I left TechTV 11 years ago. One year later I started TWiT. Practically every day since then I’ve met people who loved The Screen Savers and asked me if I ever planned to bring it back. I always said no, because TWiT was really a different beast, and I don’t like the idea of recreating something I’ve already done.
But the drumbeat never stopped, and over the years the capabilities of our TWiT production team got better and better. Our New Year’s Eve marathons over the last two years convinced me that we had the chops to do something like a TV show but more authentic, less glossy, and better suited to 2015.
I didn’t want to bring back The Screen Savers, but I did start thinking that we could do a new Screen Savers for a new decade. A variety show dedicated to technology and featuring many of the folks I have worked with over the past 20 years, mixing TechTV favorites with our current talented TWiT team and introducing a new generation of makers, hackers, and geeks.
I wasn’t interested in doing a County Fair nostalgia act; I wanted to do something brand new that captured the spirit and fun of the original Screen Savers. I wanted to make all those fans happy again.
And this month, we did it. Announcing a new Screen Savers for a new era: the era of makerbots and the Internet of Things. I give you The NEW Screen Savers!
I’ll be looking for you every Saturday afternoon at 3p Pacific/6p Eastern/2200 UTC on TWiT Live. Join us in studio by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be bringing back the Netcam Network, too, (minus the single frame per second framerate and telephone audio) so send us your questions at email@example.com. And if you can’t be there live, download an on-demand version from our web site. Better yet, subscribe and never miss an episode.
TechTV was in 50 million households by the time Comcast bought it and buried it. Today TWiT can be seen by over 1 billion people all over the world. It’s time to show them what the Internet can do that cable TV can’t. I can’t wait to see you!
Here’s some insight into how TWiT works behind the scenes from our CEO, Lisa Kentzell: “How I Work With Leo Laporte.” She’s definitely not “yes” woman. In fact, one of Lisa’s mottoes is “no is a complete sentence.”
It’s not always easy to have someone around who challenges my firmly-held beliefs, but it’s probably the single most important skill Lisa brings to the business. These days I often come to her with the sentence, “tell me why this is a bad idea.” And she does. And she’s (almost) always right.
Just a note: we’ll be covering the Xbox event tomorrow, May 21 starting at 10a Pacific/1p Eastern/1700UTC. Join Brian Brushwood, the gamer priest, Fr. Robert Ballecer, and me on live.twit.tv. See you then!
This month brings some changes to the TWiT lineup: a new live schedule, a farewell to some old friends, and three new shows.
First the bad news. I am canceling seven shows. I never like canceling a show, but I need to when audience numbers are too low to support them. It’s the part of the media business I like least, but it’s also necessary if TWiT is to continue. Every show I’ve ever worked on was cancelled eventually, so I know how it feels. This month we’ll be saying good-bye to:
Futures In Biotech with Marc Pelletier This is one of the longest running shows on TWiT. I think Marc plans to continue producing shows over at Vincent Racaniello’s TWiV network. Keep up with his plans on Twitter: @marcpelletier
Dr Kiki’s Science Hour and TWiS We all love Dr Kiki and hope to see her regularly for science coverage on other TWiT shows. I know she plans to continue TWiS, so follow her on Twitter for updates: @drkiki.
PCPer This is the official podcast of PC Perspective and will continue at their site. Ryan will continue doing This Week In Computer Hardware with Patrick on TWiT. Get updates at @pcper
This Week In Radio Tech Kirk Harnack and company do a great show, but it turns out not many people are as interested in radio tech as I am. Kirk is going to take the summer off then resume production so follow him for updates: @kharnack.
Trey’s Variety Hour We all love Trey Ratcliff and he will continue to do his hangouts live, but we are going to save some staff time by not re-broadcasting them on TWiT Live. Follow Trey @treyratcliff or his site, Stuck In Customs
TWiT Photo As I’m sure you can tell this was a labor of love for both Catherine Hall and me. I’m not sure why it didn’t gain traction; perhaps it’s because you had to watch the video to appreciate it and most of our audience only listens. I’m hoping an angry mob of devoted viewers will force me to reconsider this one. Follow Catherine on her website.
