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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, episode 285 recorded January 23, 2011: My Donkey Knows More Than You.
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It’s time for TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, shows at every weeks is down, picks a nice big blob of technology news blubber, choose it, masticate it, regurgitate it, sends it back to the third stomach and then – and then spits it out for your delectation. Here he is. We haven’t had him in a long time the host of our Tech News Today show, our daily news show on the TWiT network, Mr. Tom Merritt.
Tom Merritt Thank you for allowing me to follow that explanation.
Leo Laporte Good to see you, Tom.
Tom Merritt Good to see you too, Leo.
Leo Laporte Thank you for coming in. Tom has an interview at 4:00 with The Wealth of Networks. So –
Tom Merritt No, I think they got the wrong guy. They’re going to be very disappointed.
Leo Laporte How is it, how does it feel, Tom?
Tom Merritt Oh, I thought this was the middle class network, I’m so sorry.
Leo Laporte How big is your yard – middle class network. Let us also go – was this supposed to be in the national show and maybe still Kara Swisher might join us from Germany a little later on. She’s headed towards Switzerland, apparently they’re nearby, but joining us right now from Toronto, Canada, Mathew Ingram, writer from GigaOM. Hey, Mathew.
Mathew Ingram Hey, how you doing?
Leo Laporte Very well. Thank you for joining us. Good to have you. This is kind our start, oh, and I guess the Rogers data cap has been reached.
Mathew Ingram No, no, don’t worry about…
Leo Laporte Mathew is also regular on TNT, so he’s kind of turned into a TNT Fest. Also here we’re very glad to have from South Africa, Simon Dingle. Hey, Simon.
Simon Dingle Hello.
Leo Laporte Simon’s a podcaster in the net, right? What was the name of your show?
Simon Dingle ZA Tech Show, it’s the podcast I do. Now I’m also a technology editor at Finweek magazine in Johannesburg. I should probably mention that.
Leo Laporte You should give them a little plug, why not. And only Mathew knows what ZA is because he’s from Canada,
Simon Dingle That’s right.
Leo Laporte Zee, we say zee here in the America.
Mathew Ingram ZA.
Leo Laporte ZA. So great to have you all. I think this is your first time on TWiT, both Mathew and Simon. Am I right?
Simon Dingle It is.
Mathew Ingram That’s right. Yeah.
Leo Laporte Welcome. I mean you’ve been on the network obviously.
Simon Dingle Thank you.
Leo Laporte First time on this show. Don’t worry, it will be painless; it’ll be easy. John C. Dvorak isn’t here, so you’re okay. Apparently, there’s a football game going on, that’s why we wanted to do an international show. We figured if we got people from around the world they wouldn’t care that there was a big football –
Tom Merritt Yeah, two weeks we’re going to have to do that again for the Super Bowl.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I guess so.
Simon Dingle People who play rugby.
Leo Laporte Actually, I will not be here in two weeks, you’ll be hosting the show, Tom, because I’m in my cruise –
Tom Merritt [indiscernible] (4:04) oh, on a cruise.
Leo Laporte Right. Now, Eileen wrote me this note and I find it cryptic, but perhaps you can explain since you seem to know her better than I.
Tom Merritt Mathew has one T.
Leo Laporte Mathew has one T.
Tom Merritt And that supposed to have the little smiley faces and arrow. It’s a rebus.
Leo Laporte So I’m going to edit that.
Mathew Ingram [ph] It’s only (04:21) smiley faces but I do have just one tooth.
Leo Laporte Not one tooth, one T, right? Let me see if I can repair that lower third.
Mathew Ingram Hey, thank you.
Leo Laporte So – I was a little confused by that initially.
Mathew Ingram My mother thanks you.
Tom Merritt She’ll – can she not afford the other T.
Leo Laporte I can’t decide, well this is – this was the week of CEO Bingo and I cannot decide which is the bigger story; Steve Jobs saying, I’m going to step down because of health temporarily once again or the real shocker that we got on Thursday when during their earnings call, Google announced that Eric Schmidt was stepping up. Haha.
Tom Merritt I would say Eric Schmidt is the bigger shocker.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt But maybe Steve Jobs’ going on medical leave is the bigger news.
Leo Laporte Well, I’ll tell you what the stock market reaction was. Google stock went up a couple of bucks, Apple stock went down like to 5%, so that tells you something. Obviously, the stock market believes that Steve Jobs is a lot more important to Apple than Eric Schmidt is to Google. I bet we’d all agree, Mathew?
Mathew Ingram Yeah, I would definitely agree. I was just going to say that Google has always been run as sort of a triumvirate – you know Larry and Sergey have been in the background a bit. Eric’s been the front man but they’ve been involved in all the decisions, certainly Larry Page has. So I don’t think losing Eric or having him move up is really that huge a deal.
Leo Laporte It might be – well, okay, was he fired?
Mathew Ingram Certainly I mean Ken Auletta says he was effectively fired or that mutual decision or whatever. It sounds like they kind of – that Larry wanted to step into that role and Eric was happy to move.
Leo Laporte Happy or no choice?
Tom Merritt Or not so happy.
Leo Laporte He got a $100 million bonus, so that’s – that make me happy. He’s worth billion as it is. You know that takes some of the sting out of it. We were – we talked about this when it happened and it sure felt to me, especially the tweet that Eric Schmidt put out that adult supervision no longer needed, felt a little bitter, a little – what do you think, Simon?
Simon Dingle Yeah, I mean the bigger news for me was the results that came out of both of those companies. Now, Google is looking good but nowhere near as good as Apple at this moment in time. And if you look at we’d see – or it did more things for their company in the recent months. Then you have to go with Jobs’ departure being of more weight to his company than perhaps Schmidt for Google. Google, I mean – that was also good but they haven’t been hitting it out of the park like Apple has – did in the last quarter.
Leo Laporte Well, there is one difference, which is that Steve could come back, but Eric probably won’t. I think Steve probably won’t but we don’t know.
Tom Merritt Right.
Leo Laporte I mean we don’t – we can’t tell them, I don’t want to speculate.
Tom Merritt All the stuff that I’ve been reading and hearing about implies that this is not a negative move, it’s not a firing for Eric Schmidt, it’s something that they expected to happen but that they’re – that it rose out of the dispute over China that it started when Eric Schmidt said, we need to stay in China and Sergey and Larry said, no, Eric, we’re not going to sensor anymore. This was a bad move, we shouldn’t have done it.
Leo Laporte That was last year, though. That was a – full year ago that that decision.
Tom Merritt And that this idea of Larry eventually taking over is always been in the works. It’s just – this is the thing that pushed them to decide to do it now. And so maybe there is a little bit of frustration but that these guys actually all do get along and Eric Schmidt has always felt like, you know what? I need to be involved in order to get people to give the company respect until Larry can come in and take over.
Leo Laporte I have to think it has a little bit to do though with Eric Schmidt’s kind of infelicities. I mean the things he said, was it Engadget or Gizmo to publish the top 10 stupid things that Eric Schmidt has said? I mean he was really –
Simon Dingle He is the most uninspiring speaker I have ever seen.
Leo Laporte And when he does say something, he puts his foot in his mouth. Doesn’t he, Simon?
Mathew Ingram And his humor does not go over.
Leo Laporte Right.
Simon Dingle I saw him speaking in Barcelona last year, I lasted about 15 minutes and I had to leave, it was just so dull, so boring.
Tom Merritt Well, that’s because he didn’t say anything stupid.
Simon Dingle Well, yeah, exactly.
Leo Laporte See John Gruber…
Simon Dingle But [indiscernible] (8:39) incredibly uninspiring.
Leo Laporte John Gruber of daringfireball.net said Eric Schmidt was the creep executive officer at Google. So some of the – some of the Eric Schmidt’s creepiest quotes, “I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” when asked whether Google invaded people’s privacy?
Tom Merritt It was a joke.
Leo Laporte Yeah, oh, I’m laughing, I’m howling.
Tom Merritt If you don’t like Google street view, we drive exactly once, so you can just move, right?
Leo Laporte Now, that’s a joke.
Tom Merritt That was a joke.
Leo Laporte That’s obviously a joke.
Tom Merritt But at this point, he said so many other crazy things.
Leo Laporte Exactly
Tom Merritt Nobody laughing. Yeah, he made number three on my top 5 stupidest statements from Tech Big Wigs.
Leo Laporte That’s pretty good. One person’s – when asked about Google’s do no evil motto, one person’s definition of evil he said is another person’s different definition.
Tom Merritt Of evil?
Leo Laporte Yeah, I don’t know what it means.
Tom Merritt What?
Simon Dingle From the George W. Bush school of quotes.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you know it, you know, you know what you don’t know the thing, yeah, yeah.
Tom Merritt I think he’s got a fine career ahead of him in politics.
Simon Dingle Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, maybe he does. You know in fact his last act, so he’s going to be out April 4th or to petition Governments to go to Washington to go to Governments around the world and fight for Google. Maybe that’s the job, maybe he’s the suit in DC.
Tom Merritt Well, Kevin Marks said on Tech News today that they’ve had this plan that they’ve talked about in the past, that they would all stay together through 2024. That none of them would leave.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Tom Merritt So that, you know, we’ll know if this is a firing or not, if that plan falls apart and Eric Schmidt actually leaves in a year or if he sticks around as Executive Chairman and keeps, you know, pounding the pavement up on the hill.
Leo Laporte You got to think though that, it may – it’s a little weird, it’s kind of upstream to – it’s very common in a tech company, get the founders, they run it, they bring in venture capitalists who say no you got to have a professional manager. They bring in a professional manager that was Eric Schmidt former CEO of Novell. But you never see it go the other direction where the professional manager then moves on and the kids comeback and run the show. That’s a little unusual, they have the founders running at the place. Although I have to think that, Larry Page probably is the right person to run Google, if anybody’s going to run it. Look what happens with Steve Jobs? Steve Jobs, when he was forced out of Apple. The company tanked. He comes back and turns it around.
Mathew Ingram But that’s the question right? Is this – is this like Steve Jobs in 1997, or is this like Jerry Yang in 2011.
Leo Laporte Jerry – Jerry – Jerry became CEO because nobody would take the job.
Tom Merritt Yeah, he – they avowedly said, he’s not keeping it. Don't freak out stock market!
Leo Laporte They – they were dying to find somebody, but nobody wanted it.
Simon Dingle But I think there is also some pressure for Larry. I’m wondering whether this is a job he wants to do, or this is the job he kind of has to do.
Leo Laporte I think he wants to do. I would guess, first of all he doesn’t have to do anything. He can walk aways. He’s got plenty of money, he’s got more than one jet, he’s got a yacht. I mean he’s – he’s fine, he’s done. He’s got a yacht, he just bought a 45 million – 45 whatever million dollar yacht right? He doesn’t need – doesn’t need the job. So he could walk away. I think this is what Larry probably always wanted to do. I think Larry may have been, saying okay, I’m going to watch Eric, I going to learn, I’m going to study business and then I’m going to come back when it’s time.
Mathew Ingram There have been suggestions actually that he was getting a little, not better shape but if he wanted a bit more public profile.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s interesting.
Mathew Ingram And that [indiscernible] (12:27) basically hogging the spot light.
Leo Laporte And not doing such a good job. I mean, remember that ice-cream truck, ad they showed in Times Square. That wasn’t good for anybody, you know? Maybe that – maybe that – I remember Eric was very hurt by that. Maybe he said to Larry “I can’t take it anymore. I want out.” Seems unlikely, doesn’t it?
Tom Merritt I…
Mathew Ingram You know Larry – the thing about Larry is, we really don’t know very much about. I mean, he’s had virtually no public profile. So we don’t really know.
