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Monday, August 27, 2007

SPOILER!

Here's a spoiler for you.

At the end of The Tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, by Shakespeare
(you may have heard of him), Hamlet dies from poison.

Not that you planning on reading that.

At the end of the "Harry Potter" series, Harry dies.

Not that you were planning on reading that.

Of course, that depends on how you define the end of the story. Every
story ends when the main character dies. Sometimes after the story ends,
the main character dies. Someone pointed out in a fiction series I read,
every romance is a tragedy, because at the end, everybody dies.

Spoil what, exactly? At the end, did anyone have the idea that Harry
Potter achieves immortality, that he never dies, ever? Is this one of
those religious things? Is Harry Potter snatched up by a passing
spacecraft, either living forever or returning after a lightspeed journey
to some other galaxy -- say ours, for example?

There is no spoiler. There is either a story worth reading, or there
isn't. And I don't think the fact he's beheaded at the end should have
anything to do with the value of the story itself. Aren't all the -really-
good stories read repeatedly, anyway?

And if you care if I'm right, WTF are you doing reading this blog before
you finish the book?

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

We Don't Need Digital TV

The Government has decided that we must eliminate analog TV. So all the
TVs made for analog TV will stop working. We will break them. Resistance
is futile. We will assimilate you.

The Government has declared that all the TVs that you own now will cease
to work, and that you will have to buy more stuff by February 2009. If
you haven't bought more of the new stuff by then, you don't have TV
anymore.

Nobody actually needs more stuff. But the Government needs more tax
money, which they'll collect from digital carriers. And the folks who
fund their reelection campaigns, folks who sell electronics, need to make
more money. And the Government wants to sell the broadcast TV bands to
Google, who want to buy broadcast TV.

If you have Cable, you have more stuff. If you don't, you TV will stop
working. Period. And the Democrats and the Republicans both agree that
you are screwed, and you TV will stop working, unless you can afford
cable.

And nobody bothered to ask you.

Welcome to America. Here's your accordion.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Welcome to Europe -- here's your accordion

Listening to CNET's "Buzz Out Loud" and they're whining about how
annoyingly persistent the EEU has been about Microsoft's antitrust
violations.

Well, Duh. If Microsoft persists in violating the law, judicial findings
notwithstanding, then the enforcement agencies are supposed to keep
kicking their butts. That's their job.

So, gee, how annoying and nasty the EEU is to actually expect Microsoft to
abide by their agreements in settlement of their violations of the law.

WTF? Yeah, you're supposed to be funny. Does that mean you're supposed
to ignore reality, and ignore violations of law and legal settlement
agreements? Funny. Ha-ha.

But it's Microsoft, so I guess it's okay.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Internet is Broken! Okay, maybe just लिब्स्यं

I went to a lot of trouble to do the last episode well. I did the next
episode well. I certainly tried. True for all my shows, for that matter,
as best I could manage.

But apparently, nobody has seen my last episode for the last week or so.
Or the previous episode. And probably not the one before that.

I don't expect any vast number of people to be impressed by my brilliance.
I do expect that those folks I'm paying to provide access to my show to
have their heads somewhere else than their butt. I'm figuring it'd be
nice for the company that I'm paying to make my (cough, cough) content
public, namely Libsyn, would make my content public -- and would know what
has been made public, would make sure that the agency -they- have
partnered with, namely Kiptronic, would know what's been publicized and
seen by interested parties.

Not so much, so far.

Kiptronic, Libsyn's partner, is convinced that no shows at all have been
heard by any listeners at all, for the past week or two. Even Libsyn's
broken stat system claims I have 45 listeners. Kiptronics says I have no
listeners at all, and have had none at all...

Maybe it's an oversight. Getting the money out of my Paypal account, that
they don't overlook. Getting the content to the audience, not so much.

If you want to be the best, it might be nice if you actually did the work
and -were- the best. Haven't seen it.

I admire everything about Libsyn, except how much they suck, deeply and
profoundly suck, at actually providing an environment for podcasts, and
access to same.

Let's be fair. Feedburner handles my feed, and they kinda suck, too.
They simply don't do anywhere near good service. Stuff gets lost.
Regularly, and on a continuing basis. And Feedburner is one of the best
in the business, maybe THE best in the business. But they really don't
know what's going on with the feeds they have.

