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Tomas Gallucci

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R.I.P. Cranky Geeks [Nov. 15th, 2010|03:00 am]
Tomas Gallucci
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[music |The Official No Agenda Theme]

I originally wrote this back in September when Cranky Geeks was first pulled off the air. I haven't heard anything more on the show since then, but then again, I haven't made it around to Channel Dvoark until just now to get the URL correct. Looks like Cranky Geeks is still up in limbo.

The reason I never posted this before is that I was busy with school and didn't have time to put the pictures into the post. Now that I'm up with a runny nose after battling a sore throat all weekend, I figured I should take the opportunity to finally publish this. Here goes.

Unless there is a last minute save, the podcast Cranky Geeks is to be no more. Though details were not given, the host, John C. Dvoark did mention on air today (or was that technically last week per David Spark's tweet?) that there was a disagreement with the people that own the show. I presume that the argument is between Ziff Davis and Mevio, but that is mere speculation. Regardless, unless someone steps up in the eleventh hour, Cranky Geeks is no and forevermore no more. :'(

What Is Cranky Geeks?
Briefly, for those of you who don't know, Cranky Geeks is a weekly thirty minute podcast hosted by John C. Dvorak which featured three guest that rotated out each show. Between three commercial breaks, the topics would vary on the news of the week, usually containing stories written by the guests. (The guests were usually tech journalists.) Sebastian Rupley became the co-crank and was on every episode until he moved earlier this year to work for Ohm Malik.

The more heated the debate on a topic became, the more enjoyable the show was. Unfortunately, the paid advertising model that the show uses for revenue meant that just as a topic was reaching a good discussion, there was need for a commercial break as opposed to the listener supported model that the No Agenda Show uses where listeners donate to support the show.

On a personal note, I thought that the show's 30 minute length was too short because of the frequent breaks, but on the flip side of that coin the podcast would likely be too long to be manageable if it were much longer. I also think that the passion and uniqueness would be lost if there were two shows a week instead of one. Just like the old Unix chestnut of "less is more" I think that one of the keys to getting people to tune in week after week wasn't just the content but the fact that the format left you wanting more. Every week was a fresh exciting adventure.

Danica Patrick

The Setup
Dvorak would, of course, let his personality seep into the show. Like myself, he would use the same joke over and over until it was more than tired, e.g. introducing David Spark as host of the Spark Mi•NUTE.

One of John's time-worn routines would play when guest Danica Farber would come one the show:

John C. Dvorak

And we have Danica…Farber on the show–Yannow, we always get the wrong Danica. When will we get Danica Patrick on the show? She's already in our ads."

We'd all chuckle and move on.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, Farber quit appearing on the show, so the joke died. This saddened me, because I had a plan.

The Plan
I wanted to write a blog post about getting Danica Patrick to come on the show. I was going to suggest that while technology might not be her bag entirely, I thought she could swing an episode. My line of reasoning was that surely she is knowledgeable about the mechanics of cars and therefore could translate that knowledge to the show. Even if she sat out most of the discussion, one of the segments could be geared towards advances in racing or automotives in general.

I was going to write this grand post about not knowing how to properly reach out to the right people on the Cranky Geeks end of the wire. Should we tweet certain people endlessly until we got a response? Would that be disrespectful?

I thought about setting up blog rings, Facebook sites, etc. The best idea I came up with was a hashtag #DPonCG which of course stood for Danica Patrick on Cranky Geeks. The idea was to have everyone that wanted Dvorak to eat crow or just wanted to see Patrick come on Cranky Geeks would include the hashtag in their tweets. I set up a Twitter account to re-tweet all tweets with the hashtag, but I needed a bot to search and do the RTing for me. Two different members at Beer n' Blog said they would write the RT bot for me for free and that it wouldn't be that difficult, but I was never delivered a bot and John had phased out the joke by that time.

