Archive for the Category Tech

 
 

The iWatch to Save All Diabetics

I’m still extremely cynical and pessimistic on this one. With evidence now that Apple met with the FDA to discuss wearable medical devices, the iWatch rumor mill is back at it.

9to5Mac is putting together the pieces and sees:

>Besides fitness tracking, a marquee feature of “Healthbook” will be the ability to monitor a user’s vital signs.

>The application will be able to track a person’s blood pressure, hydration levels, heart rate, and potentially several other blood-related data points, such as glucose levels, according to our sources.

I’m still not believing it. Measuring blood glucose is still reliant on blood samples. Measuring it by the moisture on your skin is still too science-fictiony for me.

Could Apple Save Glucometers?

Reading this article (it’s from 2012) is as frustrating today as it must have been to write back then. What’s changed in the glucometer industry since that was written? Absolutely nothing.

But the author makes an interesting point, and it made me put a random two together with another random two to create a piece of wild speculation that would be cool if it actually happened. Follow along:

A point in the article is that syncing your glucometer up to your computer, let alone your iPhone, is a ridiculous process. At best, you can buy a special wire to hook up the two, whose standards are not open. So you’re forced to use the manufacturer’s piss poor software. And you’re still connecting a cord. People don’t want to do that with their phones, let alone their glucometers.

We have wireless technology today. Bluetooth standards have only gotten better over the years. Recent upgrades mean Bluetooth chips use a miniscule amount of power. They won’t drain the batteries of glucometers anymore. It’s bad enough we’re stuck on oddly-shaped black and white 8-bit screens, but why can’t we get the data off the glucometer without writing it down or manually re-typing all the results into the computer? The data has already been entered. Why does that effort need to be duplicated? I’d rather get a half hour more exercise each week than spend time in front of an Excel spreadsheet or web site’s form to enter all those numbers in.

I know this sounds like a classic First World Problem, but it’s the reality of the situation. It’s how Apple has become such a huge company, by removing the little obstacles that technology presents to getting things done that matter in every day life. Why can’t the diabetes world have a savior like that?

What if it IS Apple, though?

From a recent 9to5Mac.com report:

Apple has also hired several experts in the field of non-invasive blood monitoring sensors from C8 MediSensors. This firm is a company that became defunct in February of this year, according to its former CTO Rudy Hofmeister (who departed the company in late 2012).

The company’s technology provides a non-invasive way to measure substances in the human body such as glucose levels. [...]

During a phone call, the former CTO told us that the company broke down because the glucose-level-analysis technology was facing issues surrounding the consistency of data readings. When the company dissolved, Apple moved aggressively to hire several C8 MediSensors directors and engineers, including designers and scientists that specialize in machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence that focuses on interpreting forms of data), Hofmeister said.

Could an iWatch have a blood sugar reader incorporated into it? While I would love that idea, I’m not sure it’s feasible just yet. It would be the ultimate solution, particularly if it kept a constant read of your levels, even if only every 15 minutes. But what if there’s a middle ground here?

One Touch Test Strips for diabetes

What if those two were hired for their connections with the diabetes industry? What if their job is to schmooze key players in the diabetes world to add Bluetooth to their Glucometers so that they could sync up with iPhones directly, or indirectly through an iWatch? Wouldn’t a company like LifeScan love to be featured at the iWatch roll-out as having a new glucometer that ties in with this “stunning” new device?

Maybe.

It would be cool, and it would certainly be less impossible sounding than an actual watch that read blood sugar magically through the skin.

Just a theory.

P.S. My glucometer’s time stamp doesn’t automatically change for Daylight Savings Time. I’m a professional computer programmer, and I have not been able to figure out how to change it manually. I think if I pulled out the battery, everything would reset so I would have to reset the time. But then I’d lose my history of readings. That’s an awful user experience.

Monoprice is doing HTML Wrong

Wrong form type there

If I have to spell it out:

“Primary” would indicate a singular selection. This form uses checkboxes, which means you can choose more than one option. Radio buttons would be the correct input in this situation.

