Recorded: November 7, 2010
Published: November 7, 2010
TWiT 273 •Previous episode – Next episode
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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, Episode 273, recorded November 7, 2010: The Sweet Spot of Suck.
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It’s time for TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, we are covering all the tech news. And we got three great contributors here on the panel. Starting in my upper left, Lance Ulanoff from PC Magazine. Hey Lance, it’s good to see you again.
Lance Ulanoff Hey Leo.
Leo Laporte Editor-in-Chief.
Lance Ulanoff That’s correct, pcmag.com. That’s the way you can go.
Leo Laporte That’s where you can go to find Lance. He is holding down the Ford for traditional technology journalism. Thank god somebody is. It’s good to have you.
Lance Ulanoff I’m trying.
Leo Laporte And then a little less traditional but still nonetheless authoritative Ryan Block from Gdgt, gdgt.com, formally of Engadget.
Ryan Block Yes, I like gadgets.
Leo Laporte Un-ended. And I’m going to see you in Paris. You and Veronica are going to Paris for Le Web.
Ryan Block That’s right.
Leo Laporte Can’t wait.
Ryan Block That’s right. Are you going to be in San Francisco this Friday?
Leo Laporte Oh yeah, you are having a big event on Friday. We are, in fact I think we are bringing cameras down and covering it. Are we not?
Ryan Block You guys are. But I want to see you there Leo personally. You don’t have to be covering it. I just want to see you there.
Leo Laporte So Gdgt does this events in – you’re first one was in San Francisco, you are coming back to San Francisco for the first time. So what is it that you do?
Ryan Block Basically we do a consumer event where we bring a whole bunch of gadget and personal technology companies together under one roof and we open it to the public, we do free drinks, we give away T-shirts, just a lot of awesome stuff. We have a like a ridiculous amount of – amazing and we have almost 50 companies this time, which is by far the biggest event we’ve ever done.
Leo Laporte You don’t have any of that volt plus caffeine stuff that you’re drinking the other day?
Ryan Block I have no idea what we are talking about.
Leo Laporte You know that stuff. That’s the alcoholic beverage in a can that has caffeine in it. You know what I’m talking about.
Ryan Block I know what you are talking about but I’ve never had that stuff.
Leo Laporte Yeah, you know the stuff that the binge drinkers in colleges are killing themselves with. You know what I’m talking about.
Ryan Block No, I just go traditional caffeine. I’m just a coffee kind of guy personally.
Leo Laporte Maybe it was Mark Milian that was drinking that. Mark Milian, hey congratulations on the new gig. Mark, the last time we talked was with the LA Times. You’ve moved on to CNN.
Mark Milian That’s right, I profiled you in the new LA Times. Yeah, now I’m at CNN, moved to San Francisco, so enjoying the new city. And it’s good to see you Leo. And I guess I’ll see you on Friday at Ryan’s party.
Leo Laporte I guess I don’t have any choice. Actually it’s Loco, is that Loco stuff, L-O-K-O or C-O, L-O-C-O, you know, in the can? Nothing. Coming on Ryan.
Ryan Block Sorry man, can’t help you.
Leo Laporte I’m sure it was on Instagram I saw you drinking that. Maybe it wasn’t you, maybe it was MG Siegler.
Ryan Block That makes…
Leo Laporte That sounds right, huh?
Ryan Block He’s got the kind of job right now where he is…
Leo Laporte For Loco.
Ryan Block …really be on his game.
Leo Laporte It’s for binge. It’s for the binge drinkers in us all. Yeah I think it was Sarah Lane, it’s actually now that I remember it was Sarah Lane.
So welcome, it’s good to see you all. Thank you for joining us. How many of you – look, Lance is doing the Connect thing. How many of you have been playing with the Microsoft – I got my own – was it Thursday?
Lance Ulanoff Oh, you already playing with that?
Leo Laporte Oh, love it.
Lance Ulanoff I’ve tried it, I like it.
Mark Milian What's your favorite game?
Leo Laporte Dance Central. Well I only have two. I have the one that came with it, which is Connected Venture. This is the new – it was originally called Project Natal. Microsoft put – is adding a camera, it’s actually a couple of cameras, it’s a video camera plus an infra-red sensor to a bar that goes below TV, hooks up to your Xbox 360 and then if you have a Connect-enabled game, instead of using a joystick or controller it has voice control – pretty good voice control, but mostly it’s about your body. And it sees your whole body. So unlike the wear the move controller’ it’s not just what you are holding, you are not holding anything, it’s what you are doing.
Lance Ulanoff You know, it doesn’t just see your body, it sees the whole room, it sees that.
Leo Laporte It does. It does. In fact, they say – some people have said that it doesn’t – it works better with white people, that’s racist.
Lance Ulanoff That is not true.
Leo Laporte You don’t think that’s true Lance?
Lance Ulanoff You know what…
Mark Milian It was about the lighting in the room, right?
Lance Ulanoff It’s funny. I was just thinking about this. You know, just by chance the young man who reviewed it for PC Mag, Jeff Wislon, is an African-American who happened to fall in love with the product…
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff And just said how it consistently caught all of his movements, it was almost flawless. So, you know, I think that’s proof.
Leo Laporte I think it works pretty well and it recognizes me, and you know I’m very dark skinned for an Italian. No, I like it, I was playing the Dance Central game. So I have the Connected Venture that comes with that, but I bought Dance Central and that’s the game where you guy – guy dance and the – to mimic the moves and it’s got all this modern music for the young people, you know, things like the Kingston Trio. I just love it. I really had a great time. And my kid – here this is interesting, my 16-year-old kid who pooh-poohed the Wii, thought the Wii was stupid, loved it too and in fact his, they were all doing it. So I think this might have a – this might – how about you Ryan? You must have played with this? Or is this not – this is not follow in your…
Ryan Block No, no, no, I played – I played with that, I wrote a review of it…
Leo Laporte What do you think?
Ryan Block It’s pretty good. I was never a Wii friend.
Leo Laporte Here is the question. Will it have legs? Yeah, I’m not a Wii friend either. Will it have legs? Will it survive better than the Wii did?
Ryan Block You know, the Wii had a pretty good run so far and it’s not dead, but you know, we all heard the story I think a week, week-and-half ago about how Nintendo had its first net loss in a quarter in over seven years. So they are clearly on the descent right now, they are going downhill. They are not going uphill anymore. Wii is just not – it’s, you know – I’ve always kind of felt like that Wii was kind of a gimmick and it didn’t really have a lot of substance.
Lance Ulanoff Well, you know, one of the reasons that the Wii is kind of going downhill is its low-res screen.
Leo Laporte It’s not high-def.
Lance Ulanoff Right. Nintendo managed to spend the last couple years not updating it, they are just riding on the initial success and because a console like Wii or the Xbox or the PlayStation, they are all more than just gaming systems. You know, you do things like watch Netflix movies. Who wants to watch a Netflix movie on a Wii when it’s going to be 40BP, at best.
Leo Laporte Right.
Lance Ulanoff That is the biggest problem with the Wii. If they’d upgraded the resolution in some way, I think they’d still be running.
Leo Laporte I mean, look, they made a lot of money on it. It was the best selling console for a couple of three years. But I think maybe you’re right, the time has come.
Ryan Block It was also the cheapest console for that time too.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block And the cheapest console is usually the best selling console. But in terms of attach rate with is what the industry – it’s the industry term for how many games and accessories and products do you buy to go along with the console because that’s where the real money is made. The money is almost never made on the console. It’s usually made in software licensing.
The Wii was the best selling console but had by far the worst attach rate. So Nintendo is not making its money by selling a lot of videogames from other people, it was making all its money by selling the console and by selling first party games.
Leo Laporte I bought the console, I bought the Wii Fit, I bought three games and then I never bought anything again after that.
Ryan Block Pretty much, I mean, my Wii is basically out there forever. I’ve never really used it. Every time I try to use it, I get very frustrated with it.
Mark Milian We also haven’t seen a lot of good games, really, it’s from Nintendo or otherwise in the last few months. I mean, I am looking forward to the Zelda game. I am hanging on to my Wii for that but otherwise, maybe Donkey Kong, but there’s really not that much coming out that I’m very excited for the Wii.
Leo Laporte Is Kinect – it’s the same kind of social gaming, is it going to – Mark, you think it will replace the Wii, or you think it’s good enough to be the next big thing?
Mark Milian I don’t have an Xbox but I have played with it and I played it with quite a bit at E3 and my favorite game is Adventures. I really enjoyed that one.
Leo Laporte That comes with it so you get that part of the price.
Mark Milian You know, I was talking to Phil Spencer who is at Xbox and he was saying that Adventures was the very first idea and the very first game that they worked on. I mean, they had this idea from the get-go and like wouldn’t this be an awesome idea, then that give Sports to Rare and it seems like they’re going to be investing a whole lot into this system but still not, I mean, not throwing the hardcore gamers out. They’ve still got Gears of War and all these games coming out that they are focusing on. So it’s really splitting the system into two separate audiences as far as I see it.
Lance Ulanoff I’ve only played one sort of gamers’ game on this motion control stuff and it was actually only the move. I had one of those devices with the little soft end. For some reason on the Kinect thing, it’s been, at least at first place, it’s been a lot of family-oriented games which I think is a good way for the company to get started with this particular market because they know that Nintendo was so successful but they can’t ride on that, they’ve got to do a whole bunch of other stuff. But the technology is very extensible. I think they’ll keep refining it, they’ll probably be able to do a lot in software. They have that company that actually developed the technology behind it, that’s still working on it. And I think they’ll get more from them. So once they get this in-house you don’t keep selling them new devices to hold, I think, to be pretty successful.
Mark Milian I think the problem with that family first strategy, Lance, is that Nintendo never really did anything with that on a Wii. We still haven’t really seen a whole lot of hardcore games and the people who go out and buy dozens of games a year aren’t taking to the Wii because there aren’t titles that are geared toward them. So, if Microsoft wants to create this sort of like casual gamer thing, then they have to wait it with something else that’s going to keep their hardcore consumers satisfied.
Leo Laporte You know, maybe a problem with the Wii is the Kinect’s latency. I don’t know there’s – it’s very hard to overcome this very slight lag as the thing sees you, senses you and tells the game where you are. And well, that’s not a big deal when you are dancing or ducking or river rafting, it might be a huge deal if you’re trying to shoot an alien. I don’t know.
Ryan Block There are definitely some issues. I mean, I think that when you look at Microsoft and the Kinect though, you do kind of have to look at as them catering to do two different markets. I don’t think the Kinect is intended to be your mechanism of game play for something like Call of Duty or Gears of War. I mean, they’ve been pretty clear that they see those games as working best on the controller and I think that they do. And I think that most hardcore games are a gamer’s game does. And I think that that’s part of the reason why the Wii has had such a hard time is because the Wii control mechanisms have really worked best for the kinds of more casual games that you don’t really have to do as much with. There’s just not as many gamers’ games on the Wii. And Microsoft has that. They’ve proven that they have been able to do that really well. And they are now number one and number two in almost every single one of those metrics that you would use. So I think Kinect is really about broadening it, making larger.
Leo Laporte Yeah. In fact if you think about, they own the hardcore game market, they own, I think, the set-top box market. Right now Xbox 360 is still I think the best set-top box, if you want to watch Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft has its own movie service, sales and rental. And then you add family or social gaming which seems to me a new category that Wii invented, you pretty much cover the waterfront, don’t you? Isn’t that the device everybody wants in their living room?
Lance Ulanoff I think so. You know what I wonder? I wonder how excited any hardcore gamer is about any of these motion control technologies. I still feel like they trust the controller more just because we are talking, they are very competitive.
Leo Laporte Well, think about, I mean PC gamers laugh at consoles because they have a whole keyboard and consoles just have these few buttons. So --
Lance Ulanoff Right. But then they use those buttons. I mean if you see for example, if you see my son, I mean, he is a master with that Xbox controller.
