Recorded: January 17, 2010
Published: January 18, 2010
TWiT 231 •Previous episode – Next episode
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Leo Laporte Bandwidth for this edition of this WEEK in TECH is provided by Cachefly at cachefly.com. This is TWiT. This WEEK in TECH, episode 231 for January 18, 2010: Be Kind, Rewind.
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It’s time for TWiT, this WEEK in TECH. The stories are true but the names have been changed to protect the ignorant. Ladies and gentlemen, Patrick Beja is here from France.
Patrick Beja Patrick Beja is not my real name as you just said.
Leo Laporte Well, to protect you. It’s okay.
Patrick Beja [ph] Yeah (01:44). Absolutely.
Leo Laporte You can use a pseudonym here. Patrick is – does the incredible Phileas podcast which is an English language podcast out of Paris that is kind of like TWiT Euro style, right?
Patrick Beja Yep. It’s like the TWiT of political and international news, kind of.
Leo Laporte And actually you do other shows too. There’s a movie show, what’s the site for all of that?
Patrick Beja You can go to Frenchspin.com to see all of that but maybe I’ll tell you a little bit more about a new project that we’re developing at the end of the show.
Leo Laporte Sure. Sure, I’d love to hear about it. Also here to regale us with great stories from the good old days, John C. Dvorak.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, the good old days. Last week.
Leo Laporte Neither John nor Patrick went to CES and that’s why you both are here, because…
John C. Dvorak Right. Well, we don’t need to go, Leo, you were there.
Leo Laporte Oh! Man, I think I killed my staff. I think they actually were this close to rebelling and leaving me there.
John C. Dvorak As long as they didn’t poison you.
Leo Laporte They may have. I came home and I was sick as a dog.
John C. Dvorak Really?
Leo Laporte Yeah. They may have. I always get sick.
John C. Dvorak From what?
Leo Laporte Well, I had a meatball sandwich at the Vegas, McCarran Field. That might have been a mistake.
John C. Dvorak [ph] Cheese (03:02).
Leo Laporte Those meatballs had been there since Wayne Newton was a headliner. I mean, they…
John C. Dvorak They could have been Wayne Newton, for all you know.
Leo Laporte [ph] They may (03:11) you know, what’s left? It was either Siegfried or Roy. I’m not sure, but it was somebody’s and [ph] who (03:17). They were not good. But I’m back.
John C. Dvorak [ph] Oh! (03:21). John C. Dvorak, tell Leo about the mouse clarification.
Leo Laporte Oh, is this have to do with the fact that 25 years ago you said the mouse would never go anywhere, what is this?
John C. Dvorak No, it just has to do with Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote that piece that got passed around and I finally found the original column and then I [ph] called him that (03:43)…
Leo Laporte This is something we talked about a couple of weeks ago?
John C. Dvorak Yeah. But no…
Leo Laporte What was the piece, what did he say?
John C. Dvorak This is a little more interesting because he went back and changed his column in CNN and blanked out all the stuff – that nobody knows where this phony quote came from.
Leo Laporte Oh, well fill us in ’cause not everybody listens to every show. What was the initial…
John C. Dvorak Let me get the link and then, so I can look at it…
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak …or so I can give it to [ph] the chaps (04:05).
Leo Laporte I remember talking about this but I’ll be honest, I don’t really – I would fill you in myself but I don’t really remember myself.
John C. Dvorak I just happened like last night.
Leo Laporte So, Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a writer. He was TIME – he worked at TIME magazine, covers the Macintosh. I don’t know if he’s still at TIME magazine.
John C. Dvorak I think he maybe still works for – he must still work for Fortune CNN because he went back and changed the column last night.
Leo Laporte So is this Microsoft upstages Apple’s tablet. Is Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt nuts, that story?
John C. Dvorak No, I think Philip…
Leo Laporte Today’s proof that there is always someone who doesn’t get it – comes in the form of Fortune’s usually much more reliable, Philip Elmer-DeWitt under a laugh inducing headline video, Microsoft upstages Apple’s tablet. Elmer-DeWitt writes, “Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the CES show in Vegas ran for more than an hour and a quarter. But what got the most attention from the press gathered to watch it were the three minutes Microsoft’s CEO spent talking about his answer to the tablet computer Apple is expected to release in less than three weeks.”
If that was Microsoft’s answer, we don’t want to know the question, virtually everyone on the planet who saw Ballmer’s presentation saw it the same way except for Phil. Elmer-DeWitt writes, “In a subtle dig at his competitors in Cupertino, he demoed the HP Slate with an Amazon Kindle version of Stephenie Miller’s (sic) Meyer's (05:30) "Twilight". The book's cover shows a pair of hands cradling an apple.”
