Saturday, 17 June 2006
What podcasts do you listen to? Which ones actually keep you coming back?
Honestly, there are so few podcasts out there that I can stand to listen to anymore. I deleted a whole slew of podcast subscriptions the other day because I felt like I was wasting massive amounts of time on those occasions when I did listen, and because many of them have simply turned me off completely and therefore got skipped over and never listened to (and honestly that's most of them).
What are my pet peeves? Okay, here's my harsh list for what will cause me to kill the audio before the podcaster even gets started.
- Any podcast that opens with anything even remotely like "your speakers are about to blow up" or "warning, "the sound you're about to hear may cause damage." Give me a break. Everyone says that, and the only potential damage is me pushing a pencil through my ear to drown out the un-original intro.
- Don't say "welcome to the world of (anything)." That's as lame as the movie trailers that start with "In a world..." People laugh and cringe at the same time. And it's sad when cringing is accompanied by uncomfortable laughter.
- Open your show with "blahblah podcast" plus the date and then never use the word podcast ever again. Use of the word "podcast" more than once in any single sentence, or in more than one sentence in a row should be a felony. Agh. I know it's a freakin' podcast, it's not like it magically found its way onto my computer - I had to do all kinds of work to find it and access it. Tell me something I don't know and (here comes the 'o' word again) original.
- As much as it might mean to you, chances are nobody else especially wants you to pontificate about how you and your girlfriend celebrated her 31st birthday this past weekend. In fact, your girlfriend probably doesn't want you saying it either...
- Podcasts about podcasting. Uh, yeah.
- Crappy indie music. Note that I have nothing against independent music if it's good. But any music that's bad (indie or otherwise) is bound to drive away listeners. The operative word is 'crappy.' If you played "We Built This City" on your podcast opener, I'd probably click the 'Close' button, too.
- Seriously, you don't need a blog entry with the same copy/paste text on the page for every episode. I'm reading to see what's different, not what's the same. I already unsubscribed from the podcast, don't tempt me to do the same with the blog.
- Snot noises (sniffling, etc). Seriously, blow your nose or take a decongestant or something.
- "So I thought I would talk about something like that and so ummm yeah so uh I am going to talk about that now..." GAH!
They can't all be that bad...
Anyhow, my new goal is to find 10 awesome podcasts that attract, deserve and retain my attention. Let me know if you have suggestions.
Sunday, 29 January 2006
Sunday, 15 January 2006
People are certainly interesting, especially when given the ability and opportunity to say whatever's on their minds uninterrupted. Whether they should or not. Of course, "should" is a relative term, determined by both listener and speaker. And they won't always agree.
Brad Fitzpatrick - of LiveJournal fame - has created a continuous stream of public Internet audio blog posts recorded by LiveJournal users. I think I'll call it Brad's People Aggregator. It's colorful, random, strange and interesting. Sometimes funny, sometimes just crude. And you never know what you'll hear (good, bad or otherwise).
NOTE that the language and content of the audio posts is almost guaranteed to contain loud, crude, vulgar language.
People dial in to a number that allows them to post to their LiveJournal accounts. It's apparent that elevators and airports bring out interesting behavior in people. Now, I'm not so sure recording an audio post about your marijuana growing operation is really all that great an idea - but whatever. Also not convinced that talking about the court date you just had and how you have to go to the mental health office for your appointment is a great idea, but again, whatever... It's certainly an honest and unique slice of the real world, and that means real people (along with their collective reasoning, language, intelligence and behavior).
I suppose it's a great way to discuss and complain about stuff, but in a way where no one is there to tell you why you're SO FREAKIN' WRONG. Heh. Hmmm, there's probably some serious psychology to be done there - Something about how our interconnected world actually makes us more isolated even though everyone is so "close."
Here's the link...
Monday, 08 August 2005
Astronaut Steve Robinson has done the first Podcast from space... Say what you want about Podcasting. You have to admit that when someone does it from the space shuttle, that's pretty big deal.
And to think a year ago nobody had ever heard of podcasting...
Listen here (MP3)
"At any rate I will close this very brief first podcast from space with a greeting to all Earthings and a thank you for your interest and support. Whether you support the space program or not, you're learning from it. You're learning from it the very moment you hear this and think about what we're doing. And I think that learning is what looking over the horizon is all about, and don't forget that learning can be exciting and fun, too, because that's certainly what this mission has been all about."
