The WHO Radio Wise Guys
Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at 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

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: The reason it's important to archive your old home videos and 8mm films to video is that those videotapes and films will biodegrade over time. The Library of Congress has comments on the damage that time naturally does to videotapes, and there are virus-like molds that can destroy tape. Job #1 should be to get a good digital archive made of those old movies. Once you do that, it's easy to go back and edit whatever you want. But save those memories first by copying them to DVD.

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