Saturday, 16 October 2004
"podcasting redefined radio...
... Doppler redefined podcasting"

In this amazingly fast-growing (like, really fast) phenomenon called podcasting (yes, I am willing to use the terms phenomenon and podcasting when discussing this, even if I don't particularly like the name), it's hard to always know which way is up. So, it's also hard to know where to go and what to do with all this stuff, both as a content creator and a consumer/end user of podcasts.

Heck, it's difficult enough just to explain to people what podcasting is, let alone how it works. Of course, it's early in this experiment, and we'll certainly have to improve things from the usability standpoint. But still, it's truly amazing what's happened in the past month or so in this portion of the universe.

Enter Doppler [http://www.dopplerradio.net/], a client program that runs on Windows and raises the bar in terms of making it easier for the end user to subscribe to podcasts without too much hassle. In other words, this is just the kind of thought and change that needs to happen to make podcasting a mainstream application. As a community we're not there yet, but with ideas like this and a few people to kick them out the door, we will be before too long.

The best part is, it just works. It makes subscribing to podcasts easier. It makes sense to use. It makes life simpler.

Features

  • Doppler is designed for the Windows platform
  • Drag and drop a URL onto Doppler
  • Scheduled interval to retrieve feeds
  • Specify the numer of files to download
  • Restrict the allowable size of downloads
  • Filter your items by text
  • Possibility to run in minimized mode
  • Import and export of OPML files

Doppler is an aggregator that downloads podcasts based on RSS feeds, and lets you listen to it the way you want it, whenever you like it, on the device of your choice. Doppler has been developed using the latest Microsoft .NET technology and is available as a small download sizing less than 500 KB.

And Doppler has been alive for something like, oh, three days. And work continues on adding features and shoring it up as we speak type. Or maybe it is speak. Oof...

Go download it and try it out.



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RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 16 October 2004 14:47:12 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Among the many, many new Media Center PC news items to hit the street this past week, I forgot to mention one that has had me all excited ever since it was first mentioned some time ago: The Media Center Extender for Xbox.

I'm in the process building a Media Center Dev Machine so I can work on a few tech ideas I want to explore and try. Since I already have an XBOX, I will probably pick this title up and use it to set up part of my Media Center network at home. I just have to work out the details around tuning the satellite box and whether I am going to be able to get a decent Portland HDTV signal out here (and hence which capture device and tuner I'll use and whether I have to use one or two tuners).

The Xbox title is one of the Extender line (a set-top box is also available) that Microsoft is releasing with this new version of their media-centric operating system.

Information from xbox.com:

With a wired or wireless connection to the Media Center PC (sold separately), the Xbox console now allows you to enjoy the digital entertainment media from your PC when and how you want. The included remote control and IR receiver also support DVD movie playback. Just grab the remote, drop in the Media Center Extender DVD in your Xbox, and get ready for an entertainment revolution! A whole new world for your Xbox awaits …

  • Watch and record television shows.
  • Enjoy a free integrated TV Program Guide with no fees.
  • Access your Media Center PC’s digital media library music, videos, and pictures.
  • Stay connected with instant messaging and Xbox Live™.
  • Watch DVD movies.
  • Listen to FM and Internet radio.

Screen-shots are available at xbox.com:




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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Saturday, 16 October 2004 11:17:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Transcript Excerpts...
(the
full transcript is here)

BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is -- if the indictment is -- and I have seen you say this -- that...

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: And that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.

BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.



CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.


I don't exactly match up with Jon Stewart on political viewpoints, but ultimately that doesn't really matter. Regardless of whether I agree with him on all the issues, he became a hero to me the other day.

Because Jon Stewart gets it.

I mean, how pathetic has the world become when a self-proclaimed "fake-news" anchor from Comedy Central can appear on CNN's Crossfire and completely own the show (get the torrent video here), lecturing the anchors and effectively applying labels to them like "partisan hack." And the anchors push back and ask Stewart why he asks "soft" questions on his show?

Time to look in the mirror, uberjournalists.

