Recorded: November 29, 2009
Published: November 30, 2009
TWiT 223 •Previous episode – Next episode
This transcript is provided by our friends at Pods in Print
Leo Laporte Bandwidth for this WEEK in TECH is provided by AOL Music and spinner.com where you can get free MP3s, exclusive interviews and more. This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 223 for November 30, 2009. Burst & Decollate.
This WEEK in TECH is brought to you by audible.com. Sign up for the Platinum plan and get two free books. Go to audible.com/twit2, and follow audible on Twitter, user ID audible_com, and by the new Voice Activated Sync, featuring hands free calling, music search and turn-by-turn navigation, available exclusively on Ford, Lincoln & Mercury Vehicles. For more information and to enter to win a free Nano or Zune, visit syncmyridepodcast.com. And by GoToMeeting, the affordable way to meet with clients and colleagues. For your free 30-day trial, visit gotomeeting.com/twit.
Leo Laporte This is TWiT; this WEEK in TECH, the show that covers all the week’s Tech News and we’ve got a great cast of characters. We’re giving John C. Dvorak off for a Turkey Day but we’ve got some great people in studio with us to celebrate, starting with Dwight Silverman from the Houston Chronicle, a regular on the show and always a welcome guest.
Dwight Silverman Hello Leo.
Leo Laporte Good to see you again.
Dwight Silverman Good to be here.
Leo Laporte Also a rare visit from Mr. Paul Thurrott, who is the host of Windows Weekly.
Paul Thurrott I have broken my – my blockage of this –
Leo Laporte Yes, well you were banned after a while but I think so long enough time has gone by.
Paul Thurrott It was my defense of Vista three years ago, wasn’t it?
Leo Laporte Yes it was. No, no; actually your wife asked me to have you on – to try to break your – the hold of Modern Warfare 2. I don’t know if it is going to succeed but …
Paul Thurrott I have completed the multi-player.
Leo Laporte Consider this an intervention. You can’t complete the multi-player.
Paul Thurrott I agreed and I am going to prove that – I am going to prove that contention correct.
Leo Laporte I am really thrilled to get Jerry Pournelle back, the last time Jerry was on he was undergoing treatments that were – that caused his voice to – to be pretty gravelly and make it difficult for him to talk and Jerry is better and feisty and we’re so glad to have you back on Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle Thank you. Yes I – feels a lot better. I – 50,000 rads of hard radiation will do strange things to your memory and your voice and other things.
Leo Laporte Wow.
Jerry Pournelle But it also does fatal things of the cancer, so that’s the good news.
Leo Laporte And the treatment was successful then?
Jerry Pournelle Very; I have no cancer whatsoever. I have some residual effect from radiation damage but they mostly have to do with very short-term memory.
Leo Laporte Well I couldn’t – I think …
Jerry Pournelle And not much of that.
Leo Laporte I speak for all of us saying we couldn’t be happier. I was, I have to say, worried and so we’re really glad that you’re back and better. That’s great.
Jerry Pournelle Sure.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Well the reason you’re here Jerry, well there are several reasons but one is that Audible has released two of your classics, Swarms was the only one for a long time and now The Mote In God's Eye and Luciffer's Hammer are both on audible.com. And I have been reading, I am ashamed to admit I’d never read…
Paul Thurrott If I may pander to Jerry; two of the greatest books ever written.
Leo Laporte Well I am going to agree with you.
Jerry Pournelle Well thank you.
Leo Laporte I mean I am just going crazy.
Paul Thurrott No I mean that honestly, I mean…
Dwight Silverman In fact there are handful of books that I can say, probably…
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (03:50)
Dwight Silverman …a handful of books that I can say probably contributed to me wanting to be a writer and certainly to a passion for science fiction and Luciffer’s Hammer is one of.
Paul Thurrott Sure.
Jerry Pournelle Thank you.
Leo Laporte That was in fact, I think the conversation Paul and I had was how much you and your column in BYTE Magazine for many years influenced us.
Paul Thurrott Yeah, discovering that Jerry wrote for BYTE was a watershed moment. No, I am serious because most computer – all computer writing to that date in most since has been very dry and uninteresting and ...
Leo Laporte Garbage, so terrible. Yeah. Well…
Paul Thurrott No I mean it was – it had personality, you can it was a real person having real problems, right?
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle Well when I got in to BYTE, BYTE Magazine was one of the early computer magazines. This is [ph] CPM S-100 (4:39) days …
Paul Thurrott Right.
Jerry Pournelle And the – most BYTE articles were done by professors of Computer Science whom the editors tried to hammer the stuff into something readable and sometimes they managed it and sometimes they didn’t. So when I talked to Carl and he said, “Well why don’t you try seeing what you can do with it?” – they didn’t have to edit me. But whether or not what I had to say was useful, it certainly was good and didn’t need editing, if you know what I mean. And I tried to keep it useful in a sense of, here’s what I am doing to try to use these darn-fooled machines, which in those days – you rewrite the bios in the typical way when you got a new machine. Yeah, so you do an interface with CPM in order to be able to use electric pencil.
Dwight Silverman Wow.
Leo Laporte I have to say…
Jerry Pournelle I paid …
Leo Laporte Go ahead Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle I paid $12,000 for that first machine which is now by the way on display in the Smithsonian.
Leo Laporte Is it?
Jerry Pournelle Literally yeah, if you go to the hall of computing in the Museum of American History, the third from there’s an [ph] old Insight Paddlewheel. (05:56) There’s of course an [ph] Altaire (05:58). And the third one is old Ezekiel, my old Z80 that was the machine I wrote all those columns on and…
Leo Laporte Wow.
Jerry Pournelle Wrote the first novel anybody ever wrote or using a computer to write a novel. So…
Leo Laporte Really, what was – which novel was that?
Jerry Pournelle We don’t remember, it wasn’t Mote. Mote, which finished as a novel but it wasn’t written on – Mote was written on a typewriter.
Leo Laporte Wow.
Jerry Pournelle So it was probably Inferno and a couple of my individual ones and of course by that time I was writing the columns on it. I was the Science Editor of Galaxy, so those columns got put together into a book called A Step Further Out. Nobody is quite sure which one and I didn’t save the stuff. And now they exist only on 8-inch floppy disk, 64K. Imagine 64K on your – on your mass storage device.
Leo Laporte You are going to have to go to the Smithsonian just to read the floppies – borrow Ezekiel back!
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, I was thinking that! I woke him up at the Smithsonian so he’d know where he was.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s so neat. That was one of the things I always loved about the [ph] Chaos Manor (07:11) column; they all had names. I loved that.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Paul Thurrott Yeah. Still do. And in the Larry Niven stuff, you were almost like tech support for Larry Niven, right.
Jerry Pournelle Oh yeah. Well Larry’s answer to the computer revolution was to get an exact copy of [ph] mine (07:26).
Paul Thurrott Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle In fact, he being [ph] a dohini millionaire (07:30) he got two; that way he had a spare.
Leo Laporte A spare!
Jerry Pournelle That was back when they were $12,000 for the darn – of which six was the – was the Diablo printer which was essentially a Selectric with electronic printing. It could print 1,200 characters a minute. Wow.
Leo Laporte And probably pretty noisy doing it, I would say.
Paul Thurrott I was going to say, and cause earthquakes in California.
Jerry Pournelle Very noisy. Well it took all night to print a book and of course it printed it on fan-folded paper and you had to tear the – I bribed the kids to tear the ears off the paper, tear all the sheets and…
Leo Laporte To Burst & Decollate.
Paul Thurrott Well.
Leo Laporte That’s one of my favourite phrases.
Jerry Pournelle Burst & Decollate, I don’t think I ever heard that before, that’s a great little…
Leo Laporte That’s – you know, bursting is taking off the ears and decollating of course is tearing it up and putting in – re-collating in effect.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, re-collating but …
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle I wish I had said that and probably in a couple of hours I will have.
Paul Thurrott You can steal it, I’d give it to you.
Leo Laporte It’s the least I can do. So, Tech News – there’s a lot to talk about, course this is Black Friday or we’re post Black Friday; tomorrow’s Cyber Monday, a day that I think a lot of – if you look at the numbers, it’s pretty obvious was just made up by some journalist somewhere – make up the idea that there’s some magic, special magic on Monday. The theory being that people go back to work and use the fast connection.
Paul Thurrott And get on the only computer they have.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Paul Thurrott The one at work.
Leo Laporte It must be from 1988 they came up with this Cyber Monday; I mean, use the fast computer and the fast connection at work. I think most people have faster connections and certainly have faster computers at home these days. In your coverage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Dwight, do you – any trends you saw?
Dwight Silverman Well – one of the things that I thought was interesting was that that the Black Friday, the brick and mortar stores, they actually did a lot a better. I think the numbers that I saw they actually did like 3% improvement over last year which in a down economy is pretty good.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman And that the online sales were just a little – were just up a little bit more but when people were buying online, the numbers I saw they were buying bigger things, they were buying more expensive things online. And maybe they were just buying Macs, but it strikes me that that – I agree with you, I think Cyber Monday is kind of…
Leo Laporte It’s bogus.
Dwight Silverman It is bogus.
Leo Laporte It is by now anyway.
Dwight Silverman Right, right although I think that there a lot of people who have probably faster connections particularly if they – there are people now who have automobile mechanics have an Internet connection who may not necessarily be able to afford a really fast connection at home. So there is probably little bit of that, that type of thing demographically but the majority of people I think just shop at home and probably shopped on – over the weekend. I think that probably if you take a look at numbers that will come out on Monday for the whole weekend I think there’s probably a lot of it that happens on Saturday and Sunday.
Leo Laporte Seems like last Black Friday, I mean it was such a zoo; somebody got killed at Wal-Mart. This one is kind of completely uneventful compared to it. I have…
Paul Thurrott You know why?
Leo Laporte Why?
Paul Thurrott They were home playing Call of Duty.
Leo Laporte We know that’s where Paul was. Wait a minute, Paul you have a tradition, don’t you? Going to Best Buy at 4 in the morning.
Paul Thurrott Yeah and I did not do it this year.
Leo Laporte Well see, there you go.
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Leo Laporte And what were you doing instead?
Paul Thurrott Well sleeping at 3 o'clock in the morning, but yeah I did some Call of Duty. You can do all this stuff online now. In fact I actually did some Christmas shopping on my iPhone this year.
Leo Laporte Wow. So what did you buy?
Paul Thurrott The world has changed.
Leo Laporte How do you [indiscernible] (11:14)
Paul Thurrott I can’t – I know I’m afraid to say it.
Leo Laporte Did you use the Amazon App? How did you – what did you…
Paul Thurrott I did, yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Paul Thurrott It was, and by the way, I will say this. It was a book book, like an actual book. A physical paper…
Leo Laporte No; why, why?
Paul Thurrott Because that’s the only way that this book comes.
Leo Laporte Jerry, what do you think, what do you think of these eBook readers Jerry, are you a fan of the Kindle?
Jerry Pournelle Well, they are beginning to get – I think the whole publishing world is changing in ways that we can’t even figure out. It will not be very long I thing especially with these eBook readers being sold, that payment for somebody’s book or work is optional. And you are not going to enforce it with – by law, because right now the Kindle format, you have to buy something from Amazon to get it on the Kindle but even that’s not true anymore.
Leo Laporte No you can email your Kindle, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah you email yourself, they used to do it for a dime, now I understand it $0.15 a megabyte or some…
Leo Laporte Oh that’s interesting.
Jerry Pournelle Some number like that, which – yeah I – it – they’ve just raised the price, but it doesn’t matter. Almost anything anybody ever wrote is available somewhere online if you really wanted to go about finding it.
Leo Laporte Well not always – not always legally.
