TWiT 226/Transcript

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Episode 226


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 where you can get free MP3s, exclusive interviews and more. This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 226 for December 21, 2009. The Sacred Straw Man.

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This is TWiT; this WEEK in TECH, the show that covers all of the technology stories of the week in a kind of desultory, half-assed way and then we analyze, in an equally desultory fashion. Joining us as always, he is the tech guru with has Great Wall of China hat on, ladies and gentlemen, John C. Dvorak. Hi John.

John C. Dvorak I am here, hi, I just in from China.

Leo Laporte Yeah did you get that in China, the Great Wall hat?

John C. Dvorak Yeah I got it at the Great Wall.

Leo Laporte That’s neat.

John C. Dvorak What do you think I paid for this hat?

Leo Laporte 43 yuan.

John C. Dvorak Two bucks.

Leo Laporte Two bucks, I know. You know – stuff’s cheap in China.

John C. Dvorak They have a long bill. That’s what I used to have for our [ph] kids (02:07) to keep them away from the mic.

Leo Laporte For those who are not watching the video, he is now bonking the mike with the bill of his cap. That’s kind of sad.

John C. Dvorak That way I can’t get too close, I can’t overmodulate.

Leo Laporte That’s a good – I need that, I need that.

John C. Dvorak Yeah you do.

Leo Laporte Yeah it’s a mic-away. Also here, Lisa Bettany from beautiful Vancouver, Washington. Hi Lisa, it’s great to see you.

Lisa Bettany Vancouver, Washington?

Leo Laporte I mean Vancouver, Canadia.

John C. Dvorak Vancouver, Washington.

Leo Laporte Well isn’t that like just over the border?

John C. Dvorak No that’s the joke of it, it’s across from Portland.

Leo Laporte Oh, that’s very confusing.

Lisa Bettany It’s actually quite a drive, so.

Leo Laporte So did they steal your name or did you steal their name?

Lisa Bettany I like to think that we were the first to Vancouver.

Leo Laporte You were because Gassy Jack blew up the gas works there in 1802 and that was the founding – no I know, I know my Vancouver history, you are pretty amazed, aren’t you?

John C. Dvorak I thought that Vancouver, the name came from the island. Wasn’t Vancouver Island named before the city?

Leo Laporte We are – I’m just going to hold the camera on Lisa ‘til she says something.

Lisa Bettany Well let’s ask Google.

Leo Laporte She’s wiki – she’s Wikipedia-ing!

John C. Dvorak There you have it.

Leo Laporte Are you a – Lisa you’re not – no, she’s a native of Saskatoon.

Lisa Bettany Yeah I am a [indiscernible] (03:21)

John C. Dvorak Saskatoon is the Paris of Canada.

Leo Laporte It’s the Paris of Saskatchewan, I’ll give you that.

John C. Dvorak That’s what somebody told me once, I have never been there. I have always wanted to visited Saskatoon.

Lisa Bettany Paris?

Leo Laporte What is Saskatoon, all I know from Saskatoon is the show Corner Gas.

John C. Dvorak It’s a college town.

Leo Laporte Is it?

Lisa Bettany Yeah, I mean Saskatoon itself is a really pretty city, there’s lots of rivers and bridges and that kind of thing.

Leo Laporte But you got out of there as soon as you could. Admit it.

Lisa Bettany Yes, I don’t like the cold. I don’t.

John C. Dvorak And she doesn’t have the Saskatoon accent.

Leo Laporte She doesn’t. You – that’s where you…

Lisa Bettany Oh, I can put in on, though, eh? Ya know.

Leo Laporte Oh.

John C. Dvorak Yeah there you go. Now you are talking.

Leo Laporte Is that how they talk in Saskatoon?

John C. Dvorak Worse.

Lisa Bettany I don’t think so. I think that’s more like a [indiscernible] (04:02)

Leo Laporte That’s Edmonton. That’s Alberta.

John C. Dvorak Edmonton is wow.

Leo Laporte That’s Alberta, that’s how they are talk in Alberta. And this tour of Canadian accents brought to you by Ford Sync, no, no, I won’t do that. And let’s also introduce Andrew Warner, I am so glad Andrew is here. I’ve wanted to get Andrew on this show for some time actually. He is – interviewed me for his website Andrew is an entrepreneur, a man who at a very young age founded a business that reached $30 million in annual sales, cashed out after the web bust, you survived and did well and then I guess you’re just kind of, you know, taking it easy, living a Life of Riley and you decided to start a site called mixergy. How would you describe mixergy Andrew?

Andrew Warner Well you know the way that you guys on MacBreak Weekly investigate insanely every Apple product that comes out.

