Scumbaggery and Skullduggery

Despite the best intentions behind it, it’s seemed from the beginning like Podcast Alley was doomed to be a festering pit of corruption. At its best, it was impossible to tell between true popularity and differentials in willingness to campaign. I went out of my way not to worry about it for a long time, until a few things happened:

  1. USA Today and other publications started treating it as a canonical authority
  2. I was in danger of dropping out of the top 50
  3. I fell below the guy who talks about his own poop – that one hurt

Now, here is a further example of Podcast Alley corruption and all-around uncoolness. The current #2 podcast is the libertarian talk show Free Talk Live. Other than their high ranking here, I have never heard of them in the podcast context so why are they so highly rated? Well, they campaign hard and have a built in group of folks to take orders like well bred trout. They are not content with merely doing that but are urging people to vote against Dawn and Drew so they can take the top spot. Seriously! Says they:

While it looks like FTL will need a lot of votes to surpass the #1 show, we’ll actually need less than the diffrence between the two shows, because their star rating is lower! If you’ve listened to their show and don’t like it, go ahead and vote them one star. If you like it, maybe you could just leave them a nice comment instead of voting for them. They could use a nice comment.

Campaigning for themselves is not enough, they are urging people to vote Dawn and Drew lower. What a pantsload. I thought libertarians were devout worshippers of the invisible hand of market forces. I guess that only goes until a little market manipulation is strategically advantageous.

Now, I’m not urging anyone to vote for anything. I can say that this act of scumbaggery did incite me to vote but it was not the way the FTL people want. And, I’ll keep voting every 24 hours the same way. It might be a minor thing, but I can’t say I like the idea of these turds hijacking the pocast community.

Update: Mike Geoghegan (who I forgot to credit as the person making me aware of the above link) emailed me some new doozies. This appears to be the thread where the “vote 1 for people above us” strategy was born. They do say only do that if you don’t like the show but the idea of organizing groups of people to vote lower shows above you on the list is so unbelievably uncool and tacky. It’s like being at a party that was pleasant and fun when some knuckleheads show up and puke in the punchbowl. FTL and their minions are those guys.

Music Talk

The conversation I had with Ross Rader, Brian Ibbott and Bret Fausett about music in podcasts is now up and live. I’m curious for any feedback y’all might have. Did I make any sense here? I felt like I might have actually worked a little towards convincing Bret – who comes from about the opposite perspective from myself – of the value of my position. We shall see.

Grumpy Dickhead Chronicles

You can never predict which blog posts people will pick up on. In my case, often the ones I may not want trumpeted get that treatment. One case in point, is Doc Searls picking up on my bristling exhange with Lucas Gonze, which he refers to as “The Grumpy Dickhead Chronicles.” Sigh. Oh well, that’s the nature of decentralization. I made the posts, I need to lie in them, so to speak.

It should be pointed out that I’m cool with Lucas. He made an apology for picking me up as an examplar for something I’m not, and I apologized for reacting to that more strongly than was strictly necessary. Here is his more considered statement. I can’t say as I really agree with much of it, particularly his casting of my wave of podcasters as a squad of idiot savants who accidentally did the right things. However, I do acknowledge it as a valid reading of events with his particular take on it.

I think Lucas and I differ at the architectural level and that spills into all sorts of unpredictable places. He thinks that fundamentally the store-and-forward nature of current podcasting is something to be avoided and only grudgingly acknowledges its efficacy for the present day reality of the occasionally connected devices. His ideal world would involve little or no storage, and instead would allow for universally connected devices that stream on demand rather than the subscribe and fetch. On the other hand, I dig the way that you can achieve what we do without constant connectivity. I think it is a more efficient use of resources, and I like how you don’t have to build out for the high water mark like the streaming world does. Since a lot of the traffic is actually automatic processes at non-peak times, this spreads out the load to times where the servers would normally be sitting mostly idle. This is important for allowing folks to get involved as it lowers the horsepower necessary to play the game, and part of what is driving the popularity.

I just want to get it out there that I don’t have any personal issues with Lucas. We agree on some things, disagree on others, so mote it be. I have found myself in lots of arguments lately ranging from rancorous to highly rancorous so anything that can reduce the drama is good with me.

Blues Podcast

On a whim, I checked out the Roadhouse Blues podcast. There were a number of good songs on there, so imagine my suprise when they announced that one of the bands, Johnny Flash and the Rockets, are from Myrtle Beach. That’s right, I discovered a good band local to me by listening to this new podcast that comes from who knows where. Cool stuff. He also has me in his blogroll, so he’s obviously got impeccable taste. Now I just need to keep my eyes open to see the Rockets playing at some dive bar around here. I can’t wait.

EGC Clambake Episode for Feb 25, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 25, 2005.

In this episode, I talk about the music permission I got from Michelle Malone, reminisce about the late 80’s music scene in Atlanta and play a few of her songs, all whilst urging people to buy her albums.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

Links mentioned in this episode:

This American Blindspot

Tonight I heard a chunk of This American Life that was a repeat I had previously listened to. I usually love the show, but this one I didn’t like very much. I realized that pretty much every episode I don’t much like has something in common – lots of Jonathan Goldstein. Not to disparage the man, but I think I’m just not his target audience. His tales of his personal neuroses and daily humiliations leave me cold, mostly because I just can’t really empathize that much. He seems to spend a lot of time agonizing about what the least important random people in his life think of him. Why not, like, just not care?

