[ music ]
>> Today is Wednesday, April 8, 2009.
>> I'm Natalie DelConte.
>> I'm Tom Merritt.
>> I'm Donald Val. [phonetic]
>> And I'm Jason Howell.
>> Natalie DelConte: Welcome to Buzz Out Loud, CNET's podcast of indeterminate length. This is Episode 948. Welcome Donald.
>> Hey, it's good to be here.
>> Thanks for hanging out.
>> A little voice crack on that. I wasn't sure where to say my name in the line up.
>> Welcome to puberty.
>> I was; you got it.
>> Ah, finally.
>> Tom Merritt: Apple is getting sued again. They're always getting sued. But this one's kind of intriguing. Wall Street Journal reporting that Taiwanese chip designer Alon [phonetic] Microelectronics Corp has filed suit against Apple alleging the company infringed two patents in the production of the MacBook, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch.
>> Natalie DelConte: This specifically has to do with the way that the machine senses the placement of your fingers. So they say that this is being used in a patent that they owned in the MacBook, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch, and they would like them to remove those products from the market place.
>> Tom Merritt: That's all.
>> Natalie DelConte: I don't think that's gonna happen.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. Just remove the iPhone and the MacBook from the marketplace and we'll be fine.
>> I kind of been waiting for a gadgets to turn back to like giant hi-fi knobs and, to control stuff instead of, you know, all this, this touch, you know, craze.
>> Tom Merritt: I don't really use the touch, the, the multi-touch on the, on the MacBook.
>> Tom Merritt: I, I mean, obviously you can't and do but use it on the iPhone though.
>> Yeah. Get rid of that, you get rid of the iPhone.
>> Yeah. I think so. I mean, that's just how it goes.
>> Natalie DelConte: Essentially, I don't, I think this is maybe the different than multitouch, just this is the technology that actually senses placement of your finger, but not, it's not to do with expanding or pinching, it's a very specific part of multitouch.
>> Tom Merritt: Although obviously, I mean it makes sense that you wouldn't be, really be able to continue and use multitouch if you couldn't figure out where the finger is.
>> Natalie DelConte: Exactly.
>> Tom Merritt: So, so it's kind of at the root of everything for Apple here. And Apple's not talking.
>> Tom Merritt: Of course, as they don't.
>> Natalie DelConte: Unless you do this distant gesture, like the TV remote we're gonna talk about later in the day.
>> Tom Merritt: Oh, yeah. Maybe that.
>> Natalie DelConte: Which would be interesting.
>> Tom Merritt: Apple just jumped straight to that.
>> What they could do though, they could start going the iPod Shuffle route and just have clicker control. You just, it's like 14 clicks to get to the 14th icon on your iPhone, and then double click it, and then you'll be able to launch the app.
>> What I'm really upset about
>> Natalie DelConte: I can never can them, the multiclick down. I've tried with the new iPod shuffle, and I just, I couldn't do it. I can't go backwards by three.
>> Typing would be really hard though.
>> Yeah that would. Yeah.
>> Tom Merritt: What I'm really upset about is the, the idea that they just want them to stop using it, using this patent at all. It's not like, hey, we just need you to license it, give us some money, whatever. So do you really think that they just want them to stop using that, or is it a negotiating tactic.
>> They want some [inaudible] moolah.
>> Of course not.
>> Yeah. It's all about the money.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah, I got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind ya all. Speaking of nothing to do with the iPhone or multitouch, Africa is getting new cable ties. This is big news for the continent, because they haven't had direct connection of cables, except for I think one minor cable to South Africa before. All of the Internet in Africa is, well most of the Internet in Africa is delivered by satellite or other wireless technology. So there's three cables going up that will be able to provide a lot more bandwidth. These are fiber optic cables. Privately funded CCom [phonetic] cable is expected to be fully operational by June, and will be the first to launch. Followed by the East African Marine Cable System, or Easy Cable, [phonetic] which is being funded by the private sector arm of the World Bank, as well as by Regional Telecommunications Company. And that one is expected to be up in time for the World Cup, which comes to South Africa in 2010. And the third cable is the East African Marine System, being spearheaded by the Kenyan Government as a response to the Easy Cable. So a little competition going on there.
>> See I don't understand.
>> Natalie DelConte: We talked about this.
>> Go ahead Natalie.
>> Natalie DelConte: Sorry Donald, go ahead. No. No. Please.
>> I'm wondering why all the money I'm funneling to this Nigerian Prince, why this guy isn't kicking down to help out with some of the cable ties. That's all I'm saying.
>> Tom Merritt: You would think Nigeria would have more of a hand in this.
>> Given a lot of money.
>> Tom Merritt: Well they're always trying to get money out of the country
>> Tom Merritt: In Nigeria.
>> That's true.
>> Tom Merritt: I'm sorry Natalie, what were you gonna say?
>> Natalie DelConte: Um.
>> Natalie had something legitimate to say about this story.
>> Natalie DelConte: I, I think I did, and now I'm kind of bored with my point.
>> Oh, I'm sorry.
>> Natalie DelConte: But we talked about this last week where we were talking about Australia that wants to roll out a new hard wire. Or actually this is yesterday. Weren't we talking about this yesterday?
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. Yeah. It seems like so long ago.
>> It does.
>> Natalie DelConte: Really that was an entire week ago?
>> Natalie DelConte: And how, you, some of these other countries that didn't get hardwired broadband were going straight to a 4G connection or a 4G network. And, oh no, we were talking about in this country how Verizon was saying
>> Tom Merritt: Oh, that's right. That was a while ago.
