Get Tom’s Novel ‘Pilot X’ Published

PrintIf you notice over there on the side of the site, there’s a box from Inkshares about a new book from me called “Pilot X.”

The idea with Inkshares is YOU decide what books they publish. If 750 people preorder a book it gets published, edited, marketed and put into bookstores. Just like any other publisher.

Pilot X is about the pilot of a timeship who finds out his people are involved in a time war and he might be the only one who can stop it. Though it might wipe out his own civilization.

You can read more, including sample chapters, at the Inkshares page.

Go take a look, and if you like it, preorder it!


Coming up next week

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about upcoming shows, so I thought I’d give an update on the next couple weeks. Here’s what I know so far.

Sunday Dec. 29Cordkillers Episode: Another
This Sunday afternoon (time TBD at this point) Brian Brushwood and myself will do our next episode of Cordkillers. Beta? Possibly. Worth watching? Absolutely. If you want to follow the cord-cutting revolution this is a great way to do it. We cover the spectrum, and thanks to YOU it’s the best show about cord-cutting on the Internet. Watch live here (when it’s live, of course)

Monday Dec. 30 (1:00 PM Eastern) – Tech News Today Episode 912
It’s my last show as host! Sarah Lane and myself will be joined by Dr. Kiki and Darren Kitchen as we recap the top tech stories of 2013. What about Iyaz? He’s no longer with the company, but we’ll have his last goodbye message.

Thursday Jan. 2Daily Tech News Show – While I get my plans together for a brand new daily tech news show, I’ll start putting out updates and prototype episodes on the feed here. Starting Thursday I’ll have my first guest, Tim Stevens of Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!

Friday Jan. 3 (5:30 PM Eastern) – Current Geek – The premiere episode! Guests Mark “Turpster” Turpin and Veronica Belmont join us to talk about the biggest geeky goings on in their life and the world. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday Jan. 7Sword and Laser – Our first episode of 2014 will kick-off our January book pick, Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany. Plus news on the Sword and Laser anthology book and season 2 of the video show!

As you can see it’s going to be a busy year already, and I haven’t even launched my proper daily news show. I don’t know that I’d have the momentum or energy to do it all if it weren’t for your support, you beautiful crazy people! Thank you.

Happy New Year!

Don’t miss my new shows!

Surveyor holding hand upThanks to your help, momentum is building and I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2014.

Cordkillers, if you didn’t hear, will launch in beta this Monday December 23rd. Brian Brushwood and I will be joined by one Justin Robert Young to talk about all the news and info about watching what you want when you want and on any device you want. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE. It will make Brian’s children smile. And us too.

Current Geek launches Jan. 3 with a fantastic episode featuring Mark “Turpster” Turpin and Ms. Veronica Belmont. We’ll talk video takedowns, best gifts from the holidays, look forward to CES and a load of movies music and even food maybe. Who knows? You will after you SUBSCRIBE and listen. OK I’ll stop shouting subscribe. As long as you agree to subscribe.

Daily Tech News Show – My beta daily news update will launch Jan. 2 with my first guest being Tim Stevens of CNET. This is just a test show while I rebuild the best daily tech news show I can do. It would mean to world to me if you subscribed to that one too. See? No shouting.

Last of the old. Looking backwards just one last time, my last episode as host of Tech news Today will be Monday December 30. Sarah, Jason, Iyaz and myself will run down and converse about the top stories of the year with the help of Dr. Kiki and Darren Kitchen.

My next daily tech news show

J. R. Bob DobbsAs I previously posted, I was let go, and starting January 2 I’ll be on my own for all my shows.

I’ve already announced one new project with Scott Johnson, called Current Geek, which will be a weekly show covering all the things geeks care about.

But I wouldn’t be me without a daily tech news show. I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what form that will take. Last week’s hangout was essential in helping figure that out.

In the meantime, if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss it, I’ve set up a website and an RSS Feed you can subscribe to. Starting Jan. 2, whatever I’m up to will show up there.

Thanks y’all!

Brainstorming hangout tomorrow

Merritt drawing with beardPlans are afoot! I’ve had some excellent conversations with some awesome folks who want to help me out in so many ways. You all are too amazingly kind. There are more than I can respond to.

So the incredible Jackie Hern, JC and Sebastian have organized folks and have helped me plan a Google Hangout for tomorrow evening at 9:30 PM ET/ 6:30 PM PT.

The purpose of the hangout is twofold.

1.) To find out what kind of new show YOU want. I’ll let you know a little more about what Scott and I announced yesterday, and anything else that I can say by tomorrow night with certainty. But before I make too many decisions I want to get a sense of what the chat realm hive mind thinks would be good

2.) The second purpose is to let folks who want to help out have a chance to say so. Please remember, You DO NOT have to offer. I’m from Illinois. We are notoriously bad at asking for help. So I don’t expect it. But Jackie, JC and Sebastian have convinced me that enough people genuinely want to offer that we should give people a chance to hear what I might need and volunteer to help if they want.