Sunday, 07 August 2005
Here's a shameless plug of my very own... I guest-co-hosted the Tablet PC Show
with James Kendrick today, filling in for the one and only (and much-better-at-this-than-me) Marc Orchant. It's been published, so check it out if you like:
The TABLET PC Show #19 (MP3 - 21MB - 60min)
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE
Marc Orchant was away but guest co-host Greg Hughes graciously stepped in and we have an action packed show. Greg fills us in on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet PC that he’s been lucky enough to use for the past month so anyone interested in this fine convertible (or those anxiously awaiting delivery) will get some good information to take away. After the break we shift focus to the hot topic of the week, WindowsVista Beta 1, and round up the information that is starting to emerge from those brave enough to install it on a Tablet PC. Enjoy the show and as always we appreciate your feedback! (We missed you Marc!)
The Tablet PC Show #19 (MP3 - 20.9MB - 61min)
00:00 Intro- Greg Hughes & James Kendrick
05:45 Greg has a Lenovo ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC
25:00 The Podcast Network
26:00 WindowsVista Beta 1 information roundup
eWeek- will your Tablet run Vista?
Random Elements- Colin Walker installs the beta
Greg punches a cat in the face
IE7 panning with a pen
Tablet PC team has a blog
Speech recognition- command and dictation fused
Ink Analysis in Vista
60:00 Wrap up
I just finished spending an hour or so conversing about one of my favorite topics with James Kendrick (jkOnTheRun) as a "guest host" on The Tablet PC Show. As is often the case in the podcast world, we used Skype to communicate and JK recorded and produced the thing on this side of the connection. We talked about the X41 Tablet PC (of course) and then spent a bunch of time bouncing around different Windows Vista on the Tablet PC topics.
You can listen to the show by visiting this link.
I had a lot of fun doing this. Thanks to JK and Marc Orchant (the real co-host of the show, who was out of town this weekend) for the opportunity. James made it easy for me, and hopefully it turned out ok.
If you're visiting here from the show and wondering who the heck I am, check this link. Tablet PC stuff I have written about in the past is available here.
If you're a regular reader here and want to see what podcasting and The Tablet PC show are all about, check out the show's web site right here.
There are a couple things I *have* to do now that I've spoken about them out loud:
- Get this Windows Vista ISO image to freakin' work - I must have a bad DVD burner or something, as I am consistently making coasters (and then, of course, install it and the additional Tablet bits on a Tablet PC).
- Revisit the speech recognition capabilities of the Tablet PC - James says he uses it all the time, and I am thinking I may not be taking it seriously enough in terms of daily use, so I want to check it out again.
This whole podcasting/audio show/Internet conversation/etc thing is fun and cool. And, depending on how it's used, I think it can be a great medium for certain styles and forms of content delivery - especially interactive conversations.
Anyhow, the 19th edition of the Tablet PC Show has been posted, so check it out. I'll post a link to the show when it's up. Hopefully I won't sound like a complete dork (but I probably will, heh).
Friday, 05 August 2005
Skylook marries Skype - the uber-popular voice and text communication app - with Outlook, the ubiquitous mail and personal organizer app from Microsoft.
UPDATE: After using this program for a day or so and speaking with a couple others who have also used it, I have a few additional thoughts:
- I'd like to be able to increase/decrease the MP3 sampling bit-rate - right now it's fixed at a fixed setting of mediocre audio quality
- I'd like to be able to specify which chats and voice calls are recorded - right now it records them all, which is cumbersome
- Generally, I'd prefer being able to tweak all the little details across the board - give me control while keeping it simple
- There's a real need for a complete, solid, Skype/VoIP recorder that builds in and doesn't have to be rigged together with bubble gum and duct tape.
Another UPDATE: Jeremy Hague of the Skylook team sent along this information (Aug 8):
"I thought that you would be interested to know that we are planning on introducing some new features in response to the customer feedback (mostly from podcasters, which is really cool) we have received in the first week. We are planning on introducing some advanced configuration options to enhance the MP3 recording that Skylook produces. In a future version, the user will be able to control the bitrate of the MP3 file, information that Skylook can populate into the ID3 tags… along with support for other audio file formats."
Skylook builds right into Outlook - in the form of a toolbar - and enables you to record your Skype conversations as
high so-so quality MP3 files for playback later. This makes it a potentially useful tool for Podcasters, who often use Skype in combination with a spaghetti mess of piping and recording apps to conduct collaborative conversations and interviews over the Internet (NOTE: The audio quality may not be high enough for many podcasters, so allowing users to tweak these settings would be important). Obviously, the major benefit of recording this way is that it enables an easy way to speak with people that would otherwise often not happen. It removes the need to sit in the same room with the other participants while still providing reasonable-quality audio.
It allows you to make Skype calls and start Skype text chats directly from your Outlook contacts and emails. It shows you which of your contacts in on-line in the Outlook toolbar and provides options to review contact details and review previous communications with the contact. Skylook not only records all your voice calls, it also records your text chats to a special Outlook folder.
