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This is TWiT, this WEEK in TECH, episode 282, recorded Sunday, January 2, 2011, The Golden Boys.
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It’s time for TWiT: this WEEK in TECH, the show that covers your technology needs, and, yes, we’re back for a brand new year 2011. And I thought given a brand new year, I’d bring in the three oldest farts I know.
In fact, I believe, combined, we’ve got – between the three of us – four of us, we’ve got 250 years of experience. Starting in the lower right hand corner, I’ll do this in reverse, Larry, just observed that you have the three longest running technology columnists in America who are still writing.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte On the air right now, starting with Larry Magid, who is at CBS News and his website LarrysWorld.com; hey, Larry, good to see you.
Larry Magid Good to see you, Leo. It’s nice we start here.
Leo Laporte You have never been on TWiT before. I don’t know how we managed that.
Larry Magid Only at CES when I’d run in to you [ph] in the street through a (2:32) hallway.
Leo Laporte That’s right.
Larry Magid But it’s nice to be right here at home.
Leo Laporte But this time we ran into each other at Google at their annual media party.
Larry Magid That’s right.
Leo Laporte And you said, when are you going to have me on TWiT? I said next show. So here it is.
Larry Magid Next year. And [multiple speakers] (2:44) by the way were quite good I think.
Leo Laporte They were; lots of beef. Also joining us, and I am really thrilled to have him on. We’ve been big admirers. I said a lot of kind things about him during the campaign. Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is joining us – wait a minute, I don’t think – his lips don’t move. Where did you get that, John?
John C. Dvorak This is part of the gift you sent me. You sent me this fez that says TWiT on it.
Leo Laporte And there is your MacBook Air, yeah.
John C. Dvorak A second.
Jerry Pournelle I didn’t send you the Barrack’s head.
John C. Dvorak And then you sent me Barack’s head.
Leo Laporte Send me the head of Barack Obama. That’s a great mask.
John C. Dvorak It’s one of the better ones.
Leo Laporte It’s really good looking.
John C. Dvorak Where did you get it?
Leo Laporte We didn’t send you that, John. I don’t know where you got that but we didn’t send you that. I didn’t send you a MacBook Air because as soon as – if I send you a MacBook Air I would have to send Jerry Pournelle a MacBook Air who is also joining us. And he officially qualifies as the longest –
John C. Dvorak He already has Macs.
Leo Laporte Yeah, he doesn’t need any more. In fact he says he’s on Windows today. And Jerry says, I hate Windows. Hey, Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle Hi.
Leo Laporte Great to have you.
Jerry Pournelle Windows is all right once you figure out how it works. But it’s just like going from Windows to Mac is always a little confusing.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle And with Macs everything is either very simple or it’s utterly impossible. So you don’t have to fight with it. You don’t figure out how to do it. It’s just either just works or you give up.
Leo Laporte I like that. That’s very apt.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, with Windows you keep fighting with it because eventually you’ll get it.
Leo Laporte Right. It will capitulate at some point.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah.
Leo Laporte Well, I am thrilled to have the three of you on. All three of you, I have been reading for years. And it’s always fun. And I think that it’s kind of an opportune time to have you on because we’re – COMDEX is long gone but the sort of last standing big trade show is the Consumer Electronics Show. And it starts Wednesday – well, Thursday, the show floor opens. But the first press events I think are on Tuesday. Larry, I presume you are going.
Larry Magid I am on my way. I am leaving Tuesday morning.
Leo Laporte You get no choice. Jerry is going. How long has it been since you’ve been to this?
Jerry Pournelle Oh, about – I think before the radiation therapy back before the – I don’t think I have been to a major show since the brain cancer.
Leo Laporte By the way Jerry has written it an autobiography, but it won’t be published to 100 years after his death.
Jerry Pournelle That’s not true. I’m actually writing a book about the radiation therapy because…
Leo Laporte Are you?
Jerry Pournelle …The Mask on the Wall and in fact and a little bit I’ll go get the mask to show it to you, it’s really is scary thing…
Leo Laporte That’s what you wear when you’re getting the radiation?
Jerry Pournelle They pin your head down to a table with it so can’t move for obvious reason, since I want to focus everything exactly properly. So I thought that would make a good title for a book about surviving brain cancer with radiation as The Mask on the Wall.
Leo Laporte We’ve had you on – since that but, just to recap, all is well, now?
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, you had me on since that but my voice was in pretty awful shape but at Larry’s party the other night, Greg Benford tells me, I sound like the [ph] erasable old [indiscernible] (5:59) so…
Leo Laporte Your voice finally matches your [multiple speakers] (6:02).
Jerry Pournelle [multiple speakers] (6:03) back again. The – yeah, it was at Niven’s party but, hi, Larry I haven’t seen you in long time, I think.
Larry Magid It’s been a while Jerry, it’s good to see. I see your son at CES in various events. In fact, I think we’re going to see him at ShowStoppers.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Larry Magid If he is there, I know Leo will be there as well.
Jerry Pournelle Alex provides the – the web access for all of those shows, all of those peep shows that they do.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte Is that what you call them peep shows?
Jerry Pournelle Oh, we use a column peep shows [multiple speakers] (6:37) we use to call them [multiple speakers] (6:39).
Leo Laporte I like that name. So, yeah, I saw Alex Pournelle there last year and he…
Jerry Pournelle Sheldon really hated them, I mean Sheldon Adelman hated those – the little press shows like nothing you’ve ever seen, he tried to book every ballroom in Las Vegas to keep people from having them because they competed with his COMDEX, didn’t work but he sure spend a lot of money trying to stop them.
Larry Magid You know I don’t know if I would go to CES if it weren’t for those shows, those were most efficient ways to see what’s out there because you can walk around a ballroom and have a little sushi or whatever but mainly actually see products without being crowded, it’s actually a [multiple speakers] (7:21).
John C. Dvorak [multiple speakers] All those (7:22) things are packed, Larry, come on.
Jerry Pournelle Oh yeah.
Larry Magid Not compare with the book.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, yeah. The ShowStoppers and Pepcom and of course you don’t go to these things without having lunch at Parrino’s so.
Larry Magid Oh, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle At Piero’s.
Leo Laporte That’s con by the way, don’t go to Piero’s there is a hole in the ground.
Jerry Pournelle That’s not true. Pat’s having lunch at [multiple speakers] (7:43).
Leo Laporte Oh, you’re right. Piero’s is still there, it’s the club on the other side of it, that’s…
Jerry Pournelle Club on the other side but Piero’s is there and Pat’s having lunch there, I think in three days.
Leo Laporte [Indiscernible] (7:54) pasta.
Jerry Pournelle No, it’s not [multiple speakers] (7:56).
John C. Dvorak [ph] Woo, woo (7:57).
Leo Laporte No, I love Pat, I think it’s great, I think that event’s great. I haven’t been in ages, so I will go over to Piero’s.
John C. Dvorak You’re not going? Are you, Leo?
Leo Laporte Yeah, I’m going now to apologize to Pat.
John C. Dvorak Here, you might as well.
Leo Laporte So, John you’re not going to CES, right? You don’t do this stuff anymore.
John C. Dvorak I’m actually going to go this time, just as a – why not?
Leo Laporte You’re kidding.
Jerry Pournelle Oh good. So we will see you at Pepcom…
John C. Dvorak You know, I got to do something to make some extra money because all I got for my gift was this head and…
Leo Laporte It looks good on Barnie.
John C. Dvorak By the way, I think it looks good on the Barnie.
Leo Laporte It’s great on Barnie. And Jerry we’ll get you a fez, I – you are on oversight I don’t know how it could have happen, we will get you a fez. Make a note…
John C. Dvorak Yeah, the funniest thing I’ve known Jerry a long time and he’s always saying, he once – he likes the idea of the fez look.
Leo Laporte No, he doesn’t. But I think he would look good in the fez, I do.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, let’s see, I don’t have a fez I have a…
Leo Laporte That’s good. What is that?
Jerry Pournelle …I have a hat from Knights of St. George.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s good. You keep wearing that.
John C. Dvorak [multiple speakers] (9:02).
Jerry Pournelle It’s called – no, if Di Vinci invented this hat, I think…
Leo Laporte Really?
Jerry Pournelle …it’s kind of an muffin hat.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Leo Laporte Larry, do you have anything you could put on?
Larry Magid Yes. Let’s see, I could grab my [multiple speakers] (9:15).
John C. Dvorak We are here at the TWiT show, ladies and gentlemen.
Larry Magid I would show you [indiscernible] (9:21) after I can show you by picture of John C. Dvorak, though, 1987.
Leo Laporte Wow. That’s when John…
Jerry Pournelle Looks a long time.
Leo Laporte You look like –
Jerry Pournelle I remember when Maggie Cannon asked me, if we should hire a guy name Dvorak for her magazine, god knows when, when I was a columnist for it.
Leo Laporte Now Jerry…
Larry Magid You know Dvorak published by first piece in InfoWorld in probably ’82. When were you editor of InfoWorld, John? Was it ’82?
John C. Dvorak ‘79, actually.
Larry Magid When was it?
John C. Dvorak First piece in InfoWorld is in ‘79, I wrote an article.
Leo Laporte My fez is so big, it can actually fit in the camera. We have to…
John C. Dvorak That’s not the same fez that you gave us.
Leo Laporte No, this is the Chief TWiT fez. Look, it depend all the way back to get that in. All right, enough about fez. Let’s talk about CES because that’s not the biggest story of the week but certainly what’s on our mind. We are going to be going down there ourselves for wall to wall coverage as we did last year starting Wednesday with the Digital Experience event and then ShowStoppers and then all day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Last year was 3D TVs and E-ink display tablets, readers. Most of the…
John C. Dvorak And guess what Leo?
Leo Laporte … very few of the readers came out.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, this year we should see the readers, lots of them.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, the same stuff only this time there will be more products.
Leo Laporte Boy, it’s interesting because both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are saying that their respective e-readers the NOOK and the Kindle are the best selling products they have ever sold.
Jerry Pournelle Let me give you a story on that. My daughter who is a – got a doctorate in anthropology and archeology, wrote a story in the universe of the The Mote in God's Eye, which is the first novel Larry and I did together back in about ’74 and it sold maybe 3 million copies over the years, and she put that up on Kindle and on the – it’s called Outies and she put that up on Kindle and on the NOOK about two weeks ago now and it sold about 1,000 copies already.
Leo Laporte Oh that’s very good.
Jerry Pournelle [multiple speakers] (11:47) and she is getting 70% royalties and I was looking at it. She has already got as much money from that as she would have got as an advance as a first novelist from a major publisher.
Leo Laporte Wow! Jerry, if you were starting over as a – if you were starting over as a sci-fi author today would you look at self publishing in electronic form?
Jerry Pournelle Leo I don’t know. I have got a letter from a reader who has got several non-fiction books in print so he knows how to write and who did a lot of words in fiction and threw them away until he got something he thought was worth doing and he sent it to a major publisher and it’s a year later and they haven’t read it yet. And if you got to wait for a year for people to read something, but in that time you could have earned as much as they are going to give you as in advance. So I guess the answer to that is I don’t know. I never have to establish myself as a writer. I manage to have friend named Robert Heinlein, who read the first thing I wrote and liked it enough that he sent it to his agent. He also made me swear to never tell anybody that until after he was dead.
Leo Laporte See, I told you there would be an autobiography.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah. So…
Leo Laporte This is – by the way Outies is available if you go to Amazon.com search for Outies, The Mote in God's Eye, there is the book, 7.99.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, it’s done with Larry and my permission. It’s a story that – it’s an interesting story, it doesn’t change The Mote Universe much but it’s a good story. But the remarkable thing to me is how well it is sold in almost no time with almost no publicity.
Leo Laporte Well some of that is of course how much people love The Mote in God’s Eye. I [indiscernible] (13:45) just because I love the story.
John C. Dvorak I bet that the sales would double after this show.
Jerry Pournelle I am hoping so.
John C. Dvorak You have no idea the power of Leo Laporte.
Jerry Pournelle No, I am hoping so.
Larry Magid As long as we are promoting books guide…
Leo Laporte Okay, go ahead, go ahead.