Jerry Pournelle Oh that’s what I mean. Pirate editions are available for almost everything and at that point law and copyright are not the primary – right now I think most readers think they don’t want to diddle the author and they don’t mind paying because they think that the creator, the artist actually gets the money. That’s not true with records because it got built into the DMCA in that famous late night edition by a staffer who later became a Vice President of RIAA, that the default in the contract was that the publisher gets all the money. So music fans don’t really think they are stealing from the artist because – and they don’t like the publishers. So we have…
Leo Laporte I think you’re right, I don’t think you have the same animosity towards book publishers and you are certainly – I think people have a real affinity for book authors. I don’t know, maybe it’s a more intimate relationship because it lasts longer, I don’t know. But I think you are right, I think they care more about the author.
Jerry Pournelle And I think that relationship is important to preserve and as Kindles and various – who did – Amazon just came up with...
Leo Laporte Barnes & Noble has the Nook e-reader, Nook eBooks.
Jerry Pournelle And the Sony one which has been pretty good for a long time. Some of my fans got together and bought me one when they first came out and had it engraved with my name on it which is nice and [ph] inventive. (14:18)
Leo Laporte That’s nice, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle But they didn’t take off until recently but nowadays with these big price wars going on and Amazon selling books that are $27 for 9.95 if you buy it on the Kindle. And by the way, Amazon is paying the full royalty of a $27 book to the author for that 9.95.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s interesting.
Jerry Pournelle Which – yeah isn’t it, they lose money on every one of those sales.
Leo Laporte Do they get a cut – the publisher gets the same cut too or is it a cut rate because it is an eBook?
Jerry Pournelle Publisher gets the same amount; publishers basically sell books for half the cover price.
Leo Laporte And that’s the same for an eBook or a printed book?
Jerry Pournelle eBook and printed books,
Leo Laporte Interesting.
Jerry Pournelle Now some people are getting different arrangements maybe, but the standard is still authors get a percent of the cover price, typically 10%, Steven King gets a little more, some authors and new authors get like eight, but it is between eight and 15. And that’s a percentage of the cover price, not a percentage of receipts or anything like that the way the movie houses do.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle So the result is that to have all of these deep discounts in books is a very expensive proposition and bestsellers often don’t make as much money as you think simply because in order to get people in the store they discount best sellers down to zip. The author still gets some money but nobody else does; it’s amazing.
Leo Laporte Well we’re going to – actually the price war has heated up considerably, we’re going to talk about it in just a second, Amazon and Wal-Mart at each other’s throats, Microsoft and Google at each other’s throats. The online…
It’s the holiday season.
Leo Laporte It’s the holiday season kids. But before we…
Dwight Silverman Be of good cheer
Leo Laporte Before we do that, I want to mention my good friends at Citrix. I know Jerry knows Citrix – I go way back with them since the good old days with Ed Yakabuchi and they made such an amazing remote access product that Microsoft promptly licensed it and made it their remote access product. They also have a product that makes it very easy for you to meet online and that’s called GoToMeeting. And when I say easy I mean easy.
GoToMeeting – in fact you could try it right now for free for the next month and see how simple it is to save money on your business meetings. Just go to gotomeeting.com/twit. According to American Express, the average cost of a business trip these days is $1000 when you add up the plane fare, the hotel, the meals, the per diem, the cab fare, not to mention the stress of taking your shoes off in the security line and getting the middle seat. Forget it; $49 in a month, unlimited meetings as long as you want, as often as you want and man I tell you these are more engaging, more fun, more interesting because they are seeing your computer screen on their desktop. So you’re showing them the PowerPoint, you’re showing them the drawings, you are working with them.
Man if you and Larry had had that when you were writing the books, imagine the collaborate – I’ll write a sentence, you write a sentence. I write a sentence, you write a sentence.
Jerry Pournelle That doesn’t work.
Leo Laporte No, I bet it doesn’t. We tried to do that; we tried to do a book on Twitter, a round-robin with Tom Merritt and Molly Wood of Buzz Out Loud and me and what happened is a tug-of-war. I would have an idea and I would write a line and they’d pull it in a different direction and I’d pull it back. It was terrible. Worst novel you ever read and I take full credit for how bad it was.
Jerry Pournelle Not quite; Naked Came the Stranger…
Leo Laporte There are worse, I agree. You heard it here first, folks. Let me just say gotomeeting.com/twit, go there right now, try it free for 30 days, we know you’re going to love it. We thank them so much for their support of this Week in Tech.
Jerry Pournelle And the government could have saved a lot of money if they had used GoToMeeting a couple of weeks ago. They paid for a number of us to go back to Tysons Corner, Virginia if that means anything to you, it’s pretty near McLean. SAIS sponsored the meeting. It was a conference. I mean, well, they [ph] put it all (18:33). Who paid for it is, let’s say, a government agency.
Leo Laporte Interesting, a three-letter agency, no doubt.
Jerry Pournelle Well, a government agency and they had a bunch of people including three Nobel Prize winners plus me and a couple of other science fiction people to comment on the subject we [indiscernible] (18:51) talk about [indiscernible] (18:52) but you know it was just talking heads at a table plus some PowerPoint presentations.
Leo Laporte Look at what we do here.
Jerry Pournelle It could have been easily done right here – right what we are doing but of course this way, you and the other tax payers got to pay for me to go back to Washington where I could see my grandchildren.
Leo Laporte Well, I am glad to do it. Glad to do that, Jerry. What was the topic of conversation, if I can ask?
Jerry Pournelle It had to do with enhancement, human enhancement.
Leo Laporte Wow.
Jerry Pournelle You had – so yes, one of the people who was there – I’ll give you some example, one of the – you remember bubble boys? They don’t exist anymore right. You never hear of them anymore.
Leo Laporte They don’t.
Jerry Pournelle At least not in United States and the reason for it is because a man named [ph] Frydman (19:35) down at the University of California and San Diego and his colleagues came up with a technique. They discovered that it’s a gene deficiency, this immune deficiency at birth. For those who don’t know a bubble boy was a kid who has no immune system whatsoever at birth and they raised some of them literally in a plastic bubble. They kept them separated from the outside world so they couldn’t get infected.
Of course, that makes for a very strange life and I guess they did a movie about one, a boy who I think finally, died at age 18 or something. But he had essentially never been touched by a human being in most of his life except through a plastic barrier. You don’t hear those anymore. That turns out to be a gene deficiency and they had developed a technique whereby you take a virus, you infect it with that gene. Now you take that gene, that gene-carrying virus and inject it into a human being. It goes in and infects him and infects the bone marrow and the bone marrow now starts producing non-defective blood cells. And what do you know? No more bubble boys.
Leo Laporte Wow. I had no idea.
Jerry Pournelle And there are about 40 kids of whom some 32 are still alive having been treated by this and are just normal children. You don’t know that they were born to be bubble boys. Well, this chap who [indiscernible] (21:16) that was [indiscernible] (21:16) that technique when we were thinking of other kinds of enhancements or other genes to make people have better vision, stronger, smarter, now those are not generally single gene controlled things. But there are a bunch of things in human behavior that are in fact single gene controlled. There is no way to reason why they can’t be enhanced at birth by injecting this.
Leo Laporte I have to ask is it military application that they are – since it was a government agency or –
Jerry Pournelle I think [ph] of concern (21:52) – you have people who are interested in maybe trying it, but also there is some concern about how to [ph] detect (21:58) if somebody else is doing it.
Leo Laporte Ah, I love it that they brought in science fiction authors because – all of us love science fiction. I probably [indiscernible] show (22:06) of science fiction and it’s pretty obvious and I’ve talked to a lot of scientists that great many if not most scientists were heavily influenced by sci-fi and focused their research on areas that science fiction inspired them to study, which is why in so many ways modern scientific advances parallel what you guys were writing about decades earlier.
Jerry Pournelle When you get around listening to The Mote in God’s Eye, pay attention to the pocket computer. I wrote that in 1972 and we had what amounted to – well an iPhone does most of what it says in there, but of course we had to [ph] set that a (22:48) long way away because even in 1972 nobody thought you would be able – that I would live to see –
Leo Laporte Isn’t that amazing?
Jerry Pournelle To be carrying a pocket computer like we have in the story [indiscernible] (23:02).
Dwight Silverman So, Jerry, is it a case of the chicken and the egg? Arthur C. Clarke came up – in theory, he came up with the idea for satellites and I have talked to the guys at Palm who did the original PalmPilot, who said they specifically designed their device, which is kind of the precursor of things like the iPhone, PDAs to look like the communicator in Star Trek. That’s what they wanted to do and I am –
Jerry Pournelle And [indiscernible] (23:30) got – basically got that out of Mote in God’s Eye, right?
Dwight Silverman Right. So which comes first, is it – the science fiction writers usually come up with what the scientists invent.
Jerry Pournelle Well, [ph] Elron Hubert (23:45) would have said so, first, you have to have somebody [indiscernible] (23:49) and then they get to work. Whether that’s true or not, I suspect that Michael Faraday never [indiscernible] (23:57) never read any science fiction.
Leo Laporte No.
Jerry Pournelle Nor I guess did Einstein. But a great number of [indiscernible] (24:04) as an example, [indiscernible] (24:06) was a fan of H.G. Wells and [ph] Bern (24:09) many, many – you got a minute, I will tell you a story.
Leo Laporte Sure, got nothing but time.
Jerry Pournelle The night that the Mariner landed on – no I am sorry, the Viking landed on Mars, first soft landed vehicle on Mars, right? We had got a bunch of science fiction writers invited to JPL as press. In my case I was press. I was editor of Galaxy, the science editor of Galaxy magazine. And I also was the science correspondent for the National [ph] Catholic press (24:44) which had like 5 million circulation.
But Mr. Heinlein was there as a science fiction writer, but he had a press badge. Well, about an hour or so before the landing, some PR guy said the place was too crowded, let’s get everybody out of here who doesn’t have a real press credential and they will start with Robert Heinlein, out. So Robert starts – tried getting out, and I say, Robert that’s terrible, they can’t do that to you. And he said, Jerry don’t worry about it. They is – there are going to be cameras up in the cafeteria. So he went out and I started following and somebody asked me where are you going? And I said they are telling Mr. Heinlein he can’t stay here and I am not going to stay [indiscernible] (25:27). Before it was over, over half the science press corps was following us up the hill to the cafeteria. They brought the cameras and when the Viking actually landed, instead of the camera being on the governor who had come down to – Jerry Brown had come down to be the big man when it landed, nobody was paying any attention to him. They were all trying to interview Robert Heinlein on how – what it felt like to see the first landing on Mars.
Leo Laporte Love it.
Jerry Pournelle So I guess we, and a bunch of the project scientists who were up there too and they wanted to talk to Robert. And said we got into this business because of the guys like you. So, there is something to that, I guess we have some influence in showing kids that may be – may be if you spend the time to learn calculus it will do you some good.
Leo Laporte Yup, I keep trying to explain that to my kids but it’s not working.
Jerry Pournelle Have you seen the Manga book on – of calculus?
Leo Laporte No, it sounds good though. I would like to get that. I think Henry would be impressed.
Jerry Pournelle It is, it is there is a Manga book of calculus and you’d think that has got to be the dumbest idea. But I am about to review it for my column, I like it. I like it a lot. And there is a also a Head First Physics book.
Leo Laporte Those Head First books are quite good. I like the Head First books, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah.
Leo Laporte They are both from O’Reilly, or actually, I am sorry and those start to publish…
Jerry Pournelle I could actually hold one of them up, probably I have got them around here, as I say they are in my review stack, but the – and there is also the Head First – here – I will get it.
Leo Laporte Careful.
Jerry Pournelle Head First Statistics.