Thinking About… Telephone Dialing

There are things we take for granted and never think about. Amongst them: The traditional way of laying out the buttons on a telephone. That 3 x 4 grid had to come from somewhere, though.

The man who designed it recently passed away at the age of 94. This whole New York Times article is fascinating, but here’s just a sampling:

In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the touch-tone phone, the answers to those questions remain palpable at the press of a button. The rectangular design of the keypad, the shape of its buttons and the position of the numbers — with “1-2-3” on the top row instead of the bottom, as on a calculator — all sprang from empirical research conducted or overseen by Mr. Karlin.

The legacy of that research now extends far beyond the telephone: the keypad design Mr. Karlin shepherded into being has become the international standard on objects as diverse as A.T.M.’s, gas pumps, door locks, vending machines and medical equipment.Mr. Karlin, associated from 1945 until his retirement in 1977 with Bell Labs, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., was widely considered the father of human-factors engineering in American industry.

OK, one more awesome story:

An early experiment involved the telephone cord. In the postwar years, the copper used inside the cords remained scarce. Telephone company executives wondered whether the standard cord, then about three feet long, might be shortened. Mr. Karlin’s staff stole into colleagues’ offices every three days and covertly shortened their phone cords, an inch at time. No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot.

From then on, phones came with shorter cords.

How Not To Update WordPress

Well, first, let me tell you what to do:

  • Make a complete copy of all files to your local computer. Heck, make two. Download it once to your local hard drive, and then download a complete copy of everything under public_html onto an external plugged-in hard drive or thumb drive or whatever you’ve got.

    • You can use an FTP client to do this. I use Transmit, a much-beloved Mac App that’s been around a long time.
    • You can also do it from the command line. Use rsync. Automate it. Script it. Cron job it. Stop thinking about it. That’s half the battle with back-ups.
  • Poke around in those copies to make sure everything is there. Pay special attention to the wp-contents directory, because that’s where all the images you upload are stored. It’s always where your plug-ins are based, and where your themes live. If you overwrite this directory without a backup copy, you’re in trouble.

  • When you do upload the new version of WordPress and your FTP offers you the option to MERGE or REPLACE the wp-contents directory as it exists with the updated version, go with MERGE. If you REPLACE, you’ll delete everything first. You don’t want that.

Long story, short: That’s what I did a couple weeks back. I REPLACED instead of MERGED, and I thought I had a back-up already when I didn’t. I made a second one, which I thought had finished. I didn’t double-check either backup. I didn’t have the complete wp-contents directory backed up in either place. I lost it all. Plug-ins and themes aren’t a big deal. This blog is run on a standard theme, with not too many adjustments. I re-found it quickly and installed it. Turns out, that was the German version of it. I had to track down the English version, but that was easy enough.

Thankfully, my wonderful hosting provider (the ever-awesome BoilingPoint.com was able to restore from a daily back-up. And since I hadn’t posted anything new in the last day, it was a full recovery after that.

So, take it from me: Make a full and complete back-up. Back up more than you think you’ll ever need. Do it regularly. Do it particularly just before updating the supposedly easy “One Click” WordPress upgrade, which always endangers your files, no matter how blase they try to make it seem to be.

Failing all that, create a static blog engine. I’m trying… I actually have one that works to create the front page and the 6000 individual pages that would make up this blog. But the archives aren’t implemented yet, which are turning out to be a bit of a pain in the butt. Someday, I’ll have time to get back to that.

Quote of the Day, NASA Style

“I haven’t sat down for six months now.”

-Astronaut Sunita Williams, NASA, in her “Cribs: International Space Station Edition” video. It’s a hypnotic must-watch. Imagine living in a confined space for months with no sense of up and down. Freaks me out. I think more than the physical problems with living in zero gravity, the mental game of living in such a confined space would screw me up first. It’d be fun for a week, but then I’d be ready to hop back into the Soyuz and plunge back to the big blue marble.

Check out 15:00 in when she flies like Superman. Pretty cool.

And at 17:40, check out those cameras. Russians have the best gear.

