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Rants & Raves Archives

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April 26, 2001 Peace Love and Linux

In tonight's opening segment, Leo and Patrick discussed IBM's new ad campaign which consisted of stenciling pictures of peace, love and Linux on the streets of San Francisco. This caused IBM to get in trouble because the chalk wasn't fading very fast. Leo decided that he wanted the logo stenciled on the back of the set. Well Leo, your wish is my command.

In the net tips segment about searching using Google, I unfortunately have to agree with Megan that if you want to find something on the TechTV, don't use the TechTV search; use Google to search within the TechTV domain.

Quote of the day, from TSS netcam caller Gus of Stinky Pond, Arkansas: "You young computer-hacking, Linux-loving, Internet-surfing cyberpunks, you're good people!"

Posted by Christy at 10:02 PM

April 25, 2001 Splinternets

Quote of the day: I got a good laugh from this one, having recently jumped into a family-wide email discussion on gun control, censorship, and Charleton Heston; I, being on the liberal side of the debate.

In the opening of the program, discussing the issue of "splinternets":
Patrick: "...splinternets, parallel internets that would host a wide range of stuff that people of "good taste" would generally shun, or just don't want, off the world wide web.
Leo: What are we talking about, Charleton Heston's artwork?

Posted by Christy at 10:58 PM

April 24, 2001 Intel Vs. AMD

Oops, they did it again.
Last night's show was another one-time only deal thanks to someone forgetting to tape the show for rebroadcast. Now I have another collector's item episode to go with the blackout episode of March 19.

Way to go, AMD!
Tonight's segment on the new Intel 1.7 GHz processor just goes to show that clock speed isn't all it's cracked up to be. The 1.3 GHz Athlon beat the Intel in nearly all benchmarks. I like to root for the underdog, and lately AMD has been giving Intel a beating. Part of the reason why the 1.3 GHz Athlon was faster is that the Intel has a longer stage pipeline. This may make the Intel chip faster in the future, but right now, applications are not written to take advantage of this. And software makers aren't likely to recompile their applications anytime soon because so few people have the new processors. Intel has also stumbled with their adoption of Rambus RAM. Rambus was supposed to help with looming RAM speed bottlenecks, but Rambus is expensive, and as it turns out, does not deliver the performance boost they were hoping for. AMD chose to go with DDR Ram, which itself was expensive to begin with, but because there is competition amoung DDR manufacturers, the price for it now is only slightly higher than conventional 133 MHz SDRAM.

Quote of the night (actually from last night's show): "There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are benchmarks." (Patrick)

Dave Touretzky's website address didn't appear in the shownotes for this episode. He is a proponent of free speech on the internet and is hosting various versions of the DeCSS code. You can find his site at

Posted by Christy at 10:55 PM

April 16, 2001 Kate Visits TSS!

Kate makes a visit to TSS!
Hi Kate! We've missed you, our girl geek icon. For those of you who don't know, Kate Botello was cohost of TSS from the beginning of the show in May 1998 until April 2000. She was cheery and lively, and she knew her stuff. She she left to cohost Gamespot/Extended Play. I should say that Patrick Norton has done a great job since taking over from Kate, and I would not trade him for anyone. With a calm, sweet, and understated demeanor, he is the perfect foil for Leo's frequent hyperactivity.

There are a few limitations to Leo's tip about creating a drop shadow effect for your web pictures. If you use the jpeg format, the color of the background of the picture has to match the background color of your web page, or else it won't look very good. Kinda like this:

As you can see, the white picture background doesn't match the blue background. If you want the picture to look right against a pattern background like the one on this page, you have to use your graphics program to designate a transparent color (in this case white) so that the pattern background will show through. However, transparencies only work in images with 256 colors or less,
and only for the png or gif formats. On top of that, graphics programs will generally not do the drop shadow effect on images with less than 256 colors. So, do it in this order: convert to png or gif format, create the dropshadow effect, then reduce the color palette to 256 colors, and then set the transparency color. In the end you should get something like this:

Surprise, surprise. Jessica, the least geeky Screen Saver, wins the geek makeover contest. This supports what I was thinking earlier about there being some backlash against the geek makeover contest. Most of us TSS fans admire geekiness; we are trying to increase our own computer knowledge by tuning in. Therefore, treating geekiness as something that needs to be fixed goes against that. Geeks have the emotional depth to appreciate someone for their intelligence. Not their fashion sense. The contest might have had some takers if it had been a simple drawing for the makeover, instead of having to tout one's lack of fashion sense on national TV. I considered entering myself, but not knowing that there would be no competition, I thought that my appearance wasn't quite bad enough to win. Not that I really care about getting a makeover. I just really, really want to see the set and the show being made live. But I'm glad I didn't. It would be embarrassing to go on TV to say that I think I look bad and need help.