Leo Laporte That I have, I got that for my daughter when she was taking statistics. It was excellent.
Jerry Pournelle It is excellent. You can – and it sound, I mean I have a master’s in experimental statistics. So I am competent to review the book and it’s quite sound and, I would wish I had it instead of the book I had in statistics when I had to take calculus of statistics. So probability is strong.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (27:43).
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, [indiscernible] (27:45) like that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, we are learning a little bit about how to make stuff more interesting, thank goodness.
Jerry Pournelle Kids are more and more going into social sciences and of course if you really want to make money you learn how to move money around in circles and you don’t create anything, you just take a percentage as it moves past your hand and you are the smartest guy in the room and that I think is probably not, not the best course of the future.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I often wonder that the financial crisis that we are going through which is partly created by these crazy derivatives, created by math geniuses who instead of using their MIT degrees to make a difference in the world, used it to create bizarre financial instruments. I wonder how much we – not merely money and our economic crisis, but I want to – which we lost from the brain drain to Wall Street, they are some of the smartest mathematicians that’s where they went, because that’s where the money was.
Wal-Mart and Amazon in a fight, not just over books, you mentioned Jerry the price cutting on books, but now according to an article in The New York Times from a couple of days ago it’s going to DVDs, toys. Last Wednesday Wal-Mart dropped the price of the Hasbro EASY-BAKE Oven which we all grew up with, even Jerry you probably had a Hasbro EASY-BAKE when you were a kid. They dropped the price to $17 from $28. Amazon which had been charging 28 dropped it to $18 and I am sure they are losing money in a lot of these things.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, but [ph] I am sure all are in the books (29:24).
Unknown Speaker (29:25) In the books.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah, go ahead.
Paul Thurrott They just want to get people into the stores.
Leo Laporte Right.
Paul Thurrott So it’s a loss leader.
Leo Laporte Do you think that Amazon is a real threat to a brick and mortar store like Wal-Mart? Paul what do you think.
Paul Thurrott Yeah, I think that we are already seeing the disappearance of the small bookstores. Well I should say the medium-sized bookstores – the bookstores that falls into…
Leo Laporte The independents are dying, yeah, they are dying.
Paul Thurrott Yeah, so some of the real small mom and pop stuff, you see some of that in small towns and so forth and then you see Borders and Barnes & Noble but these mall bookstores are all pretty much gone. They have all been swallowed up and they are being shut down by Borders and Barnes & Noble now.
Unknown Speaker (30:12) Yeah.
Paul Thurrott It’s as cutthroat as any other industry. Barnes & Noble is a company that has their own imprint. They published their own books. It’s kind of a scary thing in some ways and then Amazon of course by – as Jerry mentioned earlier is selling their [indiscernible] (30:24) in so many cases. They are trying to create this platform, so they are willing to take alliance and they have enough money to make it happen, so yeah absolutely I think Wal-Mart and Amazon may ultimately be the two bookstores that are left.
Leo Laporte That’s sad. Wal-Mart offered a $15 gift card with the purchase of Modern Warfare 2, Amazon matched it.
Paul Thurrott That’s awesome, awesome.
Leo Laporte Nothing wrong with that. Wal-Mart and Amazon offered the Xbox 360 for 199, then threw in a $100 gift card. Now they are offering the Palm Pixi phone for 175 bucks of suggested retail $30 for the phone.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I have pointed out that if you live in California, Amazon starts with a 10% advantage to begin with because there is no sales tax.
Leo Laporte That’s right. I don’t know how long that will last. I know that’s…
Paul Thurrott Yeah, that might be…
Unknown Speaker (31:14) That’s true in Texas too.
Jerry Pournelle California would love to change that but so far…
Paul Thurrott I think that has been…
Jerry Pournelle …they have been unable to do it and the feds don’t really, you have to get it past Congress and there are some fairly powerful lobbies involved there, so it will be interesting to see what happens but you start with a 10% advantage. How many dry good stores do you see nowadays?
Leo Laporte Yeah. That’s right. Hardware stores out of business.
Jerry Pournelle They got cleaned up. Yeah a little, there are a few hardware stores because of the technical excellence of the clerks and it’s really the only way they stay open is you’ve got clerks who actually know where to find things and what thing you need to unstop your drain and that sort of thing.
Leo Laporte I am with you, our local independent bookstore, I keep telling them, you are competing against Amazon, you better have service. You better make it easy to find a book. You better be able to recommend stuff because you are competing against someone who is going to undercut you every step of the way.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (32:11).
Jerry Pournelle You may not have thought of one of the horrible consequences of what’s happening with the bookstore concentrations. Every time a big Barnes & Noble, or one of those book warehouses opened, it’s good for writers because they have lots of backlist.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle Remember when the industry was dominated by B. Dalton and they were mostly in the malls and they were small stores so they didn’t have many books and almost no backlist. Well, those stores are all going away.
Leo Laporte Thank God. Those were awful. Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle You think so, but think about this. That was the recruiting ground. If you go to Barnes & Noble, you went there to buy a book.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle If you went to Fashion Square Mall, you probably didn’t go there to buy a book but you might see a book in the window and decide to buy one. Nowadays we don’t have recruiting grounds for non-readers anymore. People who are non-readers never get to bookstores. They never see one.
Leo Laporte Very interesting. That’s a really good point.
Paul Thurrott Well, the few chances they have to read are basically the reading versions of SoundBytes, you know, blogs or email or whatever. They are very short-form texts, not, not long-from stories.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah my website tends to run the essays and then fairly all text but much longer sorts of – I try to stay at a higher intellectual plane which is one reason why I don’t have blogging on the site. I don’t know, seems to work.
Paul Thurrott Well, the one exception to the idea of going to websites and things like amazon.com keeping you from kind of having a serendipity discovery is that Amazon has that very cool feature that lets – that recommends things to you. So if you’ve bought any books at all or even browsed any books at all, when you first go to the Amazon homepage, it gives you some recommendations and that’s probably about the best way that you could do it at least of getting away that’s kind of the same thing as the window in the mall. The one thing I am really interested in is the online battle between Amazon and Wal-Mart because them – Wal-Mart wasn’t just matching stuff in their brick and mortar stores they were matching stuff online and I wonder if any of these companies don’t have scripts that say Wal-Mart watches what are prices on Amazon…
Leo Laporte Why not?
Paul Thurrott …and immediately changes it. It tweaks it. I mean you can almost have an eBay situation where you bid things down as a result of the scripts competing with each other. That would be good.
Leo Laporte Here is a shocking story. Half the money spent at retail on desktop computers in October, you are not going to like this Paul, went to Macintosh.
Paul Thurrott What’s this?
Leo Laporte Paul put down modern [Indiscernible] (35:08)
Paul Thurrott That’s not desktops.
Leo Laporte They are all desktops, as the Mac U.S. retail desktop [indiscernible] (35:10). I know, I know. I am going to give a chance Paul because I saw your [indiscernible] (35:14). Actually this is different from the operating system.
Paul Thurrott No, no, no. You are talking about the amount of money people spend at retail, is that what you are talking about?
Leo Laporte According to NPD Mac U.S. retail desktop computer revenue; yes, you are right, 47%.
Paul Thurrott Two things there, yeah. I am sorry, go ahead. Up from…
Leo Laporte So that’s 47%, up from 33% a year earlier.
Paul Thurrott Yeah. So, yeah, Macs are expensive. I think is what we are finding out here. I mean when this quarter is all said and done the Macintosh may amount to an eight or 9% of retail over – I am sorry, sales overall in the United States.
Leo Laporte You did not like this Computerworld story, however, about Windows 7.
Paul Thurrott No, that’s a different thing. That’s a different thing. People always talk about market share and they don’t mean market share and that drives me crazy but as far as sales, retail sales. I don’t know, I mean NPD is actually very reliable and I know that from a Microsoft perspective, one of the conversations I have had with those guys is when NPD came out with numbers about things like iPod market share and so forth, I go back to Microsoft and said what did you think about this? And they said, oh yeah, we use these guys. We trust these numbers. So – but they are talking about revenue share,
Leo Laporte We are talking about money, dollars.
Paul Thurrott Yeah, you are not talking units sold. I mean two of the things that are occurring in this economy of ours which are very interesting and completely at odds with each other is that there are only two types of computers that are selling well in the United States, Macs and netbooks. Netbooks costs nothing and Macs tend to be fairly expensive. Right, typically more expensive than your average home [ph] systems (36:52).
Leo Laporte Yeah, you get like 10 netbooks for one Mac.
Paul Thurrott Yeah actually in some cases, you can. So this number is interesting, I mean I don’t dispute it but I think that this just reinforces the fact that when you look at PC sales, PC sales this year will be down overall or down slightly I would say. Netbooks are up and Macs are up. So this makes sense. Macs costs more money, so…
Leo Laporte So do you think that there are really two markets? There is a – the rich buyer who isn’t price-sensitive and is buying the Mac and then everybody else?
Paul Thurrott Well, sort of, I mean but Macs are high quality machines, I mean I am not disparaging Macs, I mean actually one of the really smart things that Apple did although this comes in retrospect, right, I mean I am certain when they started this campaign, I didn’t think it was smart at all and I am sure a lot of people didn’t, is their retail stores give people an opportunity to go in and look and play with these things and they could see what they are like and I think that makes a big difference because when you go to a Best Buy or well that [indiscernible] (37:58).
Unknown Speaker (37:59) Not a good experience.
Leo Laporte It’s not a good experience.
Paul Thurrott Well, PCs are not a great experience in these stores because the people there don’t typically care, and they are destroyed, they don’t work, they are sitting on over the blue screen or whatever it is. Apple stores are a great experience and most people, I think, who are going to Apple stores are really coming out from an iPod, iPhone perspective but then they see the Macs they think oh you know, these are great and I am not surprised by this.
Leo Laporte You are saying the Apple store is the B. Dalton of all computer sales?
Paul Thurrott No, no [indiscernible] (38:31) no, not at all.
Jerry Pournelle Well, there is a point to that in the sense that you get again people going into the Apple stores in the malls now who didn’t go there to buy a computer…
Leo Laporte [Indiscernible] (38:44).
Jerry Pournelle …and they see all that excitement and people moving around and this at least in my local mall the store is filled. In contrast to about five years ago when Apple stores were filled with sales people who were stupid and really insulting almost, they had completely revamped their staff, their customer attitudes and I think they have done it wonderfully. I am quite impressed but people who go to a mall don’t necessarily go there to buy a computer but they get sucked into the Apple thing and they see them and quite often they think golly that looks especially…
Paul Thurrott No, even I get sucked into this, I mean it’s amazing I haven’t walked out of one of these stores with a MacBook Pro already.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah and especially after Vista.
Unknown Speaker (39:36) I think Apple stores are destination stores. I think…
Leo Laporte [Indiscernible] (39:39).
Unknown Speaker (39:41) …some people will go to the mall just to go to an Apple store, and particularly…
Leo Laporte Absolutely true. Every single mall visit I have made in the last five visits has been just for the Mac store but I don’t like that.
Jerry Pournelle But I would say that…
Paul Thurrott This is a lot of [indiscernible] (39:52) by the way.
Leo Laporte I know.
Jerry Pournelle Certainly…
Paul Thurrott I wouldn’t read too much into that one.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, I mean certainly most of the people who go to an Apple store go to a mall but I do not think the reverse is a true statement.
Leo Laporte Oh, false syllogism again, [ph] get to me (40:10) every time, every time. There wasn’t to buy [indiscernible] (40:14), I’ll tell you that the clone maker, which basically is out of business now, thanks to the recent court decision saying that they did not have any right to put OS X on their PCs that they were selling, they apparently…
Dwight Silverman Go and buy one right now or do they still – [ph] they are online or is it (40:30)…
Leo Laporte You know that’s a good question. Would you – go to [indiscernible] (40:32)…
Jerry Pournelle I think they are still operating. They just – but they were so mortally wounded by that decision that it’s probably just a matter of time.