Jerry Pournelle For sure.
Larry Magid So this is actually free, it’s called Facebook for Parents and it’s online for free…
John C. Dvorak You are going to make a fortune with that one, Larry.
Larry Magid It’s fbparents.org, I don’t know if you could bring up fbparents…
Leo Laporte You have done a lot of stuff, Larry, for protecting kids online which I really appreciate, I have used myself and referred to it many, many times, you did it for the missing kids site and…
Larry Magid Right.
Leo Laporte Safekids.org and so forth. So this is continuing along…
Larry Magid .com
Leo Laporte …or .com I am sorry.
Larry Magid Yeah, this is part of ConnectSafely, I don’t know if you can see a logo, there you go. Connectsafely.org is our website and Parents’ Guide to Facebook is gosh about 40 pages. We have to revive the online edition about every 3 hours…
Leo Laporte I bet.
Larry Magid Because Facebook keeps adding features, but this is up-to-date as of two days ago, and it’s all about privacy.
Leo Laporte I hate to write a book these days – I hate to write a tech book these days, because stuff changes so fast especially on if you are writing about websites which could be changed in minutes.
Larry Magid Well, that’s what I was thinking about Jerry what Jerry commented, I don’t know if I ever want to write another printed book. We have a printed version of this we give out at events. But I think that it’s all about online distribution simply because print becomes history book much too quickly.
Leo Laporte Yes. How about you John? Do you still do print books, don’t you, John?
John C. Dvorak You know I haven’t done a print book for a while but I’m going to do – I’m going to go – I’m taking a different tact – I think that online books are going to sell print books.
Leo Laporte Cory Doctorow says that.
John C. Dvorak I think Cory’s dead on. Cory’s actually a kind of a pioneer with a lot of these ideas and I believe it’s true and I’m basing it not just on him of course, in fact it was confirmed by my son who – J.C. Who has the big Kindle, the big one and he has a lot of books on it, and by the way he’s got a – there is a bug in it, so we had to send it back. Anyway he’s got a lot of books on it and he – when he starts reading some of these books after he has it on the Kindle, he wants to buy the hard cover.
Leo Laporte Everybody is – go ahead.
John C. Dvorak It’s weird.
Leo Laporte No, I think that’s, anyways, if you really like the book you want to have it.
Jerry Pournelle That was sort of the reason why Doctorow and Eric Flint said that piracy probably helps sales and maybe it was true back when there were not many sales of e-books but the thing was that a pirated e-book and usually were not very well formatted and so forth would often cause people to go by the printed copy of the book and that’s certainly the case especially with people that nobody had heard of except from reading the e-books. But I don’t believe anybody ever bought an e-book as a result of getting a pirated e-book.
Leo Laporte That’s an interesting point.
Larry Magid I’m buying almost all of my books on Kindle now.
Jerry Pournelle Now that e-books are outselling hard bounds.
Leo Laporte Yes, that’s right.
Larry Magid What I like in an e-book is its spontaneity, that I carry, typically the iPad, sometimes I’ll even read a book on my Android though not very often on my phone but just the idea that I could carry around my entire library with me and I never know when I want to read but here is the problem with Kindle books is I have started dozens of them, I have finished a few; I wind up buying books and reading them for a while and then…
Leo Laporte But that’s bad for you Larry but good for authors.
Larry Magid It’s great for authors…
Leo Laporte No, I did the same thing.
Larry Magid I’m a big customer.
Leo Laporte I do the same thing. I’ve always done that with print books too. I often abandon books.
Jerry Pournelle Sure, I start reading a book and one day I put it down, face down on the table and it’s still there ten years later when my wife tells me I’ve got to clean the room out.
Leo Laporte I think if we panned around Jerry’s library right now we see a few books face down.
Jerry Pournelle You really don’t want to see my desk.
Leo Laporte We can kind of see it Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle It’s over there…
Leo Laporte Oh, okay. It’s spilling over. I hate to tell you. Oh my.
Jerry Pournelle It looks like that.
Leo Laporte Oh my, if you are not watching on video just – you can imagine probably.
Jerry Pournelle That’s on a good day.
Larry Magid Jerry, you are a man of my heart.
Leo Laporte I think a disorderly library is the sign of an orderly mind or something.
Larry Magid Right.
John C. Dvorak I have been to Jerry’s library; it’s not that organized.
Jerry Pournelle I’m a lazy bum but what the heck!
Leo Laporte Actually the Kindle made it on to almost everybody’s list of the top product of 2010. I’ll give you one list, this is from Wired, the Wired Gadget Lab, number 10, Kindle 3, I put it my top 5 actually, number 9, this is – I don’t know, they have some odd ducks in here, the Canon S95 point-and-shoot which is an excellent point-and-shoot, but not alone in the category, there are some other good ones like the LX5, Samsung Galaxy Tab, that’s an Android, 7 inch Android tablet which I would agree with, I put it in my top 5, I thought it was a very good product. Did you agree Larry, did you play with the Galaxy?
Larry Magid Yes, I actually looked at it in Germany the day they announced it, I happened to be over at the [indiscernible] (18:50) show and I thought it was – or IFA show, excuse me, I thought it was quite good, and at first I was a little skeptical of the 7 inch form factor.
Leo Laporte Me too.
Larry Magid But I think it has its place and I’m looking forward next year this year when Google finally comes out with an operating system that’s optimized for tablets to – just seeing a lot of good products out there. I love the Android, I’m a big fan of Android, I carry an Android phone and…
Leo Laporte Me too.
Larry Magid To some not quite as reliable as the iPhone; I think the iPhone is still a little more solid but I love the openness of Android.
Leo Laporte Yes, I’m going to agree with you. I think the software is more mature. Number 7, the MacBook Air, I put that in my top 5, in fact that was my number one pick of the year. I just love 11 inch MacBook Air; iPhone 4, number 6…
John C. Dvorak Oh wait, I missed out the last one, what was it?
Leo Laporte The MacBook Air, John. I love it. Too bad you don’t have one, John. You know they are only 999.
Jerry Pournelle I have two.
Leo Laporte I’ll tell you what Jerry, I’ll send you a fez if you send John your MacBook Air.
Jerry Pournelle No.
Leo Laporte No. Don’t you think, it’s great.
Jerry Pournelle I have four kids. I don’t have any problems disposing off things I’m no longer using.
Leo Laporte I have to say I am really loving the 11-inch, I did not expect it. What do you got – what do you have, Larry, you have a camera you’re holding up there?
Larry Magid Oh, yeah. This – you’re mentioning compact – this is the Nikon P7000.
Leo Laporte 7000 – also in that category, yeah.
Larry Magid Yeah, I bought it for – to bring at CES and it’s got decent video. It’s an SLR quality camera…
Leo Laporte Right.
Larry Magid ….. in a compact form factor that can kind of fit in my pocket. I really debated long and hard what [multiple speakers] (20:25).
John C. Dvorak That kind of fits in your pocket? What are you wearing?
Leo Laporte That’s why I bought – I was looking at the same three, which is the LX5. I have an LX3 Panasonic, I love. I mean, it’s a stellar camera. I mean, of course I shoot a Canon 5D, but you need a pocket camera. I look at the S95 and the P7000 and because of compactness, I picked the S95. It’s the only one you can just put in a front pocket.
Larry Magid But one thing and I think the three of us are old enough to remember these things. They are called optical view finder.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah, that?
Larry Magid Anybody out there you know what this is, guys out there…
Leo Laporte And that’s – of the three, that’s the only one…
Jerry Pournelle That’s why I have a Panasonic. It has a good optical view finder.
Leo Laporte Of the three I just mentioned that’s the only one that does.
Larry Magid And you can’t find them on any of the consumer level cameras.
Leo Laporte No.
Larry Magid They just don’t exist anymore. And people think it’s just because I am an old fart, I mean, the habit of holding it – it’s not that. It’s just that when you hold the camera like this, think about that your arm there unless you’ve got incredibly good stability, whereas if you hold it like this…
Leo Laporte Right.
Larry Magid … you’re bracing it up against your head. So it’s just a much more stable way to take pictures but I think I’ve lost that…
Jerry Pournelle We also can’t see that screen in the day time.
Leo Laporte That’s right in bright light, you’re out of luck.
Larry Magid But I think we’ve lost that war. It’s over. I think it’s the LCD – the optical view finder will be – except in SLRs – will be extinct.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s why I have an SLR. If I need that I will use an SLR. Let me ask you though, I have lately come to the conclusion and I – you are three great people to ask this up. I will start with you Larry that the camcorder is dead. Who needs a camcorder when you’ve got these point-and-shoot cameras that have high def video in them.
Larry Magid In fact, I wonder about the flip camera because I know it’s getting – it gets great reviews. But it seems kind of not really necessary because every point-and-shoot camera has video, every good smartphone has video and it’s getting better and better. And I agree, I don’t see a need for a camcorder for amateur use. Obviously for professionals…
Leo Laporte Yeah, we’re going to use them.
Larry Magid …we already have video, but for your average – and in fact at CES I plan to do some videos and I am going to use – I’ve got a Kodak, I think it’s the Z8.
Leo Laporte Zi8, great little flip camera style.
Larry Magid Zi8 and really I like that it has a microphone input.
Leo Laporte Yep.
Larry Magid You notice I am kind of an audio bigot. I love your – it’s very nice you guys sent me a headset, but I still prefer good audio.
Leo Laporte You didn’t need that. You’re the last person – I don’t know why we sent you a headset. They’d asked me…
Larry Magid I didn’t have a headset, I just have this mic…
Leo Laporte If they had asked me, I would have said, no, Larry has got a studio in his living room.
Larry Magid Sometimes I have to use them on the road. If you ever have me again, I might be travelling.
Leo Laporte Keep it with you.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte John C. Dvorak, you think the camcorder is dead?
John C. Dvorak Well, yeah. I’ve always thought it was dead a couple of years ago. I thought that was dead once the Kodak came out with a little HD version of…
Leo Laporte But I even think the – those things are dead.
John C. Dvorak Pocket camera.
Leo Laporte I think if you’ve got a smartphone…
John C. Dvorak I’m not talking about the Kodak Zi8, I’m talking about the regular Kodak, little pocket camera…
Leo Laporte Well, the camera, yeah, yeah, yeah.
John C. Dvorak …that takes an HD video.
Leo Laporte Right.
John C. Dvorak Which – it does a great job. I still use a 1033 which is an old camera, you can get it for 65 bucks, it does a 720p, 16:9 HD video. And it’s got a great microphone in it. Now I’ll tell you, I just went through all my cameras and see which one I’m going to take to CES to take videos with and I pulled out that little flip cam from Kodak and of all the microphones in all the cameras that I use, that’s got the worst one. I had to put in an extra mic.
Leo Laporte You’re right, and you can.
John C. Dvorak And I don’t want to do that.
Leo Laporte Yeah. And actually…
John C. Dvorak Right…
Leo Laporte …speaking of which, this week Kodak announced they are going to stop making Kodachrome.
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte Film is dead folks, in case you didn’t know.
John C. Dvorak That’s news. So there’s a new camcorder out since you brought it up.
Leo Laporte Yes.
John C. Dvorak That I think it’s one of the top items. I think it came on April. And I don’t know if you looked at it yet, but this, Leo, is something you should be looking at.
Leo Laporte Tell me.
John C. Dvorak Are you familiar with Panasonic AG-AF100?
Leo Laporte No, AG-AF100? I am not.
John C. Dvorak It’s a solid-state camera, camcorder body of course and it will take four-third lens, micro four-thirds lens.
Leo Laporte Oh, and I have a bunch of those because I have…
John C. Dvorak You have a bunch of them?
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak And just looking at the specs of this thing, it looks just fantastic.
Leo Laporte Wait a minute, look at it, it looks like something you’d get from Ronco.
John C. Dvorak I am telling you, take a look at this.
Leo Laporte Look at it, it’s got a handle on it. Okay, they say it’s for professionals. I do have those lenses which is not – and one of the reasons I like shooting with the DSLR is because you get great lenses.
