Bruised Ears and My Attention Deficit

Y’know, I don’t demand a lot in terms of sound quality of the podcasts I listen to. I generally have no problem with somebody recording a podcast with a Radioshack cassette recorder in their basement. If the content is good I can normally tolerate a great deal.

Take the Linux Link Tech Show for example. They run a live stream once a week, record it and make it available as a podcast. The sound quality is always challenging, but the hosts are engaging and the topics interest me, so I sit there and listen to whole interviews with 4 second lag times, echoes and silent pauses and it doesn’t bother me a bit. Actually it makes me chuckle sometimes. And Dave Winer’s ever rare Morning Coffee Notes podcasts have never ever been about sound quality, but the content more than makes up for it.

But I have to admit that the current Gillmor Gang recorded live from Gnomedex crossed the line from annoyingly poor sound quality to unlistenable. And it wasn’t just unlistenable in terms of sound quality but also in terms of content. Along with the usual crackle and lag of the call-in participants came a wharbling on-the-verge-of-feedback -its-not-hendrix-at-woodstock whistle that affected even the normally silken-voiced Doug Kaye. Just as I thought things would get better, Dan Farber or Doc Searls would interject with what sounded like walkie-talkie chatter from the bottom of a manhole somewhere. Ugh.

Now I was expecting better things after struggling through the previous multipart Gangfest which apparently culminated in the sharing of earbuds (ick) in order to get Hugh and Doc both involved aurally (!). But the Gnomedex gangfest (and a good deal of the previous multi-part gang) just sounded whiny, self-serving and unusually arrogant on all fronts. Hugh definitely did NOT feel the love on that one! I guess the ‘attention deficit’ in Attention Deficit Theatre is really meant to me mine.

I’m not going to complain and then threaten to unsubscribe (that would be too easy), I’ll just have to make a quick judgement after skipping the 5 minute front end ad block -btw thanks for cutting those down Steve 😉 – whether or not its going to be listenable for me. After all, if I unsubscribe I’d have nothing to complain about, Steve would have less to be grumpy about and the whole house of cards would flutter to the ground.

Do I wish the Gang would improve? Of course. Will it? Dunno. Maybe the experiment is really to see how far you can go before you actually lose subscribers. I’ll be trying to skew the results.


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