Another Music Permission

I landed another musician with podcast play permission. I’m not going to mention her name yet, but she is a singer-songwriter, not the biggest name in the world but someone whose music has been highly important to me. She gave me the signoff, and has even agreed to do a phone interview for the podcast. I haven’t ever done one for the personal podcast here, so this will be cool. Now if only my home recording setup wasn’t such crap. I gave it a test last night and it wasn’t wonderful.

EGC Clambake Episode for Feb 22, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 22, 2005.

In this episode, I read a few words from the pen of Hunter S. Thompson; I talk about the devastation suicide wreaks on the survivors; I play a song from DQE; I play a song from Camper Van Beethoven and head on down the highway.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Virtual Round Table

I had a Skype call this evening with Ross Rader, Brett Fausett and Brian Ibbott. Ross organized this to talk about music in podcasting, and our differing approaches to licensing. It was an interesting call, and I’m looking forward to Ross making that available in his podcast. I will note that I’m the only person who seemed concerned with and explicitly mentioned “sticking it to the man.”

Hold On

I find myself taken with a thought I can’t let go. I wonder if the Right Reverend HS Thompson had waited one day, just long enough to find that tapes had surfaced of George Bush discussing his drug use, would that given him enough schadenfreude, enough reason to carry on if just to write about this corrupt man? Corrupted men with inordinate amounts of power were his stock in trade. Could this have pulled him through the trough long enough to work up the venom to spit at these venal huckster televangelists that are masquerading as statesmen? Probably not, but I can dream my little dreams.

EGC Clambake Episode for Feb 20, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 20, 2005.

In this episode, I play the six (?!) IDs that Michael Butler got for me at Wondercon in San Francisco; I play an American Heartbreak song ; I talk a little about Harold Gilchrist’s role in the birth of podcasting and shuffle off to Buffalo. This actually is a fairly short episode for once.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Say Huh?

Lucas Gonze seems to be one of these folks who is smart, does good work, and with whom I share a lot of interests but for some reason has a complete hard-off for me. For example, in this post where he says:

Harold Gilchrist has a passionate post, with overwhelming supporting evidence, about not getting credit for the invention of audioblogging. I was there, I saw it unfold, and he’s right. Dave Slusher and other folks who came to audioblogging after June 2004 can rationalize all they want, this situation is wrong.

What have I rationalized, and why the fuck am I the poster boy for it? I didn’t know anything about the backstory with Harold. As soon as I became aware of it, I posted about it here within the hour. I want Harold to have all the credit he deserves, which judging by this page is plenty. With this statement I think Lucas is just being a grumpy dickhead.

What might would have been constructive is to have educated us all four or five months ago. I’d have done what I could to have made sure I propagated the correct story (unless I decided in some sort of fit of pique to “rationalize” things like Lucas thinks I do.) Oh well, it is what it is.

Since I first saw Harold’s posts on the subject, I’ve been checking in on the wikipedia podcasting entry, seeing if Harold or Lucas or someone who thinks he’s getting undercredited added his role to the entry. So far, nada. Guys, put your money where your mouth is and add in the official story there, please. Don’t kvetch about history being wrong, correct it. I can’t understand being on fire to get the story out, but not taking the time to update this item which many people are using for the canonical reference. Am I going to have to do it because these guys won’t?

I did a few diffs to see if someone had put in anything about Harold and had it removed, but I didn’t see it. I do see that there existed at one point a reference to Ben Hammersly having used the term “podcasting” in his article 8 months before Dannie Gregoire, but it has since been edited out. I think I might edit that back in, especially since my name is associated with spotting Dannie’s use in my referer logs. I don’t want to catch shit about “rationalizing” someone else out of their due for this aspect, either.

Eric Rice also weighed in on this subject. Eric was, of course, in the audioblogging world long before I was but seems to be less bugged about getting credit, even though I’m sure he deserves a chunk as well. While we are on this topic, I’d like to see Chuck Pahalniuk get some credit. Before I began podcasting last August, the one and only true “audioblog” I had ever listened to regularly was his. In fact, his would be the only one I had ever heard except I had listened to Dave Winer’s post about shutting down weblogs.com. Chuck’s infamous post where he came out of the closet via an audioblog probably did as much to raise awareness of the form as almost anything that happened in the pre-podcasting era.

So, I ask you folks out there for help – Mitch Ratcliffe, Rob Greenlee, Lucas Gonze, Harold Gilchrist, folks who think I’m missing it on the early days of this stuff – provide me with some constructive guidance. Something is demonstrably different in this world since August 2004 than in the time prior. How can I note that without diminishing the prior art and the prior practitioners? I want to get my story straight once and for all, then put the psychodrama to bed and get back to work.

EGC Clambake Episode for Feb 18, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 18, 2005.

In this episode, I jump straight into a Gentle Readers song just to get it rocking; I play a clip of Jill Sobule talking to David Dye about sampling in her music and the “a-holes” in the music business and then I play the Jilly Sue song in question; someone hates every song I’ve ever played; the new term for what we are doing is “Audication” – you heard it here first; I play Michael Butler’s Slapcast jingle; I play two songs from Steven Brust and leave them laughing (and myself, in spades.)

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

Links mentioned in this episode: