EGC Clambake for December 30, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for December 30, 2005.

We say goodbye to our current sponsors; goodbye iPod Observer; I play a song by the Dresden Dolls; I discuss the change in the Creative Commons license on this show; I play a song by Lauren Hoffman; I talk about Lessig and how the high costs of music licensing will alter how music gets used in TV show and films; please use AmigoFish; I play a forthcoming song by Michelle Malone; should auld acquaintance be forgot, etc.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part — for the last time — by the fine folks at iPod Observer and Reel Reviews! To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the month of December, $25 of your purchase goes to the Mercy Corps.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Year End Ritual

As I always do, I’ll spend a few minutes over the next few days listening over and over to the only Counting Crows song that matters to me – “Long December.” I find that pretty much since the song was released in the mid-90’s, I have never disagreed with the sentiment that:

And its been a long December, and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

Here’s hoping everyone has a better year next year. That wish can never be wrong.

Mac Geek Gab Comes Through

I’ve been listening to the Mac Geek Gab podcast since the beginning because of my relationship with the same guys with the iPod Observer (and Backbeat Media as well.) This morning, they just fixed a problem for me. I’m sort of suprised, in a good way.

My desktop OS X box, an old 400 MHz blue and white G3 that I bought used a few years back as my first taste of OS X, hasn’t been starting up right. On boot, it sits for a while, then goes to blinky question mark and then sits and sits and eventually boots correctly at some point in time ranging from 10 minutes to 2 hours later. I’ve been thinking that this is an indicator that the startup disk is slowly failing and will one day soon completely die. In fact, they said to check the startup properties because that setting can get corrupted to have nothing, and that your Mac might be trying to do a network boot. That is exactly what was happening. I had two options, the hard drive and network boot, and neither was selected. I selected the hard drive, rebooted and it came right up. The Mac Geek Gab came through!

Back

The holidays were good, low stress and perfectly enjoyable. Much baking and cooking and eating and hanging around with family occurred, and then it was over. I celebrated the XMas afternoon by raking leaves.

I had to reboot my computer because it was locked up the morning of the 24th, and I didn’t even bother to start up my email client until after the family had left on the 25th. I can’t remember the last time I spent 30 hours actually at home but not checking email or RSS feeds or anything. It had a refreshing quality, but by the evening I was ready to plug back in.

And now I’m back at work. By having XMas eve and day over the weekend makes it the lowest impact possible on a contractor’s work week.

Low Obligation XMas

Will Shetterly points out his strategy for the holidays: don’t feel obligated to do anything. That’s what we are following. We aren’t really asking for or giving many presents, we are spending this weekend at home while my wife’s family visits and next weekend we’ll visit my family. We did some baking last night to give away treats to some neighbors, tomorrow we’ll cook a ham. Beyond that, we aren’t really going crazy to do anything special. This does lead to an overall calmer feeling to the whole festivities and cuts way down on the stress.

I could never get into the Connie Willis XMas stories with all their harried suburban protagonists loaded down with obligations. All I could ever think while reading them is “why just not do some of that crap?”

Happy Holidays, y’all. I’d wish the other thing, but when you use the MC phrase, Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson win. The only real gift I want is for them to kiss my ass and actually do their job as journalists rather than trying to misdirect everyone into getting worked up over nothing and thus not pay attention to the fact that our executive administration is a rarified combination of completely corrupt, staggeringly incompetent and destroyers of the American liberty of our forefathers. I won’t be going into 2006 holding my breath on that.

Again, Happy Holidays!

Second Thoughts on Wikipedia

Having thought on this all evening, I now think that both the detractors and proponents of Wikipedia are correct. The deal is that the system works and is self-correcting, but only for the things for which are a set of people who have the facts, time and inclination to stay on top of entries they care about. For things like my poor bio, truths without a constituency of defenders are screwed.

Wikipedia

I mostly stayed out of the Wikipedia froth of the last month. Although I met Jimbo Wales and his family at Converge South and thought they couldn’t have been nicer, I don’t actually think much of Wikipedia as a resource. At best, I treat it like a starting point to do web searches for primary sources. I never consider it a primary source. It’s better than a random web page of unknown provenance, but not by much.

There’s a little bit of personal sting in this, but I think my situation illustrates what I think about the project and why. Have a look at the page where a few Wikipedians debate about deleting the entry on me. Originally, the podcasting entry had a link to stub page for me. I put in a little shell of a bio just because I got sick of looking at that link to the empty page. No one ever added to it, I didn’t think it was seemly to do it myself, and it laid fallow for a while until it came up to a vote on whether to keep it. Now, it is definitely a bit of a pisser to realize a group of people got together and decided that you are “non-notable” and that my bio there was a “vanity page.”

If you look you’ll realize for a couple of people the question of deleting that article turned on whether or not Dave Slusher the podcaster is the same person as Dave Slusher, host of the radio show “Reality Break.” Hmmm, how could one find that out if one wanted to know? By looking in the sidebar of this very page – near the top even – where I link to the “Reality Break” page? By doing a search via the WordPress search box for “Reality Break” and realize that I do indeed talk about having done the show in the blog and podcast? Basically, the people making this decision on my page were completely uninformed and unwilling to do the very minor bit of research to turn up the correct answers. In fact, there is this cute quote from the discussion:

I don’t think there’s any way at all to tell if this is the same guy, so it isn’t verifiable.

