Podcast Reviews update

I have some cool stuff this time. One of the best things about the way that I listen to podcasts (which is, if I like something, I like to listen from the very first show) is that you have the benefit of history to know how things evolved (further than the people talking know at the time). For example, I started listening to TWIT (in the middle, at Ep. 173) and realized that I hadn’t listened to it from the beginning. It’s one of the few that I just listen here or there. So, I decided to start listening from the beginning (they are close to Ep. 400 now, SIGH). (Also, they list it on their website as 2004, but I think it’s 2005, so that’s what I’m writing in the notes.)

Very funny because Kevin Rose is a regular contributor, and it’s before he even created Diggnation. (Which I’ve already been reviewing from the beginning.)

So, here are some updates to what I’ve been listening to. BTW, I only comment/list/give show notes to stuff that I find interesting. There are whole tons of stuff (especially on TWIT) that I’m not going to even mention, but there is also gold in these hills. Hopefully I mined a bit of it for you to get motivated to check out the episode.

So, here you go.

THE NERDIST

11. Eugene Mirman Part 1. Eugene Mirman. How comics have a hard time getting on TV anymore. Mirman talks about wanting to go on Kimmel. Chris: “To TV, minorities are, by default, characters.” How the “mouth breathers” off of Hollywood Blvd. “don’t know where to focus.” Hard and Phirm had a hard time getting them to focus when they were on Kimmel. Chris: “I feel like there are Mermanites all over the place.” About the dangers of performing in clubs with bands. Opening for Cake, people were just chanting “Cake, Cake, Cake.” About dealing with network censors with comedy. About being Russian. About writing a book in Amherst, Mass. The “pussy comic.” “Amherst: A Place Some Find Dull, Others Adore.” (found on the billboard) Not wanting to offend Dave Matthews (don’t listen, Dave!).

…& God’s Pottery Part 2. God’s Pottery. (First, are these guys for real? I couldn’t tell through the whole thing.) “We take a drug called sunshine in the morning.” Discussing slide whistles. Two Christian comics. Chris asks them if they are a couple. “We are a couple of fun guys.” Chris: “Your T-shirt does say ‘Virginity Rocks.'” They chastise Chris because he said “tit.” They talk about wearing sandals, as a “nod to the big man, J-Dog.” He talks about how falling on his head is what caused him to see Jesus. “Similarly, that’s how time travel was invented.” They perform songs. “Mexicans are the leading exporters of smiles.” “CongratuLatinos.” They talk about girls/women. “We really support them in their cause.” Chris: “What is their cause?” “It goes back to the original Adam and Eve. Eve took the first risk, and kinda messed things up a little bit.” “The title is ‘Women Are People Too.'” Chris: “They’ll be thrilled to know that.” “What a nice nod to the glass ceiling.” Chris: “Do you have groupies?” “Hey, hugging’s good, but hey, you gotta be careful. Sometimes it’s a gateway hug.” Chris: “Is it not OK to masturbate?” “IT IS NOT OK.” “We’re on Tweeter. God’s Pottery is the handle.” “How do you guys feel about poking on Facebook?” “It’s a slippery slope. You start with one poke, and then you’ve got a super poke.” “We support urban music.” “His blackness is not a big deal.” “We don’t see color, except for rainbows.” “We often play a game, ‘Who Loves Jesus More?’; that can get a little heated.”

