They’re back! The Computer Guys & Gal are here to update you on the latest from the world of technology. And to answer your questions.


  • John Gilroy WAMU Computer Guy; and Director of Business Development at SolutionsDevelopers
  • Allison Druin WAMU Computer Gal; Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Bill Harlow WAMU Computer Guy; and Hardware & Software Technician for MACs & PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting, Inc.

Allison’s Turkey Tech Tips

We know we can count on Allison to find us the fun tech news and products for every season. Here are her two picks for Turkey Day:


    How could I miss a holiday without finding a website to amuse us by? is a site with some interesting recipes: Asian-style deep-fried turkey, turkey artichoke and tomato tapas, and poached turkey Normandy. There’s chef cooking demos, virtual menus, and more. But beware – it’s sponsored by the National Turkey Federation (yes, they want to sell you more turkeys!)

  2. iPhone Turkey Timer

    This app keeps track of your turkey’s cooking progress, reminds you when it’s time to baste the bird, and alerts you to take your bird out of the oven. It takes into account your turkey’s weight and it sells for 99 cents (a deal, since last year it cost $2.99).

Allison’s Nook Vs. Kindle Summary:

Nook Color pros:
1. It’s got color, Kindle doesn’t
2. It’s got a touchscreen, and Kindle doesn’t
3. Titles for the Nook- whatever is in Barnes and Noble (over 2xs as many titles)
4. The Nook can handle video- it’s based on Android
5. The Nook has 2 times the storage
6. Barnes and Noble LendMe option—you can lend a book to a friend for up to 14 days (at the moment—may change soon) You can only do this once per book.

So why are people still buying Kindles?

The Kindle pros:
1. The Kindle screen is much better for reading in direct sunlight (though Nook has “full lamination screen film” for reducing glare)
2. The battery life is much better for Kindle (30 days vs. 8 hours for Nook)
3. The Kindle is a smaller size and weight (almost half the weight)
4. With the international-edition Kindle you able to purchase new content and receive periodical subscription updates while outside of the US
5. Books for Kindle are priced cheaper and the device itself currently sells for $60 less than Nook
6. The Kindle has a simple web-browser and a text to speech feature

These lists are based on a few articles and my using both devices. Here’s a good article on the differences.

Items Heard on Today’s Show

Mac News

  1. Office 2011 for Macs

  2. MacBook Air

  3. Are we living in a post-PC World?

iPads, Tablets, & Apple News

  1. Are iPads computers?

  2. T-Mobile Android Tablet

  3. Steve Jobs’ Criticisms of Competitors

Facebook News?

  1. Facebook Announcement for Mobile

  2. Farmville Privacy Concerns


  1. No White iPhones from Apple

Technology for People with Disabilities

  1. iPad Opens New Possibilities for Those with Disabilities


  1. Now Your Apps Know Where You Are

Scheduling Meetings by Poll?

  1. Doodle

  2. Voting Options in an Email Message


  • 12:06:40

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's The Computer Guys & Gal.

  • 12:07:03

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIHere it is, the first Tuesday of November, Election Day, and we're glad you elected to spend it with us. The computer guys and gal are also here. (laugh) And no, you cannot vote John out of office, but you can hold his feet to the fire. Make sure that he and Allison and Bill are serving you, the constituents of Tech Tuesday. Today, we'll find out why the new Windows program for Mac gets a big vote of approval. We'll find out what the iPhone has in common with Henry Ford. And we'll get answers to the deepest questions, like when is an iPad not an iPad? And when is a PC not a PC? Plus, in anticipation of Thanksgiving later this month, we'll get tech hints that help with meal planning. Figure out which tech turkeys to avoid this year. Speaking of turkeys -- no, no, no.

  • 12:07:52

    MR. JOHN GILROYI didn't saw that one coming.

  • 12:07:53

    MS. ALLISON DRUINJohn, John.

  • 12:07:54

    NNAMDIThat won't work. That won't work. We'd even like to call them chicken, but they show up here every month (laugh) which is an -- that's an act of unsurpassed courage. Computer guy Bill Harlow is a former math genius. He now works on PCs and Macs with Mid-Atlantic Consulting. Bill, good to see you.

  • 12:08:09

    MR. BILL HARLOWGood to see you too.

  • 12:08:11

    NNAMDIComputer gal Allison Druin is associate dean for research in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she also directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Allison.

  • 12:08:22

    DRUINGreat to see you.

  • 12:08:23

    NNAMDIGood to see you as usual.

  • 12:08:23

    GILROYYou know, it's a long title.

  • 12:08:24

    DRUINYeah. (laugh)

  • 12:08:24

    NNAMDIAnd computer guy Juan Gilroy is direct...

  • 12:08:28

    GILROY(laugh) I want a long title too.

  • 12:08:29 director of business development at John Gilroy, good to see you.

  • 12:08:35

    GILROYGreetings, my friend.

  • 12:08:36

    NNAMDIYou, too, can join this conversation. Call us at 800-433-8850, 800-433-8850, send us a tweet, @kojoshow, email to or join the conversation at our website, Bill, it seems appropriate for Election Day, something in the spirit of can't we all just get along. It's my understanding that you are celebrating a breakthrough in technological compatibility between the Mac and Windows environment.

  • 12:09:07

    GILROYYes. Microsoft released a new bipartisan office for Mac. (laugh)

  • 12:09:11

    HARLOWOoh, very bipartisan.

  • 12:09:11

    HARLOWOffice 2011. People are excited and I'm kind of excited too. Although I haven't played around with it as much as I'd like to yet, because it has a lot more feature parity with the Windows release. One of the goals was, okay, if there's, you know, a compatibility issue, that's not just a compatibility issue, we're filing that as a bug when we develop this. It has to work across platforms. We now have Outlook for Mac. Can't play without it. It seems a lot more efficient.

  • 12:09:34

    DRUINYea. Oh, I love it, I love it.

  • 12:09:36

    HARLOWOh, do you?

  • 12:09:37


  • 12:09:37

    HARLOWThen tell us more about it. So right now, the honeymoon is not over. It's a great program. And I think anybody who relies on office for Mac needs to upgrade sooner rather than later.

  • 12:09:47

    NNAMDIAnd Allison, Office 2011 or 2011 for Mac, you like?

  • 12:09:52

    DRUINOh, yeah. Absolutely. No -- I mean, half the reason that I've been running boot camp or (laugh) a virtual machine so that I can run all my PC things on my Mac is because I could not stand Entourage for my e-mail program. And you -- that was the only option I had for the Macintosh that was close enough to Outlook, didn't like it at all. But now, I'm very excited.

  • 12:10:17

    NNAMDIAnd John Gilroy, it's my understanding also that Bill Gates and the tech world are still reeling from the resignation of Microsoft's chief software architect. Can't everyone just get along?

  • 12:10:30

    GILROYWell, was he pushed or did he resign? I mean, this is the big issue in -- behind the scenes. Now, there's a big Microsoft office just up the street here with about 1,800 employees. And I'm sure that was the question on what happened to their chief architect.

  • 12:10:44

    NNAMDIRay Ozzie.

  • 12:10:44

    GILROYThey thought he was -- yeah, he was gonna be moved -- he's a very well-known guy in the industry. And he left with a 3,700-word parting gift. And the parting gift was, hey, you know, no more PCs anymore, boys and girls, we've got to move in to the cloud. And it's a -- he's probably hitting on some important issues here. And I think we can see that transition taking place. What he's trying to do is, maybe, get to Microsoft move more in that area. And so we'll see what happens with Microsoft next five or six years if they take Ozzie's advice.

  • 12:11:18

    NNAMDIImportant, shimportant. The only question people wanna know is, well, was he forced out? Or did he just resign?

