Things I've done in the last 60 Hours

01.06.27 - Mark

Since Friday Morning:

I've driven 1171 miles from Mount Airy, NC to Columbia SC, then to Savannah, GA, to Atlanta, GA, Ashville, NC, and finally back Mount Airy (without suffering death or traffic citations)

Slept on a floor (twice)
Saw a Blue Man Group Concert (Amazing)
Visited Friends (always nice)
Walked around on Interstate 77 South (during a mysterious traffic standstill in South Carolina)
Participated in no less than 6 traffic jams (I hate South Carolinian drivers)
Ate plenty of good food (American, Indian, Asian, Italian)
Visited an Ikea (listened to Jonathan Coulton's "Ikea" song on the way in)
Listened to ten episodes or so of Escape Pod and Pseudopod (I should stop binge listening to them)
Listened to lots of music (everything from Rock, to Celtic, to Bollywood)
Managed to pick up my brother from college and return home without killing anyone or crashing the car

It's been an interesting three days

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Impossible Dreams

01.13.02 - Mark

I love Escape Pod and with the exception of a 3 or 4 episode backlog (that I'll have cleared by Saturday) I've listened to every show since episode 1, and while I've got some favorites, I was blown away by EP105 - Impossible Dreams. I don't know that it's my favorite recording, but it's easily my favorite Escape Pod story to date. I'm not a movie buff like the characters, but I relate, and while listening to it I found myself empathizing with them far more than I do in most fiction. It's been a long time since I've been pulled into a story in the same way as Impossible Dreams (which is a 2007 hugo award nominee ) did, and that easily is worth donating some money to Escape Pod.

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NPR Using Blog Comments for Marketing?

14.00.30 - Mark

NPR seems to be using comments on blogs ( same comment different blog) to market their podcasts. Or at least "This I Believe" is.

As best I can tell the Administrator for "This I Believe" ran a search on Technorati for blog posts tagged Penn Jillete, where I'm the 8th hit (the other blog I found the comment on was was 9th) then just pasted the comment into the form, submitted it and moved on to the next blog.

NPR Commenter's Referal

The comment is a pretty bland message that comes close to being comment spam, and while I allow anonymous comments, signing the message as "Admin" doesn't earn them any points, a real name or even "This I Believe" would have been much better. Despite those two items, I think it's neat that NPR (or at least some of its programs) are embracing not only podcasts, but blogs and other "new media" tools as a way of reaching interested parties. The certainlly have a ways to go in terms of making their content an open conversation, which in the end is the real strength of "new media", but the fact that they're experimenting with the tools is very encouraging.

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Radio Randomization

09.22.11 - Mark

Recently my sleep cycle has been closer to a racoon's than your standard human, and part of that has been waking up and eating breakfast. This morning while eating a pile of pancakes I turned on NPR rather than my ususual podcasts. Glad I did. NPR was running this story on the i-Bod which was well produced, right down to the NPR reporter kicking the can while testing the device - I think it was in beta. Normally NPR won't kill it's reporters on air, but I think they were justified here (pledge week - gotta bring up those ratings), and I hope that there won't be that many angry liberals calling the FCC. (BTW check the date)

It really reminded me of Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything, which unlike normal NPR broadcasts, dosen't wait for April 1st to mix real reporting, smart interviews, well formed opinions, and a good bit of well staged fiction. I love it so much so that I'm working on both ends of the archives, listening to the archives from when it was a standard fixed time on-air broadcast as well as its current incarnation as an alt.npr podcast. Give it a good, dedicated listen, also check out AmigoFish which was the first of several things that turned me on to the Theory of Everything.

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23.18.50 - Mark

This story just makes you feel all warm and cuddly about human nature. Kid finds camera, parents find owner, owner gives them money for its return, parents can't bear to part kid from camera and therefore screw the owner. The 336+ comments the own has received from don't help. Everything from calls for mobs of people to harass the parents and kid, to cries of public humiliation, to calling the owner a liar, to offering to donate cameras to the kid and or former owner. There's an up and a down to being internet famous on any level. Up is it gets things done. The down is that more often than not its not the thing that needs to be done.

The other link is to guidelines for podcasters and is a few days old. I agree with nearly everything the author says, although like everything else in life there are plenty of exceptions. The one I disagree with the most has got to be the get a buddy / "couplecast". While there's a support staff behind a few of my favorites, most of my favorite podcasts have a single host. I'm also willing to more that time limit up. To me 40 minutes per feed per week is workable (not that I want all my shows to be eating that much time). More than that and you've got to be offering something really compelling to avoid slipping down my playlists.