Goodbye old friends – we’ll miss you for sure. But we’re using the resources freed up by cancelling these shows to produce three new shows, which will debut this month on TWiT.
iFive for the iPhone Sarah Lane will host this quick half-hour show devoted to the iPhone. Each show will feature five tips or apps to help you get the most out of your iPhone. We’ve been doing iPad Today and All About Android for more than a year now. I felt it was time to let the iPhone shine with a show of its own. iFive debuts Monday, July 16 at 11a Pacific/2p Eastern/1800 UTC.
Know How… with Iyaz Akhtar. Each week Iyaz and I will tackle a topic in computing and show you how to do it with hands-on demos. Whether it’s rolling our own cloud, securing your Wi-Fi, or building a PC, Know How… will show you how. Know How debuts Thursday, July 5 at 3p Pacific/6p Eastern/2200 UTC.
This Week In Enterprise Tech Enterprise guru (and Jesuit priest) Fr. Robert Ballecer (aka Friar Tech or @padresj) leads his team in solving the toughest enterprise challenges. Each show will feature a case study and will describe the solutions top IT professionals use to get the job done. While it’s geared toward business technology, we’re going to make sure this show is loaded with information every geek can use. TWiET debuts Monday, July 16 at noon Pacific/3p Eastern/1900 UTC.
Finally, to fill the holes left by our departing shows, and to make our live recording schedule a little more user friendly we’re adjusting the start times for many shows starting July 2. The grid below shows you the live schedule at a glance. Reminder: this is only a change to the live schedule – on demand downloads will continue to be available shortly after the show is recorded.
The biggest change is that Tech News Today is moving to 10a Pacific/1p Eastern/1700 UTC Monday through Friday. Now Tom Merritt and company won’t have to wait for Leo, the perpetually late, any more. And we hope this will get you your daily tech news fix at a better time for your afternoon commute. Never fear, if news breaks later in the day the TNT team will be there to cover it.
You’ll see that The Giz Wiz is moving back to its old time, Tuesdays at 1p Pacific/4p Eastern/2000 UTC. Before You Buy, All About Android, and Ham Nation are moving, too.
We’re also moving a few shows to begin on the hour. I think it’s easier to remember a show that starts at 1p not 1:30p.
The key to show abbreviations:
AAA = All About Android
BYB = Before You Buy
FLOSS = Floss Weekly
FR = Framerate
HAM = Ham Nation
HTG = Home Theater Geeks
iFIVE = iFive for the iPhone
iPT = iPad Today
KH… = Know How…
MBW = Macbreak Weekly
NSFW = NSFW <>
SN = Security Now
TNT = Tech News Today
TRI = Triangluation
TSH = The Social Hour
TTG = The Tech Guy radio show
TWiCH = This Week In Computer Hardware
TWiET = This Week In Enterprise Tech
TWiG = This Week In Google
TWiL = This Week In Law
TWiT = This Week In Tech
WDGW = Daily Giz Wiz
WW = Windows Weekly
Phew! Still reading? Thanks!
I know change can be a little disorienting, and I don’t like to do it too often myself, but I feel these particular changes will help TWiT do a better job giving you the tech news and info you need. I wrote a little mission statement for myself, to remind me what we’re all about here:
TWiT aims to build and sustain an engaged community of technology enthusiasts by offering them the help, news, and information they need to understand and use digital technology.
The TWiT team and I work every day to fulfill this mission. We care about the work we do, and do everything we can to serve you. Thank you for your continued support. I hope we’ll meet at the Brick House some day.
CQ CQ CQ Calling all hams! We’re having an open house at our new TWiT Brick House Studios August 20 and 21 and you’re invited.
