Archive for the ‘podcasts’ Category

You Are Dumber Than We

November 28, 2007

So I’m checking out the We Are Smarter Than Me site (google it – they get no linkage from me). Hmm, nice, an interview with Doc Searls, a current one with Mike Arrington. Neat.

But there’s no download link (that I can see) for the mp3 file. Oh, okay. There’s the little orange XML button. I’ll subscribe to the feed in GReader and the mp3 attachments will show up there likely. Umm.. no they don’t.

There’s a little note on the Podcasts page about having to subscribe to this stream via ITunes. So it’s either that or listen on-line while I’m on the page (there’s a little play button link which plays the file – apparently without any controls).

Oh forget it. ‘We’ are definitely smarter than you. At least the blog title is accurate.

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Me again on Linuxreality…

November 1, 2007

The second part of my guest segment on the linuxreality podcast is up today. More Inkscape chatter from yours truly.

The new found fame I’ve enjoyed because of this is just wonderful. I did a photo shoot for Podcast&Ammo magazine just last weekend. Unfortunately it included a nude photo spread and the editor deemed it far too graphic to publish. For shame, the prudes.


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Slicing and Dicing mp3 files

August 28, 2007

As I’ve likely mentioned before, one of the things I like about my new
car is the USB port right in the front panel of the stereo. I bought a
wee little Lexar Jumpdrive Firefly recently which I keep filled with various
folders of music and podcast mp3 files. I just stick it into the
stereo and it works. It’s a nice, simple, and open system – no
proprietary hardware or software interface, any usb stick and plain
mp3 file will do. Heck, it doesn’t even wanna play wma files which is
a good thing too! 🙂

But if there is one nagging thing I don’t like about it, it’s that the
ffwd and rewind functions are designed for music and not podcasts. So
if I’m 45 minutes into an episode of TLLTS, and my daughter wants to listen
to the Irish Rovers, I know I’ll have to ffwd through 45min of TLLTS
to get back to where I was later on. That means holding the ffwd
button for about 5 minutes – not ideal.

So naturally, what I do is make a mental note of the time elapsed
before switching to a different track and then (if I remember) I bring
the track into Audacity and cut off the first 45min of it (or whatever
the elapsed time was). Still kludgy at best.

But I’ve found a quicker if not less-kludgy way of doing it. If you
need to chop off the beginning, the end or some portion of a given
mpeg file (mpeg2, mp3, mpeg4), then mpgtx is your tool of choice.
Available for linux or windows, this nifty command line tool sounds
like a nice tool for quick mpeg slicing and dicing. In particular to
do what I wanted, I simply used:

mpgtx -s tllts_206.mp3 [45:00-] -b cut_tllts_206

This splits (-s) the input file (tllts_206.mp3) taking the portion
starting at 45min to the end of the file, and outputs it to
cut_tllts_206.mp3. The -b flag is for the basename.. haven’t figured
out that one, but you need it there for it to work.

So in a matter of 2 or 3 seconds it chops the first 45min off of the
file and gives me a new mp3. Nice!

Doing this same thing in Audacity was a chore. It would take a minute
or so for Audacity to import the mp3, I’d chop off the front 45 min
and then have to export it back out which took another minute or so.
Then, depending on the default export bitrate, I might get a bigger
mp3 file than the original (!). So in one fell swoop I cut the process
from 3 minutes to 3 seconds. Not bad.

Incidentally, what I likely *should* do, is split up longish podcast
files into 10 minute mp3 files. So if I need to find my place I can
just click through 10minutes at a time. I figured out how to do this
back in the comments of this post. Sheesh.. if only I was half as organized and prepared as I’d like to be. 🙂

Pre-Hammered Sinatra

July 12, 2007

I finally got around to watching Steve Gillmor’s Bad Sinatra 1. Since I don’t own an iPhone (and have no desire to), I decided I’d use the nifty program DeVeDe to burn it to a DVD and experience the full glory of Gillmor on my living room TV. With a slice of cold pizza in hand, I hit the play button and watched.

After it was over, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel as though it was ’38 minutes I’d never get back’. Clearly it’s not polished. Hopefully it never will be. Steve still has his magic. His ability to annoy, cajole and make me chuckle has remained untainted over his months of relative silence. I’m glad.

High points? Dan Farber, definitely. Devoid of the scene-stealing, attention hungry bravado of Calacanis, Farber continues to forcefully right the apple cart that Steve is constantly trying to upset. I admire his attempts at pinning Steve down on some of the issues. Never quite successful mind you, but it’s sure fun watching him try.

Other things I liked – Doc Searls of course. Pre-hammered shit and the state of VRM. Now there’s a white paper for you. He made me laugh – more than a couple of times.