I did a quick voice chat this evening with Eric Rice to try it out. We were not using headsets, so we had the inevitable echo, but the Skylook app did a great job. It just did its thing in the background without any problem, and when we hung up, I "magically" saw a dialog on the screen:
I clicked the "Show me" button, and it took me straight to my filed recording:
And it files the text chats right there with the audio, filed all neat and clean just like an email would be. It's really very slick in that regard.
I'll have to give it a shot maybe this weekend, when apparently I will be guest-hosting on a podcast I really like a lot. More on that after it happens.
You can download Skylook here and try it for a couple weeks. After that some functions are disabled, do you can buy it here for $29.95.
Friday, 15 July 2005
Come geek out this weekend. Bring a friend, your audio gear and a camera (or just yourself if that's easier), and lets do some podcasting and videoblogging as the Podcast and Videoblog Roadshow comes to Portland, Oregon. It happens Saturday at noon downtown.
Podcasting, videoblogging, audioblogging, etc. Get creative. Fun stuff.
All the obligatory W's:
See ya there.
Friday, 03 June 2005
Blogging is reaching new heights. While Scoble's blogging from the seat of an airliner with WiFi on a trip to Europe on his way to a geek dinner (sounds like fun), a group of 20 police officers and companion climbers are slowly but steadily audioblogging their way to the rugged summits of Denali in Alaska (20,320 feet) and Humphreys Peak in Arizona (12,634 feet).
Using a satellite phone in Alaska and mobile phones in Arizona, the officers are calling in to a special phone number at audioblog.com, which immediately posts their voice recordings to the Climbers' Weblog at copsontop.com.
Both teams will strive this weekend to summit the mountains as a memorial to honor the lives, service and sacrifices of police officers Eric White and Jason Wolfe, both of the Phoenix, Arizona Police Department. Officers White and Wolfe were killed in the line of duty on August 28, 2004, while searching for a suspect who had just shot another man in the chest.
The officers are members and representatives of Cops on Top, a non-profit organization of police officers and others who execute memorial expeditions to remember peace officers killed in the line of duty. The audioblogging technology enables the teams to document their progress in real time, and to reach the families and friends of those fallen officers who are honored on each expedition.
Friday, 20 May 2005
I'm watching FOX12 News here in Portland, and they just ran a story about Podcasting. The pointed out that it's even gone commercial, and had a quick interview with a guy from Centennial Wines - http://www.centennialwines.com/ - which apparently has a podcast available (I only see one episode, but maybe I am missing something).
Anyhow, TV is pushing the message of podcasting all the way into your living room on the newscast. That's gotta mean something.
Monday, 04 April 2005
Oh, how I wish this SharePoint podcast series was available in English! But, it's only in German. I know some German (took three years classes in school), and I have been listening to it and trying really hard to pick up the content of the podcast, with little success. I'm just too out-of-date to be able to catch it all.
http://www.sharepointpodcast.de/ - with Michael Greth
The only thing I can tell for sure is that there's plenty of info in there that I'd like to be able to understand better, so I am relying on the links on the weblog to help me understand more. I'm also looking at this as a way to help refresh my German (maybe, it's tech lingo so that can be difficult) before my trip to Germany this fall.
Anyone know of any SharePoint podcasts in English? Hmmmm, maybe I should think about podcasting after all... Anyone out there want to co-host a SharePoint podcast?
Sunday, 20 March 2005
Speaking of audioblog.com, Eric pointed out to me that he and the others over there have been busy:
[9:59:12 PM] Eric Rice says: added some crazy mad new features to audioblog
[9:59:18 PM] Eric Rice says: podcasting without needing a blog
[9:59:18 PM] Greg Hughes says: yeah?
[9:59:25 PM] Eric Rice says: and recording to MP3 right over the web
Come to think of it, I read that on Friday, but I have not had a chance to check it out yet.
Eric made a QT movie that shows how to make podcast RSS feeds with audioblog.com, and how to record your podcasts straight to MP3 online, with nothing but your web browser pointed to your audioblog.com account.
Upload an audio file, record it online with the browser, or call it in... All three ways will let you create your podcasts anyplace, anytime. You don't even need a text weblog to do this, just audioblog.com and it's enclosure feeds - cool stuff!
By the way, there's video enclosures on the system, too... Videoblogging feeds - hmmm!
A friend of mine from the online world (and big shot from audioblog.com), Eric Rice, has taken over the Engadget "airwaves" and is now hosting the Engadget podcast.
Eric's a cool guy, and it's great to have an Engadget podcast back online. It's a tough room to play to, but Eric will do well with it.
Check it out here. The Podcast feed is here.
Thursday, 13 January 2005
I’ve been an audioblog.com customer for some time, and have always liked their product. I have not used it much in the past, but recently I found a perfect use for their service.