12. OK Go! “Transvestites are a lot like Netflix’s subgenres. It just gets very very detailed for no apparent reason.” “Is Real Sports like Real Sex?” “Less titties.” Chris: “I think it’s cool….You never know what people are going to respond to on Twitter.” “There’s two ways to look at the dissolution of the music industry… the structures people got paid by are all shrinking or disappearing or imploding… there’s no set way to go about doing it… There’s a way up the ladder. Now, there isn’t that system. The good thing about that, with the dissolution of the mode of distribution, you also have the dissolution of all the creative barriers that were built into it. Or, the types of creativity that grew to flourish in that system. Music videos in 1985 were advertisements. They were paid for by record labels to sell CDs…. in 1994, the artist in that video was akin to a Toyota in a Toyota commercial. The reason they had to be so specific… MTV played 50 or 100, 200 things a year. It was a very tight playlist. If that was your only outlet… There’s an arms race to be the most demographically suitable. If you don’t keep eyes glued to the screen that will then go out and buy skating sneakers, you’re off.” Chris: “I hosted a show on MTV in the 90s, and…we’d get complaints from people… no one watches video shows anymore. They’re the lowest rated shows on television. That’s why they put programming on.” “When the distribution system falls apart, you don’t have those rules anymore. You make something that’s interesting, other people like it, and you’re done…There’s these new creative spaces that open up, because you don’t have those rules anymore.” Chris: “There was always shitty art. It just didn’t survive cause it was shitty.” Ghostbusters vs. I Want a New Drug. Weird Al Yankovic. “He’s paying more attention to what’s going on in the world than anyone I know.” About the treadmill video. “The video cost about $5000. The biggest cost was buying treadmills and returning them, they wouldn’t buy them back at full cost…. There’s really no reason to have a temporary treadmill in your life.” USC vs. UCLA. The TEDX conference. “Wonder is a good drug.” Treadmill video got 50 million views. Chris: “If you can’t see something on the Internet… we get really mad.” “Whose Tube?” The paint thing. Praise for the guy who did the Steadicam work on the Rube Goldberg video. “The fairy tale with the chick who sleeps on the pea?… I was gonna say Rapunzel, but she’s the one with the sweet hair.” SYYN Labs. I thought that it would take one or two people two or three months. It was two and a half months of design, and three months of building. It went from 10 people on average, to about 60.” Chris: “That’s the best thing about nerd sourcing. They will work for free, just so they can work on this special thing.” “I’ve never seen another Rube Goldberg thing that hits beats like that….” Someone admits they’ve never seen The Matrix or Avatar. (Take away his Nerdist card.) About building stuff out of Leggos. A huge discussion about the Muppets. Chris brags about getting the Muppets videos first. Chris talks about the DVD extras on the Muppet movie, with Jim Henson and Frank Oz scouting locations for the Muppets. About SNL. “Do you interview a lot of people who don’t love what they do?” “Now the community we can have with our fans is so much more robust, and so much more interesting.” RE: 8-bit porn “I can’t masturbate to that more than six times, and then, you’re done.” “You see Chun Li’s baloney muffin?” “There’s nothing about being first to use technology anymore.” Chris: “Your videos are all good analog achievements.” “You could do a whole separate podcast about puns.” “We broke away from EMI two and a half weeks ago… It’s great for us in so many ways. We don’t focus on selling records, we focus on making stuff. They are in the business of selling records… We obviously think in a very different way than that… They sort of have to figure out a new way to do business…” Chris: “I think of the record industry like a guy who was really hot in the 70s.” “It’s not a metaphor. It’s like two dozen of those guys.” FOUR STARS

This Week in Tech

0. TWIT, the Pilot (Jan. 17, 2005) Leo and Dave Prager at MacWorld 2005. Kevin Rose can’t hear. Roger Chang. Patrick Norton and his wife Sarah. About buying a Mac Mini. KR: “Did you see the keynote, Leo? That Sony might acquire Apple?” (Steve Jobs) Leo: “Jobs didn’t drop that hint for nothing. There’s definitely something going on.” Leo: “We have a big announcement to make. We have some sort of alliance of former Tech TV people.” Prager… “How would you like to be the VP of marketing?” KR: “We’re all going on different paths, doing different things… there is certain content we just can’t air on G4 anymore… we’re geeks, though… I wanna do more of that…. What I enjoy most is that we were actually teaching people something about technology. It’s so nice to get the emails from people, ‘I learned so much from you guys.’ ” Leo: “(People saying): ‘We want Tech TV back.’ ” Norton could be the “naughty Andy Rooney (online.” Leo: “We wanna get Patrick. We wanna get Yoshi online. Prager, you’re gonna get a website. Roger… he’s at CNET now… Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes this podcast. Have a wonderful evening.”