Leo Laporte You think that people would be going there like crazy like last chance to get one? I think what’s telling is that they sold very few. They told venture capital as when they are looking for investment that they were going to sell hundreds of millions according to this article in ComputerWorld, they said, not hundred, they said they sell 12 million machines. That’s just a number. [Ph] I just pull (41:03) we’ll sale 12 million machines in 2011. It turns out…
Paul Thurrott I love their – they are burning [ph] bridges thing (41:08) too, right. They have this Rebel EFI thing which is their – the scorched earth policy. If Apple wouldn’t let us do this, we’ll give away the tools so that anyone can do it. It’s really – it’s so petty.
Leo Laporte You can go to the store right now. You can call, I am looking at the store right now.
Paul Thurrott Would anyone – I know, but could you imagine giving your credit card number to this people?
Leo Laporte Well, I know. There is an open duo with Mac OS X 699. You can buy the Rebel or actually download the Rebel EFI, that’s free.
So apparently according to this article I don’t know how – where they get this number, but according to this article, [ph] SAI STAR (41:50) sold…
Paul Thurrott Not like six.
Leo Laporte Not 12 million.
Paul Thurrott Six or seven [ph] million (41:51).
Leo Laporte Not one million. 768.
Paul Thurrott 768.
Leo Laporte I don’t know where they get that number.
Paul Thurrott No, even TechCrunch sells more computers than that.
Jerry Pournelle Does anybody know if it works?
Leo Laporte Yeah, it does work. I mean I have got Hackintosh…
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, I know someone who owns one, yeah, they work quite well.
Paul Thurrott I am sure, but it’s such a dicey proposition. The problem isn’t that it works, the problem is what happens six months from now when this company is long gone, and Apple releases Mac OS X, 10.6.3 or whatever and it just doesn’t work on this machine, right. I mean this is a horrible future to contemplate. I can’t imagine buying something like this.
Jerry Pournelle What you pay for the Mac of course is the whole Mac experience, the support group, the enthusiasm, the Genius Bar. You get it all as one package, and trying to clone it and hack away and building a different kind of Mac is just not – that’s not the kind of thing that sells very well. There wouldn’t be many people who want to do that.
Leo Laporte I think he is exactly right. 768. I mean [indiscernible] (43:08).
Paul Thurrott There are more Linux computers.
Leo Laporte There are more anything, there is more DOS computer.
Jerry Pournelle But in addition there are a lot of people who build their own Intel systems and including PCs.
Paul Thurrott Right.
Jerry Pournelle There are a lot of people who would prefer to build their own high-end gaming machine. I – most of my machines – in fact [ph] everyday when I (43:32) look at around here, the PC I look at, I built myself.
Leo Laporte I think that’s less common though than it used to be. I mean that really was the thing, but I think now, I mean, people [ph] just don’t (43:41).
Paul Thurrott I would actually – if I could throw OS X on a machine, I would.
Leo Laporte And that’s not hard to do especially with this revel EFI. I mean it’s not hard to do.
Dwight Silverman There is probably more Hackintoshes out there…
Leo Laporte I think so.
Dwight Silverman …than 768 size [ph] turn [indiscernible] (43:55).
Leo Laporte I think Collin has 768 upstairs.
Dwight Silverman You don’t have ROMs and things. You have to duplicate the way you did back with old Apple [ph] when you were (44:06) trying to hack an Apple.
Leo Laporte Oddly enough you don’t and that was Apple’s kind of anti-piracy measures in the early days, is if you didn’t have the ROMs, but now there is nothing to copy. You build a [ph] stock (44:16) PC. The only thing is that they don’t use BIOS, they use EFI for booting, but that’s easy to get around and then it’s all on the disk, it’s all in software.
Paul Thurrott The future of [ph] SAI STAR is (44:29) of course is [ph] the Amiga (44:30).
Leo Laporte If they take [ph] Amiga (44:32), they’d sell a few of those.
Dwight Silverman They probably sold more than 768 of the [indiscernible] (44:37).
Jerry Pournelle They probably sale more than 768.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah, I think there is a lot – I think this [ph] group right here buy (44:41) five or six.
Paul Thurrott I would buy one.
Leo Laporte Steve Gibson’s already purchased, I think he’s got 20 PDP-8s in his garage.
Paul Thurrott Just in case.
Leo Laporte He’s got a PDP-8 cluster that has as much power as my iPhone almost.
Paul Thurrott Yeah, that’s good.
Leo Laporte It’s his goal, Steve’s goal is to after he retires to write a PDP-8 operating system from scratch.
Jerry Pournelle Why?
Leo Laporte Good question, Jerry. I think you [indiscernible] over the Irvine (45:14).
Jerry Pournelle Why wait till he retires?
Paul Thurrott He’s anticipating having time to kill.
Leo Laporte Yes, he just likes – he likes the instruction set.
Jerry Pournelle I guess what’s happened is that it is hard disk SOT, nobody refurbishes them. [Ph] We spend right name (45:27) you just throw them away when they start skipping and giving soft errors. You clone the disk and throw the old in a trash and that was his main…
Leo Laporte He still sells it.
Jerry Pournelle …pleasure in life was keeping hard disk running that…
Leo Laporte He still sells it.
Jerry Pournelle …that nobody believes could run, the man is a miracle worker but…
Leo Laporte I know.
Jerry Pournelle …but nobody wants the miracle anymore.
Leo Laporte Well you know, the real problem…
Jerry Pournelle It’s sort of like being able to cure beriberi. We already know how to do it with vitamin. We don’t need a physician who could lay on hands and magically take your beriberi and your rickets away. So…
Leo Laporte Actually Steve did a show about vitamin Ds, very big into vitamin Ds. So that’s more apt than you know.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (46:12).
Leo Laporte The real – I’ll tell you the real end of the line, the light at the end of the tunnel, the oncoming train for Steve is that SSD, the solid-state drive [ph] spin right (46:21) doesn’t work on you. You don’t need [ph] spin right, it’s not (46:23) they don’t work the same way. So…
Jerry Pournelle I’ve just got a solid-state drive which I am going to put in this MacBook Pro. It [ph] would be in (46:30) already except that I am using the MacBook Pro for today’s show and I didn’t want to take it apart in case I couldn’t get it back together again. But we have, yeah, 100 something gigabyte solid-state drive for Mac.
Leo Laporte I got the Intel new [indiscernible] (46:50) Intel X-25M for $468. I just bought it because it was so cheap, 128.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (47:00) 128.
Leo Laporte I think it was 160.
Paul Thurrott Oh, 160.
Leo Laporte It’s a great deal.
Paul Thurrott It’s the new one, right? This is the…
Leo Laporte This is X-25M, yeah, and it’s D drive if you want to get. I – Jerry, I did what you are about to do on my MacBook Pro, unbelievable response, just fantastic.
Jerry Pournelle [Ph] Phil [Indiscernible] (47:16) got one. He says when he turned the machine around it just instantly boots. [Indiscernible] (47:20).
Leo Laporte Instant boot, Instant boot.
Dwight Silverman So you said $468 and you said it’s really cheap.
Leo Laporte For an SST, for an SST.
Dwight Silverman I almost [indiscernible] on that one though (47:29)…
Leo Laporte Well, no, it’s like – it was like – it’s still 400 – you know how many real hard drives?
Dwight Silverman I know [indiscernible] (47:36) you know what a 168 gig hard drive costs now? Nothing.
Leo Laporte Because nobody [ph] wants (47:42) one. I have – I buy for recording all the video we buy one and half terabyte drives from Newegg for for 99 bucks.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Leo Laporte So you’re right that’s a seven or so terabytes of data that I could get.
Dwight Silverman But if you have a lust for speed it’s – you might want to do that. I had one of the Samsung 256 gigabyte drives that I tested in the Dell Inspiron and it was beautiful. They are touting it for gamers, which is really interesting. They get up higher and faster. That’s kind of the marketplace that [ph] drool (48:17) over it but it’s still like that was $700 for a hard drive.
Leo Laporte I know, I know.
Jerry Pournelle [Ph] It was pronounced law (48:25) back in 1983. I’ve said silicon is cheaper than iron and therefore silicon memory is going to displace spinning metals and spinning metal will go away, okay.
Leo Laporte 26 years later, you didn’t make [ph] an empire (48:40).
Jerry Pournelle Eventually I triumph. It just took a while. Your wish has been granted, however, it may take a little time.
Leo Laporte No, it’s true. I thought – I probably was reading you and I was sure that mechanical drives are on the way out, that by the year 2000 we would be using some sort of optical or…
Jerry Pournelle I said it flatly that by the year 2000 spinning metal will go away. What I – [ph] but of course (49:06) that was in the days when a 5 megabyte hard drive was the size of a [ph] file cabinet (49:15) and the house light dim when you turned it on. I had a Honeywell Bull along with the Lilith, if you remember the Lilith [indiscernible] (49:23)…
Leo Laporte Yes, I remember Lilith.
Jerry Pournelle And it had a Honeywell Bull five, maybe it was 10 megabyte hard drive and it literally was the size of a [ph] two drawers file cabinet (49:33) for the drive. Well, Schumacher – when I was on the Board of the Lowell Observatory, Schumacher used to keep his asteroids on all deck platters. The platters were 10 inches across and they held 32 megabytes and he had 300 megabytes of [ph] asteroid (49:56) data and he had to keep swapping those disks back and forth and managed to get him the 300 megabytes Winchester and he put all that stuff on it and he bought me the best dinner I’ve had in a long time.
Leo Laporte He was happy.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte Now I have 10 times that in my pocket.
Jerry Pournelle Sure, it’s – so I thought back in those days I thought it was obvious that silicon was cheaper than iron and what we didn’t factor in in that prediction was that the faster computers made data separation so much easy so you can get so very much more onto a piece of spinning metal than we could, so we went from 5 megabytes to 300 megabytes to 1000 megabytes in very little time.
Leo Laporte Yes, it’s amazing.
Jerry Pournelle I remember when Office 97 came out it was something like 400 megabytes and I complained that it was bloatware and said so in the column, and that turned out to be a silly thing to say because within a few months gigabyte hard drives were cheap and 10 gigabyte drives were coming out and you didn’t care that it was 400 megabytes [indiscernible] (51:12) Office be that big.
Paul Thurrott You know what’s funny about that is the new version of Office isn’t much bigger than that. I just noticed on one of the downloads it was about 450 megabytes, for Office 2010.
Jerry Pournelle This is Office 2010?
Paul Thurrott The Beta.
Jerry Pournelle Yes. That looks like a real improvement. That’s worth going from 2003 to I think...
Leo Laporte We were talking…
Dwight Silverman What’s 2007 is a download.
Paul Thurrott Oh, I don’t know.
Jerry Pournelle I don’t know how big it is.
Leo Laporte We were talking – Paul and I on Windows Weekly about this new installation technique that Microsoft’s using for one of the versions of Office 2000, one of the Betas, what do they call that?
Paul Thurrott Click to run.
Leo Laporte Click to run, this is streaming install.
Paul Thurrott It’s application virtualization. You actually get a virtualized version of Office that runs sandbox from the rest of your system.
Leo Laporte It’s wild.
Paul Thurrott Yes.
Leo Laporte And is this the way they are going to do it from now on? Is that the idea?
Paul Thurrott It’s one of the ways and I think this is sort of the future of application deployment on Windows. You know it takes the application deployment model from the Mac, which is sort of drag and drop, into that sandbox, and it’s…
Jerry Pournelle None of you guys got to PDC, did you?