Stories of the Day

It’s a tight race today. The tech world is heating up with its silliness:

No, Google did not run over a donkey in Botswana:

It’s not clear how Google verified the donkey’s current status. We think the company simply contacted the Street View employee in question and made sure he or she did not run a donkey over. The donkey may actually be dead right now, but not because of Google.

That’s crazy, but the next story is transformative. Post-modern. “Office Space”-esque. We’re all just jealous of this guy on so many levels:

Verizon finds US developer outsourced his job to China so he could surf Reddit and watch cat videos

A developer at a US-based critical infrastructure company, referred to as “Bob,” was caught last year outsourcing his work to China, paying someone else less than one fifth of his six-figure salary to do his job.

There follows after that a timeline of what Bob did at work on a daily basis. Sounds boring, but relaxing. Really, Bob is just doing to Verizon what Verizon would most likely like to do to Bob — move his job offshore to save money. Bob just got the job done. He also covered his tracks well, while being industrious in his laziness:

Apparently Bob had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area (this part is a little unclear given that he clearly couldn’t physically go into work for all of them), earning “several hundred thousand dollars a year,” and only paying the Chinese consulting firm “about fifty grand annually.” At the unnamed company, he apparently received excellent performance reviews for the last several years in a row, even being hailed the best developer in the building: his code was clean, well-written, and submitted in a timely fashion.

He’s a better coder than me, on top of it all.

Click through to the story, because there’s even more craziness in it.

Qualcomm Reinvents the Keynote at CES

2013 was the first time in many years that Microsoft didn’t host the opening keynote for the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. Instead, the show went to Qualcomm and its CEO, Dr. Paul Jacobs. We weren’t quite sure what to expect beyond a new series of processors, but what we got was weirder than anything we’ve seen in all of our collective years attending CES. While Chris Ziegler translated the surreal experiences into a liveblog and I took photos of the craziest moments, the rest of the Verge staff took to Twitter to react to the event. You can relive the insanity right here.

via Qualcomm’s insane CES 2013 keynote in pictures and tweets | The Verge.

Must reading. Must viewing. Sadly, they’ve replaced the full Qualcomm video with a Supercut of The Verge’s own making. That will only give you a taste of the madness, but it’s still madness, nonetheless. Delight in the cringe-inducing moments. Marvel at the desperate attempts of old fogies to found hip. Yawn as another CEO pretends to pretend to be Steve Jobs. (“Everything about [this car] is awesome. Even the sound system is awesome.”) Oh, man, that “Star Trek” actress’ appearance is awkward. CRINGE all over again. And, hey, there’s even Steve Ballmer. Can never go wrong with him.

And did I mention Big Bird alongside a guy wearing a Big Bird costume?

And Bishop Desmond friggin’ Tutu? (Who will for me always be known best to me as a punchline from Billy Connolly in the old (“Head of the Class” tv series.)[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe5CE_-OAd8])

Qualcomm just replaced spectacle with awkwardness.

Thankfully, Qualcomm has been kind enough to post their own video of the event. Even better, they’ve included the actual Maroon 5 audio at the end. You’ll have to fast forward to about 85-90 minutes in to see that.

Inbox Zero

Last month, I took a few days and whittled my GMail inbox down to zero emails. Not zero unread emails. Zero emails, period. It has remained empty to this day.

Why: It’s distracting to have hundreds of emails in my inbox. I missed emails that scrolled off the front page. I forgot to answer some that didn’t need much of my time, but that I kept putting off and became easier to ignore. I started to feel badly about checking my email, knowing I had others down the list that I hadn’t properly dealt with. Why should I look at even more?

Even worse, I didn’t know what I was missing. I just had the feeling that I was missing something. That lack of control and knowledge is killer. I’ve been reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” recently, and while I haven’t adopted it as my productivity system, I picked up enough to know that using some of the ideas in the book to clear out my mental To Do list — which is what my inbox has become — would be a do-able and smart thing. Having an organized system where you know where everything is — even when you don’t know everything you have — frees up your mind. It removes those doubts. It lets you move ahead and do more stuff, instead of thinking about or worrying about past stuff.