Cops on Top has a team of 13 climbers – police officers and a couple civilians – in Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro, making a climb to the summit of Africa’s biggest mountain in memory of fallen Officer Isaac Espinoza of the San Francisco Police Department.
They have a satellite phone with them, and are calling in audio blog updates using the sat phone. As soon as they call in an update, it’s posted instantly to the Cops on Top web site’s climbers weblog.
Imagine that – technology now allows a group of people in the furthest corners of the world to instantly file an audio recording update to a web site, so people everywhere can know what’s happening, right now.
I had a configuration problem the other day as I was trying to get the service running for the Cops in Top site, and Eric over at audioblog.com helped out and made a quick fix that allowed us to solve the issue and get the service working. Righ then, right there, solved the problem and made sure it was working for me. True service. Nice.
If you’re geeky and have a blog, give audioblog.com a try – it’s nifty stuff and works well.
Thursday, 06 January 2005
My gnome friend Brandon Watts jumped on the proverbial horse and rode straight out the barn on his first PodCast earlier today. And all in all, he did a fine job.
If you have not heard about Brandon before, here's a little info:
- He wrote his own programming language for beginners, called Leopard, a couple years ago.
- He's 18 years old now.
- He's wicked smart.
- He writes for Lockergnome and has had his writing featured in a variety of print and online media.
- He has a pretty darn good radio voice.
- He has a blog.
Check out his podacst (for the uninitiated, podcasting's this new thing that all the kids are doing with MP3 files and easy-to-use-and-distribute audio shows). Let him know what you think.
Chris Pirillo is a well-known geek and all around goofy (and smart and good) guy. He founded Lockergnome and did a show for TechTV back before that network went straight to crap.
He’s starting his new weekly audio broadcast today, two-and-a-half hours of live talk from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). His show’s new website is online and the live broadcast starts at 11:30am Pacific Time, but the stream is already running so jump in now. Replays available if you miss(ed) the live show, and RSS feeds are on the site for subscribing – I did.
I am working form home today, and so I will be listening to it in the background whilst editing papers and organizing stuff. Good to see you back on the air, friend!
Wednesday, 29 December 2004
Eric Rice interviewed me Wednesday afternoon, to get just one simple blogger guy’s perspective on the blogosphere and the process of giving to the relief efforts needed so badly in South Asia after the tsunamis and earthquakes that have devastated so many people in that region. It was the AdSense donation idea that sparked the interview, but we talked about other aspects of the blogosphere and its collective reaction to the tragedy, as well.
Thanks to Eric for taking the time to do a podcast about something that’s very important: those things we can do now to help others in need.
Download the podcast (an MP3 audio file) from EricRice.com and see links there for a few places you can go to offer your help, as well.
Monday, 06 December 2004
Certainly more interesting than your average podcast (it seems in many podcasts the speaker talks about – get this – podcasting), Jared and Brandon stole Wi-Fi from the front seat of a car while making a half-hour recording of them talking about web sites they’re browsing (including mine, heheh), war driving, talking to computers, and generally spending an evening being – umm – productive.
Heh. These guys are smart (this I know), bore easily when their minds are not occupied, and apparently they need jobs, or something to do. Hire them. Please. I’ll gladly act as a reference, just email me.
I learned a lot. Apparently “WTF” is pronounced “double-you-tee-eff.” Hmmm…
- Marginal material – Zero dollars.
- The search for free Wi-Fi – Zero Dollars.
- Sunday evening in the rain, in Georgia – Zero Dollars.
- Getting real and taking the show on the road, geek style – Priceless.
Friday, 19 November 2004
Our world, it is a-changin' ...
The folks over at audioblog.com have recently released a beta of their new videoblogging browser-based service to their users. It's super-sweet, and works great. Nice job!
What will this kind of capability mean down the road for personal Internet broadcasting and media in general? Only time will tell, but the possibilities seem endless.
Of course, videos of me talking to inanimate objects about the technology itself from my kitchen are not exactly great examples of effective content planning... But hey, it's a geek-out kinda thing, ya know?
Saturday, 06 November 2004
And she's right.
I am listening to a live windows media feed from BloggerCon about podcasting (I am not there because I needed to stay home for other things, so I canceled my trip).
Adam Curry says (paraphrased) don't think you can change the name, it's a done deal. He's right (unfortunately). No one thought ahead about the name, or not far enough ahead. Or there was an agenda to use the name for any of a number of reasons. Or it's a good name because it's catchy and immediately invokes interest when you hear or read it. Whatever. I *still* think we need to get away from the name when we think up new additions to this technology, just to make sure people don't assume it's just for the iPod. Because like it or not, they do.