Leo Laporte No, Paul was there.
Jerry Pournelle I didn’t see you there. Oh, did you? I didn’t see you.
Leo Laporte Paul saw you because that’s what we were talking…
Paul Thurrott I saw you. I helped you find the [ph] Splendor [indiscernible] (52:35).
Leo Laporte He is the handsome guy with the pseudo sugar, yes.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, okay. I had just come back from Washington, so I even missed the first day of it, but I got to the second. But I was impressed with how much progress Microsoft has made in incorporating sanity into cloud computing operations and integrating it all with Silverlight and Office 2010 and just they are really bringing all that stuff together and they are quite impressive to me…
Leo Laporte Was it Ray…?
Jerry Pournelle …I haven’t got it yet, but they will.
Leo Laporte Is that [ph] Ray Aussies’ (53:19) influence? Must be.
Jerry Pournelle I would think so.
Paul Thurrott Yes.
Jerry Pournelle But they seem to have them marked together. They now, one of the things I was saying is nobody really wants to have his livelihood out in the cloud. You want local copies…
Leo Laporte Yes.
Jerry Pournelle Important stuff or, I mean, you just want it, that’s all. And to try to think that you are going to live off of the cloud is crazy. On the other hand, there are a lot of things you can do with it and particularly collaborations, Niven and I collaborate by essentially sending files back and forth and using Office Word comparison to compare versions.
Leo Laporte You still working together?
Jerry Pournelle Oh, yes, we got a big adventure on a new novel which is due in about a year, so…
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s exciting. I had no idea. That’s wonderful.
Jerry Pournelle Well, we are hitting the earth with something big again.
Leo Laporte Oh, damn.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I think the…
Leo Laporte You made such a mess last time.
Jerry Pournelle The most lucrative thing I ever did in my life was hit the earth with something big in Lucifer’s Hammer and then in Footfall, which was the number one Time’s bestseller list at one time, and so we thought well, in these hard times what’ll we do, let’s destroy the earth again, so…
Leo Laporte Why is it – I’ve wanted to ask you this, I mean there are books like The Stand, your book, The Road, why is it we love these post-apocalypse stories? What is it about us do you think?
Jerry Pournelle Well, because I think most people, well, first it doesn’t take in the imagination of future technologies.
Leo Laporte Yes, all you get is stony.
Jerry Pournelle Because you basically take a little bit ahead of now and then you cripple it.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle So, then – but I think most readers can imagine themselves in that situation.
Leo Laporte I think you are right. In fact I have of this – it’s – I’m in the middle of – almost towards the end actually of Lucifer’s Hammer and my whole world view has changed. One of the things that you say in there which I think is so important is that we live on this thin shell of technology that really very few of us understand.
Jerry Pournelle Yes, yes, yes. That was the [ph] Olderson (55:32) character of the guy with [indiscernible] (55:36) JPL scientist; he was the only one who understood how the hell to make the farm run, you know.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle Everybody else had the ability to do things but they didn’t know what they were doing. And the postman, he didn’t know anything about it and yet you’ve got to keep the civilization running with what you have and who you have.
Leo Laporte You point out that there is only thirty days worth of food in the U.S. that…
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte You take away the electricity and there is going to be riots within thirty days is just given.
Paul Thurrott Hey, power went out light night because they are working down the street and my daughter started asking who were we going to eat first.
Leo Laporte Cannibalism.
Paul Thurrott It took about five minutes…
Leo Laporte Instantly you go right to cannibalism, yes.
Jerry Pournelle No, the neighbor’s dog first.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] [ph] I’m taking a part (56:17), that’s all I’m saying; kind of the weak link in the chain.
Leo Laporte Hey, as long as you are talking about these great books, I should do the audible ad because what a great opportunity to mention that you can now get, thanks to this great Audible Frontiers program, you can get two of Jerry’s most wonderful books, well, you just heard Dwight say that the greatest science fiction books of all time at audible.com and I don’t know about you Jerry, I mean, I love reading but there is something about listening to a book that just brings it to life. I feel like I’m watching the movie of Lucifer’s Hammer; I can see what’s happening, I can – it’s vivid, because I’m listening to it, and you don’t lose a word; it’s not like these are abridged, these are the full versions which means they are long listens, I like it, and you can get it absolutely free right now and Jerry still gets paid, so that’s good.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte It’s just a way to get you signed up to the audible platinum account. If you go to audible.com/twit2 that’s the account I have which is two books a month, that’s kind of my minimum, because, and I don’t even have a commute but I just make a point always listen to audible. And the book I’m listening to right now is Lucifer’s Hammer, that could be Book I, 24 hours and 32 minutes, Marc Vietor, I think did a very good job, you agree Jerry, reading in, have you heard the…?
Jerry Pournelle I have heard it, and I think that audible does a great job of finding people to read these and they do read it. They read the book before they start reading it into the mic so they have some understanding of what the book is about.
Leo Laporte Did he contact you at any point and ask you for clarification or pronunciation or anything like that?
Jerry Pournelle Not really, not really – I think I have had a few questions I’m not quite sure on which book so…
Leo Laporte Yes, yes, I would ask.
Jerry Pournelle I get e-mails asking particularly when I made up words and that means it’s more likely to be [ph] Mote (58:07) or one of the books with aliens in it.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle Everybody can’t figure out how you pronounce – you know, we had [ph] Mote (58:14)…
Paul Thurrott That was obvious to me up here so [indiscernible] (58:20).
Leo Laporte Larry did that in Protector too, he’s got an alien that – and the narrator, and that’s a very old audio version if it but he did a very good job of – he talks like this. The second book, The Mote in God's Eye, another great classic by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, how come Larry’s name comes first Jerry? Is it alphabetical?
Jerry Pournelle It’s alphabetical but it’s also the case that while I was well known in the technology field and in, you must remember Leo I didn’t start writing for a living until 1972.
Leo Laporte Oh, so these were among your first books.
Jerry Pournelle Those were among my first books and there is a reason why Niven’s name on them, when I decided to stop being an aerospace scientist and to stop being a college professor I always had a political science department paper down at one time.
Leo Laporte I didn’t know that.
Jerry Pournelle So when I decided I was going to try being a writer for a living and decided all right, is there anybody around who is well known so I can get a bit ahead in this business without having to build up from scratch, and there were two people I was sure I could work with; one was Paul Anderson, who is dead now, he was my best friend for years, but he lived out in the Bay Area, and that’s before we had small computers so we went out and mailed stuff back and forth and it just wasn’t practical, and the other was Niven who I hadn’t met, but I’d read his stuff and I thought, yes, that’s it, he could – so I looked him up at science fiction club and we got to talking and we sat down one night with a couple of bottles of brandy and a big pot of coffee, and by morning we had an outline for The Mote in God’s Eye and that book has sold like four million copies. That is, or was, the last time I had occasion to see their books, which was when they sold the science fiction line to Baen Books. Mote in God’s Eye was the top earning science fiction book in the history of Simon & Schuster. It out-earned Sagan’s Cosmos. Now, Sagan got a bigger advance for movie, but for – in terms of sales, Mote outsold Cosmos.
Leo Laporte They haven’t made movies of either of these.
Dwight Silverman I was going to say, where is the movie?
Leo Laporte Yes.
Jerry Pournelle I’m sorry, not – Sagan’s big book, the alien…
Leo Laporte Contact, Contact.
Jerry Pournelle Contact, I’m sorry…
Leo Laporte Yes. Both are about first contact, right, yes.
Jerry Pournelle Contact – Contact did not sell – in fact, oddly enough Contact didn’t sale as well as Inferno. But the reason Niven and I work together, I mean we work together well and – but it was intentional on my part that I looked him up and he was better known than me at the time, so naturally his name is first. It’s also alphabetical but…
Leo Laporte Well, either way you want to get these books and you can listen to them which brings them just marvelously to life and you can get them for free. But as I say, Jerry still gets paid. audible.com/twit2, get your first two books free and I think this week in honor of Jerry’s visit to us, you’ve got to get the Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer. I’ve got them both. I’m in the middle – just about to finish Lucifer’s Hammer and then I’m starting The Mote in God’s Eye, which is story of first contact, which is a great classic science fiction theme. L J Ganser narrates this one and it’s one of those new recordings from Audible Frontiers. Both of these just came out in July.
Were they – they never were recorded before probably, right Jerry, I mean?
Jerry Pournelle I don’t think those were. By the way, you also asked why do I work with Niven. Niven writes better than I do. I plot better than he does. Well, I have a science background and I do a lot of logic. And on Lucifer’s Hammer, Nature magazine a few months ago had a big 25th or 30th, whatever it is, anniversary review of Lucifer’s Hammer. It was big, I mean there were pictures and it was like a four-page review in Nature magazine. And it’s kind of interesting because what did they start with, they started with that dang surfer scene of course.
Leo Laporte I love it, he surfs Los Angeles.
Jerry Pournelle I would never have been mad enough to write that. Niven wrote that …
Leo Laporte That was Niven’s.
Jerry Pournelle That’s [indiscernible] (1:02:51) and that’s what I pay him for.
Leo Laporte That was a great – a great scene. And the guy, of course, it’s just his one cameo appearance in the book, but he surfs the tidal wave across Los Angeles basin...
Jerry Pournelle Right through [ph] Santa Monica (01:03:03).
Leo Laporte Yes, love it. Well anyway there is our pick for the week and highly recommended. If you’ve not listened to audio book, start with the best and do it from Audible, there is no one better. audible.com/twit2, they are yours for free, cancel it anytime, you get to keep the books. We thank Audible for supporting this Week in Tech for the last few years.
So let’s see. I know you wanted to talk, Paul Thurrott, a little bit about this story that Apple, or rather Windows 7 market share has finally topped Apple’s market share. And you say that’s bogus?
Paul Thurrott Yes, it’s ludicrous.
Leo Laporte What is it, I don't – okay, this is from Computerworld.
Paul Thurrott Market share is sales. That’s it, very simple. Market share in the computer industry is typically measured by quarter; I suppose we can look at it from a month to month basis. But no one really does that. And the figure that you are citing and the figure that has been cited online is…
Leo Laporte It’s from Net Applications.
Paul Thurrott Yes, from a web-analytics company. So what they are doing is they are looking at people who browse through their websites, so the websites that they monitor, whatever they are, and they determine who is running what. So what they were saying was that over two days, last weekend, Windows 7, I guess I would call it web-usage share, exceeded 5%. But you know it’s really web-usage share for the sites that they monitor, whatever those sites are. So there are some generalizations…
Leo Laporte And what if – and what if Windows 7 users surf more than Mac user, you are right, it doesn’t – it doesn’t really tally.
Paul Thurrott It doesn’t – you can make some general statements about it. There is no doubt Windows 7 just by virtue of the fact that it’s going out on all these new PCs this quarter, it will exceed the actual market share of the Mac by a huge percentage, I would assume this quarter, and the usage share, the actual number of people running Windows 7 day-to-day will exceed that of Mac OS X probably this quarter as well. But whatever, I mean, that doesn’t – that’s not a profound statement, that’s just a statement of facts. So this web-analytics company, whatever they are…
Leo Laporte Net Applications.
Paul Thurrott Net Applications, that’s not what they measure
Leo Laporte Right. Actually Ballmer told the shareholders’ meeting that Windows 7 had sold twice the number of copies of any other Microsoft operating system in the same time span...
Paul Thurrott Yes, so as…
Leo Laporte Which is pretty good.
Paul Thurrott Well, is it – I mean, you know, not to be a jerk about that, but I mean the market for PCs, the number of people using PCs is bigger than it’s ever been.