Leo Laporte But then watch somebody play StarCraft on a keyboard and you see why they want all that control.
Mark Milian That’s a good point. I’ve heard a lot of game publishers have tested the idea of interoperability between PC gamers and console gamers.
Leo Laporte It’s just not fair.
Mark Milian For a decade I’ve been thinking why can’t I play my friend who has the computer version of those games. It doesn’t make sense. But exactly, Leo, the PC gamers kill them time and time again just because they are so much better with the controls than using a cramps handheld controller.
Ryan Block Microsoft actually tested this a few years ago, if you remember.
Leo Laporte Did they, what did they do?
Ryan Block They created a system where certain games would be compatible on Xbox LIVE on Windows and on Xbox. And they actually did find that they had to shut it down basically because the console gamers were getting creamed. But at the same time, you know, it’s like different kinds of games work better on different platforms and controllers work better for platform style games.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block Then they do first person shooters and keyboard mouse works better for first person shooters and it does for a game like Mario. So, you know, it’s – there’s no right or wrong answer.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block Clearly console sales have not suffered over the years from PC gaming.
Leo Laporte Consoles were invented for platforms and PCs were invented for first person shooters. I mean – well not invented for, but that’s where they made their --
Lance Ulanoff Doom, Duke Nukem.
Leo Laporte Right, Quake.
Lance Ulanoff My favorites.
Leo Laporte Right, great games.
Lance Ulanoff Wolfenstein 3D.
Leo Laporte Wolfenstein, baby. Now we’re talking.
Mark Milian I mean, it’s not all about which genre of games is best suited for which controllers. I mean, there’s just some core differences between playing game on PC and playing on a console in that and Blizzard has run into this too. It’s the same reason they don’t put any of their games on the console because the console is the social experience in a lot of their games, they are social through the Internet.
Leo Laporte Didn’t Steam say they were going put Steam on PS3, I thought, or maybe it was Xbox? They announced that I think it’s E3, haven’t seen it yet. But that’s a --
Ryan Block I don’t know about that, I mean --
Leo Laporte Yes.
Ryan Block That’s pretty – because Steam is, at its core, it’s a game distribution system. And that is what Microsoft owns with Xbox LIVE and that’s what Sony owns with PlayStation network and PlayStation store, and that’s what Nintendo owns with Wii and whatever it’s called, the Wii Store, can’t remember what it’s called.
I’d be pretty surprised to see that. I mean it may be pretty awesome. But I don’t know.
Leo Laporte Valve announces – I’m looking at the story from June 16 – Valve announces Steam for PS 3 at the E3 show. But announcing it, I don’t think they ever released it, so I don’t know.
Ryan Block I wonder if that was when…
Leo Laporte Steam works.
Ryan Block I wonder if that was when PS 3 was still supported on Linux. And so maybe you would install Linux…
Now it doesn’t.
Leo Laporte Yeah, right. Now it doesn’t, so forget it. Did you see Leander Kahney’s story? What a great story this was – a scoop. He actually was on an airplane, he says, on June 2008, a flight home from Europe to San Francisco. And he sat next to Inon Beracha, who was the CEO of a company called PrimeSense. He had developed – Beracha and PrimeSense had developed a low cost chip and software to do 3D machine vision. The system used a pair of cameras and an infrared sensor to highlight people and track their movements. He showed it to him, like Minority Report style motion and movement and so forth. And he said, we really wanted to sell it to Apple. He said we think that this technology would be best with Apple. However, he already had several meetings with Apple. He said it was the first place he thought of, it was the most natural place for the technology. But Apple made – he said the initial meetings hadn’t gone so well – obsessed with secrecy, Apple had already asked Beracha to sign a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs. He shook his head. Why didn’t he want to do a deal with Apple? No need. He said the technology’s hot, I’ll sell it to anyone. He sold it to Microsoft and it is the heart of Kinect. Apple, he said, is a pain in the ass. Great story!
Lance Ulanoff I have never heard anyone say that about Apple before.
Ryan Block I actually heard this exact same story. Not same company, but like, you can take PrimeSense and replace it with company X, that sold me the story, and replace the CEO with that CEO, exact same story. And now they’re a very, very successful company who is selling to basically everybody but Apple.
Leo Laporte Right. Right.
Lance Ulanoff I can add a company Y as well, who I met with about a week ago, and had the exact same story. I’m working on a profile on them right now, so don’t exactly want to say who it is. But it’s the exact same deal where they had these talks and they’re like, oh this is sounding good. Until they get in the room and Apple says, why don’t you just make a prototype for us? Like oh, all right, well, you think you’ll carry it in your app store? And like, no. We just want to see it. We like what you have so far, but we want to see one running on iPhone. We’ll talk to one of the other companies that are doing something similar.
Leo Laporte Does that hurt Apple, does that hurt them? I mean do they – can they get away with that?
Ryan Block Yeah, Apple’s really not doing so well these days.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I think so.
Ryan Block You got to pity them and their trillions of dollars. They’re just – they’re so far behind right now.
Lance Ulanoff They get away with it every single day. I mean, Apple, why do people love Apple products so much? Because they work consistently, because they’re in that ecosystem. The companies they work with, they make them take a blood oath. And they control the environment, they control the relationship from A to Z. Microsoft doesn’t. It’s interesting when PrimeSense was at E3, they were in a little back room and they was sort of showing, kind of ripping off the coverage of Connect basically the show you have the guts that they had helped provide, the middleware. And it was almost – it was weird, because I kept saying, well, is Microsoft comfortable with you doing this? It was like, eh, Microsoft doesn’t really care. It was just – the relationship was completely different. Microsoft got what they needed. They’re very happy. They are going to sell this product.
Leo Laporte They should be. They should be.
Ryan Block And they sort of just walk away. Apple, you’re theirs. You’re theirs until they say you’re done.
Leo Laporte Of course, I can remember a time when Microsoft would be just as predatory. They would invite a company – and they did this for years in the ’80s in the ’90s – invite a company in, say show us everything. Oh, we love it, it would be very interesting acquiring you. Then they find out everything, yeah, we’re not that interested and they steal it basically.
Ryan Block So here’s the thing that most people would tend to forget about Apple. And I’m sure that this is going to really piss a lot of people off. But Apple, as forward thinking as they are and so on and so forth, they don’t really take a lot of risks.
Leo Laporte Yeah. I think you’re right.
Ryan Block They don’t bet on brand new technologies. They’re actually very, very conservative. Every product that they build is usually based around an existing technology, something that’s been around for a long time. You’re not going to see Apple with the first LTE phone. You’re not going to see Apple with a WiMAX phone. They’re going to wait until everything is sorted out and the bugs are worked out and the kinks are done, and then they are going to get into it. So something like this, I don’t think they would have risked it. And frankly, for what? I mean, what would they have done with it? They tend to wait to see what works out in the marketplace, and then adopt it very slowly. Look at Blu-Ray, look at USB 3.0. I mean though the list just goes on and on and on.
Lance Ulanoff Ryan, what if they had incorporated into Apple TV? What if Apple TV was controlled by gestures? I think Apple certainly could have used it for whatever reason…
Ryan Block Apple needed to make the Apple TV $99.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block Would the Apple TV have been $99 if it had a Kinect attached to it? It would have been – the first Apple TV with this thing would have been like $500. And instead of selling only 20,000 units, they would have sold 20 units. And the second Apple TV, which is $99, would have been $250 or maybe even more because…
Leo Laporte It’s kind of a contrarian point of view of Apple though, because you always think of them as an innovator.
Ryan Block No, I’m not saying that are not an innovator. But there’s a difference between innovation and being on the bleeding edge in terms of technology. And it’s fine…
Leo Laporte Well, and you said it with Blu-ray and USB 3. There’s two very good examples of products that I don’t think we are going to ever see on Apple.
Ryan Block Yeah, so there’s a very fine line. I mean that’s not – I would never argue that Apple does not create markets and Apple is a not forward thinking company. But people forget – and they tend to confuse these two things – that Apple is the most high tech. I mean they’re not. They actually are low tech in a lot of ways. They wait for the technology to become commoditized and to become cheap and to become extremely stable, and that’s when they execute.
Lance Ulanoff I think that’s sort of – that’s kind of a generalization. I think Apple is probably the most strategic technology company out there. I won’t call them old fashioned because of the way in which they are able to put together disparate technologies to make a cohesive thing.
But I agree with you that they are savvy enough to understand that there is a sort of beautiful marriage between good technology and good pricing, a good strategy to market. Which is something that you don’t see across this industry. You don’t see in Microsoft right now, which sometimes gets it and sometimes doesn’t get it right.
But by the way, that thing about you said about LTE, you’re probably right, but at the same time Apple still can surprise. So I don’t know if that’s true that we won’t see the first LTE phone from Apple.
Lance Ulanoff But LTE isn’t necessarily ready for prime time. I mean we haven’t seen any devices running LTE in this country. So maybe there is battery problems, maybe you will just have a crappy phone, maybe those first batch of LTE phones just won’t be worth having.
Ryan Block I’m going to go on record that Apple’s not going to have the first, maybe even the second or the third LTE phone. They are going to be…
Lance Ulanoff I think you are probably right about that.
Ryan Block They are going to be later in the game. And Lance, you and I, let’s follow up on email. I want to put a journalist bet on this, man.
Leo Laporte Interesting.
Lance Ulanoff How do you know it’s really Lance here, you know you haven’t really seen Lance so it could be anyone.
Leo Laporte We don’t know who it is. All right, hold on guys, this is good, Lance Ulanoff is here, PC Magazine Editor-in-Chief; Ryan Block of gdgt.com and Mark Milian now of CNN, what’s your title at CNN now Mark, what are you doing.
Mark Milian I am a Tech Writer at CNN.
Leo Laporte Wait a minute, they are not putting you on camera, sure they are.
Mark Milian I am actually going to be on tomorrow morning, talking about Google TV, but...
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think you – we’ll talk about it – let’s talk about Google TV the Logitech Revue is out, we’re going to get review from these guys, we also have pricing on the Nintendo 3DS finally, in fact we are not done with video games, the Supreme Court taking to look at the California law preventing the sale of violent video games to minors. Lots more to come in just a second. Before we do that, though, I’d like to mention our friends at Citrix who have given us so many great products over the years and if you’re a business person, you’ve got to know about GoToMeeting, it is the way to meet online and save yourself money and time and stress travelling to an in-person meeting but yet making that conference call which is normally kind of boring, into something very engaging with visuals. Gotomeeting.com. If you’re looking out for ways, as most companies are these days to cut cost to improve processes, to work more efficiently, I want you to take a look at gotomeeting.com. You can try it free right now for 30 days, go to gotomeeting.com/twit, gotomeeting.com/twit. It’ll take you about 30 seconds to install, once you got it installed now you can have a meeting. Send an email to a friend or a colleague saying, I’d like to show you my PowerPoint presentation, I’d like to work together with you on a document, I’d like to train you on how to use this software, you know it’s good for all of them. It improves conference calls by making them visual; you share your screen with a conferees and by the way vice-versa, if they want they can show you their screen as well. They don’t even – and this is important, they don’t have to have it installed ahead of time. With GoToMeeting, you send them an invitation, they click the link, it takes about 30 seconds to install, boom, they’re ready and ready to go. I just love it. gotomeeting.com/leo. Give it a try; we know you’ll like it. Folks at Citrix have really done a great job. Gotomeeting.com/twit.
So the Nintendo 3DS, I don’t know if this is a leak, I don’t think it’s an official announcement, this is the product they showed, I was a little underwhelmed by this at E3, comes out in Japan, February 26 of next year and March in the US and Europe, so it was more than a year after they showed – well not more than a year, almost a year after they showed at E3, they showed it in June. And in Japanese yen and they are going to be cheap, $300, aqua blue and cosmos black.
Ryan Block I don’t know Leo.
Leo Laporte I don’t know either, I think too little too late. Right? I was unimpressed by this thing.