For the creator, this is personal Internet broadcasting. For the end users, it's simply audio aggregation with a magical ability to get the files on your computer and/or portable audio device of choice.
And it's in its infancy as far as time alive and maturity of technology. John Dvorak was at least partially right. It pretty much sucks for the average user. At least right now.
But it will get better.
Take a look at early technology being developed specifically for aggregating mp3 and other enclosures and tying into, say, Windows Media player. I have had the personal experience of providing input and being involved in making suggestions for Doppler, a program that is 100% focused on doing just that.
Adam points out that there is no all-in-one solution for the podcaster. We are far from having that available.
Which means by next week someone will have written it.
Saturday, 23 October 2004
Carl Franklin wrote some thoughtful commentary about a weblog post by Scott Hanselman on the subject of podcasting. Then Dave Winer commented on Carl's post. Rory follows up with a far-reaching examination of the arguments.
It's an interesting conversation, and one well worth having.
I have been listening to podcasts for weeks now, and to MP3 audio shows since before the term "podcast" was coined. I still don't really like the term, but anyhow... Airplanes are a place I find them most useful - but they have not completely replaced my drive-time commute, which totals about 2 hours a day, because the content quality just isn't there for me yet, with a couple of notable exceptions. I do get a certain amount of enjoyment from podcasts - from some of them, anyhow. Mostly by people you probably never heard of. I really don't have a need or desire to listen to "experts" in go on and on and on and on and on and on about how podcasting just changed the world. A medium that talks about itself feels a lot like MLM. It can't last forever. You wanna talk about the technology your using, make it useful for me - make the time I spend listening to you really, truly worthwhile. It's the content people, CONTENT!
Another thing, about the concept that podcasting will replace/kill radio as we know it - I am not convinced on that one yet. I don't have to think about my radio. It's always there and just turns on and works. No sync, no charging, no programming - just on and off. Therefore I use it. More work than that and it loses some of its utility. They said TV would replace radio. It didn't. In fact, it just made radio bigger. We shouldn't be trying to kill something - we should be trying to create something new. There is a difference.
And regardless of what Dave says, or whether he was involved in creating PowerPoint, and despite a number of other inflammatory things I could pull from his comment on Carl's post and react to, but wont... Scott is most definitely *not* an opponent of technological progress, so use of the term "Luddite" is - well - misplaced at best and flat out mean at worst.
One thing's for sure: It's not at all a useful label in this case. I could use certain blanket terms to describe Dave's words and actions in a variety of situations, and while they may be accurate in terms of one or two things he has said or done in the past, they would not really describe him in whole. It would be wrong of me to call names, so I won't. I wish Dave wouldn't. It takes away from the conversation, and Scott is one person I listen to with great regard for making very complicated things work in the real world.
I don't think Scott was implying (as Dave seems to state) that podcasting was a replacement for PowerPoint. He was using PowerPoint as a metaphor, to show how both technologies - in his opinion - tend to fail to meet their own goals, for man of the same reasons.
Scott originally said, about Podcasting:
- Clever, yes.
- Interesting, yes.
- A new kind of media? Maybe.
- Useful? Not to me.
Then he points out that using XML to point to multi-megabyte files is contradictory to certain vocal arguments made in the community of late. That's another valid point.
He also correctly points out that the the medium does not lend itself to skimming, browsing or efficient dissemination of multiple pieces of information.
I agree with that position. The people who are making the most noise about this new stuff are people who seem to have plenty of time to record podcasts and to listen to all the regulars. It's a technology that will - by it's very nature - limit the number of people we can listen to and communicate with. It also tends to be a lot more one-way than blogging. Podcasting is not blogging, it's not radio, it's not even broadcasting in reality. But it is cool, and it does have potential. Where it goes we don't know - Rarely does an experiment turn out just the way the founding fathers intended, you know.
Scott has a good point. Carl has a good counterpoint. Dave kind of missed the point but hurled a good insult (good only if you're the one doing the hurling, anyhow). Rory did a great job of taking a good, long step back and covering the bases.
All are very smart guys with great ideas and technological innovation in their pasts.
Pointing out the problems with a technology does not make one a Luddite. Telling people to wait and see before they speak actually just delays technological progress. Hmmmm... Deeelaaayyyys techhhnoloooogicalll progrrressss.... Yeahhh.....
Open, informed, honest discussions are good. Names and insults don't help.
So that's all nice, and yeah discussion is important. But what about podcasting?
What Rory said:
"Just walk away with this: Podcasting is serious Power to the People technology, and we should be excited about that."
Most importantly (I think), here is my pre-emptive thought: Keep the conversation open. Let people comment openly - good, bad or otherwise - and use the information to do things better, and to shape this experiment into something great. If someone counters your position, listen to them. No one person or group owns it. Everyone owns it. Some will innovate, but all should lead. Don't ruin a good thing with politics and personalities.
