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This WEEK in TECH
TWITPodcastLogo.jpg
The TWiT logo
Hosting Leo Laporte
Language English
Feed-icon.svg RSS leoville.tv/podcasts/twit.xml
Updates Weekly
Length 60 to 120 minutes
Audio format MP3, AAC
Debut April 17, 2005
Genre Technology
Provider TWiT.tv
Website www.twit.tv/twit

this Week in Tech–casually referred to as TWiT, and formerly known as Revenge of the Screen Savers–is a weekly podcast (and occasional videocast) of the TWiT.tv network. Hosted by Leo Laporte and many other former TechTV employees, it features roundtable discussions and debates surrounding current technology news and reviews, with a particular focus on consumer electronics and the internet. TWiT headquarters, called TWiT Cottage, is located in Petaluma, California, USA.

Contents

Format

Following the show's number, title, sponsors and theme tune, Leo Laporte typically begins an episode of TWiT by introducing the week's panelists one-by-one. Light conversation often takes place about panelists' recent projects or work, before Laporte's reading of the week's major technology headlines. Panelists respond to each headline with "round table" comment, discussion and debate, however it often drives conversation to different and sometimes unrelated directions. This causes the length of each episode to vary, sometimes considerably, from show to show.

Panelists

Regular panelists and recurring guests include John C. Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, David Prager, Roger Chang, Alex Lindsay, Wil Harris, Molly Wood, Jason Calacanis, Tom Merritt, and Veronica Belmont.

The show has had a number of famous guests, including Steve Wozniak, Kevin Mitnick, John Hodgman, Lawrence Lessig, artist Roger McGuinn, and Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher). It has also included now, Scott Johnson of ExtraLife Radio and The Instance as of [Episode 207 http://wiki.twit.tv/wiki/TWiT_207]

History

The program began when Laporte recorded a one-off "roundtable" discussion between himself, Patrick Norton, Sarah Norton, Kevin Rose, David Prager, and Roger Chang at the 2005 Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Having published the show on his blog to an incredible public reception, Laporte decided to rename his original recording "episode 0" and turned the round table concept into a weekly downloadable audio file, or 'podcast', featuring more cast members from his former TechTV program The Screen Savers. The first episode was posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 as "Revenge of The Screen Savers", but was temporarily renamed "Return of the [BEEP]" [1] in response to a cease and desist letter sent to Laporte by copyright-holder Comcast. In episode 2, Laporte announced a contest in which listeners could suggest a new name for the show. One listener suggested This Week in Geek, which inspired Laporte to create with the eventual name, This Week in Tech, or TWiT.

The weekly show was recorded with all of the hosts staying at their respective homes and talking via Voice over IP (mostly using Skype). Starting around episode 10, Norton began physically coming to Leo's office during the taping. Upon Rose's announcement that he was moving to San Francisco, Laporte started to gather the panelists for public live tapings in the San Francisco area, most being videotaped and released as a video podcast download.

During the fall of 2005, several of the previously regular hosts started moving on to other projects, which changed the format of the show from being a show with a core group of hosts and occasional guests, into Laporte being the only regular host, inviting in a variety of different people from show to show. Around the same time, the people responsible for filming the shows, the Pixel Corps and their leader, Alex Lindsay became more involved with the show, many of which also contributed.

Awards

As well as having been ranked #1 on Podcast Alley, Yahoo Podcasts, and the iTunes Podcast Directory (where it records around 315,000 downloads a week), it has also won two Podcast Awards, as both the "People's Choice" and as "Best Technology Podcast". this WEEK in TECH also made Time Magazine's Top 10 Podcasts of 2006, ranked 9th.[1] It also won Podcast of the Year from the 2007 Weblog Awards.[2]

Video

The first filmed episode, TWiT 21, was recorded at the San Francisco Apple Store on September 4, 2005. Kevin Rose's Revision3 crew recorded the show, later releasing the first ever video edition of This Week In Tech. Episodes 22 through 24 were recorded at Noonan's Bar and Grill in Larkspur Landing, California, but while Revision3 continued to provide hosting and bandwidth, Alex Lindsay's Pixel Corps began to regularly produce video installments of the program.

