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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Who is Léo Gordon Laporte?

Who is Léo Gordon Laporte? [1] The entertainment and tech world knows Leo Laporte as the Tech Guy who is an American technology broadcaster, author, and entrepreneur. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, he now lives in Petaluma, California with his wife Jennifer and two children, Abby and Henry.[2]


Laporte was born November 29, 1956 in Manhattan, New York City. He studied Chinese History under Jonathan Spence at Yale University before dropping out in his junior year to pursue his career in radio broadcasting,[3] where his early radio names were Dave Allen and Dan Hayes.[4] He began his association with computers with his first home PC, an Atari 400.[5] He operated one of the first Macintosh-only bulletin board systems, MacQueue, from 1985 to 1988.[6] Leo is also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. [7]

Television and radio

Laporte has created, hosted, and contributed to a number of technology-related broadcasting projects. He created and co-hosted Dvorak On Computers in January 1991 (co-hosted with computer pundit John Dvorak), and hosted Laporte On Computers on KGO Radio and KSFO in San Francisco. In addition, Laporte also hosted Internet! on PBS, and The Personal Computing Show on CNBC. In 1997 he earned an Emmy Award for his work on MSNBC's The Site, a daily Monday through Saturday hour-long newsmagazine he helped create and appeared on in the role of a computer-generated character named Dev Null.
In 1998, he created and co-hosted The Screen Savers and the original version of Call for Help on the cable and satellite network ZDTV (later TechTV). Laporte left The Screen Savers in 2004, and then later left the network following a dispute with TechTV's then-outgoing owner, Vulcan Ventures, over stock ownership and the cancellation of Call for Help. His contract ended on March 31, and his absence from The Screen Savers on April 1 was originally believed to be an April Fool's Day joke.
Laporte has also pursued acting, playing Uncle Charlie in the movie Phoenix Rising.[8]
Laporte was the host of the daily television show The Lab with Leo Laporte, recorded in Vancouver, Canada. The program had formerly been known as Call for Help when it was recorded in the U.S. and Toronto. The series aired on G4techTV Canada, on the HOW TO Channel in Australia, on several of Canada's Citytv affiliates, and on Google Video some weeks after initial broadcast. On March 6, 2008, Laporte confirmed on net@nite #46 that The Lab with Leo Laporte had been canceled by Rogers Communications. The HOW TO Channel refused to air the remaining episodes after it was announced the show had been canceled.[9][10]
He also hosts a weekend technology-oriented talk radio program show titled Leo Laporte: The Tech Guy. The show, once an exclusive to KFI AM 640 (Los Angeles), is now syndicated on nearly 100 North American radio stations through Premiere Radio Networks, and on XM Satellite Radio. Laporte appears semi-regularly on Showbiz Tonight,[11] Live with Regis and Kelly,[12] World News Now, and briefly with Bill Handel on Friday mornings on KFI. He has also been a guest technology expert on numerous talk radio programs in local markets across the U.S. and Canada.


Laporte has authored a number of technology-oriented books such as 101 Computer Answers You Need to Know, Leo Laporte's 2005 Gadget Guide, Leo Laporte's Guide to TiVo, Leo Laporte's Guide to Mac OS X Tiger and Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk. Laporte has also published a yearly series of technology almanacs: Leo Laporte's Technology Almanac and Poor Leo's Computer Almanac. Laporte's latest and last book is Leo Laporte's 2006 Technology Almanac.
Throughout his career, he has contributed to a number of periodicals such as BYTE, InfoWorld, and MacUser. Laporte announced in October, 2006 that he will not renew his contract with Que Publishing and has retired from publishing his long series of books. He said, "Writing books is hard work and, love-starved groupies aside, the compensations are scant. I’ll put my energies into something I love to do, talking for a living."[13]
In 2008, Laporte did the voice narration for the fable The True History of Little Golden-hood by Andrew Lang which was made available through Audible.


Laporte currently owns and operates a netcast network, The name is derived from the network's award winning, flagship podcast This WEEK in TECH, or TWiT, which is hosted by Laporte along with a rotating panel of guests usually made up of several other former TechTV employees. This show remains one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and other podcast subscription services, as evidenced by winning an award at the November 2005 Podcasting Expo in California for the year's best podcast and by its over 280,000 weekly downloads.
Laporte prefers to call his shows "netcasts," saying "I've never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion … people have told me that they can't listen to my shows because they 'don't own an iPod' … I propose the word 'netcast.' It's a little clearer that these are broadcasts over the Internet. It's catchy and even kind of a pun."[14] With the addition of's live video feed, the shows are no longer audio-only.
Some of his other "netcasts" include Security Now! with Steve Gibson, MacBreak and MacBreak Weekly, both hosted in a fashion similar to TWiT, The Daily Giz Wiz with Dick DeBartolo, Munchcast with Cammy Blackstone, Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott, FLOSS Weekly, net@night with Amber MacArthur, Roz Rows The Pacific, and TWiG (This Week in Google) with Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani.

Recent Publicized Events

On March 14th 2010, Leo Laporte made the World Record for the longest live-streamed Crowd-Surf, which he performed during a live episode of Diggnation at the SXSW Interactive event in Austin Texas while broadcasting a TWiT LIVE "behind the scenes". The streamed video can be viewed on Youtube and third-person views are online as well[15][16].
Then in May 2010 Leo created some controversy by deleting his Facebook account live on the air.[17][18][19][20]

TWiT Live

Leo now hosts an online tech-oriented videostream TWiT Live.[21] It is currently broadcast through 2 BitGravity streams, as well as an audio only stream, a channel and a Ustream channel which are all live every day from about 2-7 PM EST, excluding Monday and Friday. A complete, official programming schedule can be found on Google Calendar.
On July 11, 2008 he did a special 24 hour show about the release of the iPhone 3G. It received 500,733 views, with a peak of over 100,000 concurrent viewers.[22]
The TWiT network's broadcast content was added in November 2009 as a free channel on the new Roku streaming media device and can also be viewed with many internet enabled televisions.
On January 27, 2010 Laporte hosted over 180,000 concurrent viewers as he provided in-depth coverage including live video and audio feeds from Apple's January 27th Event, where Apple's iPad was first revealed by Steve Jobs.
On March 13, 2010 Laporte hosted a live stream from SXSW 2010 where he joined the cast of Diggnation on-stage and performed the world's longest live streamed crowd surf, as recognized by the URDB.


101 Computer Answers You Need to Know

Leo Laporte's 2005 Gadget Guide


Leo Laporte's Guide to TiVo

Leo Laporte's Guide to Mac OS X Tiger

Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk

Leo Laporte's Technology Almanac and Poor Leo's Computer Almanac.

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