Recorded: October 18, 2009
Published: October 19, 2009
TWiT 217 •Previous episode – Next episode
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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 217 for October 19, 2009: The A.I. Spy Club.
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In studio, with me a huge massive crowd. We’ve never had so many people in studio, starting with Mr. Jim Louderback.
Leo Laporte I’ve turned into Roger Daltrey. Jim Louderback, Jimmy. Hey Jim good to see you from Revision3. What is your title, are you CEO?
Jim Louderback Yes, CEO.
David Spark Still the CEO?
Jim Louderback I know, I know.
Leo Laporte That’s cold.
Jim Louderback For more than two years I have kind of pulled the wool over their eyes, at least so far.
Leo Laporte Still the CEO. David Spark is here, former PR flack. But now…
David Spark No, never PR flack.
Leo Laporte Rehabilitated. I am so sorry. So, David’s here because I have to make an apology. I have to make amends because last week we were talking and then we were talking…
David Spark Two weeks ago.
Leo Laporte Two weeks ago we were talking about your great article. Was it on Mashable?
David Spark Mashable
Leo Laporte About ways people are monetizing. I think John and I were talking about it.
David Spark All right. And thank you, John, for giving me props on the article.
John C. Dvorak You are welcome.
Leo Laporte He called it. What do you say, he called to say Mashies?
David Spark Yeah. I remember he was like “Mash, Musha, Masha, Mashies” I couldn’t believe it. Put it all together.
Leo Laporte Who knows that?
David Spark Weren’t you moments ago saying that he is a pro when it comes to broadcasting.
Leo Laporte He is absolute – look, let me tell you something. He knew it was Mashable. He knows exactly what is going on.
John C. Dvorak Mashed potatoes.
Leo Laporte Johncdvorak.org/blog, also channeldvorak.com. Great to have you. He is wearing the Akron nerds’ sweatshirt. That’s good.
John C. Dvorak The Akron Aeros.
Leo Laporte Aeros?
David Spark It does look like nerds from this.
Leo Laporte From this.
David Spark You know what I think? Complain to Skype, John.
Leo Laporte No. I don’t think it’s a Skype issue. I think it actually is a poor logo, that’s what it is.
Baratunde Thurston I think it’s that hot purple issue.
Leo Laporte Wait a minute. That voice ladies and gentlemen, you might recognize that voice, is the great Baratunde Thurston, who is joining us in studio for the very first time. Great to have you.
Baratunde Thurston Great to be here, Leo.
Leo Laporte Now, let me see if I can get all the credits right. You see him on the Science Channel.
Baratunde Thurston Yup.
Leo Laporte With the show, it’s called…
Baratunde Thurston Popular Science’s Future Of.
Leo Laporte Future, it’s about the future.
Baratunde Thurston Mondays at nine. Science.
Leo Laporte He is also the web and politics editor from The Onion. And a standup comic who appears tonight, at the Punch Line in San Francisco but normally every week in New York City at the…
Baratunde Thurston The Sage Theater.
Leo Laporte The Sage Theater in beautiful Times Square, that’s right? Did I get it all?
Baratunde Thurston I am the co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics.
Leo Laporte I don’t know that. Is that a site?
Baratunde Thurston A political blog.
Leo Laporte I love that.
Baratunde Thurston Pimp that too.
Leo Laporte I love that, why not? Did I say everybody’s name? I think everybody is here now. And we also have some audience members who are just here for fun, adding a little pulchritude to the ensemble. And let’s talk tech starting with John. I want to start with this story you just mentioned right before we began. That face that everyone sees when they sleep.
John C. Dvorak By the way my wife who has vivid dreams and kind of can go and have a dream and then remember most of it. She said she has never seen this face “A” and she went into her dream and asked everybody in the dream if they had ever seen this face. And then nobody – everybody said no, it’s bogus. This whole thing is made up by somebody or other – it’s bull.
Leo Laporte So the story is there’s some guy, he is going to his therapist’s office, right. And there is a drawing on the desk. Is that how it happened?
John C. Dvorak Yes, something like that. Apparently there’s somebody drew this face and this other guy said, well I’ve seen that face. Then this guy looked into it and apparently these other people have seen this face too. So a lot of people are having a dream with this face in it, which looks a lot like David Spark I might add. And…
Leo Laporte It looks like actually, it looks like one of those…
David Spark It does not look like me.
Leo Laporte It looks like one of those identikit faces. Oh Paul Schaefer a little bit.
