Recorded: October 17, 2010
Published: October 17, 2010
TWiT 270 •Previous episode – Next episode
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This is TWiT: This Week in Tech, episode 270 recorded October 17, 2010: Fractal Rock.
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It’s time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show that covers the latest – the week’s tech news, we aren’t giving you the breaking news, we’re kind of chewing it over, mulling it over and explaining what it all means. So I’d like to get on the show people who could actually do that, starting with Harry McCracken from Technologizer, former Editor-in-Chief at PCWorld, right?
Harry McCracken That’s right.
Leo Laporte And he kind of going it on his own, and it sounds like it’s going really well.
Harry McCracken Things have been going so far – like so well so far. I always say this is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the most fun.
Leo Laporte You know, I was talking with a friend, Sarah Lane, who knows – pretty well knows M. G. Siegler and I was talking about blogging; well, let me before I do that, let’s introduce another blogger, but also a real life newspaperman, Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle. He’s at blogs.chron.com/techblog and a regular on the show. Hey, Dwight.
Dwight Silverman Hey, how are you doing, Leo? Nice to see you again, Harry.
Leo Laporte I’m doing great.
Harry McCracken Good to see you, Dwight.
Leo Laporte You guys know each other.
Dwight Silverman Oh yeah, we’ve hung out at CES, we interact on Twitter all the time.
Leo Laporte It’s a – the tech journalist world is a small world. Which is fun, because we all know each other and we get – and you go to conference, that’s what used to great about Comdex, is you’d see people once a year. And it was always so much fun.
Dwight Silverman Although I’m not sure I’d describe in the chaos of the CES pressroom that it’s small world. But it’s more of a compressed world.
Leo Laporte Not anymore – not anymore, yeah that’s true. I was talking with Sarah about her friend M. G. Siegler who writes for TechCrunch. And the world of the newspaperman was – you could take a weekend off. You’d have assignments. You’d have a beat. You didn’t have to work 24x7, right, Dwight? I mean, it’s my imagination anyway. There was a hierarchy, you had copy editors, you had editors, you had an assignment desk; and so you, you – it wasn’t all on your shoulders, was it?
Dwight Silverman Well to a certain extent, you’re always on call. I mean, I’ve – no matter what beat I’ve done, I’ve always been, you know, ready to jump in if something happened.
Leo Laporte Right, yeah but that’s the fun of it. If you’re covering news, when – I remember we had you on and there were tornados or floods going on in Houston.
Dwight Silverman Right.
Leo Laporte And you said, well, you know, act of nature allowing, I’ll be able to do it. That’s fun, though. That’s the fun thing about being a newsperson is – when there’s breaking news, you cover it.
Dwight Silverman That’s right. There’s a certain amount of adrenalin. Although what’s interesting is before the advent of the web, you’d cover it, and what you did appeared the next day in print. And now you do it as it happens. And that’s a very different experience than it was back in the days.
Leo Laporte Well – and that’s what I was observing and I was thinking, boy, I kind of feel for people like M.G. and you too, Harry. Now M.G. works for TechCrunch, but it’s very much like you’re on your own –you don’t have a quota, apparently, at TechCrunch. But boy, if you don’t publish everyday, if you’re not constantly on the story, you’re going to be shunted aside. And Harry, you’re pretty much the guy at Technologizer.
Harry McCracken Well, I do have a few other folks who write for me. But I spent most of my career doing monthly computer magazines, which are the worst possible training ground for the web. Because you know, we literally would work in – sometimes for six months…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken From the time you came up with an idea until the time we shipped it out of the door. And we made everything perfect and you just don’t do that on the web. The quality comes more from the speed and from evolving and refining things than having them be absolutely flawless…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken …so it’s been a great education.
Leo Laporte Well, M.G. and Sarah took the day off yesterday to go to a concert on Treasure Island in San Francisco. And I knew – I could just feel how anxious M.G. would be that – what if something happens, I’m out of touch, I’ve got to be here – that – nowadays, being a blogger is 24x7 job.
Harry McCracken Not too long after I started my site, it was Labor Day in 2008; and the news leaked that Google was doing the Chrome browser. And that was perfect for bloggers, because the people who have real day jobs working at large media companies had the day off. And so they did not leap on the story of Chrome, which was pretty huge. And even though it was theoretically a holiday for me, I did leap on it. And that was one of the – kind of a seminal moment, the start of my site, because I had the story earlier than most people, simply because I don’t get to take the day off.
Leo Laporte There is got to be a burnout factor though too, right?
Harry McCracken It’s a challenge. My goal is not to write the most stories, just to write stories that people care about. And I think ultimately, that’s a better path to success. It’s also a better path to not killing yourself. If you just try to grind out 30 stories a day, you will kill yourself and the stories won’t be very good.
Leo Laporte Right. I mean I just feel like – not to slime Mike Arrington, but anybody who runs a big tech blog is just kind of going to burn those kids out as fast as they can, and then the next group comes in.
Harry McCracken [Indiscernible] (6:42) does a really good job by the way of…
Leo Laporte He is so great.
Harry McCracken …doing a lot of stuff but doing really good stories. He’s one of the few people who seems to be able to do both.
Leo Laporte I agree. He’s a great writer, he’s very insightful. And he publishes – not just everyday, but you feel like he’s publishing every hour. Like there’s – if there’s a story, he’s always on top of it.
Dwight Silverman He’s on top of it.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman He also – you know – I just checked his Twitter page and it’s no longer there and – well, maybe it was somewhere else. But he used to have a tagline under his parislemon name that said “blogger for life.”
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman And that’s – that sums him up pretty good.
Leo Laporte Yeah, he might have moved from parislemon to mgsiegler, I don’t know. No, he’s still there.
Dwight Silverman He’s still there, yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, yeah he’s still there. Anyway, I don’t know how we got into this, I just thought – it was – how much has changed. And Dwight, you’re a good example of somebody who’s had to move from news. And actually both of you are, moved from newspaper or magazine, reported to this new fast-paced world of the blog, and it’s very different.
Now here’s a guy who hasn’t changed a thing. He’s just, he’s the same old curmudgeon he always was. John C. Dvorak. Welcome.
John C. Dvorak Hello, everybody!
Leo Laporte [Laughter] John, in a way you – I mean because you wrote so many columns – a column a day at one point – you are in a way you are kind of a proto…
John C. Dvorak
can do, I can do a daily column. That’s not a problem.
Leo Laporte Yeah. You’re kind of a protoblogger. I mean you were – and unlike a newspaper guy who had editors and a hierarchy, you’ve always been kind of – on your own. Nobody tells John C. Dvorak what to do.
John C. Dvorak No, generally. I mean they will kill stuff once in a while.
Leo Laporte Really?
John C. Dvorak Well...
Leo Laporte Come on.
John C. Dvorak Know what my audience is and you know it’s unusual. But it has happened in the past.
Leo Laporte You know it, yeah. Have you ever had a story where you knew it was factual, but they just didn’t have the guts to publish it?
John C. Dvorak No, not really. I mean I’ve had the incidents where – when I was writing for Forbes, for example, which has layers of edits. And I actually wrote for The New York Times freelance, some freelance articles. And you have to sit there with the editor, who’s going through the database to make sure that your usage is okay, that somebody else has done it before. I remember doing this one article and I used the term ‘hitting on,’ referring to the action at Comdex, where the show goers were hitting on these booth babes. And so the editor and I are going, oh, hitting on, hitting on, I don’t know if that could be used.
Leo Laporte That’s very colloquial.
John C. Dvorak So she goes into the database and says, oh, bonanza, Frank Rich has used the term, you’re good.
Dwight Silverman Validated by Franck Rich.
Leo Laporte But I’m wondering who’s checking Frank Rich? I guess nobody at some point.
John C. Dvorak He could – he could say whatever he wants.
Leo Laporte He can do whatever…
John C. Dvorak He’s like the definitive guy. If he writes hitting on, they put it in.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak I don’t know.
Leo Laporte There’s an online newspaper, just checking to see if I could find the link as Jeff Jarvis had this. There’s a newspaper that is online that puts at the bottom of every story a correction form.
John C. Dvorak I’ve seen this.
Leo Laporte So that, I mean, how do you feel about that as a writer that – I mean, it seems to me that’s actually a good use of the web. Right?
John C. Dvorak I think it sucks.
Leo Laporte You don’t like that?
John C. Dvorak No. I don’t think we’ve to do bookkeeping. These are articles like the guys just said a minute ago, you know, you’re writing, you don’t have all these layers of edit, now we’re going to be bookie person? Oh, I used ‘the’ instead of ‘a’ and I use ‘and’ instead of ‘a’, I mean where does it end? I mean I’ve gotten into arguments about this. The great thing about the web is that you made a mistake, you change it!
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak I don’t know – what difference does it make whether it’s documented that the earlier version ten minutes ago was a little different or had different wordage. This happens in the newspaper business with the three star and the bulldog edition. They don’t put necessarily – they would change an article. Yeah if somebody is defamed and they have to put a correction, ‘this person is not a pervert, we’re sorry we said that.’ But the fact of the matter is you don’t – when you go from one edition to the other, you don’t just say what you’ve changed. Sometimes the story is not even in the second edition. I don’t like it.
Dwight Silverman Comments under stories are de facto correction forms.
John C. Dvorak Exactly. Absolutely. Exactly.
Dwight Silverman It’s one of the reasons why they may be doing that is to keep the corrections stuff out of the comments.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman That may be like a diffusion mechanism to keep corrections of bad wording and so forth out of there. But one of the things if you ever could…?
Harry McCracken Dwight, I’ve talked to editors about this and that’s not the reason they’re doing it. They’re doing it because they think it needs to be on the record that a mistake – whether an error in punctuation was made.
Dwight Silverman Do the comments, do the corrections show up automatically or they edit first?
Leo Laporte I don’t know. I’m trying to find this link and I can’t…
John C. Dvorak I don’t know.
Leo Laporte I can’t find it. It’s an interesting…
John C. Dvorak All I know is that I don’t like this idea.
Leo Laporte I stand not corrected, says John C. Dvorak. So…
Dwight Silverman So that if you make a mistake, you’ll see it in the comments. And I think that’s – that’s probably good enough.
Leo Laporte Man, there’s a lot of places they turn off the comments because they don’t want to face this challenge, right? It’s – look, no matter what, it’s a difficult transition from this – you know – Steven Levy says, ‘I do slow journalism.’ Like slow food? That’s the new slow food movement? He says, ‘I do slow journalism.’ He does, because his books take – his most recent book took seven years. That’s really slow journalism.
John C. Dvorak You know, a lot of – I was listening to one of the sports talk shows and they have a couple of writers that talk to each other. Pardon the interruption. And one of them said that he hates this whole idea of blogging and putting stuff out there without editors going over it and other editors going over it, he’s just not used to that, and he doesn’t like the idea and he doesn’t want to do it. And I can see people getting into that. But it’s being too dependent on your editors. The weird thing about this is that writers I think genetically complain bitterly. I always did, even when I was an editor. But writers complain bitterly about editors dominating everything and ruining their copy and ruining their jokes and doing all these bad things, and when they’re given the opportunity to do this straight up writing without a bunch of middlemen, and then they won’t do it and they complain!
Leo Laporte What about fact checking though? I mean The New Yorker’s famous for its very high quality fact checking, on even the silliest little trivial details. And I think that that’s what this newspaper that Jeff was talking about was using this form for was as a fact check form. Do you think that’s inappropriate use? I’m not talking about punctuation, but just saying ‘hey that’s incorrect’.
