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Buzz Out Loud
Ep. 952: The Last Gasp of StupidNBC and the cable companies are teaming up to make it really annoying for you to watch the Winter Olympics online. Brian Cooley sums up their plans well, and it's today's title. We also discuss fiber-eating alien insect and solar power beamed down from...
[ Music ] >> Today is Tuesday, April 14, 2009. >> I'm Tom Merit. >> I'm Brian Cooley. >> I'm Donald Bell. >> And I'm Jason Howell. >> Welcome to Buzz Out Loud. CNET's podcast of indeterminate length, Episode 952. No Natalie Del Conti today. Her foot is fine, but now she's got the stomach flu. Poor thing. Not a good week for her. >> Maybe the piece of glass gave her the flu. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Could have been infected with the flu virus and found its way into her gullet. >> There would be a lot of moving parts to make that work. >> Yeah, a lot of science fiction. >> Yeah, exactly. >> But we're very happy to have Donald Bell here -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> And of course it's Cooley Tuesday -- >> That's right. >> -- so we will have a space story. >> We had a car story. >> Exactly. That's the trade off. That's the negotiations we had. >> I want to get the cars in there, you've got to bring the space in, and I've got to make some horrible rant -- which isn't hard. >> All right, let's start off though with neither. Amazon finally came out and said why all of these strange books, many gay and lesbian books, but also lots of other books like Anna Niece Lynn's Delta Venus were disappearing from their catalog. Turns out it was a Frenchman. >> Isn't it always. >> Don't you get started on that one. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> They said it was a beta entry error in a -- by an employee at Amazon.fr. So I don't know, it could have been a French woman or it could have also been a non-French person who was just an employee of Amazon.fr. But in any case, they claim that somebody put in something wrong, and it knocked 57,310 books off of the rankings that tell you what the best sellers are, and de-- not delisted them, but lowered them in the search results. >> Okay, so they were still in search, but just weren't showing up as high as they would have before. >> Yeah. >> Okay. >> Yeah, sort of put on the high shelf, so to speak. >> Because I guess the popularity is part of their search algorithm. >> Now -- yeah. Must be. That's a good guess. The Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith told CNET News Monday that the glitch was being fixed, said this is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloguing error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection. >> So let's now lay out what didn't happen. A, Amazon doesn't hate gay and lesbian people. >> Well, if they do -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> B, Weave didn't do anything, he just thought he did, or wanted us to think he did. >> Who? >> The hacker. >> Oh, right -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> No, he still says he did it, that Amazon is lying, by the way. >> Continues there a whole bunch of people out there saying no he didn't. >> There's a hacker out there that posted a rather plausible way that he pranked Amazon in order to get back at gay rights groups for some reason. Says he did a -- that there is a cross-site request forgery that allows you to hide the reference URL to the complaint mechanism, and then you without knowing it when you load a web page would be registering a complaint against a book -- >> And hammering its popularity. >> -- and Amazon has a, you know, a system for handling those complaints and then delisting things that get too many complaints. Now a lot of people have looked over this blog entry, including Mike Daisy, who worked customer support and development from Amazon, and wrote on his blog someone was editing the category systems inside, Amazon.fr made an error, so it propagated everywhere. I have no insight as to anyone's nationality whether it was a language gap or anything of that nature. It doesn't seem -- doesn't seem to comment on the hack. And so some other people looked at the hack and said there's some bugginess in the code that he says he used, but most people look at it said I don't think he did it. But what he -- but what he wrote could be done. >> Yeah. >> It's just the way he says he did it wouldn't have worked. >> All right. But we'll assume Amazon, let's take them at their word at this point. >> Weave -- that was the guy's name. >> Weave was the hacker, yeah, whoever posted that and said I did it. >> There's Mozilla's weave plug in -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> That has nothing to do with it. >> No, different guy, different thing -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Who said he tested out the Weave concept and didn't believe that it was legitimate. >> Yeah, the interesting take away here is no matter what happens, whether Amazon fixes their stuff or not, that this is still something that could happen in the future. I mean, if someone wanted to go out of their way to, you know, completely delist a book or any title on Amazon's catalog -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> It sounds like a complaint gets it flagged pretty quickly, pending review. >> Right. And honestly, what would Amazon -- I guess Amazon wouldn't want to seem like they got hacked, but is it better for them to make up a story that someone at Amazon.fr made a data entry error that brought down 57,000 books? I don't think they look good either way. >> No. >> So I don't see the big motivation for Amazon to have covered it up. >> Right. That's why I think it's probably largely what they say it was. >> I tend to believe it. Although I reserve a little bit of my conspiracy theory in my brain -- >> I think Amazon is a pretty straight forward company, so they don't strike me as game players. >> Now something that is going on that's -- that is a game playing sort of thing, is the fiber line has been knocked out in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, again, an AT&T fiber, thanks to Ross McKinney who Twittered this toward me. Phone and data systems in courthouses and county offices in North Carolina's 100 counties were knocked out Tuesday after an AT&T fiberoptic cable was severed. So for the, you know, second time within a week -- >> Another one goes down. >> -- an AT&T fiberoptic cable that is critical is severed and cut. >> Look at this. Shows how easy it is. >> It says here -- >> How easy it seems, and how easy that perception is out there, that this can be done easily, almost makes it for of a target for people who would want to do this maliciously. >> It has pretty much immobilized us, says the magistrate from the Court offices there -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> To determine outstanding warrants. Great place for a weekend, right now. >> Yeah. >> Get away with bloody murder. >> Rev up the engine, folks, we're breaking parole. >> I -- but you know, all joking aside, this is pretty serious if this, you know, turns out to be a trend. Now it's starting to remind me of the cables that