Ryan Block Yeah, I am pretty embarrassed on Nintendo obviously but this – I mean this just seems like short-term thinking to me. I mean, okay, yeah...
Leo Laporte They are trying to put this franchise alive, right?
Ryan Block Yeah, I am totally willing to admit that the PSP Phone that we saw leaked on gadget was looks – it looks like a...
Leo Laporte Is that real? Did that – they...
Ryan Block ...weird, crazy thing – that’s real – it is going to be real. I guarantee it’s real.
Leo Laporte How could it be?
Ryan Block Well if you think about it, like they – you can’t build portable gaming devices forever into the future. People are just going to – eventually their tastes are going to move to mobile gaming on your phone.
Leo Laporte So really the phone is the future of mobile gaming, these are just stop gap measures to try to hold on the franchise.
Ryan Block That’s why I think it’s short-term what I’m thinking, is Nintendo doesn’t know what else to make, they only know how to make this one thing and frankly if I were at the head of Nintendo right now I would be starting [indiscernible] (28:00) to making Nintendo what could essentially be the biggest and most powerful game software company in the world.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block But as long as they are focused on building their own hardware, they are just going to be in nose-dive position…
Leo Laporte Well remember Nokia made that gaming phone and it was just a big flop maybe...
Ryan Block N-Gage.
Leo Laporte ...N-Gage.
Lance Ulanoff Oh yeah, the N-Gage.
Leo Laporte Was that too soon? Was that too early?
Lance Ulanoff That’s crap. Mobile phones are not the future of gaming, Leo, they are the present.
Leo Laporte Right.
Lance Ulanoff I mean, come on.
Ryan Block Yeah, bingo.
Lance Ulanoff I carried around an iPhone 4 for a while which I really loved and of course I was doing a bunch of stuff with it, but yes I was playing games. And I always remember – I think it was – I’m thinking at which Apple event where the positioned the phone and the iPod Touch I think as gaming devices.
Leo Laporte Every event. For the last two years, they have said it’s gaming, gaming, gaming.
Lance Ulanoff Right. And when they first did, I was kind of like well that’s presumptive, I mean how come...
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff ...how do they do that – and how do they do that? They have a library of 300,000 apps, many of them games, many of them $0.99 or free, easy – super easy access – you don’t have to go to a game stop and buy something to put it on there, you just pick it out of a library online, you just download to your phone, you start playing it. I saw the Nintendo 3DS, I went to the event and I saw and I was like, well this is – I felt like I was looking at a technology demonstration, hey look they found a way to make 3D on a handheld device without glasses. I just have to move this little thing to keep it in focus and then after that I kind of forgot about it, because I didn’t see it as a practical device in any way shape or form, and again I go to my son, the most avid gamer in my house, he has an Nintendo DS with the cameras, it sits around most of the time, he never touches it.
Mark Milian I think some of those – some of those things you pointed out as advantages for phones aren’t necessarily exclusive to a smartphone, things like digital distribution and cheap games, it doesn’t have to be a phone to do that, I mean by the argument that all gaming will be going to phones and I’m playing Devil’s advocate here, because I don’t have a PSP or a DS. But to say that all gaming will be on phones is to make the same argument that the iPad is going to kill the Kindle and that we don’t want single-purpose devices. I think the DS and the PSP, they have very good hardcore games but the problems there that they are expensive, that you have to go to the stores. I mentioned Blizzard earlier for why they aren’t developing for the traditional systems. And the big reason, they told me they are not making games for the Wii and for the DS is that the manufacturers build their business around charging royalties on each game sold, like that’s not fair. They could – I mean Apple sells the same thing but somehow these game developers find a way to go for bulk and to sell at cheap prices. So I think the distribution model could use some work. But the phone is not necessarily going to kill these systems, but it could.
Leo Laporte I thought...
Ryan Block To say that single-purpose devices are – that because they are single-purpose devices they are therefore going to be the harbinger of the future. I mean I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. Kindle works I think; one, because it’s really cheap, because of the content that you get on that is still digitally distributed and because it does something that the iPad doesn’t which is in addition to being way lighter and smaller and it’s a far more effective ebook reader, if nothing else, right? But reading books on it is every bit…
Leo Laporte I thought the iPad would kill the Kindle and I was obviously wrong when the Kindle’s...
Mark Milian I mean the iPhone can’t do 3D, the iPhone doesn’t have dedicated controls, so in some respects it’s not...
Ryan Block If you have a portable – if you have a phone like the PSP phone that does have controls, I mean clearly the hardware is to the point now where everybody is as good as the PSP, if not better. You know, constantly getting better. Storage is not a concern, it’s got connectivity where those others devices don’t, you’re not going to see a 3DS with 3G. So you are not going to be able to download stuff wherever you are at a moments notice. I mean if all we’re really talking about is controls, that is a fixable problem.
Lance Ulanoff That’s not what we’re talking about. You guys have all said the same thing. The difference, the answer is distribution. This – you can hand somebody a beautiful piece of hardware but if they can’t get the software on it, they can’t get the software they want on it easily, the content they want on easily, it’s starts to devolve almost immediately. It’s always like, where are the apps? For example, the Palm Pre and the webOS, fantastic platform, fantastic device. Where are the apps? Where are the apps? Where are the apps? Oh! Sorry we didn’t get the SDK out. Took them forever. It almost destroyed that platform to the point that it had to be sold off. So that is the leg up that Apple has and that is also the leg up that the Kindle has because gosh, it is easy to get another book on your Kindle.
Leo Laporte You wrote a – let’s move on. We’re going to talk about violent video games. Supreme Court is currently considering the California adult-only video game law, trying to decide as you say Lance in your editorial in PC Magazine, whether video games are publications or creations of art like movies and newspapers and protected by the First Amendment or more like alcohol and cigarettes, something that minors have to be protected from.
Lance Ulanoff Yeah. It’s a tough – you know it’s a tough thing because I am aware there’s a lot of gaming that goes on in my house. I’ve seen it all, I’ve watched my son…
Leo Laporte Do you let your son – your son’s 15, you let him play anything he wants?
Lance Ulanoff Pretty much now.
Leo Laporte Yeah, me too.
Lance Ulanoff It started – it started – we started very controlled especially because he started gaming, you know when he was eight, nine, and he was playing some of the games and what I remember, no exaggerations, when he first got his GameCube, I picked up Road Warrior and I was afraid to let him play it because he was like eight and it was teen…
Leo Laporte Right.
Lance Ulanoff And I was like – I don’t know what’s going to be on there…
Leo Laporte Right.
Lance Ulanoff It’s Star Wars but I don’t know, it’s rated teen. So I played it, there was nothing.
Leo Laporte Right.
Lance Ulanoff And then as he got older, Halo, same thing, it was his first sort of mature game, and I played it, didn’t see anything, gave it to him. So he’s almost 16 now, obviously knows a lot more. But these games let you do all sorts of things, free play, you know as I mentioned in Grand…
Leo Laporte I remember – I remember when Grand Theft Auto IV came out, I told my son, okay you can play but don’t hurt anybody. Wander around, enjoy the game, you can do some missions, but you know, can you not do any car jacking or beating on people?
Lance Ulanoff Yeah it pretty much – it pretty much gets out of hand. I stand over his shoulders, I’m like ‘why did you shoot that person?’ he goes ‘what?’ he goes ‘it’s a video game’ like he understands that…
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff You know I think there’s people who are in the camp who say that young minds cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality and will start to think that the real – they can act in the real world as they do in the gaming world. I guess I’m on the other side of that. I know that my son plays these games, I know he does crazy things because the worlds allow him to do that and then he just goes back to being himself.
Leo Laporte I don’t think it’s going to make him a serial killer or a scumbag. But I guess you can make the argument that it might desensitize you to violence.
Lance Ulanoff You know, and that’s a – that’s a really good question but I think our world may desensitize us to violence. There’s a lot going on out there. I feel like video games are the least of our problems. But, you know, the point is that California has got this law on the books, it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not this is a law that stays. And I had the conversation with my family, they say, well it’s California, what does that matter? But that’s – once they step over that threshold, if California law stays and say it’s constitutionally correct, other states will pass laws, similar laws and then the question you have to ask is, now, what else gets controlled?
Leo Laporte Right
Lance Ulanoff I still have the right to take my twin or even my child to an R-rated movie because I know they are going to say the ‘F’ word, that’s why they rated it R, but everything else is fine. But do I have the right or will it become illegal. And that’s my concern and that’s why I don’t want the law involved with this. This is always going to be about parental control, it’s always going to be about the conversation how you and lock step with your own child to know exactly what they are doing in technology.
Leo Laporte You guys agree?
Mark Milian Well I don’t have any kids, so I can’t really talk from experience.
Leo Laporte Who wouldn’t? Come on, we don’t want the government to say, this is art, this isn’t art, this is allowed, this is not allowed. You know, all you have to do is say what if it were movies? Would you say that it’s okay? Just as you said Lance, for the government to say that you can’t see this movie? No!
Mark Milian And you know Electronic Arts made that same point in response to this legislation. They had their – their blogger write this post saying ‘the person primarily backing this is Arnold Schwarzenegger who is in some of the most violent movies of all time’…
Leo Laporte Oh please, yeah!
Mark Milian It’s just bizarre, you can watch him kill somebody but you can’t act it out on a screen.
Leo Laporte Yeah
Lance Ulanoff I can’t say the industry is not doing itself any favors right now, so we’ve got the electronic – we’ve got the ESRB who does the ratings, right?
Leo Laporte Right
Lance Ulanoff And they actually put a lot of detail on the back side of these games, the front side, they all say mature so they’re all seeing the same. They are not the same. But I went to gamestop.com to just sort of see, well what is the real world out there, what are other people seeing maybe who aren’t this familiar with the gaming world. And if you go in and if you go into role-playing games, you’ll the very first page, the full first page of games, all the most popular games, games that are pushing are the mature games. Next page most of them mature. It gives you the sense that all the games are mature and it’s kind of this gaming is this dark world. That’s really not the case. But good luck on GameStop, finding an organization of games by rating! They don’t even show you that! So, you know, why not make it so it’s not so scary for these people who are trying to legislate instead of have a conversation.
Leo Laporte Lou in our chat room said playing too much Super Mario made him want to use shrooms.
Ryan Block You know I have a hard time feeling really strongly about this issue, but not for the reasons I think most people – you know, I mean I think most people especially kind of in our industry have very strong feelings about this and kind of about how you became really animator there, Leo. I think my personal issue with this is just that I don’t have kids but if I did have kids, I wouldn’t want them be playing any video games at all. I think that there is way too much of that in general.
Leo Laporte You know Dvorak, if he was here would say that people know the difference in cartoon violence and real violence. Video games are not so realistic now they can’t tell the difference.
Ryan Block It’s not so much about that, I just think that kids right now are really deprived of non-electronic activities.
Leo Laporte Well that’s true. What are we doing?
Ryan Block You know what? And when I was a kid, I did two things. I read and I watched TV. That was what I was doing.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block There weren’t really video games for me to play, I was reading all the time or I was watching I Dream of Jeannie or…
Leo Laporte Would you prefer that your kids play a game than watch I dream of Jeanie?
Ryan Block What’s that?
Leo Laporte Would you prefer your kids played a game than watched I dream of Jeanie?
Ryan Block I mean I think that’s a false choice. I would prefer they read a book.
Leo Laporte Well, okay. But, let’s say they are going to spend some time on the screen, isn’t it better that they actually be doing something even if it’s just a video gaming than…
Ryan Block I mean, maybe. I don’t know, I have played a lot of videogames as a kid and I don’t really regret that but at the same time I do kind of wish that I was outside more. I do kind of wish I read more –
Leo Laporte Oh, this is really about you, isn’t it?
Ryan Block You know I kind of wish that my parents had taken more interest to say get off the – get off videogame and go read a book or go outside and play with your friends.