  • 12:11:28

    GILROYHey, it's a nice day out there, (laugh) and -- no, I don't know. I, you know, at that level, it's way above my tinkering.

  • 12:11:33

    DRUINBut it should be pointed out that he was there the least amount of time of any of the top people. Okay? And he was considered an outsider from, obviously, the day he came in. And he -- a very smart guy. But his user interface had something to be desired based on his parting. Most people don't send a 3,000-word parting letter to everybody about...

  • 12:11:56

    NNAMDIThree thousand five hundred words...

  • 12:11:57

    DRUINOh, excuse me, you're right. You're right.

  • 12:11:59 a matter of fact.

  • 12:11:59

    DRUINYes. Absolutely.

  • 12:12:00

    NNAMDIBill, could the new MacBook Air be a start to our post-PC world? After all, it's my understanding they're abandoning the hard drive.

  • 12:12:10

    HARLOWSort of, yeah. This is actually a kind of a joke, and say it's more like an iPad pro. (laugh) I mean, it still runs Mac OS 10, the full version. But yeah, like the iPad, it's got flash for storage. And flash is what is in nearly every iPods. It's in the iPhones, iPod Touch. And it's fast, it's reliable and it's getting cheaper. It's still pricier per gigabyte competed to a typical spinning hard drive, but the benefits are -- you know, that, you know, the fact that it had instant on too. You put that thing to sleep, just like an iPad, you wake it up, it's good, it's ready to go. Its package is really small too. What's interesting is a lot of solid-state disks, like the one in the original MacBook Air, they're packed inside with the larger case that additional hard drive came in. On the Air, they just took the chips, threw them in directly, made everything smaller. That's why you have an 11-inch model. That's about 2.2, 2.3 pounds?

  • 12:12:59

    DRUINThat looks so cute. I want one.

  • 12:13:00

    GILROYYou know, Applemate, they're the canary in the coal mine. I mean, they're the forerunners of many of this. And if you look at sales right now, hard drives is your projectile to be $20 billion nearest for the standard hard drives, 300 million for the solid-state ones, but that's gonna, you know, change.

  • 12:13:15


  • 12:13:15

    GILROYI've been around the business so long, my first computer had no hard drive.

  • 12:13:18


  • 12:13:18

    GILROYIt was a floppy base and so...

  • 12:13:19

    HARLOWEveryone -- 20 megs was a big amount.

  • 12:13:21

    GILROYAnd pretty soon, it's going to be I'll go from floppy drives to hard drive, now, to no hard drives. I mean, that goes all the way back to what it was 30 years ago, but it's gonna happen. It's gonna be faster, more reliable.

  • 12:13:31

    HARLOWWell, you didn't have 64 gigs of memory 30 years ago either.

  • 12:13:33

    GILROYNo, no, no, I don't.

  • 12:13:36

    NNAMDISpeaking of MacBook Air, we got this e-mail from Martha who says I have an Apple MacBook, which my daughter, 9 years old, wants for school. I want to buy another Apple for myself, something much lighter than the one I have called MacBook Air, but I understand the Air is slower and has less memory. The memory does not bother me as much as it being slower. Do you have any recommendation?

  • 12:13:56

    HARLOWWell, here's the interesting thing 'cause performance is not just CPU speed. You have to factor in the video card. In this case, the speed of the storage and flash is faster than a disk for a lot of tasks we use them for. So all those things, I think, are going to balance out. The CPU, though, is slow. It also has two gigs of memory built in. I'd recommend anybody looking at an Air, go ahead spend the extra hundred bucks, get the four-gig RAM upgrade because you can't do it later. The 11-inch is really cute. It's really small. It's the one that -- I didn't think I was going to like it. When I played with it, it was my favorite. But if you're concerned about speed, the 13-inch, you can get it up to 2.13 gigahertz, and that's also a build-to-order option. So, you know, just weigh the pros and cons of that.

  • 12:14:35

    NNAMDIThis from somebody. I have (laugh) I have a tip to give to the show. Oh, it's Mike in Baltimore. I have a tip to give to the show today. If you have a computer, get some more RAM. I have an iMac 2009 model, which came with four gigabytes of RAM, plenty I thought, but after a few months and heavy browser use, it became very unstable when I was browsing, and I had to have 40 browser windows open -- welcome to cloud computing on the Web -- plus Mail, iCal, InDesign et cetera, so I added another eight GB of RAM for a total of 12. Sure enough, it's running a bit faster. The CPU gets a bit faster, too, when you increase RAM and has been much more stable. I took a guess as to how much more RAM I needed, all the techies gave me the stock answer I've heard for 20 years on adding RAM, put in as much as you can afford or put in the max the machine will take. Well, yes, I want a BMW or Ferrari, but I'd probably only need and can afford a Honda Accord. There must be a way to calculate how much more actual RAM one truly needs. And why don't computer makers come up with a kind of consumer guide to how much RAM you need when buying a Mac or PC or when adding RAM later, John Gilroy? One?

  • 12:15:42

    GILROYWell, the folks who wrote the software probably wrote it two or three years ago, they had no -- or until the last 20 years, I mean, they write software and two years later it gets on the street and then what's happened is the memory prices have dropped. They can't -- you know, the crystal balls don't work in this business anymore.

  • 12:15:57

    HARLOWPlus marketing. I mean, you want to sell a computer and you want to sell for the lowest price you can get away with, so, you know, you're not going to say, oh, yeah, here's our $500 Dell, but, by the way, if you want to spend another 500 bucks in a Mac and you'll get 12 gigs of RAM, it's just not going to happen.

  • 12:16:08

    DRUINWell, you know, the other thing, too, is every user is very different, and so this user is obviously...

  • 12:16:13

    HARLOWA multitasker.

  • 12:16:14

    DRUINA multitasker, yes. And some other...

  • 12:16:16

    HARLOWPerhaps distracted.

  • 12:16:16

    DRUIN...users -- yeah.

  • 12:16:18

    DRUINYou think? But -- so depending on what kind of user you are will depend on how much extra memory you're gonna need.

  • 12:16:25

    HARLOWAnd also Web browsing uses more memory than people think, especially with...

  • 12:16:27


  • 12:16:28

    HARLOW... the adding of tab browsing, the ability to jump around to 20 things, keeping them all open all the time. I've seen this more and more. And also this person mentioned InDesign, which is a pretty heavy-duty program.

  • 12:16:38

    DRUINThat's right.

  • 12:16:39

    HARLOWI'm willing to bet that that person may also have Photoshop, which will take as much RAM as you can stand.

  • 12:16:45

    GILROYHere's a fun fact. There's a new type memory called NAND memory. And right here I got in front of me, the average price of NAND flash memory drops 40 percent per year. So if I'm running software right now, there's no way I can know what's going to happen -- it's going to drop to very, very small.

  • 12:16:58

    NNAMDIFor those of our listeners who may be unfamiliar with what RAM is...

  • 12:17:01

    GILROYIt's called random access memory.

  • 12:17:03

    NNAMDIThere you go. You still remember that, don't you?

  • 12:17:05

    NNAMDIHis random access memory is working pretty well today.

  • 12:17:08

    NNAMDIHere is Dan in Washington, D.C. Dan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:17:13

    DANThank you for having me. Yeah, I have a question. I switched over to Mac a couple of years ago. I do a lot of PowerPoint presentations, and I found PowerPoint for Mac to be really just difficult to use. I stick with it because the Mac is just reliably available when I travel. But I'm wondering if the new undiminished system -- the issue I'm having the most frequently right now is the inability to, like, do massive compressions on images in presentations. I have to, basically, do each image one at a time, and I'm wondering if they've corrected that issue with the new system.

  • 12:17:45

    GILROYFrom what I've heard, probably not much. I mean, you're talking about images placing within your presentation?