John C. Dvorak Right. I’ve been waiting for a cam – one of these cameras that takes regular camera – good camera lenses they don’t need. But you have to buy camcorder lenses for these things.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s a great idea. I’m going to take a look at it.
Larry Magid Do you use any old lenses, Leo, the pre-digital lenses, I mean your SLRs?
Leo Laporte You know, I did. When I bought the – I bought the Olympus PEN camera, the E-P1.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte And I bought an adapter for it and I went on to eBay and I bought a 50 millimeter lens for an OM-1 which is – John, this is your idea.
John C. Dvorak I did the same thing.
Leo Laporte This is why I did it John. But I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the clarity of the old film lens. It wasn’t very good. Now I don’t know may be the lens was moldy. Have you have good result, John?
John C. Dvorak There is a couple of problems with getting one of those OM-1, there is about five different versions of that exact same lens and the one you wanted to get maybe you have it, maybe you don’t because I use that lens and I get extremely sharp pictures...
Leo Laporte That’s what I was hoping for and I was not...
John C. Dvorak It’s the one – it’s the version which came out late that on the inside black part, in the inside it says, made in Japan, very clearly at the bottom. That’s the one lens that you want to grab...
Leo Laporte You want the one...
John C. Dvorak [multiple speakers] (25:58) lens in you can shoot with and see what you think.
Leo Laporte I’d be very curious, because I got the OM-1 adaptor so I can use any OM-1 lens which was a classic Olympus film SLR, just a great camera.
Larry Magid Yeah, the problem on especially Nikon and Canon is the image stabilization in the lens, so if you have an old lens work, but you won’t get image stabilization.
Leo Laporte Right. So you [multiple speakers] (26:20) auto focus or anything.
John C. Dvorak Larry, with the Olympus bodies, that Olympus that Leo is talking about, has image stabilization at the mirror. I mean not the mirror, I mean at the sensor, it’s inside the camera, so all these old lenses are image stabilized automatically.
Leo Laporte Interesting.
Larry Magid I believe PENTAX does it as well, if I’m not mistaken. I have a PENTAX...
John C. Dvorak Well, the whole technology was embedded by Minolta, and I think they have been licensing it.
Larry Magid Yeah, the one I have – uses AA battery which is another thing that’s becoming extinct, it’s hard to find cameras as AA batteries.
Leo Laporte And that’s nice for travel as well. So does that the – which one is that? Does that the 7000?
Larry Magid It’s the cheap one, it’s the KX I believe. It’s a very inexpensive camera that does the job. I can go and get it in a second to show it you.
Leo Laporte One of the things we’re going to do this year is launch a new photography show because frankly there is a lot of photography shows for enthusiasts but I want to do a show for people who just want to – who want to up their game, who – because everybody has good cameras now.
Jerry Pournelle I’ll watch that.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
Jerry Pournelle I am the [multiple speakers] ultimate amateur (27:26) user on photography.
Larry Magid And you know what, [multiple speakers] (27:27) teach you people how to use cameras.
Leo Laporte Yeah, exactly. What is an f-stop? I mean really get started composition, how to use an inexpensive camera and get great results, I am very excited about the show, we’re going to do with Lisa Bettany, who is a great photographer and the host – her site is mostlylisa.com. Her – by the way – her iPhone app which was banned by Apple because it modified the volume keys to make them a shutter button so it was actually like a real phone is now back on the iPhone store, I don’t understand exactly what happen and Lisa is not talking but she’s very happy that that camera plus application is back on.
We’re going to take a break. What a great crew we’ve got, Jerry Pournelle is here, jerrypournelle.com. He is still doing it after so many years both as a great science fiction writer and as frankly the inspiration for everything I do with his Chaos Manor columns in Byte Magazine, you can still read the columns, started JerryPournelle.com and move from there. It’s great to have you on Jerry, and you look good in a hat.
Jerry Pournelle Thank you.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I like it. John C. Dvorak is here, Channel Dvorak. John does so many things, including the great No Agenda program.
John C. Dvorak Great No Agenda program.
Leo Laporte Oh I love – you’re not going to revive CrankyGeeks, are you though?
John C. Dvorak No, CrankyGeeks is dead.
Leo Laporte Sad. Loved that – that show. Also for his first time, we have a virgin ladies and gentlemen, pretty amazing at your age, Larry Magid is here, larryswold.com, you also hear him on CBS radio all the time and he’ll be reporting for CBS from CES, please come by, we’re going to be in the South Hall, we’ve got a big table – we did the same place last time, sorry about the subwoofers. It’s great place to do a radio show, just to run over. What’s funny is they have a demo that they do, this company, the subwoofer company has a demo that they do, and they do it like every 20 minutes, so every 20 minutes there is all this a ruckus, and they didn’t stop so we got 20 clean minutes.
We will be there, thanks to the folks from Ford Motor Company, in fact we’re going to be interviewing Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford, oh boy, I think early on Thursday, like 9 AM Thursday morning, so watch that live.twit.tv. We’re going to – he’s an amazing fellow because not only is he – the guy who is taking one of America’s great industrial companies and revitalized in the 21st century. But he’s also an engineer by training and by – in spirit. He engineered the 777 cockpit when he was at Boeing. He’s a brilliant guy, really interesting guy. So we’ll talk to Alan Mulally.
All of our coverage from the show floor, at our booth, but also we’ve got two Live U cameras. We’re going to be going all around the show floor. Tom Merritt will be joining me. Brian Brushwood will be there. Sarah Lane will be there. Becky Worley, in fact, Tom and Becky are going to do the Digital Experience event. That’s when our coverage begins, Wednesday, at 7 PM Pacific, 10 PM Eastern Time at live.twit.tv.
We thank Ford for making that possible, great Ford SYNC. You know I love the Ford SYNC. Ford I imagine will have some significant announcements at CES. Last year, they announced the new MyFord Touch which is kind of SYNC+. You can make calls, play music, and do so much more. MyFord Touch takes SYNC, which is already super cool; I have it in my Mustang, and adds a big 8-inch screen in the center console and two small screens behind your steering wheel and then two five-way switch pads on the steering wheel.
So you got three LCD screens total. I mean you are in – I think inspired by the 777 cockpit, you are totally in control of everything. And the point is you never take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. So you’re safe. But you’ve got hands-free calling. I can say call Jerry Pournelle at home if I had his number. I could say call Larry Magid at work if I had his number. Nowadays all I need is Skype.
You can play music from most MP3 music players including all the Apple devices, works great with Windows Phone 7. In fact on Windows Phone 7 it will even read you your text messages when they come in, in a lovely female robotic voice. You get personalized traffic alerts, personalized weather. You get movie times, gas prices, 911 Assist, which God hopes you don’t going to be using.
But if you ever – if the air bags are ever deployed, if you’re ever in an accident, this is so cool, it automatically calls 911, you can cancel it if you say, wait a minute, but then it sends your GPS coordinates to 911, plays a recorded message, then gives you a chance to speak. I mean that’s a lovely safety feature.
Take a look at MyFord Touch, the Ford SYNC, 10,000 commands in total it understands, stay connected while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, at your Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealers and syncmyridepodcast.com is the place to go to find out more. And we do thank Ford so much for supporting our special coverage of CES. It’s a very expensive enterprise and we couldn’t do it without sponsors like Ford.
I remember at TechTV when we did COMDEX and then later CES, it was roughly $1 million each time between taking the staff down, the sat truck, the stage, and now we’re doing it for pennies on the dollar and I think in many ways doing better coverage to be honest with you.
John C. Dvorak Well, that’s because we didn’t have boneheads telling us what to do.
Leo Laporte I am glad you said that but you’re absolutely right. Hey, speaking of TechTV, one more note, and then we’ll get back to the tech news, our good friend, Erica Hill, you remember her, John?
John C. Dvorak Oh, yeah, of course.
Leo Laporte She just – I love Erica Hill. She is married to David Yount, who was our great floor director. They have a couple of kids. She left TechTV. I worked with her. I anchored with her during 9/11. I mean she was originally on TechTV Radio, and then did news anchoring on TechLive.
She will be starting Monday morning as the anchor of the CBS Morning News. So we’re very proud of Erica. She has done very well. You probably saw her on CNN and then at CBS. Now she has actually got the big job. I don’t think there is a bigger job in TV except maybe anchoring Nightly News and I am sure that’s next. So congratulations, Erica.
Back to the tech news, Paul Allen is back. He got a little slap in the face. He has sued Google, Apple, Facebook saying that patents – that Interval Corporation – again this is a TechTV story because he owned TechTV, when he was pouring money down the hole that was the Interval Corporation, he claims that patents that Interval came up with have been infringed upon by Google’s YouTube, by AOL, by Apple, by Yahoo!, by Netflix, by eBay, by Office Depot, by OfficeMax, on Staples on –
It sounds like the reindeer in the night before Christmas. The suit was originally thrown out for being too vague. The judge said well, what exactly are the infringing products. So Paul who has lots of free time has re-filed this time with many examples, including technologies that helped websites suggest related content and headlines. Google News is one of the infringers I guess. All we can say is good luck, Paul!
John C. Dvorak Yeah.
Leo Laporte I am sure…
John C. Dvorak So like there is a story that I don’t think is on your list that I want to bring it up so you kind of…
Leo Laporte Bring it up.
John C. Dvorak This morning’s – since you brought No Agenda, apparently, both Adam’s iPhone 4 and then his fiancée’s and then a few others that we know of the alarm function on the iPhone 4 failed as of January 1, 2011.
Leo Laporte Can’t do it. But it only rings once. I think its repeating alarms don’t ring more than once, is that it John?
John C. Dvorak I don’t know.
Larry Magid Did it happen before with the iPhone?
Leo Laporte It did. In Australia, yes.
Larry Magid Yes, that’s right.
Leo Laporte Down under.
John C. Dvorak So what happened?
Leo Laporte It’s a bug.
John C. Dvorak Why would it be a bug – what would 2011 have to do with anything?
Larry Magid The millennium, it’s a millennium bug, 11 year is late.
John C. Dvorak Yes, that’s what it is. It’s the 2000 bug, 11 years late, finally.
Larry Magid We knew it’d happen.
Leo Laporte Finally, we thought this would be a big story and it finally is, let me see if I can kind of get this story from the BBC see what the exact story is, I think this is something Apple will fix pretty quickly, a glitch on Apple’s iPhone, I’m sorry, it’s the BBC, a glitch on Apple’s iPhone has stopped it’s built in alarm clock from going off, leaving many people oversleeping on the first two days of the new year, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
Angry bloggers and tweeters complained that they have been late for work. Apple has acknowledged the problem, says it will be fixed by tomorrow, January 3.
John C. Dvorak How are they going to fix it?
Leo Laporte I’m sure they’ll push a fix.
Larry Magid Over the error.
John C. Dvorak According to one of the guys in the chat room it’s going to automatically fix itself tomorrow because it is basically some bug that has to do with the numbering.
Leo Laporte Oh, yes, it apparently only is January 1, it’s only January 1…
Jerry Pournelle They have hired callers to telephone everybody who put in for an alarm and didn’t go off.
Leo Laporte Apple’s response Natalie Harrison said in a statement quoted by MacWorld, customers can set recurring alarms for those dates January 1, and 2 and all alarms would begin working properly beginning January 3, so it was the non-repeating alarms that broke but only on January 1 and 2.
Larry Magid It’s Sunday. I guess people are going to be late for church today.
Leo Laporte That’s just a lame error.
Larry Magid It’s a holiday. Nobody should be waking up today anyway.
John C. Dvorak I think the CEO should resign.
Leo Laporte I mentioned that the – good luck on that one – that the iPhone was on the CNN list of the top products of 2010. Do you agree that the iPhone 4 should be on that list? I did not put it on my list, certainly consumers reports doesn’t even recommend it. I think the iPhone 4 is a rare misstep from Apple. Agree, disagree.
Larry Magid I think it’s an okay phone. I think antenna gate was, way, way overblown; I don’t think it’s revolutionary, but I don’t have any problems with it from the experience I got with it.
Leo Laporte It doesn’t work for me as a phone. So I can’t even say it is an okay phone. I think it is a very good hand held computer.