>> Natalie DelConte: That they want, that, that their solution to places where they can't get, where we can't get broadband is a 4G network. So don't you think that maybe they should just concentrate on pushing forward to the 4G, and the better and more reliable wireless networks rather than doing this?
>> Tom Merritt: Well, it's a good point as far as like comprehensive coverage. But you've gotta get the, the bits into the country first. And if they're being delivered by satellite that really lowers the bandwidth.
>> Tom Merritt: Right at the edge. So, so I think those two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. You can, you bring in the bandwidth with the fiber cables, and then you can set up wireless transmission points throughout the continent. So kind of, it seems to me like it would go hand in hand.
>> Plus these cable ties look really cool.
>> Natalie DelConte: They do look cool. Looks like a fun, fun at sea project.
>> This looks like a lot more fun than putting up some kind of cell phone tower, that's all I'm saying.
>> Tom Merritt: No. I mean this is serious business. They're, they're laying cable in the sea. And, and the, I mean outside of Antarctica, I guess, Africa is the only continent that doesn't have a major broadband cable. So this is gonna be great for the people in Africa who can't afford it. And that's gonna be the next big sense, which is, right now it's very expensive, because it's limited. When the cables go online, will the operators be able to get cheap access to people? Or will the governments pile on with taxes, and limits, and, and, you know, the kinds of things that drive the price back up? That remains to be seen.
>> Maybe all those one lap per child that we're sending over there will actually be able to get on line now.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. Because, you know, frankly it's a, I think it's a very small percentage of the country, of the continent that has a computer to begin with.
>> Tom Merritt: So, you know, those sorts of things like the one laptop per child are going to be necessary to make this meaningful for a large amount of the population.
>> Tom Merritt: Amazon.
>> Natalie DelConte: Speaking of
>> Tom Merritt: Yes, go a head.
>> Natalie DelConte: Speaking of pricing I was gonna talk about variable pricing on music now that Apple has gone to their DRM Free variable pricing market in iTunes. Amazon is following suit, and now you can see prices of individual songs just ranging from .29 cents, to .59 cents, to up to $1.29. But I haven't seen any that are more than that. But everyone seems to be following suit with this, Rhapsody, WalMart. So the day of the .99 cent song is over.
>> Tom Merritt: Well it's not over, they'll still have some .99 cent songs, but not, just not everything.
>> Natalie DelConte: It's just not um, it's not what we associate with just one price one product.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah, it's not like it used to be. And it's not just
>> It's like Sam Goody model.
>> Tom Merritt: It's not just Amazon. You stole that from me.
>> Yeah, I did. But it's a
>> Natalie DelConte: Sam Goody.
>> Perfect way to describe it. I mean, and, and what, what I wonder about is, does that mean that everything released in like the past 10 years that's even remotely popular is now gonna be $1.29? And all the stuff that you don't even want is gonna be the .69 cents?
>> Tom Merritt: Well yeah. The, I mean, that's the way it should work.
>> Tom Merritt: And it's not just Amazon, Rhapsody, and WalMart, and LaLa, [phonetic] they're all doing it not.
>> Yeah, La, they're all doing it. It's a industry shift.
>> Tom Merritt: We spoke, we spoke too soon when we read the in gadget story yesterday that was saying, hey, Amazon's still got the .99 cents, but iTunes doesn't. They've essentially gone that way, but it's not always the same. A track that's $1.29 on iTunes might still be .99 cents on Amazon.
>> Or vice versa.
>> Tom Merritt: And in fact, Rhapsody and WalMart are selling their track, the most expensive tracks at $1.24. So they have the .5 cents cheaper strategy. This is, you know, people are like, oh, all the songs I want are gonna be $1.29. That's the way it's supposed to work.
>> Tom Merritt: If you're willing to pay for it, because it's popular, it's gonna cost more money.
>> But on the other side of that though, if you're not willing to pay for it, you know, it should go down in price.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah, exactly.
>> [inaudible] And I guess [inaudible] now have that kind of power.
>> Natalie DelConte: Right.
>> Tom Merritt: Somebody emailed us like, I'm protesting. I will refuse to pay more than .99 cents for any song. That's fine. That's what you're supposed to do as a consumer. If it's not worth $1.29 don't pay $1.29. The price will come down. And if you, you know, the .69 cents stuff, if you're into really strange music that no one else likes like me it's great.
>> Yeah, that's very true.
>> Tom Merritt: Because then you can get the cheap stuff.
>> Well and, and that's, also doesn't take away from the fact that, you know, they still sell, for the most part, albums, like full albums at a discount. So, you know, it might be $1.29. If you add that up per track that might equal, you know, $14 or $15. But if you decide to buy the whole CD it's $9.99. So you actually do save.
>> Tom Merritt: And a lot of times they even discount the, the album price down to like $4 or $5 as a promotional tool.
>> Sure. Right.
>> Tom Merritt: And a lot of times the new popular tracks are discounted, already. Even under the .99 cent model sometimes they'd be selling new tracks for .79cents.
>> Tom Merritt: Because they're just trying to push it into the charts. You know, they're trying to get it up in the, in the top 10. So I don't think that's gonna go away either.
>> No. And in hindsight I feel, I feel kind of bad that Apple caught so much of the heat with iTune, the iTunes price, you know, tiering yesterday. Now all the other companies are following behind and they're not getting the same, you know, slings and arrows on them that, that iTunes did yesterday, when it's really across the board. And, and for the most part it's really labels that have made this happen. It's not, it's not the, the front ends.