  • 12:17:49


  • 12:17:50

    GILROYHonestly, you need to have a separate program just for image editing. You really want to make sure you have those, you know, compressed well. You know, something like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements that will let you adjust the level of compression, resize the images, all sorts of things that are pretty critical. You know, that goes for, I'd say, pretty much any large image you're placing in this presentation because once you put it in the program, it does, I'd say, a fair job at best.

  • 12:18:13

    DANOkay, thanks.

  • 12:18:14

    NNAMDIDan, thank you for your call. You, too, can call the computer guys and gal at 800-433-8850 or go to website, John Gilroy, are iPads computers?

  • 12:18:25

    GILROYWell, that's a fun question to ask, you know? And if you want to assume that an iPad is a computer, I guess, how lucy goosey you want as its definition, it looks like you can argue that Apple is the number one seller of computers in the United States. I mean -- and if this is opposed to PC World, you know, Bill was a PC -- well, he works on PCs and MACs, pretty soon, there's no PCs to work on, I guess, if you want to follow his logic.

  • 12:18:47

    HARLOWI'd just work on something.

  • 12:18:47

    GILROYI just work on whatever the technology de jour is, the iPad or whatever it might be. That's a fun argument. I never put it in that perspective, but I guess -- you know, back in the days of those little PDAs, no one really considered those to be computers. They were kind of like computers, but they weren't.

  • 12:19:04

    HARLOWThey weren't computers.

  • 12:19:05

    GILROYYeah. But you look at iPad, well, this is kind of -- it looks and talks and talks like a computer.

  • 12:19:08

    GILROYWell, I guess I mean, technically, it's a computer or even the PDAs were, but I guess people look at a computer as, well, if it does enough of the things I needed to do that I normally do on a computer, then it's a computer. So...

  • 12:19:18

    DRUINBut even an iPhone. I mean, take a look at the iPhones and what you can do...

  • 12:19:21


  • 12:19:21

    DRUIN...on the iPhones.

  • 12:19:21


  • 12:19:21

    DRUINThere you go.

  • 12:19:24

    NNAMDIWell, Allison, will we soon be seeing more competitors to the iPad?

  • 12:19:29

    DRUINYes, yes.

  • 12:19:30

    NNAMDITell us about the T-Mobile Android.

  • 12:19:33

    DRUINOkay. Well, it turns out that there's this Samsung Galaxy Tab. It's one of the first T-Mobile Android tablets, okay? And basically, it's supposedly -- it's getting there, okay? It's about $400 with a two-year data plan with T-Mobile, okay?

  • 12:19:54

    HARLOWHow much without?

  • 12:19:55


  • 12:19:55

    HARLOWHow much without?

  • 12:19:56

    DRUINHow much without? WiFi only Galaxy Tab, 499. Okay? So it's a few inches smaller and half the weight of the iPad...

  • 12:20:04


  • 12:20:04

    DRUIN...and it comes bundled with a Kindle book reader. But is...

  • 12:20:08

    NNAMDII have actually seen one, felt one.

  • 12:20:09

    DRUINHave you? What do you think of it?

  • 12:20:10

    NNAMDIA friend of mine got it in China.

  • 12:20:12

    DRUINOh, got it in China. There you go.

  • 12:20:13


  • 12:20:13

    DRUINYeah. Yeah.

  • 12:20:13

    NNAMDIHe brought it back here.

  • 12:20:14

    DRUINSo people are actually are using them over there and they're talking it up. But it's interesting because -- now, the icons are a little bit smaller on there...

  • 12:20:21


  • 12:20:22 it's a little bit harder to use -- again, it goes to the interface, which is something that Apple does really well, which some of these -- you know, the Androids are not as responsive, and the size of the icons make all the difference.

  • 12:20:35

    HARLOWWell, it's funny you mentioned the size because it's got a seven-inch screen, which on paper sounds like that's kind of a like a great middle size and, you know, what you're talking about those targets for your fingertips, I guess it does make a difference.

  • 12:20:44


  • 12:20:44

    HARLOWAnd Steve Jobs even said that they are not going any smaller than 10 inches right now. They feel that's the sweet spot.

  • 12:20:50

    GILROYYou know, we had just had the Marine Corps Marathon. And what I think about is like Kojo starts in the beginning of the pack of the marathon, and I'm sitting in the back of the pack smoking a cigarette. And about two hours later, I'd jump into the race. I mean, that's what I see happening now. I mean, when you think of the iPad and what Apple has done, they talk about robust demand for their product. I don't know how Samsung is gonna get back in the race or if they're gonna...

  • 12:21:08

    HARLOWWe'll, you said marathon. It is a marathon so...

  • 12:21:10

    GILROYWell, it's a marathon but...

  • 12:21:11 got to hang in there if you wanna compete.

  • 12:21:12 got to get ahead.

  • 12:21:12

    DRUINSee? And now it's...

  • 12:21:13

    NNAMDIMaybe they should stop smoking first.

  • 12:21:15

    GILROYYeah. I mean, I should stop smoking. Kojo is way ahead of me.

  • 12:21:17

    DRUINYeah. Really. But it's a lot about the interface. And people is so worry about all the hardware kinds of things but it -- and that's interface. But you've also got to worry about the software. And the problem is -- the other problem is, is that how much software can run on these seven-inch tablets. Right now, there's a lot of Android apps, but they're not really optimized for that seven-inch size so it doesn't really look that good. Whereas Apple did think about how the iPhone apps were gonna translate to the iPad.

  • 12:21:53

    HARLOWAnd with tablets too. I imagine that there will be more and more different sizes in the Android universe. You know, maybe some seven, some 10, maybe even some five-inch.

  • 12:21:58

    DRUINExactly. Exactly.

  • 12:22:00

    HARLOWSo as a software maker, as a developer, how do you standardize your UI and have some consistency? It sounds like a really big moving target.

  • 12:22:07

    NNAMDIGot to take a short break. It's the Computer Guys & Gal on Election Day. Still taking your calls at 800-433-8850. That's how you vote here. Or you can do it by going to our website, I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:24:10

    NNAMDIThe Computer Guys & Gal are with us. Allison Druin is associate dean for research in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland where she also directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. John Gilroy is director of business development at And Bill Harlow was a former Mac genius who now works on PCs and Macs with Mid-Atlantic Consulting. Allison, speaking of things to look forward to, what about rumors that Facebook is going to announce something big as soon as maybe tomorrow?

  • 12:24:42

    DRUINYes. That's nice. They always plan this the day after we're on the air. I think they do it on purpose maybe. Anyway, so rumors have it. It's either gonna be a new Facebook phone, a new iPad app or more features for Facebook places or a deal for Facebook places or...

  • 12:24:58

    NNAMDIMake up your mind.

  • 12:24:59

    DRUIN...or embedding the Facebook more deeply.

  • 12:25:01

    HARLOWJust gonna shotgun these rumors and get one right.

  • 12:25:02

    GILROYOr maybe they'll admit to selling your information. Oh, okay. We've sold all your information. Your personal identification, we sold.

  • 12:25:09

    DRUINThere are so many rumors flying around about what it could be that I honestly don't believe anybody really knows. But it's gonna be something interesting, I'm sure.

  • 12:25:16

    NNAMDILet's stay down that rumor track for a while. Will there be, anytime soon, a Verizon iPhone?

  • 12:25:22

    HARLOWDefine soon.

  • 12:25:24

    GILROYWell, I went to Bodog, where Kojo places his sports bets, and I went there this morning looking. I thought there'd be a, you know, a bet on that on Bodog for when it's gonna happen. I mean, who knows? I mean -- something in Las Vegas' regular line up. That's some place I should call.

  • 12:25:36

    HARLOWWell, I did predict, at the beginning of the year, it probably won't be 2010. I think that's gonna be right. But the rumor is swirling around and they seem to be heating up more and more or that it'll be early 2011.

