Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for January 27 2015 – Interview with Garrick van Buren

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, January 27 2015. This is my interview with Garrick van Buren about his book Rebuilding Blocks. It is a fascinating book that combines personal anecdotes with a business and self-help book as well as a strategy guide for the game of Kubb.

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Also on:

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for January 12 2015 – Patreon and Videos

In this episode, I return to the old format! I play a song by the Gentle Readers; I discuss the differences between Flattr and Patreon and why I am thinking hard about going with the latter; I talk about my experience as a fan of Cats Laughing and their current Kickstarter; what the heck, let’s play some Cats Laughing too; I talk about my experiences with doing video interviews; I discuss the late 70s/early 80s Athens GA bands better than REM; I close out with a song from Glass Eye.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, January 12 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Also on:

Piwik

One of the things I picked up from Jamie and Garrick talking nerd stuff on this episode of the Open Loop podcast was a reference to the open source project Piwik. Despite this thing having millions of downloads, I had never heard of it.

Piwik-logo-high-res

Basically, it is an open source version of Google Analytics that you can self-host. I have it running on this blog now, and it is pretty cool. Even better, via the WP-Piwik plugin, you can see the stats directly on your WordPress dashboard page.

I had a problem where I thought the thing wasn’t working for a while. I saw the stats on my dashboard but not going directly to my Piwik installation. It wasn’t until I dug around that I discovered that I had five entries for this blog, four of which were not receiving stats. Switching it to “Show all sites” then brought in everything I wanted. I am not sure exactly how the other four got created, but that issue is resolved now. It’s a neat little package and fits squarely in my goal lately of bringing more control in house. I like it. Thanks, Jamie and Garrick!

Also on:

Open Loop Podcast

I had occasion to correspond with Garrick van Buren. I had made a post a while back that I missed his First Crack podcast. He focussed on people and businesses local to him, and they were always interesting. When my daughter was born I went back to look up the nut who had the Daddyator workout, where you do resistance training with your child as the weights. Sadly, it was offline by the time I needed it. He interviewed coffee people, brewers, the people who were opening an artisanal peanut butter store at the Mall of America. It was nuts in the best way.

He pointed me to his newer – if not new – podcast Open Loop. I listened to all nine episodes of it. The thing about it, he and his cohost Jamie talk beer, technology, programming but more than anything else, they talk Kubb. I had no idea what this was until I looked it up.

Now, having heard them and read up on the subject, I want to play the damn game. It seems like a great combination of Jarts, croquet and bocce. You have to be able to throw accurately to make anything happen, but there is a strategy at play. Every decision that you make has immediate repercussions, and trying and failing at certain bits gives your opponents a big advantage over you. It seems like so much fun I want to play it. Jamie expressed his disdain for playing it on the sand and expressed snow as his preferred field. I think it would be a truly awesome beach game.

Jamie runs the Planet Kubb website, which has lots of information about the game and various teams. I found an Instructable for a simple way to create a set out of a few lengths of dowel and 4X4s. I happen to be sitting in a building with a table saw downstairs right now, so that would be doable. Grand Strand people, who is up for some Kubb with me?

Also on:

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for August 29, 2014 – DDOP 30: Wrapup

In this episode, I do a wrap up of my experience of the Dog Days of Podcasting; I talk about other month long challenges I have attempted and failed at; I discuss why I still want to publish a paper zine; I reminisce about developing my own film and printing my own photos in high school; I talk about an exchange with Garrick van Buren that blew my mind.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, August 29, 2014

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for August, 15 2014 – “DDOP Day 16: Grab Bag”

In this episode,

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, August 15, 2014

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Links mentioned in this episode:

What a Long Podcast Queue Means To Me

Obsessive podcast dork post warning – if you are uninterested in the deep miscellany of how one listener handles his podcasts, this post may not be for you.

Some time ago Garrick van Buren asked me about what a long podcast queue means to me. I had posted about the fact that my listening queue was over a month long. Out of curiousity around that time I wrote a ruby script to figure out how long my queue is in listening hours. When it was a month deep, I had around 9 days worth of audio files in my repository. Since the birth of the baby, my listening time dropped way down and the queue got longer and longer. At this point, it is right at a cool 10 weeks long. That means that in early March 2011, I’m listening to the shows from the week before Xmas 2010. Added together, this queue has a runtime that just blipped over 15 days long.