David Spark Wow!
David Spark Looks like Paul Shear. Mitch Fatel.
Leo Laporte But I am asking you.
John C. Dvorak It’s universal. It’s like a face that’s really nondescript, except for the eyebrows.
Leo Laporte He’s got big bushy eyebrows.
David Spark Narrow lips that’s kind of…
Leo Laporte Narrow top lip with kind of a fat lower lip.
David Spark You know what it looks to me, it looks like one of those Wooly Willy, magnetic drawings.
Leo Laporte It does. That’s what it is. People are just remembering their childhood with the Wooly Willy.
David Spark You could just move the eyebrows down to the moustache and leave it.
Baratunde Thurston He could spare some hair down there.
Leo Laporte Let me, now everybody is saying it’s a hoax. Why, of course it’s a – what do you think I was proposing that this was actually true?
John C. Dvorak It’s a hoax. What a discovery!
Leo Laporte Oh my goodness. And you know what; there was nobody in the balloon.
Baratunde Thurston I am shocked to discover gambling going on.
Leo Laporte Let me guess though that Baratunde…
John C. Dvorak Some lawyers are crooked.
Leo Laporte What? I am guessing tonight, Baratunde, there will be a little talk about Falcon the balloon boy.
Baratunde Thurston You know, here’s my thing with the balloon boy. I successfully avoided knowing what that story was about for four days.
Leo Laporte Me too.
Baratunde Thurston I saw that hash tag. I was like; I will not click this.
Leo Laporte I will not click this.
Baratunde Thurston Don’t send me links. And I remained willfully and intelligently ignorant about this story.
Leo Laporte Aren’t you brilliant?
David Spark The only reason I knew about balloon boy is because I happened to be attending the Real-Time Web Summit, and we were all talking about…
Leo Laporte Balloon boy, balloon boy.
David Spark Let’s see what’s the latest thing that’s going on right now. And it was all balloon boy, nonsense.
Baratunde Thurston And I was sick; I was supposed to be there. And I was laid up in my hotel room. I am not clicking.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Good for you, good you avoided the balloon boy, contagion. I have to say that this was an example of I think the online world doing a much better job than mainstream media of this. Almost immediately I saw a post saying; “well I’ve calculated the capacity, carrying capacity of the mylar balloon. Given the amount of the square footage in the helium lift capacity, that balloon could only hold 30 pounds. It’s absolutely no way there’s a child in there. Any idiot would know that.”
Baratunde Thurston I love the internet.
Jim Louderback And l love how you do a colossal impression of everybody that posts online.
Leo Laporte Everybody sounds like that.
Baratunde Thurston That’s how all nerds sound. The universal nerd voiceover.
Leo Laporte The neck-beard voice.
Baratunde Thurston You know why I could do that because they had a video of these people to come and visit our offices.
Leo Laporte Now it’s Jerry Lewis.
Baratunde Thurston It is turning into Jerry Lewis.
Leo Laporte I like that though. It’s good, it’s a good Jerry Lewis.
John C. Dvorak He was talking Professor Frink.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Professor Frink, exactly. All right. We’ve covered the two biggest stories of the week and neither of them had anything to do with tech. maybe we can just move on.
David Spark Balloons are very high-tech for that matter.
Leo Laporte Balloons are? Yeah mylar, it was mylar. That’s shiny.
Jim Louderback It takes a lot of technology to make a helium balloon that can lift a 30 pound boy.
Baratunde Thurston A Real boy. I want to be a real boy, some day.
David Spark Well it’s a reverse of the boy getting stuck in a well.
Baratunde Thurston That was baby Jessica. She is the best child suffering victim of all times.
David Spark Really?
Leo Laporte Oh my god. Cause she got hours, days.
Baratunde Thurston Days of coverage. And a well. Who doesn’t – no one has a well but we are all compelled by this idea of child in a well - it is beautiful.
Baratunde Thurston No kids have fallen in wells.
Leo Laporte In fact that became the kind of the canonical child lost story. Anytime they, on The Simpsons, they want to mock TV news reporters, they have them looking down a well.
Baratunde Thurston Yeah, it’s great.
Leo Laporte Just kind of like thing you do.
Baratunde Thurston Although you know the mash-up of the balloon and the girl down the well could have just ended that much more quickly.
David Spark That would have been awesome.
David Spark Send the balloon down the well and lift the boy – there you go, hot.
Leo Laporte Why didn’t we think of that?
David Spark Two negatives do make a positive. Next week on trending topics. Well balloon boy.