  • 12:25:47


  • 12:25:48

    HARLOWInteresting that you can get an iPad through Verizon now so I wonder that's sort of to test the waters or maybe...

  • 12:25:51

    DRUINThat's right.

  • 12:25:52

    GILROYThat's maybe showing the cons. Yeah.

  • 12:25:53

    HARLOWTo let you know that the iPhone's on deck.

  • 12:25:54

    DRUINYeah. Well, there are so many stories around and, actually, in the more reputable press, so people are thinking this is more true than not. But, you know, and at the first -- but the other thing, too, is the first version is unlikely to work outside the United States so remember that folks.

  • 12:26:09

    NNAMDISo there is reputable media, more reputable media and then there's...

  • 12:26:13

    HARLOWThere's us.

  • 12:26:13

    NNAMDI...The Computer Guys & Gal. Top of the line. We got this e-mail from Justin. "Don't get your hopes up. I work for a Verizon retailer."

  • 12:26:20

    NNAMDI"And everything I've heard says it's not coming to Verizon. Apple and Verizon both want exclusive control over the price and neither will back down. Maybe in 2012 when the 4G network is up."

  • 12:26:32

    GILROYNow, what's the over under on January 11th?

  • 12:26:34

    HARLOWWhen I worked for Apple like -- they wouldn't tell me anything. So, you know, I don't know what he knows and does not know. But I have a feeling that whatever's coming from the top will be closely held.

  • 12:26:44

    NNAMDIHere's Becky in Woodbridge, Va. Becky, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:26:49

    BECKYHi. I have a, I guess, three or four-year-old now Sony PRS, which is pretty aptly named, which has just freaked up on for the third time. And I'm wondering if I should try out one of the new eBook readers. There are a lot of different options. They've come down in price a lot. Or should I make the jump and go for the iPad?

  • 12:27:13

    NNAMDIHere also, Becky, is this e-mail we got from Tony in Alexandria. "When people ask about iPad versus Kindle, why do you guys never mentioned the Nook sold by Barnes & Noble?"

  • 12:27:23


  • 12:27:24

    NNAMDI"It has the great e-paper screen...

  • 12:27:25

    GILROYAllison. (laugh)

  • 12:27:26 the Kindle, plus a colored touch screen area like iPad from navigation."

  • 12:27:28


  • 12:27:29

    NNAMDI"It feels really nice to hold in your hand."

  • 12:27:32

    GILROYRight, it feels nice.

  • 12:27:33

    NNAMDI(laugh) "And it does include a simple web browser..."

  • 12:27:34

    GILROYMy Hugo feels like a nice car.

  • 12:27:36

    DRUINWill you let the man talk?

  • 12:27:36

    NNAMDI"...had big benefit over Kindle also being you can walk into a B & N's store and try it out."

  • 12:27:41

    HARLOWAllison, your apology?

  • 12:27:42


  • 12:27:43

    GILROYCome on, on your knees. Get on your knees. (laugh)

  • 12:27:44

    DRUINNo apologies, folks.

  • 12:27:46


  • 12:27:46


  • 12:27:47


  • 12:27:47

    NNAMDIWhat advice would you give to Becky? Tell us.

  • 12:27:49

    DRUINOkay. Here's the thing -- is that every single eBook reader has its pros and cons. Now in October, the Nook just came out with color. That has changed the game a little bit there against the Kindle, okay, which is -- which really has been the best selling front runner for quite a while. With the Nook, all right, this is, you know, you can get at Barnes & Noble. It's got color. It's got a touch screen. Kindle doesn't have either. It’s got a lot of titles. In fact, it's got twice as many titles, but they're more expensive because they're not pricing it the way Amazon is. The Nook has -- does have video. It's based on Android. The Nook has twice as much storage, all right? And Barnes & Noble has this lend me option that you can lend a book to a friend for up to 14 days. There's -- there are different reports as to how many people can lend this book to, but for now, it's for sure one.

  • 12:28:43

    DRUINBut, on the other hand, you got the Kindle, okay? Now, the Kindle is black and white. But it is really good reading in direct sunlight, though the Nook has this sort of full lamination screen film, all right? Battery life, much better for the Kindle -- 30 days versus eight hours, all right? The Kindle is much smaller in size and weight. So if that matters to you, you wanna go with Kindle. And if you are in international travel, there's much more support for Kindle than Nook. On the other hand, you know, the Nook definitely has a lot more go and forth when you're walking into Barnes & Noble. You're able to preview things. You're able to explore different stuff.

  • 12:29:25

    HARLOWTo me the -- the colored Nook, at least, almost sounds like it's kind of like a Kindle and kind of like an iPad, but maybe not as good as either one. So I think it's in a tough area right in between.

  • 12:29:33

    DRUINIt's in in-between. There -- it's in in-between, and many people are saying, well, it's not quite the iPad but it's not -- but, you know, it's better than the Kindle. But, you know, it's more expensive than the Kindle and the books are more...

  • 12:29:44

    GILROYTweener is the word that Steve Jobs used in his rant.

  • 12:29:46

    DRUINRight. Yeah.

  • 12:29:47

    GILROYThey're tweeners.

  • 12:29:48

    DRUINYeah. But on the other hand, there's lot of really wonderful options. And so, I think, Becky, it depends on who you are. Are you a die-hard true book reader and you really wanna travel a lot with this thing and it needs to be very light weight and so on, you need access around the world or you're somebody that -- all right, you live in Barnes & Noble and you love it and so on. It depends on who you are.

  • 12:30:11

    NNAMDIOkay, time's up. Becky, what's your...

  • 12:30:12

    DRUINAll right, all right. (laugh)

  • 12:30:13

    NNAMDIBecky, what's your decision? (laugh)

  • 12:30:14

    BECKY(laugh) All right. Thanks.

  • 12:30:16

    NNAMDINo, no, Becky.

  • 12:30:17

    GILROYNo, no. Inquiring minds wanna know.

  • 12:30:19

    HARLOWThis is a day of decisions.

  • 12:30:20

    NNAMDIYou're not gonna get away that easily, Becky.

  • 12:30:22

    GILROYWhat do you decide?

  • 12:30:23

    NNAMDIWhere are you leaning right now?

  • 12:30:25

    BECKYI'm sorry.

  • 12:30:26

    NNAMDIIn what direction are you leaning right now?

  • 12:30:29

    BECKYWell, I'm feeling really frustrated right now. I just kind of want to get away from Sony and being tied to their eBook store, which has proved the source of frustration. Either they don't have what I want or what they do have is pretty expensive. I've been thinking about the Kindle just because, you know, when I see things on Amazon, they tend to be cheaper, and the whole point of this was to save a bit of money.

  • 12:30:55

    GILROYKindle then. That's the answer.

  • 12:30:56

    HARLOWYup, there you go.

  • 12:30:57

    NNAMDIAnd it looks like...

  • 12:30:58


  • 12:30:58're headed toward Kindle. But, Becky, good luck for you and your shop -- to you and your shopping.

  • 12:31:02


  • 12:31:03

    NNAMDIThank you very much. John Gilroy, I forgot to ask you when we were talking about Facebook and the announcement tomorrow earlier. Facebook like Farmville...

  • 12:31:12


  • 12:31:12

    NNAMDI...not so innocent, right?

  • 12:31:14

    GILROYWell, you would think so. I mean, if you go over Allison's house, she said they're playing Farmville all day long. Nothing better to do, you know, looking out the window, you know, maybe doing her nails. (laugh)

  • 12:31:24

    DRUINYeah, right, oh.

