublesome question.
Leo Laporte It’s only going to get worse.
David Pogue It’s only going to get worse and already it’s been in place for 15 years even before I came along. So…
Leo Laporte I grapple with this because I have to do ads – we can’t support – I wanted to support ourselves like the Consumer Reports does with donations and we just couldn’t as there wasn’t enough money in it. So we have to do ads and that’s raises a huge conflict of interest.
David Pogue Right, I remember I was listening to your show one day and – which is fantastic and…
Leo Laporte Thank you.
David Pogue There was a GoToMyPC ad…
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue And you read the copy but then you threw in “We use it all the time.”
Leo Laporte Right.
David Pogue And I was wondering to myself –
Leo Laporte Which is true.
David Pogue I know, I know it’s true but would you mention it every week if they weren’t a sponsor.
Leo Laporte No, absolutely not. Those are ads. Here’s the – and this is not necessarily effective but here is the line I have drawn, we don’t do ads for products I don’t use. Now in the tech sphere I am hoping, I pray that sometime we will be getting advertisers who aren’t in the tech sphere, then it won’t matter because it won’t be products I cover. I also recuse myself from coverage of those categories. Fortunately there is not really much of an issue in terms of Citrix or Audible or Drobo.
We don’t have – one of our hosts was a wonderful guy. I really adore him, Fredrick on our photography podcast, and he was on MacBreak Weekly took a job with Drobo. I immediately had to let him go, or say “You can’t do the show anymore.” We try to only use journalists, not PR or marketing people on the show. These are the lines I try to draw. It’s a – you’re right David, it’s very difficult. And increasingly with our hosts it’s impossible. So I think you are right, I think it’s ultimately as with everything else it’s going – the burden is on the reader. The truth is it’s always been on the reader. It’s just now surfacing as something more explicit. David, thank you.
David Pogue Yeah. Thanks for letting me have the chance to express myself.
Leo Laporte Have a great time in Syracuse.
David Pogue Thanks a lot.
Leo Laporte All right take care. David Pogue bye, bye.
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