Lance Ulanoff And what would you have said, I say that to my son, we have the conversation, I go, okay, you have been in the house now for three hours playing this game. Let’s go, come on, get out and a lot of times it’s an argument. I mean I do try and drag him out, I drag my daughter outside as often as possible. But the lure of the digital world, the lure of the bits and bytes is so strong for everybody.
Leo Laporte It’s very compelling.
Lance Ulanoff It is very compelling and we get – the other thing – and I don’t want to go up on a really crazy tangent, but the socialization of technology is part of the reason that we’re all spending so much time at it, so now everything we do including gaming, my son when he plays on the Xbox 360 is playing Xbox Live. He is dealing with people all around the world. People he deals with everyday, he is dealing with his friends, he is talking to them, they are playing, they are actually engaging…
Leo Laporte Yeah, but that’s not socialization, that’s not socializing, is it?
Lance Ulanoff Well, it is to them, it is to them. That’s the thing. Socialization, the definition of it I think is changing. But every piece of technology we have has a social component now, so we have heads down we are not going outside, we are doing these all day long –
Leo Laporte Well, it’s not just the kids, I mean we are tweeting on Facebook and then –
Lance Ulanoff That’s right. So I kind of agree with Ryan, that too much of a good thing is still too much. That’s true.
Leo Laporte Well, I think we are all agreed though that the state or the federal government shouldn’t be the ones who tell us go outside and play.
Lance Ulanoff And no, I am.
Leo Laporte Paul Thurrott told me that when he got to 11 Prestige in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the final achievement, or I guess he got every achievement, he got final achievement said, okay, you are done, you got every achievement, go outside, play, you are done, stop. I don’t think it worked, but –
Hey, no White iPhone, Apple finally admits they – for whatever reason they can’t make a White iPhone. They say, sorry, we are not going to have one for – even though they promoted, they talked about, not till next spring, Ryan do you have insight as to what happened?
Ryan Block Nothing more than what’s been written out there and there’s been a lot of stuff, there was reports that –
Leo Laporte I mean this is like the most minor thing, let’s face it.
Ryan Block Yes.
Leo Laporte But –
Ryan Block Yes. So, okay, so it might be worth a recap because there have been a lot of reports as to why it’s not coming. One was that light coming in through the white casing, through the white film on the inside of the casing was interfering with the camera. One is that they couldn’t get the home button and just the right color. One is that they couldn’t get the paint for the white casing and just the right color, there has just been a variety of reports, I don’t really know what it is.
Leo Laporte I don’t even care, but –
Ryan Block I don’t really care.
Leo Laporte …there are some people who are actually waiting for a White iPhone, that’s the fun.
Ryan Block I mean you keep waiting if you want, just at this point I will just wait for the next iPhone, I will wait for the iPhone 5.
Leo Laporte I will wait for Duke Nukem Forever. So some people just like to wait.
Ryan Block That was really coming man.
Lance Ulanoff I think it’s some combination of the magical part of the phone and white, they put those two together probably causes a black hole or something like that.
Leo Laporte There weren’t enough unicorn tears to make this. Yes, that’s –
Ryan Block You know the really frustrating thing though is that all these Apple employees have them. They – those were the phones that you could get as an Apple employee and so anytime I see a White iPhone and I do see them in San Francisco, you know that’s an Apple employee.
Leo Laporte Wow! And a few people like – Walt Mossberg I think has one, somebody just said Stephen Fry has one, so there’s a few special.
Lance Ulanoff Oh, the special people.
Leo Laporte Special people have White iPhone
Ryan Block Maybe just VIPs.
Leo Laporte It’s like having a black American Express card, it just – you know you are a special, special –
Mark Milian Jony Ive painted them himself.
Leo Laporte That’s – you probably could paint it.
Mark Milian Yeah, isn’t there that company that does console system sales –
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff Get them white laminate, you don’t have to paint it, white laminate, little X-ACTO blade, you are done.
Leo Laporte Yeah, or the plastic vinyl they used to line drawers.
Mark Milian The ColorWare –
Ryan Block The ColorWare might be a good way to do it. I actually – so I – when the iPhone 3 and the 3G came out I bought both of those in white, but what I liked about those that the back was white and the front was black.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block And actually I liked that because even though you didn’t really think about it, the front being black kind of hid all of the sensors around the front of the face and it made a lot of like that, the details, and the mechanics up there a little bit less obvious. On the white phone it looks kind of crazy because at the top you have got the proximity sensor or the camera, the earpiece and the whole thing looks like a really old school iPod and not the best way.
Mark Milian And if you are watching a movie the – I mean the white tends to distract, it tends to stand out.
Ryan Block Absolutely.
Leo Laporte You know what –
Ryan Block I didn’t know –
Lance Ulanoff I want a translucent, I want a see-through. I have a watch, this watch is see-through, can you see that? You can actually see the inside of it, that’s what I want.
Leo Laporte Ooh. Is that an Accu-Tron by Boliva? Did you get that in 1974?
Lance Ulanoff It’s a Kenneth Cole watch, but it’s self-winding. You can see right through it.
Leo Laporte Remember the Boliva, they had the tuning fork in it and you could see the…
Lance Ulanoff You could hear it. You could put it up to your ear and you’d hear that sound.
Leo Laporte I’ll tell you who – where I’d be really pissed off, and there’s a lawsuit – I imagine it’s going to end up being a class action lawsuit, about the iPhone – iPhone 3G owners who upgraded to OS 4.0. And basically it turned their phone into a turtle, into a – just horrible, useless. And there’s no downgrade. Apple said they fixed it with a 4.1, I don’t see any evidence. Wouldn’t you be furious if you had a 3G and you upgrade – so you guys, you’re all using iPhone 4, so whatever, so you don’t care. But I just think it’s terrible.
Mark Milian But I gifted my 3G to my dad and he’s having the same problems. He’s…
Leo Laporte I think it’s awful. I think Apple should be really censured over this. This is not good.
Mark Milian Well, there is that class action lawsuit that’s been brought against them. So they’ll have to explain this somehow and hopefully bring a fix.
Ryan Block You know, on the one hand, they are supporting their phones further into the past than other companies are. I mean, you look at the T-Mobile G1, that is still…
Leo Laporte Well, then they shouldn’t push out an update. But they made the – yes, so you cannot update the G1 to Android 2.2. But Apple kind of pushed this update on 3G owners.
Mark Milian Yeah.
Ryan Block I know, I agree. I’m not giving Apple an out here. I’m just saying, again, on the one hand, they’re supporting further into the past; which is a good thing. And they are the company who single-handedly said, no, you are entitled to phone upgrades in the future, and you should be able to have the latest version of the operating system running on your older phone, and that shouldn’t cost you any money and that’s not something that the carrier should be involved with. But on the other hand, they clearly haven’t fulfilled that promise here. They needed to devote the resources to the iOS team to make sure that 3G performance is good, and they have not done that.
Leo Laporte All right, enough Apple…
Lance Ulanoff I don’t know how they made that mistake.
Leo Laporte Go ahead.
Lance Ulanoff I don’t know how they made the mistake. I don’t know – I believe they said that this was something that people could do. And I guess as usual, with software, when people put things on the phone, there are variables. The thing about Apple sometimes in these situations is that they tend to ignore, obfuscate, whatever they can, until they finally have to go yeah, we made a mistake here. And when you have a very successful product, like the iPhone 3Gs, and you’re going to have a lot of users who get very excited about the next thing, then the features that you’re going to get from this upgrade, and then you punk them in this way, you’re going to have problems. And…
Leo Laporte This is what asked me, I – we were talking about this on a radio show in Los Angeles, the host Bill Hannell, I said well – he’s a lawyer – did Apple do this on purpose to force people to upgrade? I said, well, how do you know? I don’t know, I don’t think. He said – I said, is it relevant? He said yeah it’s relevant, hell yeah, it’s relevant. It’s the big question. Is this kind of some sort of sleazy attempt to force people to upgrade. I don’t think it is.
Lance Ulanoff I don’t think so.
Ryan Block No, you know. There’s that old phrase, ‘never attribute to malice what can be easily attributed to incompetence.’
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block This is just – I think they didn’t just – they just didn’t spend the time to get it right. And that sucks. But I think there are a lot better ways to force people to upgrade to the iPhone 4 than making the iPhone 3G run a little bit slower.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think you’re right.
We’re going to take a break. We come to Microsoft and Google. Google ended up in a border dispute, of all things. International dispute.
Before we talk about that, I would like to mention our friends at Audible. These guys do such a great job of making audiobooks for everybody – what the heck happened there? Let me push that button. I was – sorry about that, Lance. I didn’t mean to turn you into an Audible ad.
If you’re listening to a podcast, presumably you like listening. Audible is a great way to get a lot more reading done. As we all get busy – this is what you were talking about, Lance. We start watching more TV, working harder, and we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. Read a book. Audible –
Lance Ulanoff I have roses in this room.
Leo Laporte You have – are you smelling them?
Lance Ulanoff That’s right. Right now.
Leo Laporte Right now, he’s smelling the roses, ladies and gentlemen. Audible.com gives you a chance to get – read again. I have to say, I’m a huge fan of Audible. I’ve been a member since 2001. I’ve read over 400 books. Those are books probably I wouldn’t have had time to read if I had an actual paper book or even a Kindle book. Because I listen in the car, I listen at the gym, I listen when I’m doing housework. I listen when I’m walking the dog, I even listen in the hot tub.
Oh, look, Rendezvous with Rama. One of the things Audible’s done, they know that a lot of the great science fiction classics haven’t yet been made into audibooks. They just weren’t just made into audio books in the original form. And so they have a program, they call it Audible Frontiers, in which they record these great classic books. Arthur C. Clarke’s absolutely wonderful Rendezvous with Rama just came out on Audible Frontiers. Now this could be your book, free. They also have Childhood’s End – now let’s do a two-book deal because this is a good one. If you haven’t read Childhood’s End or Rendezvous with Rama, or you haven’t read them in a while, they’re out now in audio. And you could get them absolutely free if you go to audible.com/twit2. Audible.com/twit2. Here’s little bit of Childhood’s End, Eric Michaels...
Leo Laporte Sounds like you, Ryan. Oh this is a good book, and I won’t tell you about the – well I won’t tell you. I won’t spoil it. Let’s just say, read this book. You get two of them now, audible.com/twit2. What you’ll be doing is signing up for the Platinum account, that’s two books a month, but the first month’s free and you can cancel it at anytime and those books are yours to keep forever. Forever.
So audible.com/twit2 and that would be two great books, Childhood’s End and Rendezvous with Rama. There’s other great stuff, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury also just came out now on audio.
Audible.com. But it’s not just science fiction, its nonfiction, its current bestsellers. It’s Baba Booey’s biography by Gary Dell’Abate, if you are a Howard fan, you might want to hear They Call Me Baba Booey. I think I’ll skip that one, if you don’t mind. That’s the point, is everything is here. My next read by the way, Keith Richards’ Life. I got it, downloaded it, 23 hours of “and then Mick said to me, look at that bird over there, I’m going to…” never mind.
Audible.com/twit2, they play on the iPhone, iPad, the iPod, of course on your Zune. Android phones, there’s a great app for Android and Apple phones, it lets you listen to any of your iPod books. And don’t forget the big half off sale going on right now, audible.com/twit2 for your first two books absolutely free. Then once you’re a member, you can go get the half priced books. We thank them for their support of This WEEK in TECH and the entire TWiT network.
So, a little border dispute for Google. Google says it is the U.S. Government’s fault. Google Maps, I never really thought about this, but when you start publishing maps, dude, you got a responsibility. Wall Street Journal says that Nicaragua and Costa Rica are fighting over the border, and a Nicaraguan commander justified a raid into Costa Rica by using Google maps. This is invasion by Googling. The sovereignty apparently is in dispute. Apparently, the foreign minister of Costa Rica has written to Google asking for changes. A spokesperson for Google says, ‘we got the data from the U.S. Government.’ But it’s justification for – you can have an international incident by following the Google Map.
