Audioblog for Sept 30, 2004

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the audioblog for September 30, 2004. I talk about using LineIn from Rogue Amoeba and what I hope is the last audioblogging setup change; I play some listener feedback and talk about “thinking outside the audioblog box”; discuss some more about Doc Searls and try to come up with some answers for the podcasting FAQ.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Bittorrent Feed

I need to permanently place this link somewhere prominent on the site here, but don’t forget that if you are using iPodderX or other Bittorrent aware podcast clients, you can aggregate the audioblogs from here via the Bittorrent RSS feed. If you can possibly use this feed rather than the standard, please do as it helps out with the bandwidth issues. All hail the mighty name of Bram Cohen!

Update: The misinformation wagon keeps rolling. I thought BT support was already working in iPodderX but maybe I’m confused. Didn’t it work in iSpider, off which this is based? Anyway, it might be premature to use this with iPodderX. Sorry for screwing y’all up.

Open Source Podcast Promos

Eric Rice has a cool idea – recording open source promos for each other’s audioblogs. This was inspired by the promo Doug Kaye did for Gnomedex that Adam and I played in our audioblogs. Says Eric:

With all of us chatterboxes audioblogging, podcasting, and posting mp3s of ourselves, I thought, why not do some open-source voiceover for our friends and the community. I’d love to throw my two cents in for a hip Daily Source Code or IT Conversation promo. Use the voiceover at will. Or don’t.

That is an interesting notion. If someone sends me pointers to promos for their podcasts or for promos you did to someone else’s, by god I’d use them.

Dan Gillmor on Podcasting

Dan Gillmor has a post about podcasting. Check out the comments below it to get a sneak preview what the next few months will be like. This is all the same stuff I’ve grown so fond of in my 5 years of ebook advocacy. The amazing part of the detraction is that a lot of these are the same arguments why weblogs were unnecessary and irrelevant. “We have pros to do this, why bother with this amateur stuff?” To appropriate a line from Steve Gillmor’s defense of RSS:

Nothing indicates success more than the counterattack by those threatened by disruptive innovation.

This is all predicated on asking the wrong question. It isn’t “What is so important about these guys in their basements talking to their computers?” The real question is “How has modern commercial radio failed us so badly that these guys and their homegrown content is more compelling than what huge corporations are able to provide?” The answer is simply – relevance. Clear Channel has gone out of its way to make radio less relevant to the listeners. Instead of locally programmed and DJ’ed shows, it is national playlists and DJs that run 20 different stations simultaneously from Scottsdale Arizona. On the otherhand, when I pick podcasts to subscribe to, it is relevant to me. If it isn’t, I unsubscribe from it. It’s a remarkably efficient system. If someone is talking about a subject I care about, it need not have the highest production values. I’m starved for relevance, and all the highly produced bullshit served out by big media isn’t giving it to me. Listening to guys talk about board games is more interesting to me than anything I can find on the 200 digital cable channels available to me right now.

RSS Feed for The Linux Show

Never let it be said that I’m not a good samaritan. Doc tells me that The Linux Show doesn’t have an RSS feed which I noted means it really isn’t podcast (TM). Well, bring the noise! They do now. I subscribed to that link and am getting all the files down via iPodderX right now.

I only did the last 4 shows, but I could do more. I’ll even commit to updating this every time they do a new show but it would be nice if one of them would ping me via email to remind me. I’ve got a lot shaking to remember to keep up with that. If the TLS guys want to just mirror that XML on their site, feel free. It all points at your archives anyway.

Update: Doc was nice enough to talk up this post. Although I’ve been trying to be something of a purist so that we get the podcast terminology set before it fragments and becomes confusing, I’ll admit that something he said pushes the limits of how one describes it. He described me as “podcasting the Linux Show.” Hmm, I’m not sure if that encompasses it. I’m publishing the RSS feed that enables that, but they are the ones with the MP3 archives. I would think that this is like a multiple-column key in a database. Jointly, they and I are doing something that is “podcasting.” I’m not doing it because I’m only putting up the RSS, not the files. They weren’t doing it before I published that RSS. It only exists jointly. Interesting, no? I’m not sure that either party in this can be considered to be podcasting the show, only the group taken as a whole.

