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Don't Blink

Phil Harvey
10/31/2005

6:00 PM –- I just got through watching the Halloween edition of "The News Show," a daily tech Webcast produced by Light Reading's loving, benevolent parent, CMP, and I have some observations:

    Observation 1: Most people blink about 12 times a minute. The show's anchor John Soat, in his opening segment, doesn't blink once. Now I realize he was playing the part of a vampire reading stale wire copy, which is premise that works on many levels in tech journalism. But it is quite disturbing to see someone do that much reading while staring dead ahead.

    Observation 2: Why is Dracula broadcasting from in front of a book shelf?

    Observation 3: In the next bit, I kid you not, some guy carved a bunch of pumpkins to look like technology industry celebrities. And by "look like," I mean, they all have two eyes, a nose, and a mouth.

    So, if you play along, to make a pumpkin look more like Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, or Google CEO Eric Schmidt, you add a pair of glasses. A pumpkin not wearing glasses could be anyone from Larry Ellison to Steve Jobs. And a pumpkin that doesn't blink? That would be John Soat.

    Observation 4: When Ivan Schneider reads and over-gestures his way through a hyperactive rant about how a possible Google conspiracy could change the way we consume information, here's what I'm thinking: "Nice bookshelf, Ivan... Nice bookshelf."

    Observation 5: Oh dear. The next segment, "IPod In Disguise," makes me suddenly long for Ivan's bookshelf. Is that a laundry hamper in the background? Is facial hair supposed to be that uneven? Why is he wearing Fidel Castro's hat? Really, who is running wardrobe for these guys? I mean, Dracula was a mess, but at least he was wearing a collar.

    Observation 6: The "IPod In Disguise" segment guy just laid claim to the greatest job in the world. His job, on a Web-based TV show, is to show his audience -- folks watching from their computers -- some funny pictures from another Web site. Somehow it seems his talents are being misapplied, doesn't it? I say we give that guy a carving knife and a pumpkin and see what he can really do.

I'm all out of observations for now. My picks and pans aside, The News Show Halloween edition was certifiable hit in my book. And on my bookshelf.

— Phil Harvey, Ambient Furniture Critic, Light Reading

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