>> It's not the storefront setter that are doing the price tiering. It's concession to labels who've, who have for, you know, decades been able to really effectively manage, you know, you know, different tiers of pricing, and coming out with a hot new artist being able to sell it for a little more, and then scaling the price down.
>> So it's, it's the labels to be mad at really.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah.
>> But the good news it's all [inaudible], right?
>> Natalie DelConte: Yes.
>> Yeah. Agreed.
>> What were you gonna say Natalie?
>> Natalie DelConte: I was gonna.
>> I'm stepping all over you today.
>> Natalie DelConte: I know I
>> We keep stepping on each. What were you gonna say? Yeah. Sorry. Oh, no, now she's gone silent.
>> Natalie DelConte: I not speaking.
>> Oh, no! It's just a delay.
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm protesting.
>> Natalie DelConte: How would a silent, how would a silent podcast be? No, I'm not upset with you. I was saying, what do you think of the model that Amazon's using where you deliver extras with the full price of an album. Like this Depeche Mode thing where you get various downloads of their videos as they're released a few weeks at a time until the actual album launches. And there was an article in the New York Times about other bands trying to do that over Amazon in order to just sort of sell upgrades to the existing digital album.
>> I, I think it's pretty cool, but it defiantly speaks to more of like a hardcore fan.
>> And I think that's gonna be a general, you know, you can't just do that with, with every artist coming down the pike. But I, I think that it's definitely time for the industry to get really creative with how they sell digital music. And bundling stuff in, bundling in things like concert tickets, and extras, and videos is definitely the way to go to keep people excited about this.
>> Tom Merritt: Wait, you mean not just rely on physical product sales as your only means of, of, of revenue.
>> Might be a better strategy.
>> Tom Merritt: Is that a better strategy?
>> Tom Merritt: Huh. But how are we going to do that?
>> Natalie DelConte: But speaking of
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah.
>> Natalie DelConte: Speaking of strategy, I was gonna move this along and just having terrible luck of timing my, my opponents today.
>> Tom Merritt: Just don't, don't, don't stop
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm so sorry you guys.
>> Tom Merritt: And pay attention to the timing. Just keep talking, we'll shut up.
>> Tom Merritt: Believe me.
>> Natalie DelConte: All right. I was gonna move along and talk about the new FCC initiative to get high speed Internet across the country. The FCC said on Wednesday, which is today, that they are going to start looking into ways to get broadband across the nation. This is part of the stimulus package. And they're calling for people to give them ideas, either public entities or private entities, and just shout out your ideas. I saw one already from Verizon today that was really generic. Like, well this is really important. We hope they take it seriously. That's all they said basically. It's really stupid. But if you have ideas on how the FCC can move this along go to FCC.gov and let your, let yourself be known.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah, its time for the U.S. net neutrality advocates and opponents to let their arguments be flown in front of the FCC. Because they have been charged with finding the most effective and efficient ways to ensure broadband access for all American. What strategies? What's the utilization? How do we use it to the best affect for consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety, homeland security, all that stuff. So, you know, this is, this is your chance to speak out.
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm not sure they
>> Tom Merritt: You don't have to be a Verizon.
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm not sure the use of efficient, though, is really all that accurate in this case. Because the FCC is going to hear you out and come with a plan, come up with a plan by next February.
>> Tom Merritt: Right. The efficient refers to what they do after February, not getting to February, apparently. Because, yeah, it's gonna, it's gonna be a year before they have to come with their plan.
>> Natalie DelConte: It's April. Can't they move any faster than this? They haven't been thinking about it at all? No one has any ideas on how? April! It's April!
>> Tom Merritt: You know if they, if they moved it faster than we'd all complain that we didn't have time to get our, you know, our ideas in.
>> Natalie DelConte: Faster than 10 months? I don't' [inaudible].
>> Tom Merritt: And some of the ideas will be coming in on pony, because not everyone has broadband access everywhere. See it's a catch 22 there.
>> We need, we need Julio [phonetic] in the Ozarks.
>> Tom Merritt: You need to have broadband everywhere for everyone to get their ideas in fast.
>> Tom Merritt: About how to get broadband everywhere.
>> They'll have to messenger pigeon their ideas in.
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah. Write, write it on, tap it out on stone and then send it into the FCC. And they'll get it by December, and then maybe take it into consideration.
>> Tom Merritt: Meanwhile, Kindle owners are trying to get Amazon to listen to them right now with the $9.99 boycott tag. Because they are upset, they're not gonna take it any more these publishers trying to charge ridiculous prices for ebooks like $10.20.
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah, they are not okay with variable pricing, apparently. They think that $9.99 should be, be it .99 cent iTune song of old. And so what they're doing is using Amazon's tagging system against them. And just any book that's over $9.99 they tag it with 999 boycott. As if you couldn't tell yourself that it's over $9.99. And the rational behind this is that it's not made out of paper and you can't share it.
>> Tom Merritt: Well that, the big problem is when you see like, for instance, a paperback edition of the likeness at $10.20 ebook, but you pay $7.99 for the real book. Actually I've got that backwards. The likeness is at $10.20 for the paperback edition, but it's $9.99. And David Corinary [phonetic] says he would like to pay $7.99 for the Kindle version. You want, you want a discount on it. And there are times when the paperback version is actually cheaper than the Kindle version. But honestly, it doesn't seem like that happens that often.
>> Yeah. I mean, again, I think it's, it's kind of like the iTunes thing where, it's, this is, they're just coming out with, you know, how they're trying to figure out how to price these digital
>> Copies of what was formerly physical media. And you know, you have to kind of allow some checks and balances for Capitalism to seek in here and figure out what the price point is.