John C. Dvorak I don’t know about it.
Harry McCracken I think that probably if you’ve got readers, that like Dwight said, if you have a comments field and smart readers, they will fact check you better than any professional fact checker could ever…
John C. Dvorak I agree.
Harry McCracken Because no matter how good a fact – a single fact checker is, they have to call other people and verify things…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken And if you have thousands of readers, you have experts on everything. And my readers certainly, when I get something wrong, usually within a couple of minutes they chastise me and correct me.
Leo Laporte I’d agree. I think the – while I am far from perfect and I get things wrong all the time, because we have this active chatroom and this active participation, I think we almost always get it right eventually. Because…
John C. Dvorak And let me say something about fact checking. And I think the guys will back me up on this if they’ve done any writing for the national press. When I started off, fact checkers were everywhere. And they – specially throughout the 1980s. By the time the 1980s ended and the collapse had already begun, and it really – before the web, the newspapers and magazine collapse had begun, thanks to television mostly. The fact checkers were the first guys to get fired. It’s like firing the makeup people at Tech TV, they were the first to go.
Leo Laporte And they were. And the result is, as you see not far from salubrious.
John C. Dvorak And at some point, there were no fact checking – there was no – the editors would a little minor fact checking and say ‘I remember this and I –’ but there was no –
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak There used to be serious fact checking where they would go out and call people. That died at least 20 years ago.
Leo Laporte I found the link. This is Jay Rosen actually who put this on his Twitter. And it’s the Litchfield County, Connecticut Register Citizen. So it’s a very small local paper. But they say since launching an easy to use online fact check form in May, readers have made well over 100 reports to us about local new stories containing incorrect information, lacked context to the point of being misleading, or missed quote “the real point” end of quote of the story altogether. That’s pretty – for a small paper, small town paper that cannot afford a fact checker or probably even very good editors, that’s probably not a bad idea.
Harry McCracken Well this again is misleading, because nobody has fact checkers anymore.
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken Nobody.
Dwight Silverman So do they have comments under their story?
Leo Laporte Yes, they do but they also have a special form. And I think you’re probably right, Dwight, that this was just to get the fact checking out of the comments and into a fact check form. That says tell us what was wrong, title of article, email address.
Dwight Silverman I think it’s kind of to separate them out.
Leo Laporte I don’t think it’s a bad thing. But I think you’re right, I think – Harry, that the comments really – that’s what comments ultimately do so well, is balance an article.
Harry McCracken There are still a few fact checkers out there. I just recently started writing for Time, and for online, for time.com, I am my own fact checker. But I have something in the print issue this coming week and there are fact-checkers involved when it goes on paper at Time. I also wrote something for Discover recently and got fact checked for that as well. But they have to say, I laid off the fact checkers at PCWorld quite a long time ago. So John is quite right in a lot of cases, they went away long time ago. They were not – fact checking is dangerous, because if you know somebody’s is going to be checking every fact for you, you might get sloppy if you know you’re working without a net, you’re ultimately more likely to get things right.
Leo Laporte A lot of TKs in there. TK.
Harry McCracken I don’t think PCWorld got massively more inaccurate once we started telling the editors and the writers that it actually was their responsibility to be correct, which kind of was not the message we gave them when we had a couple of fact checkers on staff.
John C. Dvorak I think he’s right, which is a reverse effect that you’d expect it to get worse when it actually gets better. And it didn’t hurt that Google and the internet came along and can be kind of a quasi – because sometimes you’ll – the real danger isn’t so much like you’re writing something up and feel that may be there’s couple of things you don’t know about, you’re going to look it up on Google and you can actually fact check yourself by looking it up again, in other words following more than one source. The real problem and the problem I’ve always had occasionally, rare, but it happens, it happens to every writer. You swear you knew a fact.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak To be solid and you don’t even think to fact check it, because the guy’s name is spelled with a ‘B’.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak You know, and there’s no ‘B’ in his name.
Leo Laporte I do that all the time. Of course, I’m live. So it’s always a thought process. But I so – and sometimes I’ll hedge my statements if I’m not sure of it, but if I’m sure of it, I’ll emphasize it and that’s – can very easily bite you in the ass.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it happens. And you of course, find out about it pretty quickly in the comments and you scramble to correct it.
Leo Laporte Right, right.
John C. Dvorak And of course the good gag – I don’t know if Dwight ever does this. I do this on the blog because it’s kind of funny. You get somebody with a long-winded explanation of why something is wrong in the blog posting and you go back and change it and you do nothing else. So this is a dirty trick that bloggers do constantly. So the guy who has the comment, he looks like an idiot, because there’s nothing – it doesn’t reflect what the post looks like.
Leo Laporte And then there’s what Molly Wood calls the literal net. Where – well now, I’m sorry, in episode 232 of Star Trek, it was very obvious that the nuts and bolts were all screwed from left to right, not right to left, you should have known that.
Dwight Silverman Well, I think it’s good to give your commenters credit, because it gives them some props for checking it. And also, they may come in and be – may come at you kind of angry and with that chip on their shoulder. And when you correct it and say, ‘hey, thanks, I appreciate you keeping me honest and leading me to right information,’ they kind of go ‘oh!’
Leo Laporte Yeah. Yeah.
John C. Dvorak I mostly do that, Dwight; except that every once in a while, there’s like a – what you would define as a-hole.
Dwight Silverman A a-troll?
Leo Laporte A-troll a-hole.
John C. Dvorak An a-troll a-hole that you don’t really think…
Leo Laporte I know, but Dwight’s right. You can almost always turn an a-hole to a friend if you…
John C. Dvorak It depends.
Leo Laporte Handle them right.
John C. Dvorak There are guys that are permanent a-holes online, they are very obvious. And you know that.
Leo Laporte The only reason I bring this up is because I wonder if we’re better off or worse off in this new – I can tell you who’s worse off is the reporter who works for a blog who’s just like busting his nut all the time probably for very little pay. But…
John C. Dvorak Harry’s got it right, Harry’s got it right. You do the stories that people really care about. You don’t just do something necessarily because you have to be on top of it. I have editor duties as well as writer duties and some management duties. And so I can’t do every story. So I try to pick very carefully tech blog ones that – I think the majority of people will be interested in or that are generally just the most interesting. And Harry does the same thing. He focuses on the writing and does a lot more.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s true and in a world where information is kind of less value to base because it’s so widely available – it becomes what’s valuable is judgment, perception, choice is editing.
Dwight Silverman Right and that’s one of the reason why I do my link posts. The link posts are kind of – here’s everything that happened in the tech news and you can come here and find people who are writing in detail about it and probably are smarter about it than I am and then I’ll pick one or two and focus on those and I think that’s kind of – it’s the Jeff Jarvis, do what you do best and link to the rest.
Leo Laporte Yes, right.
Harry McCracken For the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of posts which are maybe one to three sentences long.
Leo Laporte I know the status.
Harry McCracken They are just there to hand off the reader to somebody who’s done something that’s long and interesting and says at least as well as I have recurred and that were actually well, my posts tend to be either really short and simply say here’s something fun, elsewhere go read or I’ll do hundreds of words in a lot of cases.
Leo Laporte That’s what blogs used to be, right? It’s link – really a collection of links.
Harry McCracken And it’s really liberating to know that you don’t need to try to do everything, you just need to do the things where you actually can add value…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken And other than that just hand people off.
Leo Laporte We’re going to talk about the new Windows Phone. Harry was there. You were at the event and also a big Facebook event. There’s been a lot going on this week. There’s lots to talk about. I’m so glad we’ve got this panel. What a prestigious panel of experts here: Harry McCracken, former editor-in-chief of PCWorld, now at technologizer.com; Dwight Silverman from the Houston Chronicle and the tech blog at blogs.chron.com; John C. Dvorak, who is of course John C. Dvorak and you need no introduction. What were you doing there? Was that a little hand gesture? Yes, okay.
Harry McCracken Aye aye, captain.
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Windows Mobile, you were at the announcement, Harry, I heard you asked a question, I think, yes?
Harry McCracken That’s right. Actually I think you heard me at the Bing…
Leo Laporte Facebook, Facebook.
Harry McCracken I was at the Bing event which was also last week but I also went to New York to the Windows Phone 7.
Leo Laporte You’ve been – you’ve been getting all around, that’s great. So which shall we start with? Which you think is more important: Windows Phone 7 or Bing, Facebook?
Harry McCracken Well, to me Windows Phone 7 is fascinating just because it actually is new and an event that’s not a wannabe, it’s not just a carbon copy of the iPhone or Android but it’s also getting into the game rather late at least just seems to getting in later I think we are probably still ultimately really early in the history of smartphones and I’m just really curious how easy it is for anybody to get traction with a new platform. Actually I think it’s quite good for me user interface standpoint. It’s to me better than Android and I can certainly see somebody walking into a phone store and it’s not implausible that somebody might prefer this user interface to the iPhone. But Microsoft was kind of asleep at the wheel for years and it’s kind of worst-case scenario, it’s kind of Zune all over again. Zune was always a good product a year after you wanted that, so they came up with a hard drive player, once a world that moved down to Flash and a Flash player, once the world that moved down to touch screens and a touch screen player with no apps when the world had moved on to apps and that’s the worst-case scenario but the best case scenario is there still is room for at least a third party platform.
Leo Laporte Yes, John is saying argh. I can tell John is not impressed. What do you think?
John C. Dvorak I thought about this phone for a while. I mean I think it’s probably a great phone. The problem is I think Harry is kind of touch on which is – they’re asleep at the wheel, they’re way behind all the other players. It’s a little…
Leo Laporte But you – you’ve had a very low…
John C. Dvorak It looks so a little clunky. What?
Leo Laporte You’ve had a very low opinion on Microsoft’s ability to innovate for some time now.
John C. Dvorak No, it’s almost forever since they started using the word in old days. And since they started using the word innovate, so when you start using the word innovate that was the giveaway.
Dwight Silverman John, have you actually tried one, have you actually played one
Leo Laporte Have you tried it, John?
John C. Dvorak Sorry?
Leo Laporte Have you tried it?
John C. Dvorak No, I haven’t gotten hold of one yet; I’m going to trying to. I’m sure it’s fine. It just that as a phone, I’m sure it does everything you wanted it to do. There’s probably a few glitches, I am not more than a little amused by the fact that it hasn’t got cut and paste which seems to have been the main complaint about the iPhone when it first came out and that people harped in, harped in, harped on, cut and paste, cut and paste. Here we are what four years later? Microsoft brings out a phone with no cut and paste.
Leo Laporte Well, they are at great pains at the announcement too say, well, we’ll have it early 2011.
John C. Dvorak Why didn’t they bring it out now? How hard can it be?
Leo Laporte Good question. I don’t know. What do you think, Dwight?
Dwight Silverman Well, it’s – one of the things that Microsoft has said about Windows Phone mobile – Windows Phone 7 is that there is a huge number of people yet who have not picked up on smartphones and they see this as a lure to aim at people who are still using feature phones. The problem is that they are still marketing it with a pricing in that is typical of Android and the iPhone is still going to be a $200 phone and the various data plans and one of the reasons people are still holding off and holding onto their feature phones is that they don’t have those added costs and I think if you are trying – if Microsoft really wanted to lure that huge base of people who haven’t bit yet, they would lower the price both of the hardware and work with the carriers make the data plans less.
