Features Opinion Programming and Podcasts

Revision3 Cuts Shows: Internet Superstar, Pixel Perfect, popSiren Among the Axed

revision3 logo

It’s a sad but sobering reminder that even the venerable Revision3 is a business; a network that has to make money and earn the keep of the shows that they produce on a regular basis. If the shows don’t manage to find an audience or don’t bring in the sponsorship revenue to make them worth producing, they’ve got to go, like any TV network and their TV shows.

Of course, those of us who have been around TechTV Forever for a while are accustomed to this; we know the dissapointment of losing some of our favorite shows, so the announcement comes with a little pain.

So Jim Louderback announced on the Revision3 blog today (courtesy of my colleagues at AppScout):

We’ve had a number of great successes here at Revision3, including Diggnation, Tekzilla and The Totally Rad Show. But not everything pans out. Just as in the past, when we ended shows that just weren’t building audiences or driving revenue, we had to make changes. As you may have heard, today we had to make some tough staffing decisions as we ended the run of a few of our shows.

For our long-running Photoshop show Pixel Perfect, it’s the end of a show that’s done over a hundred episodes, and delivered essentially a graduate level course in graphic design and technique. For PopSiren and Internet Superstar, it’s the end of 2 shows that had great promise, but never really found their audience.

For two of the shows, we’re simply stopping our distribution agreement, but the shows will live on. You’ll still be able to watch Epic Fu, and Wine Library, both at their own sites, and through new and existing distribution partnerships. Epic Fu will be available on Revision3 through mid December, Wine Library ends its Revision3 run today. We remain huge fans of these two shows, even though they don’t fit our long-term plans at Revision3.

All past episodes of these shows, as well as all other shows no longer in production, will still be available for download from in our show archives.

Well that sucks. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Our good friend Bert Monroy will sadly go by the wayside, but admittedly Pixel Perfect had more then run its course. I’m sure it won’t the be the last we hear from him – I’m certain that he’ll make an appearance on episodes of Tekzilla or Systm when Photoshop tips are called for.

Internet’s Martin Sargent knows what it’s like to be cancelled. Over, and over, and over, and over again. It really really sucks that Internet Superstar didn’t get much traction, but frankly, I think they spread themselves a little too thin by producing too many episodes – doesn’t hurt that they all but ran out of superstars to interview and wound up interviewing anyone who got a 5-star funny video on YouTube after a while. Still, it’s really really sad to see the show go, and Martin – as always – will be sorely missed. Martin: we salute you.

popSiren is another show that’s sad to see go: the show was supposed to be for the modern geek girl, the technologically inclined intelligent woman who defied the “ew computers” stereotype. There are plenty of ladies like that out there, I’m just saddened that they didn’t find popSiren – I think popSiren was just light-years ahead of it’s time.

Like Jim said, for Epic Fu and Wine Library, they just won’t be part of the Revision3 network anymore. That’s something of a shame; I myself hadn’t even gotten around to giving Epic Fu a fair shake, and I’d been meaning to subscribe to Wine Library, but maybe it just didn’t resonate with the tech-heavy audience at Revision3. That being said, both shows are already immensely popular, and their fans will follow them both wherever they go. Just because they won’t be syndicated at Revision3 doesn’t mean the shows are over, so look them up either in the iTunes podcast directory or at their respective sites and subscribe directly:

[ Epic Fu | Wine Library ]

If this feels familiar to the old timers around here, it should – but at least this time it’s not cutting off your nose to spite your face; it’s trimming the fat to keep the meat healthy. A number of the commenters over at Revision3 are absolutely furious with the news, and are screaming with vitrol and anger that I haven’t seen since well – since the times that spawned this blog. That being said, I’m with everyone who’s dissapointed to see the shows go, but I don’t think this is the end-all-be-all of Revision3. Traffic doesn’t lie, subscriptions and downloads don’t lie, but anecdotal preferences do. One incredibly passionate Internet Superstar download doesn’t equal the hundreds that may be needed to keep up with the other shows.