>> Tom Merritt: Although there is a difference, because we're back in the 2002, 2003 version of iTunes where you are locked into your store that comes with your device.
>> That's right. [inaudible]
>> Tom Merritt: With the Kindle. If you, I mean, yeah you can go get free books, and you can, you can get dot m, dot mobies [phonetic] and put them on the Kindle. But, but really in reality most people. Really in reality? That can be redundant.
>> Realistic reality.
>> Tom Merritt: Most people are just going to buy from the Amazon store, because that's convenient and that's what's on there. So you don't have a place to shop around and find the cheapest price.
>> Tom Merritt: There's no price pressure there. So in that case maybe there is a need to kind of raise the awareness to the publishers and say, look, you know what? We're unhappy about this. We don't like this. And then Amazon's gonna sell fewer Kindles if people are really thinking, you know what? It's too expensive.
>> Yeah. I still think it's, it's an industry that's kind of in the middle of a knee-jerk reaction to figuring out, you know, whether or not the, the digital, you know, digital ebooks are gonna, you know, completely ruin things or be the best thing's that ever happened to them.
>> Well, especially considering
>> Natalie DelConte: Well now ruin things, but
>> Ah. Sorry. Especially considering paperback books, for the longest time, have been the cheap option, the inexpensive option. And then hard book, hardback books have always been, you know, quite a bit more than that. Maybe they consider the Kindle kind of like a halfway hardback book. I mean it is harder than a paperback.
>> Tom Merritt: No. No. No. No. No.
>> Natalie DelConte: No. Because
>> Tom Merritt: That, that's not it.
>> Natalie DelConte: The Kindle itself is so expensive that that was one of their selling points. Is yes the device is expensive, but you'll save money when it comes to books.
>> Tom Merritt: It's the publishers; it's the publishers trying to spin.
>> Tom Merritt: They're saying, like, well this is the price of ebooks. If you go to the Sony Store its $14. If you paid for a hardback it'd be $25, so you're saving money. They're not, there's, you know, there's no, there's no acknowledgement that there's another way of looking at it. It's not as, not as simple as them saying, no it's a hardback, because it's, it's hard. But what they
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah, I don't think
>> Tom Merritt: What folks are really upset about is the Amazon Kindle is being protested. Actually it's not the Kindle, the publishers are being protested by the blind. We wondered when the Authors Guild came in and said, hey, you know what? This text to speech being disabled by publishers at will is ridiculous. When they would come and, and have the protest, and it seems like it is happening.
>> Natalie DelConte: That's right. Yesterday at 2PM here in New York, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Reading Rights Coalition protested out side the office, offices of the Authors Guild. Because they are still sore about the fact that Amazon went ahead and capitulated and disabled speech to text, when the Authors Guild asked them to. And they're saying that this is a move against people who have vision disabilities, and they're not okay with it.
>> And I, I still think that there's, there's no replacement for a well, like, someone who reading the book, you know, paying an actor, paying the author to read their book. A robot voice is never gonna have the same kind of, you know, inflection and quality that you're gonna get.
>> Tom Merritt: And, and to make thing even better, the Authors Guild has posted a response to the controversy. Giving a lot of lip service to accessibility, but maintaining that authors shouldn't be forced to surrender their economic right. So, so they're basically saying, sorry you're blind, but you need to pay more for the, for the text to speech versions.
>> Because possibly your only choice before was an audio book.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. And, and you know, refer to our earlier episodes on Buzz Out Loud for our outrage about how the Authors Guild thinks that the way something works should be hobbled in order to serve their economic business model. Get over it Authors Guild! This is ridiculous.
>> Natalie DelConte: They're like the RIAA.
>> Tom Merritt: They're worse.
>> Natalie DelConte: They just don't get it.
>> Tom Merritt: They're worse. At least the RIAA's slowly learning. These guys are like coming after the blind. The RIAA only goes after
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah.
>> Tom Merritt: Old women and children.
>> Natalie DelConte: I know. Way to pick on the disabled.
>> Tom Merritt: Plus guild sounds a little more sinister.
>> Yeah. It's a [inaudible]
>> Tom Merritt: They could go medieval on you. You just never know. Spies also sound sinister. And apparently they have hacked into the United States electricity grid. Wall Street Journal reporting that there's evidence spies sought ways to navigate and control the power grid as well as the water and sewage infrastructure. Part of a rising number of intrusions. Apparently the Chinese have attempted to map the infrastructure. And some spies have left behind the software on the networks that control the Smart Grid that is being implemented. And the Smart Grid is a way for you to, to kind of optimize your electrical usage. So it knows when you need more electricity and when you don't. And tells you how much power different appliances in your house are using.
>> Natalie DelConte: Well it wasn't just the Chinese. It was China, Russia, and other countries. So it's this network of spies that was international, which makes this even more scary.
>> Well the other scary thing is that we're, we're moving more and more towards the Internet connected. Like power usage for our home, and also Internet connected, you know, power stations. I mean this is part of the, the whole push for, for bolstering the electrical grid, is that being smarter means being more connected. And if we're more connected we're more vulnerable. Right? So I don't know what the answer is to this, to, except to hire a whole bunch more Internet secure people here.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. Do you, do you go Battle Start Galactica on it? And say, we let, we will not network anything on the power grid?