Inbox Zero

(And, yes, it meant I had to read a ten year old book to finally come around to Merlin Mann’s famous “Inbox Zero” talk from five years ago. I watched it originally on a train ride into New York City a few years back. I need to give it a rewatch now to see what else I can glean from it.)

How: GMail has the archive function. (It’s the y key for my fellow Gmail keyboard fans.) I made judicious use of it. Too much of the email in my inbox was there because I didn’t want to delete it, but I didn’t know what to do with it yet. It was there just in case I needed it later.

“Fine,”” I said, “I’ll keep it. But I don’t need to always be looking at it.”

Off it went.

I created a folder named “__Answer”. Those underscores are there to make sure the folder name is on top of my list. (Yes, technically, this isn’t a folder, but a label. It’s used the same way. Gmail just tries to be cute about it.) In “Getting Things Done” terms, these are my action items. These are the emails I want to answer but don’t have immediate time to do so. In there goes all the emails I can’t look at at the moment. If they’re a link to a website or to a program I want to download, I put it in “__Answer” until I’m at home on my main computer and can perform those actions. Often, it’s an email where I click on the link, wait for that tab to open, and then delete the email. Two clicks and it’s done. It doesn’t pile up.

The big thing here is to not let the “__Answer” folder explode. It’s too easy to move things out of the inbox and let them sit in other folders. This is the folder where that might happen. So I dedicate the first 15 minutes of the night at home when I sit behind the computer to going through this folder. I click on all the links to see all the pages. I write responses to the more personal emails. I respond to the various PR people, whether it’s for http://augieshoots.com or for Pipeline or this blog. I delete the emails that seemed important ten hours ago, but which by that point are obsolete or just not important enough to waste my time on.

It feels great. Things are always moving. Nothing stagnates. I don’t forget things. I get things done, so to speak.

Inbox Zero

I have more folders. “NextPipeline” is there for emails relating to the following week’s Pipeline column at CBR. Those might be responses to the previous week’s column. They might be links to quotable tweets. They might be links to blog posts or publisher pages of things I want to discuss. Sometimes, they’re little ideas I’ve written up to put in the next column. In those times on the weekend where I sit down in front of the computer and feel like I have nothing to say for Pipeline, this folder is a godsend.

The “VariousandSundry” label/folder is the blog version of “NextPipeline”. If I had more time, I’d use it more to generate more blog posts, but at least it’s the start of a sytem.

“Links” is a bin of emails linking to various blogs and other websites I want to read, but may not be time sensitive. I archive a lot of these. I have sub-folders here, too, specifically for things like “Programming” and “Tech” and “Comics” topics. They become searchable morgues, in effect.

I also have a “__Coupons” folder where I hide away the various deals I get sent from the membership cards I have. Next time I’m in the mall and need a quick dinner, I know where to look for that T.G.I.Fridays coupon now. No digging through things. Do I have some photos I want to print up? Check in this folder first for coupons to Shutterfly or CVS or AdoramaPix. And if I need to send flowers, I know where those FTD deals are. Need a book? The latest Barnes & Noble deal is in there. The big thing to remember here is to stop in one or twice a month to delete all the expired emails. Most of them are good for less than a week.

There are more folders for smaller categories. I have one for things related to my daughter’s school, for example. Those are archived there just in case, and labeled to be easier to find, rather than just archived. I have a folder for “CBR Reviews”, even if I’m not the editor there anymore. I’m still an occasional contributor, once or twice a month. Information shared there that might come in handy later is saved.

It’s only been a month, but it feels great. I’m generating more positive email and having more conversations. Things don’t drop off the page. I feel more productive. It’s a good thing.

Next time: The nice side effects of Inbox Zero.

GPS in the Windshield

I like how people are worried that drivers looking down at their iPhone’s GPS is a major hazard, but have no problem with the people who stick their GPS on their windshield at eye level right in front of their faces, even when they’re not using them. I could never drive at night with a glowing three inch screen a foot in front of my face in the middle of my field of view. How do people do that?

Better yet, why do they do that? Did they forget how to get home from work? It’s a classic case of people growing reliant on technology for no good reason and blinding themselves to the obvious.

Let me Google that for you. Not surprisingly, it turns out to be illegal in one or two states. Should be illegal in all states.