With the farm leagues running strong at Revision3 Beta, there’s doubtlessly more shows on the way, and only so many resources to go around. Here’s hoping some of the shows coming out of beta will match the ones being sunset!

Opinion Programming and Podcasts TWIT Archive

The End of TWiT?

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This Week in Tech, the TWIT network’s flagship podcast, is going on hiatus for the next two weeks, apparently this week because it was too nice outside to do a podcast and next week because Leo’s away on a Geek Cruise. Leo claims in a post at the TWiT website that This Week in Tech is on life support and that the heart monitor is flatlining; more specifically:

It’s about 80 degrees out – in all likelyhood the last nice day of summer in Northern California – so all the TWiTs decided to play hookey. At the same time. Unfortunately that means there will be no show tonight.

It’s my turn to play hookey next week. I’m off on a Geek Cruise next Friday, and will be gone through November 4, so there will be no TWiT next week either.

I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.

You can read the whole post (I only left out the last paragraph where he says he’ll put up This Week in Law in TWiT’s feed this week) here.

I have mixed feelings about this. Personally I’d miss TWiT if it were gone, I think it’s one of the few podcasts that I really really look forward to every week, and without it the TWiT network would kind of be adrift without a flagship podcast to really bring a large number of its audience back to TWIT every week to listen. The majority-if not all-of the listeners to the other TWiT podcasts, like MacBreak, Windows Weekly, MacBreak Weekly, DailyGizWiz, This Week in Media, and Security Now! all came to those podcasts because of TWiT, and it would be incredibly sad and a significant loss to see it go. Most of the listening and podcast world seems to agree with me, and the inevitably rallying cry has gone out to Save TWiT.

At the same time, I think Leo needs to loosen the reins a bit, and give up on drumming up support via controversy. I think the whole “netcast” v. “podcast” thing was a starter, inadvertant as it might have been, where a rather silly (in my opinion) distinction turned into an massive rallying cry against essentially nothing-a powerhouse cure for a disease that hasn’t struck anyone yet, and I think that this kind of rallying of the troops in the name of controversy is a little tiring. I stop just short of insinuating malice or ego, I don’t think it’s nearly that bad, but I do think that Leo couldn’t possibly have thought the reaction to his comments about TWiT, which seem to the rest of us to be coming out of the blue (no one Leo, NO ONE, thought that TWiT was on life support until you said so. Maybe the other panelists thought so, but none of your listening public thought so, so I don’t see where that’s coming from-and I’m very certain that it’s not on life support by way of lack of listeners or listener input) would have been any different than the outcry he’s seeing.

Why is he saying what he’s saying now? Maybe the other TWiT network podcasts need attention. Maybe he’s just burnt out and wants to do something different and is tired of TWiT. Maybe all the TWiTs are tired of TWiT. That could all be very true, by why not say that, instead of being ambiguous? I don’t know.

Personally, if Leo let TWiT happen without him, a little in the way that MacBreak and MacBreak weekly happen without him, and now how This Week in Law happens without him, we might see the show pick back up on its own: I’ve thought this from the TechTV days: Leo-you don’t have to have your hand in EVERYTHING. Relax and listen to your own network sometimes, it’s pretty good what you’ve done-you can let this bird fly a little now.

Either way, I really don’t want to see a stellar podcast like TWiT go down the proverbial tubes (not at all like a truck) because the stars are tired. Bring in some other names, cover some other topics, or divest the podcast to some of your biggest fans and listening public. Every one of the core TWiTs has another podcast presence somewhere-how about some new blood? I’m particularly fond of Cory Doctorow’s appearances, and Lawrence Lessig’s appearances, not to discount my favorite panelists like Patrick Norton, David Prager, and John C Dvorak, but I can see why they might be getting burnt out, and I can certainly see why Leo might be getting burnt out.

But still, Leo, please, let it go a little and don’t be scared to change the show before scrapping it, picking up your ball, and going home.

Opinion People

The Province Interviews Andy Walker!