Jerry Pournelle Well, now is it the iPhone that doesn’t work for you or is it the AT&T that doesn’t work for you?
Leo Laporte It’s kind of hard to tell, I think it’s a mixture. Now I’m in a bad AT&T area but I have a Windows 7 Phone…
Jerry Pournelle Is there anybody who is not in a bad AT&T area?
Leo Laporte That’s the problem.
Jerry Pournelle My real dislike for iPhone to the extent that I have one is the bad area business. If I can get own to a Wi-Fi net my iPhone is wonderful, but boy, I hate AT&T a lot.
Larry Magid And of course we are told that there may be a Verizon iPhone in a few days.
Leo Laporte Bloomberg says soon, like in the next week, maybe tomorrow.
Larry Magid I wonder if they will announce it at CES that would be a bummer for people at CES.
Jerry Pournelle I have the money allocated to buy an iPhone 4, just waiting until they jailbreak me from AT&T I think.
Leo Laporte Well. It’s interesting, you know, nobody knows anything about the details of the contract of the exclusivity arrangement between AT&T and Apple. Nobody has revealed that but maybe that deal did run out December 31; Apple has kind of had a little history Larry of letting the air out of CES the last few years…
Larry Magid Yes.
Leo Laporte …by announcing the iPhone three years ago, by announcing – well, not announcing the iPad but remember but preparing to announce the iPad shortly after CES last year and of course CES was all about imagining the iPad. We didn’t even know it was going to be called the iPad. Everybody was doing iSlate at the time.
Larry Magid I didn’t get on a plane from Las Vegas to San Francisco and back but I know a number of my colleagues did and it was a biggest story of CES three years ago, was the product that was being introduced in San Francisco.
Leo Laporte Yes. And Bloomberg is positing that perhaps Apple will announce an event tomorrow or the next day and encourage journalists on the way to Las Vegas to stop off in Cupertino.
Larry Magid Oh my God!
Leo Laporte I think Bloomberg is wrong on that. But I haven’t received – anybody received an invite yet? I didn’t. I am the last guy Apple is going to invite.
John C. Dvorak I don’t get any invites. I didn’t get any.
Jerry Pournelle I am the absolute last guy that Apple is going to invite to anything.
Leo Laporte Now why wouldn’t they invite you? You just said you hated Windows, Jerry?
Jerry Pournelle Well, when the Mac first came out back when you had to use a Lisa to program it, it was 128k memory and it was never going to be any different --
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle You may remember well, my lead story [indiscernible] (40:28) was that it was a wonderful operating system attached to a toy computer.
Leo Laporte And you’re right.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I may have been right but that did not endear me to the management at Apple. Later when the Pepsi guy came to Apple, they flooded Chaos Manor with Apple stuff, and when Heidi was Director of Development, I got along very well with Apple. But the old management is back and I don’t think they like me much.
Leo Laporte Do you think Steve remembers?
Jerry Pournelle I am totally – I don’t know. I have only met him once.
Leo Laporte Well, maybe you and I – we – I am on that list too, by the way, but only recently. I used to be – it’s funny how quickly they can turn on you.
Larry Magid Can I show you in contrary --
John C. Dvorak Yeah, they turned on you, Leo. You haven’t taken the hint. You got to be like somebody – there is a writer, I can’t remember his name, he writes for one of the big newspapers. He just kisses the behind of Apple never endingly.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak And he’s always getting everything for free. He gets sneak peeks, the whole thing. You should do that.
Leo Laporte I should do that.
Larry Magid Can you guys see this article from the LA Times?
Leo Laporte It says, Macintosh Shapes up a Winner, is that you, Larry?
Larry Magid That was my review of the Mac and it started out I rarely get excited over a new computer. But Apple Computer, Inc.’s Macintosh, officially introduced last Tuesday, has started a fever in Silicon Valley that's hard not to catch. And then I talked about the young Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, who showed it to me. I was blown away by it, although interestingly enough, I don’t use a Mac now, but I was blown--
Jerry Pournelle Well, you were wrong, man, and what the hell.
Larry Magid At that time, it was just amazing to me that you could do this incredible graphic stuff on this tiny little computer.
Leo Laporte I was pretty impressed and I ran out and spent my own $2,500 on the first Mac.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I had the early first Mac. I got the darn thing almost immediately. I don’t know whether I bought it or Byte bought it for me. But the problem was, at first, I got it and I thought this is wonderful. This is just terrific. And I started to do my letter column and in those days, my letter column was the accordion, if they had sold a lot of ads then they needed editorial to fill in the pages. So I would answer --
John C. Dvorak It’s old but effective trick.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah.
Leo Laporte Jerry, can you give us a thousand words? We have to separate the ads.
Jerry Pournelle Hell, I remember one night getting a call and saying, we need 4000 words by tomorrow morning.
Leo Laporte And I bet you did it.
Jerry Pournelle I did it. Well, Alex and I reviewed 10 books.
Leo Laporte There you go.
Jerry Pournelle And we did – and I answered. But I answered a lot of the mails. And the thing was in those days the mail was paper mail. And I had to type the mail and type the answers in. And then I had a Mac printer, their printer, right, and it was only about 9,000 words, and it turned out to take all night to print that.
Leo Laporte Oh, dear.
Jerry Pournelle Because the Mac was using the same processor to do the format – the print formatting, fulling, and everything else on this 128k machine, and you just simply couldn’t do any useful work with the Mac. It was a wonderful concept and a great operating system but the early Mac was just a toy computer.
Leo Laporte Incidentally, Verizon does have a big announcement scheduled for Thursday, 1 PM at CES. It could very well not – it could well be Verizon making the announcement, not Steve.
Larry Magid That makes a lot of sense actually. And that would be probably a big start. But the funny thing is unless they come out with a different version as a hardware, which they don’t expect --
Leo Laporte They have to.
Larry Magid Why would this be a big story? The fact that another carrier picked up a phone or anything besides an iPhone --
Leo Laporte Well.
Larry Magid It wouldn’t get any ink.
Leo Laporte Yes, but it is an iPhone.
Jerry Pournelle It is an iPhone. iPhones are – I mean for heaven’s sake, the iPhone is the closest thing even now to the pocket computer that Niven and I described in Mote in God’s Eye in 1974.
Leo Laporte That’s true.
Jerry Pournelle It’s a wonderful little gadget.
Leo Laporte Jerry, do you use Android or iPhone?
Jerry Pournelle I use an – I have an iPhone 3. I am supposed to get an iPhone 4 and I --
Leo Laporte Well, don’t bother because the iPhone 5 is going to be announced on Thursday.
Jerry Pournelle I never got around to the 4 and I guess I’ll wait for the 5 because the 3 is good enough as far as I am concerned.
Leo Laporte I think the 3GS was probably better than the 4. But the 4’s camera and screen are stunning.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Larry Magid Yes.
Leo Laporte And that’s the real reason to upgrade it, just an amazing screen and a brilliant camera. And the apps that are out there for cameras are fantastic. But you’ve got to think that it’s going to be a CDMA phone if Verizon has it. Maybe it’ll have LTE, we don’t know. But Verizon is certainly pushing LTE. That’s an iPhone 5, that’s not an iPhone 4 or a 4+.
Larry Magid Yeah, if they upgrade the hardware or the services that will be very significant. By the way, I had the HTC EVO from – the Android phone and the camera, even though it’s an 8-megapixel camera --
Leo Laporte It’s not as good.
Larry Magid It’s not nearly as good.
Leo Laporte No.
Larry Magid As the 5-megapixel iPhone camera.
Leo Laporte I have a DROID X, same thing, 8-megapixel camera, not nearly as good.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Leo Laporte But the Nexus S which is the most recent Android phone that won the – Google put out --
Larry Magid Oh, I got one.
Leo Laporte That’s written by Samsung – created by Samsung, actually has a very incredible 5-megapixel camera that I think is the next best thing, not as good as iPhone but the next best thing.
Larry Magid It’s somewhere in this box of phones. Can you see this box? So let’s see.
Jerry Pournelle How did you get all of those?
Larry Magid Is it this one?
Leo Laporte Jerry, you could have all that stuff.
Larry Magid It’s in there somewhere.
Jerry Pournelle I probably could. This, yes, will be interesting. It’s the first time I’ve gone around and showed the flag for a long time. It’s also the first of those big shows where I have nothing to do except go around and see what’s going on.
Leo Laporte We’re coming to you.
Larry Magid Hey, Jerry, I’ll give you something to do. Could you come to ShowStoppers? It’s at Thursday night. I know Leo is going to be there.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, I will be at ShowStoppers.
Larry Magid I am going to be there at the CBS booth. I would love to have you on my radio show.
Jerry Pournelle Sure.
Larry Magid That’s one thing I’d love you to do.
Leo Laporte And I’m going to book you too, Jerry. You said you’ll be in the press room. We’re going to go to the press room and we’ll interview you too because we’ve got mobile cameras. And you know what we’re going to do at ShowStoppers on Thursday night, Dick DeBartolo, MAD Magazine’s Maddest Writer is going to be there too. And we’re going to go around and do five Giz Wiz podcasts. So we’ve got a lot going on.
Now somebody asked me – now this is the Samsung Focus, which by the way is number four on the Wired list, right above the 4G Sprint EVO. They liked this one better. And this has a very similar form factor to Nexus S, probably the same hardware, same camera, it’s also a very good 5-megapixel camera in here. And one thing that Microsoft did which I like is that really – not only did they put a camera button on there but even if the phone is locked, without unlocking the phone you press the camera button and it goes immediately to camera and you’re able to take a picture immediately. So that’s pretty nice.
Larry Magid Has anybody ever had problems with their phones just not accepting touch?
Leo Laporte Well, constantly. That’s an Android issue.
Larry Magid [multiple speakers] (47:25) every once in a while, the screen just doesn’t except my hand.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that’s an Android – very well-known Android issue.
Jerry Pournelle I have no problems with the Mac iPhone 3 except for AT&T.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle As long as I’ve got Wi-Fi connection, this thing is wonderful, I can expand the text. I can read it. I can bore people with things I looked up on the Internet who have been listening to them at dinner.
Leo Laporte I do that all the time, Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle Yes, and doesn’t it make your wife happy?
Leo Laporte Oh, jeez. I did it at New Year’s Eve. We were talking about a movie. We’re saying, what was George Clooney – oh, no – anyway, I can’t remember what it – oh, it was, what is the new part that Kevin Spacey is playing in some movies doing Jack Abramoff and I didn’t remember and I’m wikipediaing at dinner, terrible. But I got the answer.
Jerry Pournelle That’s the same thing at Niven’s party.
Leo Laporte I love doing that.
Larry Magid My wife hates when I do that.
Jerry Pournelle Yes, it’s nice having a pocket computer. I invented the damn thing in Mote in God’s Eye and I’ll have fun with it now.
Larry Magid Well, Jerry, I am going to tell my wife it’s all your fault, the next time she complains.
Leo Laporte You blame Jerry.
Larry Magid It’s all Jerry’s fault.
Leo Laporte Jerry invented it.
Larry Magid Yeah, I am one of Jerry’s kids.
Leo Laporte Number three on this list, I might as well continue, and I kind of agree with this, I put it in my top five, Microsoft Kinect. I love the Kinect and I think more than just a game controller, I mean it’s not just like a Wii Mo – it’s going to – I think it’s a new form of user interface. I think it’s very interesting.
Larry Magid Do you think the Kinect user interface will ever go from gaming to productivity that we will ever see it in the office? I don’t mean playing games, but the idea --
Leo Laporte Not until it’s okay to do this in the office, and I don’t anticipate that.
Larry Magid You never know what goes on in the office
Jerry Pournelle But they are already doing that in the office with big glass touch screens.
Leo Laporte Well, if you’ve played with the Kinect, there is a UI for opening and closing things. It’s very much like Minority Report where you slide things. You hold your hand up.
Jerry Pournelle Or NCIS: Los Angeles.
Leo Laporte Yeah. And I kind of like that. I think there is something to be said for that. It also has voice control. What’s I think significant about Kinect is it’s cheap. It’s cheap for them to make.
Larry Magid Right.