Leo Laporte We know he’s very smart.
Mathew Ingram Who we know he’s very smart. We know that’s for sure. But what is he going to be like? As a sort of the public figure that you are when you are in a CEO job.
Simon Dingle Well that’s what I meant by had to do. I mean, you’d expect one of the founders to kind of, I mean with – with Eric going away, everybody is going to wonder what, you know, who’s going to take over and that’s why I get the feeling Larry kind of has to be that guy. Because, you know, I don’t know who would be the other runners for that job.
Leo Laporte Let’s talk about just Steve Jobs as long as we’re in this. And a very interesting post by John Brownlee, writing for Cult of Mac. Makes a pretty strong case that Apple knew Steve was going to leave when he was going to leave, in fact may had planned it all along. He says “since 2007 Apple always chosen report earnings during the last week of the month.” You know there’s some technical reasons why that’s the best time. For 14 quarters, Apple has used the last week of the month. They moved it. In fact, they moved it to right after a three day weekend, and it sounds like they knew Jobs was going to announce that he was going to take a leave of absence. They – he did it right before the three day weekend, giving the market three days to cool. He says that minimum plans must have been drawn at-least since may – mid-December maybe even earlier.
Tom Merritt I think that make sense. And I think the tip-off is that Steve Jobs did not show up at the Verizon announcement, which at the time I thought, well of course he’s not, it’s not their announcement why wouldn’t he? But if you kind of back through it, if he were starting to feel ill and planning to take medical leave, that does take some planning, and I think he says “look I’m not going to be doing that Tim. You go out to do that.” They also postponed the Hearst announcement which was set to take place last week.
Leo Laporte The Murdoch announcement.
Tom Merritt Yeah, I’m sorry the Murdoch announcement.
Leo Laporte The Daily.
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte That’s right. And Jobs was supposedly going to go to the Museum of Modern Art with Rupert Murdoch. They didn’t really say why that was postponed, now we know.
Tom Merritt Yeah, exactly and so I think they did know this, maybe a month ago or more.
Leo Laporte Isn’t it weird that in the analysts call both the Google and the Apple analysts call, the analysts were asking also to questions not once in the Apple analysts call that they asked a thing about Steve’s health.
Tom Merritt I think it’s because at this point it’s become a personal issue.
Leo Laporte And it’s also obvious.
Tom Merritt And they’re like, you know what they’re not going to tell us anything we don’t really know.
Leo Laporte They knew they wouldn’t get an answer.
Tom Merritt The only answers they really want know are, is he coming back and when. And there’s no answers to that right now. They, you know they –
Leo Laporte Don’t you think though it’s material, I mean if you’re an investor in Apple.
Mathew Ingram Yes I do.
Leo Laporte And Apple’s saying invest in us and the CEOs, who’s very clearly more than any company I can think of in history – the most important person at that company and he’s leaving, don’t you think that as an investor you should know at least everything Apple knows, maybe they don’t know anything.
Mathew Ingram I think so, I think so in fact that’s why I was hoping that Kara was going to be on, so she and I could have a fight about it because she’s been arguing that you know it’s none of our business, it’s a personal thing, Steve is sick we should respect his privacy and I totally agree with all that. But at the same time, your point is a good one, this man is more intimately connected to the value of that company than just about anyone else I can think of. And so it is a – it is a crucial fact for investors to take into account what is happening with him and Apple has been totally non-forthcoming with that information. It isn’t until basically people beat them up publicly that they’re willing to admit that something’s going on, which I find troubling.
Leo Laporte I just said you’re a publicly-held company, if you – if you’re not public, you could just do anything you want. But if you’re publicly held at, I don’t think you have the…
Tom Merritt What are they going to say, I mean there’s studies going out on medical leave, you think we know it what is all this is…
Leo Laporte I guess it’s – it presumes they know more about than they’re saying, maybe they don’t, you’re right.
Tom Merritt At this point, the analysts would want to ask like, well how serious is it?
Leo Laporte Right.
Tom Merritt You know, it’s serious we all know I think we all know that.
Leo Laporte That’s a legitimate question.
Tom Merritt I’m guessing that the analysts know that it’s serious, they know there’s a chance he won’t come back and because we’ve been through this a couple of times and they may even have some inside knowledge from friends, at which case there’s really no point to asking any more questions.
Leo Laporte Right.
Mathew Ingram Or we could – we could at least try, I mean last time they didn’t even admit that he was sick enough to require a liver transplant until after the fact.
Leo Laporte Because they don’t have exactly the best track record of.
Mathew Ingram Yeah, so I think we are right to be suspicious that perhaps they know more than they’re saying.
Tom Merritt Right. Well they were talking about analysts versus journalists too.
Leo Laporte Well, but those are the ones you should ask the questions.
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte The analysts are trying to gauge the value of Apple so they can make a recommendation for their customers. Don’t you think whether Steve’s coming back is everything to that question? Apparently not.
Mathew Ingram You know you hear from analysts on calls all the time, great quarter, right, that’s their first question. Like that’s eagered from a lot of technology.
Leo Laporte These guys are tame, in other words. They’re in the pockets of the companies. That’s why I don’t like to get too close to these companies because you don’t want to – you have to be a little brutal to say, well Steve are you okay? I mean this is brutal. He says I want privacy. You have to be a little brutal to say, well, yeah, but okay, are you coming back? Are you dying? That’s brutal, that’s mean I almost hate to bring it up but at the same time it’s germane.
Tom Merritt And that’s what a journalist does.
Leo Laporte Yeah, journalists are – you know what I’m saying.
Tom Merritt They’re asking a lot of questions.
Leo Laporte And if they’re not, they’re not doing their job.
Tom Merritt They’re asking whole questions.
Leo Laporte That’s why people hate journalists by the way.
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte All right, but you know hey, look here, let me say this, I mean Steve is a – probably – one of the most important people in our industry. Without Steve we probably, I don’t know what would have happened in the personal computer industry. He launched the most important products in the personal computer industry including the Apple I, the Apple II, the LaserWriter, the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. I mean this is an amazing track record, lot of credit – credits too and that’s why it’s important and he’ll be missed. I don’t know want to write his obituary today so we’re not going to – let’s hope he’s – he gets better and he comes back because I think we need him. Now Apple did sell 10 billionth apps, I was watching the counter. When did it go over?
Tom Merritt Was it last night?
Mathew Ingram Yesterday, I think.
Leo Laporte Yesterday.
Tom Merritt Yesterday South Africa time or yesterday Arkansas?
Leo Laporte We have no idea when was it.
Simon Dingle Yesterday your time.
Leo Laporte We don’t know what day Simon’s in. The lucky winner was…
Simon Dingle Well must have been in UK.
Leo Laporte Yeah it was in the UK. Do you know what the 10 billionth app was?
Simon Dingle Paper glider? I think.
Leo Laporte Paper glider. Yeah. And which is a great app. Gail Davis, of Orpington, Kent, UK. Can I just say that only England would have a town called Orpington.
Tom Merritt Orpingkent.
Leo Laporte Orpingkent. Orpington, Kent UK downloaded paper glider for the 10 billionth, now she gets I think $10,000 worth of more $10,000 worth of free apps.
Simon Dingle You see that you missed the call from Apollo.
Leo Laporte She wasn’t home.
Simon Dingle They called her. Yeah. You missed the call.
Mathew Ingram She hung up.
Leo Laporte She hung up?
Simon Dingle Yeah. She hung up yeah.
Leo Laporte Oh yeah, tell me another one.
Tom Merritt Well, I got Mr. Frank.
Mathew Ingram [indiscernible] (20:42).
Leo Laporte I got the lady.
Tom Merritt I got the idea from the story that her, it was probably likely her children had downloaded the app. Knew about the 10 billionth or yeah the contest the 10 billionth downloads contest and she didn’t…
Mathew Ingram That’s right.
Tom Merritt And so just assumed that this was some kind of Telemarketing.
Leo Laporte What are you talking about?
Tom Merritt Oh yeah I hope. Of course I’ve already won. Thanks.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what’s amazing is that 10 billionth downloads in two-and-a-half years, in the last year alone seven billion apps are downloaded. And you know you got to think that the App Stores, the new App Stores on Macintosh is going to be equally popular and it’s the appification of computing, right? I mean this is what the world loves. They love being able to push a button and install.
Simon Dingle The interesting thing is it takes me all the way back to the way I was installing applications in Linux like eight years ago right from a central repository [indiscernible] (21:45) was kept updated and…
Leo Laporte You’re right.
Simon Dingle …now finally I can do that on my Mac.
Leo Laporte I wonder if they’re using app to get in the background.
Tom Merritt I was going to say that.
Simon Dingle App to get.
Tom Merritt They probably are.
Leo Laporte And look at the updates, so here’s, and I check this periodically and there’s an update and you just do, it’s very easy but there’s a few issues. There’s a couple of things I’ll tell you that are different, oh, now I think in my password, excuse me. There are couple of things that are different from Linux from one thing, there seems to be some consensus that the – if the App Stores is inconsistent with the GPL. In which case you ain’t going to be seeing any of the Linux apps aren’t here anytime.
Tom Merritt Well that is the problem with VLC getting here.
Leo Laporte Well said right.
Simon Dingle That’s right.
Tom Merritt So that – I mean that seems like. And no betas are allowed, no trial software. I mean this is not a marketplace, this is an App Store.
Simon Dingle Right.
Tom Merritt Only fully formed Apps that will only comply with Apple’s user agreement are going to be allowed in.
Mathew Ingram Right. To the Apple App store not just an App Store.
Leo Laporte [indiscernible] (22:46) because that complain about this all the time but that just seems to me that this unfortunately is – everybody loves it. Developers love it, users love it, Apple loves it because they get 30% of everything that’s sold and the only people who don’t like it are cranky Opensource advocates like me you say this is not right.
Mathew Ingram But I’m not sure developers I mean I think developers have a sort of love-hate relationship with the Apple’s App Store. At least some do because they get virtually no communication from Apple I means it’s – your app is denied, it’s like the Wizard of Oz, your app is denied, why? Get, just get out of here. Stop talking.
Leo Laporte Don’t ask.
Mathew Ingram We don’t have to tell you. Submit it again and try and correct the things that we didn’t tell you were wrong. Submit it again.
Simon Dingle But Matt do they not approve 97% of all softwares submitted to the store within one week?
Leo Laporte It’s not what do – are you reading from a press release Simon?
Simon Dingle That was the claim. I just – it’s so strange that we’ve entered this realm where you can buy software that has taken, however long to develop for $1 and people are okay with them not being fast because I’ll just buy five $1 applications and find one that works okay for me and now we’re going to see the same thing happen on the Mac, I mean did you see what Apple launched Aperture at on the – it was like..
Leo Laporte $80. I mean that’s a – it’s – that was a $200 off. I didn’t even need it when I bought it. I just thought that’s a deal and it’s one freaking click which is really what gets you in trouble it’s too easy. I do like and I have to say it and again I think, oh we’re going to get Mathew back. Rogers has disconnected him. As I knew they were.
Tom Merritt Rogers likes Apple. So and you’re saying…
Leo Laporte No you’re not allowed to do that. [ph] Jet Rogers (24:31) is getting involved, no you can’t do that.
Tom Merritt I think that the App Store on the phone has much more of an impact on our lives in the App’s Store on the laptop.
Leo Laporte I think, I do think that because you can install $80 and it’s installed on apparently. I don’t know if there’s a limit on all your App, on your all Mac’s and so I have a laptop, a desktop – a desktop at work. A laptop, that’s four machines and I just I could install it, I don’t think there’s a limit. So I mean [ph] there’s – but that’s a (25:00) really good deal.
