Tag Archives: techtv

Help Desk

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In 1992, I got online, and I was addicted from the word GO! In 1996, I started Lockergnome, even though at that time it was simply a newsletter that I sent out every day. Then, in 2001 I started hosting the show Call for Help on the old TechTV network! I loved hosting that show, because I loved the live help I was able to give to people. I’ve continued that spirit through our live videos and chat. This Wednesday, I’ll be working with Microsoft. You can be part of a new beta program, called Help Desk!

On Wednesday, January 27th at 2:00PM Pacific time, you should point your web browsers to the new Help Desk. The goal for this show is to help people, hence the title.

Channel 9 traditionally has been focused on hard-core Geeks, such as people whose careers depend on the products and services that Microsoft has to offer. However, most of you who may have problems you need help with aren’t hard-core Geeks. You’re just an every-day computer user, right? Most people who own computers fall into that category, and that’s who we – the people hosting this show – want to help!

We’re hoping to be able to do this every week, live on the Internet. If you have questions, we might be able to provide answers. It will be a completely interactive show, so be sure you tune in.

If you want to submit a question or problem, make sure you are following CH 9 on Twitter. That is where you’ll find the email to submit your questions that will be given to us. We’ll take questions on anything to do with Windows, Microsoft products, and Windows computers in general.

With any luck, we’ll be able to resurrect the spirit that some of us carried with us when we left Call for Help. We need your help to make this a success, though. Whether you’re a Geek, not a Geek… or somewhere in between… we need you!

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Would I Go Back to Television?

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During live calls a bit back, I received one from someone who couldn’t believe they were actually talking to me. His main question was wondering if I’d ever go back to television.

In short – yes! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I loved the atmosphere and pace of television. And, of course, I can reach a much wider audience!

Apparently, I looked quite nerdy back then. Even though I’ve aged well, I admit to still being nerdy. I wasn’t sure what more to say to this caller, as he seemed to be a bit uhm… under the weather. He was really happy he was able to get through on the live phone, so at least we apparently made his day.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the next time we’re doing live calls. You can call in to discuss anything tech related, or even talk about current events!

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What Do You Think About ZDTV / TechTV / G4?

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Every single day, someone asks me “what do you think about G4 and TechTV?”. I always say “TechTV is no longer around, but I am”.

The bottom line is that we don’t need TechTV. TechTV needed us. By “us”, I mean people and the community. G4 isn’t so much about community, as it is about entertainment. If you want entertainment, then by all means – watch it.

Even though G4 has run some of my favorite movies, I have never watched them on G4. I’ve never watched a single thing on G4. I have no issue with G4 necessarily. But it’s as much like TechTV as the crust in my underwear is. TechTV is no longer around. Why not move on from it?

Those of us from TechTV have moved on, and most of us are doing far better things than we did back then. There will never be another TechTV. It’s just not going to ever happen again. There will likely not be a tech channel on television that is 24/7, and that is honestly a good thing.

With the Internet, who needs TechTV? The community has a chance to play along together and have new voices be heard. Different kinds of discoveries can be shared amongst ourselves. We shouldn’t look to TechTV or even G4, but to the memory of what TechTV was as we move forward.

I asked some of my friends what they thought on the matter, as well.

I really miss Tech TV. G4 is for no-life suckas! – Helen Sventitsky

I miss ZDTV and Tech TV. Was all over those before I even realized ow geeky I was. – The Amber

I never got to see TechTV even tho I lived in the Bay Area. They didn’t offer it on my cable system at the time. I don’t like G4 TV these days. – PC Easy

I loved it. Thought it was the best of tech and kept everyone up to date with great commentary. Then they switched the format so many times, it just died out with the suits trying to take advantage of the Internet bubble. Remember when they did Headline news style during the day for awhile with tickers? Loved Silicon Spin and The Screen Savers. – Eric @ CS Techcast

I enjoyed ZDTV, and subsequently TechTV as well. G4 pisses me off. A lot. They just destroyed everything that made that channel good. And now they’re going the MTV route and putting on a ton of shows that have nothing to do with the purpose of the channel to begin with. Pretty soon we’re going to get G4-2, with the promise that we really WILL get all those gaming and tech shows back…only to have it too overtaken by crap reality shows and cartoons in a few years’ time. – Amanda H.

I use to watch ZDTV and later Tech TV and think Oh wow! I need to check out this freebsd thing, or cool linux command line switches… Now its like oh, nice single entendre. I guess if I was still in my teens, or had absolutely no idea what that station used to be like I could watch some of the shows. – J. Abdul-Qahhar

The only thing on G4 that I watch is Code Monkeys, and even then it’s just because of the JoCo connection mroe than anything else. Oh, and Clarence. I loves me some Clarence. 😀 – Amanda H.

