The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microsoft's 30-gigabyte Zune player was hit by a calendar bug that meant it couldn't handle the leap year properly. Microsoft now has four years to come up with a fix before the next time this problem rolls around...but anyone who ponied up enough cash for a 30-gigabyte MP3 player probably expected a little more than this.
Among the open-source programs Brian has intended to try out is Juice, which is a cross-platform receiver for podcasts. We haven't tested it out yet, so your mileage may vary/use it at your own risk, but it looks promising. And if it lets you listen to the Wise Guys podcast, then it's a good deal.
Wired Magazine has named its top ten tech breakthroughs of 2008. The best of the best: Flexible displays, edible computer chips, and the rise of flash memory.
If you're tired of elections here, imagine living in Canada, where they're trying to avoid having two elections within six months. Countries with parliaments tend to have constant campaigning.
Google 411 is what we might call a transitional technology -- for now, it has potential to be useful for people who want to look something up but don't have Internet access conveniently available. But it's unlikely to last long, as smartphones (phones with built-in Internet access) become the standard and replace plain-vanilla mobile phones. We'd expect most people to be on smartphones within three or four years.
A caller wanted to know how to duplicate his commercial DVDs so that he'd have backups in case the originals were broken. Our advice: Don't. First of all, you'll have lots of trouble dealing with digital rights management. Second of all, you'll waste lots of precious time, since commercial DVDs are manufactured through a different process than the DVDs you make at home. The commercial process results in a DVD that will last longer than the one you make at home, anyway. Besides, anything you can buy now is almost certain to become available later on -- the catalog of available titles is growing all the time, not shrinking. Case in point: You couldn't buy copies of "WKRP in Cincinnati" on VHS, but you can get them now on DVD. And it's Brian's prediction that in five to ten years, we'll get most of our movies and videos via flash memory, rather than DVD. The cost of flash memory is falling rapidly, and it's a more convenient (and unscratchable) medium than the disc.
Another worthwhile question went something like this: What's the best way to save old VHS tapes to DVD? There are two approaches you could take:
- Dan recommends using a program that allows you to play VHS tapes and store the video to your computer's hard drive. From there, you can edit the videos however you like, burn them to DVD, and store backups, on portable hard drives or elsewhere.
- Brian endorses VHS-to-DVD converters -- they're commercially available and can be found well under $500. Using an automatic converter, you can start dubbing a tape to DVD when you go to bed at night and wake up with the job finished in the morning. There are two major advantages to this approach:
First, it saves everything. If you're editing together a highlight reel of family videos, you may not keep those ten minutes you once recorded of your infant rolling around on a blanket. But that recording -- the kind of stuff we call "B-roll footage" in the broadcasting industry -- may be especially valuable in a sentimental way to your descendants. Imagine what it's like to go through a shoebox of your great-grandmother's old belongings. Even the little things, like ticket stubs and newspaper clippings, can take on special sentimental meaning. And, if you could, wouldn't you want to see any video you could of your ancestors?
Second, it's easy to stay motivated when you don't have to do a lot of work. Video editing may not be very technically challenging, but it takes a lot of time -- usually a lot more time than anyone ever imagines it will. If you commit to editing everything, right from the very start, it'll be easy to get discouraged once you realize it takes at least two hours of work (and usually much more) to edit every hour of footage you intend to save. It's far, far better to let the duplicator produce a good DVD copy of all your important memories (copying them while you sleep), which you can later go back and edit at will than it would be for you to start with huge ambitions of editing every hour of old family video, only to get discouraged after it takes you a month to finish the first year of video.
Keywords in this show: archiving video • B-roll footage • campaigns • Canada • DVDs • edible computer chips • elections • family movies • flexible displays • flash memory • Google 411 • Juice • Microsoft • MP3 players • open-source programs • podcasts • smartphones • tape mold • technology • VHS tapes • VHS-to-DVD converters • Wired Magazine • Zune