were cut in the Middle East in the sea. >> It's just so easy. >> Obviously the mind runs to terrorism. >> This stuff was never intended to be armored in any real sense. It is armored against wear, it's not armored against tampering. >> Right. >> That incredibly tough plastic jacket on those, ah, inch-and-a-half fiber bundles is just tough for environmental -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Not tough for intrusion. >> We had a former tech wrote in and said most of these things are pressurized, they're air pressurized to keep out the water. >> Sure, yeah. >> So you've got to -- it takes some doing. It's not like you can just walk up there with some office scissors and snip through them like you could the Ethernet cables in your own office. >> A $12 wood axe from Oash and you're right through it. >> Yeah, probably. >> It's like -- >> But they should -- here's the other thing is according to him these things are monitored, and as soon as the air pressure goes down an alarm goes off, and they immediately know where it is. >> That's another thing, the air pressure is their first lead, not the actual communications. >> Yeah. >> But it should be easy to find these things. How easy it is to fix them is a whole different thing. >> Well, there's enough suspects out there, if you think about all the addition disgruntled AT&T customers that might -- might be out there to execute this particular [Inaudible] -- >> Hey, having been on AT&T wireless for the last four months, I'm about to go do it. I'm disgruntle. >> So could be better risks, could be disgruntled AT&T customers. >> Could be me. >> Any other suspects? >> People who live in sewers. >> Mole men. >> I did -- I did proper -- propose mole men as a possible solution. Fraggles. >> It could be fraggles actually. I haven't thought of that. >> Malicious fraggles. >> A new kind of insect that eat that -- that lives and feeds and thrives off of these fiber cords. >> A fiber termite. >> Very Dr. Who of you. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Exactly. >> Fiber termites. >> Some sort of alien fiber termite. >> Yeah. >> That could be it. >> The most logical explanation. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I think we solved this. >> Good. Good. >> Let's move onto the Skype founders. Still trying to buy back their company from eBay who hasn't done anything, really, with it. >> I mean, they've run Skype fine. >> Nothing smart with it. >> Skype is booming. >> Sure. It's doing well -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> But it's not doing anything for eBay -- >> Not because of eBay. >> Yeah. It's just doing well on its own. >> And this idea making it part of the eBay interface, you can quickly get in touch with some -- >> Yeah, didn't happen. >> That's not a need that anybody had. I don't want to talk to people that are selling. That's why I go to eBay, so I can avoid going to talk to sellers. >> KKR, Warbug, Pinkus, Elevation Partners in Providence, all names very familiar to rich people and not to me, are reportedly teaming up with founders Nicholas Sinstruman and Janice Freuss, who are trying to repurchase the company, but they're having a problem on the price. The private equity firms are interested in kicking in 1 billion toward the purchase. EBay paid 2.6 billion. So you've got to figure the price that -- that the Skype founders are proposing has got to be above 1 billion, because they're kicking in some of their own money. >> Right. >> But it's obviously below 2.6 billion, which is probably what eBay wants because that's how much they paid for it. >> Well eBay is looking at the growth we just talked about saying, well, it's worth more than when we bought it, so go up from there. >> Plus you know, Oprah's plugging Skype now. So there's -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yeah. >> So that's -- you're buying that marketing. >> I see Skype more and more on TV, actually. You're right. It seems like -- it seems like more stations are using Skype as a cheap way to bring video in from across the world. >> Skype and Twitter. >> I actually saw last night on -- who's the new late night guy, the SNL guy -- >> Jimmy Fallon? >> Jimmy Fallon, on the Jimmy Fallon Show, he brought someone in via Skype. On the show. >> Jimmy Fallon is very -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> He is, he is. >> Yeah, but they're giving a lot of this -- a lot of this talk and everything like that, and you go back to eBay and you're like, well what eBay's original plan with this. They didn't follow that at all. >> They -- >> Not that it's doing anything horrible, just that it's not doing anything for them. >> They've come under a lot of criticism for not having a plan for the things that they buy, including Stumble Upon, which they bought. At least there's a hint of an idea to stumble upon auctions that you would like, but they never did it. And now they've got -- they ditched it. They ditched Stumble Upon and gave it back to being a V C funded start up. It's no longer -- they just didn't even sell it. They just -- expelled it, like a pomegranate seed. >> Done with you. >> So they only paid 75 million for it, compared to the 2.6 billion they paid for Skype, just to show the difference in value of the offset. But yeah, just at that point, you scrub much down from 75 million, it's not worth selling. It's not worth contracting with an investment firm to handle it. >> Hey, at least they didn't run both of them into the ground, though. At least they stayed afloat. >> There is that. >> Ought to give them that credit. >> Yeah. Credit where credit is due. They didn't totally ruin a business. >> Didn't ruin that one. >> They've actually done quite nicely with Skype as Skype. I think it's working along just fine. So don't want to, you know, they -- yeah, we kid. But it's a fair point. They've built Skype up as a descent business, it's just not one, you know, they don't want to be a conglomerate that has a bunch of unrelated businesses. >> Right. >> And what's to say that going back to Skype's founders is necessarily a good thing. Like what do they have envisioned for what they want to do with Skype. >> Yeah, they just invented it, what do they know. >> Well no, but I mean at this point that they must have been interest -- I mean, if they already made their money, they're already doing well, why are they interested -- >> They're doing juice right now, so there's no synergy there. >> That's them also? >> Yeah. >> Okay, huh. I don't know. >> All right. Blackberry consumers don't know either, because they didn't get their e-mail for about three hours yesterday. 