Leo Laporte Yeah obsessively.

Andrew Warner Well I do the same thing with internet businesses.

Leo Laporte So you’re – you study entrepreneurship?

Andrew Warner Exactly. I want to know everything about how they got their first users, how they made their first few dollars, how they grew, how they sold, like that kind of in-depth conversation is what I do with entrepreneurs like you. You came on mixergy as you said and you talked about how you built up TWiT.

Leo Laporte Yeah. So you’ve Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, Jimmy Wales that kind of people and the reason you’re on, we are going to talk about this in a bit. You just interviewed Chandrasekhar Rathakrishnan, the guy who is building the JooJoo, the guy who took the CrunchPad from Mike Arrington and we are going to get his side of the story, I’m fascinated to hear what happened that it’s not the same story we’ve heard so far.

John C. Dvorak Ha!

Leo Laporte Ha! So that should be interesting. We have all the tech news too, but before we go too much further I want to mention somebody who is a friend of TWiT, Roz Savage who did a show with us for a long time, Roz Rows. She’s the woman who was rowing across the Atlantic. Well she was the first one row to cross the Atlantic and then she rowed – is rowing across the Pacific right now, with the idea to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean. She is doing it stage by stage. She has completed stage I and stage II. We covered those with the Roz Rows podcast. She walked to Copenhagen from London for the Copenhagen climate summit. In Copenhagen everything she owns was stolen. Her computer, her laptop, her phone, all her gear, everything was stolen. Last night my coat and bag were stolen while I was at an event in Copenhagen. In my bag were my laptop and iPhone, I have no insurance, no money, she walked there, no ride home and now no credit cards.

John C. Dvorak How do you walk there?

Leo Laporte It’s a long walk.

John C. Dvorak How do you get there?

Leo Laporte She’s an adventurer.

John C. Dvorak But from London, how do you walk to Copenhagen?

Leo Laporte Well there probably was a ferry involved.

John C. Dvorak Well, that’s not the same as walking.

Leo Laporte She walked while she was on the ferry. She probably kept stepping, or ran to keep up with the ferry. Anyway there is a fundraiser – this is the last day of the fundraiser. Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield organized this to try to get enough money together to get Roz – at least kind of somewhat replace her stuff. It’s on (sic) if you go to – R-O-Z-S-S-T-U-F-F, last chance to donate. They’re about halfway to the goal, they’ve raised a lot of money, $3,600 but they need 6,500 to replace everything including her laptop and her phone. And Roz is a great person who really has – what is that you’re flashing, John, what is that? Visit Only John would be crass enough to plug ChannelDvorak…

Lisa Bettany That’s horrible.

Leo Laporte Well, I’m giving an impassioned plea.

John C. Dvorak Hey, we should the girl some gear from some of these vendors and just have them ship her new equipment. Come on.

Leo Laporte Yeah. You’re right, but you know – I think it’s kind of cool that her fans have…

John C. Dvorak Yeah, no I think it’s great.

Leo Laporte …have gotten together and they’ve raised so much money. And so that’s – I’ve wanted to give that a plug.

John C. Dvorak How did she – what happened, was she at the bus stop, she turned around, boom! her stuff was stolen? I mean, how much thievery is there in Denmark?

Leo Laporte You wouldn’t think – I thought Denmark was like safe and you know – I don’t know. It’s the Vancouver of Denmark.

Lisa Bettany Really? Okay.

John C. Dvorak It’s the Copenhagen.

Leo Laporte I’ve been to wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. It’s a beautiful city.

John C. Dvorak Yeah I’ve been there a few times. It’s nice, it’s gorgeous.

Leo Laporte Tivoli Gardens, beautiful.

John C. Dvorak Yeah, I never made the gardens unfortunately.

Leo Laporte Well, you’ve got to go. I was with kids and you know it’s kind of an amusement park. I was there, it was really fun.

So, Andrew Warner, you got to speak Chandrasekhar, Chandra he’s called.

John C. Dvorak Oh, by the way, you never introduced me, Leo.

Leo Laporte I believe I did. Remember the hat that bumps into the microphone.

Lisa Bettany Yeah.

John C. Dvorak You mean this.

Leo Laporte Yeah. John, you’re turning into my mom and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

John C. Dvorak Hey, your mom’s my biggest fan.

Leo Laporte She loves you. She said you cut that part out where I said I was his biggest fan. I said no, I didn’t cut that out. You’re were in there mom. Mom got a lot of –

John C. Dvorak All right, I’m sorry. Go ahead, go ahead. I was just kidding.

Leo Laporte Mom got a lot of fan mail. Andrew has turned bright green. What’s going on Andrew?

Andrew Warner Where is my camera?