Monday, 11 October 2004
Click on over to hear what Eric has to say with regard to a sneak peek of KSSX, his Internet radio station call letters. As he describes, RSS is likely going to be the final link in making distribution of multimedia content in an automated fashion a realistic (meaning relatively seamless) experience and possibility.
"The radio station YOU design?"
Woah... Gonna be cool.
Saturday, 09 October 2004
Jared Hudgins a scary-smart dude I met at GnomeDex, as is Brandon Watts (another person I had the good fortune of meeting there). They could always be found together, which makes sense since they both traveled across the country from Georgia or some place around Atlanta. Both of these guys write for Lockergnome (and do a great job of it). Both are way younger and way smarter than me, and my purpose in writing this entry (yes, I do have a reason) is to call out two things:
- First, that Jared just posted his first audioblog - so go listen to it. Oh, the world is changing so fast...
- Second, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that both Brandon (who has already authored his own programming language) and Jared are going to be people you'll hear about in a big way sometime in the future (and no, I don't mean in an 11-0'clock news kind of way). Dream big, make it happen. If you happen to be reading this in 15 or 20 years, please remind me and we'll see if I was right.
Click the play button to listen:
Prologue: After speaking with several respected people in the field about the term PodCasting in preparation for writing this article, I have changed my stance slightly from where I started and from what I wrote below. I decided to place this change-of-heart statement up top, with a quick explanation, but not to alter what my original post looked like, since my change of heart is primarily one of acceptance. So, while I accept current naming conventions and what-not, I still believe what I say below is relevant.
In the words of one respected collegue from the industry:
"... It's certainly a sexy term, and although technically inaccurate (see, --casting implies sending from-- we aren't broadcasting from an iPod), the media seems to love it, people associate '-pod' with the success of the iPod, and that's a good thing. It's good because now bigger radio folks are doing it. We the people are doing it. This whole thing has stickiness, and got that stickiness in record time. I say, let's just revel in it. It can't hurt."
- Eric Rice
Ok, I can do that. Fair enough, and good advice.
[How exactly do you describe the process of hanging up a call with someone when you're not actually talking on a traditional telephone anymore? Hmm...] I just got off the Internet with Chris Pirillo. He and I were engaged in an instant messaging session, which branched off to email, and which we then took over to Skype. Chris then used the Skype audio and some kind of hacked-together recording device to create an interview MP3 that he will, undoubtedly, edit (I sure hope he edits it, heh...) and post to his web site at some point in the near future. Personal internet broadcasting hard at work.
We talked about something we both think is great and interesting, but about which we share a similar gripe:
The term "PodCasting" - I know it is catchy and sticky and has already taken off, so I wouldn't expect any kind of change to happen, but regardless, it's just the wrong name to use. Why? Because this new wave of technology use is not actually about iPods (it works with pretty much any MP3 player), yet it sounds like it is all about iPods. It's not about the playback device (again, any MP3 player), it's about the communication medium and the content being distributed. It's about the convergence of several smaller pieces of cool technology, and the interest of a relatively small but rapidly growing group of people whose influence has the potential to create something very, very big. But to say the iPod is the platform is to limit the market and the potential of what's happening -- in my opinion.
Now, please understand -- I don't have any kind of problem or dislike toward Apple's iPods, or the technology, or the idea that people are enabled to communicate to an Internet audience their own opinions, ideas, news, music or what-have-you. In fact I think all those things are great. It's the name that kills me. If you like iPods, that's fine (I think they're great, too), but to call the iPod the platform in this context is just plain-old-flat-out confusing and wrong.
When Chris and I started our conversation this morning, I sent him an email with an admittedly hot-under-the-collar tone complaining about this supposed "revolution" (I don't see it quite that way) and the "podcast" name that's been attached to this "phenomenon" (another over-stated term I think - let's see what happens before we actually attach names like that).
Then we decided, well heck - let's talk about it by creating a personal internet broadcast (yes, you're right, I am intentionally not using that term) of our own.
You see, we love the technology. We love the medium. We love the gadgetry of it all and the idea of enabling people to communicate and express themselves in new ways - and to make it easier for people to do on both ends.
Both of us even plan to create content and use the technology ourselves.
It's just that damn name.
Friday, 01 October 2004
I'm at Gnomedex, in the "Maximize your blogging potential" panel session, listening to all these guys talk. The conversation quickly moved to multimedia content and delivery as well as devices and tools. Here are some of my observations, paraphrasing the speakers.