On-Line Backups

CrashPlan.com is having a big weekend sale. If you’re looking for an on-line back-up for your computer, this is as good a price as you’ll ever get. I bought it last night for $6. That gets me one year of unlimited storage. Normally, I believe that’s the $5 a month plan. The price goes up every two hours. As I type this, it’s now $12, but that’s still a steal. At prices that low, it can’t hurt to give it a try.

My computer has a one terabyte hard drive in it. Here’s my current status:

That’s the status just a few hours after I started.

And, no, I don’t get a cut on your purchases. I just want to spread the word. My back-up plan right now is monumentally bad, so I look at this as a good first step.

Things That Have Changed in College Radio

I spent a couple of hours at my alma mater over the weekend last month. It was alumni/reunion weekend, and the radio station opened its doors to any previous radio hosts who wanted to do a shift. Friend Frank and I, who did a show together sporadically over our four years there, teamed up once again to inflict the masses with bad humor, 90s music, and our trademark witty repartee.

Here’s what I learned from the experience:

  • I am old. One of the radio station hosts met us. He said he thinks 90s music is the best, and that he was born in the 90s. My head had to quickly do the math. Every student at the school, save a few seniors, were born in the 90s, two decades ahead of when I was born (mid-70s). Yikes.

  • Radio isn’t dead. The internet took it over. The school no longer has a transmitter. The old 10 watter didn’t power the station past two miles, but now it’s gone all together. If you want to listen to the radio station on campus, you can stream it over the website. The sad part is, the website is in flash. You can’t stream the radio station through your mobile devices. Sad.

  • Digital, Digital, Digital. When we were on the air from 1994-1998, we brought stacks of CDs with us. We juggled them across two CD players and a couple of cart decks for the PSAs and whatnot. We made it work. Today, they still have two CD players, but most of the music comes through the “LapLine.” That’s the wire that goes to the DJ’s laptop/iPhone/iPod. There’s not a single CD, cart, or vinyl album in the studios. There is a turntable over on the side, but it’s not plugged in.

  • Everything is automated. Like all radio stations, there’s a computer hooked up to the station that automates everything. If the next host doesn’t show up, just turn up the volume on the automation and leave the station. It’ll take care of itself. That’s nice. In professional radio, of course, the automation is used to carefully plan for that station’s specific brand of homogenization. The hosts are there to pre-record their bits that the engineer then intersperses with the music to make it seem authentic while always “hitting the post.”

  • Radio, front and center! The radio station moved out of the basement of one of the dorm buildings into the University Center, where you work in a fishbowl. The studio is up front with tall glass windows so everyone can see the DJs on the air. It’s a nice advertisement for the radio station, but I liked hiding behind the microphone in the basement of the dorm building and not being seen while at the station. By the way, and the station doesn’t play inside the University Center at all.

It was a lot of fun, particularly with all the cool toys to play with — mics on swing arms, the mixer board with all the sliders, the automation as backup, etc. etc. I’d love to do it again.

It almost makes me want to podcast again, but there’s no way I could commit to that schedule right now. It’s the same reason that I’d love to have Dragon Dictate on my computer but never will. I use the computer the most in my den/home office/Man Cave after my wife and daughter go to sleep. The den is right next to their rooms. I can’t be talking to myself in there all night or I’d be waking them up. Someday, I’ll get a Cat5/6 cable run down to the basement and be able to plug into the network, rather than use spotty Wi-fi. Then I could theoretically podcast from the laptop. If I was doing a solo show, I could record to my iPhone, for goodness’ sake. I’ve done that before. Time is the enemy of us all, I’m afraid.

But being on the radio is really cool, even when you have no idea if anyone is listening. . .Things that have changed in college radio

Why I Love Computer Programming

A quick excerpt from Peter Siebel’s book “Practical Common Lisp”, published by APress in 2005:

The editors on the Lisp Machines were versions of Emacs written entirely in Lisp. The first two Lisp Machine Emacs, following the hacker tradition of recursive acronyms, were EINE and ZWEI, which stood for EINE Is Not Emacs and ZWEI Was EINE Initially.