  • 12:31:26


  • 12:31:26

    GILROYBut lots of people do, I mean -- and they've done some studies -- there's an article in Wall Street Journal. It turns out they are the top 10 little toy-like application at Facebook. They all are embedding information and they take this information and selling it. And so all that information that Allison is giving them -- what kind of preference she has for this or that or other thing, they are targeting her with messages, and people are knocking on her door, trying to sell her whatever her preferences are. And this is kind of the unseemly sight of Facebook. It’s like -- well, geez, it looks all innocent. But what are they doing there? They're mining information. And me no likey. I don't like it.

  • 12:31:59

    NNAMDIBy the way, we have Allison's Nook versus Kindle's pros and cons posted on our website. You can find it there at, and then you can make up your own mind. Here is Cher -- oh, I'm sorry, Dan in Gaithersburg, Md. Dan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:32:17

    DANYeah. I wanted to ask if this analogy that I've used for what RAM is accurate or not. I've always said your hard drive is like your book shelf -- how many books you can put on your shelf. But when you actually wanna take them off, your -- the RAM is kind of like how big your desk is. If you've got a small desk, you can only have a few books open at once. If you've got a big desk, you can open up all -- to all kinds of things out of your book shelf and lay them out on your desk. Is that accurate or am I just...

  • 12:32:48

    GILROYHey, it's good. That's fine.

  • 12:32:50

    HARLOWYeah, it works.

  • 12:32:50

    GILROYYeah, it works for me. I like to think of, you know, like a truck and you have a cab and a place in the back there and there's all kinds of, you know -- that works for me. I think it worked for my next door neighbor, my six-year-old next door. It worked.

  • 12:33:02

    NNAMDIAnd here is this bill suggestion from Ivan in D.C. "Please advise the user who added RAM for a speed improvement to open her Mac's disc utility app and run repair disc permissions, which she's probably never done. She'll see an astounding speed improvement, and it's free."

  • 12:33:19

    HARLOWGood thing to try one. It surely -- it's speed up every computer, but it doesn't hurt either. And it's good to do once in a while, especially if you've installed on it a lot of different apps over time.

  • 12:33:27

    DRUINYeah, thanks, Ivan.

  • 12:33:29

    NNAMDIBill, it's my understanding that the iPhone these days reminds you of Henry Ford? (laugh)

  • 12:33:35

    GILROYIt was?

  • 12:33:35


  • 12:33:36

    DRUINYou're so special, Bill.

  • 12:33:37

    HARLOWWell, it's like -- well, supposedly, you can have any color you want as long as it's black.

  • 12:33:40


  • 12:33:42

    HARLOWSo, yeah, white iPhone. Well, here's a positive spin on it. You know, it is after Labor Day and that would just be ghost. (laugh) So, yeah, it's pushed back to 2011 now. Some people are wondering if it's gonna be canceled outright. Apparently, it's much tougher to manufacture a white iPhone than they ever imagined. At least with the -- I guess, with the glass packing and the glass front and the camera. I've heard also two conflicting reports. But, yeah, if you want white, get out your paint brush, because you won't be buying from Apple.

  • 12:34:12

    GILROYYeah, maybe do business that you can start.

  • 12:34:13


  • 12:34:14

    NNAMDIOn to Eric in Washington, D.C. Hi, Eric.

  • 12:34:19

    ERICHi. I was just calling -- I recently switched over to Mac about two years ago, and I dual boot. So I run the Mac OS and the Windows. But the one problem that I have seen is a -- I mean, it's a minor thing, but the clock always gets off sync. And I've not been able to find the single answer for it.

  • 12:34:41

    HARLOWYeah. I have the same issue from time to time. (laugh) I have not a single answer for it myself either. Just one of the things that I have to remind myself. And also, when I dual boot, I try to make sure that I have time server sync turned on, so at least if I'm online, the computer figures itself out, sooner out than later.

  • 12:34:57

    ERICYeah. I've done the automatic, but that all depends on the area that you're into.

  • 12:35:03

    HARLOWThat is true. It's just a little anomaly. I've researched it off and on, hasn't bothered me enough to really dig deep into it yet. But, yeah, it is a quirk that has affected me as well and a lot of the people who are dual booting their Macs.

  • 12:35:14

    NNAMDIEric, thank you very much for your call. Good luck to you. Thanksgiving is coming up. Let's talk turkey, Allison Druin.

  • 12:35:23

    DRUINYou know I couldn't miss a holiday without finding a really silly website for John, okay?

  • 12:35:28

    GILROYIt's a terrible website.

  • 12:35:30

    DRUINEat Turkey. Now, I got to -- you got to say right upfront. It is sponsored by the National Turkey Federation.

  • 12:35:35


  • 12:35:36

    DRUINRight. (laugh) I know you're shocked, okay.

  • 12:35:38

    GILROYI'm not shocked.

  • 12:35:39

    DRUINAnd so the idea is to sell turkeys, all right? But they have some cool recipes, Asian-style deep fried turkey and poached turkey Normandy. You got cooking demos, virtual menus, so on.

  • 12:35:50

    HARLOWPoached turkey? That's like, that's the dumbest idea I've ever heard.

  • 12:35:53

    HARLOWHow do you poach a whole turkey?

  • 12:35:53

    GILROYPoached turkey? What do you need, a bathtub?

  • 12:35:55

    HARLOWFirst -- I'm about to say, first, you get the bathtub.

  • 12:35:57

    GILROYBathtub and you heat it up.

  • 12:35:58

    HARLOWOr you buy 27 electric kettles.

  • 12:36:00

    NNAMDII knew this was a bad idea.

  • 12:36:01

    GILROYPoached turkey. No, you would be a turkey if you try to poach a turkey.

  • 12:36:05

    DRUINBut you see, I got through saying it before laughing. Anyway, there you go. I did that.

  • 12:36:09

    GILROYAnd so what you can do is you can spend 99 cents for an app for your phone instead of having the thing pop out a turkey. I mean, that makes it a great idea.

  • 12:36:15

    DRUINYeah. Well, just make sure your...

  • 12:36:16

    NNAMDII don't know.

  • 12:36:17

    DRUIN...make sure your iPhone doesn't get near your oven.

  • 12:36:19

    GILROYDon't bake your iPhone.

  • 12:36:21

    DRUINThat would be bad.

  • 12:36:22

    NNAMDIWell, let's go on to Bill. Let's talk about...

  • 12:36:25

    NNAMDIBill, let's talk about giving thanks -- a thanksgiving for technology, for people with disabilities.

  • 12:36:32

    HARLOWYeah. I thought this was a really cool article in The New York Times. They're focusing on one boy named Owen who was born with spinal muscular atrophy. So he's basically paralyzed, bedridden, can barely move and -- I recommend you watch the video, too, because it's pretty touching. And I can only imagine what it is must be like to have to deal with this as a parent and as a child himself. But they've struggled with various technologies. And one of the things that he took to was -- the nurse brought in her boyfriend's iPad and propped it up next to him. And Owen's arm was in a suspended sling, so he could sort of move and interact. And he's able to launch an app that would, you know, play music and make noises when he touched the screen. And probably the thing that does bring a tear to most people's eyes is when he even apparently used it to type a message to mom that said, I wanna be Han Solo for Halloween.

  • 12:37:19

    DRUINYeah. That's amazing.

  • 12:37:21

    NNAMDI800-433-8850 is the number to call if you'd like to join the conversation with the Computer Guys & Gal, or send us an e-mail to, or a tweet, @kojoshow. Let's talk about a different kind of turkey. John Gilroy, why do you say...

  • 12:37:37


  • 12:37:37

    GILROYWhat's that all about?

  • 12:37:39

    NNAMDIIt was a Freudian slip.

  • 12:37:41

    HARLOWIt wasn't even subtle, Kojo.

  • 12:37:42

    NNAMDIOr not.