Adam Kalsey (Moderator)
Adam went from 200 page views a month to thousands a day because he wrote about relevant things that mattered to people. If you're posting content to the web, you have a goal in mind. If you get slashdotted because its interesting to others, but you decide you can't afford it, you'll stop doing it.
On multimedia blogging, he noted that if its going to take off, things like indexing and searching of multimedia formats will have to happen.
In the keyword filtering department as a way to deal with too much content, he points out that keyword searches are not always the best way to deal with selecting information, because of the fact that what I think are relevant keywords may not agree with the way the author wrote the content.
Microsoft employee and internal button pusher, Robert's well-known and got his job at Microsoft in no small part because of his blog. He started blogging because he was running a conference and wanted to document it. He wants to know, "What's undiscovered here?"
"Something has happened in the past month." He notes that PODCasting has taken off all of a sudden. Robert consumes about 900+ feeds a day, compromising about 2000 blogs (some feeds combined). How is he going to deal with 1000 audioblogs a day? With audio he can only consume 2 or 3 shows a night, so becoming a star is a harder things to do.
For text feeds, he's like his news aggregator to start building keyword searches automatically, based on his reading behavior.
Nick is a (great) shareware author of three rather famous pieces of software, and uses blogging for personal and business use. His FeedDemon software is what I use as my content aggregator for tons of blogs and other content sources. He says the biggest problem with information now is that there's some much info out there now that you can't deal with it all, so you don't necessarily know what you're missing. I agree. I'd pay good money for something that would help me see what I need and want to see, inside the content I already subscribe to.
Ross of Blogware says its a pain to do all these different blogging things. The whole Web 2.0 movement should be about making things useful. Lots of utilities are great, but if Dad can't use it?
Audio and other multimedia blogging shows that the Internet is continuing to change and that it's important to give these things a chance and to see where it goes.
Enclosures are binary attachments to a syndication feed, and you can determine when that attachment gets downloaded (send it to me between 2 and 5 am).
Ross also distinguished between managed and unmanaged content, and pointed out that the goal is to get people involved in the creation of content, and making it available and usable by others. If you want to publish your content, you can do it, in your own place.
Jason works at Blogger, one of the huge blogging services, owned by Google. He noted that the San Francisco web design community was one of the first adopters of the technology, because it provided the ability to remove the focus from "I am going to create a page" to "I am going to write about something." Blogger/Google has started to address the "How do I do more than write text" with audioblogger.com and Picasa/Hello/BloggerBot.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say everything shouldn't be in a blog."
Jason sees blogging and formats as continuing to grow and expand, and that the forms of media, he expects, will change over time. But he wants to have the ability to use the new media formats on the device of choice.
Timeliness of blogs: There is a time factor to all of this. Everything has a time and date. Email has this too, as does IM. He notes that there is a need for a tool that will "bring me all the stuff that's important to me."
Dave writes several blogs, and sees blogs as content and data management systems. He uses one web log to hold a Q&A of common questions he gets from people. He emphasizes the fact that he sees it not as a cool HTML thing, but rather as being all about the content.
"I can publish with anything and boom, I'm out there just like anyone who has a multi-million-dollar marketing department."
Thoughts from others in the audience:
Scott with Feedster talked about enclosure feeds (images, video clips, porn enclosures are common). He notes that the one constant of new media is that when porn starts to become available on a new media format or mechanism, that form of media will succeed. He also pointed out feedstertv.com, which deals with enclosures on RSS feeds.
On the next steps with categories, filtering, automation, etc: "RSS is the web services we've been waiting for, let's make it DO something."
The TiVo suggestions metaphor: Letting the machine tell me what I want to watch usually produces garbage.
The whole date-based/time-based thing with weblogs is what makes things tough for old stuff. Adding categories, internal or site-restricted search engines. It's a publisher's decision what tools to use to organize information.
The focus of the discussion seemed to settle on multimedia blogging, then multimedia content in general, and what that means to the blogging universe. PODcasting and audioblogging is taking the place of drive-time radio content. Radio broadcasting 's future is in question. ReplayRadio is a new service available to time-shift talk radio content.
Ultimately the answer to most of the questions that came up seems to be "better tools."
Eventually a question was asked about how many people in the audience deal with information overload, and how people deal with the volume. The mix was interesting to see. Some seem to be in a place where their RSS aggregator has consumed their lives. I'm just the opposite - RSS saves me tons of time every day in my job. For others, it takes up time. Apparently it depends on what you do and how you use it.
This was a great session.
Saturday, 26 June 2004
Is it just me, or is there something inherently weird about dragging an AC-powered flat panel display into Starbucks to hook up to your laptop at one of those little tables, when your laptop already has a flat-panel display? /me rolls eyes...