John C. Dvorak That’s…
Leo Laporte Is that what you’re talking about, John? Or is this another thing you got wrong?
John C. Dvorak No, this – here. Google – We just had it the other day.
Leo Laporte Steve Ballmer’s keynote, the consumer electronic show in Vegas, Wednesday ran for more than an hour and a quarter but the press went…
John C. Dvorak Here it is, here it is. Google DeWitt, Dvorak. D-e-w-i-t-t, Dvorak and it’s about this, eighth story down. January 1984. How critics reviewed the Mac.
Leo Laporte Oh, this is when he’s talking about you?
John C. Dvorak Yeah. Now if you see he’s changed the column and I thank him for doing this by the way.
Leo Laporte So this is another column. It is the 25th anniversary of the Apple ad in the Super Bowl which was 1984 – January 22, 1984. So he wrote a column in Fortune in which he says anticipating the anniversary, I have some choice quotes from the first wave of critical reviews of the Macintosh. And I’ve scrolled down, Byte says, “The Mac brings us one step closer to the ideal of computer as appliance.”
“Creative Computing,” John Anderson said, “it won’t multitask, you can’t use a Mac away from a desk, it’s slow, not have enough RAM.”
Bill Gates says, "Anyone who could write a good application on a 128K Mac deserves a medal." But he quoted you, see that’s gone.
John C. Dvorak No, San Francisco examiner, John C. Dvorak – keep going, it’s in there.
Leo Laporte There it is! Now, he’s got some stuff struck out.
John C. Dvorak Yeah. This is all bogus. Somebody made up.
Leo Laporte This is not a quote from you?
John C. Dvorak No, that’s why it’s all x-ed out. The only thing I ever said was, “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.” That’s all I said.
Leo Laporte Quite famous.
John C. Dvorak I didn’t say, “I don’t want one of these new fangled devices.”
Leo Laporte This is what they said you said.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte I’ll say it, the voice they want you to be saying it in, “The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple or anyone else for that matter. Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. Unfortunately, leaves the ‘why’ out of the equation — as in ‘why would I want this?’ I don’t want one of these,” this is the Tech Grouch, “I don’t want one of these new-fangled devices.”
John C. Dvorak I think the Tech Grouch might say that.
Patrick Beja I also think it’s completely accurate. Apple does make the assumption that it knows what you want and need. That’s completely [ph] not true (08:09).
Leo Laporte Yeah, that part’s accurate – now, John did you get a Mac early on?
John C. Dvorak I had one right from the beginning. Yeah, in fact I still have one of the 128s that have all the signatures inside the box.
Leo Laporte Oh! That’s worth something now. They had everybody who was on the Mac team sign the mold.
John C. Dvorak Right.
Leo Laporte And then they made the mold. I bought a 128K Mac, March of 1984, a little after this review came, about a month after this review came out. I remember going to Macy’s, is where I got it, ’cause I had a Macy’s charge card, and it was $2500.
John C. Dvorak Wow!
Leo Laporte And I plunked down the plastic and I probably paid for that thing for 10 years and, you know what, in hindsight it was the beginning of the Kool-Aid, right because you couldn’t copy a floppy without 50 swaps. You couldn’t save because you had the MacWrite disk in there, you’d have to create a document then eject the program disk, save it then put the program disk back in. There was no button to eject, you had to eject in software, something Apple still does. Well, actually I guess there’s an eject button now on them.
So what do you think now? Here we are 25 years later, will the Mac make it, John?
John C. Dvorak It has a good shot at it.
John C. Dvorak How about the mouse, any future there?
John C. Dvorak The mouse, by the way, I just wrote a column, I think it was in PC Magazine, and I think the mouse may eventually with [ph] this (09:30) touch screen machines coming out, at some point, the mouse may be dead and this whole point moot.
Leo Laporte Wow!
John C. Dvorak Now by the way…
Leo Laporte You could retroactively declare yourself [ph] threat (09:41).
John C. Dvorak I probably got more mileage from that column in terms of bogus PR…
Leo Laporte That’s true. That’s true.
John C. Dvorak …than anything I’ve ever done including my dinner with IBM which had a lot of legs.
Leo Laporte That’s a very good point or your singing Barney which apparently has…
John C. Dvorak The Barney thing is – well, that’s in a different league.
Leo Laporte 1.2 million views on YouTube from John’s three years ago recording a Barney doll singing ‘I Love You’ in his bathtub and that’s it. That’s it. No editing, no lighting.
John C. Dvorak Why bother?
Leo Laporte Why bother? I don’t even know why we do this show. I’m just going to record my stuffed animals singing and I’m done. So let’s talk about the big story of the week. And I’m not talking about the Conan O'Brien [ph] fracas (10:24). I’m talking about Google and China. Now, one of the reasons I wanted to get you on Patrick Beja is to get a world point of view on this because in some ways people are saying Google is acting almost as an extra-national with – that Google has a foreign policy. And I’m just wondering if – how that plays to the rest of the world. We’re going to talk about it in just a second – before we do though I want to thank one of our sponsors, the folks at Citrix who do GoToMeeting, a great product for saving time, saving travel with GoToMeeting you could do more and travel less; it is, these guys do also GoToMyPC and GoToAssist, they’re very good at remote access, so the idea of GoToMeeting is – it’s like you go there right now, gotomeeting.com/twit, you can install GoToMeeting on your computer, Mac or PC, it’ll take about well, three minutes – just blowing his nose – I think – to be honest I think John’s doing a costume change right now because his screen has gone dark. Patrick I should have warned you.
Patrick Beja I’m warned and worried.
Leo Laporte Whenever there is – you knew whenever there’s a commercial John decides to take advantage of that moment to do something else. If you go to GoToMeeting.com/twit you can have meetings right from your desk, you can do PowerPoint presentations, product demos; you can do collaborating, training works wonderfully, and I want you to try it free right now, $49 a month for unlimited meetings, as often as you want, as long as you want and it includes voiceover, the Internet and free telephony, go to gotomeeting.com/twit, install this right now and let us know what you think of it. You can’t go wrong, 30 days free, gotomeeting.com/twit; we thank them for their support.
John is still not there. [ph] Well (12:13) I wonder what’s going on. Oh, he’s removed the modesty panel.
John C. Dvorak It’s the cone of silence. So, I did a column in MarketWatch that ran on Friday. If you go to marketwatch.com right now for people in the chat room you can see there’s a big ugly picture of me there on the front page [ph] under (12:37) commentary and that – I wrote about this Google situation with a kind of a different take.
Leo Laporte I think it’s fascinating. So just to re-cap, I’m sure everybody’s heard this…
John C. Dvorak Down a little more.
Leo Laporte Down a little more. Down, down, there it is.
John C. Dvorak There it is.
Leo Laporte That’s a good picture of you. Looks just like [ph] this (12:52) – Google’s at risk by not leaving China. So here’s the deal, on Tuesday, this has been going on for some time, Google in fact now we know had meetings Christmas Eve. Eric Schmidt who the story goes has been the strongest advocate of Google cooperating with the Chinese authorities, with being in China, they’ve been there for four years, filtering search results at the behest of the Chinese government, following the Chinese government’s law we should say, but never gave any information about dissidents to China, in fact was smart, they kept their servers out of China, they had [ph] those (13:27) search servers there but the Gmail servers, the Docs servers were all overseas so they weren’t required to give any information to the Chinese government, and they – unlike Yahoo! they managed not to, but starting at some point and it depends who you read, could be anywhere from 2001 to July, hackers started breaking into Google’s servers in the U.S. trying to steal information about dissidents, trying to steal source code; Google roundabout December discovered these intrusions, tracked them down, they clearly believed according to a blog post that came out on Tuesday it was the Chinese government doing it; they say furthermore that as many as 30 U.S. countries or have been similarly hacked that human rights advocates outside of China’s Gmail accounts have been compromised through [ph] usage (14:21) of phising, spear-phising, malware, other scams like that, not breaking into Google’s severs but actually hacking these people with targeted attacks, and essentially Google said enough is enough, if China does this – since China has done this we have been given no choice, we are going to give them two choices, we’re going to say change your laws and let us operate unfettered in China or we will exit. Is that accurate, John as to what happened?
John C. Dvorak That’s what is reported. I’m not absolutely sure that any of this actually happened…
Leo Laporte Why not?
John C. Dvorak In terms of the China hack.
Leo Laporte What do you think happened?
John C. Dvorak Well, I don’t say – I don’t know what happened because of – Google’s not very forthcoming; they don’t even have a press release out on this but I do know this much; they had to get out of China because if they were going to be forced to give China special treatment for its search engine just so it could be there…
Leo Laporte Which they’ve been doing for four years.
John C. Dvorak Yes, I know, somebody finally figured out that if they keep doing it this way and ’cause they were starting to gain market share on Baidu over the past 6 months to the point where they were almost getting up to 50%, they were up to 40 I think, they realized that they would be – put themselves in a tremendo