1. TWIT, Episode 1 Is Online. (April 17, 2005) (“Revenge of the Screensavers”/bleeped out) Kevin Rose. Robert Heron. Patrick Norton. Patrick drove from San Francisco to Denver, Colorado. Driving in the dust. “The only person who’s gainfully employed in television here is Kevin Rose.” Leo is too, but “only” in Canada. “Screensavers is no longer. It’s now called ‘Attack of the Show.’ ” Leo: “Kevin is also working on his own vanity project, his own offline TV show.” Kevin: “Systm is an old kickback to the old Screensavers, where I focus on one particular subject per episode… 15-20 minutes per episode.” KR: “This is kinda the grown-up Broken. More mainstream.” They talk about displaying beer during the TV show. KR: “We wanna keep it also online… We can go really geeky, really take our time, and not have to worry about dumbing it down.” Leo to Robert (about Tech TV): “Do you miss it?” Robert: “After seeing firsthand how TV is really just about numbers in Los Angeles, it makes me realize how special that whole environment was we had in San Francisco at that time.” Leo: “Yeah, we were ignorant.” KR: “It’s a completely different environment down here than it was in San Francisco…. Our owners enjoyed tech. We were constantly having to trim a lot of that out. You weren’t even getting enough information to make it worthwhile… What they want me to focus on Attack of the Show is some of the dark tip stuff….” Leo talks about how Edison developed the first electric chair. He thought it would be a more humane way to die.  Leo: “As it turns out, unless you think have flames spurting from your ears humane, it’s not the most humane way to execute people.” Leo: “I don’t know exactly what this show, this “Revenge of the Screensavers” is going to be. It’s fun to just sit around and talk. Right now, we’re using Skype to do it. We’ve got four people. The quality is good.” Leo: “Certain privileges accrue to the person that owns the mixer.” Leo showed his son a payphone in Paris. “This is history.” They discuss cell phone carriers. They all prefer Verizon. “Where’s the Joni Mitchell?” Leo: “I make sure I don’t take any dirty pictures. Or I delete them right away.” KR: “Thanks for sharing.”  Leo: “Isn’t this walkie-talkie thing stupid?” Leo: “Who wants to sit with loud-mouthed boring people for six hours?” About people talking loud on cell phones. Leo: “What’s your favorite gadget right now, Kevin Rose?” KR: “A miniature camcorder.” Leo: “Is it secret that you do Digg?” KR: “No, people pretty much know.” Leo: “I love it… It’s one better than Slashdot. It’s become really better and better. I use it as part of my news beat check, cause I get stuff that doesn’t show up anywhere else. What’s your plans with that? You gonna grow it?” KR: “All my nights and weekends, I spend working on it. We’re in the process of redesigning little portions of it. It’ll create dynamic RSS feeds for your friends. Just what your friends are digging throughout the day.” Leo: “That’s the future, isn’t it?” Leo mentions wanting to do video at some point with the show. “Better audio.” Leo: “Frankly, I don’t think video adds anything at this point… but maybe down the road.” Leo: “I have nothing against G4 or Charles Hirshhorn…. I don’t think those of us who were involved in it have the same feelings those who watched it did… I don’t think Tech TV is ever gonna come back. That’s long gone.”

2. TWIT, Episode 2 Is Online. (April 24, 2005) They are still calling it Revenge of the Screensavers. Patrick Norton: “At least one of our former coworkers is making a fair amount of money.” Leo: “I know which one… This is the thing that bugs me. Wall Street Journal outed (tech guys) for saying they’d been paid for appearances… Remember Gadget Girl? We found out that her flights were being paid for by one of the companies, and we said, ‘Sorry, you can’t come back.’ ” Napoleon Dynamite? KR: “Not a big fan.” They talk about Tiger and BitTorrent. I got a Cease and Desist letter from G4, saying, “You can’t use the name.” They decide to throw it to the users, to come up with a name. They offer prizes for a good name. Leo: “People are very happy with this podcast. God knows why. Gotta come up with something good every week now.” Leo: “On the set, we’d do LAN parties…. People don’t realize, this was starting to be a problem on the Screensavers set… We’d all be playing Halo 1 (or Halo 2). The TV show was getting in the way.” Leo: “I want to put some content, so it’s not just some guys sitting around talking.” So they talk about some tech. “There’s all these great radio stations coming across Nevada.” Leo: “I just use a little cassette adapter.” Leo: “That’s one of the things about podcasts. It’s for commutes.” Leo asks Kevin about Systm. Revenge of the <BLEEP>…