I have tried Windows Phone 7 and I really like it. I think it has – it’s very, very appealing and Microsoft now understands that part of the appeal of a smartphone is not just what it does, but kind of there’s an emotional appeal to it. So it has almost a sense of whimsy and a very much friendliness that was completely missing from the really geeky Windows Mobile 6.5 which was so computer-ee. This is – this is very attractive and I think the masses are going to be really interested.
John C. Dvorak How – I disagree with that but how does it compare to the Kin?
Leo Laporte To the Kin?
Harry McCracken Well, that’s amazing that the same company came out with both products in the same year. The Kin was just totally out of contact and out of touch with anything anybody would want and Windows Phone 7 is way better than that. And I can’t quite see why they couldn’t figure out that it was not worth doing the Kin and they should have just put even more effort into getting Windows Phone 7 out quickly.
Leo Laporte Harry and Dwight, correct me, this was my impression, I haven’t touched it yet but just looking at what I’ve seen and looking at the ads, it looked like one thing that was very different from Android and iPhone was that it’s not so app-centric. Android and iPhone really – you live in the apps; you don’t do anything that’s not inside an app. It looks like Windows Phone 7 – of course they don’t have as many apps but look like the operating system was very much more foreground.
Harry McCracken A little bit. I mean they integrate with Facebook and your contacts from various places and you can check status updates and so forth without going to an app.
Leo Laporte All without an app, I mean it’s all just a tile, right?
Harry McCracken The Kin also did, and the challenge there is it’s how to be as good at doing Facebook as Facebook I sat doing Facebook…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken And I think Microsoft has said they are not doing this instead of apps, they are doing it just so if you want to get in and get out quickly which is a line they’ve used a lot, you don’t need to launch the app.
Leo Laporte And that was the big picture. In fact let me show a little bit of the – one of the ads for the new Windows Phone 7. These ads feature people staring into their phone and kind of missing out on life. Here’s a guy at the beach, a girl in the shower, woman running, a massage therapist who’s looking at her phone instead of the massage, a guy who is on a seesaw and his poor kid’s stranded, a woman saying look at me and her boyfriend is busy looking at the phone, sharks coming and he doesn’t know and then he drops the phone in the urinal. He’s on a rollercoaster, she runs into somebody, he sits on somebody, she walks into somebody, she falls down the stairs, he’s at a wedding but she isn’t, surgeons looking at phones.
I think this is a very odd campaign.
John C. Dvorak Well, like you said, I actually did and call him about this ad, and like you said Leo, and I quoted you in this column, you should pay more attention. I quoted you in this column saying only Microsoft would highlight its competition in an advertisement.
Leo Laporte Yes, you don’t see a Windows Phone in that ad.
John C. Dvorak No, you are seeing the script. But what's really kind of sick about that ad is the fact that Microsoft doesn’t recognize that what they are exhibiting in that ad, which I believe is true, it’s a bunch of people preoccupied with their phones and we see it all the time is that this is a major societal trend, they are not going to buck it because – I mean people aren’t – they don’t – people aren’t using this phone so they can get in and get out and get on with what…
Leo Laporte They are engaged – the phone is engaging them, it’s consuming them. That seems like the phone is doing its job.
John C. Dvorak The phone – in terms of marketing.
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak So Microsoft is missing the point.
Dwight Silverman The Windows Phone 7 interface is pretty engaging in and of itself and I can see people still walking around like this, you know, staring at the phone, it’s a lot of fun, but what Microsoft is also saying is, you know our phone isn’t as interesting…
Leo Laporte ‘Yes, you’ll be glad to stop looking at our phone.’
John C. Dvorak ‘Our phone sucks’ is basically the message.
Leo Laporte I don’t get it, why is Microsoft so bad at advertising? I mean first the [ph] Turow (31:52), and then this.
John C. Dvorak Oh, I know why. They have no vice-president or executive in-charge of all – there is no marketing VP, there is nobody head of marketing, there is not anybody you can see, there is not like a CMO, there is no chief marketing officer. There is a bunch of little wannabe marketing people and they all have their own little niches, there is nobody there, they don’t know how to market anything.
Leo Laporte On the other hand I think that this will resonate with people, they are everybody sick of the morons walking in front of traffic because they are so looking at their phone, I mean, that is also a cultural phenomenon. Maybe they’ve decided, well, this is so annoying.
John C. Dvorak We are going to buck the trend. Stupid.
Harry McCracken I think they are catering to non-phone geeks. I mean if you look at the percentage of Americans who have smartphones even today, a pretty high percentage of them are people who are kind of tech-nerds. And Dwight is right, they are going to have to convince people to spend $200 plus $80, whatever a month, which for a lot of people are still a pretty high price tag, and I they think they are looking at the great untapped market of people who are just not doing these all yet.
Leo Laporte But that’s an interesting market to go after.
John C. Dvorak That’s the market that’s using a phone with a dial-pad on it.
Leo Laporte No, but they are using…
John C. Dvorak A regular old-fashioned cheap phone…
Leo Laporte They are using Razor phones or…
John C. Dvorak Yes, they don’t want these phones.
Harry McCracken These phones, they got for free.
Leo Laporte So is that in a way Microsoft is saying well we really can’t compete against the Android and iPhone so we are going to go after the unwatched masses who don’t want that phone?
John C. Dvorak I’m reminded of a story. So my all-time favorite product was this product that WordStar came out with, which was – had some crummy name, is easy word, I can’t remember the exact name of the product, but it was just a brain-dead word processor that was just a horrible piece of crap. And I asked them about what their marketing theory was on this, who is going to buy it. This is – this product is designed for people who don’t like computers and don’t like word-processing.
Leo Laporte Great!
John C. Dvorak You can see the logic. I was just like dumbfounded that – so in other words you want to sell to people that probably don’t even have a computer.
Leo Laporte You’re trying to sell it to people who don’t want it.
John C. Dvorak Yes, no, it wasn’t WordStar 2000, it was called the easy – it had some stupid name.
Leo Laporte Yes, well, not remembered obviously.
John C. Dvorak Yes, well I can – I’ve written about it couple of times.
Leo Laporte So Microsoft is trying to sell a smartphone to people who don’t want smartphones.
Harry McCracken I think they are but I mean to be fair I think that this platform does stand a shot at being competitive, but it certainly is not overly dumb down, they are still catching up, they don’t have cut and paste…
Leo Laporte It looks sexy to me and I’m not offended by the…
Harry McCracken They don’t have multi-tasking for third-party apps, but I can see people are pretty serious about phones, finding this appealing especially if they ramp up the third-party apps pretty quickly.
Leo Laporte So there are nine models – I do have to give Microsoft a little bit of a hard time because they – I don’t know what they look at, I was watching the stream Harry, but they had a hatch open up on the stage and then a table kind of shakily, like somebody is going, rolling this table in front of Steve Ballmer and then they kind of stops and kind of vibrates to a halt, and there was nine phones in front of him.
John C. Dvorak By the way, Leo, can I stop you for a second?
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak I think your coverage of this event was to be honest about it was Pulitzer quality. And I’m not kidding. It’s that you had the whole event, you had commentary – running commentary while the event was going on, I thought it was a beautiful piece.
Leo Laporte Thank you.
John C. Dvorak And there was a lot of people watching it but I don’t think a lot of people appreciated that what you did, the way you did it was absolutely outstanding. I want to give you some kudos, Leo.
Leo Laporte Thank you. It’s very nice of you. This is kind of how we want – look, this is where I want to take the network which is live coverage of breaking events. We never covered a Microsoft event yet. So I thought well, I’ll get up. I don’t know why they had it at 9:30 Eastern Time, 6:30 Microsoft time in the morning. But I was there. Harry obviously took it even more seriously. He flew out. Had I known, Harry, I would have gotten you on because it was – but this is how I think we’d like to do this from now on. We’d probably do it on Wednesday with the Apple coverage, which is kind of the Mystery Science Theater 2000 coverage which is – we are just sitting in the audience watching and snarking.
John C. Dvorak That was funny.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it was fun. And I think it is – the idea is that you get to watch the event. And of course, if you want to watch the event, you can watch the StreamClean, you don’t need us, but to get some background as you are watching the event. So that’s our goal. I don’t know if it was the best thing we’ve ever done. But I think that is where we…
John C. Dvorak It’s one of the – I really enjoyed it.
Leo Laporte Thank you, John.
Dwight Silverman So, Leo, on Wednesday there is the Apple event, the Back to the Mac event that they are going to do. And I haven’t heard if they are live-streaming that or not. Do you know?
Leo Laporte I don’t know. I hope they do.
Harry McCracken They haven’t said yet.
Dwight Silverman They did the last one.
Leo Laporte They did the last one, which I think was a response to the fact that the room is full of live bloggers and you just might as well – if – I mean Apple – I think the idea for Apple was initially they did stream initially. Then they stopped a few years ago. And I think their idea was ‘we want to control it so that when we put out the video it’s nicely produced’. And then they realized we can’t control it because there is too many live bloggers doing it anyway. And then there is this moron, Leo, who’ve actually turned his laptop around and streamed it. So we better just stream it ourselves, kind of preemptively.
Harry McCracken I hope they do stream it.
Leo Laporte I do too.
Harry McCracken When you are – when they don’t stream it, the most important thing I do is kind of TDS, which is to report price tags and exact specs and so forth, which is kind of boring. I’d much rather that Apple took care of that stuff and that I could do commentary.
Leo Laporte Exactly.
Harry McCracken And analysis and the stuff you’re not going to get otherwise.
Leo Laporte Exactly. Yeah, I agree with you. So you’ll sit in the audience. You are one of the live bloggers. You’ll sit in the audience. You’ll live blog it. And people will refresh Technologizer over and over again. People like --
Harry McCracken Actually they don’t have to. I use CoveritLive.
Leo Laporte I love CoveritLive. Great app.
Harry McCracken And you just come once and the stuff slides by.
Leo Laporte Although it broke down during the iPad announcement, didn’t it?
Harry McCracken Yes. Yeah, hopefully that was a learning experience for them. They have had good luck with it since.
Leo Laporte They had so many people covering – using CoveritLive. So live blogging, you know, gdgt does it. Engadget does it. Gizmodo does it. Harry does it. So what I do is I get a dashboard of them and all and that’s what we’ll do on Wednesday. I have Andy Ihnatko who is actually in the event. Alex Lindsay, Tom Merritt, and I will be sitting in the studio. Either there will be a stream which – we didn’t – we asked Apple for permission to rebroadcast the stream, what we do with Microsoft, and they said no.
So what we did is we kind of watched and hoped that others were watching the stream and then listening to us, doing their own mix down of the two. So we’ll either do that or we’ll watch Harry and we’ll report what Harry is saying. And then we’ll do MacBreak Weekly right after. I don’t think this one is not at Yerba Buena Center. It’s not at Moscone West. It’s at 1 Infinite Loop in the Town Hall which only holds I think 250, 350 people. So it’s a small event.
As usual, Apple gets a ton of press. Microsoft and Facebook and Cisco, all three of them had events – was it on Monday – all three of them had – or when was it, Wednesday – it was one day when everybody had an event and nobody knew these events ahead of time. There was no buzz. Apple, one – all they have to do is send an invitation out to 150 people one week before and the whole blogsphere abuzz with ‘what can it be?’
John C. Dvorak They are complete idiots. Let’s face reality.
Leo Laporte You think they are idiots? I think they are great. They are getting all these free press.
John C. Dvorak No, I am talking about these guys who nobody knows about the events.
Leo Laporte Oh, the guys who don’t do the Microsoft – the Apple.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, they’re missing a bet.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I know they are idiots. The other guys, yeah, no, Apple, you can’t criticize them for anything, they’re like geniuses.