Ryan Block You know what I would do if I was Google, I would actually just this area, I would make a big like kind of hashed out, blurry, yeah blurry…
Leo Laporte Blurry, yeah.
Ryan Block That just have no firm line.
Lance Ulanoff Dotted lines.
Leo Laporte Do what they do in Germany.
Ryan Block A politician sorted out.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s what they did. You can request in Germany to have your house blurred in Street View.
Lance Ulanoff Yup.
Leo Laporte Jeff Jarvis calls it Blurmany.
Mark Milian The actual official policy for Google on Maps and Earth is to use red dotted lines for disputed borders. So they may end up doing that, if they don’t come to a conclusion here.
Lance Ulanoff They should have read Google News, then they would have known it was in dispute.
Leo Laporte See, that’s the problem, one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing.
Lance Ulanoff As usual.
Ryan Block Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff There’s a lot of – I mean there’s a lot of data they got to manage. And they are picking it up from sources. And if your source is wrong, you’re going to be wrong. And the U.S. Government is not always up-to-date. You know when I talk about one hand not knowing what the other is doing, all the data that the U.S. government has about various things is typically in stove pipes. I mean they don’t share all that well. So I’m sure if we look hard enough, we could find other mistakes.
Mark Milian Hey, they got hit with something different just this past week, on Tuesday a fast company writer discovered that Google pointed him the wrong polling place in his neighborhood, so he didn’t get to vote.
Leo Laporte Wow!
Lance Ulanoff That is correct. That is correct. They do that all the time. I started collecting stories from people about the various wrong directions they got from Google Maps. One guy told me that he had, there was a truck, he had a big truck and he was delivering something and he had to go through this path and there was a bridge but it was a bridge that was only big enough for a bicycle.
Leo Laporte Well, how, come on. Look out your window dude. So by the way Microsoft was quick to point out that Bing got it right. Oh, if they’d only followed Bing.
Mark Milian It depends on his version of the right is actually right, so…
Ryan Block I have a very hard time believing that Google is in any way responsible for an international incident. I mean, you don’t think that people down there in Costa Rica or Nicaragua know damn well what the border is supposed to be and saying that Google Maps is the reason why they invaded, I mean come on.
Leo Laporte We weren’t invading, we were just taking a trip, that’s a family trip, no big deal.
Ryan Block Please.
Leo Laporte Android turns three, this week it was its third anniversary of Android’s release. It took them a little longer to get a phone out. The G1 didn’t come out right away but on November 5, 2007, Google announced the – what do they call it, open handset alliance and Android. And now we’re really close I think to version 3.0 Gingerbread should out pretty soon. Have any of you played with a Gingerbread phone yet?
Ryan Block It’s on lockdown right now, isn’t it?
Leo Laporte You got the giant Gingerbread guy in the Googleplex.
Ryan Block Right, and then you got Honeycomb after that one and…
Lance Ulanoff I have a question for you guys about Gingerbread versus Honeycomb because we’ve been discussing this, Gingerbread as some people saying is designed especially for tablets, but then what’s Honeycomb? Because I actually thought Honeycomb was the one that was designed for tablets and when I talked to Lenovo, they seem to be under that impression too because they basically wanted to wait for Honeycomb before they made a Lenovo tablet.
Ryan Block That’s what I’ve been hearing. That Gingerbread is not going to be tablet optimized and the Honeycomb is going to be the one that [indiscernible] (57:13) special tablets.
Leo Laporte That’s bad news, for all the people making Android tablets. I mean it’s a lot of them are running Froyo 2.2.
Ryan Block Yeah, I mean the, Google has been pretty active in discouraging people from putting Android right now.
Leo Laporte Yeah, they said that’s not our tablet operating system. It’s not…
Ryan Block It’s not, I mean, it’s not optimized for tablets and that’s which is not. They will fix it, they will get there. It’s just going to take a little while.
Mark Milian I’ve gotten the impression from talking to some OEMs including some of the guys at Samsung that they don’t know what’s on the roadmap for Android. Samsung with the GalaxyS, sort of the Galaxy tab built out like their own apps and they did their own customizations to make it look fine on a 7-inch screen, but when I asked them about when they would be supporting this rumored Google tablet OS, I mean they were just being coy but they seemed like, we will do, we’ll work with them and we have in the past, so we’ll just see what they come up with.
Lance Ulanoff Yeah, I think it’s more about pluming, with Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb it’s about the right pluming for tablet functionality for bigger gestures for as many as like 10 fingers on the screen, everybody is probably going to build more customized interfaces for these tablets, but I think the big question for us is what do we end up seeing at CES 2011, will we see a lot of Gingerbread tablets, will we see a smattering of Honeycomb, will we see all Froyo…
Leo Laporte God, you guys are making me so hungry.
Ryan Block Naïve.
Leo Laporte Well, I am not kidding. Give me some chocolate now!
Lance Ulanoff You’re hungry?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff I am hungry.
Leo Laporte So, what do you think we’ll see at CES event and what do you – has anybody played with the new Samsung tab.
Lance Ulanoff Had a look at it.
Leo Laporte 2.2, it’s slippery. Does it work all right 2.2. The apps look okay. Do they scale well to that 7-inch screen. How does it work?
Lance Ulanoff They don’t have a lot of apps that were actually designed for the 7-inch screen yet, so I think that was kind of coming. It looked fine. It worked, it was responsive. It looked okay. I felt like it showed tremendous potential but I am not a tremendous fan of 7-inch tablets. I don’t think that’s the right size.
Leo Laporte You agree with Steve Jobs. He said it’s a not good size.
Lance Ulanoff Yeah, I said all along. I mean in fact I wrote a column it said a 7-inch iPad is a stupid idea, because [indiscernible] (59:47) to do.
Leo Laporte Well, Steve agrees or he doesn’t. It’s hard to tell, sometimes when he says never do that it means they are working on it right now. Why is 7 not a good size, the iPad is what 10, 9?
Ryan Block Right, 9.7 or something like that.
Leo Laporte Almost 10.
Lance Ulanoff And the Kindles are sort of about, 6 to 7 inches. I think that the closer to book size. I just feel like if you are going to go for a tablet which isn’t fully a full function device you want something big enough that you can put for both fingers, both hands on the screen and type, so it can be a productivity device you can, you can show larger images. You can draw on the screen. You’re just getting more done with a 9.7 inch that you do with the 7 inch device which kind of tries to split the difference but you don’t, I just don’t believe you’ll gain that much. It was interesting that Steve Jobs did all that map with the amount of screens space you actually lose, but…
Leo Laporte He says 50%. Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff That’s a big deal, so what can I say, I own both the Kindle and an iPad and I read on my Kindle and I do a ton of other stuff on my iPad I would not be happy if I had to for example draw on just a 7 inch screen. I am so glad they made it the size that they did.
Leo Laporte Have you seen the Dell, now Dell Streak is 5 inches which I guess if Steve…
Mark Milian Dell Streak is so stupid. We have a test unit in our office downtown and it’s, I can’t figure out what someone would use it for and you know they put a decent amount into this Dell, I mean they have a stand that all the best buys showing it off like the multimedia magic of the Dell Streak and I don’t know what to say about that thing.
Ryan Block You think that 7 inch screen size is not the sweet spot, try Dell Streak sometime, it will make you cry because it’s too small to be a [indiscernible] (61:37).
Mark Milian It’s too big for a phone.
Ryan Block It is too big for a phone and [indiscernible] (61:44).
Leo Laporte I love the Dell Streak because, when they are walking around it looks like they just got something that’s a little too big in their hand. It’s like something is wrong, you got a phone that’s like swollen.
Lance Ulanoff That is too big for that guy.
Leo Laporte Well it’s not a great ad anyway; I don’t know what’s going. Seems to be repeating itself. Who is going there? Yeah that’s really unpleasant isn’t it? See there she is with her big swollen phone, I don’t know why it sounds…
Ryan Block It sounds wrong.
Leo Laporte Sounds wrong, oh you know why I opened like 18 copies of it.
Lance Ulanoff Oh, wow.
Leo Laporte Look at that, look at that. Oh, no wonder it’s slow, okay close, close, close, close there we go.
Lance Ulanoff Hey, Leo.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Lance Ulanoff I am about to turn into a pumpkin.
Leo Laporte Alright, Lance Ulanoff anything you want to say before you go.
Lance Ulanoff You know what stay tuned to pcmag.com because we got the best of the year coming out, a very big story. We’re going to name all the products we love from 2010.
Leo Laporte I love that, sounds great and with Lance come visit us, we will be at CES II and we’d love to more with you at CES.
Lance Ulanoff Okay, I will see you guys there.
Leo Laporte That would be great, thank you Lance Ulanoff. While Lance is taking off let’s see this giant swollen phone ad here.
Leo Laporte Everything looks wrong in this ad. See how big that thing is. I don’t know it’s like my, I like my Droid X. it’s a 4.3.
Ryan Block They should have done in this ad what Apple did in the original iPhone ads which was to have somebody with a giant hand holding the device so that it doesn’t look so big.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that way it doesn’t look so big. That looks huge.
Ryan Block They need a giant hand model, so they had there was people with regular size hands and a device that looks like it is comically oversized.
Leo Laporte Yeah, it looks like…
Mark Milian But everyone wearing trench coats so that they could fit it in the pocket.
Leo Laporte Yeah exactly, [indiscernible] (1:03:45).
Ryan Block They could slip it in their giant trench coats.
Leo Laporte It just looks wrong. I think this ad has a mistake, although I wouldn’t mind a big screen I guess.
Ryan Block But there is that point where it becomes too big and then…
Mark Milian So you are saying not good for phones.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I haven’t held it, but as both of you agree this is a crappy iPad.
Ryan Block It is not. It is not my phone. I love a big screen as much as anybody. I love the Droid X, I love the – I think those phones are fantastic, but there is a really Apple limit.
Leo Laporte This is as big as you can get. In fact that’s what a lot of reviewer said, this is as big as you can get almost too big is what they say, almost too big.
Mark Milian It’s right, it really skirts that line. You get any bigger and then it starts, the human anatomy starts conflicting with the device itself.
Leo Laporte Do my hands look, I see, they should have used me. I have a, I could be a giant hand model. Doesn’t it look so big?
Ryan Block No comment on that one Leo.
Leo Laporte I put it next time I had and I have such a massive melon that it actually…
Mark Milian You do some pretty big mits.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I got big mits.
Ryan Block Leo, giant hand model or giant hand model.
Leo Laporte Giant hand model. Google finally pulled the plug on Facebook. Google is saying look Facebook it’s a one way street. We pump information into you and you don’t give us any information back. So finally, they addressed this by changing their contact API so that Facebook could no longer scrape Google contacts for information. Was this the right thing to do?
Mark Milian I think Facebook – I think Google needs Facebook more than Facebook needs Google, in that respect. A lot of people have multiple email accounts. Gmail users tend to be – this is a blanket generalization – but I would say like if you @gmail.com under your name, you’re probably a little more tech savvy…
Leo Laporte Right.
Mark Milian …than someone who’s still rocking a Yahoo! or Hotmail account. And I would guess that the majority of those people already have Facebook accounts. So this isn’t really going to be hurting too many people.
Leo Laporte So when you do the look for friends thing, used to be you could supply your Gmail address on the look for friends things.
Ryan Block If you swap these guys out in the situation and it was Google scraping – or you know, crawling through Facebook and Facebook shut them down, I mean I don’t think that anyone would feel that there was some love lost there.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block And you know – these guys have their data. And Facebook, I think, is a little bit more stingy with that data than most. I mean if you look at Facebook’s exporter tool, I mean they just released that, like in terms of how long they’ve been around? Like they just got to this, like the eight months I think, or six months, that you could export all of your Facebook data. To them, it’s – they really are like a one way street.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block They want everything coming into them, they want to build their own internet.