On top of the continuing subscriptions, I have been adding shows this whole time. I don’t get too upset about the long queue and have never found that to be a reason to not subscribe to new shows. Recently I added eBook Ninjas (heard about on The Kindle Chronicles) and Jackie Kashian’s The Dork Forest (heard about on Marc Maron’s WTF). In both cases, the shows had between 15 and 20 episodes that came down the feed on first subscription. For these shows I want to actually listen to the back shows, so I’m now in a situation where the first 25 shows in my list are those two podcasts. Each time I sync, I listen to one episode of each and then skip past the rest. It will probably take me at least a month to clear the queue of just those episodes at the front.

I’ve done this many times with shows I begin and want to listen to a number of older shows. When I first subscribed to WTF a year ago, it was on episode #33 and I did listen from the very beginning. For that show, because he puts it out twice a week like a machine, in the time it took to listen to the first 33 episodes, another 18 had been published. It can be a Sysiphean task to catch up on frequently updated feeds.

But to the real question that Garrick asked, what does it mean to me when the queue gets long? For me particularly, it doesn’t mean that much. I’ve been very far behind like now, and I’ve been so completely caught up that each night I was downloading fewer shows than a typical day’s listening. When the queue is long, the main thing that happens is that my patience and tolerance drops to near zero. When I’ve got 300 files waiting to be listened to, my willingness to listen to shows not cutting for me is drastically reduced. If I try out a new show based on a recommendation and the first five minutes are in-jokes and really boring banter, I hit skip and never come back to that show.

This leads to another more general point – I have come to believe that the first 3 minutes of podcasts are the most crucial bit of the whole thing. If your theme song is five minutes long, you’ve already lost me. If the beginning of your show is a long description of why it’s been so long since the last episode (which I and practically every other podcaster is guilty of doing at least once), I don’t want to listen to that. I especially don’t want to listen if the lateness being discussed in the episode is months or years old at the time I’m listening, which now is highly common. This has come back around to myself. When I record Evil Genius Chronicles episodes, I’m trying very hard to get things rolling fast and coming back to things like sponsorships or long explanations. The other end of this is things like SModcast, where the episodes I’m listening to begin with 12 minutes of promos for SModcastle plus the Adam and Eve and Fleshlight sponsor messages. I’m this close to dropping SModcast because of this. For sure, I begin the show with my finger on the fast forward button. I only wish the Sansa Clip had an audible fast forward so I could hear when the theme song begins.

The main thing that drives whether my queue builds up or gets cleared is how many meetings I have in my day job. Most of my team is in other physical locations so at times much of my day is spent with headphones on. When we changed to a new mode of working that had more phone meetings, my queue size and length began creeping up. I’m not that agitated by it. I’m not disturbed when it climbs. It is a slight bummer as I’m listening to ever older shows with things like offers and contests that are long over before I ever heard them, but overall I don’t care. The one show I make exceptions to my strict chronological listening is Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. I artificially goose the timestamps to make them the oldest shows in my list, so they are always at the head because these are the most timely shows I listen to.

Beyond that, Mr. van Buren, a long queue doesn’t mean that much to me. It lowers my tolerance, increases my impatience and makes my skip finger itchy. It doesn’t make me loathe so subscribe to new shows. In fact, the last few months I’ve added more new shows than in years. If it takes me years to catch up or it never happens, I can live with that. The queue works for me, I don’t work for it. As long as my ears stay full of interesting listening, I don’t care how much unlistened there exists. I don’t have to be a completist on this, just amused at all the times I want to be.

The Downside of the Cullect Widget

A couple months ago I put the Cullect widget on this blog’s sidebar. I’ve been trying to support Garrick van Buren and Cullect, mostly because he has always been a strong supporter of most or all of my projects and I owe him some karmic debt. There is one problem with that, though. When I first put on the widget, I was in three reading lists and now I’m in two. This is the sort of thing that I hope never matters to me but it subtly eats at me. Who dropped me? Why? Is it because I’m blogging less lately or because I’m blogging about more ephemeral topics with lack of time to tackle big ones? These are bogus questions hardly worth considering but they still pop into my head. I have no intention of dropping the widget but there is a psychic cost to having it that never occurred to me until today.

Cullect

I’ve been watching Garrick van Buren‘s Cullect project for a while now. I’ll admit that I feel a little guilty about it because I’ve taken several runs at it and I always feel like I’m not grokking the full power of it. I mean, it seems like it has a lot to offer and is interesting but I’m not sure how to fit it in my day to day cyberlife. This makes me feel guilty, since Garrick has been such a strong supporter of my show and of AmigoFish, my own side project. My failure to jump up and down immediately feels like a betrayal.

I added the Cullect widget to my right sidebar so you can see a little of what it is all about and maybe follow the links back to the main site. I like the way when you look at an article that either references or is referenced by other articles in the system, it shows a map of them in a simple and better way than Technorati and other blogospheric management and mapping tools. I like the sharing and send mechanisms. Above and beyond that, I’m not sure what to do with it. Its paradigm is enough different that I don’t want to just use it like I would NetNewsWire or Google Reader.