Late last December, John and I had this exchange via Twitter:

What is Danica Patrick's fee for coming on Cranky Geeks? You should try to make it happen as a Christmas Special for viewers.

[D]on't you think her appearance should be comp'd by GoDaddy?

I had planned on adding this point to the post, arguing that since GoDaddy already sponsored the show, DrBobParsons ought to let Danica do the show and charge travel arrangements, etc. to the company.

After the post, I was going to tweet Danica, Dr. Parsons and John one link one time to my blog. If they saw it and acted on it great! The worst that could happen is I'd be asked to fly out to do the show as well and would have to cancel because of scheduling despite my overwhelming desire to be there or I'd be bombarded with media/blog requests because of the phenomenal response to the post. If the post went nowhere with the movers and shakers, the worst that would happen is I'd have fifteen seconds of internet fame as the wave came and went.

The Plot
But this, of course, never played out. December gave way to end of year busy cycle at work and then Christmas with the family. Christmas with the family gave way to first of the year busy cycle at work which gave way to pre-race season chatter which gave way to going back to school and not getting a RT bot which gave way to never following through with the project which gave way to dropping the project all together.

Now that the show appears to be canceled forever, this is one feather I don't get to put in my cap.

The Conclusion
If you're a mover or a shaker that can make more Cranky Geeks magic happen, please, by all means, work out your differences and get Cranky Geeks back on the air! Having Danica Patrick on the first new episode would be a welcomed apology to disrupting the service and/or causing general mourning due to the loss of an outstanding podcast.

And John, if you do read this, thanks for the "Behind the scenes" look at the show. I enjoyed it every bit as much as I enjoyed The Deuce Club episode of No Agenda.

RIP Cranky Geeks.


[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2010-11-15 06:18 am (UTC)
You are so the plan guy!

I'm sorry your plan was thwarted and Cranky Geeks is no more.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-15 06:40 am (UTC)
The plan may not be thwarted as much as it will need someone else to bear the burden in order to be seen through to execution.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2010-11-15 08:55 am (UTC)
The worst that could happen is I'd be asked to fly out to do the show as well...

I was thinking more a Cease & Desist.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-15 01:17 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2010-11-15 09:39 am (UTC)
I wish you'd follow-through on even a percentage of the ideas you have.

Your life might be wildly different than it is now.

I hope you don't end up like your forensics instructor.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-15 01:18 pm (UTC)
I think that given given my plans for school, I'm doing quite well, thank you very much.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2010-11-15 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yes! Not to minimize that one one iota - very well done sir.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-11-16 04:48 am (UTC)

Nice article and thanks

Good write-up. John

FYI Farber moved to NYC and that was the end of that gag.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-16 05:07 am (UTC)

Re: Nice article and thanks

Thank you, Sir; I'm honored.

Wondered why the Danica gig ended.
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[User Picture]From: panacea42
2010-11-16 10:08 am (UTC)
From everything I've heard Cranky Geeks is not coming back :-( I do dearly miss that show.

BUT Dvorak has started a new short tech discussion show, X3, with a couple of the former Cranky Geeks (not sure if the 'guests' will rotate in the future): http://x3show.mevio.com/ (raw feed is here: http://www.mevio.com/feeds/x3show.xml, iTunes here: itpc://mevio.com/feeds/x3show.xml). I really enjoy it, a lot of the crank still comes through!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-16 11:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! I'll take a look right now.

Did you see John's comment above?
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[User Picture]From: panacea42
2010-11-16 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, very cool!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2010-11-16 09:08 pm (UTC)

They need to work on their chromo-key. And just like with Cranky Geeks, then need someone to run sound that knows what they're doing; perhaps hand a boom or two (or shotguns) and be done with it. No scratching, etc. But they do need someone to do live monitoring.

I'm not sure I like the new format, but I'll try it out for a couple of days and see what comes of it.

Thanks again for the heads up!

Edited at 2010-11-17 12:08 am (UTC)
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