Leo Laporte I mean it’s not – it’s $150 or something. That’s cheap to buy. But I think it could be a very cheap component in a lot of new devices. So I give them some credit for a very important release.
Jerry Pournelle And just imagine Kinect and Blu-ray and all of that built all in it with the cameras that are available nowadays, you can imagine a lot of interesting stuff with all that.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle It’d be interesting to see this stuff just to see it. When I used to go to COMDEX for years, I gave that Best of Show award –
Leo Laporte That’s right
Jerry Pournelle I was the guy who handed it out. Sheldon and I gave the award. It was of course actually done with 20 Byte editors who were wonderful people and made me look great. But this is the first time I am going to be there without having to give anybody an award or figure out what’s better than what else and --
Leo Laporte Well, you already got two interviews booked. So I think you’re going to be pretty popular there, Jerry. I have a feeling. Number two, I don’t know what this is. Maybe you guys can help me, Berkeley Bionics’ eLEGS. I think that was the --
Larry Magid Oh, I heard about that.
Leo Laporte That was the kind of the legs that help the paraplegic walk, right. So you put these legs on. They are kind of like a game. What is the game, the Mac games where you put on a suit, you put on these legs and you can actually walk in them. They are $100,000. I wouldn’t put it on the list. I think it’s [indiscernible] (51:02) it’s interesting. I am not sure I’d put it on the list. But the number one item on the list I think has to be on everybody’s top two or three, if not number one, is the iPad, right.
Larry Magid Of course.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, yeah.
Leo Laporte Big product of the year. Number one, John, do you think they will sell 5 million?
John C. Dvorak Well, if you just want to keep rubbing it in, I lost a bet on this. So I was a little offbeat or off-based let’s say on --
Leo Laporte No, you know what, John? It’s done better than it ought to have.
John C. Dvorak You didn’t think it was going to do as well as --
Leo Laporte I didn’t think it was going to do as well as it did.
John C. Dvorak It was an iffy bet.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak And of course I would have – probably if I had won the bet, I could have maybe even gotten an AirBook out of the deal.
Leo Laporte I would have given you an Air. We’ll make a new bet for 2011.
John C. Dvorak Sure.
Leo Laporte How many do you think they will sell in 2011? Some of the analysts are saying 40 --
John C. Dvorak Too many.
Leo Laporte 45 million, something like that.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, too many.
Larry Magid I was under-whelmed when the announcement came. I went to the announcement in San Francisco. I think it was January and I wrote that I found it under-whelming. Then I got mine and started using it. And I only use it as a consumption device. I don’t produce anything on it. I don’t write on it. I might do email. But I mostly watch Netflix movies and read Kindle books on it. And I love it. And I can’t imagine not having an iPad anymore. So doesn’t surprise me after playing with it that it’s done quite well.
Leo Laporte Speculation on iPad 2, anybody want to care to --
Jerry Pournelle Well, let me second what Larry just said. When I first got the iPad I didn’t know whether I liked it or not, but the ad is right. Remember those TV ads they had where they said you already know how to use it.
Leo Laporte Yeah, that was key.
Jerry Pournelle It turns out to be true. Like Larry, I don’t produce on it much although you can a little bit with the keyboard.
Larry Magid Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle The Bluetooth keyboard makes it possible to write with it and write quite well actually. But I can’t imagine living without an iPad now.
Leo Laporte I am going to continue on my contrarian streak and say that I am bored with the iPad now and what I found is --
Jerry Pournelle You’re still in the kingdom for God’s sake.
Leo Laporte Yeah, We Rule, that’s all I do. It is now a $500 We Rule device. And I – but you know what replaced it --
Jerry Pournelle [multiple speakers] (53:11) from your kingdom because you are always busy. Somebody else has already got there first.
Leo Laporte But I buy from you, Jerry. In fact I Twitted it because I went to your book store and I received a novel by Jerry Pournelle and it says that – and I took a picture of it and Twitted it I got a custom novel from Jerry Pournelle. Of course, it wasn’t We Rule. But no, I found that I use a MacBook Air because in fact, mostly I want to create content and so I want a keyboard. Although I notice I do keep touching the screen.
Larry Magid By the way, my preferred laptop is the Lenovo X31.
Jerry Pournelle What would you think of a MacBook that had a touchscreen?
Leo Laporte Which Lenovo is that one?
Larry Magid Came out years ago.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Larry Magid SSD drive.
Leo Laporte That’s a great computer. But again – Jerry, you asked an interesting question. And of course, Apple has already said – Steve Jobs has already said, oh, no, you don’t watch a touchscreen on a laptop because it’s arm’s length, you don’t – it’s too hard to keep your arm up like that. Would you want --
John C. Dvorak No, it’s true. And as a matter fact you have to remember that touchscreen laptops have been done before.
Leo Laporte Oh, yeah, I got one in front of me right now.
John C. Dvorak And they create Carpal Tunnel Syndrome among other problems.
Leo Laporte You would be like Steve Martin in The Jerk. You’d make all the money on that little handle. Remember he put on the glasses. Made millions and then he got all the lawsuits from the people who came out cross-eyed because they had the handle on the glasses.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I have found --
John C. Dvorak That’s about as an obscure reference as you have ever done, Leo.
Leo Laporte I just saw the movie the other day.
Jerry Pournelle Years ago, I discovered and I still have an HP tablet.
Leo Laporte I’ve got one right here.
Jerry Pournelle It’s old Windows tablet. I mean it’s old XP tablet. But it’s – I found that OneNote and a stylus type tablet was the best research tool I ever had in my life.
Leo Laporte But, Jerry, tell us why OneNote worked so well for you.
Jerry Pournelle I don’t know. It just does.
Leo Laporte Because you told us.
John C. Dvorak Because of your voice, you tell the story a million times.
Leo Laporte No, because it’s his handwriting that they used.
John C. Dvorak Oh, your handwriting, you get to lord it over everybody with your handwriting.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, that’s true. It certainly does do handwriting recognition better for me than most people because – should I tell that story again?
Leo Laporte Yeah. Why not?
John C. Dvorak You might as well.
Leo Laporte And then we’ll do a commercial. Actually let me do a commercial. This is called a tease and then Jerry will explain why OneNote works better for him than any other human.
John C. Dvorak No, no. Wait, Leo. Let’s get this correct. OneNote only works for Jerry.
Leo Laporte There’s a reason and you’ll find out what it is in just a moment. Before we do that though I do want to talk about my friends at squarespace.com, the secret behind exceptional websites. We run our TWiT blog on there. I tell you, this is – now it’s hosting plus software. This is really the best way if you want to do a blog, a photo site, pretty much any kind of websites, squarespace.com makes it easy and it makes it beautiful. And I think that’s key.
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Jerry Pournelle is here with John C. Dvorak, Larry Magid, we’re having a blast talking about the future CES. We are all going to be there, and the past. You’ve told the story before on TWiT but it’s well worth telling again, Jerry. Why is it that OneNote works so well for Jerry Pournelle?
Jerry Pournelle Well, I’ll make it quick. Back when it was still the Soviet Union, we went over there to Moscow and there was a guy named Stepan Pachikov who had a company called ParaGraph. And he was developing handwriting recognition. And his problem was he didn’t have any American handwriting to recognize. So I took my log book and he Xeroxed about 50 pages of my log, my old handbook, fountain pen log book and Xeroxed about 50 pages and taught his program how to recognize that. Now the problem is I have the world’s worst handwriting. So as far I can see, Microsoft’s handwriting program recognizes mine. If it won’t recognize anybody else’s that’s not my problem.
Leo Laporte We all have to write like Jerry from now on. Isn’t that great? I actually think OneNote is a great product.
Jerry Pournelle It is. It’s wonderful and OneNote with a good tablet is just the best darn research writing machine you’ll ever get. And we had something like the old original HP laptop, you know.
Leo Laporte Hey, Jerry, why don’t – would you move your microphone up a little bit it’s rubbing, I guess your sweater, it sounds like you’ve got a – you’ve a parrot in there.
Jerry Pournelle Oh, I’m sorry.
Leo Laporte Okay, there you go, that’s good.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, Oh, I’m sorry.
Leo Laporte Oh, that’s all right.
Jerry Pournelle You know, the swing wing…
Leo Laporte Yeah, I have – but you know, you had to use the stylus with it, which is one – do you think, let me ask a question, should Apple add handwriting to the iPad or to some other future devices?
John C. Dvorak Doesn’t work, that’s why they didn’t do it in the first place.
Larry Magid The only thing worst in typing on a glass keyboard for me is handwriting. I mean, I handwrite at a fraction of the speed I type, and I may have even worst handwriting than Jerry, so personally it wouldn’t work for me, I wouldn’t want it. But I suppose there are people who would like to have their handwriting captured. I think good speech recognition would be an excellent product and if they could keep looking on that, that would be helpful.
Leo Laporte You know, I had – it’s just in conversation.
Jerry Pournelle Is Dragon natural with the iPhone?
Leo Laporte Yeah, it works very well and Google’s speech recognition actually works quite well on Android.
Larry Magid Actually.
Leo Laporte I had a very good conversation with the guy name Michael Cohen who is one of the big scientists at Google for speech recognition. And I’ve seen some debate over speech recognition. Of course, it turns out to be much hard, we always – and I asked him, I said, when it’s going to work, he says, well, about 20 years ago, everybody said 5 years from now; 10 years ago, everybody said about 5 years from now; if you ask me today I’ll say it’s about 5 years from now. And he said, the real problem is that for an engineer 5 years from now means, some time in the future.
It turns out to be much harder problem. Handwriting recognition is tough. Voice recognition is very, very difficult. And I asked him, I said is it getting better? He said, yes, more memory space, better processors, it’s not so much algorithms, it’s a very famous quote from one of the researchers in speech recognition, he said, “the more linguists I fire from my team, the better my speech recognition gets.” The reason being if you try to solve it by understanding, it doesn’t work, if you do it with Brute Force, it does seem to work. And…
Larry Magid On the Android phone, Leo I’m with you on that, I find it – it works reasonably well. Again, it’s never going to be 100%, at least not in the next few years, but in terms of dialing numbers, looking up for restaurants things like that, as long if it’s not too noisy, it tends to work pretty well.
Leo Laporte Yeah, I agree. I use it – I use it actually to dictate texts all the time and it’s great and to it…
John C. Dvorak Yeah, the Android phone works very well, what you do, you’re talking to the phone, it makes a quick call to India.
Leo Laporte A human.
John C. Dvorak Somebody reaches to you and then they write it out as though there’s something actually happening on a computer.
Leo Laporte There are some services, I think Dial2Do does that, Jott used to do that. I don’t know if Jott still does. And you’re right, we’ll get much better results, but it’s too slow. The Android phone and as this Dragon dictate on the Apple does phone home, it sends it to the server that does the work and then sends back to text, it’s not done on the phone at all or either, in either case. All right.
Larry Magid It explains the Brute Force that’s how you get Brute Force [multiple speakers] (63:12)
Leo Laporte Right. You get a lot of [multiple speakers] (63:14)
Jerry Pournelle You know, how did the old Dragon team do it?
Leo Laporte There’s a – oh, it’s a great story and I don’t remember well enough to repeat it but I’ll find the blog post that talks about it, but the two guys…
Jerry Pournelle PR girl that – Renee was her name or what was her name?
Larry Magid Renee Blodgett.
Leo Laporte Blodgett, yes, Blodgett. She is still around. I just saw her the other day. She will be at CES.
Jerry Pournelle She was one of my favorite, but they – every iteration of the Dragon program worked better than the last one.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle And I never have understood why that company didn’t just make all the money in the world.
John C. Dvorak You have to look into this – the history…
Leo Laporte Terrible story…
John C. Dvorak …of the – of a company called Lernout & Hauspie.
Leo Laporte …& Hauspie. L&H.
Larry Magid Right.
Leo Laporte And Nuance.
Larry Magid There were some legal issues around that company, as I recall, didn’t somebody go to jail?