Leo Laporte Right.
Paul Thurrott I think it’s bigger – comparing it to Vista is important because obviously they want to show that Windows 7 has turned the corner, it’s better than Vista. But if you were to go back three years ago and look at the numbers for Vista, they were pretty solid right in the beginning. It wasn’t until the next quarter that we sort of saw some issues and of course all the complaints started coming in from people with incompatibility issues of the software, so.
Leo Laporte I love Ballmer’s – I love Ballmer’s statement to the shareholders about – when asked about Apple’s market share, specially with the young people, he said, some of it’s marketing, some of it’s phase of life, the truth is we do quite well even among college students.
Paul Thurrott Yes, yes, sorry about that.
Leo Laporte Even – even those hippies buy Windows sometimes.
Paul Thurrott Exactly, exactly.
Dwight Silverman Well that – that company, Net Applications is pretty controversial, lot of – a lot of analysts like to point to them and a lot of journalists like to point to them and I’ve done that myself.
Leo Laporte It’s a story.
Dwight Silverman But, yes, all they measure is what's being used on the web, they have a pretty big database of companies that they pull from, but it’s still not going to be the whole web, It’s good for showing trends, I think.
Paul Thurrott Right, it’s not actually representative…
Dwight Silverman I think it’s good for showing trends, but for complete numbers, the kind of real picture, it’s not always accurate.
Paul Thurrott Right. It doesn’t – it doesn’t mean that 5% of the people on computers are using Windows 7. It just doesn’t mean that.
Jerry Pournelle Well, of course it does. It’s very early days isn’t it for Windows 7?
Paul Thurrott I think – I think – right, and everyone is looking for some indication that Windows 7 is doing something, whatever that something is, it’s either doing great, it’s doing okay. If it’s doing anything other than great, it’s obviously a little bit of a disappointment. There is always some story to be told around this thing, but, I don’t know. To me, this is nothing. I just – this doesn’t mean anything.
Sometime in January the sales figures will come out, that’s when we’ll know how many PCs were sold; we’ll have some market share numbers. Obviously Windows 7 is going to be a big deal. It’s going to be – it will go out on most of the computers that are sold this quarter, of course.
Leo Laporte Well I would just like to say that 63% of the people who visited TWiT used Windows and 26% used Macintosh. So Macintosh market share is jumping on my website.
Paul Thurrott Exactly.
Leo Laporte It’s huge, it’s never been bigger.
Paul Thurrott And it’s weird that the people who listen to your stuff would be big on the Mac.
Leo Laporte 5% use Linux. 2% use the iPhone.
Paul Thurrott 5% use Linux, I mean you are insane, that’s insane, right? I mean 5%...
Leo Laporte That’s a lot.
Paul Thurrott 5%?
Leo Laporte 5% are using Linux.
Paul Thurrott That’s bigger than the Mac’s worldwide market share.
Leo Laporte Yes, you are right. Okay…
Paul Thurrott It’s not really – it’s not [indiscernible] (01:08:32).
Leo Laporte But get this – get this, 40 – okay, among Windows users, this is twit.tv, this is the website that people go and this is in the past month, 44% used XP, 33% used something that identified as NT, 20% used Vista, and I don’t even see Windows 7 on here.
Paul Thurrott So no one is using Windows 7.
Leo Laporte 24 people visited with Windows Me.
Paul Thurrott I think we have your headline.
Leo Laporte Nobody will…
Paul Thurrott Windows 7 global disaster, the exclusive by Leo Laporte.
Leo Laporte Must be the – the NT must be Windows 7 – I don’t – I don’t understand what NT…
Paul Thurrott You are looking at browser, so this is the…
Dwight Silverman This is the part of the 6.1 thing.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Paul Thurrott That’s a browser string.
Leo Laporte Yes, it’s just the – it’s just with the...
Paul Thurrott Yes. So lot of the Mozilla type browsers will say NT something.
Leo Laporte Right. So this is completely worthless.
Paul Thurrott Absolutely. But you should write a story because [ph] Greg Kaiser (01:09:30) will pick it up.
Leo Laporte It’s huge.
Paul Thurrott It’s all I’m saying.
Leo Laporte It’s massive. 51 month…
Jerry Pournelle I would advise all those who are using Vista to immediately convert to Windows 7.
Leo Laporte Yes, I agree with you on that.
Dwight Silverman I’m concerned about people who are running Windows Me.
Leo Laporte Yes, they should – who are those 24 people?
Dwight Silverman What’s up with that?
Leo Laporte And why do [indiscernible] (01:09:56).
Paul Thurrott I’m still running the original version of Windows Movie Maker, I’m just curious I got to ask you some technical questions.
Leo Laporte How come it doesn’t work? So, Jerry, you’ve been happy with Windows – your Windows 7 experience?
Jerry Pournelle I have, as you know I have [ph] Macs and (1:10:13) PCs. And I am finding that the differences even in the operating system philosophy and usability [ph] of flat banishing (1:10:24). Microsoft is…
Leo Laporte I agree.
Jerry Pournelle …long known for being an [ph] impression (1:10:30) extend company and [indiscernible] (1:10:33) they kind of got that with Windows 7, that it really is easier to use and a lot of things that used to be very complicated are very simple and I can recommend again I didn’t write it, Windows 7 ultimate guide by O'Reilly, right? It’s a brand new book, The Definitive Guide from O'Reilly. And if you will go through this thing, I found tons of stuff built into Windows 7 I didn’t know was there. And it’s just getting more Mac-like in a lot of ways.
Leo Laporte Paul, I think you need to send them a copy of Windows 7 Secrets. Because, there is even more stuff in that book. Well I told [indiscernible] (1:11:18).
Jerry Pournelle Yes, send me a reviewed copy. I have – I guess my reviews are popular, because I get more books to review than [indiscernible] (1:11:28) really feel like but doing – but I’ll certainly pick [ph] yours out (1:11:31).
Leo Laporte You will like it, Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte You will like it. It’s a –
Paul Thurrott You will like [indiscernible] (1:11:35).
Leo Laporte It’s a good book; it’s a really good book. What did you say something happened in the Netherlands with you, Paul?
Paul Thurrott I was going to say you know someone asked me actually I thought it was a profound question which was some guy came up to me in the Netherlands and he said looking at your book here and I just have a question, if Windows 7 is so easy how come this book is thousand pages or more? I thought, yeah, okay.
Leo Laporte That’s a good point. I bought it on my Kindle, the whole book I get the full version. Did you ever do this strip down version for the Kindle, Paul, that you are going to [indiscernible] (1:12:08).
Paul Thurrott Yes, there is a strip down [ph] desktop (1:12:10) version for the Kindle.
Leo Laporte But I got the whole thing. It’s a lot lighter that way.
Paul Thurrott It’s much lighter on the Kindle. And actually if you get the full version it’s still as light as the other version.
Leo Laporte You see, you don’t really save me anyway.
Paul Thurrott It’s yet another benefit of the Kindle.
Jerry Pournelle Who published [indiscernible] (1:12:26) how do you decide what to put, what to take out for a strip down version?
Paul Thurrott Well this [indiscernible] (1:12:32).
Jerry Pournelle What is [indiscernible] (1:12:33)?
Paul Thurrott Yes. So it’s truly strip down, it was literally, it was an [ph] ordinary request (1:12:37). They wanted a [ph] desktop (1:12:40) version and they want it to be a very small selection of secrets. So it doesn’t actually work out [indiscernible] (1:12:47).
Leo Laporte Just the big secrets.
Paul Thurrott Yes, I look to this chapter I thought what are the big things; you know the biggest things from each chapter. So some of them – there was one, some other there were two, one or two I think there were three, but it’s a very finite selection of – I don’t know.
Leo Laporte Dwight, are you writing a book on Windows 7?
Dwight Silverman No, I’m writing a Mac switch book at the moment.
Leo Laporte Switching to Windows.
Paul Thurrott You [indiscernible] (1:13:15) Dwight.
Dwight Silverman Somebody is [indiscernible] (1:13:20) it’s a Mac switch book, I actually approach Peachpit, the publisher who did the [ph] one of those Vista (1:13:29) book that I wrote with Larry Magid. And they did want to do Windows 7 book in the same series…
Leo Laporte Really?
Dwight Silverman …because the Vista book had not done well. They just – they don’t want to take the chance, the decision was made a while back and [indiscernible] (1:13:45).
Leo Laporte Big mistake, yes. [ph] Larry [indiscernible] (1:13:46).
Jerry Pournelle A big mistake because Vista will go away and 7 will replace it on every machine running Vista there is no reason not to replace it with Windows 7 and it even cost that much if you use those family upgrade packs that Microsoft sells.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Dwight Silverman It’s going to be Vista [ph] Hu (1:14:05) very soon.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Paul Thurrott It is – it’s an odd thing and by the way [indiscernible] (1:14:08) I mean Vista especially now with after the upgrades and so forth this is terrible but we are going to be in this world where it’s going to be XP and 7. And it’s such a weird thing; it’s never really happen before in the Windows world like that.
Jerry Pournelle Well I think if their virtualization technology, installation technologies are running properly so that you can essentially so that you can go from XP to Windows 7 in one jump without having to go through Vista first. I think a lot of the XP machines will sees to be XP and become Windows 7 also.
Leo Laporte Yeah, my Dell laptop is 7 Professional. So that means Paul I could go to Microsoft site and download, do I need a copy of XP or I just download…?
Paul Thurrott I’m sorry, what are you asking?
Leo Laporte I have Windows 7 Professional which means I can do the…
Paul Thurrott [indiscernible] (1:14:59) Windows XP Professional.
Leo Laporte No, no I have seven professional.
Paul Thurrott Okay.
Leo Laporte Which means I can run the XP and virtualization…
Paul Thurrott Oh I got you, I’m sorry I misunderstood [indiscernible] (1:15:08).
Leo Laporte When I download that, does it come with the copy of XP or do I also –
Paul Thurrott It does.
Leo Laporte So, it’s the whole thing.
Paul Thurrott Yep. For free. The virtualized version of XP, yeah.
Leo Laporte XP, so good.
Paul Thurrott It’s like a little toy we throw it in the [ph] serial box (1:15:20) for free.
Leo Laporte [indiscernible] (1:15:21). You [ph] siloning (1:15:24) on us. Hold on Dwight, I am – Dwight unplug and plug-in [indiscernible] (1:15:28).
Dwight Silverman Oh no, no. [indiscernible] (1:15:30).
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] (1:15:31) command.
Leo Laporte Look at this.
Jerry Pournelle Oh that’s [indiscernible] (1:15:34) explain to me that you’d be having problem with [ph] siloning (1:15:40) but he couldn’t quite explain to me what that meant. Now [indiscernible] (1:15:44).
Leo Laporte Now you know. Do you [indiscernible] (1:15:48) Battlestar Galactica Jerry?
Jerry Pournelle I have – I made an awful lot of money out of Battlestar Galactica when it first came out.
Leo Laporte You made money on it?
Jerry Pournelle The original one. Yeah, way back when Universal did it. The way I made money on it was it Fox sued Universal for plagiarism of Star Wars and they claim that there was something like 82 points of similarity…
Leo Laporte Oh geez.
Jerry Pournelle …between Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. And at that time I guess [indiscernible] (1:16:23) President of Science Fiction Writers of America and the lawyers for Universal came and said here’s $20,000 write us a brief showing we didn’t plagiarize.
Leo Laporte Wow!
Jerry Pournelle And I looked at it and I said well, that’s easy I can – if you ask me which is the better movie then no questions, Star Wars is the better one. But if you ask me which is the most original [indiscernible] (1:16:45) original [indiscernible] (1:16:46) from science fiction that we publish – for instance the male pair bonding between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker was echoed in Battlestar Galactica, and said yeah and they both [indiscernible] (1:17:05) from home or didn’t [indiscernible] (1:17:05).