Definition of Podcasting

Let’s get in front of this before it gets out of hand. As I’ve said 100 times, I love Doc Searls but he’s not only trying to ascribe new acronyms to the term “podcasting”, he is using it to describe things that aren’t quite it, thereby confusing new people as they learn about it. Here’s what I see as necessary for something to be a podcast:

  1. Must be a discrete and downloadable media file
  2. Published in an RSS 2.0 enclosure feed
  3. Handled automatically on the receiver end, downloaded and moved to where it needs to be and put in the playlists for your playback device

That’s it. It’s a really freaking simple concept. A downloadable MP3 is not a podcast – it is a necessary but not sufficient component. He was referring to The Linux Show as a podcast, which unless I’m missing something, is not. [Update: It is now] It does have MP3s archives (which I had to dig like a MF to even find on their site) but I can’t find an RSS feed to save my life. You can’t subscribe to this and just have it show up. Folks, that’s the important part here. Being able to download things is cool, but having them show up automatically and be ready for you to play without your attention being required is the thing. That is what podcasting is.

In summation: podcasting is based on “asynchronous bundles of passion, automatically delivered to your device of choice while you sleep.”

Update: For the record, here is the ipodder-dev message in which Dannie Gregoire coined the term “podcaster.”

Audioblog for Sept 28, 2004

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the audioblog for September 28, 2004. I talk about the schedule change and how I’m not doing 7 shows a week anymore; I discuss WebTalkRadio, Mitch Ratcliffe and BoardGameGeek; I play some listener feedback and we talk about how one can follow conversations that span across multiple podcast fies; I talk a little about Hugo Schottman’s setup; I discuss Doc Searls and use of the term “podcasting”; and finally I betray my heritage as a country boy by playing a pure C&W song.

There are crackly things in this episode, and I’m almost certain that it is because of Garage Band hogging so much CPU that Audacity couldn’t keep up with the recording. I need to fix that and get it out of the loop.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Constructive Criticism

Just a word of advice to you new podcasters getting in the game – watch the music levels. I’ve heard a number of otherwise excellent podcasts that were marred by having an intro, outro or music bed so loud that it obscured what you were saying. If you are mixing live, keep an eye on that. It might be a good idea to do a dry run a few times just starting up, talking for a few seconds and going out, so you get a feel for the right place to put volume sliders at the critical moments. If you drop your music in at the end in a second track in Audacity or SoundEdit or Sourceforge or the like, learn how to use the envelope tool to drop the levels and/or the fade in/out controls. You undo all your hard work creating the bundle of passion when you drown it out, so please just take a little extra effort to calibrate this one aspect. Once you learn how it feels, it will be nearly effortless to hit it every time.

Remember, when the music drowns you out the Maciej Ceglowskis win.

The Parade of Errors Keeps Marching Through

Phew. In my Saturday episode, talking about the Gillmor Gang, I misidentified quoted person number three. I said it was Jon Udell although I did say that I wasn’t sure and have a hard time telling several of those dudes apart. In fact, it was Mike Vizard. Several people set me straight, including Mike Dunn who knows Vizard. Whew. I hope this is the end of this. I have learned my lesson that trying to correct someone else extracts a deep karmic payback that makes you look like a fricking putz, seven times sevenfold.

Message from Kelley Eskridge

Kelley Eskridge, one of my favorite writers and one of my favorite people, posted this earlier today to the Nicola Griffith mailing list:

I am doing a reading in Redmond this
Saturday evening, Oct 2.

The event is the Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP) monthly
get-together, which is a combination of open-mic and featured reader (in
this case, me). It’s at Victor’s Celtic Coffee Company in downtown
Redmond: 7993 Gilman Street, just off the corner of Redmond Way and 164th
Street NE. The event begins at 7:30 pm, and I will begin reading after the first half of open-mic participants. I’m sorry I can’t tell you
exactly what time that will be.

I’ll be reading my most recent story, “Shine.” I expect my reading to take about 35 minutes. Although the event is in a public space, people with
children should be aware that my story contains a couple of words that you
might not want to have to explain just yet.

If you are in the area, check it out. Kelley is an awesome writer, a great reader of her own work, and one of the few people in this world I would take a bullet for.

Audioblog for Sept 27, 2004

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the audioblog for September 27, 2004. First episode with the new setup, so leave me feedback on how it sounds. I play feedback from Josh, Gordon and Ken; I discuss Adam’s advice to me and the comedy of errors in the weekend blogs; I play a song and pee my pants laughing.