Or if they do, you can't find out what that is.

There are only a handful of outlets where the relative handful of folks
actually download and listen to podcasts. If one of those sources no
longer recognizes Feedburners feed, Feedburner has no clue. I have a
significant (for my show) number of subscribers who use iTunes. If that
breaks, I lose a quarter or a third of my subscribers.

But Feedburner just tells me I have a whole lot less subscribers. And
maybe I do. If Feedburner doesn't know how to get it there, and doesn't
know when it doesn't get there, then yeah, there's a whole bunch of
subscribers by my standards who aren't subscribers anymore, because they
can't get the content. So they aren't subscribers anymore, because
Feedburner, or Libsyn, is broken, and badly broken at that.

I know there are a number of RSS Agreggators who haven't seen my last half-
dozen shows. That's broken. Since Feedburner's main power is promotion
to aggregators, and that doesnt' happen.

Real Simple Syndication. Real Simple, till it doesn't work, then it's not
Syndication, it's a lie, but I'm still paying the same amount.

It seems that some aspects of RSS are broken. The only aspect of RSS that
certainly isn't broken is the part where I get billed.

Aggregators don't know what's changed with my feed. An ad server service,
partnering with my own host, doesn't know what's changed with my own feed.

So, what am I paying for? And why am I still paying for it?

I'm not paying for Feedburner, Google is paying for Feedburner. And
Feedburner has no idea what's going on with my feed. So what is Google
paying for?

So, where's this whole Internet thing I've heard so much about? If you
can't transfer one file from point A to point B, WTF exactly are y'all
doing? Hell, I could transfer files 30 years ago. Has something changed?

I didn't create the standards, y'all did. So how come y'all can't live up
to your own standards?

Libsyn, Feedburner, Kyptronic. What do you do for a living, and why am I
giving Libysn money?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Threatening the peace in Iraq

The President just put up a Presidential Finding that if you threaten the
"peace in Iraq," anywhere, and in any way, shape or form, your money and
property can be seized.

Since there is no peace in Iraq, wasn't any peace in Iraq when we showed
up, hasn't been any since, what's threatened? Oh, wait, it's a Cheneyism,
doesn't matter if it's true, the Dark Side is Good now, so if you think
the Dark Side is Bad, we can take your money, your property, your life,
your fortune, and your sacred honor. To protect America, to protect
American Interests.

For peace in Iraq, not for peace in America.

As usual, this may be my last post. Watch this space.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

The post-lobbyist paradigm

Every time something changes in technology that impacts the heavily-funded
existing industries, they go full-goose-bozo buying legislators trying to
claw their way out of the toilet.

One could conceive of a horror movie where we sit down on the porcelain
throne, and when we get up, what we've left behind claws their way back
out. Welcome to Congress. Welcome to the Executive Branch these days,
too, for that matter.

We should never have to deal with that in Congress. That's why we elect
good legislators. They should be smarter than let that be our problem.
They should be smarter than to be bought by lobbyists. That's their job.
If they don't do their job, they are out of work. If they aren't doing
their jobs, they're stupid. They might have well-dressed gray hair, have
good speech writers, and they may even have been a good legislator back in
the day. But they're not doing their job, they're stupid, and they're
out.

Congress really, really doesn't want military veterans like myself getting
involved in making sure the legislators are doing their job, and neither
do we. If voting to elect smart folks doesn't work, and I would rather it
did, all bets are off.

I'm still betting on the Democratic Republic I love and swore my life, my
fortune and my sacred honor to support. So it's GOING to work. And it's
GOING to work soon. And the pathetic incompetent little weasels who
wormed their way into the Democratic Republic I swore to protect from ALL
enemies, foreign or domestic, ARE going to make sure the problems are
solved, even if there are lobbyists in the unemployment lines, and
obsolete major corporations cease to exist.

Aren't you?

But I mean that in the nicest possible way.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

The Mailbag Episode

I need to announce a cancellation of my "Mailbag" episode on the podcast.
Apparently my system is not capable of dealing with the consistent volume
of comments the show has received.

I've gotten 5, and I've responded already to 4.

So, I'm thinking a whole, dedicated mailbag episode about that one
response might be not ideal.