And then, to really mess everything up…

174. A 10-Ferret Night  Leo is speaking with John Hodgman. Hodgman sent Leo a picture of a ferret. Ferrets are “a good way to warm oneself on a winter night.” Leo: “A 10 ferret night.” They discuss all going to Yale. (Jonathan Coulton has been added to the convo.) The dorms they lived in. John and Jonathan are in Brooklyn. Leo asks if they still play stickball. They say no. They discuss eggnog, as it’s the holidays. Leo thinks it all tastes alcoholic. John says, “The trick is to use alcoholic eggs.” They discuss the gift that John has sent Leo. It’s a bacon scarf. “Do not eat.” They decide to not talk about tech, just celebrate the holidays. “Just tell the truth, and usually, it’s hilarious.” Hodgman continues to describe the origin of the word “noggin.” They continue to explore the origin of the word “piggyback.” Hodgman talks about the word “pygg.” They lose Hodgman on Skype. This progresses to chat about crystal skulls. And then crystal skull vodka. How it’s available in LA, but not NY yet. They speak of Hodgman’s books. “That period in the 90s when we did not speak to each other because I grew a better beard.” “It’s a time when people come together and put aside old arguments and old fake beards schemes, and remind themselves why they like one another.” Leo: “A special holiday edition of TWIT.” “One of them was signed by its creator, Dan Ackroyd. I could not accept such a gift.” Hodgman was a literary agent, and Jonathan was a programmer. Hodgman’s first “job” after being a literary agent was to write an article for Men’s Journal. Leo: “Are you pleased that absinthe has returned to the marketplace?” Hodgman: “It’s the same reason red M&Ms were banned.” Leo: “We’ve got a closet numismatist in our midst. Try saying that fast.” Hodgman: “Some gifts become a kind of burden.” Jonathan: “Holiday Lesson No. 3.” Leo: “Have you seen the video of President Bush dodging the shoe?” Hodgman: “Shoe ducking is a big sport in Texas.”  Jonathan: “Isn’t it duck shoeing?” Leo: “You can’t shoe a duck.” Jonathan: “That’s why it’s a sport.” Leo: “I don’t even like it when they hit him with a pie.” Leo: “If ever I were to field a dodgeball team of former presidents, he would be my first pick.” Leo: (RE the Secret Service) “If they’re fast enough to take a bullet, why can’t they be fast enough to take a shoe?” Jonathan: “They’re not there to jump in front of shoes.” Leo: “I’m told by our chat room that in fact in Iraq it is considered a great insult to throw your shoes.”  Hodgman: “My fans are much more civilized than Jonathan’s.” Leo: “You’re very well-known for The Daily Show, but  probably best known for the Apple switch ads. Do people… Is there a catch phrase? do they say, ‘Hey PC’?” Leo’s advice from his dad: “Rummies have no wind, so don’t worry, you can outrun them…. Never catch the eye of a hobo.” Leo: “What do you call ’em nowadays? Bums?” Hodgman: “Hobo is a very specific subculture…” Leo: “Not all bums are hoboes.” Hodgman:  “In my book..they self-identified as hoboes, and chose a life of wandering and drinking, and wearing the same pants all the time. I’m not talking about the contemporary urban homeless.” Hodgman: “It’s extremely dangerous, actually… There was a hobo serial killer… I don’t advise that to anyone. That’s my holiday gift to the youth.” Leo: “CNN is explaining why the Secret Service did not, in fact, block the shoe. ‘They were in the back room.’ ” Jonathan: “You, unlike a rummy, have plenty of wind.” They argue about the states of New England, and which is better. Jonathan: “I know I should like Bob Dylan. He’s never really excited me.” They talk about Hodgman’s theme song on YouTube. They discuss other boring stuff. “Beat Box Chops is actually the name of his style of beard.” “I thought it was Adam Curry making a mess of things.” “I wasn’t famous enough to get even podcasters to mess with me.” Doing a Podsafe Christmas song.  “Adam… Adam… Adam!” THREE STARS

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