SF Chronicle Article about TechLive

Good article in today’s SF Chronicle about TechLive. Author, Dan Fost, disses “geeky user-tips-type shows.” I don’t know why I seem to be the only person in the broadcast world who understands that that’s the kind of shows people want MOST. Oh well, eventually people will get it that wanting to know how to use a computer effectively is not geeky, just smart. Then we’ll have the last laugh, won’t we?

29 Replies to “SF Chronicle Article about TechLive”

  1. A good friend of mine made a good analogy once.
    Computers are like cars were back when they were first comeing out.
    And I think it’s pretty much almost true. He said that when cars first came out
    only really good mechanics knew about them. They were pretty much called on when the car was in trouble. Nowdays people use cars and know lots about them!
    Not enough sometimes to fix them, but enough to have a good understanding of them. Nowdays, we’ve got teens that can take apart their engins and do all sorts of stuff! That all came from car shows and other stuff.
    Yeah we’ve got kids on computers nowdays, (Faster than they were on cars). But we’ve also got to keep learning. An example (Provided by you Leo) is with the
    80211b airport issue. Leo being the high Gruru of systems he is, didn’t know how to fix it but he thought there was a way. So he asked everyone on his blog if anyone would know. And he got a reply. Me, I’m still trying to lear how to program. Haven’t found a strong,simple one yet. With computers you’ll always be learning. (Also learn like Patrick did with his Athalon Barb ‘o’ Que).
    That’s why we need geeky shows like “The Screen Savers” “Call For Help” and the
    new “Tech Tv Live!”. Without these shows, and the internet to guide us, This would be a slow process. And who knows, Microsoft could’ve duped everyone into some big scam or something. (My barrel’s running dry just hold on for a bit)
    Without these shows, people would have to learn the hard way.
    Like the commercial says “You’ve got questions…. so do we.”
    Tech Tv, it is what’s next. It may be a little Geeky, but they all try to
    explain it in plain english for the people who need the high-tech help, or advice.
    Well I’m sorry for holding ya all back. I’ll go now.
    Goodnight, and have fun.
    Dan S

  2. Leo,
    E.B. is right about the commercials. However, Dana is also right: all cable channels have those “wash-board ab” commercials and other such nonsence; it’s not just TechTV (I miss ZDTV).
    TechTV is about the only channel I watch besides Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, and Discovery Health. The choice of geeks! I’m darn proud to be a geek!!!!

  3. I was also shocked to see the Topless college girls video advertised on TechTV. I could not believe what I was seeing. I thought it was TechTV’s fault for letting it air, but since Leo explained they have no control over that, than it is not TechTV’s fault. I was just really surprised to see something like that.

  4. In reply to E.B.’s comment about the demographics of Tech TV vs. HGTV, I would like to mention that I watch both channels selectively and I am a college graduate, affluent and old. I also watch the discovery channel, the history channel and even an occasional movie. The advertisments on cable televion are the same no matter what channel you are watching. The economics of paying for the programs you watch will not change with the type of viewer, until the type of viewer becomes the ad executives who make the decisions where to spend the money. By the way, HGTV has car advertisements.
    Leo, I am looking forward to watching the new programming starting Monday. Good luck and thanks for all that you have done to bring this type of programming to TV.

  5. J Steen, its my understanding that the infomertials that enrich our life are chosen by the cable/dish company. It’s a sad state when I realize that compared with the stuff on today, I kinda miss the Flo-Be and The Pocket Fisherman.
    I find Leo’s comments about Call For Help being a hard sell with advertisers to be interesting. It would seem to me that anyone who was interested enough in computers to plunk down a solid hour of their precious time to watch a TV on the subject is at least a tad bit more sophisticated than say… oh… folks tuning into Nash Bridges. While the viewer numbers may not be as high, I bet a higher percentage of viwers are prepared/preparing to buy computers, cd-r’s, software, educational tools, general computer upgrades, stock info, net access, office furniture, pizza… not to mention the dynamic duo of Pills That Summon The Mammary Fairy/Herbal Manly Tripod Construction.
    Yaknow… I really do sorta miss that Flow-Be

  6. Wow. It looks like I touched a nerve there.
    I hate the commercials that the cable companies put on TechTV. There was an ad on the Screen Savers the other night for some video featuring topless college girls. I was apalled. I’m just glad my kids weren’t watching. The satellite companies do much the same thing – well maybe not that bad. But it has NOTHING to do with TechTV or our content. I’m sure that those spots are sold ROS – run of schedule. Not specifically to our show or channel. And we have no control of it.
    Our sales folks tell me Screen Savers sells very well. Our sponsors WANT a show that aims at a sophisticated audience. Call for Help hardly sold at all. No one wanted a show for newbies. This is just plain goofy, but it’s hard to get any network to carry a show they can’t sell, even if it’s due to boneheadedness on the part of the advertisers.