The Province, part of the network, recently interviewed Andy Walker about the eventual expansion of hacking attacks and malicious code from the desktop PC to PDAs, cellphones, and even other handheld devices like portable music players like Apple’s iPod. Andy explains that something of a “perfect storm” is brewing in the IT security world, where malicious hackers are learning more and more to target a wider swath of technology devices, from the up-to-recently considered mostly safe Apple Macintosh computer to, eventually, cellphones, PDAs, and Blackberrys that also carry information and data that could be very valuable to attackers.

He points out that the future might not even be so malicious; that downloading content to your portable music or video player might give way to you recieving spam or adware, and that specifically Apple should be more careful when it comes to security, focusing mostly on the ubiquitousness of the iPod as a portable digital device that could be targeted.

What do you think? Is Andy on point about future security risks or is he way off base and barking up the wrong tree? Let us know in the comments!

[ The Province :: Hackers Aiming at All Computer Devices ]


Hilarious G4 Spoof Ad

Found over at the TechTV Forever Yahoogroup [ ] the famous John Highway, of I Heart Morgan Webb fame [ ] found this following spoof ad for G4 television that’s not only hilarious, but probably true:

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Opinion TechNews Bytes

Copyright Crackdown

In an attempt to further erode your rights and encroach on the realm of fair use, the music industry is sinking more money into preventing you from using your own music that you’ve bought and paid for the way you’d like to use it instead of sinking more money into finding oh, I don’t know, actual talent or new music that will invigorate their industry. A textbook example of an industry that has absolutely no problems with beating the dead horse that is their customer base (namely because that customer base simply won’t stand up for themselves and make a statement back at the music industry) has made another move indicating that they’ll either sue you, infringe on your rights, take your money, or perhaps all three, is now introducing new technology on music CDs that is designed to limit the number of copies of the CD you can make, and will get in the way of you putting your freshly bought tunes on your favorite mp3 player.

Yes, you heard me right-you bought the music, it’s yours-or is it? Not if the music industry has anything to say about it. They’re fighting tooth and nail to retain as much control over how you use the music as possible, what you do with it, how you listen to it, where you listen to it, and how, if at all, you share it with other listeners. Sony BMG and EMI are the first to introduce this technology (which isn’t specifically surprising in itself) and Sony’s technology specifically targets the iPod in order to limit your ability to rip your Sony-owned artist’s tunes to the ever-popular iPod, without specifically requesting a workaround from them. The usual arguments are already stirring; what is fair use, what rights do you have, how do you get around this technology (and it really is only a matter of time before its cracked), and more, but in reality this leads to a larger question-how far can the entertainment industry go on walking into your living room and telling you how to enjoy the product they sold you, and how much do you own it?

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Opinion TechNews Bytes

Ground Rules for the Windows-Macintosh War

Not my opinion this time, but I have to say that David Pogue does bring up some really amusing (and all too true) points with this article. I for one try to stay out of this particular battle altogether: I use a Macintosh at work (by choice, I have a PC available) and a PC at home (also by choice, I have an old powerbook I could use if I wanted to), so I tend to think that both PCs and Macintoshes are good for anyone who would want them and they’re equally good for most things, so there’s no point in debating at all. Pogue however, admits there’s a debate, and sets a few valuable ground rules for making the discussion as productive as it possibly can be.

Check it out:
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Opinion TechNews Bytes

Keeping our Eyes on the Prize

I was literally shocked when I found out that the outstanding documentary Eyes on the Prize, that chronicles the struggle for civil rights regardless of race in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, could not be redistributed or shown again because the copyright licenses that the filmmakers had to show much of the footage of marches, rallies, atrocities, and interviews had expired, and there were no plans to renew them. Why? The Downhill Battle website [ ] explains:

“So why has Eyes on the Prize been unavailable for the past 10 years? Copyright restrictions. For example, the film includes footage of a group of people singing “Happy Birthday” to Martin Luther King. Incredibly, “Happy Birthday” is under copyright and some rights holders believe that they should be given licensing fees if the song appears in any film, even a documentary. (Yes that’s correct, “Happy Birthday” is restricted under copyright–so if you’ve ever sung it in a restaurant or a park, you could literally be breaking the law.)