I wasn’t impressed with a lot of the other stuff, not because it wasn’t important (to someone), but it wasn’t to me. If it was up to me, it would be the Steve, Dan and Doc Show all over again – there is long standing magic there I think – you can hear.. er.. see it. And just to ice the cake, put Jon Udell on speakerphone in every episode and pan away to a lovely scenic shot just as he’s about to make his big point on the crackly speaker. That was classic too.

Annoyances? Damn Robert.. straighten the hat and adjust the camera if you need to. I know it’s cool to be a nerd these days, but c’mon, that just couldn’t be comfortable.

I’m interested to see where it goes. If it’s anything like the Gang of old, I’m sure Steve has no idea where that is. 😉

Oh yeah… Note to Steve. The USB input on my new Kia’s stereo, combined with my 100km daily commute says to me that audio podcasting is anything but ‘dead’. I must have listened to 35 Diggnation episodes and have only ever watched two and they even have hot babes on there sometimes 😉 – The power of video podcasting is not as strong as you’d like to think.

I guess the true test will be if I create an audio version of your video show and feel I’m not missing anything. Wanna pull a Diggnation and save me the work by providing an mp3 only feed too?

Didn’t think so. 😉

Listening Habits

November 25, 2006

As I’ve written about a couple of times in the past, I’m hooked on podcasts and there doesn’t seem to be any let-up in sight. I burn mp3 CD-RW’s and they fuel my 50 minute commute each way to and from work. I probably end up listening to about 3-5 hours of podcasts a week. Right now I’m fairly satisfied with the podcasts I’m subscribed to, but there are a whole whack of them out there. So there are likely quite a few that I would love but just haven’t heard of.

I thought I’d share my listening habits with you, and by all means give me your comments and recommendations on shows that you think I might like, but don’t currently know about. My interests wax and wane like the moon so some podcasts will arrive on my list and others might depart from time to time. So there’s usually always a space for new things.
Here’s a list of the podcasts that are currently making regular rounds in my car’s mp3-cd deck (in alphabetical order):

43 Folders
60 Minutes Podcast
7th Son (Podcast Novel)
Digital Photography Tips from the Top Floor
Floss Weekly (Free, Libre And Open Source Software)
Gillmor Gang
Inside The Net (now called "Net @ Night")
KFI (The Tech Guy)
Linux Reality
Lug Radio (a Linux Podcast from the UK)
Matt’s Today in History
The Bitterest Pill
The Digital Story (A Photography Podcast)
The Linux Action Show!
The Linux Link Tech Show
The LottaLinuxLinks Podcast
This Week In Tech
Web Design Podcast from Boagworld

And a few that are in my aggregator’s subscription list but are not quite ‘regular’ releases:

Digital Flotsam
Morning Coffee Notes

Have you got some suggestions? What are *you* listening to?

Engaging once again

October 11, 2006

For those who might have quit listening to the Gillmor Gang, two things about the one just released:

1. Again it was split into 5 parts, and just to be more aggravating the parts were numbered in reverse… part 5 is the first segment, part 1 is the last.

2. The last segment (released as part 1 of 5 grrr) is, without a doubt the most engaging podcast I’ve heard in quite a while.

As an aside, Doc was actually wrong about something 😉 But of course he beats everyone to the punch and takes the blame head on.

Sounding Like a Gillmor Fanboy…oh gawd..

October 5, 2006

Reading Todd Cochrane’s post earlier today about how he ‘used to listen to the Gillmor Gang’, got me to pondering why I’m still listening to it – and perhaps with more earnest than ever.

I won’t pretend to defend Steve’s decision to chop it into bite-sized portions. But, he seems to have met me halfway by doing two things: skillfully ending the ad block at 4 minutes on the dot – rather consistently over the last few series of shows, and releasing all the pieces at one time (or at least nearly that way). Is it exactly the format I want? No. Should it be? No. It’s his show.

I’m sure Steve would be the first to say ‘if you don’t like it, then don’t subscribe to it’ although I’m sure he’d do it with more colour and fewer words. The blogosphere makes it so easy to demand exactly what we want from absolutely everybody. But is that really the way you expect everything to work?

He can slice and dice it six ways from Sunday if he wants. If he loses listeners (and we make the rather large assumption that he really cares about that) then it’s his loss. I’m not paying for the show. He’s *giving* it to me.

So why then am I still listening – even split across 5 files? There are a few key reasons, none of which are tremendously clever:

1. He has smart people on the show who (at least lately) are willing to really speak their minds. It’s often served dripping with sarcasm, or as an off-handed remark, but that makes it even more honest. If I preferred stodgy industry analysis I’d have tuned out long ago, or shot myself. You hear honest opinions rarely heard anywhere else.

