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This Week in - THE ISSUE

By Tony Pittman - @tonypittman - http://twitter.com/tonypittman On April 17, 2010, This Week in Tech chief, Leo Laporte expressed  concerns about colleague, and friend, Jason Calacanis' push to rapidly develop and grow his own podcast network site, titled "This Week In".   Leo runs a very successful podcasting network, based on the flagship show entitled "This Week in Tech".  The address for the network's website is http://TWIT.TV .  Jason has been a guest on Leo's network many times.  In fact, I hadn't even heard of Jason Calacanis until he started appearing on TWiT.

Not many would argue that "This Week in..." prompts those in the technology media space to think of Leo's flagship show and his network.  Still, Leo did acknowledge that he does not own the "This Week In" trademark.  In fact, he has made reference to "borrowing" it from a show about baseball.

So, when Jason, a friend and colleague of Leo, came and asked about doing some shows that carried the title "This Week In..." in front of them, Leo allegedly said "yes".  I believe Jason started out doing "This Week in Startups", a show about how to start up new tech ventures - a topic not too similar to what is normally covered on Leo's TWiT network. So, things were going swimmingly, it seems, until Jason took things too far and started launching This Week In shows that got more and more similar top topics covered by Leo, including "This Week In Android", "This Week In iPad", and "This Week In Gadgets".

To me, the analogy  is like a good friend or relative asking if they can borrow your car.  In most cases, the answer would be "yes".  But, if a friend was to ask me to borrow the car, and then take my "yes" as clearance for them to drive it on a 3,000 mile cross-country excursion (taking advantage of my openness and trust), then I would have a major issue.

So, I feel for Leo in this situation.  Does Jason have the legal right to do what he did?  It appears so.  Should he have done it? I don't think so.  Personally, I don't think he should have even asked Leo about the use of "This Week In", putting Leo in the position of having to tell a friend and colleague "no, don't do that".

Disclaimer: I don't know Leo or Jason personally.  This position is based entirely on outside observation. Jason defends his position here.

Leo Laporte Explains The Future of Mass Media

Leo Laporte is a pioneer in the new media space.  He is the founder of the very popluar TWiT (This Week in Tech) online network. In a talk he recently gave to the Online News Association, he explains the future of new media.

Get _ Unbiased Tech News Coverage?

This one is a tall order.  We've all heard the big networks spin the fact that they are providing "Fair and Balanced" coverage and "No Bias, No Bull" reporting.  Sure. Right. Well, in the world of technology, is it reasonable to expect otherwise?  Real, unbiased news? I don't think so.

For example, I love what the guys at TWIT.tv are doing.  The TWIT network is probably the biggest, most impactful next-generation "network" online.  But can we say it is unbiased?  Not in my opinion.  But, is that all bad?

Here is one example of why I make this assertion:

In a recent LA Times news post, TWIT founder Leo Laporte shared his thoughts about Twitter, the social media phenomenon.  Author David Sarno writes "The more he [Leo] talked about Twitter on his show, the more followers he accrued — and the more publicity he gave his brand rival."  Then he quotes Leo as saying " 'I thought, jeez, I’m building value in this company that is ultimately vying for my trademark,' he said recently via phone. 'So I left.' "

So, here is the point.  When we listen to or read news, even tech news, is it reasonable to think we can be getting an unbiased view?  I'm not picking on Leo and TWIT - his position makes a lot of business sense.  But, given such a position, there is clearly bias involved.  In fact, one of the reasons I like TWIT is because I like hearing the contributors voice their biases and have good, solid debate on the tech issues.  Without bias, it would just be boring!

Comments?

This post by Tony Pittman - tony@getthenext.com

Get The Next _ Amazon Kindle

kindles2

"To Kindle or not to Kindle?" - that is not the question.  The question is: "Is Amazon's new Kindle (generation 2) the one to get?"

Some, including Leo Laporte, are predicting that the Kindle will do the same thing to hard copy media that the iPod did to music. That is, the Kindle may be a tremendous game changer when it comes to how we consume the written word.  The Kindle is indeed compelling.  It's not just another e-book reader - the Kindle does much more.  It comes with an embedded wireless connection to Sprint's wireless network (US Only), and you don't pay a thing to stay connected. You can then shop either on the device itself or on Amazon's site.  As you buy books and/or subscribe to newspapers and magazines, your content is sent wirelessly to your Kindle within minutes.  It's that easy. So, with the Kindle, you can carry around hundreds of your favorite publications in one nice, neat, small package. 

If you are an avid reader, I'd say the Kindle is a must.  The amount you save on book purchases alone will justify the Kindle's pricetag ($359).  For example, I recently went to a local bookstore to pick up a book on programming.  The price at the store: $44.99.  The price to buy the book on my Kindle: $26.99.  I bought the book on the Kindle.

Now, there are some tradeoffs.  For certain books, it's great to be able to flip paper pages back and forth quickly, for example.  But, overall, the Kindle seems to win out for me in many cases.  It is just so easy to buy the content, and the reading experience is really very good.

Now, when it comes to Kindle 1 vs. Kindle 2, existing Kindle owners have a question (new owners will have to go with the Kindle 2 unless you can get your hands on a used unit). For me personally, the original Kindle is quite good (not perfect), and while the Kindle 2 offers some enhancements, it may not be worth the full upgrade price.  It has a faster wireless connection.  It's buttons seem to be better placed (reducing accidental page flips), and Amazon claims better battery life.  Still, I am still very happy with the original Kindle.

The bottom line is: if you like to read books and newspapers, the  Kindle is probably a device you will want to pick up.  The convenience of being able to buy written content quickly and easily is huge.  And, you can carry so much with you at one time - much easier than carrying a stack of books.  Amazon certainly has a winner on its hands with the Kindle platform.

This post by Tony Pittman - tony@getthenext.com

Get The Next _ Great iPhone App: twit.am

For fans of Leo Laporte's TWiT (This Week in Tech) network, the twit. am application is truly a lifesaver. It lets you listen to live TWiT audio almost anywhere.  The application runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and it works over WiFi, 3G, or even EDGE networks.  And, best of all, it's FREE and available via Apple's iTunes App Store.

twitamphoto

As of this writing, the latest version of twit.am features an upgraded user interface (shown above).  The application allows you to see the TWiT broadcast schedule, and it also integrates live IRC chat so that you can interact with show cast members as well as the large crowd of other listners gathered in the chat room.  twit.am is a clear example of where new media is going. 

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, twit.am is a must.  Of course, you'll also find that the TWiT network itself is a must for all of you looking to stay up to speed on the latest in tech. 

If you like twit.am, be sure to check into the IRC chat room and thank Houdini7.  He is the very capable author of twit.am, and we thank him for his efforts. 

This post by Tony Pittman - tony@getthenext.com