Leo Laporte They send an invitation that has an Apple, a little lion peeking around the corner, that’s all they say. That’s all they need to say and everybody is going, well, I think they’re going to do a touchscreen Air.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I know, it gets – nothing but ink – of the speculation ink, it’s unbelievable.
Leo Laporte Is there a potential negative because if all they are doing is releasing details about an operating system that won’t be out for six months and if that’s all they do, is there a backlash?
John C. Dvorak It hasn’t happened yet. Hey, by the way, Leo, can I just back up a little bit about the Microsoft event, the one that you --
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak Who is the AT&T CEO?
Leo Laporte Ralph de la Vega.
John C. Dvorak Did anybody find this guy a – the little interesting? I mean, now I’m with AT&T, I am the CEO.
Leo Laporte You think it’s the pencil moustache, was that what did it for you?
John C. Dvorak What the hell was that guy?
Leo Laporte Hello, I’m Ralph de la Vega. Well, it’s interesting because AT&T has already kind of telegraphed that they are going to lose exclusivity of the iPhone sooner or later. And I think we all agree it’s probably January. The Wall Street Journal is basically floating Apple’s own leak that Verizon will have the iPhone by then. So AT&T has got to play the field now and I think it’s interesting that they are the ones who are going to launch the Windows Phone. They are going to launch the Samsung Focus on November 8th. That’s the one by the way everybody agrees is the one to get. Have you played with that one, guys?
Harry McCracken I played with all three at the event on Monday. There is the Focus. There is an HTC with slide out Dolby speakers.
Leo Laporte Which is bizarre? It’s thick and it has surround sound speakers. Come on.
Harry McCracken It’s a little clunky looking. And then there is an LG with a slide out keyboard, although it is kind of unclear to what degree Windows Phone 7 is designed for landscape as opposed to portrait mode. There are some things that even though the keyboard is horizontal the user interface is not.
Leo Laporte Oh, it doesn’t rotate around?
Harry McCracken Not – in a lot of places it does but not everywhere you’d want it to be, and I think you are right, the Samsung is the cool one. It has an OLED screen. So the colors are --
Leo Laporte 4 inch.
Harry McCracken Really intense.
Leo Laporte 4 inch AMOLED, super AMOLED.
Harry McCracken Nice big screen.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Harry McCracken It’s relatively thin. The industrial design looks pretty good.
Leo Laporte That’s going to be available first. And then I guess the other two will be available later on AT&T. T-Mobile also has 2 models, an HTC model and a Dell model later in November. All of them will be $200 with the usual 2-year contract on AT&T or T-Mobile; no phones for Sprint or Verizon, no CDMA, but presumably 2011, right?
Harry McCracken I think Sprint has said they are doing it and Verizon says they are kind of interested but no details.
Dwight Silverman I think Microsoft has said that Verizon and Sprint will have it.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman I think --
Harry McCracken Yes, they are still working on the CDMA technology --
Leo Laporte Next year, yeah, right.
Dwight Silverman Now there is one interesting and kind of funny thing that Microsoft did, when they had – when they were telling how – what a good game device this is. They are clearly going after --
Leo Laporte Xbox LIVE, yes.
Dwight Silverman That same – right, and one of the things that they did in some of their marketing was they had the icon for the Angry Birds and Rovio came out and said, no, we don’t have a plan to do an Angry Birds version.
Leo Laporte Now, I talked to Paul Thurrott about this. And he said, well, it was a third-party that created this ad and they just snipped out icons without really kind of thinking about it. And Microsoft – this is a case where, John, you are right, a CMO would have been all over this, would have said, wait a minute, do you have permission for these icons, or a fact checker maybe, and Rovio was quick to tweet no. But on the other hand if the Phone is a strong platform, that Rovio has already got Angry Birds, in fact a huge success Angry Birds for Android, it came out this week. And they didn’t offer it on the – oddly enough they didn’t offer it on the Android Marketplace. They offered it on the GetJar marketplace, and immediately brought the GetJar server down. So they moved it over to Google’s Android Marketplace and they are claiming one million downloads of Angry Birds in the first day.
Dwight Silverman Did they leave it free on the Android Marketplace, Leo?
Leo Laporte It’s free. It’s ad supported. It’s got AdMob ads in it, which I’m not – I’d prefer to pay $1.99 and I have the ads to be honest. But I think they are doing an experiment, because it is not free but it is ad free on the Apple platform, it’s free ad supported on the Android platform. It’s an interesting experiment. I think these guys are pretty sharp. They have made a lot of money too because they have got an iPad app that’s also the number one app on the iPad.
So, all right, let’s talk about Facebook and Bing. And then, John, you’ll be happy to know that Yahoo! is for sale again.
John C. Dvorak Yes, well, actually I wrote about it in the Friday MarketWatch column.
Leo Laporte I know you did. Of course you did. But who would have thunk it?
John C. Dvorak I think it’s becoming a joke.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s just – it’s kind of like one of those stories that just doesn’t die, ever. But before we get to that, you may smoke them if you’ve got them, gentlemen, because I want to talk a little bit about squarespace.com. No, you can’t smoke. You are underage.
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One of the things that Squarespace does it’s a combination of hosting and software. So the Squarespace folks, they have got really sophisticated Java based hosting solution that is just guaranteed to give you bandwidth, no matter what happens. I mean I have never been able to bring a Squarespace site down. We’ve aimed all the big guns at the TWiT army at it and nothing.
But they also have the best content management solution on top of it. And one way to tell how good Squarespace is, is to go to the squarespace.com site, squarespace.com/twit, and take a look at the examples. These are sites both blogs, photography portfolios, businesses that people have created using the Squarespace platform. And unlike other solutions, no two Squarespace sites look alike. You start with their great Squarespace templates but you are completely able to customize so that that Squarespace site reflects you.
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All right, you were also, Harry, in fact you even asked a question. That’s how I knew you were there at the – kind of it was a surprise, we were doing one of our shows. And my producer Eileen Rivera comes running and says, they are streaming something from – on the Facebook page with Microsoft. And I thought, oh, my God, has Microsoft bought Facebook? Well, they already have a 5 --
Harry McCracken They already own a chunk of it.
Leo Laporte Yeah, 5% stake in it. And this was a Facebook Bing thing. Is it a big deal or is it a minor thing?
Harry McCracken No, I think it’s a medium sized deal in terms of the benefit now. Now if you search on Bing, it will do a module in a lot of cases, it shows stuff your friend liked and whatever you searched for. So if you searched for colors and your friends have given a thumbs up, the article’s about cars somewhere, you might see those. You’ll see restaurant reviews they liked and so forth. If you searched for a name, it will try to look at your network of friends and their friends to get you the person you were searching for, especially if it’s a name that multiple people have.
Leo Laporte So it’s social. It’s that kind of buzz word, social search, where your search is applied against your social graph, your friends, and the result that comes out has additional information because of what your friends like and use and so forth.
Harry McCracken I think the long term potential is more interesting because the better they get at kind of weaving this into how they figure out whether something is relevant to you, the more interesting it is. One thing they talked about that sounds interesting which they are not doing yet is if you search for restaurants and they look at Facebook places to know which of your friends have actually checked in at a restaurant, they – well, if that friend has actually been to that restaurant they’d probably know more about it than somebody who hasn’t and so that person’s opinion gets more important. So I find the general idea of integrating social stuff into search really exciting. And what they have actually done so far is interesting but that’s not transcendent.
Leo Laporte Any privacy concerns with this?
Harry McCracken Yes, I mean, a lot of the questions in the audience were about that. Basically, it’s turned on by default. It’s not something you need to opt into but they kind of do a balloon the first five times you go to Bing that say we are doing this. And in that balloon there is a one click opt-out option and you need to be logged into Facebook for it to happen at all and nothing goes the other way. So Facebook doesn’t know anything about your Bing searches even though Bing knows about some of your activities on Facebook.
Leo Laporte This is basically what Facebook has already done with Pandora and Yelp and some other sites, right?
Harry McCracken Yeah. Instant personalization which kind of get them into trouble when they launched it a few months ago.
Leo Laporte I – it was – spook the hell out of me. And I noticed that they’ve made the banner smaller but the – when I first went to Yelp, it said, hey, Leo Laporte, would you like to know what your friends like? And I said, how do you know it’s me? And…
Harry McCracken And Bing is doing that too.
Leo Laporte …it’s a little creepy.
Dwight Silverman So would you opt out, Harry? Does it opt you out of seeing your friends or does it opt you out of your Facebook items showing up in Bing?
Harry McCracken It’s opting out of – I believe it’s opting out of you seeing the feature – and actually that’s a good question in terms of whether your buddies can see what you liked…
Dwight Silverman That would be the bigger privacy concern.
Harry McCracken And I believe you can opt out of that too. You might have to do that on Facebook rather than on Bing but I am not positive.
Leo Laporte One of the things somebody asked is, will if search for an illness and then my friend, my Facebook friends like on the three of these articles come up, it’s like revealing to me that my Facebook friend has this illness.
Harry McCracken Well, Mark Zuckerberg was at the Microsoft event, he’s done something which to me is correct which is the act of liking something in Facebook as saying I want other people to know about this. So if you want to keep something confidential…
Leo Laporte Don’t like it.
Harry McCracken …don’t like it. And it strikes me as reasonable.
Leo Laporte He made a point saying we’re not putting anything on Bing that you couldn’t find out just by going to Facebook, it’s only the stuff that people have published publicly for everyone. So if you go to Facebook, even if you don’t have an account, you can see all this data...
Harry McCracken And it is all about like your liking and so I think essentially if you don’t want people to know what you like then don’t press that like button anywhere on the Web and you’ll be fine.
Leo Laporte There is a creepy factor though – isn’t there? Regardless of – Mark can say over and over again, it’s nothing that people don’t already see. Bing isn’t sending us any information and my rational mind goes, okay, so that’s fine. But there is nevertheless this visceral creepiness that it feels like it knows something about me that it already...
Harry McCracken [Indiscernible] (52:19) their heads around that and also this is a three-way integration because it involves Bing, it involves Facebook, and it involves all these other sites that have the like button. Obviously there are a vast numbers including technologizers so, you might be on Bing which is using Facebook to show you what your friend liked at CNET or Yelp or Urbanspoon or something. I think that’s kind of new, the fact that’s not two-way integration, it’s three-way.
Dwight Silverman Well, Harry, one of the things that really bothers me about the way Facebook has been approaching these new features is that they are always opt-out.
Harry McCracken Yeah.
Dwight Silverman You don’t opt-in to anything. That was one of the big issues with Groups, is that you could be pulled in to any group and be associated with any group regardless of whether you really wanted to be associated or not. And the same thing is true with the thing with Bing. I think that it’s much more socially acceptable to give people immediately the option of whether you want to participate before ultimately pulling them in against their will – what maybe against their will.
Harry McCracken That’s also true with Places because your friends can check you into places...
Dwight Silverman Right.
Harry McCracken …without asking your permission ahead of time and you’re able to opt-out of that feature if it’s turned on by default and I think it’s pretty clear that as Facebook adds new stuff, though, they tend to make you opt-out rather than opt-in.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman I was not able to find in the – in Facebook’s settings after Groups launched anywhere in the privacy settings a link where you can say generally don’t let people…
Harry McCracken No you can’t.
Dwight Silverman …pull me in Groups.
Harry McCracken That’s kind of weird demand – I would have thought [indiscernible] (53:57).
Leo Laporte Groups is another one that really – that’s freak people out and again Facebook’s response is the same which is, well, only your approved friends can add you to a group. So you shouldn’t have a friend that would do that mischievous thing to you. They – it seems it’s almost if the Facebook has a view of how you should be using Facebook and as long as you adhere to that view, you are okay.
But should you do something like Jason Calacanis did, which is friend everybody who would ask him up to the limit of 5,000 that’s how Jason got added to – and by the way, Mark Zuckerberg as well, got added to a NAMBLA group.
John C. Dvorak Still hilarious, come on. That’s the funniest thing ever.
Leo Laporte You’ll love that.
Dwight Silverman Well that was done by a friend of Mike Arrington’s who set it up just for that purpose to kind of show what would happen. That was actually set up to do that, for make that...
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken Great gag.
Leo Laporte Anyway. I think this is the big issue is that there’s a little bit of – a little tiny bit of a Big Brother thing going on on Facebook where we know what’s best. I keep hearing Mark say things like, we know you want to connect and we are just doing what you want. And that’s…
Harry McCracken Facebook more than most large companies is willing to tick off its users. I think Mark Zuckerberg is very confident about his vision and he thinks we’ll all follow along even if we haven’t yet and over and over again when they really get people upset they do back paddle a little of that. But they clearly would rather push the envelope than to do something that nobody’s going to get upset over.
Leo Laporte So it’s a story that just won’t die. This is from Mashable in The Wall Street Journal, AOL and several venture capital firms are in talks to buy Yahoo! John, you believe it?
John C. Dvorak Well, I believe that I – no, I mean, I think it’s – I think there’s a rumor going. There’s a couple of rumors going around. One is of course that Microsoft’s thinking about it again; and another one is that AOL’s going to do a deal. And the other one is, though, some private equity companies are going to buy him up because they’re worth so much money. And the whole thing doesn’t really sound right when you start really looking at it because who the – the economy’s not what it used to be. There’s a lot of issues. I outline most of this in the column in MarketWatch and then kind of just walked away from it. But I also think that – I don’t think it’s possible for AOL which I think the best rumor’s AOL and Yahoo! getting together because it could be called Ahoo! which would be funny. So for that reason alone, I think it will be cool.
Leo Laporte Aohoo!
John C. Dvorak So – but, the culture – the clashes of the culture, I mentioned the fact that both these guys are kind of out of touch with the mainstream what’s really going on. Neither one are considering hip and happening. We’ve done this on this show a number of times. You’ve done it, Leo. Others have done it that if somebody comes out with an AOL email address, they seen as losers…
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak …and out of touch. And these kind of images which are both – they are plaguing both companies, Yahoo! is the company that can’t do a buyout of anybody, they’ve got a bunch of bonehead companies they bought. They don’t know what to do with them. They buy Broadcast.com for $3 billion and they dropped the ball on that. I mean, these are not – I don’t see – these are not cherries waiting to be plucked, either one of these companies, they are kind of old-fashioned.
Leo Laporte Let’s not forget that Yahoo! has publicly held the investors where I think a little perturbed that Jerry Yang did not sell to Microsoft. They wanted that 31 bucks a share or whatever.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, which also is another mistake they made, they could have gotten out of smelling like a rose. Although I stick to my original thinking which is this never would have gotten past the Justice Department.
Leo Laporte Right. Well, I guess, yeah it does depend, although AOL and Yahoo! right now are really content companies, that’s – I mean, Yahoo! doesn’t even do its own search anymore. Bing does the search. So they are aggregators of blogs of content. Isn’t that what AOL has become?
John C. Dvorak AOL? I don’t think so much with Yahoo!
Leo Laporte Well, I don’t know. Omg!, I Iook at all its properties that Yahoo! owns.
John C. Dvorak Lots of groups.
Leo Laporte TV.com.
John C. Dvorak Omg!
Leo Laporte TechCrunch now. Yahoo!...
Dwight Silverman When did AOL get the purchasing power to even think about buy Yahoo!? I mean, they were...
Leo Laporte I know. Where do they get the money?
John C. Dvorak Could be leveraged.
Leo Laporte They get lots of help.
Dwight Silverman They’re two floundering companies and it’d be like tying two drowning people together and hope that together they can swim.
Leo Laporte So here’s this – here’s a maybe a more credible story that came out in Bloomberg.
John C. Dvorak What do you mean more credible?
Leo Laporte Not than yours than the Mashable story, or The Wall Street Journal story. According to Bloomberg they’ve talked to three people familiar with the matter. Doesn’t that mean they are in one of the two companies?
John C. Dvorak It doesn’t mean anything. It’s like you shouldn’t do that.
Leo Laporte According to...
John C. Dvorak Tell us who they are, don’t tell us anything.
Leo Laporte According to three who are familiar with the matter, Yahoo! is working with Goldman Sachs to help defend against possible takeover attempts. While the Sunnyvale company has not received an offer, Yahoo! has been working with advisors for about two weeks to field any such approach and they’ve talked with private equity funds including Silver Lake about a possible bid. I don’t understand if they haven’t talked to anybody about a takeover but they are talking about Silver Lake. Isn’t that I don’t know –
John C. Dvorak About a takeover.
Leo Laporte About a takeover. So there’s a contradiction in that sense.
Harry McCracken I do think that Tim Armstrong is the head of AOL is a smart guy and it’s not inconceivable that he would do a better job than Yahoo! is doing at figuring out a vision for Yahoo! because if Yahoo! does have a clear idea of what Yahoo! has, they are not doing a good job of explaining it to the rest of the world.
Leo Laporte Since the Microsoft offer, Yahoo! has lost half its value in the stock market.
John C. Dvorak Yeah but that’s largely due to the fact that the economy collapsed right after that deal, fell apart.
Leo Laporte Microsoft offered nearly 50 billion in 2008. Now they’re talking to private equity funds of Wade raising $10 billion to $12 billion. Maybe that’s why AOL can afford them. I mean it’s a fire sale.
John C. Dvorak Well AOL is like a $2 billion company and Yahoo! is a $20 billion company.
Leo Laporte It should be the other way around.
John C. Dvorak But there are ways of doing these deals.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak I mean it’s not like that first time something like that’s ever happened.
Leo Laporte Could be a merger more than an acquisition, you think?
John C. Dvorak Yeah it’d be a merger.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Harry McCracken Reverse merger.
Leo Laporte Reverse merger.
Harry McCracken That’s what AOL was thinking [indiscernible] (60:40) sell themselves to Yahoo! They do want to figure out a way that even though they’re much smaller they end up controlling the combined company.
Leo Laporte Right. A big battle between Cablevision and FOX brewing in parts of New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. Kind of – I have a feeling we’re going to hear these – these wars are going to escalate further and further as they are pressured by companies like Google TV and à la carte sales and Apple. Apparently FOX said to Cablevision we want to double the amount of money you pay us or more, the amount of money you pay us per subscriber, Cablevision said, no freaking way. They turned off Channel 5, the local FOX affiliate who happens to broadcast the Giants games. Ow! And then FOX pulled its stuff off Hulu for Cablevision customers. They said well, in that case you can’t watch Hulu – FOX content on Hulu if you are a Cablevision IP address. Then they turned it back on. They’re still at the table.
John C. Dvorak FOX has a beef with the DISH Network too.
Leo Laporte Yeah there is a same thing going on with DISH. They want more money out of DISH.
John C. Dvorak Yeah and the DISH guy, the CEO there he is –
Leo Laporte Charlie – Charlie Ergen, you don’t mess with Charlie.
John C. Dvorak Charlie is on the air moaning and groaning about this and calling these guys a bunch of sleazeballs.
Leo Laporte He has a – you don’t mess with a guy who has his own TV show. Charlie Talk. I’ve been on Charlie talk. Charlie Ergen is quite the character, let me tell you. I wonder if I could find Charlie talking about – this would be kind of fun – Rupert Murdoch.
Dwight Silverman But either way when these things happen, the customers – their customers lose –
Leo Laporte Well that’s who get screwed, yeah, they’re not going to –
Dwight Silverman That’s right.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman Right. We become pawns as these guys battle it out and you think the customer first I think you’ll end up doing right all – every time.
Leo Laporte Well neither one is thinking about the customers. They both…
Dwight Silverman No.
Leo Laporte …are thinking about the bottom line, which I can’t blame them and I think that as customers start moving away and start using companies like Cablevision as excellent – really a good deal on bandwidth with Optimum Online, and I think that – and I remember talking to Cablevision executives they seemed like smart people at the time, who said, we don’t want to sell people just bandwidth, we want to sell them premium services. We can’t even survive selling bandwidth. But that’s what’s happening and that’s what all these companies – the pressure that’s on these companies is, customers are just saying well, that’s fine no problem, I’ll just watch à la carte.
John C. Dvorak Well they got to change their business model. The fact is that they can’t make money selling bandwidth. They’ve got the infrastructure, it’s sitting there.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak It’s paid for. I mean all they have to do is collect money, just send bills out, I mean I don’t see why they can’t make money, maybe if they have to get rid of some people that have nothing to do with anything. But they got to do more than what they’re doing in terms of serving the public.
Leo Laporte I just don’t know. I think it’s – you can’t blame Cablevision, you can’t blame FOX or you can – you can blame both. There’s no one bad guy in this; they’re all bad actors. And you’re absolutely right, Dwight, I mean the people who get screwed here are the cable customers who can’t watch their football game. They did – the last time they did this was, what, the Academy Awards. Same thing happened.
Dwight Silverman Right and –
John C. Dvorak Yeah nobody cared then.
Dwight Silverman The other disturbing thing about this is that they were able to reach into Hulu and just say no, you can’t do that and if you think that the cable providers and the content providers are going to stand by and let things like Internet services like Hulu kill off their cash cows…
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman …that’s kind of an example. That was just a little one. That was a small nuclear weapon.
Leo Laporte Is it a net neutrality issue?
Dwight Silverman Yes. Yes that’s exactly what that was. I think the FCC…
Harry McCracken (1:04:29) Should be.
Dwight Silverman …be very interested in that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, well, okay. You can’t – if you’re going to do that to us we’re going to pull our content off your Internet access.
Dwight Silverman Right.
John C. Dvorak Is that a FOX executive you’re doing there Leo?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak You nailed it.
Dwight Silverman Well it was interesting how fast they turned it back around and it almost sounded like –
Leo Laporte I think they must have known, yeah this is not a bad – this is not a good idea.
Dwight Silverman Well, so like a lower level senior VP.4 –
Harry McCracken Yeah.
Dwight Silverman …said, let’s do this and then Rupert woke up and said, what? No. And you know, undid it. And I think that’s probably what happened. It was a bad idea.
Leo Laporte This – the notice that you would get, this Fortune.com columnist Seth Weintraub did a screen cap of this notice. He tried to watch a FOX show on Hulu. We noticed that you are attempting to access FOX content on Hulu. Unfortunately, this content is currently unavailable to Cablevision customers. We look forward to bringing FOX content to Cablevision customers again soon.
Harry McCracken And of course they don’t explain why they are doing thus.
Leo Laporte No.
Harry McCracken All you know is that they’re denying you something.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Harry McCracken Not that you did anything wrong.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Harry McCracken You just happened to choose to live in the wrong city.
Leo Laporte What jerks. Hulu PR rep Elisa Schreiber statement, unfortunately, we were put in a position of needing to block Fox content on Hulu in order to remain neutral during contract negotiation…
John C. Dvorak There is somebody that can throw it around.