  7. TechTV rocks…especially TSS and CFH. High tech is here to stay, and our wives, husbands, or all the other “too cool for school” anti-geeks fail to realize that TechTV is the best source for info about the things that make us tick. Some people like to wrench on cars, some build houses or decks, we build computers and networks. It gives us great satisfaction to build something from scratch, install the software, and watch it purr. Shows that provide us with useful tips are buttah, so please keep up the good work. And don’t worry, we will tune in, no matter what the Dan Frosts of the world may say.

  8. Aaron:
    So it’s my DirecTV company sticking these half-hour infomercials up instead of TechTV programming… If it’s TechTV putting these infomercials up themselves I understand — my local TV stations do it all the time. I’d rather be watching shows, but hey 🙂
    If it’s my satellite company putting these shows up over the top of TechTV programming then that means I’m actually paying my monthly bill so I can see regular repeats of the George Foreman Indoor-Outdoor Grill… somehow paying to get advertised to kind of bites… I’ll figure out a way around this somehow (muahah <— evil satellite being shot down with some kind of homemade laser laugh)

  9. About the commercials on satellite…
    Do you know if the satellite companies are the ones showing all of the informercials I’ve seen on TechTV in the last couple of weeks or are they being directly broadcast by TechTV? I tuned in last weekend and thought I was watching InfomercialTV instead 🙂 I expected repeats of the shows I missed but throughout the day there were infomercials for the Video Computer Store, how to buy real estate and become rich, the Food saver vaccuum sealer, Thermos outdoor grill, Ronco’s rotissierie (sp?), and others… I know some networks play these shows early in the mornings before regular programming starts, but this was scattered throughout the day.

  10. Why on earth would I want to watch yet another fluff show that doesnt help me understand how computers do that magic they do! I get the feeling that most people (not the audience mind you, just those that seem to know how we think)feel that a 2 minute segment ojn The Today Show about using computers to decorate your house are what we all want… I say Fie! A pox on them! I just finished putting together my first computer and I would never have done it without the comfort level that the TechTv gang brought to the process. I want knowledge, humor and entertainment in my leasure time learning.
    But what do i know, I’m just one of the people watching the network.. and the commercials that help fund it.

  11. Hi again everyone, my apologies to the Home and Garden aficionados! You are all a wonderful demographic! I am guessing if all goes well for the New-Improved Tech TV that a year from now they’ll have more cable companies carrying the channel and a decent Neilsen rating for the audience they are seeking. But to do that, they are going to try and shed the “fringe” and go for the main stream. Is that why Leo is mentioning suspenders and silk shirts? What do you guys think???? I have my fingers crossed that the “Tech Tv we all know and love” will still be going strong on Monday…. I just got the station a few months ago and absolutely love it… now they’re changing it…. change makes me nervous.(wahh… bring back the bowling shirts with the flames on it!) Elizabeth Branch

  12. [never mind my last question — I guess the repeat’s airing at 10 PM — this is NOT good for me, as it falls within prime time and makes it harder to record TSS for later viewing. I’m a DishPlayer time-shifting fool. Which reminds me, why in all the endless reviews of Tivo and Replay and “UltimateTV”, including your own, does Echostar’s DishPlayer never get mentioned? It’s arguably the best of the lot, with reportedly the largest user base, and MS’s UltimateTV is really just a repackaging thereof. Anyhow, thanks again for geeking the good fight, and good luck with the new show.]

  13. Nice article, the demographic of the Tech TV audience may be more important to cable stations than the number of viewers, but on my cable (Comcast) the commercials on Tech TV are the cheesey Weight Loss pill of the moment, how to erase scratches in your eye-glasses with this magic cloth, and cable filler spots for their pay movie service…. if the demographics show that folks watching are ready to shell out big bucks for new computers and dvd recordable drives, then maybe the image of Tech Tv will advance from the fringe audience it has now. Comparing Tech Tv to Home and Gardening TV may be accurate for audience size right now, but I bet the demographic for Tech Tv is very different. (college degree, affluent, young.) Good Luck to everyone involved, when I start seeing some car commercials on Tech TV, I’ll know you’ve made the big time…. until then I’ll be fast forwarding the guy with the Amazing Abs.

  14. My wife also does not understand why I work all day on computers( I manage data) and then watch the show(s). But I have learned a lot, been amazed by the number of people from all walks of life that are really into computing. TechTV fills a void that mags don’t. Print writers of course can’t understand why people would want to watch a channel devoted to computers. I loved the fact that the UGM 3.0 blew up. Hated that it happened but had to chuckle. I have never built a machine from the case up, but have finally decided to do it this month. You, Leo , Patrick and Russ and all the other people that make Call for Help and the Screensavers work should be commended. I look forward to the new version and programming. Hopefully it will outdo the previous.