Maybe after the wave of iPod rumors responses come in.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

New Vista-based iPhone!

Did you hear the new rumor about the Vista-based iPod? Well, you have
now!

Is there an authoritative source for this? Of course, Some Guy on the
Internet said it! (What, I'm -not- Some Guy on the Internet?)

Is there corroboration? Sure! Do a Google search, not only will you find
a link to some guy saying there's a Vista-based iPod, there's a link off
on the right saying you can search for a Vista-based iPod on Amazon.

So it's as true as anything else on the Inturweb.

BTW, if somebody demands an original source for the rumor of the Vista-
based iPod, you got it from me. It's a perfectly legitimate rumor, I just
made it up myself.

As for whether it's factual, well, hey. It's the Interweb. Who looks on
the Interweb for facts? You want Truth? You can't handle the truth!

Rumors we got.

Nickle a piece, three for a dollar. Just click on the Paypal link to pay
for them.

I'll be waiting for all the money to flow in. Hope Paypal doesn't crash.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PodPAC?

Okay, thought I'd throw this out to my own little world.

In the US and all over the world, there are many many podcasts who are, as
John Denver put it, are "wishing for someone to sing to."

In the US, many/most cable channels have a Public Access Channel. These
can be required by local Public Utility Commissions to fulfill the public
service aspect of being broadcasters, as Cable providers are, mostly,
kinda. Similar things might exist in other countries, but I wouldn't
know.

Because of that requirement and public access impetus, PACs are required
to accept most non-offensive content. In many cases, they're begging for
content, and playing a lot of stuff over and over, because they just don't
have much to play.

They often require someone to be a citizen of their core audience to put
up content, and they generally accept most content from that audience,
because they gotta play stuff.

I'm a podcaster, and I want my show to be heard by everybody I can manage.
I'm also a citizen of the core audience of a cable provider to much of
northern Minnesota. And I want to be heard.

So I was kicking around ideas with other podcasters...

What about an idea where I, as a podcaster in a decent-sized market,
exchange full-length shows with another podcaster in another decent-sized
market, who's show I like.

I put up theirs here, they put up mine, there. Both of us gain a new
audience, and possibly new subscribers on our online feeds. But new
listeners, who may or may not even own a computer, and whether or not
they're subscribed to our RSS feeds.

Is this a crazy idea? Is there something fundamental I'm missing here? I
think it's a brilliant idea, and I think it'd be straightforward to
implement with off-the-shelf technologies.

So, what did I miss, other than not publicizing the idea before I file a
patent on the idea and and some patent squatter makes me using my own idea
illegal?

I call it PodPAC. I wonder what whoever steals the idea will call it.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Monday, August 13, 2007

Is Podcasting elitist, kinda, and can that be fixed somehow?

Okay, here's where this question comes from. It's kinda related to an
earlier discussion about delivery mechanisms, and how there's a huge
learning curve to get over. And in particular, a bandwidth curve.

My Mom asked me the other day about my MP3 player. I waxed poetic about
audio books (she listens to lots of books on tapes and CDs), podcasts
(she's an NPR fan), and a couple other options.

But she's older (she's my Mom, and for that matter, AARP is lusting for -
my- next birthday), she's on a fixed income, and she has dialup. And she
doesn't feel motivated to keep even that, much.

So there I am, trying to explain MP3 players and podcasts and their value
to her, and after trying to show where she could get them, came to the
conclusion that she really couldn't get them in any practical fashion,
because she's on dialup.

Yeah, higher-bandwidth options are cheaper than they used to be, but only
sometimes, and not by much. Fixed income usually means fixed at a low
level. So, dialup.

After trying to do what I remembered of the math, it looks like there is
no practical way at all to listen to podcasts without a pretty damn fast
connection of one sort or another. Not even to the AM Monaural Broadcast
radio level. The files are pretty damn big, and one would have to do a
really, really short show to get within reasonable download size.

Granted, Blogs are a viable option, kinda, since it's mostly just text on
a webpage. Until you combine a fixed income with failing eyesight. And
if she could read a book comfortably in the firat place, she wouldn't need
the audio books so badly.