Posted by Christy at 10:41 PM

April 13, 2001 Microserf Shovels It Again!

Microserf shovels the BS again!
I'm beginning to dread whenever someone from Microsoft is interviewed on TSS. They recite the MS party line like mindless drones. It was the same thing when another Microserf was on a few months ago to talk about tablet PCs. They have a habit of dodging questions and using their air time to spread MS propaganda.

Posted by Christy at 10:33 PM

April 11, 2001 Patrick Interviews Leo

Microsoft has a sense of humor?! And a self-deprecating sense of humor at that. Amazing. Microsoft has announced that they are firing Clippy, the annoying Office assistant, and they have some flash animations poking fun at him, their own product!

Patrick Interviews Leo! The most important revelation: from the pictures that were shown, it seems Leo's hair has always had a personality of its own.

Quote of the night: Leo and Patrick were discussing possible causes of Windows 98SE shutdown problems, and looking at the reasons that Microsoft gives for the problem on its website.
Leo:<SARCASM>It wouldn't be anything wrong with Windows.</SARCASM>.

Posted by Christy at 10:28 PM

April 10, 2001 A Little Post-Production Editing

They managed to patch up a glitch between the live airing and the repeats. In the live version during the opening news item about the National Weather Service digitized voices, the last woice they demo is of course a gag, but they briefly showed a shot of the guy doing the voice offstage. It was funnier with the mistake left in, but then, I've always enjoyed the absence of superficial polish on the show.

Leo interviews Patrick! The most important revelation: Patrick is currently single! Geekgirls the world over rejoice!

Posted by Christy at 10:21 PM

April 06, 2001 Inappropriate Comic

Will someone please tell me what that comic has to do with computers or technology? They only had to bleep him about five times! If they really want a comic on, they should bring Don McMillan back on! For those of you who don't know, Don McMillan is a former chip designer who switched careers to stand-up comedy dealing with tech topics. He was on the Screen Savers in December 1999 and wrote an article for the TechTV website. Do check out the the video clip link with the article; it is one of the few older video clip links that still works on I got DSL a few months ago, and one of the best things about it has been being able to go back to view all those clips which didn't work with my dial-up access. Kate's RAM poetry is one of the all time best clips.

Congrats Patrick, on being awarded the title of TSS alpha geek!

Leo's quote of the day: "It's a bird, it's a plane,'s a bird!"

Posted by Christy at 10:18 PM

April 05, 2001 The Caffeinated Leo

Definitely one of the most entertaining episodes of recent memory. Leo learns to dance from Jessica's geek site of the day, prompting her to say "You look like you're having a seizure." Leo alleges that Patrick called him "lard of the dance." Later, Leo does a bit of product modeling, stroking and petting the parts for the Austin PC. (I could swear that I heard that hard drive purring.) As Patrick is trying to do the tease for the next segment, Leo tries to "product model" Patrick, waving his hands around him like one of caressing a prize product on The Price Is Right. As the camera fades to commercial, Patrick can be seen trying to bring Leo back to reality by beating on him with an OEM package of Windows 98. During the Bod Pod segment, Leo says "Who wants to see Patrick in a speedo?" And later, Leo completely babbles "The dot-com boom has gone bust" into something like "the dot bomb poom has gone pust." Most of this insanity was attributed to caffeinated mints, three of which Leo says he had before the show. Maybe that would be a good strategy for future TSS shows. If it looks as though the show is going to be dull, slip Leo a few mints, then sit back and watch the fun begin. If you would like to try this at home, you can buy your own caffeinated mints from Thinkgeek, which was one of Jessica's Geek Sites of the Day. You can buy other things mentioned on TSS there, such as the glare-free Eclipse monitor lamp, and those infamous rounded IDE cables.

If anyone knows what the "lumberjacks with PC parts" bit that Leo was trying to sing meant, Please let me know.

Posted by Christy at 10:50 PM

April 04, 2001 Leo Corrupting Patrick

Quote of the Day:

Patrick: Folks, the news in from the scientists today is that, once again, Albert Einstein was correct.
Leo: I told you that!
Patrick: Yeah, yeah, you told me a lot of things. Two of them got me slapped.

Posted by Christy at 10:09 PM

April 02, 2001 50% More TSS

50% More Screen Savers! Though I was hoping that since the program is now ninety minutes, there would be more time for email at the end of the show. I guess not.

Megan's dish article about Leo leaving TSS to host Survivor was of course an April Fool's prank. Had me going for about two seconds until I remembered the date. I liked caller Courtney's suggestion that Leo host the Silicon Valley edition of Survivor. I can see it now: put a bunch of geeks in the middle of the wilderness, take away their laptops, cellphones, and PDAs, and see how long they last.

Posted by Christy at 10:05 PM