Geeks rule.

(Related: The book is available free on-line, if you’re curious about LISP.)

Gmail Tip of the Year

If you’re using Gmail and not using the keyboard shortcuts that go along with it, then you’re not harnessing anywhere near the power of Gmail that you think you may be.

I’ve been using Gmail for years now, since when you needed a friend with an invite to get in. And even with that, it’s only in the last few months that I feel like I’ve finally put together the tips and tricks I’ve needed to be truly be fluent in Gmail. The key to that is to become keyboard capable. If you’re still point and clicking with your mouse in Gmail, then you’re not using nearly as much of the app’s power as you could be.

You can start with the bare basics: j/k bring you up and down, just as they do in so many UNIX programs, going back to the days of keyboards without arrow keys. x selects a conversation. Y archives it. c composes a new email.

Right there, you’ve just increased your efficiency and productivity with email 100x, if you were a sole mouse user before using this.

But here’s the biggest help that I didn’t even know about before hearing Merlin Mann mention it on the latest episode of Mac Power Users podcast:

**?** gives you a HUD with a list of all the shortcuts. It’s the greatest cheat sheet on the web. It is awesome.*

Look at that every day and start using a new keyboard shortcut. You’ll get to the stage where you use the awesome g / l combination much faster than I did. And that’s a quick shortcut that ramped up my efficiency by another exponential increase just this this year.

After that, we can talk about how to best use labels and archive mails and sort things and answer emails and all the rest. I don’t have all the answers to that, but I’ve definitely developed a system that I like and that makes email less of a chore on a daily basis for me. We’ll save that for another time. For now, that ? thing is a miracle helper.

If you want more stuff like this and you’re on a Mac, I can also recommend Cheat Sheet, a neat (free!) app that lets you hold down on the command key to have a screen pop up with a list of keyboard shortcuts for the current application you’re using. Nifty! It doesn’t work with all applications, but it hits enough to be useful.

Being a compendium of wild speculation

Update: And, of course, within an hour of posting this, Dan Benjamin has issued a carefully scripted five minute statement. Basically, Gruber told Benjamin it was time to move on. Benjamin was hurt/disappointed that Gruber took “The Talk Show” name with him, feeling that it was a show and a format they had developed together. And that’s it. Unless, of course, he’s hiding the truth that you’ll read in speculation below. ;-) And that’s that.

The sudden appearance of John Gruber’s “The Talk Show” podcast on the Mule Radio Syndicate last week set tongues wagging in the tech podcasting community. There was no announcement from any side of the story about the change. Gruber didn’t announce that the show was ending at 5by5 or beginning anew somewhere else. 5by5 didn’t announce or hint at the show leaving. And Mule didn’t tease its Big Get.

It just… happened. It was similar, as I tweeted over the weekend, to the way Apple does things. It waits until it’s ready and then releases it. It doesn’t mention that it’s working on anything or tease that anything is coming or pre-announce it (unless it’s forced to by a government agency’s clearance necessities, as with the iPhone.) So, in that way, it’s fitting.

Still, the “radio silence” from all ends on the issue is deafening. The last episode of “The Talk Show” on the 5by5 network ended without cause for alarm. Sure, you could dive deep into it and suspect something was amiss. But Gruber’s typically abrupt style and the banter between he and host Dan Benjamin didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. If you wanted to read into it, you could. The show ended with Benjamin teasing “The Talk Show” t-shirts for sale in time for WWDC. And Gruber has since started a Just-In-Time-for-WWDC “Daring Fireball” t-shirt sale. Did “The Talk Show” end at 5by5 over merchandise sales? Did Gruber think Benjamin overstepped his bounds in an attempt to raise money for his network on the back of Gruber’s name and show at a time when Gruber was planning his own t-shirt sale? This wouldn’t be an unprecedented thing. I can cite an example or two in the comic book industry, for example, where creators left a publisher over a sudden change in contract terms or a new business model mandated by economic necessity, sometimes with very bad feelings on all sides.