I won't say "podcasts" are elitist, because I don't think podcasts or
podcasters are intentionally elitist in what they say or in who they
intend to speak to. Nobody I know, anyway. Ayn Rand wouldn't have had a
podcast. But maybe she would -- she wrote like kind of a sociopath, and
everyone was required to listen -- when I was in school, some of her crap
was still required reading.

I don't know of any current podcasts that are deliberately trying to make
their programs less accessible to older folks, starting with officially-
older-folks me in maybe a year, btw. What I'm concerned about is that the
accessibility problem isn't as limited as I have sometimes seen it, and
isn't limited to what sort of software and hardware you use for access.
Decent audio quality requires a pretty damn big file for any significant
length. And big files take bigtime bandwidth to download in a reasonable
time, say, less than an hour or so.

Because of the format of the content, and because of the size of the
content, we can only offer what we have to those who can afford it, which
means people who can afford a really decent DSL connection at the very
least -- even a slower DSL connection is way too slow for any longer show.
So we're talking to the economic elite, since there really isn't a middle
class, anymore.

And people on "fixed incomes," which is a euphemism for "low incomes"
(which is why they called it "fixing" Social Security), use dialup because
it's cheap. Or use nothing at all, because that's cheaper.

So, yeah, I do a hokey little Midwestern show, and I'm trying to make my
content appealing to folks like me. But why bother? I'm an exception,
I'm helping to pay for a shared decent-speed DSL connection, and that
serves well enough to download the many podcasts I listen to -- taking
several hours to download all of them, in an automated process off my
mailserver, at 3 or 4 in the morning.

Most people my age, in my area and my level of income -- most of my real
potential audience -- can't afford to even download my show, and probably
never will.

So if you really wanna talk about the technical limitations on the
audience of podcasting, you gotta include bandwidth, bigtime. Not that
the technical aspects aren't profoundly daunting. I couldn't even find
the right language to explain to my Mom what is meant by podcasting. Not
that a lot of podcasts and similar stuff wouldn't be useful and desirable
for her, but she won't have them, because she's on dialup.

And at her age, "someday" won't help.

So. Is there a way to fix the process of distributing podcasts that will
make them accessible to those to whom DSL is something their kids can
afford, and they can choose as compared to, say, eating? I could pay for
hers myself, as compared to, say eating. Or podcasting.

Based on the bandwidth issue alone, I don't think our position as
podcasters is comparable to the Golden Age of Radio. It's like the days
when a few random tinkerers who could wind their own coils and track down
a chunk of Galenium crystal. And it's not even that good -- once you
bought a crytal, you had it. No monthly fees.

Nobody else listened, and nobody else could listen, because at the time,
the effort and cost was way beyond them.

So? Answers? Further problems? Suggestions? Hints?

How do we turn what we have into what Radio used to offer, before the
medium was taken over by the ...

Insert words as appropriate. You know what I'm asking.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Coattails

I was suddenly struck with a realization as to why the Dispensationalist
Evangelistas are such big fans of George Bush.

The DE's are big on Revelations, esp. ref. the AntiChrist. The AntiChrist
is expected by them to present himself as an intelligent and well-spoken
world leader, and a beloved and admired world peacemaker.

George Bush is the first President in a long while they can be absolutely
sure is -not- the AntiChrist.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Monday, August 6, 2007

Listening

I do a lot of reading both in the online groups for Aspies, and in the
groups for people who have to deal with Aspies. I understand both, sad to
say, and I can fix things for neither. And I'm big on fixing things.

Aspies have just as much need for companionship and affection and
validation from other people as anybody. But it's harder to come by and
profoundly harder to ask for. And it gets harder as the years so by.
While I was acting and singing and dancing over a few decades, these days
it's hard to go anywhere other than home. Now I try so hard, I often
never go home.

Because that's hard, too. Family is hard, because you always have to love
them all the time. No vacations from family. Although I did leave town
for 13 years. And I regret all I missed. But to a certain extent, it was
a relief.

I listen to Aspies who are young enough to still be looking for
relationships with other people, and how hard it is to build a
relationship who you can never, in a fundamental way, really understand.

And I listen to NTs in relationships with Aspies, especially those Aspies
who are a bit older -- like me, for example -- who are so worn out from
trying so hard for so long, that we have to struggle for breath when
trying to hold a simple conversation. That's both a metaphor, and an
exaggeration. And it's true, too.