Leo Laporte So Hulu, what happened was Hulu, I bet you they got a call, uh, you’re going to take the blame for this. So Hulu said, oh no, we did it, because we wanted to stay neutral.
Dwight Silverman Isn’t FOX one of the partners in Hulu?
Leo Laporte Partner, yes…
John C. Dvorak Yes.
Leo Laporte …but Hulu is a separate company. It’s very confusing.
Dwight Silverman Right. Yeah.
Leo Laporte So Hulu…
Dwight Silverman But, they are involved a bit.
Leo Laporte yeah, but I can bet you Hulu got a call from FOX saying, look if – you better say you did this in order to stay neutral, and you touch the word neutral. Oh, we’re just preserving neutrally because otherwise we’re screwed. I have to – I really feel for people who live in the Cablevision area. But, I just think in the long run all this does is hasten the demise of cable television for everyone.
Harry McCracken It seems really self destructive.
Leo Laporte Yeah, but that’s what happens, isn’t it, when you get – look at the record industry, look at the movie industries, look – that’s what happens when you get up against it and your business – your old business model is starting to fail, you’re cornered and you lash out.
John C. Dvorak And you don’t bother to change the business model.
Leo Laporte No, you don’t think about it, you just say, no, I’m not going. Apple’s app store crosses 300,000 apps.
Harry McCracken Did you say there is some controversy whether that’s true or not. There were a couple of stories that said that and then Philip Elmer-DeWitt also at Fortune said that that’s wrong.
Leo Laporte There is a lot of inactive apps, they shouldn’t count those.
Harry McCracken It says that’s counting apps at no longer on the market and…
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken It’s so more like 280,000.
Leo Laporte So 148 apps notes, there are 334,199 approved apps of which 55,000 are inactive. So really there is only 278,000 active apps. Who cares?
John C. Dvorak Who cares?
Leo Laporte And Windows Mobile has 2,000 apps and Android has about, what, 80, 90,000 apps.
John C. Dvorak Windows Mobile…
Leo Laporte Oh, I am sorry.
John C. Dvorak With the 2,000 is the odd man out.
Leo Laporte Google said there are 90,000 apps but androidlib.com says 113,000 Android apps in the marketplace. Any more than like 50 or 60 I mean how many apps…
John C. Dvorak 50 or 60 – how about any more than 50 or 60 apps.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s what I am saying. I mean I have – I counted 105 apps on my iPhone.
John C. Dvorak And how many do you use on a routine basis, Leo?
Leo Laporte Well, not all of them, for sure, probably half a dozen. Most of – I have to review apps. So that’s why I’ve got so many on here. Periodically, I prune through them, get rid of the --
Dwight Silverman Back in the early days of the web when people were relying on bookmarks, there were stories where studies have been done that found that people would bookmark dozens of apps – dozens of websites but did only use 6 or 7. That was kind of the number.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman And now you’re seeing the same thing with apps. People tend to use about 6 or 7 of them. That’s about what I use on my iPhone.
Leo Laporte I have to admit. Now, John and I have a very famous bet which I won. I said that Apple would sell more than 5 million iPads which seemed like a lot. At that time I was a little nervous. And in fact, it’s going to be more than twice that in the first year. And I won that bet. But now I have to say all I ever do on my iPad is play Angry Birds and We Rule.
So I don’t really know how useful it is.
Dwight Silverman I took – last week and I went to see my daughter at the University of Missouri and saw an excellent football game against Colorado but at – but this – during the Mizzou football weekends, the town fills up with parents and with alumni. And we were staying at a Wingate hotel kind of out on the outskirts of town. And it was full of parents. And in the breakfast area in the morning where they have the free breakfast, there were four people at one point I counted with iPads.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah. Yeah, they are everywhere.
Dwight Silverman And these were parents.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman I was astounded at kind of the – this is Middle American parents and they were kind of looking up sports scores and checking the news. And people were crowded around looking at them. And I saw them in restaurants going up to – on the way up there from Houston and on the way back. I was just kind of amazed getting out of kind of the metropolitan area where I am and going into Middle America and seeing iPads everywhere. Apple really has got a hit on its hands.
Leo Laporte And you go to the airport, everybody – it’s almost weird if you don’t have an iPad or an iPhone.
Dwight Silverman And yes…
John C. Dvorak Yeah, I bring a laptop and people point and laugh.
Leo Laporte Yeah, what is wrong – he must be an old curmudgeon. But I am actually saying…
John C. Dvorak Actually typing here, kids go away.
Leo Laporte What I’m saying though is that your fundamental insight might have been right, John, because it isn’t all that use. It’s an amusement.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, yeah, and a pricey one at that.
Leo Laporte A pricey amusement. Do you disagree, Dwight or Harry?
Dwight Silverman My first reaction to the iPad was that I didn’t need to have it but it was nice to have.
Leo Laporte I remember you were under-whelmed when you saw it.
Dwight Silverman Right, but I use it more and more and I wouldn’t call it an amusement. It’s – increasingly, it’s becoming the primary way I read if I want to actually read something on the web or watch video. I’ve become addicted to the TEDTalks app, which let’s you watch the TED videos that have been available on the web forever but I’d much rather sit in an easy chair with my iPad and watch these videos that way and I learn something. I am also addicted to Flipboard, the app that let’s you look at links on Twitter as a magazine.
Leo Laporte Right.
Dwight Silverman And so I find myself using it as a reader and a media consumption device. I don’t like trying to do email on it. I don’t like necessarily just randomly surfing the web. But I do enjoy consuming media on it. And I will be sad if someone took it away from me.
Leo Laporte Maybe what I’m really saying is that increasingly I feel like – maybe this is – maybe I am getting burned down. I increasingly feel like technology is more about distraction than actually productivity or creation or innovation. It’s all just a bunch of shiny crap.
John C. Dvorak Yay for Leo.
Leo Laporte Okay, Harry, you can – you’re the Technologizer. You defend this.
Harry McCracken I mean I actually like the iPad for reading long things. So I feel like – I don’t get that distracted with that as opposed to my computer where I am leaping between IM and email and I have 14 tabs open in my browser. To me the iPad is fantastic as a replacement for Sunday newspapers. I use it a lot more in the weekend than I do during the workweek. And actually I am not sure why but I like doing email on it. I think maybe just because it’s kind of simpler and it’s not overwhelming like Gmail or Outlook. That’s the one productivity I think I do more in my iPad than any other single thing.
Leo Laporte Yeah, all right.
John C. Dvorak I don’t have one.
Leo Laporte But you have plenty of other shiny crap.
John C. Dvorak If I had one, I would probably be looking at porn.
Leo Laporte Oh, it’s very good for – wait a minute, never mind.
John C. Dvorak What was that, Leo?
Leo Laporte We’re going to be right back in just a moment.
John C. Dvorak I am going to wait for 3D porn anyway.
Leo Laporte John Sculley, finally, for the first time, since he was ousted at Apple Computer talks about Steve Jobs. We have that story and a lot more coming up in just a little bit with our great guests and I am really glad – this has been a fun show. Harry McCracken from Technologizer is here. We’ve got Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle and blogs.chron.com and TechBlog there and of course, John C. Dvorak, hey, host of No Agenda where he makes thousands of dollars an episode because – after we talked last week and I was like stunned that people would send you $233.33 to be listed as a producer in the credits.
John C. Dvorak 333.
Leo Laporte 333, I was stunned. Like a bunch of people did that. I was so stunned. And it was funny because I think people felt guilty because I noticed that week I got a lot of big contributions.
John C. Dvorak You did?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak You are making millions of dollars and they are sending you free money and you are complaining about us?
Leo Laporte I am not complaining anymore. I have stopped. I think a lot of people because – we ask for donations. And what we do with the donations is that’s my salary instead of taking a salary out of TWiT. And I – believe me, I make plenty of money. I don’t need to – it’s not – you don’t need to give me extra money because you give John money. But just I was – I thought it was very interesting. I think there were at least about two or three dozen people who thought, oops. I had to get – nobody gave me $333.33. I will say that.
I was at BlogWorld yesterday in Las Vegas. That was a lot of fun. And one of the boosts there was Ford. Ford was giving – it was kind of fun. They were giving test drives. I drove the 2011 Mustang 5.0 and now I want to trade in my 2010, I love it so much. And I drove the new Ford Edge.
Boy, was I impressed with that. Ford is really on a roll. We want to thank them for their support of all of our TWiT shows. I was really glad to drive this new 2011 Edge. It starts with a great design and the exterior – and you’ll this with “I saw the Focus”. The next year’s Focus. That is beautiful too. They really – the design they are doing now very fluid and aerodynamic. The Focus is going to be an international car, the same car all around the world. They’ve never done that really before. And it’s – I think they’ve just got design down. Of course, inside the Edge looks a lot like my Mustang with its very clean, classic look, the instrument panel now they used this MyFord Touch in there and so you’ve got three screens with the MyFord Touch. You’ve got a big – I think it’s seven or eight-inch GPS screen but you got two small screens where you and – one of them is tachometer and one of them is like control center for your music and clime. It’s so cool. Just beautiful finish. They’re really solid cars. It is best in class with a legroom in a second row. I went back and sat in the backseat – ah, love it.
Then you can get the panoramic vista roof, that’s an option with a forward panel that tilts her up and its fully plus a fixed rear skylight. So you get great, you know, air and light in the front and the backseat. They did the same thing in the Edge as they did with my Mustang with the ambient lightings. So you have seven color program of all ambient lighting. It’s standard and limited and sporting available on the SEL. You program it and so you know some days I’m in a purple mood.
So the ambient lighting is purple. Some days I’m in an orange mood but you are not giving up on fuel efficiency. It’s got the 3.5 liter TIVC TV6 engine. This is the new engine that they just – they’ve done such a good job of a 285 horsepower with unsurpassed fuel economy for its class. The Edge has an estimated 27 highway miles per gallon. They’ve also got the Edge sport for performance, that’s got 305 horsepower, 280 foot pounds of torque, sport tune suspension, 22-inch polished aluminum wheels is the one I drove, performance tires and more.
It was so much fun, we are going down Las Vegas Boulevard and Lisa was driving the 2011 Mustang 5.0, I was driving the Edge and we drag race and it was so much fun until we got stopped.
The MyFord Touch which is brand new, they announced that at CES in January, I’m just kidding that we had drag race. What else in here? You know about the SYNC? The Touch is basically SYNC plus. So you can keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road but you get to choose your music. It also has now these five way switch pass and a steering wheel, two of them in the – oh, it’s an aided screen I see here. Really gorgeous. You can switch between the touch commands and the voice commands on the fly.
Also by the way the MyFord Touch is expendable which means you can do things like Pandora, Stitcher, Slacker Radio, really incredible. 2 USB inputs and SD card slot. RCA A/V input jacks. There you can available mobile in-car WiFi hotspot through a USB installed AirCard or the USB mobile broadband modem. I mean I can just go on and on. This is really – then you should do is you should go to your Ford Lincoln and Mercury dealer and test drive a Ford today and look at the SYNC, look at the MyFord Touch and if you think – if you are interested in a sport utility vehicle, take a look at the Ford Edge. This is the highest tech Ford out there and well worth a test drive.
The 2011 Ford Edge looks good, drives great, great efficiency. Thank you, Ford for supporting This Week in Tech and for that great car. I had a blast driving. My wife now wants one. We were thinking of Flex. Now, she is driving the Edge. She really likes it.
Dwight Silverman Leo, I envy you your Mustang.
Leo Laporte I love my Mustang.
Dwight Silverman But now I want the 2001 and I love it.