John C. Dvorak He’s plugging a pool table.

Andrew Warner Should I turn my camera off and back on? I see myself in a little window on Skype.

Leo Laporte Yeah. Plugged it in – I don’t know what happened.

John C. Dvorak This is a –

Andrew Warner There, there we go. I’ve been broadcasting it, looks like it’s back.

John C. Dvorak All right. So let’s hear the story, the real story or one of the stories.

Leo Laporte So you interviewed – and you can hear this interview at This week you interviewed Chandra. Tell us his side of the story – maybe we should recap that Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, a year ago announced he was going to build a tablet, a touch tablet called the CrunchPad that was going to be kind of open source community developed. He, at some point, teamed up with Chandra’s company which is called – what’s it called?

Andrew Warner Fusion Garage.

Leo Laporte Fusion Garage. And then they were about to debut this a couple of weeks ago and the – two days before the debut according to Mike, Fusion Garage shows up – and sends him an e-mail saying ‘that’s it, we’re taking the prototype, we are going to sell it on our own.’ They renamed it the JooJoo pad; Mike says ‘we’re going to court, but the CrunchPad is dead.’ All we’ve heard so far is mostly Mike’s point of view and then – now they did do a demo of the JooJoo pad and we’ve seen video of it. What does Chandra say happened, Andrew?

Andrew Warner Well, first of all, I saw that demo, I had him demo it in the interview and this device is beautiful, and it just re-affirms our excitement for a tablet; you see it and you start to instantly understand where it fits into people’s lives, and I could see myself flipping through magazines, watching videos on this device. So what Chandra says is that he had the device before he ever got together with Michael Arrington; he says he met Mike at TechCrunch50, he showed him a prototype of the deice and Michael Arrington got so excited about it that he said, I want to buy out your business, like right there, the same day that he talked to him.

Leo Laporte Was this after Arrington had said we’re going to do a CrunchPad?

Andrew Warner Yes, as I understand it, yes.

Leo Laporte Okay.

John C. Dvorak Oh, so wait, let’s get the timeline.

Leo Laporte This is kind of like – you know, John, this is kind of what you hypothesized happened.

John C. Dvorak Yes.

Leo Laporte So what’s the timeline?

Andrew Warner The timeline, I actually don’t know the exact dates on this but Michael Arrington…

John C. Dvorak I know, I don’t care about the dates, I want to know the sequence of events.

Andrew Warner I see, okay, so…

Leo Laporte It sounds like Arrington had announced the CrunchPad and began development of it. TechCrunch50, was it this year’s TechCrunch50 or a year-ago’s Techcrunch50?

Andrew Warner A year ago it sounds like.

Leo Laporte Okay, so it would have been very shortly after the CrunchPad was announced then.

Andrew Warner Right. So, Michael Arrington decides instead of building it himself this guy – according to Chandra, Chandra’s got a device that’s already starting to –that’s already getting close, he’s got a prototype, he says I want to buy your business, Chandra gets excited that he has a potential buyout and he starts to talk with Michael Arrington and his people about how they can work together, how they can buy out his business.

He says that – it sounds to me like he is being a little mysterious here about what went on behind the scenes, partially because of the lawsuit, but what he’s saying is that because there wasn’t a buyout he couldn’t put the name CrunchPad on his device and because there wasn’t a buyout Arrington and the TechCrunch people didn’t contribute nearly enough to claim partial ownership of this.

Leo Laporte So he says that basically Mike defaulted on his agreement to buy him out.

Andrew Warner Yes, and he also says that the guys from TechCrunch had nothing to do with the development of the pad. He says that…

Leo Laporte Now, Mike says we bought a house; we had developers from Fusion Garage and CrunchPad developers all working together in a house, does Chandra deny that?

Andrew Warner He denies that they’ve had any input in the creation of the device. He says that he and his people designed it, everything from the software to the hardware to the user experience and I pressed them on this over and over again. Because you know, user experience is tough and for a company that’s never created hardware like this before to come out and create something so beautiful that’s so intuitive to me sounded a little suspicious, but he kept saying that he and his guys had the experience to build this thing and they did it on their own.

And he also says that the time that the TechCrunch people were in Singapore, where TechCrunch says that they were at Fusion Garage’s office helping them think through the pad, Chandra says they were only in his office once, the only reason that they flew to Singapore was to talk about a potential buyout. It sounds like he thinks that TechCrunch was dragging their heels, that they weren’t making this buyout happen fast enough and if they’re not going to buy them out, they haven’t contributed anything to the pad, Chandra took the pad and named it and started selling it on his own.

Leo Laporte So, here’s the chronology, I’m looking at Wikipe