Links mentioned in this episode:

New Podcasting Setup

Today I switched my podcasting setup to more like what Adam describes here. I used the information from Hugo Schotman to get a setup where I could record my voice, all the MP3 feedbacks folk have sent me and a song in real time! Thank you Hugo for the detailed instructions. If you are on the Mac and interested in audioblogging, Hugo’s site is the motherlode! The only tricky bit was getting Garage Band set up. At first I was actually recording in it thinking I had to in order to get the play through. Then, I had the click track on and couldn’t figure out where that noise was coming from. What I’d like to do is find a substitute for Garage Band, since it is an awfully heavy and resource hoggy program to be using only to get the mike to play into Soundflower. Without Soundflower, this whole thing wouldn’t have worked. The only thing I did differently from Hugo’s diagram was to capture the final audio in Audacity rather than Soundtrack. How did it work? Y’all tell me after I post it later tonight.


From Adam Curry’s Weblog comes this post about podcast audio routing:

The quest, was to create a setup, without external boxes, whereby you can record voice, mp3 players (or any audio application for that matter) and another person via iChatAV (works with AIM on windows). The other party also has to be able to hear the mixed feed, including audio clips, songs etc. Achieving this without creating piercing feedback loops and echo chambers was the rubik’s cube of my week.

Hugo has now posted a diagram and detailed instructions on setting up a Mac for ultimate multi-person audio recording via the internet. He uses some different apps, which is good since choice is better.

The answer lies in an open source software audio router called Soundflower.

Holy crap, this seems completely awesome! I downloaded Soundflower, although I probably won’t install it today. At least for us Mac users, this looks like the Holy Grail. Throw off the shackles of those Radio Shack mixers and rise up!

One More RSS Tweak

Randy left me a writeback suggesting that I use the comments field of RSS 2.0. Silly me, I didn’t know there was one! I’m going to continue to leave the HTML link to the comments (and the comment count) in the text of each item but I’m also adding this to the RSS template.

Apologies to those who are going to find all these items marked as new again for the second time in 24 hours. At least in NetNewsWire, it did work exactly as I had hoped with the comments, where those with new comments showed up as a newly edited item when the comment count changed. I think this rocks, as it lets people who are aggregating know where the conversations are happening. How do y’all like it?

Audioblog for Sept 26, 2004

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the audioblog for September 26, 2004. I talk about Feedster and Scott Rafer and how writing someone’s name now summons them; A-list vs Z-list bloggers; I present my first ever audio feedback which is a question on tools to use for Window based audioblogging; talk a little more on the gender disparity in this medium; and I renew my appeal for pointers to Spanish language audioblogs.

Links mentioned in this episode:

RSS Tweak

I adjusted my RSS format just slightly a few minutes ago. At the bottom of every story is a link to the url to go to the comment page for that item. By adding a few off-the-shelf components from Blosxom plugins, I have a comment count as well (this already existed in the HTML, just not the RSS.)

The whole reason that link is in there in the first place was to make a point when arguing with an excerpted RSS feed advocate who said “I don’t want the full RSS because you can’t have comments in RSS.” Oh, really? Aren’t the “comment on this” things almost always just links to an URL? RSS can have links to URLS.

I noticed that Charlie Stross’ weblog (also Blosxom) had links to his comments in his weblog, so by just sticking that link into my RSS template they magically showed up. Although I’ve been running like that for a year and a half, I just realized that if I had the comment count in there (which is easy to get) folks aggregating it can tell which topics are generating the buzz (and hopefully join in.) Theoretically in most aggregators, you should see the post again when then comment count changes because the RSS item will be new. We’ll see if that’s the case in NNW. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before. I guess when I was getting very little interaction, it never mattered. Now that I’m getting more, I want to make the process of finding the active conversations easy for everyone.


Here’s something that never occurred to me that it would happen, but I should have thought of. Both myself and Adam Curry are in this guy’s Last.FM list as “artists” he has most frequently played. For those listeners with the Audioscrobbler plugin that listen via Winamp, you will get added to their account. There’s another strong reason to fill out your goddamn IDV3 tags, podcasters and distributors of MP3s! You want to get credit for your listenership on sites like this, and you want your fans to be able to do the “people who like X like Y” based on you, right?

One Step Beyond

I’ve taken one step towards moving totally to NetNewsWire as my aggregator. I took Shrook out of my selection bar on the bottom. I got tired of hitting it by accident and invoking it, causing the iBook to noticeably lug as it does its huge initial load resource draw. Since my main complaint with Shrook is it’s high resource usage, this means that the only part I get of it nowadays is that heavy startup. After a few days of NetNewsWire, I like it more and more. I still haven’t paid for it and have for Shrook, so there is still a chance I bail but I’m digging NNW for now.