  • 12:37:43


  • 12:37:43

    HARLOWSpeaking of turkeys, how you doing John?

  • 12:37:45

    NNAMDIWhy do you say geo-location may lead to bad things?

  • 12:37:50

    GILROYWell, if you look at these apps, I guess, you use an app for your phone to see if your turkey's done. (laugh) And a lot of apps are sneaking on phones. Many of these apps are in games. And what's happening is some of the newer apps are allowing geo identification to see where you're at.

  • 12:38:05


  • 12:38:05

    GILROYNow, if Kojo is at the local whisky bar, maybe he doesn't want his staff to know he's out there. (laugh) I mean, maybe there is some people at there that may not wanna know this. And I just don't like the whole idea of geolocation because it -- what's that movie with Tom Cruise in it?

  • 12:38:19

    NNAMDIYeah, that one.

  • 12:38:20

    GILROY"Minority Report."

  • 12:38:21

    DRUINOh, yeah.

  • 12:38:21

    GILROYAnd he'd walk down the street or something or in a mall, and the ads would change. Oh, here's a 35-year-old guy, he must like football. And then, Alison walked down and have a different ad for a car or something. And I just -- it doesn't sound good. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. It's just gives me the brave new world creeps.

  • 12:38:38

    NNAMDIWell, it gives something else of similar gives Kris the creeps. "I've noticed on my Android that the download apps want access to things like my location..."

  • 12:38:48


  • 12:38:48

    NNAMDI"...incoming calls and SD card. Is this dangerous?"

  • 12:38:52


  • 12:38:53

    GILROYI think so.

  • 12:38:54

    DRUINOh, stop. Warning. Warning.

  • 12:38:57

    NNAMDI"And I'm worried about getting a virus and charges that I didn't make for calls and services."

  • 12:39:01

    DRUINOh, that's terrible.

  • 12:39:02

    GILROYThere is this -- viruses aren't there yet. They're just mining that information.

  • 12:39:05

    DRUINNo, they're...

  • 12:39:05

    GILROYThey're coming though.

  • 12:39:05

    DRUINYeah, they're looking for your information.

  • 12:39:06

    HARLOWBetter believe it. With all the users out there, it's only a matter of time, I imagine.

  • 12:39:09


  • 12:39:09

    NNAMDIAnd, Bill, why is the upgrade to Apple's iLife and iPhoto '11 such a disappointment for you?

  • 12:39:16

    HARLOWWell, luckily not for me, personally, part of it because I just haven't bought it yet, but I plan to. A lot of users, you know, presumably in minority, but, you know, if this happen to me, I'd be very vocal about it. IPhoto '11 users, when they upgrade it, found that, in rare cases, they lost data. So, you know, if your iPhoto's got a lot of your precious memories, a lot important photos, kind of a big deal.

  • 12:39:37

    GILROYYour last trip to Europe, yeah.

  • 12:39:38

    HARLOWSo, yeah. I definitely would have to say that Apples are turkey for (laugh) that bug slipped through.

  • 12:39:43


  • 12:39:43

    HARLOWAnd, you know, luckily, there are some updates. So if you bought iPhoto '11 or iLife '11, if you'd say...

  • 12:39:48

    GILROYThey will send you back to Europe? (laugh)

  • 12:39:49

    HARLOW...make sure that, you know, after you install it, don't run it, you know. Check for software updates. Make sure you have the latest and greatest patch. And also, you have a backup, right? Because if not, you, sir, are also a turkey.

  • 12:39:58

    DRUINHmm. That's true.

  • 12:39:59

    GILROYMore turkeys.

  • 12:39:59

    NNAMDIHere is Lucas in Bethesda, Md., with a possible answer to a question that was raised earlier. Hi, Lucas...

  • 12:40:05


  • 12:40:05're on the air. Go ahead please.

  • 12:40:07

    DENNISHi, Kojo. I love your show. This is about the difference of the time drift between Mac and Windows. Basically, it goes back to the old differences between Windows and UNIX, you know, way back from the '70s, where UNIX systems, which Mac is based on or at least Apple OS X or OS X 10 is based on, they all set their clocks, actually not to your local, but to Greenwich Mean Time, whereas Windows sets its clocks to your local time. So whenever you reboot, it doesn't read your local time, at least Apple doesn't, it reads Greenwich Mean Time and then make some adjustment based on your time zone. I don't actually know how to fix that, but that's the reason that it does that.

  • 12:41:02

    NNAMDISounds reasonable to us, Lucas.

  • 12:41:04


  • 12:41:04

    HARLOWThanks for the background.

  • 12:41:05

    NNAMDIThank you for that background. We're gonna take a short break. When we come back, we will return to this conversation with the computer guys and gal. If you haven't called yet, it's not too late to vote. 800-433-8850 or go to our website,, make a comment or ask a question there. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:43:14

    NNAMDIBill Harlow is with us. He's a former Mac genius, now works on PCs and Macs with Mid-Atlantic Consulting. John Gilroy joins us in studio. He is director of business development at Also with us, Allison Druin, associate dean for research in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she also directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Together, they are the computer guys and gal.

  • 12:43:38

    NNAMDII'd like to read these two e-mails in a row. First, from Eric in Alexandria. "Okay, so here's an interesting thing I've been noticing. There have been a lot more questions about making my iPhone do this, my Mac do that. If Apple products are so wonderful, then why do you get so many questions about how they don't work as well as the user would like them to?

  • 12:43:57

    NNAMDII mean, come on. How much market share does Apple have compared to Windows? And the majority of the questions, yeah, I thought so." Here we got this e-mail from Brendan in Northwest D.C. on Brandywine Street 4000. "Four years ago, I bought an iMac with MAC OS X 10.4.11. This computer has served me well, but as of this weekend, I am furious with it...

  • 12:44:19


  • 12:44:19

    NNAMDI...and feel like I'm being shaken down. I purchased my wife a new iPod Nano. She was happy. I was happy. We hooked it up to the aforementioned iMac then my head exploded.

  • 12:44:30

    NNAMDIThe iPod told me that it would not operate without an updated version of iTunes version 10-point-something or other. In order to get that version of iTunes, I discovered I needed an entirely new version of Mac OS X. That will cost me at least $170. So I gave apple $179 of my hard-earned money to buy an iPod -- well, the money is not that hard-earned.

  • 12:44:53

    GILROYYeah, you work here.

  • 12:44:55

    NNAMDI-- now they tell me I need to spend $170 to be able to use the product even though I spent more than $1,000 on the computer just four short years ago. I've already opened the iPod, so I'm not even sure I can return it. And to add insult to injury, I discovered that this problem would not exist if I had bought a PC. Apparently, old PCs don’t have any of those limitations when it comes to new version of iTunes. Is there a solution for my problem that doesn't involve me hemorrhaging money or is this an example of Apple's approach to its products and its customers?"

  • 12:45:28

    HARLOWIt actually kind of is an example of their proto-think because they generally don't look back. I mean, Apple is a company that seems to be more about progress, and they care less about backward compatibility than Microsoft does. It's very important to them and their customers.

  • 12:45:39

    GILROYIt's never been the cheapest solution.

  • 12:45:40

    HARLOWNo. But...

  • 12:45:41

    DRUINNo. But, you know, four short years, that's not short.

  • 12:45:43

    GILROYYeah, that short years in computer terms...

  • 12:45:45

    DRUINThat's historic actually. You've got a historic piece of hardware there.

  • 12:45:49

    HARLOWAnd not to be snarky because I do feel for you, but, I mean, the system requirements are written on the box of the iPod, so...

  • 12:45:56

    GILROYBrendan's come storming in here with a stick you better be careful.

  • 12:45:57

    HARLOWYeah. Just double check that the next time before you open up your technology.

  • 12:46:01

    NNAMDIGive that man a pay raise, that's what I say. Here now...

  • 12:46:03


  • 12:46:04

    NNAMDIHere now is Dennis in Chevy Chase, Md. Dennis, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:46:09

    DENNISHi. I had an interesting problem, I was putting events into my calendar on my PC, and then took a trip to Thailand. I got back, and I've been synching with my iPhone the whole trip. I got back and the events had all shifted one day. And it was very curious, but I figured out that it had been because the time was measured differently on the two machines, just as one of your folks just talked about.

  • 12:46:39


  • 12:46:39

    NNAMDIWere you able to -- only the time had shifted. Your event had not disappeared completely. You did not wake up and not realize that you've been some place.

  • 12:46:48

    DENNISThat was because of it.

  • 12:46:50


  • 12:46:50


  • 12:46:50


  • 12:46:51

    NNAMDIHopefully, it wasn't your sentencing. (laugh) I'm sorry about that.

  • 12:46:55

    DRUINDenies. (laugh)

  • 12:46:56

    NNAMDIDennis, thank you very much... (laugh)

  • 12:46:58

    GILROYNice, nice...

  • 12:46:59

    NNAMDIDennis, thank you very much for sharing that with us.

  • 12:47:01

    DRUINKilled John with that one.

  • 12:47:01

    GILROYYou can't talk to the listeners like that. (laugh)

  • 12:47:04

    NNAMDII'm sorry, Dennis.

  • 12:47:06

    GILROYI can talk to the listeners like that. You can't. (laugh)

  • 12:47:08

    NNAMDIIt was John Gilroy who suggested I say that, actually.

  • 12:47:12

    DRUINOh, no, it's channeling time. (laugh)

  • 12:47:12

    NNAMDIThis e-mail we got from Pat in Leesburg, Va. "I have a very nice setup, a FiOS feeding high-end HDTV to a Samsung Blu-ray player. When I stream movies from Netflix, there are various levels of quality, none as nearly as good as broadcast 1080i or Blu-ray 1080p. Some are positively unwatchable. I'm assuming that this combination of the resolution of source material -- I'm assuming that this is a combination of the resolution of source material and compression technology. Could you discuss this? Will resolution improve, or is this as good as it will get in streaming?"

  • 12:47:50

    HARLOWI think it will get better in streaming. But right now, yeah, the top tier is Blu-ray. I mean, it's a massive amount of storage space, very little in the way of obvious compression at all. In a good TV that's well calibrated, it looks amazing. Then broadcast over-the-air HDTV usually looks really good. It's not as compressed -- it's compressed, but not as bad as what you might get over some cable or satellite providers. And then a tier below that would be your streaming online content for the most part. Netflix, until very, very recently, I think they maxed out at 720p stereo. Now they're offering 1080p 5.1 for PlayStation only.

  • 12:48:24

    HARLOWAnd finally, Netflix will adjust the quality based on network factor. So, you know, let's say you've got other people in the house and they're downloading software updates or watching HD video on YouTube, that's gonna cut into some of that bandwidth, even with FiOS. It could affect the quality of your streaming. And also if you're on Wi-Fi, maybe you're, you know, at the limits or it's a slower Wi-Fi router and therefore you're not getting as much reliable bandwidth to that Samsung player as you might be expecting.

  • 12:48:49

    GILROYA lot of bottlenecks.

  • 12:48:50

    HARLOWA lot -- yeah, a lot of potential bottleneck, a lot of stuff to look at.

  • 12:48:52

    DRUINIt's at the bleeding edge. That's the problem.

  • 12:48:56

    NNAMDIOn to the telephones again. Here's Brian in Rockville, Md. Brian, who might have some assistance for the aforementioned Brendan. Brian, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:49:06

    BRIANHello, Kojo and thank you. I just wanted to take a little issue with the comment about four short years. So Brendan, though, my advice is to try a competing brand of portable music player. That's the biggest thing...

  • 12:49:20

    NNAMDIIt is already but the iPod.

  • 12:49:23

    BRIANWell, I just wanted to say that, you know, I'm an extreme case, but I'm running my main desktop on a machine I bought used in 2004. If you know how to run an alternative software such as Ubuntu, you can really extend the life of your machine, sure. I would also consider it slow, but you can save a lot of money doing that and get off the upgrade treadmill.

  • 12:49:44

    NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for sharing that with us, Brian. John Gilroy, you have a note here saying, beware the wrath of a scorned millionaire, Steven Jobs.

  • 12:49:54

    GILROYOur nice, easygoing friend, Steven Jobs, was talking about the competition. And, boy, did he let loose. I mean, maybe that surgery had -- all the drugs he took or something kind of off. He is really going to town on some of these comments. Now, Allison probably says there's some bloody-some comments. But he's looking at the competition and saying, you know, it's too small. He said, hey, look at this competition, maybe referring to the Samsung. Then he gets some sandpaper to sandpaper your fingers so you can use the keyboard with this. I mean, come on, rich guy. Let's be a little more reasonable here. But he's not letting up. He's, you know, going full speed going after everyone. He dominates the market, and it's not enough.

  • 12:50:29

    HARLOWMust be the first time a CEO has ever disparaged his competition. This is news.

  • 12:50:31

    DRUINI'm so sure. I'm so sure. He just says more pithy things.

  • 12:50:35

    GILROYDon't you remember the movie "Chinatown" where they turned to the guy and said, how much money can you possibly have? How many lunches can you eat? How many -- how much market can you dominate? But he's not giving up. So he was not a very nice person describing his competitors. And we don't even know what the competitors are gonna have. We'll know by Christmas and...

  • 12:50:49

    DRUINBut he's -- in a way, he's talking about things as if it's religion. I mean, because what he really is talking about...

  • 12:50:54

    HARLOWIt used to be -- it is a religion, I think.

  • 12:50:55

    DRUINIt used to be -- he truly believes that, you know, you are supposed to design for people and for the way people are supposed to work. Now, granted it is supposed to make him a lot of money, but we...

  • 12:51:06

    GILROY(laugh) A coincidence.

  • 12:51:07

    DRUINNo, but we have done -- we ourselves have done research in the size of icons, what the size of icons need to be. And let me tell you...

  • 12:51:13

    GILROYThat's University of Maryland. University of Maryland. We -- yeah.

  • 12:51:15

    NNAMDISome of us are Jewish, some of us are Christian, some of us are Muslim.

  • 12:51:17

    DRUINAh, so true.

  • 12:51:18

    NNAMDIBill Harlow worships at the shrine of usability.

  • 12:51:21


  • 12:51:21

    DRUINYeah, exactly. But you really do need a larger screen, real estate and larger icons, okay?

  • 12:51:27

    NNAMDIOne thing you need to know about Allison Druin's life and her new job, her life and...

  • 12:51:32

    GILROYWe all wanna know.

  • 12:51:32

    NNAMDIHer life has changed significantly. Her new job involves a whole lot of meetings. Tells us how you've been...

  • 12:51:39

    GILROYWe could use your time.

  • 12:51:40

    NNAMDI...handling these meetings that involve, apparently, 10 people in different locations at different places and different times?

  • 12:51:46

    DRUINWell, okay. In honor of Election Day, I pointed out that actually the way I do an awful lot of polling is for meetings. It turns out -- I had this epiphany, actually, just a few weeks ago when one of the vice president's assistant sent out a question to about 10 of us that said, so and so vice president would like a meeting with you all. Here's when she can meet with you. And (laugh) we were all looking at this e-mail. And you could tell from the e-mail it's coming back, saying, I can't do that. I can't do that. So I realized I've gotten so used to people putting out either what one calls doodle polls or basically voting buttons in Outlook that I had just assumed somebody would just give me options and we all vote and then we decide.