But “Happy Birthday” is just the beginning. Eyes on the Prize is made up of news footage, photographs, songs and lyrics from the Civil Rights Movement that are tangled up in a web of licensing restrictions. Many of these licenses had expired by 1995 and the film’s production company, Blackside, could not afford the exorbitant costs of renewing them. “Eyes on the Prize” has been unavailable to the public ever since.”

Well then. Angry yet? Eyes on the Prize is widely regarded as the single best and most influential documentary on the civil rights movement ever made. Aging VHS tapes are the only remnant of the fine film, and all teachers have left to educate young people of the brave actions of their parents, grandparents, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Sadly, without it, it is a very real threat that the memory of the civil rights movement may pass from recent history into that “way back when” time that children rarely attempt to occupy their minds with.

So get involved; Wired News breaks the news gently here:
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and download the movie, organize a screening, get involved here:
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Opinion TechNews Bytes

Communism and Copyright Reform

That’s right. I’m behind the pack on this one, but it was a decent story to bring to the table anyway. Bill Gates called people in favor of reforming copyright laws “communists,” or more precisely,

“No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist,”

In an interview with back in early January. Well. Hooty-hoo to you too, Mr. I’m-so-rich-if-it’s-not-public-domain-I’ll-just-buy-it-if-I-want-it. Not all of us can afford to just pay the royalties for the footage from the Civil Rights Documentary Eyes on the Prize if we want to learn about the historical struggle for civil rights independant of race in the United States. Regardless, I’m not the only one who’s take a little bit of offense to Bill Gates’ commentary, and there was a flurry of merchandise and t-shirts embodying the new “communist” lifestyle. One thing is for sure though-while Bill is up there buying all the houses on his block so he doesn’t have to hear a neighbor cutting his lawn or a dog barking, the rest of us have the real world to deal with, and it goes to show how out of touch the software mogul really is with the rest of the world.

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Opinion Programming and Podcasts

G4TechTV Switches Name Back to G4

In a press release earlier today, G4 finally stopped kidding itself (and us for that matter) and formally announced it’s name as G4 – Video Game Television. It’s a move that everyone expected from the getgo, finally putting the last nail in the coffin that holds the fond memories we all remember as TechTV, and signing away any hopes that G4 would hang on to any of the technology they absorbed during the merger.

Considering the only programming left from the TechTV side of the merger at this point are The Screen Savers, XPlay and Anime Unleashed, and even holdouts like Robot Wars reruns and Future Fighting Machines got canned, this shouldn’t really surprise anyone, but it’s still saddening to see this kind of corporate deception at work, and to see exactly how deeply the lies told during the merger extend.

The press release: [ ]

So where to go from here? Well, the majority of the press release discusses Forumla D, a racing show apparently, and Girls Gone Wired, an idea stolen shamelessly from Unscrewed that apparently they decided deserved it’s own entire show when Unscrewed for some unknown reason, did not. Here’s hoping that he name TechTV gets shopped around and hopefully bought, and someone else decides to put some technology programming on television, but it’s more likely that Comcast will just sit on the rights for spite’s sake.

And what about TSS and X-Play? And even Anime Unleashed? Well, Anime Unleashed probably won’t go anywhere-they’ll try to compete with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and Toonami and they’ll try to stay in the game against Anime Network and other anime-airing networks; although it remains to be seen if they’ll invest in new Anime licenses. TSS? Well, it’s only a matter of time before they shelve it entirely. Viewership is plummeting and no one’s interested anymore-they can’t even create a decent in-game flash mob or bring down a site when they mention it on air anymore, even though it’s better now than it was after the merger. And X-Play? Still the channel’s flagship ratings cow, it probably won’t go anywhere in the near future.

But these are all just my predictions, and as always, I could be very wrong.