24 June, 2007

The TWiT Netcast Network

I have been listening to podcasts for years now, and the one that continues to stay on top is TWiT (This Week in Tech), the flagship show for the TWiT Netcast Network. Created by tech legend Leo Laporte, the TWiT network contains many wonderful technology podcasts for those of us who enjoy technology so much. (Go to Wikipedia to learn some TWiT history.)

You can read Leo's bio yourself to get a sense of where he's been or read what Wikipedia has to say about Leo. Many of us remember him from the days of the Screen Savers and TechTV. Leo is well balanced between having a deep technology understanding and understanding that main stream technology (i.e. computers, cellphones, and the like) is too difficult for the average person. [BTW: he also hosts a technology help show, The Tech Guy, every Saturday and Sunday.]

So what is TWiT and why do so many people enjoy the show? Well, it is Leo and his tech friends discussing the latest in technology news. You can get opinions on new technologies, tech mergers, and government and technology, among other interesting tech topics. If you have time for only one tech show, this is the one. Leo has the connections when it comes to his friends in tech too.

To begin with, there are regulars including John C. Dvorak (dvorak.org/blog and Cranky Geeks), Patrick Norton (DL.TV), and Wil Harris. You can also find other experts such as Robert Heron (DL.TV and PC Mag) and Kevin Rose (Digg.com). And he has some great co-hosts on other TWiT podcasts,including Steve Gibson (Security Now and GRC.com) and Amber McArthur (Net@Night, Call for Help, and CommandN).

If you want to do some tech research on your own or follow along the show, you can checkout the TWiT del.icio.us site. For the most part, show numbers are used as tags, so it is easy to follow up on anything discussed during a show.

If you're new to podcasting, go to TWiT.TV and listen to a few shows right online. Once you're hooked, download your own podcatcher such as iTunes or Juice, and have your favorite podcasts delivered directly to your computer.

23 June, 2007

iPhone -- June 29th -- Will you be switching?

I viewed Apple's iPhone demo on their website, and despite a few quirks, I'm hooked. As they say, their best iPod ever -- it sure looks that way. Of the many features, I'm not sure if it is the touch-screen controls, the great interface, or some of the nice features such as how voice mail and Google mail is done, but my next cellphone will be an iPhone -- that's assuming I can afford AT&T.

If you're not sure, checkout the demo, I think it'll sell you.

21 June, 2007

Dying computer skills?

Did you see Computer World's, "The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills" published last month? Some have been on the list for some time, such as Cobol -- it's needed just long enough to finally get companies off those legacy systems. What surprised me is even the mention of non-relational DBMS and non-IP networks. I guess I'm a bit ignorant in the fact they these two still exist in places.

Then there is the more obvious, Cold Fusion. Of course with open source solutions and better scaling solutions, Cold Fusion is on its last legs. I remember when it was a good choice, because the open source alternatives and Microsoft had not matured; now, if you're not a Microsoft shop, you're probably using open source.

For the rest of the items, couldn't we get something that is a little more "on it's way out," not already gone? take for instance the hobbyist turned pro developer. In the early days of the Internet, HTML was easy, and it didn't take too much to beg, borrow, and steal JavaScript code from others. Even CSS wasn't too much of a stretch. Now days with XML, AJAX, and dynamic sites, it takes much higher level of skills to be able to take your hobby and build a great startup product on your own or get hired by a company for your development skills.

What other skills do you think are on the way out? How about a Microsoft desktop OS? Is there life after Vista, or did Microsoft make it easier to look at Apple or Linux? And of course the PDA -- it's all smart phones now.