Buzz Out Loud 974: Black holes are made of people

Well actually, people are made of black holes. But I couldn't do a soylent green reference if I wrote that. we also talk about Natali's Lady Things and the fact that we all wear makeup. Oh and Sony is broke. And Jammie Thomas is going back to court.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
5 min read

Well, actually, people are made of black holes. But I couldn't do a Soylent Green reference if I wrote that. We also talk about Natali's Lady Things and the fact that we all wear makeup. Oh, and Sony is broke. And Jammie Thomas is going back to court. So it's not all good news.

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Sony Records First Full-Year Loss In 14 Years

eBay wins L’Oreal suit

Not-so-shocking: Jammie Thomas, RIAA unable to settle

Pirated music dominated by pop hits

Three strikes proposal for print

AirTran Wi-Fi for ALL flights

Mulligan! Twitter backtracks on unpopular change

YouTube on Google News

Import Contacts

Street View in Japan must reshoot

Google asks personal health questions

Kindle owners start to lose text-to-speech on purchased books — how do DRM-free Kindle books work?

Kindle for all bloggers

Illusion Cloak Makes One Object Look Like Another

Could all particles be miniblack holes?

Holy Moly iPhone app rejected by Apple

A podcast entirely about Twitter

Why would anyone want to see @replies

Hi Buzz Crew,

In episode 973 you talked about a credit card that displays a unique code for online purchases. I don't think adding more complexity to a credit card is a good idea. I use a Bank of America credit card with "ShopSafe" for online purchases. When I'm ready to purchase online I simply logon to BOA (Bank of America) and use ShopSafe to generate a one use credit card number. You can set the expiration date and credit limit for the credit card number. The number can only be used by one vendor so it's of no value to anyone if they steal it.

Link to BOA ShopSafe Service info:


Love the show,


Buzz crew,

I’m a few days behind, but I just listened to your bit about an iPhone or iPod Touch being required by a university. Here at the University of Minnesota (go Gophers!), the university will actually lend iPod Touch to students in some classes, particularly media classes. You keep the iPod Touch for the semester and turn it back in when your course is finished. It is a pretty good programme and seems quite fair.

Also, we use Moodle for our online classroom stuff. It’s an okay system, but I think the University likes it because its free and open source!

However, I also agree that requiring students to have some fancy tech gadget is ridiculous.

Ethan Poole

Aloha Buzz crew,


The first signs of Intel’s Larrabee processor has been spotted in the
wild at the opening ceremony for the Visual Computing Institute at
Saarland University in Germany. Larrabee is Intel’s attempt to break
into the (GP)GPU market, hoping to break Nvidia and AMD’s current
stranglehold. It’s a bit of an odd beast in comparison to the existing
offerings: Instead of creating a completely specialised chip they’re
using a chip that’s largely based on their existing speciality, the x86
CPU; though it means they’re paying AMD nice bits of licensing money per
GPU they crank out thanks to cross-licensing for stuff like the x86-64

The guys at PC Perspective have taken a pretty close look at the picture
and seem to believe it contains 32 cores + 32 vector processing units,
which seems to validate more or less what a few sites were claiming all
the way back in June 2007.

Love the show,
Paul, the brit geek in Hawaii.

Hi Buzz Crew,

I just wanted to take a quick moment to respond to your comments in episode number 973 where you were wondering why cell phone salesmen always have the "inside scoop" on product releases.

Having worked for Verizon Wireless for about a year in college, I can tell you that these inside scoops are completely made up. You see, Tom, you were close when you mentioned that the salesmen are on commission and that should be a driving factor. It IS a driving factor because of how the commission works. The salesmen are paid commission for 3 things - new line, out of contract line, and accessory sales. Notice what is missing there? On contract sales! That's right; the representatives don't make a penny for replacing your broken, on contract phone. Actually, it hurts their numbers as the accessory sales ratio is tied to the number of handsets sold. At Verizon, we needed to sell 3 accessories for every handset that we sold. People who are replacing broken handsets never buy accessories because they already have them. To put it simply, the salesmen don't want to sell an on contract customer a handset because they get NO commission and it hurts their numbers.

Now you see why these salesmen know all of these magical release dates. It's to get the customer to go away and hurt someone else's numbers.

I'm not defending the salesmen as this is a terrible practice, but as long as phones are subsidized, the companies are not going to pay their employees for on contract sales, and the salesmen will keep coming up with dates.

In Japan, our phones are no longer subsidized, and the customer service has gotten so much better since they changed the practice. Also, our monthly bills have gone down (by almost 50%!!). On the flip side, I paid about $650 for my last phone. I don't think the USA is ready for that kind of sticker shock on phones, so I guess you will have to deal with the made up release dates and inflated charges for the time being.

Love the show!


Don’t you think that Twitter is a bit pretentious? I mean you have
people that write usually one sentence about their everyday lives that
contains little or no valuable information. With the teenagers that
can’t spell, I’m surprised they don’t use all acronyms. This emphasis
on the self seems to be a theme with these websites (i.e. myspace,
ipod, youtube, justin.tv). Do people really think their lives are that
interesting that they need to be broadcast to the world? This is why I
recommend the book “The Dumbest Generation”. – Matt