Where can I find it? should show the link as will Google+. I’ll also put it on Twitter, and all the folks who signed up to either my or the Merritt Militia’s email list will be notified.

Thank you all for your support! It has been essential.

I’ll be teaming up with Scott Johnson starting in January

Hey all, I’m far from done planning what I’m going to do next, but I’m really excited to let you in on one project. Scott Johnson and I always love teaming up to talk, and yesterday we had a great conversation about an idea for a new show that both of us have had independently. So this was an easy one to agree to do.
We don’t even have a name or anything, but here’s what we agreed on so far:

The show is currently planned as weekly.
The structure and content of the show is still being hammered out, but expect lots of what we do best. (Tech, pop culture, etc. in the mix.) (Vague? Yes. We’ll keep you informed.)

Scott and I will host it. (duh)

Every week we will have LOTS of fellow Frogpants personalities and other prominent friends and guests join us. So will you with live calls, and live participation.

The show will be recorded live via both video and audio streams, AND distributed via MP3 via the normal podcasting methods.

Scott’s got the official announcement over on the Frogpants site if you want to read a bit more about it.

So I’m moving to Los Angeles,… wait there’s a good reason!

This January I’ll be moving to Los Angeles. I’ll still host Tech News Today and Frame Rate. I’ll do them over Skype at least to start. I will also continue to host Sword and Laser. Audio is over Skype already and I’ll fly up to Petaluma to shoot Sword and Laser video once or twice a month. Which will give me a chance to be in studio for TNT!

Why would I do this? because my wife, Eileen Rivera, was offered an insanely awesome job at YouTube’s LA flagship studio. It’s a dream job for her. And thankfully, Leo Laporte at TWiT is supportive of my need to move and will allow me to continue to host from afar.

In fact, it will give TWiT a chance to make remote hosting better than it has been until now. We’re already talking about the best ways to set up our “LA Bureau”.

Eileen starts in November, but I won’t move until after the first of the year. Just in case the Mayans are right. No need to pay for the truck if there’s not going to be a planet in January you know.

Yes, this will affect the dynamic of TNT slightly, but I think we’re good enough to accommodate it. Frame Rate shouldn’t change at all.

So all in all, I’m looking forward to the move and hopefully most of you who follow my stuff will hardly notice.

Except for my deep deep tan.

And implants.

Hey Tom, why are you…

It’s been three months of big changes for me, and since I’ve had a few folks ask me why this or that is changing, I thought I’d collect some answers here I could link to.

The big thing that’s driving me to change what I do is the need to focus. I’ve found two things in doing as many shows as I do. One, is that each show I add makes it harder to make any of the shows as good as they can be. The other thing was that at a certain point, by doing so many shows, I was making it harder for people to keep up with all the things I do, hurting the audience numbers overall.

The idea is that even though I’m doing a couple fewer shows, I can do them all much better. So here’s what stays for me, what goes, and what changes.


Tech News Today
There are many reasons for the time change of TNT to 10 AM, the biggest one being the need to have a consistent start time for a news show that has recurrent guests. I’ve gone over the plusses and minuses of this ad nauseum. The best discussions are on Google + here. But one side benefit of the new time is I’m focused on Tech News Today from 6 AM until 11 AM every day. This means I’m not distracted trying to mix in other work. I think it’s made all of us on the show improve and we’ll keep trying to make the best tech news show that can be done. Huge thanks to Leo for understanding and supporting the move. TNT is a full time job of its own really.

Sword and Laser
Launching the video show for Geek and Sundry was a GARGANTUAN task. Veronica and I formed a company, hired a set designer who built a dragon, contracted a production company, got an intern, created a show format, booked guests, worked on giveaways and, well, created a show from scratch. Thank goodness we’ve been doing the audio podcast for 5 years, so we knew the content. All the folks at Geek and Sundry have been tremendously supportive through it all, and we would have failed utterly without them. We’re also continuing the audio podcast and striving to make it better too. Between audio and video, this is also a full time job.

Frame Rate
I could not do this show without Brian Brushwood. He is the heart and soul of what makes it work. And beyond his enthusiasm and knowledge, he tirelessly works to make sure he’s there from the show. Anyone who has seen him from countless hotel rooms and lobbies knows this. Thankfully he’s put up with the constant time changes, and now that we’ve lodged on Monday afternoons, I think we can stick there for a good long while. Cord-cutting and Internet video is a category that’s in its very early days, so even though the audience may be small, it keeps getting bigger every week. I’m betting this show becomes huge… someday.

Other stuff
I will still post Tech History Today on I’ll still call into KFWB-Los Angeles every Monday morning to talk tech. I’ll still be on The Morning Stream every Wednesday to talk about what I’m working on for TNT with Scott and Ibbot. And I’ll still make occasional guest appearances on other shows.