Leo Laporte I think what happened – yes. But I think there was a – oh, that was a scam, but I think what happened is, a company – I think they were called Scansoft at the time bought all three, right? Remnants of L&H, bought Dragon – bought Nuance, they renamed themselves Nuance, they killed the market by killing competition and they – I don’t think they’d made a lot of progress on any of those products, since – because there’s nobody else doing it. And IBM was doing it, remember they start doing it.
Larry Magid Right.
Jerry Pournelle But for a while, the – every iteration of Dragon worked better.
Larry Magid Yes, it got --
Leo Laporte Yeah, it got right up to about 95%, about 95%.
Jerry Pournelle About 95%. Now in my case, it was no great tragedy because it turns out like Larry, I can type faster than I can write and in fact I can type faster than I can dictate. It’s just after this many years of doing this sort of thing. I’m used to writing on a keyboard and seeing it appear on a screen and I can turn out text that fast than I can dictate it. But for a lot of people dictation is the best way they have of getting text into and I would prefer to dictate if I have to get something out of a book into the computer and I don’t have one scanner around, I would rather dictate it than have to type it.
Larry Magid Well, I have a confession that probably only the three of you would even understand. One of my first word processing programs is WordStar, and I don’t know if you remember the WordStar Diamond, I am looking at my keyboard control E was up and control X was down, well I have Microsoft Word program to emulate that. I still use the WordStar Diamond.
Leo Laporte Do you use ESDX?
Larry Magid And I also still the caps lock key and down my control key, it’s been that way for ever and I can type about 40% faster that way than with a regular keyboard and much faster like Jerry with that keyboard than with my voice or certainly any other interface that I’ve seen since. So thank you Seymour Rubinstein for developing the WordStar Diamond.
Leo Laporte I am willing to bet that all three of you guys still use dot commands. Jerry didn’t you have brief or something like that heavily customized to fit your – was it brief that you used?
Jerry Pournelle It was – I had – in S-100 days, we use a thing called write which was written by Tony Peach and it was basically written for us. He – because Tony was so paranoid about somebody stealing copies of these thing that he never got – was able to market it properly, which is demonstrated; if you are scared of being stolen from, the simple way to do it is not have anything to steal.
Leo Laporte That’s the counterargument to publish – get the pirated eBook as people sell more books, that’s the counterargument.
John C. Dvorak Let me say something here before we go on.
Leo Laporte Please John.
John C. Dvorak First of all, I don’t use dot commands and if you’re going to credit anybody with that Diamond you should probably credit Rob Barnaby who is the guy who actually wrote WordStar.
Leo Laporte Seymour was just the…
Larry Magid Yeah, but Seymour was the front guy.
Leo Laporte He was the multi level marketing guy who…
John C. Dvorak One thing that --
Leo Laporte Go ahead John.
John C. Dvorak Sorry.
Jerry Pournelle They had an engineer at WordStar, Charlie, I can’t remember…
John C. Dvorak Charlie lives up the street from me.
Leo Laporte You are kidding.
Jerry Pournelle Charlie used to push WordStar and he was the most credible guy they had on their team and if you’ve talked to him right, if you wanted something out of WordStar the next time you saw him it would be in it.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, well that’s true. Electric Pencil, somebody mentioned, was the first Word Processor I used.
Leo Laporte What was the one that Captain Crunch wrote [indiscernible] (67:46)?
Larry Magid That was the EasyWriter, I wrote the manual for that for the IBM, hang on.
Leo Laporte You wrote the manual for EasyWriter? Oh my god! I do have a bunch of old timers.
John C. Dvorak He just left the room.
Leo Laporte No, he’s --
John C. Dvorak Oh, he’s going to get the manual?
Leo Laporte [multiple speakers] (67:58).
Jerry Pournelle He went off to get the manual in the full flush of enthusiasm.
Leo Laporte Little too enthusiastic for me, I might add. Look what I’ve got. Oh, yeah. Check it out.
Larry Magid The IBM version
Leo Laporte Look at that.
Larry Magid You can write a manual, and actually the only time I think I’ve ever had a byline – oops, I don’t know that’s another one – but yeah this is the…
Leo Laporte Wow, I can’t believe you have that Larry, what do you got a…
Larry Magid I wrote this, it was my first job in 81. My first job in the industry was to write the EasyWriter manual for the IBM PC.
Leo Laporte Wow!
Larry Magid And I worked with Draper. Here we go, can you see this?
Jerry Pournelle Did you have to spend much time with Draper?
Larry Magid Too much time with Draper.
Leo Laporte Did he ever ask you – did he ever ask you to wrestle?
Larry Magid Yes, he was crazy. I was a very young man at the time and well Draper did ask me to wrestle.
Leo Laporte Me too.
Jerry Pournelle Draper was my room mate.
John C. Dvorak I got a million jokes, I am not going to use any of them.
Leo Laporte You don’t have to make a joke, it’s exactly what you think it is John. It is no joke, that’s just the way it was. I do – I take that you didn’t go in the backroom?
Larry Magid No. There was a room where the programmers worked and you didn’t want to go there.
Leo Laporte Didn’t want to go there. And by the way never light a cigarette anywhere near John Draper or he will wrestle you.
Jerry Pournelle He is dead now.
Leo Laporte No, no, no I don’t think he is dead, is he?
Larry Magid No, he’s lost --
Jerry Pournelle Last time I heard that he had died.
Larry Magid No, no, he is alive, but…
Jerry Pournelle Oh good.
Larry Magid He’s had a challenge, let’s put it that way. John has had a lot of challenges mentally and I don’t know what’s going on with him now, I know he was arrested at one point for producing counterfeit bar tickets and I am not sure what it’s…
John C. Dvorak Well that was years and years ago.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah that was a long time ago. He got his back broken in prison and he has never been kind of the same sense, but he was my roommate at a Hackers’ convention once and I had no complaints, he was an interesting guy to talk to.
Leo Laporte Oh, I think he was quite interesting, he is brilliant. And Woz, I think even to this day, he has been kind of his patron that keeps him – I think stays in touch. I will ask Woz.
Jerry Pournelle That’s good, that would be – actually Woz was another...
John C. Dvorak That would make sense.
Jerry Pournelle [multiple speakers] (70:07) conference I was at.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle That would be good, and that’s just like Woz.
Leo Laporte Oh, Woz was a sweetie. You know Woz is probably doing that for a lot of old timers on the street.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, yeah.
Leo Laporte Let’s move along, I want to take a little break, we’ll come back. I’d like – gosh, we have such an esteemed panel here with Jerry Pournelle and John C. Dvorak and Larry Magid, I would love for you guys – I know I hate doing this and you probably do too, but maybe make some predictions.
Jerry Pournelle Maybe what we ought to do is get together at the end of CES and give an award.
John C. Dvorak There we go, now you are talking.
Leo Laporte You got it. All right, when do you leave?
Jerry Pournelle Leo Laporte award for the best of show.
Leo Laporte And it will be a fez. And I am going to bring one…
Jerry Pournelle No, I’ll figure out what it is and John and I will present it jointly.
Leo Laporte A MacBook Air and then John will never let it go. Hey, I know – what I know. It will be fun. This will be fun. I think we should do this.
John C. Dvorak I am off the MacBook Air thing.
Leo Laporte Did you get one?
John C. Dvorak No.
Leo Laporte Do you want one?
John C. Dvorak Do you have an extra one laying around?
Leo Laporte I am going to bring one down for you John, I feel really bad. I am going to bring one down at – if you come to CES…
John C. Dvorak Do I have to give you back the Obama mask?
Leo Laporte No, you can keep that and the fez. And when do you leave Jerry, how long are you going to be there, are you going to be there through Sunday?
Jerry Pournelle I am going out Monday and leaving Saturday.
Leo Laporte You are leaving…
Jerry Pournelle I am leaving Saturday.
Leo Laporte …Saturday, and Larry are you leaving Saturday?
Larry Magid Yeah, I am leaving Saturday, I’m going to be moderating an event Saturday morning and then taking off after that.
Leo Laporte Oh you are leaving Saturday morning?
Larry Magid No, no, no I think off in the afternoon. We could do something around noon-ish.
Leo Laporte I am doing the radio show 11:00 to 2:00, that’s got the biggest audience, million people. Why don’t you three come over to the South Hall at noon, Eileen make a note of this, and we will do the first annual – because I like being big – the first annual – I don’t know what we’re going to call it.
John C. Dvorak Well, let’s look at the initials we’ve got here. We’ve got a P, we’ve got a D, we’ve got an L…
Leo Laporte And an M.
John C. Dvorak We have got an M whatever it’s…
Leo Laporte The first ever PDLM awards.
John C. Dvorak That stinks.
Leo Laporte I know, there’s no vowel.
John C. Dvorak We have got a couple of days to figure it out.
Larry Magid What is our criteria going to be? Because everybody’s got awards out there, we have to come up with something…
John C. Dvorak Agreement, we just agree – it’s like all editorial stuff, you get together and you say what do you think and we all agree on something and get me an award. That’s the criterion.
Jerry Pournelle The Byte criterion for the awards at COMDEX was innovation, impact on the industry and way cool.
Leo Laporte And then they just threw it all out and said what do we think?
Jerry Pournelle [multiple speakers] (72:44) three factors and sort of talked it out until we came up with something that we agree was innovative, would have a real impact on the industry and was way cool and that was the basis of the Byte awards and I guess those awards were probably the most famous of the COMDEX awards for a long time.
Leo Laporte Oh, yes absolutely.
John C. Dvorak You know I am looking at our names…
Leo Laporte I know what we’re going to call it, I got a name. We are going to…
John C. Dvorak And everybody has got a consonant, it’s all consonant..
Leo Laporte I know there’s nothing in there.
John C. Dvorak You have the JJLL awards.
Leo Laporte JJLL? How about if we call them the OFAs.
John C. Dvorak OFAs?
Leo Laporte The OFAs, the Old Fart Award.
John C. Dvorak It’s a possibility.
Leo Laporte You won an OFA. And we don’t tell anybody what it mean.
Jerry Pournelle I don’t think you really want to make it something that anybody would be worried about receiving because he couldn’t tell in polite society what the hell it is.
Leo Laporte What did I get? I got an OFA.
John C. Dvorak We don’t have to explain it.
Leo Laporte 12 noon Saturday, the OFA to be named later awards will be awarded live on live.twit.tv and to the world on the Premiere Radio Networks, and I know Jerry, you listen to the show, thank you.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah.
Leo Laporte So we’ll do that and that will be great. If you can make it to the South Hall, we’ll send you an email, and we’ll do that, and we will pick our best award, how about the OPA awards, the grey hair awards.
John C. Dvorak OPA.
Leo Laporte The Geezers award, chatroom is being mean right now, that’s all I can say.
Jerry Pournelle The Past Grand Masters…
Leo Laporte Yes. Maybe something with gold in the word, masters.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah the Masters award, what’s wrong with that?
Leo Laporte We’ll give them a red jacket. We’ll take a break. We’re going to come back, I would like to hear what you think 2011 is going to bring us. We’ve got lots of – I think it was John. John, you can do these two guys if you wish, Larry has taken off completely. John likes to put up like a piece of paper or something. What does it save your time, John, what is it…
John C. Dvorak Don’t want to say anything.
Leo Laporte All right. And I think if you would just move the camera and focus on our President who seems unusually gleeful. We can just leave it at that. How about the COW Awards, the Cranky Old Writers Awards?
Larry Magid Cranky Writers Awards.
John C. Dvorak Cranky Old Writers.
Leo Laporte Saving – oh, goodness, Brin has just sent us an email. Apparently, John Draper has had surgery recently, he had some medical issues and savingcaptaincrunch.com is the website. And, Jerry, you are holding up your iPad. What was that?
Jerry Pournelle That’s my kingdom, of course.
Leo Laporte Ha, ha, ha, we rule. How about we call it the We Rule awards?
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, right.
Larry Magid It’s not bad.
Leo Laporte We do rule. So there, Crunch Time, actually – oh, look at this picture of John. Wow.
Jerry Pournelle Wow.
Leo Laporte He invented the Blue Box. You can call him Captain Crunch because he discovered that a 2,600 hertz tone could be used to reprogram the phone system and created Blue Boxes. And that’s actually how Wozniak and Steve Jobs got to know him because they built and sold Blue Boxes before Apple Computer.