>> Tom Merritt: I mean, that really, the, the power grid needs to be updated anyway. So if it's gonna happen one way or another they're gonna change the way that that grid works. Because it's, it's old and out of date. How are we gonna change it? And, and how are we gonna take advantage of the benefits of network and minimize the risks of security?
>> Tom Merritt: I'm, I'm just asking the obvious questions here.
>> Natalie DelConte: Cause if it doesn't, if, if we don't then it gives a whole new literal meaning to the term smoke them out.
>> Or you go off the grid, Right? You know? You just, everyone has their own power supply at their home.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah, but even then you're gonna have
>> Start powering from something
>> Tom Merritt: You're gonna have some kind of mesh. You're gonna have some kind of mesh network, because you're gonna have excess power sometimes and
>> Natalie DelConte: And consider the ways that were
>> Tom Merritt: You want to sell that back into the system.
>> Natalie DelConte: Consider the ways that now we're trying so hard to monitor all the power in our home, so that we can reduce energy consumption. So Google's now power grid and all of these other software companies are trying to get us to know exactly with appliance is using this much power, so that all of that information is gonna go into a central database. And then we'll have all of that controlled by one place or, or vulnerable to being controlled.
>> Plus even if you figure it out, then the, the damn next to your house is gonna, you know, that's controlled by the Russians, it gets, you know, opened up and you're gonna flood anyways, right? It's the larger structures you have to worry about.
>> Natalie DelConte: That could be true.
>> Tom Merritt: Way to bring the disaster scenario to bare.
>> Natalie DelConte: Another company that saw disaster was Circuit City. It closed doors earlier this year, but it may not be dead. If you head on over to Circuit City.com there's a notice saying, blah, blah, blah, thanks for shopping with us through the last 60 years, but we're coming back. Circuit city.com will be up soon in the next coming weeks, so check back for updates.
>> Tom Merritt: So Circuit City the store gone. Circuit City.com may be not gone.
>> Tom Merritt: Maybe coming back in the next coming weeks, doing what?
>> This is gonna be a mediocre pricing.
>> Tom Merritt: [inaudible] for Tiger Direct, or New Egg, or something like that.
>> Probably. Yeah, I, I doubt
>> Natalie DelConte: Who knows.
>> It's gonna be anything exciting, except to squeeze some more money out of the Circuit City Brand.
>> Tom Merritt: And if you have that money it's better spent on a 256GB solid-state drive. You just need $749 and you can buy one from Corsair.
>> Tom Merritt: They have released the S256 to be reviewed. Actually it was reviewed by the fine folks at Hot Hardware.com. We saw it mentioned on In Gadget. And it's, it's actually fairly a, fairly spiffy. Reed speeds nailing at about 200 megabyte per second mark. Not bad. And they said they're gonna change the model number to the D256 when they release it for some unknown reason. But it should be coming shortly to a, to a website near you, perhaps Circuit City.com.
>> Could be.
>> Tom Merritt: Who knows.
>> Yeah, it's not even, not, it's not only just that it's some larger capacity, but that it's that much faster than a, their last one, the 128 gigabyte one came at 90 megabytes per second.
>> Tom Merritt: Do we a, do we see 256GB flash based MP3 players and phones?
>> I don't think people want it. I mean people are; people are already kind of
>> Tom Merritt: Too expensive.
>> Stopping. I'm not getting as many questions about capacity for MP3 players now that they're creeping out around the 33GB. You know, its people were complaining so much when it was like 4 and 8GB were your only options. I think 32 is kind of the sweet spot, people have just stopped complaining.
>> Tom Merritt: That's a, that's enough. That's all.
>> Tom Merritt: But what about video? People aren't really embracing video that much on these as they do more often and could up that capacity level.
>> Video's such a tough thing. I mean there's the people who get portable video players that are, you know, pirating all their content and throwing all their X fed videos on here. They know what they're doing and they want a large hard drive. But for the most part, getting Internet video and downloads onto a portable device is still something that baffles most people. So if it's not an iPod and it's not all kind of built in I don't think people pay too much attention to it.
>> Tom Merritt: I'll tell you what's baffling me is this new TV remote control.
>> Natalie DelConte: It's a, it's a, it's a idea at this point, right? It's not really out yet.
>> Tom Merritt: It's a concept.
>> Natalie DelConte: This is something by GestureTek, which allows you to use your person as your TV remote. So you would essentially just wave gestures in the air and your TV would respond based on a webcam that's mounted somewhere. And it's a lot in the same way that your Wii recognizes your Wiimote with some kind of sensor. So if you don't like a channel you could just flick your hand across and change it.
>> Tom Merritt: Wow, it brings a whole new meaning to fighting over the remote control.
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah, right.
>> It's more like a thumb war over the, the remote control.
>> More full body wrestling.
>> Yeah, we're also, it's, it's, it's kind of the same Wii hazards too, where if you're gesturing too wildly you're smacking the people on the couch next to you just to change the channel.
>> Tom Merritt: Channel surfing becomes a dangerous sport with this.
>> Natalie DelConte: Just think about when you're watching the news and some story really upsets you or the dissemination of the new and then you really get violent.
>> Right. Right. Or you're really excited about the game and you jump up and then you change the channel.
>> Natalie DelConte: Yeah, that could make for a really violent Super Bowl party.
>> Oh, yeah.
>> Now they need to go into business with the Clapper people, so you could turn it off like that.
>> Tom Merritt: Obviously they're gonna, they're gonna have, you know, ways to like sense whether you really meant a gesture or not. All of these gesture based things have that. But, you know, if like, like Devlin [phonetic] in our, our prep meeting, the picture of it really, it makes it look like people are worshiping the television, because they got their hands up [inaudible] TV.