Leo Laporte Well actually, David, you’ve been doing a little studying on real time search, trending topics is a real wasteland on Twitter and yet it isn’t that real time, I mean, isn’t that real time search?
David Spark So, I am – happen to be actually running an analyst report for GigaOm on this very subject, so…
Leo Laporte Which is why I brought it up.
David Spark I real – I am doing – went to the Real-Time Web Summit. And there – Twitter has its own search and they have the trending topic. By the way have any of you have seen this site whatthetrend.com?
Leo Laporte Yeah. I use…
Baratunde Thurston Yes, obviously.
Leo Laporte He’s quickly typing that in.
David Spark Why each time he makes it, why every time you put…
Leo Laporte I have known about that for about three seconds. It’s real time, come on.
David Spark But every time you go to, look at whatever the trending topics are, how can you know by just the words or the –
Leo Laporte Oh yeah.
David Spark What it is? If you go to the whatthetrend it will explain what these things are and usually it’s a community like everything else with real time web, community adding in the definitions of what all these trends and terms are.
Leo Laporte I use Brizzly.
Baratunde Thurston Same here.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Brizzly does that.
David Spark Oh that’s good.
Leo Laporte Brizzly is a – oh it’s funny. I don’t know how this is a business. It’s like oh, well, this is the web page we think Twitter should have done. And but it has one of the things that it has. If you click on a trending topic, it will – it has in it. It’s kind of like a Wiki.
David Spark It explains it.
Leo Laporte So, there’s a thing that says next to it why. So here’s balloon boy, and you click why and it says…
David Spark How do you spell brizzly?
Baratunde Thurston Two Zs.
Leo Laporte Brizzly.
David Spark Y, of course.
Leo Laporte Titans, Patriots, Pats, Tom Brady, NFL, TDs. But you know some of it is stupid like every night, “it’s goodnight” is one of trending topics.
Baratunde Thurston Yes. Yes. A lot of noise in these topic.
Leo Laporte You’d think Twitter would kind of get a little wise about that? Now, twitter added I think a feature this week that has actually revived twitter from the dead for me. And that’s lists.
John C. Dvorak Ah!
Jim Louderback Have you actually used it? Were you on the list of the people who could use it. You are not supposed to talk about it.
Leo Laporte Yes, I’m on the list. Yes.
Leo Laporte What?
Jim Louderback Because Calacanis posted it out not a minute later he was like oops! I wasn’t supposed to say anything, sorry.
Leo Laporte They didn’t NDA me. They just put it on…
David Spark Sorry. Calacanis spoke too soon? Am I reading this correctly?
Leo Laporte What a shock! So if you are one of the anointed you’ll get this thing on the right hand side of your twitter that says lists and you can create lists – you see you get 20, I’ve used all 20 of them, and so let’s see I have a list of twits and it’s all the people in – I have 56 names in there and then people can follow – this is the thing, there are two things that make it valuable. First of all you can follow somebody’s lists…
Jim Louderback Right.
Leo Laporte En masse.
David Spark Just like a group follow…
Baratunde Thurston Well, that’s batch follow.
Jim Louderback That’s a good idea.
David Spark Yes.
Baratunde Thurston Yes.
Leo Laporte Yes. It’s a group follow and that frankly replaces the suggested user list which is really a broken feature on twitter.
Jim Louderback If you weren’t on the list.
Leo Laporte As all of us who weren’t on the list say.
Jim Louderback Yes, exactly.
Baratunde Thurston It was so broken.
Jim Louderback Everybody on the list is like “keep it going.”
Leo Laporte Yes. Well, you know who’s on the list is people who have millions of followers…
Baratunde Thurston That’s how they got their millions of followers.
Leo Laporte It’s the only way. In fact, it’s interesting because, I won’t say Drew Barrymore, who is the guy, Drew Carey, on the Price is Right?
Jim Louderback Oh, Drew Carey, right.
Leo Laporte Is asking to be on – he wants to give a buck per follower up to a million followers.
Baratunde Thurston Wow!
Leo Laporte Yes.
Baratunde Thurston I’ll do it.
Leo Laporte Exactly. We’ll follow Drew from TV. Add Drew from TV and, but he is only like at a hundred thousand, and my point is even with the campaign where you get everybody saying follow Drew follow Drew…
Jim Louderback Yes.
Leo Laporte You can’t get to a million. You need to be on the SUL lists, the person he needs to ask is ev I want to be on SUL anyway, ma