Larry Magid And it was rather ironic that AT&T put him in jail and IBM hired him indirectly to write the software, the first word processor for the IBM PC. I mean he went from the enemy of one corporation to the servant of another and then unfortunately, we haven’t heard a lot of stuff about him in recent years.
Leo Laporte Yeah, he went in for a fairly serious back surgery. This site raised money. He went in December 21. I don’t see an update. They did raise the $10,000 they needed which is great. And I don’t see an update on his status after the surgery. But it looks like there are quite a few vertebrae – I guess that’s from the injury in prison that you talked about.
Jerry Pournelle Prison, yeah, he always had a bad back all the time I knew him.
Larry Magid I remember that.
Leo Laporte It says an anterior cervical discectomy, cervical 5, 6, 7, thoracic one, and arthrodesis something. It sounds like pretty serious stuff. So I apologize for…
Jerry Pournelle He’s got to be about my age. Isn’t he?
Leo Laporte I don’t know if he is quite that old, Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle I don’t know – nobody come out quite right.
Leo Laporte I don’t know. That’s an interesting question. I don’t know. Anyway, we wish you the best, John.
Moving along, let me talk a little bit about our friends at Citrix, a name I know you know well. All these folks know Ed Iacobucci, the guy who started Citrix many moons ago. He was actually an IBM programmer who was loaned to Microsoft and basically wrote the NT kernel. That’s kind of the old – I’ll ask Jerry about that because I bet he knows some of that story. The old story was that Microsoft wrote OS/2 for IBM in effect by lending programmers to IBM. And IBM lent programmers to Microsoft. And they wrote NT. And who got the better of that deal.
The good news was for Ed Iacobucci as he knew NT’s internals better than anybody. And he was able to write the best remote access code, the code that he then licensed back to Microsoft. Citrix is still a very – he doesn’t own anymore but he is still a very well known name in remote access. If you do enterprise remote access of any kind, Citrix is what you’ll be using.
They also have consumer products based on the same reliable, secure, fast, remote access backbone including, what I use all the time called GoToAssist Express. Now if you’re an IT, if you’re in a support situation, you’ve got software you need to support, GoToAssist Express is incredible.
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You remember Ed Iacobucci, right, Jerry? Of course, you do.
Jerry Pournelle Yeah, yeah.
Leo Laporte Great guy. I think he – didn’t he do – isn’t he doing a – like a timeshare for jets or something like that, NetJet [DayJet] (79:53) or something like that?
John C. Dvorak I don’t think he does that anymore.
Leo Laporte Is he out of that too?
John C. Dvorak I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean…
Leo Laporte I used to party with him at COMDEX. He was a guy, Gina Smith introduced me to him. He knew how to party. By the way, I should ask you about his, Jerry.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte Gina is going back to CES. She is going to cover it for a new version of BYTE. Have you heard about that?
Jerry Pournelle I – only the rumors, that same rumors you’ve heard. They have not talked to me about doing anything for him. I don’t know what they are doing.
Larry Magid it’s true, I talked, I corresponded with Gina and they are reviving byte.com, reviving it. I should say and reviving it. I believe it’s going to be launching around March or April and Gina will be the editor in chief.
Leo Laporte Wow! And who? Really? Good for her.
Larry Magid Yes. So, Jerry I am sure we’d love to have you back, I’ll put in a word for you.
Jerry Pournelle Good for her, they love the write a column. The one thing they should talk to me, but…..
Leo Laporte There’s a name, Chaos Manor or something like that – yes, there it is if you go to byte.com and who else is involved with it? It’s a UBM production. I have heard some other names involved with this. But good for Gina, in fact we should get her on the show. She…..
Larry Magid You know, Gina used to do a radio show years and years ago, Leo. I used to be on that show regularly.
Leo Laporte Yeah, what was the name of that show?
Larry Magid I can’t remember.
Leo Laporte It’s called Dvorak on computers. John left and then we had to take the name Dvorak off. So we called it on computers, I had been reading Gina Smith in print. And while I’m here I called her, she never called me back. She’d said she was too nervous. Her husband, Henry, made her call me back. We put her on. She was great, she was a star. She immediately as often happens with the people I work with. So passed me and is now, went to ABC was their tech correspondent for a long time. Larry Ellison hired her for ThinkNic, remember that, his ill-fated cloud computing area, network computer initiative. She was the editor at E3, E2 Electronic Entertainment Magazine, founded the E3 conference. She was the co-author of my first book which we both wanted to call, how do I get the dog here out of the dish dryer. But got burglarized to some lame 101 Computer Answers You Need To Know.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte Terrible name especially since Kim Komando came out with the book exactly the same 1001 Computer Answers You Need To Know. So what’re you going to buy, 100 or 1,000.
She also was a – you want to say ghosted but, I think really co-wrote Woz’s, I was.
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Leo Laporte That’s the last thing she did. So I should – I keep trying to get her on Twit.
Larry Magid I forgot, Leo, of your involvement with that show. That’s absolutely right. I moved on.
Leo Laporte On computers, John started it.
Jerry Pournelle Well, if you can hold, I will her how to get hold of me.
Leo Laporte I will. You want – you know what, she is going to be at CES. She should join, wait a minute, just adding an S, John, help our name for these awards, because it could be the Pournelle Dvorak Magid Smith Laporte awards.
Larry Magid At least it puts a little gender balance into that, that thing helps. I think that’d be great.
John C. Dvorak Yes, that would work.
Leo Laporte I will contact Gina. She should be part of this especially since, BYTE Magazine. And, Jerry, come on, they got to call you. You can’t have a BYTE Magazine without Chaos Manor.
Jerry Pournelle Well, that was kind of my theory on the subject, but they haven’t talked me to me; it’s all I can tell you.
Leo Laporte I will.
Jerry Pournelle I presume they know how to get hold of me assuming they have the old BYTE records, I haven’t changed my phone number since 1968.
Leo Laporte Really? Is that true?
Jerry Pournelle Yes.
Larry Magid Wow!
Leo Laporte That’s pretty impressive.
Larry Magid Does it have two letters in front of it, like it’s a state or triangle?
Jerry Pournelle I guess so.
Leo Laporte Pennsylvania 6-5000.
Jerry Pournelle It did when I first got this number and added two letters in front of it, yes.
Leo Laporte No kidding. Can you say what this change was?
Larry Magid I know you where lived, Jerry. You lived not far from where I grew up and we had a state number. ST something rather.
Jerry Pournelle Yes. I think it was – no, that was a little east of here. Harlan Ellison has a state number to this day actually. But…
Larry Magid You might have a triangle.
Jerry Pournelle 7, 6 – I can’t remember what it is.
Leo Laporte I think we need to go retro and everybody needs to look at the first two – there’s about, most – I would say 90% of the people listening have no idea of what any of you are talking about.
Larry Magid Right.
Leo Laporte But I think we need to go back and figure out what the first two digits of your 7-digit phone number are and find an abbreviation of Pennsylvania 6-5000. What the hell happened there, John? Did you – or is that Larry? Oh, that’s Larry. He’s going to show us – oh, ladies and gentlemen, now for the kids watching today in the old days of telephony, you had to rent your phone from the phone company. They had a division called Western Electric.
Larry Magid And you guys, recognize this.
Leo Laporte Not only you have to rent a phone, but you had to dial the phone.
Larry Magid Yes, you actually had to dial it. I bet you there are people watching the show that have never seen a dial phone.
Jerry Pournelle That’s why they called it dial tone to this day.
Leo Laporte People still say dial the phone but I don’t think my kids know what that – or that genesis of dialing a phone is.
Jerry Pournelle They talk about dial tone.
Leo Laporte Yes.
Larry Magid Leo, could you…
Jerry Pournelle You pick up the phone you get a dial tone.
Leo Laporte Sure.
Larry Magid Where is the send button on this? If you could figure out how this operates.
Leo Laporte How do I turn it off?
Larry Magid I don’t know what are you doing?
Leo Laporte Wait a minute, I got to ask you, Larry, why do you have a Western Electric dial phone there?
Larry Magid Well, probably for nostalgia but at one – and it is Western Electric, you are absolutely right, at one point I used to take these apart and I would put audio jacks in them.
Leo Laporte Well, that’s a good idea.
Larry Magid So I could do media interviews before I had all this tacky equipment…
Leo Laporte Oh yes, sure. Woz carries one around, really an old one, a black hard rubber one, you know and there is a cell phone built into it.
Larry Magid Bakelite.
Leo Laporte Bakelite, that’s right. And there is a cell phone, I think [indiscernible] (85:37) sells them, you pick it up and you dial it and it somehow connects to the cell phone and makes the call. He will sit at the table, I’m going on a cruise with him in about a month and he will sit at the table with his big black phone and it will ring.
Jerry Pournelle Somebody gave me a big old black handset which is a Bluetooth connected to my Apple phone, but I don’t use it much.
Leo Laporte There you go. So any predictions guys, either for CES or for the year ahead, are we going to see 800 iPad clones, will somebody do one that actually can succeed, are we…?
Larry Magid I brought a prop, it’s a pill box, it’s all about tablets, and we are going to see a gazillion tablet…
Leo Laporte Oh yes.
Larry Magid Most of them will be fairly crappy I suspect, and a lot of them will be Android, beyond that we’ll see a lot more – I just wrote an article that’s on the front page of The Huffington Post’s tech section which is my wish that things slow down a little bit that we don’t just see so many products come out that once again we are just overwhelmed and inundated with a lot of crap.
Leo Laporte Doesn’t that just show how old you are Larry?
Larry Magid No. I don’t – actually the funny thing you say that, you know I have young kids, are kids in their early 20s and they are not only a little less tech savvy then I am but even less interested than I am on every single gadget that comes out.
Leo Laporte Oh, I’ll grant you that. My kids couldn’t care less.
Larry Magid Yes. And they are happy. My son’s got a Nexus One, he is not craving the Nexus S, he is happy with it.
Leo Laporte We are in a bubble. There is no question about that.
Jerry Pournelle Well, as I’ve been saying for years, we’ve got to the point where Moore’s Law run way ahead of the concepts with the hardware’s capable of things and the software is not caught up with it so we’ve got the equipment to do a lot of things that just don’t happen.
Leo Laporte And in terms of bandwidth, aren’t we really throttled especially as we move to mobile by the lack of bandwidth?
Larry Magid Absolutely, in fact even some of the 4G phones are not giving us the kind of bandwidth you need if you are really going to be moving incredible number of bits around with video, I just think we have a long way to go and of course as you know Leo and the rest of you, you get out of the U.S. you get over to Korea and some other country then – and where is piker is compared to what some of the Asian countries have.
Leo Laporte I know, yes. Couple of transitions as Newsweek used to call them; there was a guy, who used to promote his website by publishing fake death notices for celebrities on Twitter. He is dead now. Okay, just mentioning it. I don’t know, that could be Karma, he just passed away. ICANN has said .xxx dead at least till the end of this year, MySpace got to be putting that on the death watch list according to businessinsider.com, MySpace is planning to fire half of its staff, there is only 1,100 people still at MySpace, Rupert Murdoch has for a while now been rumored to be wondering what the hell do I do with this thing that I bought.
Larry Magid Yes.
Jerry Pournelle Does anybody really know how MySpace foundered so badly compared to the market share it used to have, how Facebook suddenly just took over the world that way?
Leo Laporte Seems like it would be a really good lesson, morality to it. What do you think Larry?
Larry Magid Because it was tacky. Even they hired this guy Hemanshu Nigam as a Security Officer and they really cleaned up the safety issue, the predator issue, that was fixed, but it remained tacky. The advertising they would put up…
John C. Dvorak Does anyone – hold on Larry, does anybody but me find these coincidences kind of disturbing, they cleaned up the predators, they cleaned up this and then it started to fail, maybe they are having the predators with the good thing, it’s like oh there’s a guy, Daily – Comedy Central’s Daily Show, once it says, if there is a lot of predators that means there must be a lot of pray, that’s a good thing. I mean is it possible that that was the cool thing about MySpace?
Leo Laporte I don’t know.