Leo Laporte Exactly. It’s been around few years, so you were saying [indiscernible] (1:17:12).
Dwight Silverman That’s correct, for the [ph] solon (1:17:15) invasion.
Leo Laporte We were talking about XP running in virtualization on Windows 7.
Dwight Silverman Right and it doesn’t work with every machine.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Dwight Silverman You have to have a particular processor that supports hardware based virtualization in order for it to work and lot of high-end processors don’t do it, I’ve got an Intel Core 2 Quad processor, a Q8200, it’s a great processor in a home build machine, it wont do it, it wont handle XP mode.
Leo Laporte That’s frustrating.
Paul Thurrott That’s on Microsoft [ph] WORX (1:17:47) I don’t know if you are familiar with this company. That’s how they do things it’s…
Jerry Pournelle Could you run VMWare and then run…
Leo Laporte You can, you can run VMWare, you can run Sun’s…
Jerry Pournelle …and then run XP under VMWare.
Leo Laporte Sure, you can run Sun’s VirtualBox, it works fine.
Paul Thurrott So whatever it’s worth – the stuff that they do for corporations application virtualization and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization don’t suffer from this issue but yeah, it’s true if you are an individual and you want to run virtualized versions of XP, although it should be fair there only a few instances where you would want to do that, yeah [ph] they are compatible (1:18:25).
Leo Laporte You have to have a processor that supports Intel’s VT-x technology, which I happen to so I know I can do it, yeah. And AMD – all of AMD’s recent processors do, not all of Intel’s recent processors do.
Paul Thurrott Right.
Leo Laporte [indiscernible] (1:18:37) did a table, right, you can go – or do you have…
Paul Thurrott He does have an excellent [indiscernible] (1:18:44) yeah, that describes all the processors that work and those are don’t, yeah.
Leo Laporte So good, now – I now know I can run Windows XP.
Paul Thurrott Well, it’s tough because a lot of the Core 2 Duo processors or Dual Core chips work fine but what Dwight saying that he has Quad Core processor, and that’s true some of the initial ones, the Quad Cores don’t work.
Leo Laporte We do now by the way know what causes the [ph] siloning (1:19:08) and…
Paul Thurrott We do.
Leo Laporte …that’s why Jerry subspace – it’s subspace because Jerry has the different headset – Plantronics headset which doesn’t have that problem and we sent Dwight the USB – the DSP-400 which does, it’s the chip in it, so you did it on purpose.
Paul Thurrott I did it because I wanted to…
Leo Laporte [indiscernible] (1:19:29).
Dwight Silverman So if I took it out of the – it comes with the couple of plugs that go into the rack – if I just plug the two analog plugs into the back of my Mac…
Leo Laporte No, I don’t know. And probably not, it’s a chipset in – you probably see the adaptor chipset, yeah.
Dwight Silverman All right, I’ll just do that next time.
Leo Laporte But we find USB works better, that’s why we do it. Anyway couple more stories; I just want to mention my Mustang because it really wouldn’t be a TWiT unless I talk about my car, but first for Paul…
Paul Thurrott Yes sir.
Leo Laporte Activision says Call of Duty series – all of the titles in the franchise push past the $3 billion mark in global retail sales share…
Paul Thurrott Remind me again, how much money did Titanic make?
Leo Laporte I think – 200 million.
Paul Thurrott [indiscernible] (1:20:16).
Leo Laporte A billion.
Jerry Pournelle Had about 500 if you count overseas sales…
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Leo Laporte But not anywhere close.
Paul Thurrott A sad, sad joke.
Leo Laporte Compared.
Paul Thurrott Compared to Call of Duty.
Leo Laporte But now this is since 2003.
Paul Thurrott Sure.
Leo Laporte But what a franchise, six titles the most modern – most recent Modern Warfare…
Paul Thurrott [indiscernible] (1:20:34) contributed to this figure [indiscernible] (1:20:37).
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Leo Laporte Amazing success for Call of Duty and you say and I’ll just repeat it here is in fact the best of the series, the best first person shooter of the year and perhaps even the best first person shooter of all-time.
Paul Thurrott I just remember everyone is talking up Halo 2 at the time, and Halo 3 when that came out and I kept telling these guys, Call of Duty is [ph] where is that (1:20:59).
Leo Laporte By the way our brilliant chat room by the name of [ph] Ratty (1:21:07) says it’s $1.8 billion for Titanic, that’s pretty good.
Paul Thurrott Not bad. Not Call of Duty numbers but not bad. Not bad for the [indiscernible] (1:21:18).
Leo Laporte He is so competitive that Paul Thurrott. It’s not really so much a market share number as it is a number. It [ph] pales (1:21:28).
Paul Thurrott It’s lower.
Leo Laporte It [ph] pales (1:21:31) however.
Paul Thurrott Sure.
Leo Laporte To the market valuation of Facebook.
Paul Thurrott Wow, okay.
Leo Laporte Which according to the most recent stock sale is a DST which is one of the investors has been buying Digital Sky Technologies, is a Russian investment company. Do you know that the Russians own a big stake in Facebook?
Paul Thurrott It’s good stuff. And by the way that’s the plot of Call of Duty movie – videogame.
Leo Laporte It is? It probably could be.
Paul Thurrott Sure, sure.
Leo Laporte Russian social media expert takes over.
Paul Thurrott Well you know when Microsoft made a stake in Facebook a year or so ago I don’t remember the exact figure, when you make an investment and you buy a certain part of the company that investment then betrays what you feel the company is worth. And I remember at the time the figure for Facebook was incredibly high based on the fact that they sell about $17 [ph] an ad a (1:22:28) year. I mean there is nothing in there.
Leo Laporte Right, right. And it didn’t really include what Microsoft was getting in addition to the stake in the company. But this case DST bought $100 million of Facebook shares in July from employees and ex-employees at a $16.5 billion valuation.
Paul Thurrott Wow! Now I wonder how much they were paying over you know what percentage the value of the shares they have paid on average to get those shares, right? 16 times? 20 times?
Leo Laporte Well, is there a value because there is no – it’s not a publicly –
Paul Thurrott That’s a good point, it’s not in public.
Leo Laporte So there is no value?
Paul Thurrott There are just made up.
Leo Laporte Just made up numbers. Facebook however has just established a dual-class stock structure…
Paul Thurrott Okay.
Leo Laporte …which always scares me when I hear about that. That’s how I got screwed by TechTV. The existing owners have one class, the Class A stock and then the rest of you got Class B which means that we can vote but you can’t and we are the first to be paid on a transaction. Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said we did introduce a dual-class stock structure because existing shareholders wanted to maintain control over voting on certain issues. The thought would be that they would do this because they are about to go public and they would issue B or C Class shares to the public offering. But Mark Zuckerberg when asked said no, no, no, no. An IPO is a few years out, he said that in May and the spokesman says Facebook has no plans to go public. What would Facebook really be worth if they went public?
Paul Thurrott It’s not even possible to guess, right? Because the tech stock market especially is crazy.
Leo Laporte I would buy – well what is Google’s valuation now, six billion?
Paul Thurrott Right, sure.
Leo Laporte I mean is Facebook’s got to be worth that much, what do you think Jerry, do you have a Facebook page?
Paul Thurrott That much? No, not as much as Google.
Leo Laporte No, but [indiscernible] (1:24:27).
Jerry Pournelle People maintain one from me but I don’t have anything do with it yet. I probably should start incorporating Facebook into my operations; it’s just that I never have.
Leo Laporte The social media thing is all [ph] branded (1:24:42) we talked before the show trying to persuade Jerry to get a Twitter account.
Paul Thurrott He was notably not interested.
Leo Laporte Not interested.
Paul Thurrott Not good for him.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman And it’s interesting he thinks that Facebook would do him good but Twitter would not, it’s interesting.
Jerry Pournelle Only as a marketing tool, I am – the only thing I would use Facebook for is to get people to come over to my regular website. I have – what energy I have left over from writing fiction I put into the website. I am not going to do that on a Facebook page, I just don’t care that much. And I certainly don’t really feel like letting the world know every time I’m going to have a turkey sandwich, so…
Leo Laporte I think it’s – you know what, Jerry, more power to you. I just want you to do more writing. I think that that’s a reasonable thing for a fan to say, no Jerry, focus on the writing. Don’t be wasting your energy on 140 character blips.
Jerry Pournelle Leo, it’s a long tradition in science fiction writing that fans maintain sites for their favorite authors.
Leo Laporte Right, right.
Jerry Pournelle And several – and in fact several do in the case with me and with [ph] Niven (85:55) and so forth, and I just let them do it. I pay little attention to the site unless some friend of mine tells me they are doing something goofy. Like for instance, Wikipedia had some stories about me that just simply weren’t true. They were flattering stories, they just weren’t true. And I had to go in and try to edit some of that. But generally, I try to stay away from that sort of thing.
Paul Thurrott I’ve never had anything flattering on Wikipedia. So I’m curious what that read.
Jerry Pournelle They had me getting a direct commission in the army which had – the only person I ever heard of who got a direct commission was Audie Murphy for [indiscernible] (1:26:39).
Leo Laporte Is that like a [indiscernible] (86:40) promotion where you go –
Paul Thurrott “World-renowned lover.”
Leo Laporte Hey, Paul, you’re not allowed to do it, but I’m going to go in your Wikipedia page right now.
Paul Thurrott In fact, anyone can edit it.
Leo Laporte In fact, I would suggest the chat room, go in there –
Paul Thurrott It’s like the Simpsons episode, it’s the Simpsons episode, is that true?
Leo Laporte No, no, please.
Dwight Silverman It will be.
Leo Laporte Make it so, number two.
How do you all feel about Internet gambling? You remember that the rules were – I can’t remember if it was – I think it was legislation, wasn’t it? That banned Internet gambling. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, who are charged with enforcing this, basically what they’re doing is they’re telling credit card companies, financial institutions, you cannot accept payments to settle online wagers. And that basically makes it impossible to do online gambling. Financial industry complained that the new rules would be difficult to enforce.
Dwight Silverman It’s like the auto industry complaining that the SIPO Rules would be hard to enforce.
Leo Laporte So hard to do. So, well, they say – and actually there may be some merit in this. They say, what is Internet gambling? So they petitioned. And now those rules which were supposed to take effect in a week are going to be delayed till June 1st and I’m betting that the Gambling Enforcement Act which was passed in 2006 will pass a few more years before that comes close to being enforced.
Dwight Silverman They want to try to overturn it, the Democratic –
Leo Laporte You bet.
Dwight Silverman Congress wants to overturn that.
Paul Thurrott Now why would you want to overturn that?
Dwight Silverman The only good thing you can get – and it’s not good. The only thing you’re certain to get at a gambling site is spyware. And I wouldn’t mind seeing them go away for that reason.
Paul Thurrott [Indiscernible] not (1:28:27) gamble at the gambling site.
Leo Laporte It’s a gamble.
Paul Thurrott That’s right.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s really a gamble. Well, anyway, just – anybody have an opinion?
Paul Thurrott Gambling sites are like Darwin’s Law in Action.
Leo Laporte I think that’s right, they cull the herd.
Paul Thurrott Sure.
Dwight Silverman That’s right.
Leo Laporte I think the problem is that it’s point of access. If it’s really easy to gamble, I kind of feel for people who have a gambling problem, because at least if the ponies are somewhere out there, you got to go to the track. Now you just, you know.
Paul Thurrott We do this thing on Thanksgiving called bagels and beer. You know, we get up early in the morning and we go to our local bar –
Leo Laporte You drink beer?