  • 12:52:36

    DRUINIt was shocking to me. So I realized, wow, I'm gonna have to get used to this new group of people I'm working with. So anyway, but actually, I have to say that the Outlook voting buttons is very good and -- if you're using Outlook and everybody else is using Outlook. But if you're not using Outlook, something called Doodle polls where it's very visual, it's very simple. It's on the Web. And you can just, you know, give people a range of times and days that you wanted to see if they're around, and you can visually see very quickly, you know, op, there's the line of all the Greens that everybody can make. Okay, that's what we're gonna do. And it really works out well, except -- okay, my assistant said to me, there's a little problem here, Allison. If they wait too long on the Doodle poll, you're completely filled in 24 hours.

  • 12:53:22

    DRUINSo that's a problem.

  • 12:53:22

    NNAMDIAnd you should know John Gilroy dozed off when you used the word meeting.

  • 12:53:26

    NNAMDIHe fell asleep completely.

  • 12:53:27

    GILROYWell, actually, early in the show you said PowerPoint, I started to sleep.

  • 12:53:30

    GILROYWith the meeting, I went in a deeper sleep.

  • 12:53:33

    NNAMDIAnd then at Epiphany, he was gone completely.

  • 12:53:35

    GILROYOh, yeah.

  • 12:53:35

    NNAMDIHere's Mike in Washington, D.C. Mike, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:53:39

    MIKEHey, I'm tired of being forced to use delivery service like AT&T, specifically, but I'm tired of buying a cool product that I really wanna use and being forced. Who do I need to talk to and vote in or out of office to make this change?

  • 12:53:56

    NNAMDISo that you won't be dependent with your iPhone on AT&T?

  • 12:54:00

    MIKEYep. Or any of the other software things that come out. Right now, the big one is the iPad and the iPhone on AT&T. But it happens every once in a while where a great a new product comes out, but you have to use this service, which really has nothing to do with the product.

  • 12:54:14

    NNAMDIThe issue of untethering. I vote for Allison Druin. (laugh)

  • 12:54:18

    DRUINThank you. I wish you could vote any number of these CEOs out of office. It would really be very interesting.

  • 12:54:24

    HARLOWI'll go with this, vote with your dollar and buy something else.

  • 12:54:26

    DRUINWell, that's the thing is that if you vote with your dollar, you're telling them that's not good enough. The problem is an awful lot of people voted with their dollars to say, it's okay. We'll live with it.

  • 12:54:35

    GILROYMike, Apple has $51 billion in the bank. They're doing something right.

  • 12:54:39


  • 12:54:39

    GILROYAnd if they have to step on your toes...

  • 12:54:39


  • 12:54:41

    GILROY...they don't care and Steven Jobs doesn't care.

  • 12:54:41

    MIKEBut if you're paying attention to the scuttlebutt about iPads and iPhones, it seems like some of the biggest arguments are the AT&T Network.

  • 12:54:51

    DRUINYes. And actually...

  • 12:54:52

    NNAMDIFor those of us who still humbly use it as a phone, yes.

  • 12:54:55

    HARLOWWell, yes. That's interesting, too, because a lot of people, you know, who don't wanna use...

  • 12:54:57

    MIKEWhat's a phone?

  • 12:55:00

    NNAMDIExactly right.

  • 12:55:00

    MIKESkype, Skype.

  • 12:55:02

    HARLOWBut a lot of people use the iPad or even looking at things like, you know, those MyFi routers from, you know, people like Sprint or Virgin or from Verizon.

  • 12:55:08

    DRUINYes. Yes.

  • 12:55:08

    HARLOWYou know, use that and just get a basic Wi-Fi iPad and skip the network lock-in entirely.

  • 12:55:14

    GILROYBut, you know, Mike, in the NFL, they say you can't argue success if you have a winning record doing something right. The same thing with Steven Jobs. He's got a whole bunch of money in the bank. He wins.

  • 12:55:22


  • 12:55:22

    GILROYAnd so people like maybe you or me or Bill or Allison complain about that, we're chump change. Who cares? He's got this big huge tsunami of money coming out. I mean, he's doing something right.

  • 12:55:31

    HARLOWRight. I'll complain about a dropped call, but I have an iPhone. So there you go.

  • 12:55:34

    NNAMDIOne day, Mike, we will be untethered. Here is Al in Falls Church, Va. Al, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Hi.

  • 12:55:42

    ALHi. I have a crazy question. All my sent e-mails on Outlook are dated in the future.

  • 12:55:51

    GILROYYou may be in a time warp as they say.

  • 12:55:54

    NNAMDIAll of your sent e-mails on Outlook are dated in the future?

  • 12:56:00

    ALAnd another thing, when I use Word, every once in a while when I close it, I get something that says about global template.

  • 12:56:11

    GILROYA normal .doc template?

  • 12:56:14


  • 12:56:14


  • 12:56:15

    NNAMDIDid this start on Sunday, by any chance...

  • 12:56:16


  • 12:56:18

    NNAMDI...on Halloween?

  • 12:56:18

    ALI'm sorry.

  • 12:56:21

    GILROYDid it start on Halloween?

  • 12:56:21

    NNAMDIDo you have -- start having this problem on Halloween?

  • 12:56:24

    GILROYKojo is trying to be funny.

  • 12:56:26

    NNAMDIWith not much success here.

  • 12:56:27

    GILROYYou know, normally on Windows machine like this, back in the days of hard drives, you'd have a hard drive with all kinds different files on there and sometimes those files would be subject to power variations, static electricity, the phases of the moon, maybe even goblins and ghost. And you could have something that you may need to run a disk compare utility here. I mean, it looks like some file is not operating correctly. So what I would do is find one of the disk compare utilities on the Internet. You could probably download 10 of them in the next 10 minutes, and run those and see if that solves the problem. Something that's just basic and simple. It's usually just a garbled or scrambled file. And I'd do that first.

  • 12:57:07

    GILROYAnd then secondly, I would take in -- take your specifics and go to Google machine and find out what's going on. There's got to be some person in Utah or San Diego have exact same thing and they'd share the solutions. I had a problem on Sunday morning with 2010 Word and had the answer in 30 seconds in the Internet. So computer guys are good, Google's better. And -- but I would start with maybe straightening up your hard drive and cleaning out the cache and just doing basic 123 utilities in your hard drive.

  • 12:57:37

    NNAMDIAl, thank you very much for your call. We're just about out of time except for this quick thing. Bill, does sim racing translate to real racing?

  • 12:57:44

    HARLOWI thought this was really cool. This Finnish man...

  • 12:57:48

    NNAMDITwenty seconds.

  • 12:57:48

    HARLOWGreger Huttu. So he raises online, dominates online racing. And we know these are hardcore sims of real physics. Guys at Top Gear flew him to Road Atlanta, put him in a real race car, see how he can do. Did pretty well. Has the -- all the instincts. He's fast. But 30 years old, you know, plays computer games, doesn't have the athlete's body to really pull it off unfortunately.

  • 12:58:07

    GILROYSo the Finn couldn't finish.

  • 12:58:08

    NNAMDICan we...

  • 12:58:09

    DRUINOh, man. (laugh)

  • 12:58:11

    NNAMDIJohn Gilroy is director of business development at

  • 12:58:14

    HARLOWDirector of bad jokes.

  • 12:58:15

    NNAMDIBill Harlow is a former Mac genius, now works on PCs and Macs with Mid-Atlantic Consulting, Inc. Allison Druin is associate dean for research in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she also direct the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Together, they're the computer guys and gal. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

Topics + Tags


comments powered by Disqus
Most Recent Shows

The Politics Hour – October 20, 2017

Friday, Oct 20 2017Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy discusses his efforts to address gang violence. Plus, D.C. Councilmember Trayon White joins us to recap the "grocery march" protesting food deserts east of the Anacostia River.