Sunday, 20 June 2004
Delorme has a great and relatively new GPS device out called the Earthmate GPS Receiver. The name's not new, but this version runs off USB power, so none of the separate power cords like their old stuff used to require, and no more serial ports to fight with (for that matter, my new laptop doesn't even have a serial port).
What's so special about it? Well, for starters you plug it in, along with the Street Atlas 2004 USA software that comes with it, and you're pretty much instantly listening to your computer give you turn-by-turn directions to wherever you want to go. Plus, you can talk to your computer, verbally giving commands like "Next turn?" or "Where am I?" The computer answers your questions.
So, that sounds pretty neat you say, but so what? Well, on a recent trip to California, I spent a weekend with a friend in a rental car, traversing the southern part of the state. Everywhere we went we used the laptop with the GPS device, and we were able to find things that otherwise would have been pretty difficult, we always knew where we were, and ultimately we were able to quickly plan routes and get to places. We did a lot in a few days, and had fun in the process.
There's a bunch of new fancy GPS devices on the market, selling for over a thousand dollars. If you have a laptop and want great functionality, don't spend the money on the expensive stuff. Try this first.
Saturday, 12 June 2004
A friend turned me on to a program last week called BlogJet. It's a nifty little program that allows you to post to and maintain content on a web log. Any one of a number of blog software apps are supported, including:
So pretty much anyone should be able to take advantage of it. I use it with my dasBlog server, and I am taking advantage of the fact that it can FTP pictures (EDIT: See below) to my server at the time I post the entries. It even logs me in and allows me to edit past posts by downloading them from the server for me, and will also download my posting categories and let me assign them in the program before I publish a new or edited post. In addition, it includes a simple audio recorder, and with it one can make audio recordings with the microphone and instantly post them with a link in the blog entry.
The WYSIWYG editor includes spell checking and a library of high-color emoticons/smilies that it will automatically upload when if and when you use them in a post. On top of all that, since I use FeedDemon, I get the added benefit of making BlogJet my default blogging tool in that program, which means fast and easy blogging from my RSS reader, as well as from within IE ("BlogJet This!").
EDIT: Jim Blizzard decided to give BlogJet a try, too. He had to do some futzing around to get the FTP uploads to work, and I thought I should point out that I also had some issues getting the FTP portion of the program to behave as I expeced it to, but it's worth the extra effort. Perhaps they'll make some additional improvements in that area in future versions (First suggestion: let me choose active or passive FTP mode in the account wizard; Second suggestion: while it's cool to be able to load and choose from my blog categories on a new post, unfortunately existing posts that I load from history don't load with the category info intact, which gets confusing and messy. )
Monday, 17 May 2004
New addition to the household that can't stand being away from people for more than ten seconds. Loud, funny, and - dare I use the word - cute. But hey, it's a puppy, so cute's ok. For now.
Buddy (my dog I've had for years) and he get along great. No, he does not have a name yet. Maybe I'll take suggestions at some point. Pics to be posted later.
Thursday, 13 May 2004
Not like anyone actually wants or cares to hear about my pain, but not much else happening right now, and this is (after all) my blog.
So, this would be the one where I talk about my subsiding back pain and start to think about blogging with audio: You know, I was really excited about getting the audioblog.com stuff set up (and I still am excited), but I find myself getting a little self-conscious about posting my voice on my blog for some reason. Have been thinking about how to use this capability - have a few ideas, but will probably think of more....
Monday, 10 May 2004
Earlier I posted my first audio blog entry. This is just a quick note about how to set up audioblog.com to post directly to dasBlog...
It's really pretty simple: I used the Blogger-API capability of dasBlog (you'll need to turn it on in your config) and directed audioblog.com to publish my blog entries use the Movable Type option. You could specify XML-RPC, but if you do you won't get the headlines properly translated into dasBlog, so Movable Type is the one that works best. Very cool that dasBlog allows you to post this way, and even more cool that audioblog.com appears to properly emulate Movable Type when posting. When I tried to use another audio blogging service (AudBlog), it didn't play well with the Blogger API - But audioblog.com works like a charm.
Three cheers for audioblog.com - I signed up to test their new service last night, and today I got an email with my new account info. Within 5 minutes I'd posted my first test audio blog entry. Their service is smooth, it works (other services out there are glitchy at best in my recent experience), and it's very well designed. Quite cool. Just imagine what you can do with this kind of service. From any computer or phone you can post audio blog messages in real time. You can record up to an hour at a shot, and if you want to go longer than that, you can chain multiple recordings together into a play-list. Wow - this is great!
Update: Looks like they went live today! $4.95 a month for unlimited recording and up to 1GB of audio data transfer a month - very nice. See their Service Features page for more info.
Also check out the interview with the creator of audioblog.com, Eric Rice at ITConversations.
© Copyright 2006 Greg Hughes
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