All together, the show has been filmed 19 times: 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34,36, 38, 39, 42, 44, 57, 58, and 93.

Since Laporte decided to move away from the video format, there is no official site hosting the video installments, many of which can no longer be found.

On March 18, 2007, Leo Laporte recorded a "live" TWiT episode on the internet using the Talkshoe service, similar to net@nite. The episode was later released as episode 91.

Laporte has recently started a site at Live.TWiT.tv which until recently used Stickam.com to present shows live using both video and audio, as well as a chat client to allow viewers to partake in the recording of the TWiT shows. The live stream is now presented by BitGravity. Broadcast announcements for the live netcast are posted on Twitter.[3]

Distribution and licensing

All episodes are licensed under the Creative Commons attribution share-alike noncommercial license, and are distributed via direct download from the TWiT.tv website, from Apple's iTunes Store, or as a subscription using the Zune software 2.0 or higher. There is no download charge from either source.

The show is typically available in four formats: 64 kbit/s MP3, 32 kbit/s MP3, 64 kbit/s AAC. Occasionally, other bitrates are used for episodes produced in stereo, however most episodes are monaural. The files are available as direct downloads, with bandwidth provided by AOL and Cachefly. The occasional video episodes are available from Libsyn.

The sponsorship deal with America Online was announced on July 4, 2005, following the server demand that resulted from the release of iTunes 4.9's built-in podcasting directory. Since the new TWiT website was launched, the TWiT Torrent server initially preferred by Laporte has ceased operation. In several episodes, Laporte has noted that the distributed nature of BitTorrent makes it impossible to accurately gauge the popularity of the show, decreasing the likelihood of attracting advertisers. As of episode 174, TWiT is being hosted from AOL Radio [4]

Funding

Laporte stated in episode 3 that the show would always remain free and without advertising. However, due to ongoing costs as a result of TWiT.tv's constant expansion, a roadmap for the introduction of podcast and web-based advertising was announced during episode 45 of this WEEK in TECH. On 5 September 2006, TWiT.tv officially became one of the first major advertising-supported podcast networks, sponsored initially by both Visa and Dell. Listeners have always been invited to support the network by means of an automatic PayPal subscription or one-time payment, however this granted access to an exclusive TWiT forum from episode 40 onwards. Listener funding has been used for the operational costs of the network including improvements to Laporte's recording studio and to purchase radio-quality microphones and digital audio-recording devices for the hosts. Financial compensation for podcast contributors comes from the networks sponsors and not from listener funding. Starting from episode 99, Audible has offered a promotion on TWiT whereby listeners who sign up for the Audible service can choose one free audiobook. This promotion was initially open only to residents of the U.S but was later expanded, with some restrictions, to other countries.

Controversies

Several episodes of the show prompted strong listener opinions on the TWiT.tv message boards. Episode 57, taped at the Apple Store in San Francisco, featured a large panel where the participants couldn't hear each other well, and a spirited argument between guest panelists Andrew Baron and Jason Calacanis. Laporte also mentioned that he had received several notes from listeners that he was regarded as gay-bashing. Laporte invited disgruntled listeners to edit the source audio into more listenable versions, some of which he posted on the web site. Episodes featuring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also attracted a large number of negative listener comments, particularly episode 40, in which Wozniak discussed his laser collection, and using lasers to trick motorists into thinking they were being followed by emergency vehicles, at length, though many listeners posted more positive comments about his subsequent appearances.

On October 22, 2006, Laporte posted a blog item stating the week's show was canceled because "all the TWiTs decided to play hookey. At the same time."[5] He went on to say of the show: "it looks like it's on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining." The posting became one of the week's top stories on Digg.[6]

On October 26, 2006, Laporte posted a follow-up in which he said that he "had no idea what a storm [his] little sentence would generate," confirming the fact that he was merely "tired, dispirited and trying to figure out how to do the show without any contributors," and promising to "keep doing [This Week in Tech] as long as you keep listening."[7]

On October 26, 2008, Episode 166 featured guests Kevin Rose and Sarah Lane. Rose and Lane shared conversation about their upcoming week at Revision3, however on the morning of October 27, Lane was laid off as part of the cutbacks at the company.

See also

References

External links








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