Leo Laporte Oh, you do?
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Leo Laporte It’s a classic.
Dwight Silverman Probably won’t get another one until I get my kids out of college.
Leo Laporte Right, I know that feeling.
Dwight Silverman I would probably get a new one. I love it.
Leo Laporte Then can I just make one suggestion, Dwight? Do not go to Ford dealer and test drive the 2011 5.0.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Leo Laporte Do not.
Dwight Silverman My kids go to community college…
Leo Laporte Yeah, I have a 2010 and I what? Just like “oh, my gosh”.
John C. Dvorak What’s so better about it, come on?
Leo Laporte They – this – they’ve got a new engine. Well, first of all it’s 5.0. They got a new engine.
John C. Dvorak What’s your capacity in yours?
Leo Laporte It’s a V/A but I don’t know.
John C. Dvorak That would be a 5.0. They’ve been putting 5.0 on these things for a while.
Leo Laporte You know, this is a completely redesigned engine and it’s smooth as silk but man, the torque in this thing. Mine’s 46. Everybody in the chat room says 46. They know what –
John C. Dvorak All right, 46.
Leo Laporte They know what kind of engine I have. The 5.0 –
John C. Dvorak Then you don’t, that’s good. Go on.
Leo Laporte I know, I know when I push the accelerator, it goes vroom, vroom!
John C. Dvorak What about the styling? How’s the styling changed?
Leo Laporte You know, I hope I can say this. I hope Ford won’t…
John C. Dvorak Sure you can.
Leo Laporte But they went through a bad period, where basically a Mustang looked like – I don’t know, Toyota Corolla. I mean I just did not like the design.
John C. Dvorak But that was back a few years and that they were also having trouble I know because of the marketing studies that were done, that the cars were starting to appeal to women.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s bad.
John C. Dvorak Well, for a Mustang, it is.
Leo Laporte Well, this appeals to the new – the new – my Mustang and the new one looks exact – very much the same. I think the only difference I could tell is instead of a matte finish on the Ford Touch, they had a gloss finish on the Ford Touch. But otherwise, it was the same. But it’s a classic look. They’ve really gone back the classic muscle car, very clean, all analog gauges, I just love it.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, masculine.
Leo Laporte Masculine. Well, you drove my car.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it’s a nice car. It’s very masculine. I can’t see women really liking it that much.
Leo Laporte Oh, I know a few.
John C. Dvorak Not like the old – the Mustangs that were very feminine. My wife and I just had a discussion about this. Of course, she says that there are certain cars that just – they feel like a man’s car when you’re in them and you may or may not like them. My Lexus is a good example. She finds it very uncomfortable to drive and I find it very comfortable.
Leo Laporte Well, my wife feels the same way, you know what, you’re right. You’re right. But it’s like a smoking jacket, pipe kind of a thing.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, women don’t care or go for that look.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak She says it’s just the – she says it’s the dimensions and the way it feels, she just doesn’t feel –
Leo Laporte I think you are right. Now, Jennifer doesn’t like it either. But I love it. God, I love it.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, it’s a manly car.
Leo Laporte It’s a manly car. But I like it too. I don’t know, because you know, Lisa wants – and I know a number of women who’ve got in my – you know who really love it, Denise Howell of This Week in Law. She took it for a ride and she didn’t come back for like an hour. And then she pretended she lost her car keys and said, “can I have it?” and we said, “no!”
Dwight Silverman Yeah, my daughter covets mine, so.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think it just depends. There are women who love muscle cars. And I like the woman who.
John C. Dvorak ‘But they usually talk like this.’
Leo Laporte No, they don’t – oh you’re...
Dwight Silverman No, my daughter does not talk like that.
Leo Laporte You know – Denise is gorgeous. You know who else, one of our – we have this debate, one of our chatters,s he is a Professor of Geology at Ohio State University, she gave me this mug. And Darth Emma. And she drives a 2010 Camaro. So one of these days we’re going to have...
John C. Dvorak You can race her.
Leo Laporte We’re going to have a little race. She loves her Camaro.
John C. Dvorak Make sure to give her a Wisconsin badger mug.
Leo Laporte I have a badger bristle brush for my shaving. Is that the same thing?
John C. Dvorak Sure.
Leo Laporte I’ve had...
John C. Dvorak She didn’t get that joke, apparently nobody else...
Leo Laporte iPad coming to Verizon October 28. But don’t get your hopes up. It’s kind of a bad deal. It is a Wi-Fi iPad, bundled for 120 extra dollars with a MiFi that is locked down to it, and a bandwidth deal that is not spectacular. But it is a deal with Verizon. Do you think it’s a harbinger of things to come, Harry McCracken?
Harry McCracken Well, yeah, I mean it definitely sounds like [indiscernible] (83:27) what might be happening soon. I actually have an iPad and a Verizon MiFi, which I love together, but I love them because I can use the MiFi with all my other devices too, and I did not realize until you just mentioned it that the one you got with the iPad is locked.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Harry McCracken That’s kind of silly compared to the AT&T one.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Dwight Silverman You could probably spoof the mac address iPad with other devices and end up [indiscernible] (83:54) connect to it.
Leo Laporte Yeah, because Clear does the same thing, the Clear has an I…
Dwight Silverman Clear, yeah.
Leo Laporte Yeah, and that – and you can spoof it. Yeah. CNet – Oh, I’m sorry, LA Times is reporting that a – Steve Jobs invited Mark Zuckerberg to dinner at his house and a stroll – dinner and a stroll, this is what The Times said.
John C. Dvorak Ooh, a stroll.
Leo Laporte Stroll.
John C. Dvorak Is he hitting on him? What’s the deal?
Leo Laporte If it was a stroll, it certainly wasn’t through the public streets, must have been in the backyard. Apparently the discussion, according to The Times, was over Ping, Apple’s social music service, which is blocked currently by Facebook. Apple reportedly spoke to Facebook for 18 months trying to work out a deal with Ping launched it with Facebook Connect and Facebook pull the switch and said, no. Apple – Steve Jobs said that Kara Swisher – that the terms were so onerous we couldn’t agree to them. So according to The Times...
John C. Dvorak And he should know.
Leo Laporte Yeah, onerous terms – you’re the king of it, aren’t you, Steve? According to The Times, Jobs is trying to charm Zuckerberg with a little home cooking.
John C. Dvorak Tell him to make sure to wear underwear.
Leo Laporte Oh, please.
John C. Dvorak What?
Leo Laporte I didn’t even know what that means.
John C. Dvorak It’s a reference to a article in Vanity Fair sometime back and to the movie they made. Nobody keeps up?
Leo Laporte Does Steve – who doesn’t wear underwear and why?
John C. Dvorak I don’t – there – the movie that was made about...
Leo Laporte I don’t want to know – I almost don’t even want to know. You’re saying Steve Jobs under those black jeans is not wearing?
John C. Dvorak No, no, no, he was wearing a pair of – as reported in the Vanity Fair really irked Jobs, the guy reported that apparently when somebody came in for an interview Jobs has some of those shorts on or something, no underwear, put his legs up on the table and was showing his...
Leo Laporte Oh no!
John C. Dvorak Come on, this story is old!
Leo Laporte Oh, no! You’re saying he was flying the flag of freedom.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, that’s exactly how...
Dwight Silverman Steve shorts.
Leo Laporte He was letting his freak flag fly. So you bookmarked this story, Dwight Silverman. John Sculley for the first time ever talks about Steve Jobs. Where is this from?
Dwight Silverman It’s from Cult of Mac, Leander Kahney got that interview. The most interesting thing about it he goes into detail about kind of what he think Steve’s principles are for success. But the most interesting line in the whole thing, he says is that they haven’t talked and that Steve is still pissed, still angry, and he doesn’t want to piss Steve off.
Leo Laporte Oh, interesting.
Dwight Silverman Yeah.
Leo Laporte What is Sculley doing? He’s an investor, right?
Dwight Silverman Yeah, he’s an investor.
Leo Laporte So he doesn’t – but he’s still nervous about getting on Steve’s bad side.
John C. Dvorak That’s ridiculous. What a wimp.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak Can I say something about that laundry list that was – he put a list of things he thought were interesting about Steve Jobs and why he’s successful. There’s one – I didn’t think the list was that interesting overall. But there was one thing on there I think that was good, it should be noted...
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak Which is that Steve Jobs doesn’t believe in focus groups.
Leo Laporte Yeah, no focus groups. Steve said, ‘how can I possibly ask someone with a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphics-based computer is? No one’s ever seen one before.’ Sculley said, he – Jobs believed that showing somebody a calculator for example would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go, because it was just too big a leap. He praised Jobs for beautiful design. He praised Jobs for – he’s looking at things from the perspective of what was a user experience going to be. He also looked at the supply chain, the marketing, the stores. He’s still doing it. That’s what – that’s – Sculley’s made a point.
John C. Dvorak He’s a micromanager. But the point is...
Leo Laporte But Sculley’s point was that he’s – the principals that he knew from way back when that Jobs was – were first principals have – are still there, still remain.
John C. Dvorak Well the one that’s interesting to me still, because I know that big corporations in this country in particular are cowed by focus groups. And Steve is absolutely right and anybody who is sensible is right, you can’t focus group new ideas to such an extreme that you’re not going to get any good information from these people, because they don’t have anything – there is no frame of reference.
Leo Laporte Right. That’s a good point. I don’t do focus groups either, John.
John C. Dvorak Really?
Leo Laporte I think this is the auteur theory of creation, that you get the best creative result if you let somebody with a great vision create his vision, you know?
John C. Dvorak And promote their vision.
Leo Laporte And promote their vision.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte It’s interesting, though, that such a team effort as a technology – like, you know, when you’re making an iPod, you’ve got designers, you’ve got the supply chain, you’ve got the suppliers of the parts, you’ve got so many pieces in this machine that you’d normally don’t think of it as an auteur – there’s one person controlling it. Very few people have the dominant personality that Steve Jobs has that’s required to do this from soup to nuts. I can’t think of anybody else like this.
John C. Dvorak I am not convinced.
Dwight Silverman …motion picture director.
Leo Laporte It is. It’s like a Spielberg.
Dwight Silverman The thing is, not a lot of people have that vision. A lot of people can sell themselves as having that vision, but when it comes time to execute it, they don’t always do it.
Leo Laporte ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t do it that way. What do you think?’ Yeah.
Dwight Silverman As soon as you said that, you’re not Steve Jobs.
Leo Laporte Three words you never hear from Steve Jobs – four words, “what do you think?” You never going to hear him that.
John C. Dvorak Another one that goes in Leo’s books, ladies and gentlemen.
Leo Laporte Four words you’ll never hear from Steve Jobs. That actually – that’s where the auteur theory comes from, isn’t it? It’s from filmmaking. The great filmmakers. I can’t think though of a business of a lot of people who are considered auteurs. Maybe the guy who did the DeLorean.
Harry McCracken Software sometimes. Hardware, almost never…
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s just too hard. Other words used to describe Jobs by Steve – by Sculley – John Sculley: perfectionism, obviously. Vision. ‘He believed the computer was eventually going to become a consumer product that was an outrageous idea in the early 80s, but Steve was thinking about something entirely different, he felt the computer was going to change the world and it was going to become what he called "the bicycle for the mind.” He was a person of huge vision, minimalism…’
John C. Dvorak By the way, we should mention that Steve Jobs is also one of the hot shots that perceived the Segway as the world changer.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s right. He did, didn’t he? He said cities will be redesigned because of the Segway.
John C. Dvorak Whoops.