Umm, right. I’m a little fish with a “vanity page” so I can’t expect people to spend 30 seconds on research, but how many of these pages have decisions made as flippantly as this? How many facts have been deemed unverifiable that are as easily verifiable as this one?

This is most emphatically not me fishing to have someone add me back in. I’d just as soon never be. Screw Wikipedia. Having once been deemed unworthy by the high school cafeteria politics that runs the place, I’m happy to stay out. In fact, if someone makes me a “Not Notable enough for Wikipedia” badge, I’ll proudly place it in the sidebar.

Wikipedia is an interesting experiment, but for first-hand reasons I trust no information I find there farther than I can bounce it. I’m all about citizen media and general access to the gears of information, but what I don’t like is the general aura of authority it gets. I think that is out of line with the actuality of the situation. A lot of focus is being put on partisanship and axe grinding in the editing. I’m more worried about general ignorance and people thinking they know more than they actually do, or not knowing and then not really caring but editing anyway. I often think I know more about a subject than I really do, but I’m not usually pretending to be a primary authoritative source either.

Written in Venom

Around this time of year, my thoughts often turn to Norse mythology. That might not be as weird as it seems, because at least here in America our XMas traditions are pretty heavily steeped in the Scandinavian. I’ve always loved mythology, and I like the Norse because it is so different from the Greco-Roman stories.

One of the books I’ve most enjoyed in the last decade is a fantastic novel by Lois Tilton called Written in Venom. That link takes you to Fictionwise, where you can buy the book electronically in a variety of DRM free formats. This novel is fantastic, and tells the story of Thor, Odin and Loki but with Loki as the central and sympathetic character. It is an interesting take on familiar stories. It sets Loki as the martyr of the story, and his incarceration and torment a tragedy rather than being a triumph of good. I recommend this to anyone interested in the Norse myths. A few Decembers ago I read this, and reading it with a little nip in the air or snow on the ground lends a little more to the experience.

Sadly, Lois has decided to stop writing because she found the whole pursuit to not be worth the trouble and heartbreak. The fact that this book did not get much of a reception or sell well was a part of that decision. It sucks, because I think this book really and truly is fantastic. If you are at all interested, check it out and possibly buy it. You get to read a great book, support DRM free ebooks and the marketplace for electronic text. It makes the baby Thor smile.

EGC Clambake for December 21, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for December 21, 2005.

I talk about Christmas and play a Christmas song by Jill Sobule; I talk about the bogus “War on Christmas” and call Bill O’Reilly some well-deserved obscene names; I play an appropriate song by Fugazi; a few promos including one from the audioplay I was a voice in; monkeyshines; I play a song from the upcoming Michelle Malone CD and screw up my exit.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer and Reel Reviews! To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the month of December, $25 of your purchase goes to the Mercy Corps.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

PlayPlay

Voices Return

I haven’t been proud of the long hiatus in episodes of Voices in your Head. It was never really planned as a hiatus, it just kind of worked out this way. Well, a new interview has been recorded and hopefully should be published early in the new year. I’ve been notably non-prolific with a seven month gap between this and the previous episode. It felt good to just do another one.

Geek Christmas Carol

Quick pointer to something I was involved in – I’m a voice in the Geek Christmas Carol. I have to say that I have a big respect for cartoon voice actors now, as trying to react to other people who aren’t actually there is pretty difficult. On at least one line, I sound like a putz reacting inappropriately to the other character because I went a different direction. Que sera.

Lorem Ipsum

Eric Rice posted about this short film that he really likes. It is called Lorem Ipsum and is from the fertile mind of Dave Huth. I watched all 15 episodes plus the epilogue and I have to second that emotion. It is truly an amazing bit of work. It is a very well done film with that rarest of things in amateur filmmaking, an emotionally satisfying character story with acting good enough to sell it (although at points just barely.) On top of the narrative in the film form, it also contains a lot of meta-commentary about the capabilities of filmmaking as well as meta-commentary about the act of making citizen media. It’s very dense and well crafted on a number of levels.

I subscribed to his vlog feed and will be interested to see what other sorts of things come from the mind of this fractured genius. Meanwhile, I stand behind brother Rice and strongly urge you to check out this remarkable work. Thanks to ER for pointing to this.

My Least Favorite Things

I think some podcatchers are having trouble with the previous episode I just published. I know that my iPodderX did. This is probably because when I restored the system after the recent server box woes I did not have the MIME type for torrent files set correctly. It was serving them out as audio/mp3 rather than application/x-bittorrent which was tricking some things into thinking that it was already an audio file and didn’t need further downloading. I just renamed the torrent file and am sort of psuedo-republishing it. I’m hoping that the way this works is that most people that already have it won’t need to refetch it because the torrent is renamed but the MP3 is not. That’s the theory, anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

Apologies in advance for those who get two copies and apologies in arrears for those who were inconvenienced by not getting it at all.

Apprenticeship

Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but it seems like a sad statement of our times that there are multiple shows with people going through protracted televised ordeals and the final prize is a job. Wow, having a job is so special!