Tom Merritt It’s a good deal, there’s no doubt about that but there’s also the same problems you have with the App Store, then you wouldn’t have a few, if you just had a reopen source software.
Leo Laporte Right
Tom Merritt You know, which is, oh, I can install that on my machine, but then I have to be logged in as me to authorize it, so if I want to put it on Eileen’s machine, well then I have to go log into my version of the App Store.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s true.
Tom Merritt You know…
Leo Laporte Then I – and I have an issue because I had different accounts, different iTunes accounts and I foolishly downloaded a program under one account and then logged into other account, now I have to log into a different account anytime I want to update, it’s very annoying, but those are little minor things. I think my fear is that it’s too good. It’s so good it’s going to eat up the ecosystem for regular applications and that’s too bad.
Simon Dingle [indiscernible] (25:49) it’s just so easy, I mean, I bought a Macbook Air for somebody who works with me and just getting up and running and starting to install applications now at the App Store, it’s ridiculous how simple things have become.
Leo Laporte Yeah I mean, that’s good.
Tom Merritt That’s one of the reasons developers love it, right?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Tom Merritt It’s like, wow sure, we got all the distributor restrictions or we might get rejected but, it’s so easy to develop for and it’s so difficult for other platforms. I’m speaking more in the mobile space here than the desktop but I think it’s going to, I think that’s going to translate.
Leo Laporte Shows how powerful that was. We are talking with Simon Dingle from South Africa, simondingle.com. I won’t mention the Z, just make it easy.
Simon Dingle The Z..zz simondingle.com
Leo Laporte Mathew Ingram, from GigaOM.com. Nice to have you Mathew. Thanks for joining. I – I use GigaOM as [indiscernible] (26:37) anything else you want to plug?
Mathew Ingram No, that’s pretty much it.
Leo Laporte You got a little collection of furies or anything, you just let us know, we’ll, I’m sorry.
Tom Merritt What are you trying to say?
Leo Laporte Nothing. I was kidding. I know.
Leo Laporte And Mr. Tom Merritt of TNT, Kara Swisher may join us in a little bit for her and we’ll look forward to that debate between Mathew and Kara over Steve. We’ll go back, we can go back to that, but take a little break and then let me tell you about our good friends at Citrix who do a fantastic product called GoToMyPc. Haven’t talked about this in a while.
If you think remote access to your PC or Mac is too complicated for you, think again GoToMyPc makes it as easy as it can be. I wonder how long before they start doing this kind of thing in the App Store? I know it’s pretty easy, you just go to gotomypc.com/TWiT and download it in about 2 seconds, you’ve got it. The advantage is, it is always up-to-date which I love.
And you can use it for free for the next 30 days when you go to that particular spot, GoToMyPc.com/TWiT. What will happen when you install it, just take a second or two. Now, wherever you go and I’m going on vacation, I’m still thrilled I’ve got this anywhere you go as long as you can get online. You login GoToMyPc.com with your account and there’s your computer. You can do anything you could do, if you were at work you could send and receive emails, access any network resource, run programs, it could drag and drop files from one computer to the other, couldn’t be easier. It is as simple as can be and it’s a great product from the folks at Citrix who make great products.
GoToMyPc.com/TWiT, I’m going to be in South America, February,1st to the 21st, I have four speeches to give and I will make sure that, you know, all the relevant material is on a computer with GoToMyPc, that way, if I – you know, if I lose the laptop or whatever, I can access it.
Tom Merritt Citrix receiver is in the App Store and then remember they made a big deal about that..
Leo Laporte Is it?
Tom Merritt ...when they announced the whole App Store concept.
Leo Laporte Awesome. Is that for an iPad?
Tom Merritt No.
Leo Laporte Oh, for the App Store.
Leo Laporte Okay. Now, I don’t know if that [ph] works (28:48) GoToMyPc or you probably have to have Citrix Enterprise version for that.
Tom Merritt Yeah, I think it’s more of the announcement.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah yeah, that’s a good way to run windows on a Mac actually.
Tom Merritt Exactly.
Leo Laporte Come to think of it. I put the, the keynote speeches on my Macbook Air but also my iPad, so I have like, I can do the presentation both. You know, it’s kind of a nice way to do a keynote or presentations on an iPad because the touch is really good, it’s kind of natural.
You just touch the screen, and you go, it’s just kind of natural, it’s also a great way to modify it. Touch is good for certain Apps that’s an App where I was actually very pleased to see a good touch was for, for slide shows.
Simon Dingle Do you guys see that Microsoft OneNote is available for iPhone now?
Leo Laporte I have it. Is that weird?
Tom Merritt I don’t know if I’m going to use it but it was like odd, yeah, I got to put a Microsoft…
Mathew Ingram It feels completely wrong.
Tom Merritt Yeah, we can get the Bing app now and OneNote.
Leo Laporte I actually an, An iDOS an iDOS is now back. I asked Paul Thurrott what Apps Microsoft makes for the iPhone. I think those are the two, there might be one more and then iDOS which allows, which was banned for, because Apple said no, you can’t put another operating system on an iPhone and they changed the tune…
Tom Merritt And it was also because of the – that you couldn’t take files in from outside and compile them. So what they’ve done is they.
Simon Dingle [indiscernible] (30:09).
Tom Merritt What they have done and said, no Wolfenstein and you can’t add any files from within the app. So you have to use a workaround and take the files and put them directly in the directory of your iPhone using some third-party program that can access the file system.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Tom Merritt Otherwise you’re stuck with what they include.
Leo Laporte It – which version of Wolfenstein, is it the really old one that goes – or does it have actual –?
Simon Dingle That’s the one.
Leo Laporte It is. It’s when PCs didn’t really have sound cards. It would generate the sound through the speaker on the PC and they couldn’t make it say [indiscernible] (30:44). You knew what they were saying.
Mathew Ingram That’s pretty good, Leo.
Leo Laporte Yeah. Sounds just like that, doesn’t it?
Mathew Ingram Yeah.
Tom Merritt Did you record that?
Leo Laporte No, that was me. It was one of my early voiceover jobs.
Simon Dingle What a great game!
Leo Laporte Yeah. I was really ready for a great game. What’s your – okay, this is actually kind of fun. What’s your favorite old game, Simon, that you wish would be back?
Simon Dingle Wow! Most of my old games are still knocking around in my – you know what I haven’t played for ages that I’d really like to find again is Wing Commander II.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Simon Dingle It’s [ph] the only space that I’ve (31:22) ever played and liked.
Leo Laporte We talked to Warren Spector who did that game on Triangulation. In fact, it’s our first – first episode of Triangulation which just went up TWiT. I’m glad you mentioned that. twit.tv/tri and Warren was great. I sure like talking to him.
Tom Merritt No, he was such a pleasure to talk to, yeah. Such a nice guy and really smart.
Leo Laporte And you know what I did to him, Simon. I actually played clips from Wing Commander. And he was like, oh, God.
Tom Merritt Look at the pixels.
Leo Laporte Oh, man. You know what I miss is…
Simon Dingle [Indiscernible] (31:54) will be like at this stage?
Leo Laporte Well, we thought it was good at the time, right?
Simon Dingle Wing Commander II was – I can’t remember if it was the third, the fourth or the 80th one, but eventually it became more of a movie that you can sit back and watch.
Leo Laporte Right, right. It’s less interactive.
Tom Merritt I have some sad breaking news.
Leo Laporte Oh, dear.
Tom Merritt iDOS seems to have been pulled from the iTunes Store again.
Leo Laporte Damn, I knew I should have downloaded it.
Tom Merritt I was just – I was just looking it up, somebody in the chat room mentioned that it was gone.
Leo Laporte Gone already?
Simon Dingle It’s not – it said not available in the U.S. store.
Leo Laporte They brought it back and then they took it away.
Simon Dingle We have to run it off from an actual PC now. What Steve giveth, Steve taketh away.
Tom Merritt You’ll have to jailbreak your phone.
Mathew Ingram That’s why.
Tom Merritt Maybe.
Leo Laporte Well, I guess this is back to harvesting mushrooms for me. I missed Dungeon Hunter. Remember, Dungeon Hunter? That was a great game.
Mathew Ingram I know.
Leo Laporte Classic game. And there is actually a whole like fanatic of Dungeon Hunter. I think there is an emulation, there is – I would love to have that on the iPad. It was very – it was in –
Tom Merritt Dungeon Hunter for iPhone is available.
Leo Laporte You’re kidding.
Tom Merritt I don’t know if it’s been pulled.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I want to play that.
Tom Merritt Yeah. By Gameloft.
Leo Laporte Wow! Gameloft.
Simon Dingle So the chat room’s just mentioned good old games, GOG.com.
Tom Merritt Oh, yeah.
Leo Laporte Yes. Great site.
Simon Dingle I actually have been in that site for a while but that is a great place to look for some of these old games and it looks like they have Wing Commander II.
Leo Laporte But you have to have DOS
Simon Dingle I will buy it.
Leo Laporte Don’t you have to have DOS or it is run in emulation?
Simon Dingle I am not sure.
Leo Laporte Look, it has the 2ork – I’m sorry, Zork.
Tom Merritt The 2ork.
Leo Laporte 2ork Anthology. I love Zork. That was fun. Fallout –
Tom Merritt Baldur's Gate.
Leo Laporte Baldur's Gate. I wonder if Dungeon’s [indiscernible] (33:31)
Tom Merritt Yeah, Zork and Deadline was another one [indiscernible] (33:35).
Leo Laporte Deadline. That was a great – it was a murder mystery, text based.
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte So the reason I ask is apparently we have a release date for Duke Nukem Forever.
Simon Dingle Yeah, we sure do.
Leo Laporte You seem skeptical.
Simon Dingle I’ll believe it, when I see it.
Tom Merritt I am not saying it won’t happen…
Mathew Ingram It’s only couple of year.
Tom Merritt …but, yeah, come on.
Leo Laporte Well, I believe it. Now, maybe I’m a fool.
Tom Merritt I kind of believe it too but I just can’t bring myself to accept it until it’s actually on the shelf and you can buy it.
Mathew Ingram How can anything possibly live up to the anticipation in which people have been waiting for two decades? How could it possibly – it’s going to have to, I don’t know, involve faster than light travel, time travel and [indiscernible] (34:15).
Simon Dingle Launch date April 1st.
Leo Laporte Yeah. It’s a sequel to the 1996 game. Duke Nukem 3D, love Duke Nukem.
Simon Dingle It’s a great game.
Leo Laporte So who was it that we know that – was it Brian Brushwood? Somebody knows – it was Brian, wasn’t it?
Tom Merritt Yeah, it was.
Leo Laporte Who’s rather somebody work 3D Realms and then 3D Realms said it would be released in 2001. Then in 2009, they were downsized. Take-Two Interactive which owns the rights sued them. The case was settled in May and in September, they shifted the IP over to Gearbox Software and they say, we are going to put it out in May of 2011. You know what Tom, we’ve got to do a massive party.
Tom Merritt May 3, 2011.
Leo Laporte That’s the day our studio launches.
Tom Merritt That’s –
Simon Dingle Wow.
Leo Laporte well, is that right? Is it at the same day?
Leo Laporte Yeah. We’re saying May 2nd but maybe we wait…
Tom Merritt We should.
Leo Laporte …to May 3rd, we have a Duke Nukem /.
Tom Merritt Nukem.
Mathew Ingram Multiplayer.
Leo Laporte Multiplayer. LAN party.
Tom Merritt LAN party.
Leo Laporte Wow! There is a coinkydink there.
Simon Dingle World of Warcraft also took forever to develop and that came out okay, I guess.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Simon Dingle I mean I remember reading about it for the first time in like 1990 something, it was going to be an adventure game and then they got the idea to turn into an RPG and then MMO and then they read it all the arts and then some guy left and another – and eventually World of Warcraft came out. [ph] Came out (35:55) pretty good.
Tom Merritt Can you just a put a link in the chat room to a pre-order receipt for a Duke Nukem Forever from the GameStop.
Leo Laporte Wow! [ph] So it came (36:05) close.
Tom Merritt August 13, 2001.
Leo Laporte Oh, it’s a little brown, it’s a little wrinkled but it says slash 000 is a patient, patient man. GameStop. It was August 2001. Duke Nukem Forever PC – you didn’t have to pay – well, I guess, you get a $10 credit. You pay $10 and you gets a $10 store credit.
Tom Merritt You can get some interest…
Leo Laporte Damn. You should get the whole game, are you kidding? You should get whatever that game costs.
Simon Dingle [indiscernible] (36:39) the case.
Leo Laporte Look at that.
Mathew Ingram That’d be great [indiscernible] (36:41).
Leo Laporte Is GameStop even in business, that’s the question. [ph] I am from MAK-hed (36:48) software, I have a receipt.
Tom Merritt Yeah, right.
Leo Laporte I think they’re still around, aren’t they?
Tom Merritt I’ve got this Circuit City or is it the Good Guys or – or is it CompUSA or is it.
Leo Laporte So I think we should do – we should say that – and Tom was there, we signed the lease on Friday for our new studio. We did in public because I do everything in public now and now that we –
Mathew Ingram Everything?
Tom Merritt Everything.
Leo Laporte Oh, few only knew. Few only knew.
Tom Merritt They could because it’s in public.
Leo Laporte Right. So they do know?
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte Well, they haven’t heard yet in Toronto and South Africa.
Tom Merritt It just didn’t happen, they’ll be watching.
Leo Laporte So we signed it – that’s kind of – that was a big leap, that’s why I want to do it in public and really commit to it. And we will start demotion on the – the building next week which is an even bigger leap because once you start tearing it up, they pretty much expect you to pay the rent.
Tom Merritt They kind of – they do –
Leo Laporte Kind of.
Tom Merritt You can’t just go in a trash…
Leo Laporte Let’s get civilized and then start paying rent and we hired as Creative Director, Roger Ambrose, who did the old Screen Savers set. I wondered if I can find…
Tom Merritt He is a pro too.
Leo Laporte Oh is he good.
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte I mean I don’t know how we can afford this guy but I’m – you know he’s going to – it’s a concept for the whole –
Tom Merritt [Indiscernible] (38:04) to pay him too?
Leo Laporte Oh, man, they all want money.
Mathew Ingram Leo, it’s not going to be as good as they call for helps in Toronto in the basement of the – on the building.
Leo Laporte That was the worst. Oh, my God, you remember that?
Mathew Ingram Do you remember that?
Leo Laporte Did you come in there ever?
Mathew Ingram I did.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that wasn’t so good.
Mathew Ingram It was just cozy.
Leo Laporte There was a big pole in the middle and we had – the show began –
Mathew Ingram [indiscernible] (38:30).
Leo Laporte You helped with that?
Mathew Ingram No, the pole [ph] held – have the [indiscernible] (38:34) building up.
Leo Laporte Oh, held the building up. No, we couldn’t get rid of it. I asked and they said, well, you could get rid of it but you would be dead. They – the idea we had at the beginning of every show – I had to get from this part of the set to that part of the set, there was a big pole, the camera couldn’t go around it. So we just said, well, just walk around the pole. So if you ever see the show, I’m going, hey, welcome to the show and then I walked – and there’s [ph] Basal (39:02) the cameraman who has to back up into a corner so I get by, there’s the pole, there’s the cameraman and let’s get the show on the road.
Tom Merritt Did you ever take a swing around it, on your way?
Leo Laporte They punched it out, no. It’s a good idea though.
Mathew Ingram I think they’re like six-foot ceilings too.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it was – it was a hall. This will be nicer than that, I hope, I pray. Let me see if I could find – can you find any Screen Savers set pictures, are there any – anywhere because we’re going to – Roger wants to do and I love this, I don’t want to – maybe I shouldn’t say anything. I like to – I would like to surprise people with the look. It’s going to be conceptual. The whole building is going to have a look to it.
Tom Merritt Oh, here, I don’t think.
Leo Laporte It’s Roger – Roger site is rogerambrose.com which the entire site is done in – he did in Photoshop. So it’s –
Tom Merritt Yeah, I’ll pull him in the chat room.
Leo Laporte You found one?
Tom Merritt Found [ph] gif shot (39:58).
Leo Laporte With the –
Tom Merritt You and Patrick.
Leo Laporte With the Arches, so this is – we can do something that kind of looks a little – that’s the old set. That’s the really old set.
Tom Merritt I mean that picture.
Leo Laporte There he is, there is Tom Merritt, right here. Let’s see if you can see him. Zoom in on Tom Merritt.
Tom Merritt Don’t – you don’t need to…
Leo Laporte There he is. There is Tom Merritt.
Tom Merritt That’s funny.
Leo Laporte Did you take this?
Simon Dingle Is that a microphone hanging from the ceiling?
Leo Laporte Oh probably. God knows. We made this whole – we were making it up as we were going along. There is the clock. There is Patrick. There is Megan. I’m a little zoomed in here. Here is Tom.
Mathew Ingram Is Tom like 13?
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt Yes. No, I was just boring.
Leo Laporte Hi, I’m Tom Merritt.
Tom Merritt I cut my own hair.
Leo Laporte Did you? You probably did. Didn’t you?
Tom Merritt I think I did.
Mathew Ingram His site is really retro. I just went through it.
Leo Laporte It’s very – I mean he did all in Photoshop sometime ago. This is not the site that he did. This was the set – that set’s just his funky ass. Is that the original, must be the original, that is just – there is Yoshi, is that Martin Sargent sitting in here?
Tom Merritt Yes.
Leo Laporte Who is this guy in the middle with the…?
Tom Merritt Ken Marcus.
Leo Laporte Is it?
Tom Merritt Yes.
Leo Laporte Wow! All right, enough of that. You came here for news. Tom, what happened this week? You do TNT every week, you know what’s happening every day.
Tom Merritt Yes. So we didn’t talk about – we talked about Jobs, we talked about Schmidt, but we didn’t talk about HP.
Leo Laporte So what happened there?
Tom Merritt They cleaned out their board.
Leo Laporte They fired – how many board members, four?
Tom Merritt Four of them and then they added five. So they created a board seat in the process but they essentially took every one who had any kind of involvement in the investigation of Mark Hurd and got them off the board so that they can create a new investigation of people independent to look into what actually happened, what they told Mark Hurd because Mark Hurd is disputing some things and they want to get to the bottom of it.
Leo Laporte I don’t – I really don’t understand how this forwards anything.
Tom Merritt Well, there is some questions about who sold what stock at what time, who knew what…
Leo Laporte So they think that the people who were fired were kind of corrupt.
Tom Merritt The people – they weren’t really fired. They are removed from the board. They are still stockholders. But what they are saying is we don’t want any appearance of impropriety. We don’t want anyone who is involved in getting rid of him investigating this and the only two people who weren’t is Léo Apotheker, the current CEO, and one other board member Ray Lane.
Leo Laporte Marc Andreessen stays on the board. Rajiv Gupta…
Tom Merritt And Meg Whitman, former…
Leo Laporte She has been added.
Tom Merritt Gubernatorial candidate in California and eBay CEO has been added.
Leo Laporte Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany were all asked to head for the door. Interesting. So this is all about Mark Hurd. Man, that Mark Hurd thing is really taking HP down. Now, HP is going to do an announcement in February…
Tom Merritt Right. In fact February’s announcement week, Sprint, HP and Dell, all making announcement one after the other.
Leo Laporte T-Mobile too, add T-Mobile.
Tom Merritt What day is T-Mobile making theirs?
Leo Laporte The 7th I think. Isn’t that the same day as in all the 7th? Maybe I’m wrong.
Tom Merritt It’s like 7th, 8th and 9th.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt One after the other.
Leo Laporte So, we think we will see webOS 2.0 from HP.
Tom Merritt Yes, we are probably going to see 2 tablets, a 10-inch webOS tablet and more of like a Galaxy Tab sized webOS tablet.
Leo Laporte You know, I’m actually kind of excited because they are also – besides the MOTOROLA XOOM, there is a number of Honeycomb based tablets coming out. There is webOS 2.0, Honeycomb is the latest version of Android designed for tablets, I think that the BlackBerry PlayBook is actually quite nice.
Tom Merritt I loved the BlackBerry PlayBook.
Leo Laporte I was really impressed.
Tom Merritt We’ll see what the battery life is like in real life. That’s all, it’s a killer.
Leo Laporte I asked the BlackBerry guy because I had at Regis and Kelly, and I said you haven’t said anything about battery life, he said we are still tuning it but we know it has to last all day. So they believe they are going to get – I mean that could be anything from 8 hours to 5 hours, but if they get 5 hours it’s not enough I know the iPad’s 10 but…
Tom Merritt It’s a foil now, I don’t know if it’s enough.
Leo Laporte Have you guys played with either of them?
Mathew Ingram I’ve not. I’ve seen, yeah.
Simon Dingle I’ve played with the PlayBook.
Leo Laporte What did you think?
Simon Dingle I like it. I just – I find 7-inch tab it’s too small and it’s weird in-between spaces like am I really going to carry that and an iPhone or a really big Android phone. I just – those keyboards are too small at 7 inch to be functional, I can type perfectly happily on an iPad at 10 inches or 9 inches or whatever but…
Leo Laporte Well, but some people…
Simon Dingle The moment you get down to 7…
Leo Laporte The nice thing about 7, Jeff Jarvis says is you can thumb-type on a 7. So it’s narrow enough that you could type like that, you are right, it’s not a – but you know the keyboard even on an iPad, as big as it is, is still not a – do you feel comfortable typing on that for any length of time.
Simon Dingle Yes, I’ve done articles on my iPad. I won’t go over like 600 words but it works for me.
Mathew Ingram Me too.
Leo Laporte Well, that, okay so, but I think that – I guess what I would say is that there is a market for 7; I like the choice and I think we are actually going to see quite a few compelling Android webOS QNX and iOS tablets. I think that’s great.
Tom Merritt Well, and we got some…
Mathew Ingram It’s going to be nice to see some variety.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt We get some rumors that the MOTOROLA XOOM is not as I thought Vaporware.
Leo Laporte No, in fact it’s coming out next month.
Tom Merritt Yes, February 17th for around 700 bucks.
Leo Laporte That’s Wi-Fi only probably.
Tom Merritt That is a Wi-Fi only, yes, the Verizon one will come out later for more expensive…
Leo Laporte That’s – is that too expensive given that an iPad Wi-Fi is 500? Isn’t that too expensive?
Mathew Ingram That’s…
Simon Dingle Definitely.
Leo Laporte Yes, don’t you have to hit the 500 price point?
Simon Dingle Did you guys visit Motorola at CES, I mean of course you did but…
Leo Laporte Yes.
Simon Dingle They had – the XOOM demos that they had were running videos of a guy reading his e-mail…
Leo Laporte It was a QuickTime video.
Tom Merritt And they wouldn’t let anyone play with it even though it was running a video. That’s why I thought this thing is not coming out anytime soon.
Leo Laporte Right. Right, I was surprised to see – February 17th, because if you have something…
Simon Dingle Well, something more impressive was the ATRIX.
Tom Merritt Oh, yes, I was…
Simon Dingle I was quite taken with that device.
Leo Laporte That’s the Tegra 2 based phone…
Tom Merritt Dual core.
Leo Laporte Dual core phone that turns into a laptop you need to docket. I had that at Regis this week too, and it works, it boots fast, it’s Linux, see I don’t know if people want Linux laptops.
Tom Merritt And it’s not a full laptop I mean some people have been confused by that. What it does is it gives you a browse that you can use.
Leo Laporte It’s Firefox.
Tom Merritt Like a Laptop – Firefox browser and then anything you can do in a browser…
Leo Laporte It’s Chromium, it’s Cr-48, it’s Chrome OS.
Tom Merritt You can do in that Firefox, and then all of your actual phone apps and everything are available but they are available in a smaller window, it’s not actually turning the phone into a full lap.
Leo Laporte I think that’s kind of cool though because you have a little inset window that is your phone size and that’s kind of still there.
Simon Dingle You can just use a Bluetooth keyboard.
Leo Laporte Yes, I don’t – to be honest I don’t think – I think this I cool but I don’t think it’s going to be a hot seller.
Tom Merritt Yes, you are probably right.
Leo Laporte I do think the idea of dual processors is going to make to make these things very compelling and I think that’s what – the one thing iPad 2 will have of all the rumored stuff is a camera and a dual core processor, I don’t think it’s going to have a higher res screen, I don’t think it’s going to be much smaller because you need the battery space and it’s not like there have been any breakthroughs in Lithium-ion technology this year.
Tom Merritt Whenever DIGITIMES get something wrong like that, for instance the, DIGITIMES is saying there is going to be a double resolution screen…
Leo Laporte Not going to happen.
Tom Merritt There is always a kernel of truth behind the lie…
Leo Laporte Somebody is buying those screens.
Tom Merritt So either somebody is buying those screens or it’s going to be a higher resolution screen and they got the numbers wrong or something but…
Leo Laporte Well, I’m not saying it won’t be higher resolution but just – it won’t be in retina display, it’s V2, it would add to much to the price. Apple has to keep it at 500 too. It’s not just Motorola that has to hit 500, Apple has to hit 500. They’ve said that is the benchmark.
Tom Merritt And they are running out of displays right now. It’s hard to make them.
Leo Laporte Kevin Rose very coyly Instagramed a text message conversation – didn’t say who it was from, cut off all the – all it said was it will not be a double – iPad 2 will not have a double resolution display.
Tom Merritt I could have written that.
Simon Dingle What do you mean?
Leo Laporte But I think Kevin doesn’t want people to think he is full of it so I think if he put it there he believes that that is the case. When will Apple announce this? Do we know? Have they – there is nothing scheduled?
Simon Dingle I read one report that it might be later than what people are saying. I mean I read some articles which journalists were calling it in February which is just weird but I think that’s going to be later than we think. I did speak to an accessory manufacturer pretty close to Apple, and they claim to have cases ready to go for the iPad 2, and I saw a picture of one of these cases and it had on the one corner, it had like, you just go to inches now, right, so like an inch and a half slot opening that kind of looked like about the size of on the original MacBook Air, the flip down USB port but it could have just been the SD card slot, I don’t know.
Leo Laporte I don’t know if I believe that – I once asked the guy at Griffin, I can’t remember his name, it’s not Peter Griffin, but I once asked Peter Griffin, does Apple let you know ahead of time because they make a lot of iPhone accessories, what the form factor is, he says, no, we get it the same day you get it and we scramble and modify our designs, so I wonder if all…
Simon Dingle I am pretty sure that’s the way it works.
Leo Laporte Yes, we saw a lot of iPad 2 cases but I mean, I think what they are saying is when there is an iPad 2, we will have a case, this is a mock-up of what it could look like.
Tom Merritt I think they’ve talked to their buddies in the supply chain, to glean, the same things that DIGITIMES gleans…
Leo Laporte But you don’t know where the buttons are going to…
Tom Merritt And making, yes, they are making their best guess.
Leo Laporte Yes. I mean I don’t think we have a Gizmodo quality leak here of iPad 2.
Tom Merritt We knew about iPad at this time.
Leo Laporte They announced it in January.
Tom Merritt They announced it at the end of January.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt So there has been no word from Apple...
Leo Laporte That’s a good point.
Tom Merritt ...of a coming announcement.
Leo Laporte That’s a good point. Yes. Yes. Paul Griffin. Peter and Paul. And then Marry Griffin, their sister – I know, it’s a bad joke, let’s take a break on that note. I would like to come back in a just a bit, and talk about NBC and Comcast, what fun. Tom Merritt is here from TNT.
Tom Merritt I’m going to have to take off here in a second.
Leo Laporte Current Geek Weekly, he has to go get an interview. You want to take off now and get interviewed by WEALTH Magazine.
Tom Merritt Waiting for the sign.
Leo Laporte Is WEALTH here?
Tom Merritt They’re definitely here.
Leo Laporte WEALTH has arrived, but they’re setting up. Well stay as long as you need. Also with us in Toronto, Canada, Mathew Ingram from gigaom.com. Great to have you, Mathew. So you were – what were you doing when you were on the Call for Help show.
Mathew Ingram I was writing about technology for theglobeandmail.com.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s cool. Was I there?
Mathew Ingram You were there, I actually did a segment with Amber.
Leo Laporte Oh okay, good. Because usually what Amber’s doing his segment, I’m drinking, so I probably – that’s why I don’t remember it.
Tom Merritt Water.
Leo Laporte Water. Of course.
Mathew Ingram You were well refreshed.
Leo Laporte Yes, I was very refreshed. Simon Dingle is also here from simondingle.com. But before I go much further I would very much like to talk a little bit about our good friends at Audible.com. Now we have listeners all over the world, in fact we have hosts from Canada and South Africa tonight. So I should mention that the books that we recommend on Audible.com are US, sometimes US only. There – it is the publishing world is still very national. But Audible is all over the world and there are great books and every Audible national store, great stuff at Audible. Either .co.uk or probably .co.za or za, but Audible.com here in the States, Audible.ca in Canada, all over the world, just Google Audible and you’ll find your local Audible store. Here in the States 75,000 books and in every category it is a great place to go. Tom and I are both listening and I would rec absolutely. Would you recommend it?
Tom Merritt Absolutely.
Leo Laporte I love it.
Tom Merritt Well this is probably the best way to catch up with the series.
Leo Laporte We’re talking about The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower series.
Tom Merritt Which I didn’t really realize until Brian Brushwood started really promoting it to me, pushing me on it, it was the inspiration for a lot of others Stephen King books or who love their Stephen King books work within its universe...
Leo Laporte Right.
Tom Merritt As well as being an inspiration for shows like Lost.
Leo Laporte Yes. That’s true. I didn’t even really think of that. I am in book four now, Wizard and Glass which kind of intersects with The Stand. Many of his books intersects with The Dark Tower series, I think there are seven books now total and man, is it good. Man, is it good. Now here is the deal, I can get you two books for free, and that I think it’s good, if you’re going to get two books for free to read a series...
Tom Merritt Yes.
Leo Laporte This would be a great one to start with, The Dark Tower, series the first book in this series is The Gunslinger. It’s a nice, easy way into it, although in some ways this one is kind of slow because he just chasing the Man in Black.
Tom Merritt But they had such an atmosphere.
Leo Laporte It does. It’s beautifully written.
Tom Merritt I mean if you like being sucked into that mysterious world where you’re learning about this strange off-kilter universe that Stephen King has created, you’re going to love it.
Leo Laporte Have you done this on Sword and Laser, yet? Are you thinking about it?
Tom Merritt No. You know we’ve used it as a – we have Audible as a sponsor, then we’ve used it as pick but we haven’t done it as a book. The problem is series like this are hard to do.
Leo Laporte Right. You can’t. It’s too much
Tom Merritt Because sometimes you can do the single, like Ender’s Game is a series, you can do Ender’s.
Leo Laporte Yes, that’s the one, just Ender’s.
Tom Merritt Because they can’t standalone. The Gunslinger...
Leo Laporte No. It’s just a setup.
Tom Merritt ...I don’t think it really standalone because as soon as you’re done, you’re ready for the next one, you want to find out what’s going to happen next.
Leo Laporte Well then I won’t recommend this one, but this – I am looking for series because you’re going to get two books if you go to audible.com/twit2. Have you looked at The Dreaming Void?
Tom Merritt No, no, I have heard good, good things about Peter Hamilton.
Leo Laporte Me too. I love Peter Hamilton. There is some great books. This is a trilogy. But your first two books are free. So here is a deal, you go to audible.com/twit2 and signup for the platinum account. You can get books à la carte, you can buy books one at a time. And they are yours to keep forever. They become a part of your library, you can download them at any time unlike iTunes. In fact I just was – I want to have a complete set of all the books I have ever listened to, and I just downloaded and completed them all and it’s almost 500 books I’ve read in the last 10 years on Audible.com. You know what I love about that? Those are books I would not have had a time to read. But I was reading in the car, at the gym, those times when you can’t normally read. I get so much reading done. It just keeps me up. And I’ve – on what’s going on in the world and I love it. Fiction, non-fiction, science and technology, sci-fi, they – when I first started with Audible 10 years ago they didn’t have much sci-fi, now they are unparallel because they’ve made a very concerted effort with their Audible Frontier series to record all the great sci-fi, there are now almost 4,000 sci-fi and fantasy titles on there. If you love sci-fi, Audible is a great place to know about. Look, just try it. Your first two are free. You can cancel it anytime at no cost to you and you can keep them forever.
So we got a couple of things to look at. Stephen King’s, The Dark Tower series would be a great one. Or the Void series from Peter F. Hamilton. Audible.com/twit2. We thank them for their support. And as long as we plug in something we should plug in Sword and Laser the show that you and Veronica did together.
Tom Merritt Yes, we’re reading Good Omens...
Leo Laporte Oh I love that book. Terry Pratchett.
Tom Merritt ...by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. And it is available on Audible actually.
Simon Dingle Fantastic book.
Tom Merritt Oh yes.
Leo Laporte That’s how I listen to it.
Tom Merritt It’s a great book. And a great Audible choice too.
Leo Laporte Well, yes.
Tom Merritt Because the narrator is fantastic.
Leo Laporte I mean they want to add that to our recommendation. That’s such a good – all the Neil Gaiman stuff is great and a lot of that is on...
Tom Merritt Yes. And what’s so cool about Good Omens, I don’t mean to turn this into an episode of Sword and Laser so I make this quick but you get the dark, weird, descent into mythology...
Leo Laporte Right.
Tom Merritt ...of Neil Gaiman, lightened up...
Leo Laporte Right. To the comedy.
Tom Merritt ...by the fun Douglas Adams like...
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt ...quirkiness of Terry Pratchett.
Leo Laporte Well listen here I play a little bit, Martin Jarvis reading, this is little bit of a Good Omens. I hate it. They start at the beginning. If they would only start like a good part, but I guess this is too much trouble to do that. American Gods was another one that – is that a sequel to this, or it’s related to this?
Tom Merritt American Gods ties into this.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Tom Merritt I’ve read both now.
Leo Laporte Yes, I love both.
Tom Merritt There is some cross-over. I don’t know if they’re valid or not.
Leo Laporte I love Neil Gaiman, I got to say.
Mathew Ingram Yes.
Leo Laporte Sword and Laser is at swordandlaser.com?
Tom Merritt Yes, swordandlaser.com.
Leo Laporte You guys getting all excited about the Game of Thrones coming to HBO.
Tom Merritt Oh Yes, very excited about that.
Leo Laporte When is that?
Tom Merritt That is coming in May, I think.
Leo Laporte Well, that soon.
Tom Merritt Yes.
Leo Laporte Can’t wait.
Tom Merritt I know.
Leo Laporte Comcast-NBC merger; actually is technically a joint venture, approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice despite the vigorous protest. Now I know in Canada and in South America you probably don’t even know or care who these people are, but Comcast for those who don’t know, not only the big cable company in the US, the single largest Internet service provider in the US and therein lies the rub, NBC is of course if one of our big national networks. The companies together have, Comcast has 16.7 billion – I am sorry – million broadband subscribers, 23 million cable customers. They will get MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA, as well as NBC. Four to one approval from the FCC.
Tom Merritt Yes, the put in some conditions on them but the controversy is whether those conditions are enough to ensure that Comcast doesn’t abuse its position because...
Leo Laporte The FCC required Comcast to offer Internet versions of Saturday Night Live.
Simon Dingle Yes, the talk show.
Leo Laporte Wait a minute, that’s confusing. Was that because one of the commissioners is a big fan?
Tom Merritt You know it’s weird, there is also some talk that they were going to require every NBC show to be available on any video service that ABC, FOX...
Leo Laporte Wow.
Tom Merritt ...or their other competitors had videos available for. The restriction ended up now being quite so tight but they essentially do have to offer...
Leo Laporte They have to offer to bona fide online distributors. In other words, if I went to them and said I like Top Chef they wouldn’t have to give it to me.
Tom Merritt You’re not bona fide.
Leo Laporte I’m not bona fide. But Apple would be...
Mathew Ingram I think you are bona fide, Leo.
Leo Laporte What is bona fide mean? Faithful bone.
Mathew Ingram Yes.
Leo Laporte Okay. Just checking.
Simon Dingle Faithful to the bone.
Leo Laporte Did you – I took Latin, but I don’t remember – I think it mean, yes, faithful to the bone.
Tom Merritt I think what is worrisome about this is not anything to me but the ISP section of it. That’s a fact…
Leo Laporte I don’t think Keith Olbermann was fired because Comcast is conservative and he’s liberal…
Tom Merritt No, no.
Leo Laporte I don’t think they have anything to do with it.
Tom Merritt I think what happens is that Comcast is essentially a monopoly, everywhere it offers Internet service. And because of that they now can start looking at ways to force you into viewing their content. In fact I am really against a lot of these restrictions that they put on Comcast because I think the problem is not that Comcast is owning NBC, the problem is that we don’t have a choice. We can’t say, you know what, I don’t like the fact that you’re forcing me to watch NBC programs on my ISP or you are blocking. FOX or whatever they might do; and I’m going to go to another Internet service provider because if you want anything over 30 megabits per second you can’t go to another Internet service provider.
Leo Laporte Right. Right. FCC also – this is interesting, required Comcast to offer broadband Internet access as a standalone service. In other words, you can’t compel people to buy your cable television….
Tom Merritt Which they didn’t. They’re saying you can’t change their mind.
Leo Laporte They never did it but they would charge you 10 bucks more if you didn’t have TV at “reasonable prices”, which of course that’s meaningless, with “sufficient bandwidth”, also meaningless.
Tom Merritt Yes.
Leo Laporte So customers can watch video online without having to subscribe to cable TV. I like the thinking behind this but I question whether it’s enforceable or even whether the wording...
Mathew Ingram Well, I was just going to say it’s fine to have all those requirements and governments do that regularly when they are dealing with companies with Comcast. But are they going to follow up and make sure that Comcast is doing that, and if it’s not doing that, are they going to come down hard on them?
Leo Laporte Yeah. I mean, how would – Comcast would say, define sufficient bandwidth, what is reasonable pricing. Oh, I mean, Comcast could say, well, reasonable price would be the same price that could cost you to get HBO. You know, it costs 100 bucks for your cable bill, we’ll give you 100 bucks worth Internet access. They can easily do that. That would be reasonable from Comcast’s point of view.
Tom Merritt Yeah. It all depends on what a judge would end up believing was reasonable in court. It’s very vague.
Simon Dingle So I have a question as a complete outsider to this conversation. But how much NBC content is there on say a NetCast or a Hulu, not services I can access…
Leo Laporte Quite a bit on Hulu. In fact they were required – they were not required to divest their stake in Hulu, which is…
Tom Merritt They had to remove their board members from the Hulu Board.
Leo Laporte Okay.
Tom Merritt But they weren’t required to divest the stake, so they can’t affect the day-to-day decisions anymore through their board members.
Leo Laporte Television – let me put it this way, Simon Dingle, television funny man and United States Senator Al Franken.
Simon Dingle Doesn’t like.
Leo Laporte He doesn’t like – he says Comcast is trying to whack Netflix. He was talking to Netroots Nation gathering in Minnesota. He says, net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time. He said that before and I agree with him. He does say that the net neutrality rules the FCC has enacted are not strong enough. He says the FCC is allowing discrimination on the Internet that will essentially create two Internets. He said this before, but coming up on the Comcast merger, he said, as you probably know I hate this merger not only will it raise prices on TV subscriptions, it will give the combined entity incredible power to stifle competition from online sources like Netflix. See, Comcast doesn’t like Netflix because they ride on Comcast’s cheap Internet and you can watch movies there instead of paying for their expensive HBO.
We are going to let Tom Merritt go. He has to go – be interviewed by WEALTH Magazine.
Mathew Ingram [Indiscernible] (63:10).
Leo Laporte WealthTV
Tom Merritt Available on your Roku channel for $3 a month.
Leo Laporte Is it?
Tom Merritt Yeah.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s cheap for Wealth.
Tom Merritt First cable TV channel to go to Roku and say you don’t need a cable subscription.
Leo Laporte That’s very affordable wealth-wise speaking of Wealth.
Tom Merritt Very wealth conscious.
Leo Laporte But don’t worry because Mathew Ingram is still here. He is from gigaom.com, and Simon Dingle is also here from simondingle.com. Your podcast is…
Simon Dingle The ZA Tech Show.
Leo Laporte You can say zed. ZA Tech Show and it’s – and what is it? Is it like a roundtable like this, what do you talk about?
Simon Dingle It pretty much is. We started doing it just after you started this WEEK in TECH and we kind of do what you do to a degree but for South African audience. So we talk about telecommunication issues and that kind of thing that relate to the region.
Leo Laporte Is the same kind of thing the battle that’s going on between Internet service providers and content companies in the States, do you have similar battle going on in South Africa?
Simon Dingle Yeah, to a lesser degree. We never really had net neutrality, so it’s not something we can cry about losing. When it comes to content, we are seeing telecommunications companies trying to develop content strategies because they obviously see that as important going forward. So those – I mean those are some of things we’ll discuss on the ZA Tech Show. We are launching a new website this week. We are also moving into a new studio tomorrow night. We’ve decided finally to start doing video properly, it’s something I’ve been scared of, I am a radio guy, video is not my forte. But we are going to start doing that. So the show has been doing pretty well. And we are enjoying it. Oh that’s the really ugly old website. But it works.
Leo Laporte Are you going to stream, are you going to stream on USTREAM, how are you going to stream the video?
Simon Dingle We are actually using anycast technology, so anycast and we will push out the raw 264 stream.
Leo Laporte Awesome.
Simon Dingle But we also are going to have Flash Player on the site. Yeah we’ve got a studio with some serious bandwidth that we’ve just put the finishing touches on on Friday. So we are going to move into that tomorrow night, do our first show from there, launch a new website later this week. So it’s all coming together nicely. It’s very raw and low-fi at the moment.
Leo Laporte That’s what I like.
Simon Dingle We are having a lot of fun.
Leo Laporte Somebody asked me in the new studio, are you going to be professional. I said no.
Simon Dingle Yeah. You can’t.
Leo Laporte I know.
Simon Dingle No. Podcast audiences don’t want that.
Leo Laporte Nobody wants professional anymore. Everybody wants real authentic, unprofessional. We now know that Nintendo 3DS is coming to the U.S., March 27. I was on Regis on Tuesday, and they said, no, we can’t tell you when; we can’t tell you how much. And then they released when and how much. March 27, $250. Then Europe on March 25. Actually it’s the other way round, first Europe then the U.S. I don’t know about Canada.
So I looked at this thing. I mean, we had in my hands and was – did it seem 3D to you, Eileen? It was – it’s what’s called lenticular, so you have to hold it just in a certain – but a little thing like that, that’s not such a big deal. And then it has a slider that lets you turn up and down the 3D effect. Yeah, you know I think it’s pretty cool. It’s just the same – isn’t that the same price as the regular DS?
Eileen Rivera Yeah.
Leo Laporte You getting one?
Eileen Rivera Right.
Leo Laporte Eileen says she is getting one. You guys running at to the store?
Simon Dingle No way.
Leo Laporte No way, man.
Simon Dingle I think about the future of Nintendo and Sony in the portable gaming division and I look at the rise of iPhone and Android in that space. And these guys are in trouble in the medium term. I mean, they are doing pretty well at the moment. But my oldest kid is 5, he’s never touched – I mean, he played with the DS off and on and found it slightly amusing and he’s all above the iPhone and the games that he has there. And you look at how easily he gets hold of games and what they cost compared to the DS. Nintendo needs more than 3D to save this in the long term I think.
Leo Laporte Yeah. It’s funny we’ve been sitting on the PS3, the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo DS and Wii for how many years. And there doesn’t seem to be any indication that we are going to see newer systems, that the systems are going to be improved. Is there any incentive to create a new console at all? Nintendo, if anybody has that incentive and yet they were on Christmas, at least in the States, the best selling console.
Simon Dingle And how old is that Wii hardware?
Leo Laporte It’s ancient.
Simon Dingle It’s been around for – yeah.
Leo Laporte It’s not even high-def.
Simon Dingle Microsoft refreshed the Xbox. They obviously are not thinking about a next- generation console yet.
Leo Laporte No. Especially with Kinect selling like it does, there’s no reason to.
Simon Dingle They don’t need it.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Simon Dingle But you know what – what I find slightly disheartening is that PC gaming is so far ahead of console gaming at the moment and yet PC gamers are kind of punished in this whole paradigm. A game will come up for Xbox or PS3 and the PC gamers who’ve got the serious hardware are the guys who really invest in gaming with their hearts and souls have to wait months, sometimes longer for these games to finally come up for their platform.
Leo Laporte Where’s Angry Birds for Steam? That’s what I want to know. I don’t really. I think it’s very interesting, it’s funny because I am going to go on this trip, and go on to Antarctica and I’m packing all my fancy camera gear and then I realized when I played with the iPhone, the camera is good enough and I’ve got 20 apps on here. I can do more with a picture on the phone posted all at the same time that, I mean, in some ways this is the ultimate camera. And it’s the same thing for gaming, it’s the same thing for apps. These little phones can do so much now and it’s not just the iPhone, it’s Android too.
Mathew Ingram I agree. A friend actually – a friend just got back from Argentina, didn’t take any other camera, just used the iPhone 4, got really cheap Argentinean data card, plugged it into the device, uploaded all sorts of photos, videos. He said it was incredible the amount of stuff. It was all being auto-posted to his posterous blog, all these great Argentinean barbeques.
Leo Laporte Oh, man. That’s where I’m going. I’m going to Buenos Aires. So I can get a SIM card, put it on the iPhone and I can upload all these stuff.
Mathew Ingram Yeah. I think he was there for, I think, 10 days, or 2 weeks or something like that, uploaded everything. He was on Twitter all the time, posting the posters. I think he used maybe – I don’t even think it was $30 worth of data.
Leo Laporte I might have to do this.
Simon Dingle Yeah. I had a similar experience in Las Vegas, actually. I took the Sony Alpha 33 that I am testing along with me, but forgot the battery charger at home. So when I came to the helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, all I had with me was my iPhone 4, with Instagram, Pano and some of my photography apps. And I came home with like great collection of photography of the Grand Canyon. I’m not going to put it on a blow board, but it got the job done.
Leo Laporte It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it?
Mathew Ingram I wrote a whole post at GigaOM when I was in San Francisco last, my iPhone locked up –
Leo Laporte That happens. Everybody in San Francisco, their iPhone locks up.
Mathew Ingram I couldn’t use it for the whole day. So I couldn’t use maps. I couldn’t take photos. I couldn’t go on Twitter. I couldn’t – and it was hard because I’m not that familiar with San Francisco, I couldn’t look up where I was going to go, I couldn’t – you know, I couldn’t use GPS, I couldn’t do anything. I was crippled.
Simon Dingle Oh, man, getting my iPhone to work on AT&T in Las Vegas was almost impossible.
Leo Laporte Yeah, well that’s get your semi-geeks there.
Simon Dingle Well, that was part of it, but also AT&T does not like you bringing an unlocked iPhone onto their network. I had to hack carrier’s settings and use the iPhone configuration utility to load them and eventually I got it going. But it wasn’t easy.
And if you just put an AT&T SIM card in an unlocked iPhone like we have in South Africa, I mean all iPhone carriers in South Africa, you can be tethering with, they’ve already said they’ll support the Wi-Fi port in the iPhone in 4.3, and apparently, AT&T does not like all of that happening on their network. So, for variety of reasons I just found it really difficult to get my phone working with a local SIM card in the USA.
Leo Laporte I’m very curious and I know you guys will have no idea, so don’t even know why I’m saying it. But I’m just curious now that Verizon in the U.S. has the iPhone, so there is some competition with AT&T. How long before everybody, every carrier – how many different carriers in Canada have the iPhone, Mathew?
Mathew Ingram Well, the two major ones do.
Leo Laporte Rogers and –
Mathew Ingram Bell and Rogers.
Leo Laporte And Bell. And in South Africa, how many, how many different carriers have the iPhone?
Simon Dingle Two, officially.
Leo Laporte Okay. Australia, I know it’s several. So, almost every other country you can buy, in fact I know in England you could buy it from everybody, I think. So I just wonder how long – so it’s Bell, Telus and Rogers. So it’s three carriers.
Mathew Ingram [indiscernible] (72:09)
Leo Laporte Yeah, so I just wonder how long before that happens in the States, before T-Mobile has an iPhone. By the way I –
Mathew Ingram Did you see the [indiscernible] (72:20) sorry.
Leo Laporte Let me just – let me just correct myself real quickly. Angry Birds is on Windows, it’s just not Steam, it’s on Intel’s AppUp, your source for netbook apps, $4.99.
Mathew Ingram Did you see the Angry Birds for BlackBerry?
Leo Laporte No. it’s on BlackBerry too?
Mathew Ingram It was a joke. It’s basically just a text file. You should be bird, you know, three blocks fall down.
Leo Laporte It’s pretty funny. It’s the Zork of Angry Birds.
Mathew Ingram Yeah.
Leo Laporte That sounds good. So Kara is in a cab. Maybe we will have that debate over whether Steve should reveal all or not. That will be fun. Kara Swisher may join us from Germany a little bit. Mathew Ingram is here from Toronto. He is at gigaom.com. Simon Dingle from – where are you in South Africa?
Simon Dingle Johannesburg.
Leo Laporte In Johannesburg. He is at simondingle.com, and more coming up. Just a little bit, I just want to briefly mention our great friends at squarespace.com. The secret – they say the secret behind exceptional websites, and I would concur, there is no easier way to design a website, and my friend Alex Lindsay is a big Squarespace fan, a lot of Pixel Corps sites use it. He loves it so much. He was in a restaurant, asked the restaurant why don’t you have a website. They said, “well, it’s just too much trouble.” So before he had left the restaurant, he had gone to squarespace.com, clicked the Try It Free button, set up a website, it’s very easy, don’t need a credit card, just the site name, password, e-mail address and a caption. And that’s great because he literally did the whole site at dinner and then said, hey, here is your site, it’s your site if you want it. Here is the password, they can go and then they can make it their site. And the reason he could do that so fast is among other things, he’s incredible, professionally designed styles, from name, brand, designers, but each of them has point and click control over every single element of the design, so you can move gutters, move windows. Make it absolutely your own. Alex has become amazing pro at doing that. It’s fun to watch him.
Then, of course, once you’ve got that site up and running, you can watch your stats, you can use you iPhone or iPad to post and moderate comments. You can put up beautiful photo galleries, forms, very easy to post, very easy to maintain and import and export all your data from all the major blog APIs, MovableType, WordPress, TypePad and Blogger, and that includes not just the content pictures and texts but also all the comments and all the links continue to work, it’s a great way to try Squarespace for free. Go to squarespace.com/twit, click that green button and do try it for free, works with all the social networks, is a Flickr photos, play a Twitter Widget, Google Maps, it’s just got all the things you’d want because it’s hosting plus software, it’s always up-to-date, always secure, and never goes down no matter how much traffic you send to your site, or we send your site. Squarespace.com/twit, give it a try. And we thank them for their support. Nice guys too. Really love having them around.
Do you guys get the Jeopardy!, the game show Jeopardy!?
Simon Dingle Not officially, but we know all about it.
Leo Laporte IBM created a Jeopardy machine, they called it Watson, and they had a tournament of champions, in fact, including Ken Jennings, the only guy who has never been beaten at Jeopardy, and Watson won.
Simon Dingle That’s amazing.
Leo Laporte Well, it is amazing. And Ray Kurzweil wrote an article for PCMag that highlights why this is a big deal. He was the guy who theorized in 1980s, in the mid-1980s that a chess playing computer would eventually beat humans. He was right. He actually predicted it would happen in ’98, it happened in ’97. He says, the key here is – you know, you can say chess is, you know, kind of completely mathematical. Okay. But understanding language is much more difficult and especially the nuance of a Jeopardy, the way Jeopardy works as a quiz show in which they give you the answer, you have to give them the question, already that’s tough for a computer, right, as we stated in the question form. And you have to understand context, you have to understand meaning. Of course, if the computer can parse the sentence, it’s going to win every time because it’s got an infinite database, although I don’t believe Watson –
Simon Dingle Watson crying in the rain.
Leo Laporte Yeah, right, exactly. I don’t believe Watson was online. I don’t think they allow him to be online. So it had to have a database internally, they had all of that information. Is that right or not?
Simon Dingle I spoke to one of IBM’s distinguished engineers who used to be the CTO of IBM, South Africa. And the way I understood it is that during the learning phase, it was definitely online…
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah, learning phase, yes. Yeah, no but during the competition they had it disconnect. Oh, yeah, you got to get all that data in there.
Mathew Ingram Let’s say – I don’t want to be too skeptical but – and Ray Kurzweil obviously is a genius and whereas I’m not, but it just doesn’t seem that hard to me Jeopardy!. I mean I’ve never been on the show, but it seems to me if you had a computer with 9D servers or whatever.
Leo Laporte They did have 9D servers.
Mathew Ingram And all the information that you could suck in from the Internet, I would [indiscernible] (77:48) chance of winning.
Simon Dingle The local catch of the Internet, right?
Leo Laporte But – yeah, I agree because the facts are all there. But the thing is it had the parse and have to do it fast because the humans are sitting there on the button, has to parse that sentence, understand it, find the answer and then put it out as a question. I mean, I think that’s a hard thing to do. I think it is kind of – it’s not the Turing test, but it’s close.
Mathew Ingram It’s getting closer. It’s getting closer.
Leo Laporte It’s getting there.
Mathew Ingram You know what I find amazing is you can take your phone and take a photo of a menu in a specific language and have it translated instantly to another language. I mean, to me, that’s like Star Trek, I mean we are living in the future.
Leo Laporte Do we have any – I can show you that if we have any Spanish language material, Eileen anywhere because I have – it’s called the Word Lens. It’s the name of the program. Let me see here. It is – it’s kind of amazing. So what you do is you use the camera on – I bought the Spanish to English dictionary. I’m going to take this to South America with me. And so I walk up to a sign and you aim it and when – we don’t have any Spanish here, I don’t know. Chat room, speak to me, speak to me in Spanish chat room. Maybe I can do it in the chat room, that will be…
Mathew Ingram That will work in the stream.
Leo Laporte I don’t know. Here let’s see. You won’t be able to see this. Oh, yeah, I have to – I have to – Yo Quiero Taco Bell is not Spanish. So you guys don’t Yo Quiero Taco Bell. Okay, let see Cerveza, Por Favor it says – I got to show you this because it’s kind of funny.
Mathew Ingram Yeah, I got to get it, I got to get it right here. All right. Let’s see.
Leo Laporte See, I told you we were professional. Okay. Now, so here is the – here is the Word Lens, I see your programs interesting – I see your interesting program.
Mathew Ingram That’s pretty amazing.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I mean is that kind of wild?
Simon Dingle It’s scary.
Leo Laporte It is a little – it’s not perfect. But...
Simon Dingle It’s good enough though.
Leo Laporte I think if I had a static street sign, the fact that I could point this my donkey knows more than you, Leo. El burro sabe mas que tu. So I think that that’s kind of, look, hi from Australia and that’s exactly right. Wait a minute, that’s in English.
Mathew Ingram You might actually hear that in Argentina as well.
Leo Laporte My donkey knows more than you. Yeah, you’re right. In some ways that’s more amazing than watching, that’s called word lens. And the dictionary – the program – the dictionary I think is $10 and they have right now Spanish to English, English to Spanish.
Mathew Ingram And actually Google Goggles is pretty amazing too. Have you tried that?
Leo Laporte Yeah, they just added the Sudoku solving. So you take a picture of a Sudoku puzzle, solves it. It’s kind of weird.
Simon Dingle That’s cheating.
Leo Laporte Cheating.
Simon Dingle Why Sudoku then?
Leo Laporte Yeah, why do it, that’s exactly right.
Simon Dingle What blows me away with IBM is just how much time and resource goes into doing things that most of the world is going to look at and go, okay, so computer just beating human being a jeopardy.
Leo Laporte Right. Well they build Deep Blue, the chess playing one too.
Mathew Ingram Yeah, that’s right, it was in 1997.
Simon Dingle I was actually at the Watson Research Facility, north of New York in White Plains, I think it is last year, it was a great trip because we also went to the headquarters in the Armonk, and I’ve got to speak to Sam Palmisano; and Mark Loughridge the CFO and just spent some time with IBM and see what they’re doing. And I mean that Watson Research facility, there are guys working on everything from DN8 transistors, to growing carbon nanotubes under electron microscopes to, I mean, the coolest stuff, if you’re a nerd. But it’s just amazing the amount of stuff that IBM has done and continues to do, it blows my mind.
Leo Laporte They’ve made so much money on their patents and they come from that same era as the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, PARC, where the big corporations have poured tons of money into Blue Sky Research. And it’s funny because PARC, Xerox very famously invented the GUI, among other things, but never – and laser printers, but never – and the mouse, but never capitalized on it.
Mathew Ingram And in fact John Seely Brown who ran Xerox PARC for a long time, said, that was deliberate. I mean it’s not as though they just forgot to commercialize things. It was a deliberate move on their part to help see the industry with those technologies.
Leo Laporte Well that’s pretty altruistic. Good for them. I wondered do companies still do that. When you talk about a company like Apple with – what is it, 30 or 40 billion in the bank and Microsoft and Google, billions in the bank...
Mathew Ingram Because Google has 20% time, which in a way is like – is the same type of idea except sliced up.
Leo Laporte True.
Mathew Ingram ...and to turn a lot.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Simon Dingle Right. Right.
Leo Laporte Is Apple – is Apple doing that?
Simon Dingle Not always the success.
Leo Laporte No.
Mathew Ingram But Gmail I think was a 20% time.
Leo Laporte Well that’s – I mean that’s the thing – [ph] that’s the different thing that in Xerox (83:22), I mean Google very much wants this 20% project to [ph] re-prude (83:26). Although many of them are in open source and other areas where they can’t possibly benefit.
WikiLeaks back in the news. Swiss whistleblowers – that three times fast. Swiss whistleblower, Rudolf Elmer has given WikiLeaks information about bank accounts of more than 2,000 prominent individuals containing information about tax evasion and more according to the BBC, the data is not yet on WikiLeaks but Elmer gave two discs to Julian Assange at a press conference in London earlier this week. As WikiLeaks traditionally does they vet the contents before they release it publically. Once we looked at the data, said Assange, there will be full revelation. The data covers a period from 1990 to 2009 concerns companies and individuals from many countries, including the UK, U.S. and Germany.
Simon Dingle I found it interesting that Swiss bankers coinciding with this news breaking, maybe announcement that they would no longer deal with African despots and they were reviewing their policies.
Leo Laporte It does say, their 40 politicians accounts are among the accounts. I can’t wait to see this.
Simon Dingle Yeah. definitely. It’s going to be – it’s going to be interesting.
Leo Laporte Quite amazing.
Simon Dingle Not that the risk, the stuff we seen from WikiLeaks wasn’t.
Leo Laporte What is the – in the United States, WikiLeaks is I think round – well there is massive debate about whether they are traders and treasonous or whether they are doing the work of the angels. What outside of the U.S., I imagine that. I know when I was in France for LeWeb that everybody was excoriating the U.S. corporations for blocking WikiLeaks, for PayPal shutting them down, Amazon for taking them off EC2. How do people feel about WikiLeaks in South Africa?
Simon Dingle I think the debate is the same. I mean basically everybody wants to say, well, the information should be freely available and this is in the public interest and we should be able to read the stuff. But part of you goes – I am looking at a list of sensitive sites for the USA around the world, maybe publishing that stuff’s not so cool. But it’s an all or nothing ethical debate and I kind of tend towards the side of, well, the information should be out there and should be available and organizations whether a government or private should be thinking about how they store things and what they store. But I can’t say, I’ve made up my mind completely and I think the debates in countries like South Africa is probably the same as it is in the USA.
Leo Laporte Same in Canada, Mathew?
Mathew Ingram I would say so. I mean I there is – my personal view which I heard them out is that WikiLeaks to me is a very valuable player now in sort of forcing transparency whether governments want it or not...
Leo Laporte Right.
Mathew Ingram ...and I think on the one hand you could argue, and I am sure our government feels that, that tends to make it harder to engage in diplomacy which consists of saying one thing publically and saying completely the opposite in private. And so, maybe that is the case.
Leo Laporte Diplomacy better known as lying. Okay, yeah.
Mathew Ingram Yeah, better than the lying. And so, I think you could argue about WikiLeaks’ methods. But I think overall that transparency is a good thing.
Leo Laporte Well and you know it’s funny, because if you take it out of the realm of government secret spying and diplomacy and you put it into things like Swiss bank accounts, there – most people would say, yeah, right on, let’s see those bank accounts. There is no debate there. Yeah, let’s find out what people – who is cheating, who is using Swiss bank accounts to shield themselves. Yeah, the only people who don’t like that are the 50 people who were going to be exposed.
Mathew Ingram And in fact the Swiss banks, they probably like transparency a whole lot less just about every government.
Leo Laporte Yeah, let’s put him out of business.
Mathew Ingram That’s their whole function.
Leo Laporte That’s right.
Simon Dingle I just find it interesting that there is debate around WikiLeaks’ intentions when really WikiLeaks is supposed to be as objective as it gets, right, it’s just a platform and what gets shared on and it is up to the people sharing that information. So for me the notion of going for WikiLeaks and going for Assange is a ridiculous one where the problem you have is with the people who spreading the information, right?
Leo Laporte Right.
Simon Dingle I don’t understand what the platform…
Leo Laporte Shoot the messenger.
Simon Dingle Yeah.
Mathew Ingram And it’s not just WikiLeaks, I mean you’ve got already one of the people who was involved in WikiLeaks’ setup, another organization called OpenLeaks...
Leo Laporte Right.
Mathew Ingram ...that’s going to try and maybe get away from some of the sort of the fact that WikiLeaks is all Julian Assange trying to be more open...
Leo Laporte Right.
Mathew Ingram ...more distributed. You’ve got I think two or three other similar organizations devoted to different types of documents. I just read today that I think the Guardian got a ton of documents from Al Jazeera about Israel and Palestine. As far as I know WikiLeaks isn’t involved in that but it’s the same type of phenomenon. I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that coming from lots of places, not just WikiLeaks.
Leo Laporte Yeah the real problem is that the world is becoming more transparent and there are people who don’t want that. But I think in the long run transparency is not a bad thing.
Simon Dingle I guess the problem with WikiLeaks is that while WikiLeaks itself is not necessarily subject of Assange seems to be and or the information we’re seeing refers to US companies...
Leo Laporte Right.
Simon Dingle ...the U.S. government and not much from, I don’t know, Russia, Brazil, China, India anywhere else. And I guess therein lies the [ph] robe right (89:27)?
Mathew Ingram And I did – I spoke to Birgitta Jónsdóttir from Iceland – Icelandic MP who was an early volunteer, in fact helped produced the video, Collateral Murder video, and she was talking about how she still supports WikiLeaks and still supports the effort and so on. But she had a sort of very public falling out with Assange over his role and she was of the view that the leadership of the organization should be broadened and that in fact he should probably step down because of some of the things...
Leo Laporte Well, he’s kind of a liability now isn’t he?
Mathew Ingram Yeah, so a lot of that – lot of the attention was focusing on him instead of the – what they were actually trying to do.
Simon Dingle He’s going to have his hands full for a very long time though; he is going to be a busy man for the next couple of years.
Leo Laporte I read a very interesting article, maybe we’ll differ this when we have a little more time, is Kara still on route? All right, I think we’re not – I think we’re going to run out of time, so that’s okay, but I – maybe we’ll save this for next week because we are running out of time, but I read a fascinating article from it was a – from the EFF, actually EFF linked to paranoia.dubfire.net it came out a year ago, but I hadn’t seen this about.
Phone – the information phone companies are revealing – particularly well wireless is revealing to the U.S. law enforcement. You know, there is a report every year given to Congress on a number of wiretaps going on, a number of electronic wiretaps strangely enough is going down – it’s been going down since 2001, but it just seems kind of intuitive doesn’t it? Until you find out that they – there is something called a – was it a pen order? That it’s basically not warranted, not – does not require a warrant, in fact it’s so common that all the wireless companies have entire departments of dozens of people and charge for this.
Sprint has an open website that law enforcement can go to and get customer’s GPS locations from their phones and they charge a couple of bucks for that, eight million requests between September 2008 and October 2009. They have a web portal for law enforcement. The guy who wrote this went to a conference about the event about this kind of wiretapping.
The Wiretapping, and Interception Industry Conference in Washington D.C. called ISS World Americas; Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception, Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Gathering in the Washington D.C. areas. In October of this year and they we’re talking very openly about the fact that there is a pricelist that every Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile all have a pricelist for things like location, who people are calling, e-mail headers that they sell to anybody in Law Enforcement without a warrant any time they ask.
Mathew Ingram That sounds pretty handy.
Leo Laporte Yeah, wouldn’t that be useful?
Mathew Ingram Yeah.
Leo Laporte They we’re a little – the guy recorded some of these talks and they said you can’t do that, they we’re a little bit – reluctant to have this information revealed. Oh, boy it is an eye opener.
Mathew Ingram And I’m sure Leo you saw the court case in California that said that the police could take all the documents and history and so on from your phone without a warrant?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Mathew Ingram Yeah.
Leo Laporte So…
Mathew Ingram Photos, Four Square check-ins, texts, e-mails?
Leo Laporte They don’t need a warrant.
Mathew Ingram You know.
Leo Laporte So this, you know if you’re carrying around a cell phone with GPS and you’re putting on all these stuff on it. Just to – something you might want to be aware of, it’s pretty much law enforcement anytime they want, can look at this stuff. No warrant just anytime they want.
Mathew Ingram And then it’s going to be fun for sure.
Leo Laporte And they are by the way 8 million request of Sprint alone a year ago, 8 million. The total number of wiretaps that are in this congressional report is in the 100s. That’s because if…
Simon Dingle It gets scary when it gets mobile.
Leo Laporte Yeah, exactly.
Simon Dingle And you tie in location. Did you guys see the – this is kind of an aside, but the donttrack.us websites that DuckDuckGo put up. I mean, it’s an empty Google propaganda. But if anybody is wondering why you should care about this stuff. I think it’s just donttrackus – donttrack.us. And I give an example of what Google knows about an average Google user and what that leads to with third parties and I get scared when it goes mobile and it’s more than just what I’ve been searching for and where I’ve been searching for it. And then it starts to tie in my location, the places I’ve been to and now also the people I’ve been speaking to. I don’t know.
Leo Laporte We know, we knew, I mean, I knew anyway that all of this information was being sent out. The thing that’s been revealed also in this is that all of these law enforcement agencies also get this information from Yahoo!, from AOL, from Google and they have a pricelist too. You know, that – this is how much it’ll cost you if you want this information. We knew this, you click on a herpes search you’re going to get a herpes ad. Of course we knew that.
Mathew Ingram And actually you know what? To be honest, I don’t mind that. I mean, I would much rather than targeted those ads and I got served, you know, an old diaper ad. That’s what…
Leo Laporte I agree.
Simon Dingle Alright. They’re just using the herpes thing as a well, who cares example and then they show how it gets more serious than that with insurance credence of background checks, and the like.
Leo Laporte Right.
Simon Dingle But you know, it’s – as I said [ph] they’ll complete the side (95:37) and perhaps not as scary.
Leo Laporte And worth knowing, but I don’t know what you can do about it. All right, we’re going to end in an up note. This is a video IBM put out for, is it for its 100th anniversary? It’s 100 innovations in a 100 years. What’s cool about it and they really kind of a bring-home how fast this stuff is happening, is that the person who was alive at the time of the innovation introduces the innovation. Before I start playing it and – we won’t play the whole thing, but I’ll just give you a little taste of it. I do want to thank you guys for joining me Mathew Ingram at Mathew at GigaOm.com. Thank you so much for being here we appreciate it.
Mathew Ingram Thanks.
Leo Laporte Enjoy your evening.
Mathew Ingram You too?
Leo Laporte Thank you. Simon Dingle from SimonDingle.com.
Simon Dingle Thank you.
Leo Laporte And the new website is when?
Simon Dingle It’ll go probably later this week at zatech.co.za, so look out for it.
Leo Laporte Zatech.co.za did I say it like a South African?
Simon Dingle Exactly like a South African.
Leo Laporte Thank you everybody. Don’t forget the Macworld Expo is coming up. All five of us are going to gather in San Francisco. Although the last Mac users, it should be so much fun. Apple will not be there but we will. Thursday we’ll be doing MacBreak Weekly from there 11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern Time, iPad today will also shoot, we’ll stream it live in the field as we do an iPad the day from Macworld Expo. And then at 6:30 at the Inter-Continental Hotel in San Francisco very – just around the corner from Moscone Center. We’ll be having a meet up, so come by and say hi to me, Tom, Sarah, and I don’t know Eileen will be there many of the TWiT staff will be there. That’s 6:30 on Thursday the 27, at the Inter-Continental Hotel around the corner from Moscone Center at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Thanks for joining me, we’ll see you next time another TWiT is in the can.
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