Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I watched the first-ever episode of NerdTV today. The show, which describes itself as the "Charlie Rose for geeks" and is hosted by columnist Robert X. Cringely, aims to be an intelligent technology program, something you don't find much on regular TV.

The first guest was Andy Hertzfeld, the original Macintosh systems programmer. Two things jumped out at me from the interview: Asked if money was enough, Hertzfeld said if money is your only motivation, then you're working at odds with your customer. But if you work to achieve something truely good -- something that could change the world -- you and the customer win. You can both become rich.

Secondly, Hertzfeld, who is now a believer in free, open-source software, said systems such as Linux are actually more valuable than closed systems such as Windows or Office, because you can more readily build on it. It's a foundation instead of just an end in of itself. And he didn't have any trouble coming up with business plans -- from hardware (IBM) to information (O'Reilly). People can make money with free stuff.

One aspect of the show itself that struck me is that it was easy to download and watch -- it was over an hour long, but took just a few minutes to download. And it looked good. That seems basic, but neither has been true of past attempts at bringing "television to the Internet." This might actually work this time. I hope it does. I want more of it.

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