  15. The ironic thing about the horrid commercials is that the original lure of cable TV was that it would have no commercials at all. We scratched our heads in amazement – how wonderful it could be! This was back when HBO signed off at midnight and MTV had about 5 videos in rotation. Now, we pay *and* the channels sell ads – it’s just the way it works.
    For me, the herbal viagra ad mentioned above was usurped in idiocy a couple of months ago by the “all natural (not to mention European) breast enhancing pill”. You know, sometimes I’m groovin’ on Leo, contemplating getting a CD-R with burn protection, or learning the registry hack that’ll remove the ISP branding from IE, and suddenly it occurs to me that my breasts are just too damn small. Yes, that’s what’s got me down. Thank Goddess there’s a pill for it and I can learn about it 6 times an hour. (sarcasm) I have no idea how it works – does it make you start lactating or something? Wait. Don’t answer that. 😛
    Leo, I saw that topless college coed ad as well. Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse? (:-P again) It’s a Jerry Springer world sometimes.
    Mondo Smooches to the General,

  16. Hi Leo. Well maybe one day they will get it. I know I love TechTv. Ever since I got into computers I would look for tv shows about computers. The first show I ever watched was The Site on MsNBC. But that was not enough for me. It was like an addiction if you will call it that. I needed more and was not able to find it, untill Oct of 00 when I got DirectTv. And Boom, Techtv was born into my home and I was in heaven. This is exactly what I had been looking for. Thank you and eveyone out there who has made Techtv a part of my life.
    Now, if you remember called in the screen savers about downgrading my computer ffrom winme to win98. Well as you know I had probs withit. Ok so the other day I was on the HP website getting the specs on allthe hardware and such in my computer.(Whenever I get new computers I always get the specs of everything in the case. I put it in it’s own notebook for that computer and whenever I upgrade, work on it, install, delete, no matter what I do, it is logged in the notebook, Some say it is tedious and not necessary. I say this is a good idea, that way you know your whole computers histroy from the day you bought it and if anything goes wrong, well you have your notebook indexed and go to any part you need) Anyway did not mean to get long winded. While I was looking on the site, I found a special note that said. WINME is the only supported operating system for this pc. SO I guess that is why I had probs. I wanted to post that so anyone out there who buys a new pc and it is a hp pavilion, then they would know.
    Ok keeo up the good work Leo.
    Can’t wait for April the 2nd.
    Kim Plunkett
    Byron Ga.

  17. (I just wrote a knee-jerk reaction to the Mac question, but thought better of it.)
    Anyway, Leo, I just love your work and your attitude. YES people want to have more actual CONTENT in their television viewing! My wife barely tolerates my watching TechTV, but I find it a useful counterpart to web tech sites. And when you answer one “newbie” question on the air it must benefit thousands of other people with the same stupid (or smart) question.
    The first time I saw The Screen Savers I couldn’t BELIEVE how much technical depth you went into. Not that you go engineering-deep — it’s just the fact that you delve even a LITTLE under the surface of brand names and techno-PR that keeps me riveted. (And frankly I have little use for the programming on TechTV other than your two shows.) THANK YOU for doing what you do!
    My only dilemma now is that my wife records cooking shows at 7:00 PM — will the TSS repeats continue as usual at midnight?
    — Brandon

  18. Incidentally, the article mentions “Bruce from Pasadena.” That’s Bruce Mauger! The Bruce who is posting here. Small world!

  19. Hi Leo – you’re a great personality and one of the reasons I watch TechTV. I have a question – how come TechTV isn’t doing at least a 30 minute show on Mac OSX. I plan to upgrade my Pismo laptop here in the next two weeks(running the very stable 9.1 now), but would like to see more about X. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  20. Brandon – Fresh Gear did review both the DishPlayer and the DishPlayer 500. They both got horrible reviews because the software is slow and buggy at the time it was reviewed.
    Leo – I’m sick of seeing the Ener-EX (sp?) ads during CFH and TSS that Dish Network plays. Imagine seeing the same ad every show for over 18 mos. I don’t need to “increase my sexual energy.”

  21. hi i am a newbie here. not a nudie here, you sicko’s .j.k.lol . anyhow i love your shows. t.s.s. and c.f.h. i will miss the old format. what is going to happen to partick? did breaking the thunderbirds get him in trouble ? i saw the ads for the new set. i looks like the bridge of the enterprise for s.t. 6. i am waiting for the bird of prey to attack.

  22. I agree with my fellow TechTV fans above. I would like to see Screensavers have a Geek Friday (for example) where the heavy stuff would get more air time. The history and development of SCSI; Memory management techniques in various operating systems; what to do with Linux once you have it installed and you’ve only used DOS/Windows previously. At least, that’s what I’d like to see.

  23. it’s the OTHER journalists and tv exec’s that dont get it. we the people (veiwers) DO! get it ….

  24. I thought all the new sexually oriented ads were in response to the suggested changes for the screen savers…

  25. If you view today’s dish at thescreensavers.com they have posted the new programming schedule…

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