A special event station will be active on 40 and 20 meters afternoon and evenings commemorating the official opening of the new TWIT studios of Leo Laporte, W6TWT. Tours of the new studios and classic Collins AM broadcast station will be available 10AM – 10 PM Saturday and 10AM to 5p Sunday to all Amateur Radio operators. The TWIT Brick House studios are located at 140 Keller St. in Petaluma, CA.
The call sign to be used will be W6KB, the Redwood Empire DX Association whose members have been instrumental in the planning and installation of the antenna system during the final construction of the new broadcast studios, home of the HAMNation netcast which is produced each Tuesday night hosted by Bob Heil K9EID, Gordon West WB6NOA, and George Thomas W5JDX.
The radios will include the IC-9100, IC-7800, and IC-7200, all courtesy Icom America and mics from Heil Sound. We’ll broadcast a preview of the new gear tomorrow night at 6p Pacific/9p Eastern on HAM Nation.
QSL direct to W6TWT, P.O. Box 1018 in Petaluma, CA 94953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting today and every Tuesday from here on out, I’ll be joining Gordon West WB6NOA and Bob Heil K9EID on HAM Nation, TWiT’s show for amateur radio enthusiasts. We broadcast live at 6p Pacific/9p Eastern/0100 Tuesdays UTC on live.twit.tv but you can always download audio and video of the show any time after the show from the TWiT web site, iTunes, and wherever better podcasts are sold available.
We’re about a month away from moving into our new studios, two blocks away from the TWiT Cottage. (I’m predicting July 24 but we’ll see.) In case you missed the first walkthrough of the building it’s here:
But we’ve come a long way since then. In fact, you can see exactly where we stand on the TWiT Dropcam (thanks to Dane Jasper and the folks at Sonic.net who will be our primary bandwidth provider at the new studios):
Roger Ambrose, our creative director, is painting the floor right now, then we can begin installing lights, cameras, and wiring in earnest. We hope to be broadcasting from the studio around mid-July 2011.
Our brilliant lighting and camera guy, Brent Bye of Ocean Studio has created a Sketchup 3D walkthrough of the place which you can download from our Dropbox.
(You’ll need a copy of the free Google SketchUp program to view and interact with it.) Brent will be updating it over time and we’ll keep the latest version in the Dropbox, so check back.
We have a great many people to thank for help with our new studio, including Crestron for studio automation, Newtek for the brand-new Tricaster XD850 switcher, Telos for our digital Axia audio system, Restoration Hardware for the furniture in the new studio, Bob Heil for our mics and stands, and many many others.
But most of all, I want to thank you, our community, for your perpetual support. There’s no way we could do this without you. And a special thanks to all of you who have bought bricks for our Wall of Honor in the entry foyer. As of today we’ve sold about 800 bricks, but there’s still room to buy a brick for yourself at http://bricks.twit.tv.
The new studio is going to be a major step forward, and your help makes it possible. We’re pretty excited – I hope you are too!!
During tapings of “This Week in Tech,” as many as 1,500 people are in chat rooms typing away at a furious pace. Fifteen volunteer monitors around the country keep the chat family-friendly. But sometimes the comments can get tough. Although Mr. Laporte is patient with even the most clueless callers, chat room regulars are not as tolerant.
“We’re making comments like, ‘This person needs to have their computer taken away,’ ” said Lillian Banchik, a Long Island surgeon who is known in the chat room as Dr. Mom.
Dr. Banchik, who listens to TWIT programs 20 hours a week, said she once spent an hour in a private chat with someone who helped her solve a problem with her husband’s iMac.
Many other chat room regulars have serious alternative lives, but like to spend time with the show. Amanda W. Peet, a physics professor at the University of Toronto, goes by Kiwi Nerd. Teresa M. Mensing, an associate professor of geology at Ohio State University, uses the handle Darth Emma.
Thanks to Mark McCrery, Dan Hendricks, Lillian Banchik, Amanda Peet, and Terri Mensing for taking the time to talk with Jon. He clearly understood that it’s the community that makes TWiT happen.
Thanks also to Jim Wilson for the very flattering picture (as my daughter puts it). What a great way to launch into 2011!