1 p.m. eastern to 4 p.m. eastern, people who subscribe to Blackberry e-mail service through the wireless carrier, not through their corporate enterprise server, are not getting their e-mails and it was a Blackberry outage. So there's two ways you can get your e-mail on your Blackberry. If you get it through your company, your company likely has a server setup on the enterprise level that delivers your e-mail. Those people were fine. But if you are just an individual consumer who bought the Blackberry for yourself, just want to access your e-mail, your personal e-mail through the Blackberry, it actually goes through a Blackberry server operated by Rim. And that went out yesterday, so nobody got their e-mail for about three hours, and then about 4 p.m. everything just came flooding in. >> Fiber termites? >> I don't get it. BIS is such crap, how would you know it's down? >> I think alien fiber eating insects -- >> It always feels that way. Well, that can be it. Hmm. >> Well, what was funny is it didn't cause nearly the up roar that the outage that Rim had back in 2007 caused because it didn't effect corporate customers, and those are the ones, like Cooley, are checking their e-mail constantly. >> Yeah, and wondering when was the last time I got a BIS update. Because I get e-mail about every 20 second 24-7. But I get e-mail from the BIS server about every five or six minutes, at best. Hit manual refresh when there's mail sitting in my Inbox, doesn't come in. It says no, you've got nothing. I'm like, yeah I do. I'm looking at it on my computer. You're just stupid. So when this system goes down that's a manner of -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> How do you know. Now, do you get the e-mail from CNET server? >> Yeah. That's different -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I'm not on enterprise. I'm on BIS. But I've got BIS server set to ping the CNET -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Okay, so you're not getting it from CNET, you're getting your e-mail from Blackberry. So you should have been gone yesterday for about three hours -- >> Like I say, you'd never know. >> A lot of people didn't notice. >> And it's not -- that's because they're light e-mail users. I'm a heavy user, but you still don't know because the service is so pokey and spotty. This is not the e-mail that made Blackberry legendary. EES did that. >> So what's the answer to this, is it just a remote, redundant server so if one goes down nothing will pick it up or -- >> Well, the real solution is to do what every other phone does, which is just allow you to connect to your e-mail however you want. Hot Mail, iMap, whatever. You don't have these sort of stories about other funs because they don't try to run a central server. That's been the big criticism of Rim is that because you're running this central server trying to do this push thing and everything, it may have solved a lot of issues early on in the days of phones, but today it doesn't really -- it isn't really necessary. >> It's outlived its time. It's a bad idea. It's dead. >> Those three things might be said some day about Internet Explorer, but Microsoft's trying to put that off because they're bringing you the new Internet Explorer 8 browser and they're pushing it to you through the automatic update. >> That guy will never die. I don't think so. >> Internet Explorer? >> Yeah. >> It's a guy? >> It's a guy. >> Yeah. >> It's a dude. >> I think so. >> If it was a female it would be Internet Explora >> Right! >> So -- >> You're right. >> Yeah, you're right. >> They're doing it a little differently than they did with IE 7. When they pushed IE 7 it came as a critical security update. And it caused a lot of furor because people are like, my new browser is not a critical security update because I first run Firefox, and second, think Internet Explorer is insecure no matter what implementation it is. This time they're pushing it through as an automatic update, but you get to choose. You get to opt in. So it will say, hey, new Internet Explorer 8 is here. Do you want to get it, do you not want to get it, or do you want to put off of the decision until later. I think that's a fair way to do it. Because you do need to take care of those users who really aren't paying attention and probably do need to upgrade to the new version just for security patches reasons. >> You essentially -- >> People that are on 6 are contributing to a porous infrastructure of the net. That's not a matter of what you want, it's a matter of being responsible. But if you're on 7, I don't know if there's a dramatic different in security from 7 to 8. >> Or if you don't even use -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Then you want to be able to go no, I don't care. >> It should be -- what they should do is sneak it in like Apple does, right? Like, there should be, like, a Windows Media Player update that -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> This is something really cool. Then they'll sneak in IE 8. >> With a check box that you don't really notice? [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Download bar, and then suddenly -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yahoo toolbar or some crap. >> At least they're not -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yeah. No, this is the right way to go about it. Good job, Microsoft. And another positive Microsoft story here. They have extended the three year warranty that previously covered only the red ring of death error for the Xbox 360 to now covering the E 74 message we were talking about on Buzz Out Loud a little while ago. >> Yeah. Way to go. >> That's what they should have done, right here. This is big props to Microsoft for doing that. They very well could have just said uh oh, know what, we protected the things we needed to protect on the warranty and move on and people just deal with it. >> It's the right way to go. >> So we jumped to the conclusion that the E 74 message was the red ring of death error. Just reconstituted so it didn't give you a red ring of death, just gave you this message. And then that got you out of having to, you know, get the three year warranty. And some people said no, I had both at different times, they're not the same. So we backed off of that. And it turns out we were totally wrong, and then in fact Microsoft has said, you know what, E 74 message is covered now too, because we just don't want any question about it. So it's -- >> Conspiracy theories are so much fun. >> They sure are. >> Yeah, they're a lot more fun than the truth, let me just say that. >> They're more often wrong than not. You know what, speaking of conspiracy theories that turn out true, I wrote a brilliant news article, just fake news that I write, about a car from the New York auto show coming -- it was a hybrid that came with a horse inside so that you could get added horse power, and it would run on a treadmill and help propel the car. Somebody commented on the story with a link to a guy in Iran who has built a car that you have a horse inside that runs on a treadmill and propels the car forward. >> Wow, you get just, like, one of those little Shetland ponies or whatever those are -- >> No, it's a full-on horse. >> That's the mini coop has the Shetland. >> Right. [ Laughter ] >> So truth is often stranger than fiction, but good job Microsoft, for covering the E 74 error. And now some more truth mixed with possible fiction, PG and E has made a deal with a company named Solarin to beam power down to earth from outer space. >> To collect it and beam it from outer space. >> Yeah. So the idea is Solarin puts up a big solar ray in space which allows it to collect solar energy all the time. There's no outage when the sun goes down, it's constantly collecting solar energy, and then