>> Natalie DelConte: Which our society kind of does, actually.
>> Yeah, that's how you have to turn it on, you have to bow in front of the TV and it turns on.
>> Tom Merritt: The gesture for on is bow to the east.
>> Yes. Recognize my authority in your living room.
>> Tom Merritt: All right, now this story creeps out Natalie. So, you know, forgive her if she doesn't have much to say or run screaming from the room. But Canadian Filmmaker Rob Spence
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm closing my eyes.
>> Tom Merritt: Is replacing his empty eye socket with a camera in order to do a film about privacy implications.
>> Natalie DelConte: Oh, he looks so cyborg. I hate it. I can't even look.
>> And there was another story about this too. That from, I think it was a woman who was trying to get the same thing in her prosthetic eye with a camera built in.
>> Tom Merritt: It was back in November, yeah.
>> But the, the
>> Tom Merritt: Here in San Francisco, I think.
>> Yeah. The, I think the, but the, the new thing here is that he was able to effectively implant a batter and an LED into a, into a prosthetic eye right now. So
>> Tom Merritt: That's the advance.
>> We're getting, we're getting closer to it, but there's still no camera in the eyeball yet.
>> Tom Merritt: No. It's a, he's showing that he could put a power pack that is, as, you know, as large as he needs in the eye. But they haven't got the camera to the quality that they want. They want to have film quality.
>> Tom Merritt: They have a camera that'll work, but the, the quality's not good enough. So.
>> I think the creepy thing here is he went with a red LED.
>> Tom Merritt: Right
>> He could have gone with any color LED, but he went with like the Terminator LED.
>> Tom Merritt: Are, are the red LED's the cheapest ones? I think may be why.
>> I think, I think so.
>> Tom Merritt: But it also creepy. And the other thing is that he named it the eyeborg project.
>> Yeah. See.
>> Tom Merritt: That doesn't creep anyone out.
>> But it, it, it makes us pay attention.
>> Tom Merritt: I think this is frankly really cool.
>> If he had chosen a pink LED or something like that I don't think we'd [inaudible].
>> Tom Merritt: The technology behind getting this to work is amazing. And actually when you combine it with neuro processing that they're doing where they're able to take signals and feed them into the visual cortex, it could end up being a way to give sight to people who don't' have it. But on top of that, the film project sounds fascinating. Which, you know, what is, what is this eye going to see? How is this film going to look?
>> Natalie DelConte: It's like Mad Eye Moodie [phonetic] out of Harry Potter; he can see everything, forward and backward.
>> Tom Merritt: I'm not sure if this one will be able to see backwards Natalie
>> Natalie DelConte: Possibly.
>> Tom Merritt: Because it's not magic.
>> Natalie DelConte: It, it sort of is magic.
>> It kind of is.
>> Natalie DelConte: Science and magic overlap a lot.
>> Tom Merritt: And officially advanced science is, in fact, magic best [inaudible]. Arthur C. Clark, positive of that. And finally the Riiflex, spelled Riiflex, gives you another way. Boy, the Nintendo just won't let this your, your fat and need to work out thing drop, will they? The Riiflex
>> Natalie DelConte: Oh, Nintendo's not calling you fat.
>> Tom Merritt: No, in this case it's a
>> Natalie DelConte: They just want you to work out them.
>> Tom Merritt: It's a third party company.
>> It's all in your big bones.
>> Tom Merritt: Wiimote weights, so your Wiimote is embedded into a set of weights. Two pounders will set you back $35. Or if you want to get the heftier ones, it's $5 bucks. And, and so when you're using the Wiimote and the numchuck do to your Wii sports you'll be given a little heftier of a workout, because you're adding some weight to them.
>> That'd be great. And maybe you can use these with the TV too for changing the channels.
>> Interface them with [inaudible]
>> Tom Merritt: That's the nice thing.
>> Natalie DelConte: These are really silly, but they remind me of my Get In Shape girls stuff when I was a little kid. Where you would; you just kind of use the little, the little ankle weights and stuff. I mean, why not, right?
>> I don't believe this.
>> Natalie DelConte: I mean, when they, that way more workout videos can come to Wii Fit and then you're working out with Jane Fonda and doing the dumbbell curls.
>> Jane Fonda! Wow, do you think
>> Natalie DelConte: I, I don't think she does those any more.
>> The Wii can keep Jane Fonda's career alive and bring her back resurrected?
>> Natalie DelConte: For the record, Jane Fonda does not need the Wii. She's doing just fine. She's here on Broadway.
>> Oh, very good. Great. Glad to know it.
>> Maybe she uses the Wii to stay
>> Natalie DelConte: She might.
>> Fit for the Broadway show.
>> For the Broadway shows.
>> That is quite possible.
>> Tom Merritt: Let's move onto the voice mails. Our first caller is pointing out that there is a film out there that seems to be prereleasing before it hits theaters.
>> Hey Buzz Crew, this is Jason in Cincinnati. In the past you guys have talked about how you think the MPA should release movies on DVD or streaming at the same time they come out in the movie theater. Well tonight I was dorking around on my XBox looking at the videos they had out there and came across one called Mutant Chronicles. Never heard of it. But flipped over to my TBO a little while later and was looking around, and I saw something at the bottom said, Mutant Chronicles, prereleased movie. So I went into it and it's on Amazon Video On Demand too saying that it's a prerelease, pretheatrical rental. $10. Don't know anything about the movie; I need to look it up. It may be a huge blockbuster or it may have no money in it, but I thought that was pretty interesting. Any way, love the show, talk to you later.