Leo Laporte That’s what it looks like. These most recent announcements for Facebook Places and then the Facebook deals and even the new API, where – the location API; now you can write to. It’s almost as if they’re saying to FourSquare and Gowalla, and Yelp, and Loot. Yeah, yeah just come on in. We’ll be your big umbrella for location services. You can use us. And of course, FourSquare’s not going to say no, they have to, because so many of their users are. Now FourSquare continues to grow.
Ryan Block I don’t know, I don’t know if they have to.
Leo Laporte Do you think it’s a mistake for them to work with Places?
Ryan Block Do you think that they have to, though? I mean…
Leo Laporte I think they do. I think they do. Because…
Ryan Block Twitter didn’t have to work with Facebook early on. I mean Twitter was able – and granted, Facebook was not at the place that they are today when Twitter was getting started, you know, in 2006, 2007. But Facebook was still really big, even then. And Twitter did just fine not having to, not having to build everything off of Facebook.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Mark Milian FourSquare has actually been a hold out on all this, for these new Places announcements. They’re saying – they’re not buying into the whole, we’ll completely write everything in. I mean you can post a FourSquare check-in to your Facebook profile, but then that brings you back to the FourSquare page. So I think FourSquare maybe will hold out for as long as they can.
Ryan Block So you know I got to tell you. That the whole, like, like when Facebook announced places and then they have FourSquare go up and FourSquare didn’t say anything. I mean they were there symbolically, but they didn’t have any announcements or anything of substance to say. I mean that actually spoke volumes to me. You know, they are at best uneasy allies. I think FourSquare would…
Leo Laporte Well, I’m sure they are…
Ryan Block …maybe not – yeah. Well, and even allies, I’m not even sure I’d really call them. I mean FourSquare really…
Leo Laporte But don’t you – when you check – well when you check in now in FourSquare, if you use the FourSquare app on Facebook, it will show up on your Facebook. And when they announced the fact that they didn’t have a write API, I think FourSquare was on that list of that – maybe that was fallacious – but it was on that screen of logos of people who will be using the write API. Which means you check in on FourSquare and it shows up, your location shows up now properly in Facebook as if you’ve checked in on places.
Ryan Block Sure. How much of your business do you want to depend on Facebook? I mean do you want to be a Zynga where 99% of business and revenues is based on Facebook? And then if Facebook pulls the plug, then you’re basically dead?
Leo Laporte Well, you don’t – you’re right. You don’t want to, but you may not – you’ve also got a place – it’s a very interesting game, you’ve got play this game, right?
Ryan Block And it’s really tricky. I mean, you know I see this all the time. And there are so many new start-ups that come up and they try to base all their stuff on Facebook. And I totally understand why, I mean, it’s a huge opportunity. But at the same time, it is the same problem that any new company has when they are beholden to someone else’s platform. I mean if you’re going to be an iPhone apps software developer and that’s all you’re going to do, huge opportunity there. But if Apple decides that they don’t like your app for whatever stupid reason, fair or unfair, you’re screwed. Your business is done.
Leo Laporte So if Facebook came to GDGT and said, we would like to incorporate your Have Want pages somehow into Facebook, you’d still be an entity, a standalone entity; but we’d just like to give you access to 500 million users.
Ryan Block Well, technically, I already have that. I mean Facebook is an open platform. We have a Facebook app insofar as when you add a product to your Want List, you can post that status update onto Facebook. And there are also semi-open standards like Facebook’s open graph protocol, where if you hit a Facebook like button on a page like a gadget page for the iPhone 4 or whatever, it will show product data and stuff in your Facebook status.
Leo Laporte So they’re co-opting you. I mean that you, now if you’re a blog…
Ryan Block But none of our stuff is dependant on that, and if Facebook shut off the stream tomorrow, I frankly wouldn’t care because none of my business is dependant on that.
Leo Laporte But if you’re going to have a like button, you’re going to have Facebook connect, you’re going to have all those pipes into Facebook, aren’t you.
Ryan Block Yeah, and then, that’s the risk that you take these days with a lot of this integration. And it’s tricky. I get a lot of people kind of who think it’s really weird that I’ve web start up now where the only login mechanism is not Facebook.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block You can log in with a Gadget user name, or you can log in with Facebook. A lot of companies now, they just – all you can do is log into Facebook. That, to me, is weird. That Facebook would own your entire user site, and that you wouldn’t even be giving people the choice to not use Facebook.
Leo Laporte Well, you wouldn’t want, that obviously.
Ryan Block Well, a lot of people are doing that now. A shocking number of new companies do that. They just say, okay, Facebook, you’re the login and identity system. And that was what Facebook’s announcement this week, was mobile single sign-on.
Leo Laporte Right. So what – I agree with you. Facebook is making a grab for the internet, essentially. They would like it all to come through Facebook. And it’s a honey pot, because if you – I mean that’s a half a billion users they can offer you, potentially. And boy, we all know, I mean – tell me if I’m wrong. But doesn’t the like button – it’s much more successful than any other kind of social sharing. A like button on your blog post is going to drive a lot of traffic, is it not?
Ryan Block Well I think it depends on you site and your audience. I mean we get more traffic from Twitter than Facebook.
Leo Laporte Really? Oh that’s interesting.
Ryan Block Yeah. But I mean we’re also obviously a lot more geeky. And I think that geeks tend to prefer Twitter to Facebook in general. I mean I know.
Leo Laporte Somebody, Jimmy in the chat room is saying like is the new link. Ugh, I hope that’s not true. That would be very scary.
Mark Milian Well, I mean Facebook’s strategy there is not all that different from Google. I mean they’re polar opposites of doing the same thing. Google goes out and grabs everything. And then Facebook just waits for you to come to them. They are both still keeping records of everything on the internet. It’s just the different way of going about doing that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s true. Jammie Thomas is back in the news again, she is the single mom who shared 24 songs on Kazaa, was found guilty of that. The music industry said ‘we tried to settle with her for $5000, she just ignored us. So we had to take her to court.’ And they keep giving her different awards, and it goes on, more trials – well on Wednesday, a Federal Jury said Jammie Thomas you owe $62,500 for every song you shared on the internet. That’s a total of $1.5 million. This is the third jury to consider damages. I don’t know if it’s over yet. She says, I can’t pay anything. Zero, you are going to get zero.
Ryan Block Yeah, good luck on that money.
Leo Laporte Any amount I pay to them is money that I could use to feed my children. Any amount I could pay to them is money I could use to clothe my kids and pay my mortgage so my kids have a place to sleep. She’s got a point. On the other hand…
Mark Milian I’d like to know how they land on these amounts per song. I mean I saw in the story that the judge was – well, yeah the law says you can go up to 150,000 per song, according to the story. And I thought the RAA was pushing for that. And the judge said, no, that doesn’t make sense. But even $62,500 per song? I can’t – there is no song that takes that much money to create. So what –where – what does that number mean? I mean…
Leo Laporte I agree.
Mark Milian You could buy a MacPro, you could buy the software used for creating, buy all the instruments, and it won’t come up to $62,000.
Leo Laporte I agree. I agree.
Ryan Block See, Mark, there you go, trying to apply logic to the record industry again.
Leo Laporte In 2007, the first jury – and this I thought was a travesty – awarded the music industry $9,000, $9,250 a song, $222,000. The judge said, ah, I gave the jury incorrect instructions. So another jury found it guilty again. And then they said, 80,000 a song. The judge said that figure is monstrous and shocking, reduced the penalty to $54,000, the RIAA rejected that decision. They said they’d settled for $25,000. She said, no way. So trial number three and now she owes 1.5 million – I just don’t – it seems like just – is this the way to save the music industry really?
Ryan Block No, it’s not. It’s – they are doing it because it’s symbolic. They are doing it because that’s the only stand that they have.
Leo Laporte They are doing to scare people. They are hoping that you got scared with this and say –
Ryan Block Yeah, they’ve been trying to make an example out of this people, but you know what, all they’re doing is demonizing themselves. All that does is make me want to steal from them.
Leo Laporte Yeah, me too. But you hate them.
Ryan Block It’s a sick abuse of the system; and do you know look, they are going to get what’s coming to them. They are already getting what’s coming to them. The bomb went off 10 years ago and maybe the shockwave still hasn’t fully hit them hard but –
Leo Laporte That’s crazy.
Ryan Block If these record label executives and RIAA thinks that they are going to have a very profitable lucrative future, I’m sorry. It’s ….
Mark Milian Well, this particular case is a remnant of an old, failed strategy from several years ago. I mean the RIAA isn’t doing this anymore ……..
Leo Laporte They don’t sue anymore.
Mark Milian Because this is one that wouldn’t go away.
Leo Laporte Okay. What do they do now?
Mark Milian Now, they go after ……….
Leo Laporte LimeWire. They go after the source.
Mark Milian The host. Yeah. LimeWire.
Leo Laporte And they put them out of business? We’re going to talk about a couple of more things before we wrap this puppy up. We’ve got Ryan Block here from gadget.com and their big event coming up Friday in San Francisco. If you just go to gdgt.com, will you find out about that, Ryan?
Ryan Block Yeah, we’ve got a big banner up at the top. If you are in the Bay Area, we would love to have you though. I’m talking to you specifically, Leo.
Leo Laporte I know. I’m in the Bay Area. I really want to go. I will.
Ryan Block Well, you just try to make it out but if not you guys are going to be livestreaming which I’m really excited about.
Leo Laporte We are. We’re going to broadcast it. But that shouldn’t stop anybody from going. In fact, if you go, you’d be on the livestream. So there …
Ryan Block Yeah, no, you are going to want to go because you are not going to be able to get everything that you’re going to be able to get by being – I’m not just talking about the shirts and stuff like that or the swag or the ability to win a ton of really awesome gadgets. So I’m you actually go, play with the gadgets. We’ve got ……
Leo Laporte Well, this is where you could see the Streak [Dell Streak], if you wanted to, for instance. So, we’re – no, no.
Ryan Block The Streak is going to be there for better or worse.
Leo Laporte How about the Samsung? We have the Samsung tablet, the tab?
Ryan Block Yeah, Samsung should be there. I don’t know if they are going to be bringing the tab.
Leo Laporte Oh, Windows Phone 7 we can see the focus probably, right?
Ryan Block Yep, Windows Phone 7 is going to be there. We’ve got ……
Leo Laporte Do you have one of those yet? Ryan, do you like that?
Ryan Block I do. I think it’s actually great. I think it’s a really strong start.
Leo Laporte I’m going to have to wait in line tomorrow because no pre-orders for AT&T.
Ryan Block It’s – I don’t if it’s the wait-in-line worthy phone of the season, but it is definitely we’re checking out.
Mark Milian Yeah, it might be. Buy yourself out there, Leo.
Leo Laporte You think I’d the one guy in line?
Mark Milian You will be the line.
Leo Laporte Well, I better bring a camera. Actually, you know I waited in line for the DROID X and I got there early, right when they opened. It’s a good thing I did. I took me two hours to get the phone and people who came in an hour after they opened the doors couldn’t get the DROID X for a long time. There was huge demand for that – iPhone quality demand. You don’t think that’s going to happen with the Samsung Focus.
First of all, AT&T which is…….
Mark Milian Yeah, AT – I think it was on Verizon. There may have been more hype on it but I kind of don’t think this will be the type of phone that will draw huge crowds and stop shopping malls from opening.
Leo Laporte Well, I’ll be in line. I’m bringing – I’m bringing a flip cam. So we will talk about that. It’s kind of an end-of-the-line for – an American icon will talk about that. More to come and Steve Ballmer cashing in. Could it be the beginning of the end for the Big B. More to come with our guest, Mark Milian from CNN. I like saying that, Mark.
Mark Milian Me too.
Leo Laporte [Ph] Certain ring do it (1:19:24).
Mark Milian I like it when you say it. I think I’m going to make it my voicemail.
Leo Laporte CNN’s Mark Milian reporting in.
Mark Milian Music to my ears.