For the NT's, sure, it's a struggle to build a relationship with one of
us. It's like taking a walk with a person with a limp. We can walk, we
can even run, but it's a struggle, and sometimes we just can't do it, or
just don't want to for a while. And yes, we know how patient you are
being, damnit, and we appreciate that, damnit, and we're sick unto death
of thinking about you plodding along because that's what we can do. But
I'd like to think that "I'm worth the wait," to marginally quote the Janet
Jackson song.

And for the Aspies, well, maybe we get "old" earlier than NTs do। We
get crotchety and set in our ways, the way people with arthritis don't
want to do a lot of walking because it hurts all the time. Even knowing
that walking helps the arthritis, loosening the joints and somewhat
reducing the inflammation.

While many of Us can learn to socialize "with effort," it is an effort,
and one can easily get thoroughly tired of that much work all the time.

So we stop. And feeling entirely righteous, "But it hurts!", we stop
trying, with the people who need us to work hard enough to meet them
halfway. And we stiffen up, more and more, and it hurts more and more,
even to move.

And thus we hurt the people we love, and we hurt ourselves. And they let
us, because they love us, and they don't want us to hurt all the time.
"Though she don't understand him, or all the bad times, or the bad things
he's done, she still loves him for the good times they've had, and all the
good things to come."

Oh, hell yes, I know exactly and in detail how hard it is. But I will
struggle as long as I can to do as much as I can, because it's Worth It,
whatever It turns out to be. Even if it's not much at all, I'm more than
a marginally ambulatory piece of meat, and I should achieve more, and if
that hurts, well, that's part of the job description.

Sometimes it wears me out, and I have to stop and rest for a while. But
I'll stop completely trying when I stop breathing, and my heart stops
beating. Because that's what I'm here for, that's why I'm riding the
rollercoaster.

If I wanted easy, the merrygoround's just across the lot, and they've got
little ponies. If that's what you want.

Otherwise, enjoy the ride, even the bumps and bruises. It ends all too
soon.

"The times are very trying now, the wolf is as the door,
And many folks are dying now, who never died before."

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>

No show this weekend, maybe this week

Sorry if I let anybody down, but I didn't do a show this week. Sunday was
a really horrendous day, and shouldn't have been. Doing something fun
shouldn't be so stressful and tiring as to bring one to tears, but
sometimes it goes that way. I wanted to talk about that, but it's two in
the morning Monday, I'm tired out, and I gotta work today. So I got
nothing.

I may feel better about it midweek or so. I hate to miss a week. But
maybe I'd do better with some time to recuperate.

See ya later.

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>

Friday, August 3, 2007

Kiptronics stats -- Ooooh, pretty!

I just recently started "tinkering" with the Kiptronic ad support thingie
affiliated with Libsyn, where my podcast is hosted. Probably never have
any interest from advertisers, at least not for a while, too small. Put
up a link to their survey thing on my website, no responses yet. Not
critical, just experimental.

Anyway, was poking around in the Reports section on there. Cool! They
comment on the page that Libsyn has much better stats. (I dunno which
Libsyn they're referring to, not the one I'm using at the moment.) They
got yer multicolored piecharts, yer breakdowns on where my files have been
going since the beginning -- I gather they reach into Libsyn's stats to
get the numbers -- and they break down the audience by country, by state,
and by market, in great detail. (I gather the advertisers would need that
sort of thing.) Even if I never get interest from advertisers, it's worth
setting up, just for alla them cool stats and graphs and whatnot. Gotta
have my numbers.

And after only 6 months, I'm amazed so many people are listening. Not as
big as some, but it's just me rambling. States where I've never been, and
where I don't know anybody -- or didn't, before.

And so many countries! I wonder why people in China listen to me. Heck,
I wonder why people in the U.S. listen to me. <grin> Flattering and
humbling, indeed.

This worldwide Interweb stuff's amazing, huh?

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Too Close to Home

Yesterday, here in Minnesota, down in Minneapolis, we had the tragedy of
the collapse of a major freeway bridge, in the midst of rush hour. It
still feels unreal; these things don't happen in Minnesota. Except now
they do.

My heart goes out to those who were hurt and who lost loved ones in this
disaster. I can't watch the news coverage without tears. Oh, the
humanity...