That last episode was on 02 May. There was no show the following week. I guess we should have seen that as a hint. The last time Gruber missed a show, Benjamin brought in Jim Dalrymple to guest host. That was episode 85 on 28 March. The next month, Dalrymple started his own weekly chat show, “Amplified,” which is like “The Talk Show” with more music talk and less James Bond and baseball chat.

Gruber appeared on an episode of “Mac Break Weekly” on the TWIT Podcasting Network last month, too. I have a hard time that he had returned to the show to test the waters or to talk with someone there about moving the show to TWIT, though, for a couple of reasons. One, Chief TWIT Leo LaPorte was not in the U.S. at that point, taking part in a photographic adventure in Europe. Second, Gruber has appeared on the TWIT network before, though sparingly. Third, he was invited on the show by his friend and the episode’s interim host, Andy Ihnatko, with whom he had just attended a Mac conference in Ireland. So I’m not lending that any credence.

Or is the silence from all sides just an example of their typical business practices. The behind the scenes stuff stays behind the scenes and the shows carry on. Why tarnish a good thing with a public airing of dirty laundry, if any exists? Or, if there is none, maybe the belief is that the behind the scenes stuff should stay quiet no matter what – this way, the precedent is set and in the case of something ugly happening, it’s standard operating procedure not to say anything and nobody would be the wiser.

I have a hard time believing Gruber left 5by5 to join Mule so that he could host his own show. Benjamin is so busy building his network and adding new shows to it that it would have been a relief for him to host one less. “The Talk Show” was a cornerstone of 5by5 going back to its earliest days, so why would he want to lose it? And being able to sell advertisers on a plug not just on the podcast but also on DaringFireball, “The Talk Show” was a very attractive deal, indeed.

There, you can speculate some more: Did Gruber not get a cut of that advertising? Somehow, I doubt that. But there’s a possible scenario. Did Gruber get a more attractive offer from Mule and a bigger cut of the advertising? (To quote Monteiro: “Eff you. Pay me.”)

Or is all of this speculation just hiding a simpler truth: Gruber wanted to work for a different buddy of his. Mike Monteiro’s style – sarcastic, opinionated, abrasive – is more fitting with Gruber’s own style. Maybe the two just get together better and Gruber wanted to help a buddy out with his new business venture. Monteiro, remember, started his show on 5by5 before leaving to start his own podcasting network around it. So the switch isn’t – again, here’s that word – unprecedented.

But if that’s the case, why the silence? Wouldn’t Benjamin make a big deal of wishing his friend well on his other friend’s new network?

Or, oh, let’s engage in more groundless speculation: Is Benjamin pissed at Monteiro for using 5by5 to kickstart his own upstart tech network with shows directly competing with his own? Is Benjamin’s silence just a way of not promoting someone else’s network, particularly another network with many of the same sponsors? That would be a smart business move.

Or is Gruber just a jerk who walked out on his buddy?

Or did Benjamin make a key mistake in the way he positions his network? In conversations with the hosts, he always points out that it’s their show. He’s just helping host it and shepherd it along. So now, when one host takes “his” show and moves out, Benjamin can’t be surprised or shocked that the deal he’s publicly espoused hasn’t worked out in his favor.

We just don’t know. We may never know. I’m sure some loose lips at WWDC will let the rumors fly. Or maybe someone will say something before then, officially. And maybe we’ll believe it.

I love the drama.

The long and short of it is, let’s hope everyone is happy and produces good shows. I’m not a regular listener of “The Talk Show” just because I read Daring Fireball everyday and feel like most of the podcast is a repeat of what I read there. So this move doesn’t affect me directly. It only hurts me if it hurts 5by5, which has two or three other shows I’m a big fan of. ( “Build and Analyze” and “HyperCritical” are two of my current favorite Never Miss shows.) And Benjamin has already announced a new weekly show “Big Week” that’ll effectively replace it. So maybe it’s just more of the same ebb and flow of podcasting. The 5by5 Network is littered with dead shows, and now The Talk Show is just one more. It just happens to be the first to move under undefined circumstances.

And so it goes. Now excuse me while I go listen to a podcast completely unaffiliated with any of these networks. I need to get away from it all for the next hour or so…