>> Tom Merritt: I, you know, it's called Mutant Chronicles, so I'm guessing it's not gonna be a blockbuster.
>> Tom Merritt: But is it a direct to DVD title that they're trying to build up extra interest in? Or is it a real, honest to goodness, theatrical B movie.
>> But then he says that it, well, he says that it's actually out right now. So it shows on the IMDB entry a release date of the 24th of April. But it doesn't say if that's theatrical or not. And it's about a 23rd Century soldier who leads a fight against an army of underworld netro [phonetic] mutants.
>> Tom Merritt: It sounds awesome. Don't, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't sound like something you would play
>> Yeah, I don't know. It doesn't say. By the time they get to Mutant Chronicles 8 it'll probably be really great. You know?
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah. And playing direct on Sci-Fi as Icor [phonetic] points out.
>> Tom Merritt: All right, let's move onto our next caller who has a question about why Natalie's video looks different than ours.
>> Hey guys its Chris in St. Louis. And I was watching the video version of Buzz Out Loud. Just happened to be episode 947. But this is I guess kind of consistent throughout all of the video episodes. Is the max headroom effect on the camera that Natalie's on intentional?
>> Or at some point are you guys gonna get her a decent webcam, one that will capture more than say 15 frames per second high quality. I mean just a sharp diff, the stark difference between the camera that Tom's on and the camera that Natalie's on is [inaudible] wow, redundant. Pretty shocking. So, anyway, just curious. Would be nice to be able to see Natalie move something in other than, or to be moving in something other than stop time. So anyway, love the show. Bye.
>> Tom Merritt: Stop motion Natalie is not cool by you? She's actually claymation.
>> I'm sorry to have [inaudible]
>> Natalie DelConte: That's right.
>> She's a Harry Housen [phonetic] creation.
>> Tom Merritt: Well the New York Studio is
>> Natalie DelConte: I'm actually in second life.
>> Like Land Of The Lost over there.
>> The New York Studio is a little behind what we have in, in San Francisco right now. We've obviously, this whole video project with the podcasts all revolves around a unit called a tricaster [phonetic] and a bunch of HD cams that we now have in San Francisco, but don't have yet in New York. I'm going out there this next Monday to get them equipped with it. And my hope is that that will solve that problem. So stay tuned.
>> Natalie DelConte: It's in their continued attempts to, you know, isolate me in New York.
>> Natalie DelConte: And put me on a worse webcam and set me up for failure.
>> Tom Merritt: It's all a conspiracy.
>> I wonder if I had the
>> Natalie DelConte: It's totally.
>> [inaudible] cam if anyone would care. You know? It's Natalie that they want the high res cam on.
>> Natalie DelConte: All right, let's move onto the emails.
>> Tom Merritt: Oh, before, before we do, actually I want to point out, someone in the chat room directed me to Mutant Chronicles the movie.com and John Malcovich [phonetic] is in Mutant Chronicles.
>> Hum, okay.
>> Tom Merritt: I'm not sure whether that makes it better or worse.
>> Natalie DelConte: I think that makes it more interesting.
>> That, that brings something, for sure.
>> Tom Merritt: But it definitely brings, brings something to it. Okay, onto the emails.
>> All right, I got an email here. It says, Hi Buzz Crew. I thought I'd share this with everyone. I noticed yesterday that after Apple's announcement that the iTunes Music Store is now 100% iTunes Plus that I still had over 350 tracks that have not been flagged for the $.30 update. According to Apple Support in the thread below, there are several reasons for this. Now, it makes sense to me that free downloads that I downloaded might not be eligible for the upgrade, but, but I was particularly dismayed to learn that songs have been, songs I have that have been quote, unquote modified from the original file that you purchased, I can't upgrade them. At this point, or, on this point Apple said, when a file has been modified, such as a replacement for a corrupt file, the original is no longer accessible and the iTunes Store does not recognize the two files as being the same. This is really annoying and unfair. In my library this affects about 250 tracks to which Apple offered me 10 free downloads.
>> Tom Merritt: Well we're sorry about those 250 tracks, would you like 10 free downloads? [inaudible]
>> Great. Thanks. From Peter in Seattle.
>> Tom Merritt: Frankly, you know what, my reaction to this has been when I read this was, that's the problem with DRM.
>> Tom Merritt: And thank goodness that in music we are leaving it behind. Because, you know, yeah, it's like oh great, we'll upgrade your tracks or we'll give you, you know, special versions, cause it's DRM, and we know what you have. Except we don't really, because those files don't match, and our records are corrupted. And it's just, you know, it's to, it's much more elegant to go DRM free.
>> Tom Merritt: And it seems to be working, so I'm very happy.
>> Natalie DelConte: We knew some people would get
>> Still 250 tracks. I mean if that's, if that's $250 bucks I mean at the worst case scenario
>> That you dropped on this, that'd be grounds for being very upset.
>> Tom Merritt: They still play, they're just DRM.
>> Yeah see.
>> Tom Merritt: And it's buyer beware. Don't buy DRM music.
>> Yeah, just work around. I'm sure Peter in Seattle has figured out some way
>> To get those tracks [inaudible]
>> Oh, yeah. QT for free, right? Doesn't that still rip the, the DRM off of, off of an iTunes track?