I remember scrolling through channels and when I saw the name Tech TV I had a nerdgasam. I started looking over all the shows they had and was hooked to a pathetic level. G4 lost my interest very quickly and now it is just plain annoying. Zero interest. Bring back the tech and I might pretend to care. – MarkCarras

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Will Chris and Leo from TechTV ever Reunite?

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Leo LaPorte and I worked together a few years ago on TechTV. Since that time, we have appeared at different conferences and conventions at the same time. People constantly ask “when will you and Leo do something together again!?”. We are each doing our own thing these days, but it was great fun to get together via phone during Leo’s recent “24 Hours of iPhone”. We had a lot of laughs, and discussed many different things. First and foremost, of course, we dished about the new iPhone 3G. Here’s a peek at some of the other products we talked about.


Here we have a cute little white plastic brick with a face made of LEDs. The tiny microphone in the base picks up sounds in the room, whether it’s music, or your loudmouth boss, and makes his mouth move in time. It’s like he’s lip synching to the song! Kinda like Britney, only much much smaller, and probably smells better.

He’s USB powered, so plug him in to any powered USB port, set him near your favorite sound-source, and your little buddy will perform for you all day long!

USB Humping Dog

It doesn’t serve any purpose, but it’s what they do. They are insatiable. And that’s all we really have to say. Harley is brown and Duke is black, and you can take your pick. Oh, and don’t worry – if the kids ask what the doggie is doing to your computer, just say, “He’s trying to jump over the computer, but he got a little stuck,” or “The computer is giving him a piggyback ride.” Either will suffice.

We, of course, had to talk about live streaming. I explained to Leo that I love leaving the stream running all the time for many reasons. You never know what will happen at any given time throughout the day. You can see bloopers, chat it up with the Mods, watch me lose my patience and sanity, and even help me out when I’m stuck. Leo said that I am his inspiration for his own live streaming. He said he caught what we were doing here one day, and thought to himself “this is what I need to be doing!”.

It was great spending some time chatting one-on-one with Leo again. Keep your eyes and ears open. You never know when and where it could happen again.

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I'm Gonna be on Television!

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Every day, someone asks me if I’m ever going to be on television again. I am going to settle this question once and for all.

Chris goes over, lays his upper body on top of his tv, and shouts: “There! I’m on tv! Now stop asking me when I’ll be on tv! Are you happy now?

Besides, the Internet is better anyway.

Edited to add in excellent follow-up comment:

I just watched your segment titled “I’m Gonna be on Television!” & as usual you were funny. but when you ended it by saying “Who needs television when you got the internet?”, you hit upon reality with a ton of bricks!!! Ever since I got my computer back in 2001 my TV viewing has dwindled down to maybe an hour per week at the most. Why? Because when I watched TV, my exposure to what was happening in the world was through a little box & what was decided by network executives that I should see & hear. But with the advances in technology, I am now able to have a front row seat to whatever is hapening in the world & what I choose to know about. I have the power to see practically anything, anywhere, & anytime around this great earth. Not only that, I have interactive capabilities worldwide! This is amazing! I think we all should pause & recognise the gift of technology we take for granted & thank the many people before us who were responsible for the little box that now shows us all what we want to see & hear. Thanks for reading.—Bill Greco

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What Kind of Laptop Should I Get?

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – No one company is the right answer when searching for a laptop. Each consumer has different needs. Figure out your budget first. Decide what features you need, and what you can do without. Then, go online and look for product reviews.

I am absolutely amazed at the resolution on my 17″ MacBook Pro. It has 1920 x 1200 pixels, and is the closest I’ve seen to a desktop replacement yet. I am all about resolution, while Ponzi is more into the smaller sizes. Every person has different needs in a laptop or computer. That makes it impossible for anyone to decide on a brand or model for you.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a laptop. What do you need it for? What types of things do you want it to do best? First of all, you need to set your budget. Once you have done that, then start making a list. Some of the things you should think about:

  • What type of add ins are you looking for?
  • Do you play online games? You’ll need an excellent graphics card
  • If you’re a power user, make sure you have a good processor, and a lot of memory

Of course, these aren’t the only things that you need to look at, but they are a good general guide to get you started. Most importantly, before you buy… make sure you do your research. Go online, and look for product reviews of the model you want to obtain. If all of the reviews are good, you know you’ve chosen a winner. If the reviews are mostly negative, you might want to continue your search.

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Weekly Giveaway

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Every week, we give away a webcam to one of our loyal subscribers.

UStream sponsors these weekly giveaways. The contest rules are simple. You must be subscribed to our ustream live feed and you must be present in our chat room found at live.pirillo.com.