2. The group dynamic he has going there sometimes generates a serious chuckle from me. And that ain’t as easy as you’d think. Lately it’s Calacanis that got me spitting coffee on my steering wheel. More specifically, it was a tremendously bad, but tremendously funny imitation of Adam Curry. And Jason’s imitation of Steve: “Ok..we’ve been on the call for 37 seconds…let’s rate the show” was absolutely priceless and shows you what I mean by point 1. No one…especially Steve, is safe. While I think they all respect each other, he’s giving them pretty much free reign. That takes a substantial set of cojones.

3. By letting his own gang members disparage his editing choices (and not editing it out), you have no doubt he’s heard every possible complaint about the show. And yet he continues on undaunted. I’ll almost be disappointed if he does stop chopping it up… almost. 😉

4. I don’t know what the hell he’s going to do next. I don’t even know if there will be another show – after all, every show’s the ‘last show’. How’s that for suspense?

5. I’ve come to the realization that while many of Steve’s views are contrary to mine, they’re also contrary to that of many of his gang members. His willingness to consistently invite and argue these contrary opinions makes the pill substantially less bitter. It doesn’t hurt to have 3 of 5 smart guys agreeing with you. 😉

6. Doc’s still hangin’ in there. So there must be something good going on. 😉

[Note: While Steve’s shout-out to me a few shows back was much appreciated (Thanks Steve), I won’t hesitate to unsubscribe if the show becomes uninteresting to me. But of course he knows that. Whether he cares is another matter entirely! 😉 ]

Podcast=Bleccch, Netcast=Yummm

September 23, 2006

Early this Saturday morning I read a post by Leo Laporte (posted even earlier this morning) about Apple sending a cease and desist letter to a software and services company called Podcast Ready claiming that the terms “Podcast Ready” and “myPodder” infringe on Apple trademarks. He makes some great points:

Now I’m far FAR away from being a religious person, but if there is a god, I beg him/her/it, “Please let this be true!!!!”. Leo goes on to say that (like me) he really doesn’t like the term ‘podcast’ anyway. In no way does Apple deserve to be construed as the inventor of podcasts or a required part of a podcasting system. That is not an angry shot at Apple, it’s just fair.

Truth is, I’ve never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion. In the past couple of days two people have told me that they can’t listen to my shows because they “don’t own an iPod.” I have to explain constantly that podcasts can be listened to on computers, phones, MP3 players, and CDs, as well as iPods, but because of the name the confusion persists. And now Apple is threatening people who use the word.

Further he suggests using the term “netcast“. I fully agree. It’s more accurate, better sounding and a nice little pun to boot. Will it happen? Maybe not. But man do I ever wish it would! And don’t for a second suggest ‘audioblog’… if there is an uglier name than ‘podcast’ then it’s got to be ‘blog’.

Now how do we get ‘netcast’ into widespread use? Well this is why I beg and pray that Apple decides to fight companies using the term. It will make adopting a new term so much easier.

Anyone heard any great NETCASTS anyone?

Sparks on the Rails

September 20, 2006

Listening to the last few Gillmor Gangs has been like watching a train wreck. You can’t take your eyes (or in this case ears) off of it as the brakeless train hurtles faster and faster. It only seems a matter of time until the wheels leave the rails. But man, until then it’s getting less intellectual but more interesting with each installment.

Last time it appeared that Jason Calacanis had wrestled the controls from Steve and was bound and determined to drive it straight off the tracks. And in this latest episode Jason is not there (what happened to script continuity anyway?) but we find Mike Arrington regrettably rating poor Hugh after he’s left the call. Not nice. But at least we’re getting to hear some real opinion on things – even if the interesting ones are non-tech related.

Will Steve continue to piss off his fellow passengers by chopping and hacking each episode into bite sized chunks? It seems they’re all against it – to Steve’s apparent delight.

Will Mike Arrington finally realize that all his chuckling and backhanded comments about Hugh actually do hurt his own reputation?

Will mainstream media heroes Dan and MikeV finally join Jon Udell in leaving the dark side?

Will Adam Curry show up and respond to Steve’s ‘Fuck you Adam Curry…but he’s a fantastic guy’ statements?

Will Doc Searls actually say something that doesn’t make absolute sense?

Good luck to Steve in keeping it on the rails. He’s actually got me engaged again, but the problem with train wrecks is that while they are good at garnering attention, we all know how they ultimately end.

For now, you can check out the blog that doesn’t exist by clicking this not-dead-yet link.

Photocast Network Launches

August 23, 2006

A new podcast network has been created which focuses (parden the pun) on photography related podcasts. You can find it at There are currently 8 shows on board. I’m only a regular subscriber to one of them at the moment (TipsFromTheTopFloor) but I’ve listened to (and watched) some of the other ones from time to time and they are all worthwhile. Potentially a good source for those interested in getting their photography fix on a regular basis.