Fortunately podcasts are flexible and I get to be my own network programmer.

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Ouch, stupid overhead

00.52.30 - Mark

I'm really growing attached to Fireant, and can see why the vlogging community has latched onto it. Like any software there's a learning curve to it (something I keep forgetting), and while there are a couple things I'm still getting used to, like some of the playback controls and the lack of an easy way to go to the site in a real browser, most of the time its quick, easy to use, and extremely easy to manage files (iTunes Delete file functions leave something to be desired).

Recently I've been watching clips from Apollo Pony ("Rocketboom's Newsroom"). I had it in my subscriptions, but I accidentally downloaded all of the clips (which happened to me with RB as well). I hate to waste that bandwidth so I've been watching what I download, and there are some real gems in there. No regrets.

Since my post (and correction) on pod-catcher clients, I've also been playing with iPodderX Lite, and I'm starting to get the religion. There's a whole lot to be said for set it and forget it downloading but one things iPodder Lemon had going for it was that it was extremely easy to see download queues, progress, and failures. So far I haven't seen that type of functionality in there, but that could be pro, or something coming out in Transistr. Furthermore its only ever a problem when I max out my iBooks HD (which unfortunately I do a lot, especially when I'm collecting video)

Between the two clients there are a few problems, nothing serious, and nothing on the scale of my iPodder pains. More like transition pains (which are always unpleasant)

Anyways, back to watching, deleting, and downloading.

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Morals, Ethics, and Phone Calls from God

16.55.20 - Mark

"You never hear about an Atheist going on a cross country shooting spree because No God didn't call to tell him not to"

Not that I really need another podcast, especially from a commercial radio station with a miserable RSS feed and exceptionally vague track names and nearly impossible to navigate websites, but I'm loving the snippets that are being podcast from Penn Jillette's Radio Show

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Podcastercon Video

16.39.29 - Mark

I've been working on this on and off during my free time all week (with a surprising amount of time taken to make room on my laptop's hard drive) I've finished my Podcastercon 2006 Video (48.3MB 320x240 Quicktime). There are other (higher quality) videos out there, thanks for taking the time to watch this one.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Other Thanks to
Steve Eley - Escape Pod
Barbara Sawhill - Language Lab Unleashed
David Ranii from the News and Observer (his article on the event)
Brian Russell - Audio Activisum
Chris MacDonald - IndieFeed
Ed Cone
Corey Pudhorodsky - 501c3cast
Kevin Lewis and Beau Wright - Attack of the Nerds
Joseph Nilo and Daniel Judson - Macpropodcast
David Warlick - Connect Learning
Lynn Eades

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The Day After

23.16.46 - Mark

I had a great time at Podcastercon yesterday. I think Brian Russell and all of the other people behind it did a great job putting it together and the 200+ people in attendance made it a great environment to learn, talk, share, and create.

I think a lot of people would have benefited from workshops, specifically for the Introduction to Podcasting session. There's just no way you can do that well in a large group sessions, even though Rob W and Steve Eley make a great attempt.

The Podcasting in Education session was wonderful. With so many teachers and administrators (at least the ones I've dealt with) who just don't get it's good to know there are a lot of people out there that either get it, or are willing to go out of their way to try and understand new trends.

The Video Blogging Session / Integration with Traditional Media Session was good, but it didn't live up to its potential. There were a lot of geeks and technology-aware people at the conference, but I don't think that means we should have a 45 minute discussion on formats, bit-rates and delivery. I would have liked more focus on content which is where it eventually moved, and creation which is what some people seemed to be interested in.

What really made the conference worth going to was the people. I spent most of the in-between session time and Lunch time shooting video, quick little one to two minute interviews and just about everyone was happy to answer some questions, of corse many of the podcasters I talked with asked their own questions back.

The after conference had a couple odd moments. On the way to the book giveaway one of the people in the walking group overheard me say Mount Airy and instantly started asking me if I was serious, which is usually the opening to "Oh Cool, Mayberry" discussions, except as it turned out it was the couple behind PodcastRant.com, which is based in/near Mount Airy and does Local's Only which highlights some music groups in the area.

Just a note on the video I was shooting, I've looked over what I shot and most of it looks (and more importantly, sounds) usable, so once I find a few GB's of space on my hard drive I'll start editing (tomorrow). Not sure when I'll have something, but if you're desperate for a Podcastercon video check out The Mac Pro Podcast. They were shooting with some high end gear and they say they'll have a video out tomorrow. There's going to be some overlap but I'm looking forward to seeing what they put out.

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