Okay, let’s get this show on the road! Scrolling through the list of names… who will my cursor stop on… who will win? Ah, hah! And this week’s winner is… Hell4u! Hell4u is present in the chatroom… and has pasted me their ustream link. Wait a minute! Hell4u is not subscribed to our feed! That is a requirement to win. Let’s use the cool Live Poll feature from ustream to let the chatters decide. Annnnnddddd the answer is a resounding NO! Sorry, Hell4u. Rules are rules, and you weren’t subscribed. Maybe you’ll be chosen again in the future.

And now we move on, choosing this time… Bud! Is Bud here, everyone? What? No Bud present? Well if he’s not present, he can’t win!

Once more, we rely on my trusty random cursor. You know, we seriously need some good original game show type theme music for the giveaways. Any composers in here? Feel free to compose my new giveaway theme and send it to me!

SilverDragon are you here? You are? Great! Are you subscribed? YES! Houston… we have a winner for the week! Congratulations!

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Bandwidth Throttling

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – There are ways to adjust bandwidth on an application by application basis, or even a device by device basis. Unfortunately, it’s basically not possible to limit bandwidth by website. There are ways you can assign priority to certain applications to allocate your bandwidth where you need it most.

If you’re like me, you probably have more than five different programs running accessing the internet. We’re chatting, IM’ing, browsing web pages, and checking our emails. You have a limited amount of bandwidth to use. You can only squeeze so much data through, no matter how hard you may try.

Unfortunately, I know of no way to limit the amount of bandwidth by website. However, I use a handy little tool called Thibor15c with my Linksys router to manage my bandwidth by application. I can assign priority to the applications I need most. For instance, my Vonage is the most important when I have a phone call coming in. You can choose to have XBox at the top of your list, or any other program that accesses the Internet you may need.

Another way to not necessarily control your bandwidth….but to make your surfing experience much faster….is to use this wonderful free program called Open DNS. What Open DNS does is to caches the DNS info for websites, and shortens the time it takes them to load. It also has cool little features like allowing you to define shortcuts in your address bar. For instance, if I type the letters gg into my address bar, my browser will automatically go to the website I have assigned to that shortcut. You can also set up shortcuts for typos…to correct them, of course. Have you ever accidentally forgotten the letter o in the .com extension of a web address? This typo feature will automatically add that letter o back in, and take you to the right place.

I’m definitely interested in hearing from you if you know of any ways to limit bandwidth on a website by website basis. You can always find us live in our chat room at live.pirillo.com or you can email me at [email protected]

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What Are .DLLs?

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – What – exactly – is a .DLL? Why are there so many on your computer? Are they necessary?

A .DLL (or Dynamic Link Library ) is a software component that an application links to at run time. A .DLL file enhances the functionality of an .exe (or executable ) file. A .DLL file is executable, but not by itself. It must be ‘called upon’ by the .exe in order to work. You can’t, for instance, double click on a .DLL file and have it actually DO something. It needs the .exe in order to run.

Let’s talk a bit about “DLL Hell.” If you were to scan around your C: folder, you will probably see many different .DLL files that are basically the same… just in several different locations. This may seem like a nuisance, and you’ll find the urge to get rid of them. However, be careful. Many programs may require that same .DLL in order to run… but the programmer could have hard coded the files to HAVE to be in a certain location. Let’s say Program A needs .DLL A in order to run, and it’s located in C:Windows. Program B also needs .DLL A in order to run, but it has to be located in C:WindowsSystem32. If you delete one of those, one of the programs will no longer work properly. It will look for the .DLL file in the location it expects. When it doesn’t find it there, it won’t run.

You can find more information about .DLLs in general on Chris Quirke’s excellent tutorial. Chris is a Microsoft MVP, with a lot of respect for his knowledge of computers.

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Internet Video vs. Television

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – “Why do you do this?” I get asked this question several times a day. The answer is simple, really. No, it’s not because I like the attention. Video on demand is the wave of the future. We are fresh, we are live, we are dynamic.

With an actual television, a show is produced, you turn it on and watch it from your couch, and then you’re done. With Internet television, you have interaction. I can record a video while watching my live chat feed and incorporating the comments and questions from our chatters into the video. The key to a successful internet broadcast is getting your community involved and incorporating that into your show.

Wiki shows you that “The usage of internet protocols to provide two-way communication will also open the way for interactivity with the video content, for example making it possible to choose between multiple camera angles, vote on an interactive TV show while watching it, or order a product sample.” There is that word again – interactivity. By choosing to use this means of communicating with my audience, I can bring human aspects into my videos. Comments and questions from people during the recording can be incorporated to provide possible new perspectives. My dog jumping into my lap can bring a sense of home and normalcy to lighten the tone and mood a bit. Adding my wife Ponzi to a video provides more feedback, more personality, and definitely more content.

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