Also, Garrick was kind enough to name a release after me and a feature I inspired. I’m not sure what that feature is, but I think that is cool regardless. Thanks, Garrick.

Twitter Zeitgeist

My Twitter fast continues. I’ve looked at it for less than 15 minutes each for the last two days. As I tweeted yesterday:

I thought that I would miss Twitter like an addict craving a fix. Instead it felt more like having a hypnotist cure a nervous tic overnight.

Garrick van Buren forwarded me a link to this guy’s Twitter skepticism. What’s interesting that his issues and mine seem to be equal and opposite. He thinks people use @replies when they should use more direct messages. I prefer to have everything public unless there is a compelling reason to take it private. He doesn’t like the abandonment of the “What are you doing” conceit, and I think that is the most boring frigging thing ever. If he got his way, I’d abandon Twitter in a heartbeat. The service he describes holds even less value than Twitter currently holds for me.

I’ve grown weary of the way Twitter leaves a kind of jangly feeling, like having three cups of coffee too many. There is always something coming in and more behind that. I see lots of people saying things like “I’m turning off Twitter for a while, I need to get things done.” Twitter is cute but it’s hard to get things done and pay attention to it. If you don’t pay attention to it constantly, you lose a lot of the power of it. It’s a conundrum and one I am having a hard time finding a reasonable balance with.

And just because I don’t feel like writing a full post to encapsulate this link, I will admit that my Twitter contrarianism could be just as misguided as this Robin Hobb rant about blogging, in which she does her level best to sound like Harlan Ellison on the subject. I’m a little chagrined how much her piece has in common with mine, in that she thinks blogging kills writing and (at least for me) twittering seems to kill my blogging. The only part that resonates with me is the idea that one activity can subtract the urgency and energy to do the other. I’ve decided that I like the value blogging creates for me, which is different than the value of twittering. Each to his or her own.

Garrick on Podcast Advertising

Garrick van Buren posts a musing on podcast advertising and references this here clambake in it. I sort of agree with his basic points and don’t know what to do about it. I could have an index of every firm that has ever sponsored the show. Would that be value add or just noise?

Update: Dave Hamilton (aka my pimp) weighs in on the subject. He points out that Garrick remembered that such and ad existed and where 18 months after it ran is a wild success of the medium, not necessarily a failure.

EGC Clambake For October 9, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for October 9, 2006.

I play a song from Whitney Steele; I present a series of interviews I did at this year’s Podcast Expo, with Ray Slakinsi, Paul Kafasis, and Garrick van Buren.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

PlayPlay

EGC Clambake For July 2, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for July 2, 2006.

I talk about my break between jobs and why there weren’t a spate of shows in that time; I play a song by Camper Van Beethoven; I talk about the grand opening of the KISS coffeehouse; I non-recommend Nacho Libre and slightly recommend Million Dollar Baby; I play a song by MC Oral B; I play audio comments – Garrick van Buren on the corporatization of public radio, Ted Riecken on net neutrality, and Eddie Dickey on baby boomers; I play a live song by Edith Frost

The name I couldn’t remember for this episode: the cheezy fake psychic dude I was trying to remember was the Amazing Kreskin.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

PlayPlay

Overexposure Tour 2006 Continues

More on the overexposure front. I did an interview with Bazooka Joe at the Small World podcast all about the Uplifter movement and philosphy. I might do another one with him on AmigoFish as well, because I have not yet worn out my welcome completely. Obviously, that means I have work to do.

I also did an interview with Garrick van Buren, this one mostly on AmigoFish, with an Uplifter chaser. Garrick is the host of the Minneapolis version of the Uplifter meeting, and it was cool talking both halves of this.

I’ve also got a couple in the can that I did with other people – one a popular previous guest returning for another round, another a great interview with my new spiritual advisor. I cannot wait to get these out to y’all.

EGC Clambake for February 9, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 9, 2006.

I talk about being wiped out; I play a song from Jonathan Coulton’s thing a week; I mentioned Garrick Van Buren’s video for “Shop Vac”; I play a clip of Joe Cipriano on Weezy and the Swish and then riff on what he says to the idea of having goals that you can do consistently; I play a clip from Tony Kahn’s Blacklisted and talk a little about him; I play a live song from Southern Culture on the Skids; I talk about the Makena Music podcast; come to the Frappr map, please; I play a song from Paul Melancon; onward into the cold snowy night.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by … me, working my butt off. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

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

Links mentioned in this episode:

PlayPlay