it beams it back by radio, so it takes the solar power, converts it to radio, beams it back -- I think it's probably a microwave -- and then it takes that energy and puts it into the grid. So they needed some customers, and PG and E has signed up and said great, we're not putting any money into this, but if you deliver it by 2016 we will buy at least 200 mega Watts of electricity from you. They think they can generate 800 out of this. >> Wow. >> Space energy. >> Good luck. >> Yeah, I'll sign up. [ Laughter ] >> First of all, PG and E has a finger in everything, that's its policy. So if I place a small, especially non-cash bet, on every alternative, that's their thing. Good, put that out there. >> Smart gambling. >> It's smart. Diversify. >> It's -- you're saying you get a lot more solar energy when you're outside of our environment where most of it gets filtered out -- that's why we're alive. So I can see where they're going to have a hell of a lot of Watts going into this thing. Do we know if this beaming works, or is this in development. >> This is pretty mature technology. We have never done it from space that I know of, although I'm not 100% certain we haven't done some tests. We've definitely done some ground versions of it, and they work. >> Beaming energy -- >> Beaming energy absolutely works. >> -- of microwave, converting it back to AC or DC and having it work? >> That works. That -- in fact, it's used, often, to transfer power across large, like, empty space. >> Don't step in front of it. [ Laughter ] >> -- having this, you know, high, intensity like microwave shooting satellite above us. >> You know what, I don't know the science behind it, but as far as -- what I read, no, there's not a high -- there's not a high level of -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Although Benaulto, you had a theory -- this reminded you of Sim City, right? >> Yeah, the old Sim City, where if you built that, like, microwave tower and every once in a while there's a disaster, right? And it shoots one of your buildings. >> Zap, right? >> Sets the whole thing on fire. >> Needs a dead man switch. So if the ground station is not actively talking to it, assuming it's out of line, it turns off the transmission. >> Remember, this is not the kind of, like, ray gun from Buck Rogers thing that's going to burn your heart out -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> At worst you could get maybe a little flesh burn and possibly cancer in 20 years. >> It is intense microwave energy at an enormous scale for this to work. And I tell you what, I wouldn't climb up on top of an active FM transmitter, let alone get in front of this thing. >> No, don't climb up in front. Yes, absolutely. Don't climb on power grids anywhere. I think that should go without saying. >> Reroute aircraft around it. >> Just like you would reroutes aircraft around other things, like big tall buildings, I would say. >> This isn't dangerous enough, though. Like maybe actually get some more, like, public interest if it was like a Tesla coil shooting -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Actually would. >> Because it would just be this permanent lightening bolt coming from space. >> Yeah. >> Anyway, the receiving station will be in Fresno. >> Fresno will be fine. >> Poor old Fresno. >> I know, >> As Blauveld says in Diamonds Are Forever, to paraphrase , well, we might blow Fresno off the map and nobody would notice for 30 days. >> Poor Fresno. Home of the Grizzlies. >> I love Fresno. >> I do, actually. I have a soft spot for Fresno. >> I do. >> They are much maligned. They are the jersey of California. >> Yeah, they are. They are. Capital of the central valley. >> Fresno and Modesto, both. >> Good living. >> But as you wrote in our line up, meanwhile in the real world, which I will bet you a bottle of 18-year-old scotch that we're getting power from that thing by 2016. >> All right, let's see. This is the 14th of April, 2009. I'll take you up on that. >> Your bottle of your choosing or mine -- depending on what happens. >> If they'll even allow us to still buy liquor at that point. >> Right. [ Laughter ] >> Exactly. Because they're banning TVs now. >> That's right. They're banning TVs because they use too much energy. There are now at least three programs like this going on. This is a new one. Energy efficiency standards for televisions from the California Energy Commission a few days ago CNET took part in an announcement called BCE, which is another voluntary program with retailers, manufacturers, us, and utilities. >> BC stands for Brian Cooley? >> Brian Cooley Enterprises. [Inaudible] interview -- of business and computing electronics. Fascinating title, right? And then there's another thing called Title 20 which would be a hard and fast law saying you may not sell certain televisions at certain power inefficiency after a certain date. So there are three major things going on here. This new one, though, says starting in 2011 and 2013, phased in, inefficient televisions, no go. And of course the C E A, the consumer electronics association is livid, for the most part, with a few hold outs, because they say it's going to clobber the retail space, it's going to leave holes on the shelf. Like the industry won't innovate and create more efficient TVs. >> Well yeah. Now they would say that after January 1, 2011 -- so it gives you a couple of years to ramp up. >> And that's when they have to reduce consumption by an average of 33% and then Tier Two is 2013 where they've got to reduce by an average of 49%, over current baseline. So it's -- at the far end we get a half of the power consumption taken away from televisions of the it's a nice big chunk. >> Yeah. >> It's a real big difference. >> Now is this above and beyond the energy saving stickers that you see on these TVs -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yes, separate from the energy star thing, yeah. Energy star has a new program coming up that's going to say save, and save more. That's part of the DCE program. You'll see that on retailers as of, like, right now. It just launched. And that's a new sticker in the corner of the monitor that tells you that, it's also on televisions, monitors, and also for desktop computers, for the actual towers. But yeah, there's a lot of programs going on. But you can tell when you've got this many players all going the same direction, it's going to happen. I mean, that's the real upside of this. >> And it should happen. >> Of course. >> This is definitely a good move for TVs and all this type of stuff that's sucking so much of this energy. >> Yeah, the first time you buy a big flat panel, you walk by it and you sweat. You realize how much power those things are putting out. I mean, they're putting out a lot of power. >> I really don't see what the big deal is. We're going to be having plenty of power beamed down from space. >> I know. >> Yeah. [ Laughter ] >> Unlimited amounts of power. >> I don't know why we have to give up our TVs. >> By the way, in all of this I have yet to find a rebate program, like they do for white goods, appliances. So far I've heard nothing about anyone incenting us with bucks to go upgrade to a new efficient