Leo Laporte Whoops! You can – you know, you can look I don’t think anybody has ever said Steve hasn’t made some mistakes. I think the – let’s see, the Cube – NeXT was the mistake, really. I mean he really insisted that people – well, how many NeXT Cubes were sold?
Harry McCracken There was like [indiscernible] (91:23) thousands or something.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it was a very – it was a product that never took off.
Harry McCracken But the Operating System on the Mac today is NeXT.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s true.
Harry McCracken Sorry, John.
Leo Laporte His next step.
John C. Dvorak No, that’s fine. But I would think that the Cube, I thought was a beautiful piece of equipment, it just had – it had some flaws, manufacturing issues.
Leo Laporte The Apple – the G5 Cube. Which looked a lot like the NeXT Cube.
John C. Dvorak [Indiscernible] (91:46) Cube, had the thing on the top and looked like a toaster.
Leo Laporte Hire the best. That’s true. Sweat the details. On one level, he’s working to change the world, the big concept. At the other level, he’s working down at the details of what it takes to actually build the product and design the software, the hardware, the systems design, eventually the applications peripherals. He was also adamantly involved in the advertising design and everything. Go ahead, Harry.
Harry McCracken I’d just say, one of the great unanswerable questions of computer history is what would have happened if Jobs had never left, would he have not learned from the NeXT experience.
Leo Laporte Right.
Harry McCracken And therefore had problems, which he didn’t when he came back, maybe a little bit humbler? Or would he have accomplished even more even quicker so you didn’t have this long period where Apple was nowhere near as being as much of a force in the industry as it was during Jobs’ regime one and Jobs’ regime two.
Dwight Silverman I have to say, I think the NeXT…
John C. Dvorak It could have happened in another dimension.
Leo Laporte We need Philip K. Dick to write that story. I have to say, I think NeXT was actually really important for Jobs. It slapped him around a little bit, didn’t it? And…
Harry McCracken It’s also where he got the new – the kind of the new vision for the Mac. If he had not gone off, he would not necessarily have – we wouldn’t have kind of OS X the way we do today.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak And I think it also was the beginning of the end for their souring relationship with Adobe.
Leo Laporte Oh, god. That’s just – there’s still – Steve still hates Adobe. Credit by the way, you mentioned it Harry, but I want to make sure we give full credit to Leander Kahney who got this interview with John Sculley at an airport.
Harry McCracken Yeah, Leander told me about it, I think he did a little bit while ago. And my eyes opened kind of wide when he said he got that. Because John Sculley is this figure of which – no matter what you think of him, he was at one of the truly monumental points in tech history and he saw stuff that he has not written about much other than his book, which he did 25 years ago, I think?
Leo Laporte Right. Right. So Kudos to Leander and it’s in the Cult of Mac website, cultofmac.com. Is he doing that himself now? He’s not at Wired anymore?
Harry McCracken He left Wired, he kind of did what I did, he’s working on his own site full time and he has some freelance contributors and he’s going to do his own thing his own way.
Leo Laporte We got to get Leander on MacBreak Weekly. I like Leander, yeah.
John C. Dvorak I have to throw something in here, somebody in the chat room suggested.
Leo Laporte What’s that?
John C. Dvorak Let’s – now we got to target a Spindler interview.
Leo Laporte Yeah Spindler and Gil Amelio.
John C. Dvorak Amelio apparently just talked – just says – he doesn’t have anything good to say. But Spindler would be very…
Leo Laporte You know, whatever happened…
John C. Dvorak He’s the one who used to hide his key under his desk.
Harry McCracken Gil Amelio’s book is a fascinating read. Shortly after Amelio left, he wrote a book, and when you read the book – you’ll say this guy just didn’t get it. Which I don’t think was his intention. But it is – it is a learning experience to read a book that is I think honest but strange.
Leo Laporte To this day, Gil Amelio believes – I’m pretty sure – believes that everything that Steve Jobs accomplished when he ousted Amelio and took back over was stuff that Gil had started.
Harry McCracken Yes, Amelio kind of says the iMac was basically his idea.
Leo Laporte It was my idea.
John C. Dvorak Well, you know, this was the guy that comes from the semiconductor industry and in that business, that’s the way they all are.
Leo Laporte ‘I thought of the iPod. Oh, I know all about that. The iPhone, that was my idea. That Jobs guy, he just followed up. He’s a – he is basically a talented clerk.’
John C. Dvorak Is this your semiconductor industry voice?
Leo Laporte Yeah, they all talk like that in the semiconductor industry. He’s just a talented clerk. He’s got – you know, he’s got some good ideas, I’m not saying that, but really I thought of it.
Harry McCracken They all talk just like Ralph de la Vega.
John C. Dvorak Barney Frank is who it sounds like to me. Barney Frank.
Leo Laporte Barney Frank. Yeah. Barney Frank has a cartoon voice, doesn’t he? He really does. Deleted Facebook photos, not deleted. Credit to Ars Technica for discovering this. Facebook’s spokesperson Simon Axton checked back in with Ars, saying, yeah, well that’s a CDN problem, they’re caching those photos, but we’re going to – we’re going to delete them soon. So, don’t worry. It’s okay.
John C. Dvorak The anecdotal middle manager that is software company.
Leo Laporte It’s on Facebook talks. Privacy watchdog uncovered a government memo that encourages federal agents to befriend people on a variety of social networks to take advantage of their readiness to share – and to spy on them and the result. This is a Freedom of Information request. The government released a handful of documents, including a May 2008 memo detailing how social-networking sites are exploited by the FDNS. I never heard of this, the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security. I don’t even know who that is.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte Agents are encouraged to take the opportunity to reveal fraud by poking around in people’s profiles and see whether they’re in valid relationships or attempting some other kind of fraud to get into the country. Once the user post online…
Dwight Silverman Just one minute.
Leo Laporte Go ahead.
Dwight Silverman This falls into the category of – of course they are. I think that way…
Leo Laporte I think so.
Dwight Silverman Yes, of course, if you’re putting this information out in a public profile and law enforcement is going to be interested in it, then of course they’re going to do that.
Leo Laporte I like the…
Dwight Silverman I’d be surprised if they weren’t.
Leo Laporte I like the headline in – on the Law and Disorder section of Ars Technica. Government relies on Facebook "narcissism" to spot fake marriages and fraud – Jacqui Cheng.
Harry McCracken And the photo is great too.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s Lieutenant Drebin, and he looks like he is reading the Facebook newspaper.
John C. Dvorak Frank Drebin.
Leo Laporte Oh! Yes. Nice beaver. Marissa Mayer has a promotion – I thought it was a demotion. She – oh, oh I hear you cyloning, Mr. Dwight Silverman.
Dwight Silverman Oh, noes.
John C. Dvorak Plug and unplug, Plug and unplug.
Leo Laporte Plug-in and unplug, look at there, he is running, he is scrambling.
John C. Dvorak How long is that cord?
Leo Laporte I think he left. I’m sorry Dwight, I didn’t mean to, oh look, giant fingers. Okay, it’s time to end this show.
John C. Dvorak Well, wait, you were talking about something.
Leo Laporte Marissa Mayer, Marissa Mayer, she is – she was Head of Search, you think Head of Search at Google would be like as high as you can go but they’ve taken her out of Search and put her in Local and Mobile, and put her on the committee of nine or whatever that [ph] rugs (98:36) Google and that’s a promotion. And I think really – it’s a way of saying, we were talking about how Facebook is jumping on social search, I think Google’s saying eh, social, that’s so 2009, we are going to do local and mobile search, that’s the future.
Harry McCracken They’re really open about that. Anytime you go to any Google event, they say that the future of Google is a future that’s focused around mobile stuff. So I think putting Marissa Mayer in-charge is putting somebody who has been a key person in the past of Google into the thing where they are basically putting their major bet moving forward.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? And I wonder if Facebook and Microsoft are – are they a step behind? No, Facebook is doing local too, they are doing places. So they get it as well.
Finally, we’ll wrap up with this sad story, the end of one of the great mathematicians, 85-year-old Benoit Mandelbrot passed away on Thursday. He is the guy who created the Mandelbrot Set and really coined the term fractals and applied the concept of fractals.
John C. Dvorak And you know the scary part, Leo?
Leo Laporte What’s that?
John C. Dvorak That there is a fractal involved in this, it says we are all going to die.
Leo Laporte Yeah. That’s a fractal?
John C. Dvorak The people who are in their fractals that’s hilarious.
Leo Laporte Really, that was a fractal joke.
John C. Dvorak It was a fractal joke but it got no laugh from this crowd which is the way it’s has been all day.
Leo Laporte I’m just not apparently up on higher order mathematics, that’s all. But I’d like to end the show with Jonathan Coulton’s song about Benoit Mandelbrot. Before we do, I want to thank Harry McCracken for being here, technologizer.com. Harry.
Harry McCracken My pleasure, great to be here.
Leo Laporte Great job, we love the Technologizer, and great place to go to find out what’s going on, deep thoughtful writing about technology.
Harry McCracken Thank you, sir.
Leo Laporte Also, also you got to – if you want to know what’s going on in technology, you got to read the link roll at blogs.chron.com/techblog and Dwight’s posts in between at the insight that – that make all the difference in the world. We love having you on Dwight, thanks for joining me today. I really appreciate it.
Dwight Silverman Thanks for having me, Leo. This is always a blast.
Leo Laporte Always fun to do. Great show, really great show today, I really enjoyed it. No thanks to John C. Dvorak however, just teasing. John is the man behind TWiT and ChannelDvorak.com proves it. If you go to Channel Dvorak you can see what John’s up to. Are you missing on Wednesday – so you are missing the CrankyGeeks thing? Do you mind not doing that anymore?
John C. Dvorak We’re going to start something up this week, will let you know. Well if anyone is subscribing to the old CrankyGeeks feed will get something.
Leo Laporte You’re kidding. So you’re like – you like took over the feed?
John C. Dvorak Well, the feed has been coming out of Miveo, we are just going to do something out of there. It’s not that hard to do. There is actually couple of different feeds but…
Leo Laporte So will it be tech round table featuring important journalists involved in technology discussing the week’s events?
John C. Dvorak That would be unique.
Leo Laporte Will they be cranky?
John C. Dvorak Well everybody is cranky when they are around me long enough.
Leo Laporte John also does a great show called No Agenda and it only costs you $333.33 to be a producer of it, I invite you to check it out at noagenda. – is it dot com?
John C. Dvorak NoAgendaShow.com
Leo Laporte Okay. And ChannelDvorak.com.
John C. Dvorak And you can also go listen to us live on the stream at noagendastream.com which is also good, good to do.
Leo Laporte It’s so much more, so much more fun to listen live.
John C. Dvorak You’re the one that talked us into it. Leo I’m just following your lead.
Leo Laporte I love life. Do we have Eileen, do we want to promote anything coming up? We think we might have John Perry Barlow for a special one-on-one on Wednesday. We are waiting to hear from him. We had a great interview with Wozniak, which is on the Specials feed twit.tv/specials. You can watch us do this show every Sunday live 3:00 pm Pacific, 6:00 pm Eastern Time, 2200 UTC at live.twit.tv. Do discuss in the background in the chat room. We follow the chat room and it’s really a good thing to have you, kind of my brain’s externalized irc.twit.tv and if you missed the show live, you can always subscribe at twit.tv and we have audio and video versions available.
Thanks everybody for joining us. We’ll see you next week. Another TWiT is in the can.
[Song – Mandelbrot Set by Jonathan Coulton].
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