Ryan Block That’s a really good idea, Mark. Hey, Leo, can we get to do our voicemail messages first?
Leo Laporte Sure, I would love to.
Ryan Block That would be so awesome.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Ryan Block Have you – you know it’s like wait, wait don’t tell me.
Leo Laporte Yeah, Carl Kasell does that. If you win you get Carl Kasell doing your voicemail message.
Ryan Block Exactly.
Leo Laporte I’ll do that for anybody. Carl Kasell has to make a contest. I’ll do it – anybody who wants. Before I do that ……
Mark Milian If you’re going to [ph] do like that (1:19:53).
Ryan Block Just create one of those Flash apps.
Leo Laporte And it’s – yeah.
Ryan Block Like they did with the Old Spice guy where you can go on and punching your phone number and then it will assemble.
Leo Laporte Hi, I – my name is Mark and this is my voicemail. You just called 5551212. Before I do that, I do want to mention our good friends at Ford, the folks who make the incredible Ford SYNC we talk so much about. I’m driving it everyday. I drive my 2010 Mustang and I love the SYNC but the other day when I was at Blogroll, I drove the Ford Edge and now my wife is killing me. She says, I got to have an Edge and said just watch your car. She said I want an Edge, I want an Edge. It’s the most hi-tech Ford out there, grabs attention as well as it grabs the road. Let me tell you. Beautiful swoopy doopy. Look at it, the beautiful lines of the Edge. But when you get inside, you just get this feeling the fit to finish, solid, beautiful instrument panel. Looks actually kind of like my Mustang. Obviously, influenced by it, the center stack, the door trim and of course, MyFord Touch puts two screens behind the wheel and then another big screen in the center console.
Oh, I was just talking to somebody who got an Edge. They tried a lot of cars. I said, why did you get the Edge, just tell me because I’m going to be talking about this on TWiT today? And they said, the legroom in the second row. We tried them all and it is the most comfortable in the back row. The available automatic vista roof for the front and the fixed skylight for the back, so everybody gets to see the stars, ambient lighting. The 2011 Edge has incredible V6 highway fuel efficiency that the advanced 3.5 liter Ti-VCT V6 engine. Big engine. 285 horsepower but unsurpassed fuel economy in the class, 27 highway miles EPA estimates per gallon.
Then, there is the sport model, the 305 horsepower, 280 foot pounds of torque. I don’t know what that means but I know it’s good. 280 foot pounds of torque. I might make that my handle on World of Warcraft. I’m thanking today and I’ll be 280 foot pounds of torque. Also sport tuned suspension, the 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, it’s just great, the 8-inch touch screen, the MyFord Touch. If you’ve used SYNC before, you’ll know how great it is, if you haven’t, you just have to try.
What is – here’s what you do, you go, again I warn you. You’re going to fall in love with this vehicle. You go to your Ford dealer, you drive one this week, [ph] take up (1:22:24) say I want to see the 2011 Edge and I want to try the Ford Touch. So you’ve got these two screens, right? The left screen can display and you can switch through it, or by voice you could tell what to display. Fuel economy, mechanical status, settings and information.
On the right, actually I saw a tachometer too, so I think it does a tachometer. On the right, audio entertainment, climate control, phone communications and navigation and then you have the 8-inch screen in the center stack. It’s like the map and – oh, man, I love it. You really feel like you are connected. And this one has two USB hubs and an SD card slot. Isn’t it great? Your car has an SD card slot. RCA jacks, two for AV input, it’s got the mobile in-car Wi-Fi hotspot capability. You can either install an air card through the USB or a broadband modem. It’s got phonebook contact, photo download. I mean, it’s just amazing, what this will do. So when somebody rings, a picture shows up. I love that. Drive one this week at a Ford dealer near you. It’s the most technological car Ford’s ever made. I think I’ll be getting one. I have to say. I know I’m going to be getting one, my wife is going to make me get one. Mark Milian is here from CNN, the world’s most important digital network.
Mark Milian Right.
Leo Laporte And from gadget, Mr. Ryan Block. Ballmer sells big chunk of stock, now Steve Ballmer is the number two shareholder at Microsoft. Bill Gates has little more than 7% of Microsoft, Ballmer has little more than 4%. Now that 4%, Steve Ballmer has of Microsoft is worth, based on the most recent stock price, make it the exact amount, he’s got 4.2% of the company, $9.6 billion. So he sells a little bit. Sells 12% of his stock – his stake in the Microsoft, that’s worth. He’s got a billion – one and a third billion dollars, he said, you know I did this for tax planning, in investments or in diversifying my investments. But some say this maybe an indication that Ballmer might be moving on. What you think?
Mark Milian I don’t know about that, I mean, maybe he’s just got something personal going on and maybe some of his family is sick, or he’s buying a house or something.
Leo Laporte He wants to build a pool.
Ryan Block Yeah, that’s right. When someone gets sick in my family, I go and I take $1 billion out of bank.
Leo Laporte Cash out stock. Would it be nice? And it’s only 12%.
Ryan Block We’re not buying a new house $1 billion just.
Leo Laporte It adds up.
Ryan Block [Indiscernible] (84:57).
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Mark Milian What kind of salary is he getting? He can be doing something similar to that, there is $1 salary as the job is pulling for a while.
Leo Laporte No, no, no.
Ryan Block No actually Ballmer, Ballmer gets paid an actual salary. He does – he – remember last year he got that – he had his budget – I’m sorry about his budget – his bonus slashed heavily……
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block ……. because of their failings in mobile.
Leo Laporte But they still gave him the gold underwear.
Mark Milian Yeah, yeah, yeah, to make up for his bonus with his stock options.
Ryan Block If I were Ballmer and I were thinking about leaving, I would actually not be taking a lot of stock off of the table right now because…
Leo Laporte I agree.
Ryan Block ………the next guy is surely going to do a better job……
Leo Laporte I agree.
Ryan Block ……. and is clearly going to raise his stock price.
Leo Laporte Now is the time to hold on to that Steve. Retire and hold on.
Ryan Block Yeah, so if I were Steve and I were leaving, I’d be keeping my money in the company.
Leo Laporte Well, you guys are both bloggers, I – this story just blew my mind, there is a print magazine called Cooks Source. I’ve actually bought copies of the magazine, it’s a cooking magazine. Apparently, this magazine has some bad habits. A blogger who wrote a blog 5-years ago, for a blog called Gode Cookery, says they stole her post and put it in the print magazine without telling her, the magazine has a circulation of 20,000. She said this is news to me, I’d never even heard of the magazine, so the blogger Monica Gaudio contacted the Editor of Cooks Source, [indiscernible] (86:28) answer is still here, I’d love to hear his opinion on this.
To ask about the article, it was a history of apple pie and how it got in the magazine. At one point, in the exchange, Gaudio said the Editor asked her what do you want. Gaudio said, I want an apology in the magazine on the Facebook page, and I want 130 bucks that you’re going to donate to the Columbia School of Journalism, $0.10 a word.
The Editor who said that she has 3 decades of experience editing for the Village Voice, Connecticut Woman Magazine and other publications, responded that, everything on the web is considered public domain. You should be happy we didn’t just lift your whole article and put someone else’s name on it.
Ryan Block [Indiscernible] (1:27:08) and also wrong.
Leo Laporte And she said the article was in very bad need of editing, and it’s much better now than it was originally in fact. We put so much time into re-write, you should pay me…
Mark Milian [Indiscernible] (1:27:22) she’s done.
Leo Laporte It wasn’t that well written.
Mark Milian This is sleazy.
Leo Laporte Is that creepy or what?
Ryan Block It’s just hilarious because there’s just nothing right about it.
Leo Laporte Well.
Ryan Block It’s almost cute how naïve it is.
Leo Laporte But that’s just great. It’s completely naïve.
Ryan Block It is just like so wrong.
Leo Laporte It’s just like – and they – it’s just like I never heard it what’s this Internet thing, because of course immediately Gaudio goes public.
Ryan Block …and in conclusion, the sun wraps around the earth.
Leo Laporte Yes. The earth it’s the center of the universe.
Ryan Block Yes.
Leo Laporte So apparently the Facebook page has been flood with thousands of derisive comments, the original page was hacked, the magazine is forced to relocate. If you look on twitter on the hashtag not Cooks Source, but Crooks Source, you’ll see millions of tweets excoriating the magazine, I mean, they probably got more attention than they’ve ever had before, I mean this is like – so anyway – just you can’t do that folks and by the way, everything on the Internet is not public domain.
Ryan Block You know, back – back in the early days in Engadget, it always surprised me how many people we got in their way to lift content, even when we were really a small publication, maybe just constantly happening, especially because of RSS. Because RSS makes it incredibly easy to steal other people’s content and so that was happening all the time and it would show up in places you would never believe. I mean, it was never like it showed up in established publications, whatever, but places where you wouldn’t expected to go that didn’t seem incredibly shady and this is a pretty good example, I mean, there were a lot of instances.
Leo Laporte This is a legitimate magazine you see.
Ryan Block It’s very, very, very weird what people think about these things sometimes. It doesn’t make any sense and there is a not a lot you can do about it unfortunately. I mean, you can’t have somebody arrested for that, right. I mean, you can file a lawsuit if you really want to, but have fun with that.
Leo Laporte So I think this is a watershed, Verizon is going to – I have wondered this, who uses the yellow pages, who uses the white pages. You still get it every year dropped on your doorstep. I recycle it immediately. Verizon is finally stopping distribution of the white pages in Pennsylvania. They actually had to ask permission of the State Public Utility Commission. Verizon says if a customer specifically requests one, they can get it. And that’s fine. There are probably some people who don’t have Internet access or whatever and they may need a phone book. But why print a phone book for a million people when – does anybody even use the phone book? They say this will save 2,200 tons of low grade paper. 12 million books they used to distribute. And they cited a Gallup poll in 2008 that said only 11% of households still looked up numbers in the phone book. I am surprised the phone companies still do this.
Lance Ulanoff (01:30:25) There is a business there.
Ryan Block I mean my mom still uses the yellow pages, she doesn’t use the white pages but, I mean, I gave her an iPhone and she still uses the yellow pages to look up local businesses.
Leo Laporte Really? Old habits die hard.
Ryan Block Yeah, [indiscernible] (01:30:38) habit.
[Multiple Speakers] (1:30:40)
Leo Laporte Your mom [Indiscernible] (01:30:38) younger than me by the way; I just want to point that.
Ryan Block The thing that a lot of people also forget is that there is a big business there for local businesses who are not tech-savvy. And it drives me crazy to think about this, but there are actually a lot of companies out there or retail places, or food establishments, a lot of local businesses that just don’t know or understand how easy it is to put yourself as an official listing on Google Maps than on yellow pages or…
Leo Laporte And I was talking to my message therapist and she is paying $39 a month to not be in the yellow pages but to be Yellowbook.com.
Ryan Block It’s terrible.
Leo Laporte And I said…
Ryan Block It’s the service right, it’s the service they offer. You call them, you say please list me and they take care of it for you.
Leo Laporte But I asked her, I said when’s the last time – if you were looking for something, when’s the last time you went to Yellowbook.com. I said how do you find something, and she said. ‘I Google it’. I said, well, okay, and then I showed her Google Places, it’s absolutely free to put a listing into it. I said, please just do this, don’t, 39 bucks a month, it’s free and this is where people go nowadays. They would look on Google. Now, you should have a Google Places directory listing, I mean…
Ryan Block Yeah, I think it is the service, right, that they will place it for you, they will list it for you. So I actually think the opportunity here is as long as the difference between these two businesses is that somebody is going to place your business in the listings in the local yellow book or I guess in Yellowbook.com, the opportunity for Google is take care of it for people.
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block Offer for $30 or something to create that verified listing in Google Maps. Do it for them and there is Google makes some money and people get it in the place that people are looking for stuff now.