Host Paul Begala understandably came off (relatively speaking) as the good guy on the CNN crew side, and Tucker Carlson, who really just gives a bad impression of many people with whom I tend to agree politically, came off as the "butt monkey."

It's not about politics, it's about the responsibility of journalists.

For the record, I went to college becasue I wanted to be a journalist, specifically a photojournalist. I worked in the media for seven years before changing careers. I met lots of good people and some real partisan hacks in the process. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of people out there with strong political view who are smart enough to figure out early on that if they can get jobs in the media, they can communicate pretty much anything they want to "the people." Unfortunately almost everyone enters the world of journalism (meaning they enter J-school) at an age when beer, beer, more beer and idealism run rampant.

It's not exactly a level-headed, based-in-life-experience time for anyone at that age, socially or politically.

Unfortunately, some people never grow up. They just go on painting wide swaths, never really removing themselves from the situations to take an honest look. It becomes all about political positions, conflict as a selling point and seeing who can be the loudest, meanest or most controversial.

What they don't do is have a good conversation and look at the facts. They don't talk to people, they yell at them.

Unfortunately, apparently some people out there buy it, because they keep doing more of it. Which - well - sucks.

There are some out there in the media that talk about the real issues without trying to create them, and without becoming a part of the issues themselves. They are just fewer and farther between.

One thing's for sure: Setting all partisan views aside, we need more people like Jon Stewart to call the media on the carpet and tell it like it is, regardless of what party or side they support.

Oh, and a good laugh every now and then is fine with me, too.

BitTorrent Video Download:
Crossfire-20041015-John_Stewart--compressed.wmv.torrent (2.98 KB)



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Random Stuff
Saturday, 16 October 2004 10:24:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 15 October 2004

Robert Scoble over at Microsoft got a look at prototypes for the next version of IE and commented:

Dean Hachamovitch the other day showed me prototypes of the next Internet Explorer. I got to see them before he even showed them to other executives. He told me I could say about that much (I wanted to post screen captures on my blog, but he turned down that request, bummer). I'll add in that if they ship about half of what they showed me that I'll uninstall Firefox. Of course, I'm guessing that...

Read more at Robert's blog



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Tech
Friday, 15 October 2004 07:30:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Careful what you say to your girlfriend, it might back-fire on ya. :-)


.--------------------------------------------------------------------.
| Session Start: Friday, October 15, 2004                            |
| Participants:                                                      |
|    Greg Hughes
                                                     |
|   
Dave                                   
                        |
.--------------------------------------------------------------------.
[01:06:01 AM]
Dave
: man im mean, girlfriend is having trouble
              with her pc, and i tell her its an id10t error and that
              they are quite common and shes like Oh no can you fix
              it?
[01:06:10 AM] Greg Hughes: hahahahah
[01:06:16 AM] Greg Hughes: heh
[01:06:42 AM]
Dave: i thought she knew what it ment

[01:10:47 AM]
Dave: havent the heart to tell her now
[01:12:54 AM] Greg Hughes: hehehe just dont let her read my blog :)


Don't worry, Dave - I'm sure she won't be reading this, so you're safe!



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Geek Out | Humor
Friday, 15 October 2004 00:11:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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YAPBE (Yet Another Political Bog Entry) (Well, ok - no position here, just something about the political contest)

I have been using two main web sites over and over again to check reality and the status of the current political race (which I am very interested in both from an issues standpoint as well as from the position of being a person who is quite interested in the mechanics of the political process).

Here they are - I recommend both highly:

The Electoral Vote Predictor at http://www.electoral-vote.com/ provides a look at where the electoral college appears to be on a daily basis, based on the latest polling data. The interactive map is cool, and I check this daily. [RSS 2.0 feed available here]

FactCheck.org (yes, we know it's not .com) is one of the greatest resources I have found for cutting through the crap and getting to the simple facts. They analyze the messages out of the campaigns and compare/contrast them to the evidentiary facts. Nice. And while the site don't actually have an RSS feed, I sponsored the creation of one for them, so subscribe to the feed at this link [RSS 2.0].



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Random Stuff
Friday, 15 October 2004 00:05:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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