television. >> No, it's just a club. >> Right. >> We're just clubbing over the manufacturers. >> Hit them over the head and there's no incentive for consumers in cash -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Here's the problem, here's why they have to resort to regulation. It's only 18 to 30 bucks a year in power that you save by going to these -- they're not that efficient. >> They're not -- >> I mean, on a grand scale that makes a difference, obviously. But to me as a consumer it's like, well, 18 to 30, yeah, I'd like to save that. But really, if that one has 3 H T M I and the other one has 1, I'm going to with the one that has 3. >> Right. And you sure are not going to go buying a new TV just for this reason, because it would take you decades to earn it back on the margin of 18 to $30 a year savings. So this is about eventual replacement awareness, not about people saying you know what, let's go out and buy one of these new efficient TVs. It's not like a hybrid, we're going to save money in a few years. >> Yeah, it's not going to pay for itself. >> Not for decades. >> It's not even going to pay for a Touchstone doc from the Palm Pre, which is now rumored according to Gadget to be -- going to run you $70. For a doc. >> The Touchstone, if you don't know, is the thing that charges the Pre. >> It's the -- well, it's the optional charger. >> Right, right, right. >> It's the wireless, nifty charger. >> Yeah, with a contactless charging, and its analogous to the doc that made the original trio so cool, that's where your hot sync button was. It was kind of the focus of how you use the device. It was more than just a place to charge it. But in this case, it's not quite that cool, I don't think it has anything to do with connectivity. It's just power, I think. There's no non-contact inductive data connection. >> And still be able to charge the Pre if you don't shell out the $70, you just won't be able to do it with the nifty wireless [Inaudible] -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Which is kind of what's cool about it. Yeah. >> Isn't there rumors that the Touchstone is going to charge other items beyond the Pre as well. I thought I heard that someone. >> I have heard that rumor, I have not heard that confirmed. I mean, this is a rumor too. And Gadget is reporting that this is off a screen shot from within Sprint somewhere, where the price point was entered at 69.99 for the Palm Touchstone Charging. Because they didn't have enough room to put charging. Palm Touchstone charging doc with door. >> Comes with -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> No wonder its $70. >> Nice French door, yeah, I'd take that back to Home Depot, I can get that down to $19. >> Also on the rumor front, Gadget again posting that -- well, actually this isn't so much rumor as it is picture evidence, as much as you think it's been photo shopped. Two people in San Francisco at an event involving -- what, big wheels or something? >> Yeah, big wheels. >> I was there. It was on Easter. It was a big, huge big wheel race, basically. >> The photo shows them -- people with two palm pris. >> You know what, let's clarify this. This looks like two teenagers -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> A 10-year-old and older brother. It doesn't look like -- >> Well, one looks like me as a youth and the other looks like Wilson Tang as a youth. >> Right. >> That's hilarious. >> Maybe it is Wilson. Holy -- >> Not to say that teens aren't people, I just want -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yeah, but these are not palm executives is what Donald is trying to say. >> This is their kids. Which is kind of what irks me, you know, it's like one thing to see a palm executive out there with his, you know, Pre, but -- >> No, that makes it more plausible to me, because that's what happens is the Pre is ready to ship, it's all good and good, they've got to get it into the retail channel, you're not going to have to out, you're not going to make the announcement for a while. But the executives all have them, so they hand it over -- hey Bobby, here, why don't you play around with the new palm Pre -- now -- make sure that, you know, keep it under wraps, don't make a big deal about the fact that you have it. But take it out and give it a test run, let me know how it works. They take it to the big wheel race. >> Got to be real. >> And hopefully I'll meet Jason Howell. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Well, I was going say maybe -- you know, it kind of looks photo shopped, but there's actually like, five photos in the series, supposedly, of these same people with the Pre. So -- I don't know. Maybe it's a crafty person with photo shop skills that can do it. >> I mean, look at the -- look at the shot where they're taking a picture of the guy with the goofy red skirt on, or whatever that is. And have the picture in the actual camera, looks pretty much right. That would be hard to mock that up. >> And we're sure this isn't just some other phone that has a similar form factor? >> Doesn't look like it, it looks very Pre. >> Good point -- >> I'm upset because everyone's waiting for this thing, and in the next photo we're going to have some toddler chewing on one, something like that. ^M00:27:09 [ Multiple voices speaking ] ^M00:27:14 >> Sorry dad, NDA. >> And what I also [Inaudible] from this story is Pre in plural looks really stupid. Pres. It's going to look bad in print. >> Yeah, you're right. >> It's a very poor plural word, and it doesn't look like pre plural, it looks like a different word. >> No, I think the solution to this is we have to pluralized it with the little-used I. >> Right. >> So -- >> One Pre, two Prei -- >> Two pray -- prei? >> P-R-E-I, yeah. >> Oh, you want to go that way, as opposed to P R -- oh, I get it. I get it. Let's not -- >> What I want to know, these pres are seen in the wild by someone who knew exactly what they were, and knew of importance of that they did, and [Inaudible] didn't actually ask them, like, talk to them and say is that a Palm Pre, instead they took a bunch of pictures and didn't ask him. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> -- are in big trouble right now for these Flicker Photos getting out. [ Laughter ] >> Can you imagine. >> Yeah, can you imagine? Oh, yeah. But hey, dad gave them the thing to carry around, so come on, what do you think. >> What I can't imagine is why NBC thinks it's a great idea to limit their live Olympic broad band coverage to only paid TV subscribers, and this time they're not just asking you like they did last time, they're going to identify your IP address, and if it doesn't jive with what you're saying you get then they will block you. >> Let me get this again. >> Again. >> What NBC did the last time around is you couldn't watch the live streaming Olympic coverage unless you subscribed to cable television. So it gave you a drop down menu and said where do you get your TV. And it very cleverly gave you broadcast as an option. If you choose that, it said sorry, you're locked out, you can't watch the streaming -- >> Now they're going to enforce it. >> Now this time instead of just asking you, they'll ask you, and then they'll say liar. Your IP address says that you're on a corporate network. So you have to fill in some more stuff to prove that you get Comcast cable, or else we're not going to let you watch the Olympics on TV. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Stupid. That's all this is. >> It comes from the cable companies, because they don't want to be carrying all of the NBC cable channels if everybody's going to go watch it on line. >> On their IP side. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. But still. >> But I mean yeah, all the cable companies have ISPs, so they're getting money that way. But they're not getting enough money. Obviously. >> Right. And it's not -- yeah, it's not adding up the way it does on TV. >> I think you pretty much summed it up though, Cooley. >> The last gasp of stupid. >> Let's move on to some -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Never had a title for the show this early before. I like it. >> Mitsubishi Motors green lighting their electric car. >> Yeah, this is called the Meeve or the I Meeve, and this is -- >> This is a bad day for names. >> Horrible day for names, isn't it? [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> And Meeves and this is Mitsubishi saying damn it, we're going to build an electric car, not something goofy, pure electric, four passenger. I believe this is -- if it's the same design we've seen on the auto show circuit there's a motor in each wheel as opposed to an electric motor through a traditional gear box drive train. So that's kind of cool if it comes on the market that way. And they're saying they're going move it out to global markets. That means sell it in for than one market, not just in Japan, which they might do because that's a more innovative market. But no, this is broader, and they're working with the state of Oregon and Portland General Electric, the big utility up there , to get a charging infrastructure built -- PGE, isn't that interesting, without the ampersand. >> They don't launch solar cells in space? >> No, no, no. They just run around and try to get these Meeves charged. So state of Oregon getting ready to do a charging network in partnership to help Mitsubishi get their cars out as electric vehicles in the wild, as real vehicles. >> What if the electric vehicles get charged directly from the -- >> From the sun or the microwave thing. >> Just targeted your car at night while you sleep. >> All right -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> All this sun baking the earth and we have to -- >> Wasted energy. Just photons flying past us, wasted, thrown into the void. We should be capturing them all and putting them to use. >> Exactly. Let's start capturing them here. Then we'll go up the ladder and get them. >> It's just orbit. >> Let's get them here. >> We don't have enough of them here. It's easier to capture them up there. >> More concentrated. >> Well, and all the time. You don't have the sun go down, although the sun -- I don't know if you know this, the sun doesn't actually go down -- the earth revolves. >> Right, I had heard that. >> I don't know if you believe it though. >> Anyway, Mitsubishi is going put electric cars on the road. That's the latest. >> I think this is actually really cool and a big advance for electric cars. >> It is. Not that Mitsubishi is that big a player, to be honest. >> But they could be. I mean, it's smart for Mitsubishi, isn't it? >> Yeah, it's very smart. Because they've got to get something around -- I say Mitsubishi to you, what do you think? You know, not much. >> I think of that DLP television that's broken down, sitting in the office. >> Oh, that's right, you've got a Mitsubishi DLP. But Mitsubishi cars doesn't mean much to anybody except a couple models that are hot with the fast and furious crowd. >> Or I think of planes. >> Oh right. They have a big aviation division. All right, well, you're just broad of mind. >> And World War II. >> Why can't they come up with cooler names. Aside from the Tesla, you know, there's really no good cool names for electric cars. >> Yeah, the I Meeve? >> Yeah, I'm going to go get an I Meeve. >> That's got to be a working title. >> It is -- >> It's been the working title for years, though. I can't imagine it's the real title. You're right. >> It's going to be the Mitsubishi Galanter [Phonetic]. >> On board charger connects to a 110 outlet, but like every electric car it will take 12 to 14 hours if you're on 110. So again, we haven't cracked the code on fast charging without a 220 hook up with a special charger in your garage or out in the field in infrastructure mods. So that's still -- they have nothing new on that yet. >> That -- do think that that will happen, with gas stations getting in on the game and saying hey, rent a 220 volt charger here, you know, plug it in. >> Just to drop in and charge -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> It has to be such a fast turn around, that's the problem -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yeah, it has to a 10 minute charge. Yeah, imagine that, you're filling up your tank right now in probably less than 5 minutes, even 10 is going to feel like forever. I think it's going to be more a matter of destination charging. >> Yeah, just throw a video arcade inside. >> Right. Give me a reason to sit there. >> [Inaudible] while their car charges. >> Yeah. >> Maybe reverse charge from the iPod. You know? >> Yeah. >> Get an extra 8 inches of drive time. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> You only get 2 minutes of play time, but -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> If you're not listening to music -- >> And you can rotate the tires one time before your iPhone is dead. >> Finally, NASA is going to go on the Steven Colbert show to announce the name of the new module that was put up for a vote. If you don't know, they put up the naming for a vote, they had several options, but you could also write in. Steven Colbert of Comedy Central got his audience to write his name in, and won the vote. NASA started to back pedal, said, we always reserved the right to name it whatever we want, no matter what the vote said. He got mad at them, so now they will go onto the Colbert Report this evening. So maybe -- maybe it's already happened by the time you listen to this podcast. >> It will be taped already. >> And make the announcement with the help of two astronauts, Sunny Williams and -- oh, one astronaut, Sunny Williams. >> They wouldn't go on his show and announce it's going to be something else, so obviously it's going to be Colbert. >> They said it wasn't going to be, though. >> Really? >> On the web site it actually -- unless I'm reading this wrong -- it says final voting results is that serenity has 70% of the vote. >> Well, serenity was one of the ones that was suggested. So they may be going with -- we're going to throw out all the write in votes. >> Hmm, okay. >> Now we'll see. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> This critical story will be involved by this evening. >> Totally critical, right? >> Let's move on to voice mail we got from Robert, who said something just didn't jive about some numbers we were talking about. >> Hey buzz crew, this is Robert calling from Pong. This has been kind of simmering in my head now for a couple of weeks. A while back you mentioned some press release, I think from Red Hat, saying that in the tough economic times, drink, open source, like Red Hat, is -- the sales have been going up for that. I -- this doesn't work for me. This seems very counter intuitive because if you actually work with the stuff you know that, yeah, free up front, but support, deployment, making sure people know how to use it, training, it all gets in the back end. So maybe something's going to there, but just didn't seem right to me. And I kind of thought you guys washed over the story a bit. I'm like this doesn't sound quite right. And I guess this is also supported these are -- this recent story about Windows now on 96% of net books. I guess NPD did a study. Which basically slipped what it was before about a year ago. So yeah, I mean, I love UNIX, been administrator for about 20 years now, all kinds of flavors of it. But I understand what it means and the back end of it really is where the money is at. So anyway, love the show, and keep up the good work. >> Hmm. >> All right, thanks Robert, from Microsoft, for calling in. [ Laughter ] >> I kid, I kid. First of all, that 96% number, that -- if numbers are going to make you feel uneasy that's one that should. From the NPD, the NPD group surveys retail sales channel. So we're talking brick and mortar stores, and Circuit City is gone -- >> Actually, they would have been in play for these numbers. But there's not many brick and mortar stories, and they almost all sell the Windows versions of the net books. So that 96% doesn't mean that Windows net books aren't on the rise and that they probably do out LINUX by now, but it's not 96% when you count everything. That's at least the debunking that I read. >> Okay, yeah. As for the back end channel stuff, that is an argument that a lot of Microsoft supporters and Microsoft itself have made in the past, is that you know what, when you put in these systems they actually are very costly. But most of the stuff I read says yeah, okay, so you get LINUX for free or you get it for real cheap from Red Hat. But you do have the pay for the support and the roll out and all that. But still ends up being cheaper. That -- I'm not even going to take a side on this one. That is the debate. What Red Hat is saying is not hey, we're cheaper, what Red Hat is saying is we're doing great. So I guess Robert just thinks maybe they're lying about the numbers. But if they're not, it would prove that things are, you know, going their way right now. >> Well, there it is. >> That's all you got. >> All I got. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> That's really it. That is the argument. And it's not solved yet. >> Yeah, so anyway, a good amount of skepticism from Robert. A UNIX administrator. But there are good arguments on the other side. Welcome to hear those as well. So we'll -- we'll keep this going for a couple days. Emiliano wrote in, Jason, oh yes, he did. Look at that. He says good -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Oh yeah, again, because it's been a long time. He's the now recently laid off mechanical engineer, which is unfortunate to hear. But he says I remember Tom talking about virtualization in Windows a few episodes back. I wanted to direct Tom to Microsoft's new app that should let Windows finally breakthrough from all the legacy apps. Med V let's you install any program you want and run it seamlessly. If the program cannot run on the version of Windows that is installed on it, it will launch a hidden virtual computer and launch that program for you. The program will run as if it was natively installed on your computer, and Paul Therot has a great article on it, I'll put the link in the show notes. This should hopefully let Windows get even smaller and speedier. >> I want to see this thing in action. This is a cool idea. >> Yeah. Because when I went to 64-bit Vista recently, I've got three legacy apps that I can't run any more that I'm very angry about, and I haven't found good solutions. This would give me -- I don't know, be able to boot into a 32-bit environment automatically. >> Yeah, I think what it does is it says hey, whatever you're running -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> You're running our crappy call screening software that won't run in Vista, it would notice that it runs in Windows 98 and it would envelop it in a Windows 98 machine automatically. >> Here it is. I'm all over it. >> Yeah, okay. >> I'll report back. >> So it is an enterprise level thing. I don't know if you can get it individually or not. >> Yeah, I don't know. >> But it's a cool idea. >> Med V kind of sounds like an intimidating name for it though. >> It's portable -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I should be looking at my e-mail medical information on it or something. >> Your Microsoft health vault -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> [Inaudible] someone out there who's MSDN or tech net level who can shoot us a piece of something, or what you need to install this. >> Yeah. Just looking at it here. All right. >> Railroad in Donald? >> Thank you for saying his name, because I have no idea how to -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> He was sweating. The beads coming out, he was nervous. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Well, says hi, I wanted to inform you guys of a couple of things that have been going on in Belgium. The past couple of months there's been a lot of talk about the dangers of riding a bike or walking while listening to an MP3 player. The assistant secretary in charge of mobility last week announced that he had commissioned a report investigating whether or not pedestrians and cyclists are indeed not paying enough attention to traffic when listening to music. He hopes to have this done by the summer and possibly oppose a new law against listening to music via head phones sometime this year. The organization of parents who have lost a child due to a traffic accident came out with a statement today saying that they believe that it puts these people at a greater risk and should be against the law. By the way, the discussion is started in all earnest when a teenager was caught by a train at a railway intersection, the kid was listening to music, but they seem to forget that he also ignored the lights, the lights and had to slalom past the boom barriers of the train tracks. Just wanted to let you guys know. Love the show. Role -- rel, I don't know. >> The problem there is that he was listening to music backwards in his head phones. So he is walking backward. >> That put him into a trance-like state that he couldn't help but slalom past the boom barrier. >> I see. >> Yeah. >> I don't know. >> I don't know, but we actually -- I get a lot of -- Jasmine and I both get a lot of questions from people who ride motorcycles and want to listen to their MP3 player. And that's [Inaudible] a dangerous proposition, but everyone wants to know how they can do that. >> Yeah. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Riding a motorcycle wasn't dangerous enough already -- ^M00:40:27 [ Multiple voices speaking ] ^M00:40:29 >> They give one ear to traffic and one ear to -- >> Right. >> Positioning audio requires both ears, right? >> To know where things are coming from you've got to have stereo -- >> Unless they're listening to Buzz Out Loud, in which case they could just have a mono feed in one ear. >> Or a monotone from the hosts, which -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I think this is -- I think it's very sad that someone was killed. In fact, I don't mean to overly dramatize it, but it's possible he knew what he was doing. It is possible he didn't. I don't think that that example shows that listening to MP3s while walking around is so dangerous it should be outlawed. >> It is kind of dangerous, though. >> As anything it, but also texting while walking, which [Inaudible] too, one of those things like the -- the car cell phone laws that are coming out where -- the law itself just kind of creates lots of work around, everyone's going to be -- after something like this would pass, would be listening on the built in speakers and MP3 player, maybe be just as distracted, or the boombox things you used to get. >> Yeah. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Everyone's going have to walk around -- they're going to ban headphones, everyone walk around with a boombox -- >> Up on the shoulder again. >> I have no problem limiting what you can do in a car, because you're operating a vehicle that can kill other people. >> Yeah. True. >> So you know, I think that the rules should be rather strict about what you can do while operating a car. When you're walking around? >> [Inaudible] -- as far as the legislation. >> Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear what you're saying. Definitely. But you're less of a danger to people when you're walking around than when you're driving a car. Not that you aren't a danger at all. Especially if you have a gun. But that's a whole different thing. >> This does not need a law. >> Yeah. I agree. Let's finish off with fraggle. >> Speaking of fraggles earlier on this show. >> He wrote in and said the color a couple of days ago brought up Star Doc's Impulse service and it's Goo technology, but the conversation didn't reveal the biggest part of this technology and why it may be game changing for the PC games industry. It essentially allows online purchase and downloaded PC games to be sold back, creating a used, downloaded games market. Sale proceeds go to the publishing company with Star Doc taking a transaction fee. So here's how it works. According to Joystick. You bought a PC game, you want to sell it. You go to Impulse Marketplace, and if you accept the used price your license will transfer back to the publisher and the game can't be played any more. Then if you're a buyer and you want a game but you don't want to pay full price, you go to the Impulse Marketplace, you'll be able to purchase the used license from the publisher through the service and download the game from the digital distribution service at a reduced price. That's it. Now you own the license and can sell it back whenever you want. The publisher gets to take a little extra money out of that. What I don't understand -- >> Right. >> Is -- >> Why wouldn't you buy a new game? >> Why the publisher would ever sell you a used game when they could just sell you -- and if it's not selling well, just lower the price. >> Yeah, this is crazy. [ Laughter ] >> I -- I don't >> Maybe the -- maybe the files got some scratches on it when you get a used one. I don't know. >> If you feel dirtier playing a used game than -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> This was licensed before, you know? >> Some sort of gamer achievement tied into having a low volume number license. >> Right. Like buying a collectable. >> Ah, I've got license 1,000. >> Puts the game publisher in the role of a market maker in a true Wall Street sense. I mean -- >> I just don't see -- >> The same kind of -- sort of imagined and perceived value of those markets is what is driving this. >> So -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> It may -- and maybe it will work. Maybe it's so crazy it will work, where people are look, ooh, I want the -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Are people -- or vice versa, people will say, yeah, I don't want the used license, I want the -- >> I want to make sure it works right. >> It doesn't make any difference. [Inaudible] string of numbers. >> Even the new version is even a copy of code, you know , [Inaudible] -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> You're still -- no matter what, it's a copy. >> Yeah. So I don't know. >> That's an odd one. >> What about older games, maybe like games that don't publish any more that you can sell back and you can actually buy -- >> Now that would be interesting. >> Right. Now that has a -- that creates a finite market and that supports the price. >> But you're artificially creating a finite market because they could have that file available for download, and in fact if they're going to sell the used version they have to have it available for download. So why have it out of print in the first place. >> It's automatically no longer out of print by the time you have a used one. >> That is right. Get back in print on demand. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I love the idea of getting the game on Amazon or something like that, you can buy it new or buy it used. Different prices. >> See all 23 sellers, you know? >> Oh my God. >> That just doesn't make any sense. >> No, none. >> All right, Jason, I have a question for you. What's your favorite podcast between the following. Car Tech or MP3 Insider. >> Come on, say the right thing, come on, do it, do it. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Actually I listen to MP3 Insider when I'm driving in my car. So I kind of like both of them. >> Lovely. >> He didn't mention us in Car Tech at all. >> Well -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Into his car -- >> I don't sell cars, though, that doesn't help me, thank you so much. >> I don't -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Some sort of synergistic answer to that. >> And really honestly the answer is you don't have to choose, you can enjoy them both. They're available at podcast dot cnet.com. >> You can, but I'd rather you enjoy mine, just -- ^M00:45:25 [ Multiple voices speaking ] ^M00:45:30 >> And if you don't like an episode of Car Tech you can sell it back to us. >> That's right. >> And we'll deliver it to -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> All your money back. >> Well, at least we have more chics on the MP3 Insider, right? >> Yeah, can't really -- >> Just a bunch of guys talking cars. Who needs to hear it. >> I hate it too. >> Let's everyone enjoy both podcasts. And by the way, Brian, next time I'm in the market for a car I'll buy one from you -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I've got plenty. >> Your '90 Country Squire is waiting. >> Of course our blog has everything you need to know about this show, go to it now. Don't wait. Bol.cnet.com. Thanks for listening everybody. >> Bye. >> See ya. ^M00:46:06 [ Music ]