>> I think so. And if he's on the PC I think there's even more, more options available to him. Yep. All right. Nick the Software Engineer from Boston writes in and says, on yesterdays show you had an email about the MLB app for iPhone regarding streaming video. You were postulating about possible technologies in the 3.0 firmware that would allow for this to happen, such as Flash. In fact during the 3.0 firmware announcement Apple actually specifically mentioned a new Video Streaming framework for developers to use in their apps, and even brought ESPN up to demo their sports app using the technology. Now, if I were a betting man, I'd wager that MLB is already working with
the Beta SDK.
>> Tom Merritt: How much?
>> To, to incorporate. Talk to Tom. To incorporate live streaming video into the MLB.
>> Tom Merritt: Five dollars. Five dollars.
09 app. Unfortunately, given MLB's history, I'd also bet that they will be using the new app, then new in app purchase functionality to charge extra for this feature when it is available. So it's not Flash.
>> Tom Merritt: No. It's not gonna be Flash. Cause that's really, that really interesting actually. The beta SDK, I had totally forgotten about that demonstration. I mean, I'm glad Nick reminded us of it, because that is what's gonna be. They're, they're, Flash is not coming to the iPhone anytime soon.
>> Tom Merritt: Get over it.
>> Natalie DelConte: No well we can keep dreaming. We have one more baseball related email. This comes from Andy B. He says, Hi Tom, Jason, Nat, Random Rotating Host.
>> Tom Merritt: That's [inaudible]
>> Natalie DelConte: Regarding MLB, yeah. Regarding MLB.tv, it's a shame Grant, the emailed on episode 947, didn't have a good user experience. I did want to clarify though that the top streaming option is in fact 720p, it's 1280 x 720 at 30 frames per second. However you have to be able to reliably stay connected to that feed in order to enjoy it. If your bandwidth doesn't maintain enough speed to maintain the connection, then yes, you will get dropped down to a lower resolution and lower data rate. This isn't MLB cheating you; it's just them trying to maintain your viewer experience by dropping the quality down to match your needs. In full disclosure I've worked closely with the MLB team for 2 years now on their Live, and this year Video On Demand video options, but I'm not trying to shill for them here, just set straight the options they are offering.
>> Tom Merritt: Okay, well that's good to know that you can actually get 720 PHD.
>> Yeah, and you wouldn't want it the other way, right? Like I don't think many people would want 720 or nothing. Like I want 720 and I'm willing to get the skips if my network connection breaks up, you know, to maintain that 720 connection. Like you'd hope that it would scale down so that you could actually see the thing. Seeing its better than no.
>> I want, I want video that scales all the way down to like black and white like bit map, you know.
>> Natalie DelConte: Right.
>> Tom Merritt: ASCII art version of the game. Scrolling
>> Natalie DelConte: Then it looks, then it looks really vintage.
>> Tom Merritt: CP [inaudible]
>> And maybe speed it up just a tinny bit.
>> Yeah. And have the announcers talk like this. Out to the plate, Jason Giavi [phonetic].
>> Pixel throwing a ball at this other [inaudible]. It's like Pong; I don't know what's going on.
>> Tom Merritt: And finally, John in Fairfax was so inspired by yesterday's episode that he wrote a little story. Said, Dear Buzz Out Loud, I was hungry. So, I pulled out my mobile phone and searched for a McDonald's. The phone checked my Google and Microsoft health records, and advised that based on the medicines I had recently picked up at CVS; perhaps I should consider Subway instead of McDonald's. I agreed, and it gave me directions to the nearest Subway. It was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk instead of driving my GM Segway Puma. I copied some songs I recently discovered on Yahoo's music service, and purchased from Amazon's MP3 store, to my phone, and listened to them on my A2DP headset. The onboard directions only interrupted the music occasionally to give me turn-by-turn walking directions; wait, are turn-by-turn directions even allowed on this phone? Upon arrival, my phone said that based on the pedometer data it received from my DSi, I had earned enough fitness credits to qualify for double meat on my sub - what a wonderful reward! I ordered and paid for lunch from my phone, and even splurged and bought a cookie for dessert. My phone scolded me for this decadence by immediately fattening my Mii, then automatically interfaced with CVS to pre-order an insulin refill. It then automatically tweeted my lunch details to Natalie. This technology is terrific!
>> Wow. I wonder if he took notes.
>> Natalie DelConte: I was okay with the cookie.
>> See Buzz Out Loud makes you fit and healthier.
>> Tom Merritt: I wish this story were true. Yeah, some day, some day John or you will be.
>> Are you saying that it's not true Tom?
>> Tom Merritt: Well, because a lot of this stuff isn't out yet.
>> Oh, that's true. Well maybe he's got the inside tip.
>> Tom Merritt: But it will be. I believe in John's prescience.
>> If you're interested in finding things that are, in fact, out now, I would imagine you would find that on the MP3 Insider podcast in regards to MP3 Players and the such that are out right now.
>> You could listen to that.
>> Tom Merritt: Yeah?
>> Yeah, that's one way to do it.
>> Okay, you guys have a new episode recording today?
>> Today in fact. Yeah. And Jasmine was away on Vacation all last week, so we're finally, we got lots to catch up on.
>> Check it out at podcast.CNET.com.
>> Tom Merritt: And of course our blog has links to everything we talk about on the show, as well as links to the WiKi, links to the chat room, all kind of crazy stuff like that, just go to BOL.CNET.com, your one stop shop. Well it's not shop. Shop.CNET.com is where you actually buy the mugs.
>> Tom Merritt: For CNET, and the over priced flash drives that say CNET
>> iPods that say CNET.
>> Tom Merritt: But BOL.CNET.com is your one stop place for everything about Buzz Out Loud.
>> That's right. We'll see you there. Bye.
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