Who am I kidding? I can’t not try new stuff. But the other shows that I do are going to have to be on a seasonal model. Autopilot with Scott Johnson ran for 12 episodes and then we took a break. We’ll probably do another 12 starting in September, after FSL Tonight is done. No more than one seasonal show at a time. You hear me Merritt?!? Oh and East Meets West is back to audio only, with Roger and I just doing it when we damn well please.


Alas poor FourCast. The number of viewers was lower each week and it was harder and harder to get guests I also won’t be co-hosting Trinagulation with Leo Laporte. As much as I ADORE that show, it doesn’t need me to be successful. Leo was very generous to share the stage with me but it will be just as good if not better without me. I also won’t be filling in for Leo as much on other TWiT shows.

Specials! I just did the first of these about bandwidth caps, and I think it went well. I’m going to try to focus on good topics that people care about, and do them in months when there aren’t any conferences or big product (cough Apple cough) announements. The next special will be the Mars Landing on August 5th.

And who knows? I may throw in another thing or two. But not too much, and nothing with an unending commitment. I’m already feeling more productive with these changes.

If any of you have actually read down to here, you have my sincere thanks for your interest. It’s probably a lot more than you wanted to know, but I’ve had questions about all the things mentioned here in one place or another, so figured I’d answer them all.


Jason Howell joining TWiT, will produce Tech News Today

I’m super-excited that Jason, long-time producer of Buzz Out Loud will be joining me at TWiT, and producing Tech News Today. Here are the details from the press release.

The TWiT netcast network has hired Jason Howell to
bring his podcast production expertise to the channel. Owned by
longtime tech broadcaster, president and Chief TWiT Leo Laporte, the
five-year-old company sees Howell, his experience and following as the
key piece in developing their 24-hour technology network.

Howell leaves a position as producer of the popular daily tech news
show “Buzz Out Loud” and director of all podcast production for San
Francisco-based CNET/CBS Interactive, where he has worked since 2005.
He co-created and hosted “Android Atlas Weekly” as well as producing,
editing and publishing the majority of CNET’s live streaming and
downloadable shows both audio and video..

“TWiT is undeniably at the top of its game, delivering high quality,
timely tech news and entertainment programming online,” Howell said.
“To be invited into the fold is both a thrill and an honor, and I’m
ecstatic to produce fresh content with Tom Merritt once again.”
“I’ve always seen TWiT as a place where great content creators could
come and bring their visions to life,” Laporte said. “Jason will bring
perspective and experience that will benefit us greatly. We’re
thrilled to have him join the TWiT family.”

TWiT is home to many of the world’s most popular shows about
technology, including “This Week in Tech”, “Tech News Today” and the
most popular shows about Apple, Microsoft, Google, Web 2.0, computer
security, and more. The network broadcasts 30 live shows each week on
its live-streaming channel, offering most shows
for download via iTunes and elsewhere.

Howell previously worked with the host of TWiT’s Tech News Today
program, Tom Merritt, where they developed CNET’s early podcast
strategy together.

“Jason is a pioneer in podcasting. He created CNET’s podcast approach
from scratch in the early days when few outlets were podcasting,”
Merritt said. “He brings a wealth of production expertise to the
network. His insight and talent are essential to running a 24-hour
network with high qualityshows.”

About Leo Laporte and TWiT
Leo Laporte is president and Chief TWiT of
the TWiT netcast network and host of “This Week in Tech” (the world’s
most popular technology podcast) and the nationally syndicated “Tech
Guy” radio show. Laporte is the former host of “Call For Help” and
“The Screensavers” on TechTV. He and other hosts currently create more
than 40 hours of live technology programming each week, streamed live

Tom is on holiday

If you’ve been looking around the Internet saying things like, “Why isn’t Tom on Buzz Out Loud?” or “Huh, I haven’t seen any new videos on CNET TV from Tom lately.” or perhaps, “It seems like a long time since the last East Meets West episode,” then I’m flattered but also worried that you may have developed an unhealthy obesession.

However if these sorts of questions have crossed your mind in a non-chalant manner, and you’re able to take a very beatnik-like attitude of apathy while considering them, appearing unconcerned if you receive an answer or not, then I believe you will be OK. And I also believe you wear a black turtleneck and smoke cloves.

For anyone who fits or does not fit the above description, please be aware that I have taken a brief respite in Arizona where I pan to take the sun for my health, and enjoy games of base ball played on a green field by professionals in the employ of millionaires. I will also eat mexican food. Until I’m done with such pursuits (namely March 18th) there will be no new works of Internet from me.

However, if this leaves you with a little extra time, you may take a moment out from reciting fugues to peruse the back-library of parody news from SuBBrilliant News. I am told doing so would qualify as an “indicator” for some such thing or other in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. But as I have so often noted, I am not a psychologist.