Leo Laporte If you search for TWiT, I think you can find us on Google. Actually I think, maybe TWiT LLC would probably find us on Google Places and I am looking right now actually, I don’t see it but I know, they send you a postcard.
Ryan Block I found it.
Leo Laporte Did you? They send you a postcard to say are you really, is this you?
Ryan Block They got nine five-star reviews.
Leo Laporte Isn’t that great?
Lance Ulanoff (01:32:56) Leo Laporte’s house [indiscernible] (1:32:57). You got a nice pad there man.
Leo Laporte Somebody did that too, but I am not going to talk about it. Let’s see, okay what is – now this is good. I got two guys on who can tell me the definition of 4G because wireless companies, particularly Sprint are a little up in arms because T-Mobile is saying our HSPA+, well that’s 4G and Sprint is saying no it’s not. So what is 4G? Is T-Mobile allowed to say that they are upgraded HSPA which is 3 to 5 megabits, which is about as fast as Clearwire is, are they allowed to say that’s 4G? What makes 4G?
Ryan Block Mark, you want me to take this one or you want to take it.
Mark Milian I think we will double [ph] team (01:33:37) and you can go first.
Ryan Block Okay, so 4G, okay, so the whole G thing that is – that is terminology and it’s determined by the ITU, the International Telecommunication Union.
Leo Laporte So there is an official definition?
Ryan Block Yes.
Mark Milian It’s still being determined actually. They haven’t worked out every single part of the spec yet.
Ryan Block But 4G was originally intended to encompass wireless broadband and wireless phone networks that operated at a 100 megabits or above. So…
Leo Laporte A 100 megabits?
Ryan Block Yes, so that is the actual technical definition.
Leo Laporte Well nobody is doing that.
Ryan Block I know. We will get to that in a second. Okay, so ITU determines these 3G is different than 2.75G and 2.5G which are, we [indiscernible] (1:34:26) in that stuff, but anyway, the point is 4G is a thing, it is defined. It is not necessarily specifically LTE or WiMAX, although there are a lot of standards.
Leo Laporte Those are typically considered 4G.
Ryan Block Yes, 802.16e which is the original WiMAX standard was considered to be a 4G standard by the ITU, but the point is it has to operate at 100 megabits or above to be considered 4G. If it doesn’t do that, it is not 4G. So what you actually have is these “4G standards” like LTE and WiMAX which are theoretically capable of operating at well above 100 megabits, but that are actually like way down [ph] clock (01:35:08) so to speak. They are down in the 0 to 10 megabit range. So either 4G technologies that are not being used at where they are supposed to be 4G speeds. So for anybody to claim it’s 4G is a little bit disingenuous right now.
Leo Laporte None of it’s 4G.
Mark Milian Right. To Leo’s original question, to your original question, can T-Mobile call their network 4G, yes they can because Sprint started it and they had technology that isn’t close to the standard of 4G. Verizon’s LTE is not 4G like Ryan said. From my understanding, I just did a story about this, about a week ago, I talked to an analyst at Gartner. And from my understanding, a lot of the slowdown is on the end of the fiber that they are using to connect to the cell towers. A lot of the Internet in this country is not fast enough to reach a 100 megabits.
Leo Laporte They can get a backhaul that’s fast enough.
Mark Milian Right, so I mean, 4G is a marketing term. So AT&T can say they have 4G, they are rolling out an HSPA+ network eventually. So, I don’t…
Leo Laporte T-Mobile is actively advertising America’s Largest 4G Network, which I imagine is kind of stunning a few people like, “Who, T-Mobile?”
Ryan Block It’s tricky because there they do have a large network roll-out based on current technologies, not based on WiMAX or LTE, but based on current technologies.
Leo Laporte But current technologies are as fast as...
Ryan Block Yes, and then they are operating those technologies at speeds that are the same speeds that is what Sprint’s operating its WiMAX network out. So they – it’d really weird and kind of convoluted. But in a sense if you consider Sprint’s 4G rollout 4G, then you could also consider T-Mobile’s rollout 4G. But it’s just like – it’s just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t matter. What matters is can you get fast speeds and do you have coverage? And I think that there’s just a lot of confusion with this especially because you look at AT&T, AT&T was one of the first carriers to roll out HSUPA which is speed increased to its network. And that’s great.
So, AT&T now is a faster network that you can’t use, still. You still can’t use it.
Leo Laporte It’s faster if you could use it.
Ryan Block So speed don’t really matter. It’s like, can you use it?
Leo Laporte Right.
Ryan Block That is the matter.
Mark Milian It’s all about performance in a specific location and that has a lot to do with the available amount of spectrum, but – I mean, it’s all just junk this 4G stuff. Sprint, from my understanding, use 4G as an internal term because WiMAX was their fourth-generation of technology that they were using at their network and then they came to the realization wow! Let’s just use it as a marketing term, it sounds cool, it’s one better than 3G.
Leo Laporte I’ve been underwhelmed by WiMAX by Sprint’s 4G. Every time I have used it in Vegas and other places, it’s been like okay, not much faster. I am not blown away by it. But maybe that’s – again, maybe that’s the backhaul, maybe that’s not the technology. I don’t know.
Ryan Block Yeah, it’s going to be a while before it really starts to feel the way that it’s supposed to feel.
Leo Laporte Do you guys have a bet on 4G as LTE going to be the way for the future? Is it going to be the fastest, any thoughts?
Ryan Block Absolutely. LTE is – I mean, it’s already basically won.
Leo Laporte This is Verizon’s solution.
Ryan Block Verizon and AT&T.
Leo Laporte And AT&T, right.
Ryan Block So you have the two biggest [ph] cell (01:38:30) carriers in the country behind that one, and a lot of them internationally.
Mark Milian The one thing you won’t hear about in this T-Mobile America’s Largest 4G Network commercials, you’ll hear about speed but you won’t hear about latency. And latency is very important if you want to use this high-speed connection for things like gaming, if you don’t want connection delay between hitting the button to fire the gun and that actually registering with another player.
Leo Laporte It is national – our last story and I’ll let you all go – Jimmy Kimmel has announced National UnFriend Day, and by the way on the video on YouTube, it says, follow Jimmy on Facebook and Twitter.
Ryan Block Naturally.
Leo Laporte Don’t unfriend him, apparently that would be the wrong thing to do. I guess I am going to get this banned from YouTube [indiscernible] (01:27).
[Jimmy Kimmel YouTube Video Presentation] (01:39:29 – 01:40:15)
Leo Laporte I am feeling bad for this woman, I hope he asked her permission.
[Jimmy Kimmel YouTube Video Presentation] (01:40:17 – 01:41:30)
Leo Laporte He’s got a good anchorman.
[Jimmy Kimmel YouTube Video Presentation] (01:41:32)
Leo Laporte Oh dear. This is what I meant to show.
[Jimmy Kimmel YouTube Video Presentation] (01:41:42 – 01:41:52)
Leo Laporte That’s the best part.
Ryan Block Yeah.
Leo Laporte I don’t know what’s going on.
Lance Ulanoff (01:41:59) What did he say his name was, [ph] Winaymar Shatner (01:41:59)?
Leo Laporte Well, William Shatner
Mark Milian Shatner’s got to be all about Twitter now; it’s paying the bills for his TV show.
Leo Laporte Yeah, no kidding, because he is doing – how do they –
Ryan Block [indiscernible] (102:08).
Leo Laporte How do they bill that because you can’t say my dad says on TV, what do they do, what do they call?
Mark Milian They do – they call it my dad doesn’t have the star and the --
Ryan Block Well, Leo, “Bleep My Ears”.
Leo Laporte Bleep my? The name of the show is “Bleep My Dad Says”?
Mark Milian That’s what they call it internally and then on the network, they’ll say it and then they’ll bleep it out.
Leo Laporte Oh, they bleep it out, so when they say they bleep it.
Mark Milian The promos, yeah.
Leo Laporte Wow! Very daring of them. I’m so impressed. So we’re going to [indiscernible] (102:37) Wednesday we’ve got our signature interview, I just want to give a little plug, we’re going to be talking to Michael Geist. Now here’s a guy in Canada who revealed for the first time ever the terms of the act of 3D. He’s really – he’s on the forefront of electronic frontier. We’ll certainly talk to him about the Jammie Thomas thing. He’s been very active in the recording industry issue, he’s an attorney, teaches in Canada and we will get Michael Geist on, that’s 4 o’clock Pacific Time, 7 o’clock Eastern Time live.twit.tv. Tom Merritt and I will interview him. We’re looking forward to that it’s going to be a lot of fun.
And we do want to ask our TWiT listeners to help us put together our holiday shows. We are asking for the best clips, the best parts of all of the shows, the parts you like the best and we’ll do a cut down for holiday week if you go to twit.tv/bestof, twit.tv/bestof you could tell us which of the shows you’re talking about, what your favorite clip was. [indiscernible] (103:38) tech news today and we’re going to put together kind of a best of shows so that we don’t at least these guys don’t have to work on the holidays. Help us do that, best of TWiT 2010, go to twit.tv/bestof. Ryan Block’s party is in San Francisco on Friday, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Ryan Block Come on out, it’s open [indiscernible] (104:02). Everybody’s invited.
Leo Laporte Free pretzels?
Ryan Block Yeah.
Leo Laporte I don’t know, I made that up.
Ryan Block Free pretzels on Leo.
Leo Laporte I’ll buy – I’ll buy all the – I’ll bring – I tell you, I’ll bring a couple of boxes of pretzels. That’d be on me, okay?
Ryan Block Seriously though, if you are over 21, we’re going to have some free drinks for people --
Leo Laporte Now how do you – you have a sponsor that does that? How does that work out?
Ryan Block No, we pay for a lot of the stuff ourselves. But I mean, you know all the companies who we invited out, they help us pay for the show. So--
Leo Laporte They know you’re going to get an audience of gadget freaks who are going to be there--
Ryan Block Yeah, absolutely.
Leo Laporte So they’re really happy to be there and be a part of that?
Ryan Block Yeah, it’s going to be great, I mean, we’ve done a bunch of these shows and normally we get about 25 or so companies to come out, this time we’ve gotten 50 companies, so it’s like but a huge margin our biggest and best show.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s going to be fun. You can RSVP on Facebook. Don’t unfriend them yet.
Ryan Block You don’t have to RSVP on Facebook. [indiscernible] (104:59) know how many drinks to buy.
Leo Laporte You’re right. November 12, 7:11 PM at the, oh, I’ve already been invited, Veronica invited me. I didn’t even see that. At The Galleria, 101 Henry Adams Street in San Francisco. And now Mark Milian, you live in San Francisco so you can come too!
Mark Milian Oh, yeah. See you guys, Friday
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah.
Mark Milian I will be – I’ll buy you guys a beer [indiscernible] (105:21) bar, right?
Leo Laporte Part of [indiscernible] (105:22), yeah, I’m right.
Ryan Block We can buy him a beer.
Leo Laporte You can fetch me the beer that Ryan is buying me.
Ryan Block Exactly, there you go.
Leo Laporte All right, we’ll see you out there. Anything you want to plug particularly, Mr. Milian?
Mark Milian cnn.com/tech. That’s it.
Leo Laporte He lives there and you’re happy to be in San Francisco?
Mark Milian Yeah, and I’m loving it. It was raining this morning but it’s nice out now and probably transportation is good unlike L.A.
Leo Laporte Come up and see us some time, we’re just up the road [indiscernible] (105:50)
Mark Milian Definitely will.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I’ll come back now you hear or something like that. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Ryan. Thanks also Lance Ulanoff, the Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine. Thank you all for being here and remember we do the show every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific; 6:00 PM Eastern Time, 2300 UTC at live.twit.tv. You can watch it happen live and un-bleeped.
Ryan Block I did something we could bleep.
Leo Laporte Just one thing and I hope you will and otherwise get the show at twit.tv after the fact, just a couple of hours [indiscernible] (106:23). Thanks everybody for joining. Yes, we’ll see you next time in another TWiT.
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