Paul Thurrott We drink beer and we have bagels. And this friend of mine said, hey, they have keno. You’re going to play some keno? And they said, I have a keno system. You know, which is sort of like a gateway gambling product.
Dwight Silverman Yeah, that’s a gateway drug, yeah.
Leo Laporte By the way, according to Wikipedia, Paul, you have cured the common cold. And let’s see, what else have you – well, this is amazing, Paul, I really had no idea, your net worth is $3 billion.
Paul Thurrott Listen, if it was, I wouldn’t be here right now. No offense.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I’m offended.
Paul Thurrott No offense.
Leo Laporte I’m offended deeply. All right, real quickly, just want to mention before we finish this show up and we have some great final gifts for you all, so don’t go anywhere. Because you really shouldn’t say the show will be over after this commercial.
Paul Thurrott Listen to the commercial, and then we’re done.
Leo Laporte No. There’s great stuff still to come. But I do want to mention Ford Sync. And hey, this is great stuff, a chance for you to win a Nano or a Zune. Time is ticking, though. You only have till December 9th. They’ve got 15 Nanos and 15 Zunes. They’re giving away one every day. Kind of as a way of underscoring the fact that Ford Sync works with Nanos, works with Zunes. To be honest, it works with my Droid. It works with almost anything that’s USB. In fact, I’ve got a USB key here. You plug this into the USB port in my car and it will read the MP3s there on there, index them, and then I press a button on my steering wheel and I can say ‘play The Beatles.’ I can say – in fact, I do. I say play Lucifer’s Hammer and all of a sudden, I’m hearing Lucifer’s Hammer right where I left off.
Paul Thurrott This is Skynet.
Leo Laporte It is Skynet. The car is smart.
Paul Thurrott The car is the computer.
Leo Laporte I love it.
Paul Thurrott The car is the network.
Leo Laporte If you get a chance, go to a Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealer. Take a look at Ford Sync. It is so slick. It’s Bluetooth phones. It’s got 911 activation, if your airbags activate. It’s got vehicle history reports. It knows the traffic conditions and will re-route you automatically. Turn-by-turn directions, even without a GPS built into the car. I mean that’s the Ford Sync doing it. I just love it.
And to find out more, you go to the website, syncmyridepodcast.com; and if you’d like to win – the rules are there. But if you’d like to win, I can give you the short version. Just Tweet. Say, listen to Jerry and the gang on TWiT right now and I’m loving it, and I can’t wait to read Dante’s – I always call it Dante’s Inferno – Lucifer’s Hammer. And then add the tag #syncmyridepodcast. The incredibly intelligent people at Ford will notice that, add you to the drawing and you’ll be in the drawing to win one of those Nanos or Zunes. Full details and more about the incredible Sync. It’s in my car and I tell you, I drive – it’s – I love it. At syncmyridepodcast.com. We’re trying to decide Paul, if I should drive the Mustang, the twitMobile, down to CES.
Paul Thurrott Yup.
Leo Laporte I’m thinking – I was talking to Scott Monty, who is their social media guy. He said come down and you can give geeks test rides and show them Syncs. So maybe I’ll do that.
Paul Thurrott Drive it to CES?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Paul Thurrott Listen, if you do that, I will – I will fly there and I will drive it down with you.
Leo Laporte You’ll fly to San Francisco and drive down with me?
Paul Thurrott Of course.
Leo Laporte That will be great! Road trip!
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Leo Laporte You bring the beer, I’ll bring the Bagels.
Paul Thurrott Sure. We might be using a Zune, though, I don’t know if that’s…
Leo Laporte You can – no, in fact if I could find my Zune HD, that’s what it would be, we’d be living in the – I can’t find it.
Paul Thurrott It’s going to be – it’s on a plane somewhere.
Leo Laporte No, no, no, no. It’s in a pile here somewhere. It’s small and it just disappears.
Paul Thurrott And it’s almost too small.
Leo Laporte It’s too beautiful, too small.
Paul Thurrott It’s too beautiful to succeed.
Leo Laporte It couldn’t…
Paul Thurrott The technology that was too good to ever catch on to the mass market.
Leo Laporte Syncmyridepodcast.com. Thank you, Ford, for supporting our wonderful little homegrown network here.
Jerry Pournelle is online. If you – as we all did – cut your teeth on the Chaos Manor columns, they’re still going. You can subscribe to them by email or you can read them online at chaosmanorreviews.com. Or go to Jerry’s site, jerrypournelle.com, where it’s all there. You said there’s some politics there, Jerry?
Jerry Pournelle I tend to be rather Libertarian in my views of the world. But yes, they’ve…
Paul Thurrott By the way [indiscernible] (93:25).
Jerry Pournelle I get into politics and political strategy on my website, I don’t in the column, I try to stay politically neutral in the columns.
Leo Laporte You know, I need that, because people don’t want me to talk politics on the shows. But I love to talk about, I think politics are – I had no idea you taught political science.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, I used to be Head of Political Science at Pepperdine. That was a very long time ago.
Leo Laporte That’s great. So theres an education crisis, you talked about Afghanistan. This is fantastic, I’m going to have to start reading these…
Jerry Pournelle The latest big one is the climate consensus – turns out maybe to have had as much conspiracy as consensus, which is interesting.
Leo Laporte So where do you come down on global warming?
Jerry Pournelle With Freeman Dyson, I don’t know how you can get CO2 to be useful in heating anything except cold, dry areas. Because the water vapor already overwhelms the CO2 effect everywhere else.
Leo Laporte So you don’t think it’s a CO – you don’t think it’s not even a question of manmade or not, you don’t think there is global warming, because CO2…
Jerry Pournelle No, I think there’s global warming because there has been since about 1326 when the Little Ice Age ended and we started warming up. But I think that most of the warming was in between 1800 and 1870. You know this, but you don’t remember it. In 1776, at Harlem heights on Manhattan Island, Colonel Alexander Hamilton brought the guns to capture the Ticonderoga across the frozen Hudson River to General George Washington saving Washington’s Army.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle The Hudson hasn’t frozen solid enough to walk across since about 1826.
Leo Laporte Well there you go.
Jerry Pournelle In other words, things have been warming since 1776 and everybody who has been to grade school and had grade school history knows it. In 800 to 1000, the Vikings had dairy farms in Greenland. Dairy farms. You can see them, they’re under about 30 feet of ice. Some of them are finally coming out again. But there’s still plenty of ice over there. The Earth has been a lot warmer and a lot colder in human history. We know for a fact. So the fact that it’s been warming at one degree per century ever since about 1700 should not surprise you.
Leo Laporte Well, I feel a lot better about my Mustang, I got to tell you that right now.
Paul Thurrott [indiscernible] rag top (96:04)?
Leo Laporte No, it’s a hard top. You know, because of this global warming, I probably should have gotten a rag top. But I wasn’t that confident. Now I know.
jerrypournelle.com, you can read that and more there. And Jerry, I just – we’re so honored that you joined us and we just are thrilled by your writing, your presence, your stories and your commentaries. Just always a pleasure to have you on.
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle Thanks.
Leo Laporte We’ll have you back soon, if you don’t mind?
Jerry Pournelle I would love it.
Leo Laporte Good. Paul Thurrott is of course at the SuperSite for Windows, winsupersite.com. He is author of the book that Jerry hasn’t read.
Paul Thurrott The one book [indiscernible] (1:36:48).
Leo Laporte The one book Jerry hasn’t received a copy of, hasn’t read, never heard of. By the way, you ask Jerry who publishes it, it’s Wiley & Sons, you’ve heard of them.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, of course, yes. They used to send me review [indiscernible] (96:58), I don’t know why they didn’t send that one.
Leo Laporte Paul, I think a call to the editor is in order here.
Paul Thurrott Have my people call your people, keep them busy.
Leo Laporte Take it from me, I’ll give you my review. I love it. I’ve read it cover to cover. And it makes me love Windows 7 even more. It’s called Windows 7 Secrets. A love letter to Windows 7.
Paul Thurrott Right, that’s pretty much what it is.
Leo Laporte By Paul Thurrott.
Paul Thurrott It’s a love letter. That’s right. It’s a chick-lit kind of a book.
Leo Laporte It is. Actually it’s for women.
Paul Thurrott Yeah.
Leo Laporte Many people think that…
Paul Thurrott The hidden part of the PC market.
Leo Laporte Yes. It is the Windows 7 book that ladies like best. Mr. Dwight Silverberg – Silverman. I don’t know what your name – I was thinking of [indiscernible] (97:43) it’s another story.
Dwight Silverman The science fiction night.
Leo Laporte Science fiction night, it is. Just always thrilled to have you on and I’m glad to have somebody of my own age on the show.
Dwight Silverman That’s right. We’re the same age as of today.
Leo Laporte We just found out, yeah.
Dwight Silverman If you want to kind of plug my other radio show, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before.
Leo Laporte I didn’t know you did another radio show.
Dwight Silverman On Wednesday nights on KPFT in Houston, I’m part of a show called Technology Bytes. It’s a two-hour public radio call-in and get your computer fixed show. It’s been on the air for almost – I think almost 16 years now.
Leo Laporte Wow, that’s almost as long as me. Wow.
Dwight Silverman And I’ve been on it 16 years.
Leo Laporte Really?
Dwight Silverman But – yeah, yeah, it’s a great show. Geekradio.com is the website, it starts at 8:00 Central Time. The main host is Jay Lee and he’s always giving me grief for being on your show, it’s like oh, you’re going to go on the other show.
Leo Laporte Well, you not in The Tech Guy show, so it’s okay.
Dwight Silverman That’s right. So I just wanted to give a shout out and if you enjoy listening, check us out on Wednesday nights.
Leo Laporte And it’s a podcast too, you can get that.
Dwight Silverman It is a podcast. Yep.
Leo Laporte Geekradio.com. And of course Dwight writes the great tech blog at the Houston Chronicle, that’s blogs.chron.com/techblog. And it is a must read, in fact I steal many of our stories from The Tech Blog’s link roll every week, so.
Dwight Silverman They’re there for you, Leo.
Leo Laporte Thank you. Thank you. Hey, we’re very excited, we are now doing video of the show not only the streaming video we’ve been doing for a year and half at TWiT Live, which is live.twit.tv; but thanks to the folks at Mediafly, we are now coming at you on your Android phones, on your BlackBerry, on the Roku box too, if you got a Roku check for an update, you can add the TWiT channel and see this show and This WEEK in GOOGLE, This WEEK in FUN.
Dwight Silverman I did this.
Leo Laporte Windows Weekly is on there.
Dwight Silverman I looked at our podcast on –
Leo Laporte It looks good, doesn’t it? What you think?
Dwight Silverman I guess pretty cool, my son said, he referred to us as oh, Mr. TV star. You know, kids. He was so impressed, you know.
Leo Laporte No, on the big screen it looks good. We do a very high quality version for the Roku box. So you get – it’s not quite HD, but it’s very good.
Dwight Silverman Very nice.
Leo Laporte And you see that’s why have flowers today, because we’re trying to dress the set up a little bit.
Dwight Silverman Yes.
Leo Laporte It really detracts from the – it’s…
Dwight Silverman I know.
Leo Laporte …it’s very distracting. No, that’s from my chat room for my birthday.
Dwight Silverman Oh, it’s beautiful.
Leo Laporte Yeah, so yeah got your Roku box and you can watch us now and streaming is coming to that at some point. I’m not sure exactly when, but we’re working on getting the streaming on that as well. So if you want to watch us do this live, we do it every Sunday at 6:00 pm Eastern, 3:00 pm Pacific on live.twit.tv.
Thank you all for being here, really a great show, really lot of fun. Thank you for watching. We will see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can.
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