Larry Magid No, I don’t think so. I think the predators threat was and is still way over exaggerated.
John C. Dvorak The predators, it was overblown, it was bull crap, but it was at least – the whole thing was tacky and it was good that it was tacky. I think people – it’s like going to old Times Square in the olden days when it was sleazy, I mean you go now it’s just crappy, it’s just...
Leo Laporte Well they, it was --
John C. Dvorak ...Disney thing.
Leo Laporte They did clean it up, I mean the UI is much nicer, pretty Facebook...
Larry Magid Now it is.
Leo Laporte ...it’s much nicer, too late obviously. Somebody is saying, it’s like GeoCities or Tripod, both of those were pretty hideous and they are both gone. But on the other hand, I think MySpace was heavily used and was very important for independent musicians, I think it was really the first place independent musicians got to get some exposure without a record label.
Larry Magid And in fact it’s still used by a lot of musicians...
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Larry Magid ....when that started, but it became sort of a teenage playground for a long time and it was very popular among the teenage kids. And also MySpace allowed for a lot of creativity, you could do almost anything on your homepage including bouncing balls and there’s four different kind of music playing at the same time and it was a cacophony, it was just such a messy environment and then Facebook came along first of all with its elite Harvard clientele to begin with and they expanded it to the colleges and then branched out to the rest of us, they came along with a much cleaner interface but sometimes I worry with all the applications and all the changes to Facebook that it could be going gradually and slowly in that same direction.
Leo Laporte So, all right, I know I am not going to get any predictions out of that...
Jerry Pournelle Are we selling predictions....
Leo Laporte I’ve had three times.
John C. Dvorak I’ll give you a prediction.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
John C. Dvorak Yeah, what?
Leo Laporte You said you’ll give me a prediction.
John C. Dvorak Okay, a prediction, there was just going to be more and more [indiscernible] (92:08) by the federal government and other governments based in Europe and elsewhere on the Internet, we’re going to start seeing situations start to apply where the FCC starts to move in, they try to at one time move in on cable TV but there was too much pressure against that, but now they see the Internet wide open using the shoehorn issue of course is net neutrality, they are going to find a way to become all of a sudden the gatekeeper of the Internet and next thing you know they are going to be licensing for blogs and all the rest of it, it’s going to be a complete disaster and it’s coming your way.
Jerry Pournelle Oh yeah, except that I said – told you that, on this show about two years ago when you were a big enthusiast for net neutrality in those days...
Leo Laporte Well I still am.
Jerry Pournelle ...you said, if we didn’t get net neutrality we were going to end up at 200 [indiscernible] (92:56) or something.
Leo Laporte Well I still am, I think we will be...
Jerry Pournelle I told you, I told you, I tag you, I told you.
Larry Magid And we don’t have net neutrality...
Leo Laporte We don’t have net...
Larry Magid ...FCC’s attempt to [multiple speakers] (93:05) is so compromised.
Jerry Pournelle No, but the FCC is going to use that issue as that was the problem, the problem with these things is that net neutrality maybe a great thing to do but if you create a bureaucracy to do something it won’t do what you told it to, it will do what it wants to do.
Leo Laporte No, and I agree with you, and that’s obviously a problem we’re facing. I mean...
Jerry Pournelle The FCC is in fact told by Congress not to touch the Internet. It’s been told by the courts not to touch the Internet. So what did they do? They immediately came out with a regulation saying that they are in-charge of the Internet after all.
Larry Magid So they are getting it from the left and the right, I mean there are plenty of bloggers that are complaining that the FCC sold out, that it didn’t do enough, that basically with a cop out that we’ve got other people on the right who are complaining that it’s taking over the Internet, that it’s going to be socialism. I think the fact of the matter is it did practically nothing and whether or not this net neutrality turns out you’ve any impact at all, we will have to see but I doubt if it’s going to accomplish anything....
Jerry Pournelle [Indiscernible] (94:04) it’s trying to do something which it was explicitly told it did not have the authority to do, once it gets away with the right, you will be surprised what it does. That isn’t my prediction, I am just....
Leo Laporte Why? Why Jerry, why? Why would they want to do that? What would be the interest of the FCC in doing that?
John C. Dvorak Let me take over for a second, Jerry, you can [multiple speakers] (94:25). Jerry, hold on.
Jerry Pournelle Do you want me to go on a little further on some of the things that net does that irritates the government? Can’t you think of a lot of things that net does that the government wishes didn’t happen?
Leo Laporte Well, I can think of one, WikiLeaks.
John C. Dvorak It’s not only that, it’s not only that. Let me interrupt you. It’s not about you’re having work for the government at one point, the government agencies, especially something like the FCC which is losing a lot of authority because broadcasting and all these other things are less and less important, wants to do something with its people, they want to expand like all other government agencies and this was an excuse to do it for no other reason, it just turns out that most of this will be bad for everybody.
Jerry Pournelle Yes, you got it, I mean it’s Pournelle’s law of bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are – you know what a [indiscernible] (95:13) law. Bureaucracies have two kinds of people. There are the kind of people who are dedicated to what the bureaucracy was created to do like classroom teachers most of them, and there are people who are dedicated to making sure that bureaucracy itself has power and stability and continuity. The second kind always get in control, always. They are never like the bureaucracy where the second…
Larry Magid It’s not as if the FCC invented net neutrality. There has been pressure from a lot of corners including a number of Internet companies that are worried about the cable companies and the phone companies…
Jerry Pournelle Well I think every pornography…
Larry Magid So it’s not…
John C. Dvorak It’s not about net neutrality that’s the point.
Larry Magid … bureaucrats that are coming out network neutrality. It’s also part of Obama’s campaign promise.
Jerry Pournelle Well, every pornography producer in the world wants net neutrality.
Larry Magid Okay.
Jerry Pournelle Everybody would love to have the rest of us subsidize the kid down the street who spends 24 hours a day downloading porn.
Leo Laporte Or whatever.
John C. Dvorak There is no – it’s not about net neutrality. It’s about government encroachment and that’s what the real key is here and the other reason that you leave out in your law Jerry is the fact that the only way that you can make more money in the government is if your agency gets bigger and you have more people to supervise.
Jerry Pournelle Well, yes, but that’s Parkinson’s law, I didn’t invent that, that’s been around since C. Northcote Parkinson wrote Parkinson’s laws 30 years ago and it’s all true. Governments expand to – without regard to their jobs they just expand.
Larry Magid The biggest push from Washington is going to be on privacy. Facebook is going to do something to really piss off Congress and I don’t know what they are going to do; the Federal Trade Commission is already making noises, although admittedly tepid noises and I think we are going to see some type of privacy legislation in 2011 and I think the industry is going to be really split over whether to support it or not.
Leo Laporte Well, I love…
John C. Dvorak Another excuse to butt in.
Leo Laporte Three guys who weren’t willing to give me any predictions, those were some pretty damn good predictions, thank you.
Jerry Pournelle Well, I will bring up something nobody has, I wouldn’t write off Microsoft on things. Microsoft has been interested in tablets for a long time and whether it’s this year’s tablet or next year, Microsoft is eventually going to come up with an iPod competitor that will do things with all that tablet technology that Microsoft has got – never quite figured out how to do the interfacing for.
Leo Laporte You are going to go to Steve Ballmer’s keynote and see his announcement because they are going to have about 8 tablets I’m sure.
Jerry Pournelle Oh yes. I – Ballmer, the problem with Microsoft is there is nobody left to do vision, Gates was the heart of that company and he had real visions and we don’t see much of that, Ballmer is a great executive officer, he just wasn’t – he just doesn’t see too far ahead, he is very good at carrying out dreams once somebody comes up with them; they thought Riazi would do it for him but that didn’t work.
Leo Laporte Couldn’t do it, no.
Jerry Pournelle And they don’t have anybody who has a vision that Gates had.
Leo Laporte Yeah.
Jerry Pournelle And that’s…
Larry Magid [multiple speakers] (98:25) Steve Jobs
Leo Laporte There may not be a lot of people in the world that have that kind of a vision, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Jerry Pournelle Sure. But on the other hand they have the leftovers of Gates’ – Gates was a big tablet enthusiast, and my eventual prediction is that we are going to have the pocket computer that I had in Mote in God’s Eye, it’s a little too big to fit in your pocket so we are going to have to come up with some kind of carry bag that men carry so your iPhone and your iPad and all the rest of it are all one [multiple speakers] (98:58), why would you want an iPhone plus an iPad.
Leo Laporte Right.
Jerry Pournelle You don’t need a Kindle because the iPad is easier to read using Kindle’s software than it is with the Kindle.
Larry Magid Well, Jerry, this isn’t a prediction but you know Gates’ is still Chairman of Microsoft, maybe he can turn the foundation over to Melinda and he could take back over as CEO. It’s been done before.
Jerry Pournelle If he wants to, and I know it’s been done before and I wonder sometimes Bill doesn’t kind of chase it at the bit about not – about watching what’s happening with the company. All it takes is a big injection of vision again they have the money, they have the people, maybe they don’t have quite all the top people that Google is getting some away from them and other places but Microsoft has an awful lot of very bright people. They have the determination and they go through the iterations of things and eventually they will iterate up to something [ph] alike (99:56), I mean, look like they did in games.
Leo Laporte Gentlemen, I’m going to table this conversation and adjourn this meeting until 12:00 noon Pacific Time on Saturday when we are going to announce the SOFA awards, the Significant Old Fart Awards.
John C. Dvorak I hope we come up with a better name, I’m sure.
Leo Laporte Well, [ph] Jean (100:22) is young so we can’t call it that, so we’ll find something but we are going to find our best products at CES and we’ll announce that on Saturday but I know all three of you will be part of our broadcast. We go – TWiT goes to CES, Wednesday evening we start with Digital Experience, Tom Merritt and Becky Worley from ABC News will be covering that, we’ll have Bryan Brushwood with us, Sarah Lane, I’ll be there, we are going to cover wall to wall CES better than it’s ever been covered before and thanks to these three guys, I think we are going to have some superior coverage on Saturday as well, and Jerry, you said you’ll be in the press room, we’ll come by and talk to you there as well.
Jerry Pournelle All right.
Leo Laporte Jerry Pournelle, jerrypournelle.com, go there and subscribe to the Chaos Manor columns well worth it, and maybe someday we’ll see it back again in Byte Magazine. I would love to see that. That would be a move in the right direction.
Also John C. Dvorak, channeldvorak.com, that’s where you’ll find him, No Agenda, and a bunch of other shows, and of course he’s got Barney Obama there with him. What happens when you press his hand? Does he ask for money? Alright.
John C. Dvorak [indiscernible] (101:32).
Leo Laporte Thank you, John. Larry Magid is at Larry’s World, you also hear him on CBS Radio and, you got a phone call Larry?
Jerry Pournelle I’m talking to Jimmy Carter, he just called on this phone.
Leo Laporte I thank you all for joining us, please do join us live at CES, we are going to be Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday, the next TWiT will be a Saturday TWiT and you are all invited again 3:00 P.M. Pacific Time, 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time live.twit.tv for all of that CES coverage, thank you all for being here. Thank you for being here. We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can.
Jerry Pournelle I can’t top that.
Leo Laporte You can’t top it. Hey, before I say goodnight I do want to remind you that we are beginning our seventh year, wow, at twit.tv and I’d like to ask some help, if you don’t mind. We do this every year. Our podcast advertising agency Podtrac likes to do a survey of our audience; it helps us sell TWiT, we know how many people listen but we don’t know much about you. So the more we know about your demographics the better, it’s about a 5-page online survey, easy to take, if you just go to twit.tv and click the link at the top of the page you could take it, or go to bit.ly/listenersurvey, it’s an easy way to do it too.
Twit.tv, at the top of the page take our survey or bit.ly/listenersurvey, at the end of the survey we’ll ask if you’d like to join the Podtrac panel, that’s a very useful research panel that we come back to you a few times a year and ask you questions, again this helps us a lot with making our advertisers happy and when happy advertisers pay money to put the show on the air I’m happy and you are happy because then we can do what we do like these trips to CES. So I appreciate any help you can give us. Thank you.
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