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Thursday, May 29, 2008

BOINC - SETI@Home

I just reactivated my SETI@Home account the other day, and installed the
Stuff for running that project. I also added Proteins@Home and one of the
Astronomy projects.

BOINC is a combined shared-processing time system. For example, SETI@Home
uses extra, unused processing time on folks' computers, to process the
vast amount of radio data received from the various radiotelescopes used
to monitor what might be radio transmissions from other planets -- the
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, or SETI.

It's an amazing process to be part of. I have no idea what I'm doing, but
somehow, a little bit of unused time on my laptop here is devoted to
examining received radio signals from space, sorting through this vast
amount of radio data for recognizeable patterns that might be from a non-
human intelligence on some planet far, far away...

I wanted to add a BOINC-Wide Team, and offer that as an option on my
various webpages. Not sure I understand how all that works. And it'd be
nice if I could figure out how to create a link to the group, whereever
that might be.

Anyway, once I figure it out, I hope you'll consider joining the Grizzlys
Growls Podcast Fans team. The one on SETI@Home already exists, and I'll
just have to see if it pops up on the other sites. Not sure what I'm
doing, but it seems important. Especially the Proteins@Home project, an
attempt to try the various ways of folding proteins, hoping to find
proteins that can help with the fight against cancer, and other illnesses.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

....And, for that matter...

Ya know what I think would be a brilliant, and mind-numbingly-obvious, option for Podiobooks.com? The Author Feed. For example: JC Hutchins creates the 7th Son series, and I have to subscribe to three different feeds to get the series. And he announces at the end of the feed there's more stuff coming -- but I won't see it, because I'm subscribed to the feed for the last book that's already ended. So I miss the next book.

Then there's folks like me who come into a series late in the day. Suppose I do a search, having heard about "Obsidian." If I subscribe to Obsidian, I don't actually see the earlier books are there. If I subscribe to book 1, I still don't see books 2 or three, and I don't see Obsidian.

So, how about an Author feed, that works specifically like an author creating their own audio feed. First book-first chapter to last-book last-chapter. More stuff comes up, if you're still subscribed, you still get the new content.

Call me crazy -- but isn't this the obvious end to any podcast-novel production?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More access for Podiobooks?

Following up on a Twitter post from the other day...

I listen to a whole lot of audio novels from Podiobooks.com. I've gotten a bit spoiled, maybe; with a couple dozen podcasts I follow, and with podcast novels, I rarely sit down with an actual book. Nice thing about this, I never have to figure out what to do with a perfectly good book I'm never going to read again.

Anyway. Podiobooks.com podcasts the parts of the novels. Rather than listening to the whole book at once, their site will create a personalized RSS feed for you, and once a week (or whatever interval) your feed aggregator will grab the next available section. Very convenient.

I prefer to listen to the whole thing at once. This can be done, manually downloading each separate file from the webpage for that novel. Very inconvenient, IMHO. It's time-consuming to download file after file after file. And for the last couple books I've downloaded, I've only gotten partial files in a couple cases -- and had to go back and play the files directly off the website, just to hear the end. Even more inconvenient.

True, if I just Got With The Program and used the feed as intended, it'd probably work fine. But for me, old-timey computer guy that I am, I'd prefer to at least have the option of downloading via FTP (File Transfer Protocol, one of the oldest functions of the Internet).

The site does have an FTP server set up for authors to upload new episodes. Downloads wouldn't be a terribly stressful addition. FTP is specifically designed for transferring files, and works quite effectively. And with an appropriately configured FTP host, I could tell my FTP client to just "grab all the files in this folder," walk away to grab a cup of coffee, and come back when it's done.

It might just be me that would want this ability. But since the server itself is already there, I don't think it'd be an impossible, arduous or expensive process to add this capability.

Comments?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A good idea, a bad explanation

Had part of an idea the other day. A friend came up with the other part.

I usually end up recording my podcast in my bedroom. That's fine, I suppose, it's the space I have available. But when one does audio recording, it's best to have an accoustically "dead" space -- no hard flat walls to bounce sounds around and create a hollow, echo-ey quality. I just don't have such a space to use.

I mentioned to an old friend that it'd be nice if I could use some space down at the Duluth Art Institute. Didn't expect much, just a quieter room than my own. He pointed out that, after all, a decent audio recording space would be good for the DAI, too; they could record their own, arts-related podcasts, as well as hosting the handful of local non-commercial podcasters.

So I brought our idea -- mostly my friend's idea -- to someone I know from way back, who knows more about the DAI than I do, he seemed to have the impression I was talking about something like one of those fancy studios they use for recording albums and what-not, the ones you see on TV with all the big mixing hardware and a 24-track recording system and boom mikes and whatnot, and thought I needed to put together a powerpoint presentation to sell the idea to the DAI.

Well, that ain't happening. Me making a presentation like that is as likely as me skipping naked across the Lift Bridge. I just don't have the visual background to create such a presentation. I don't know diddly about the large-scale recording hardware he was thinking about. And I wasn't even thinking in those terms. I guess I just don't do well explaining things off-the-cuff.

Most podcasts are recorded in whatever room the producer has available. If they have the freedom and the space, they may staple some foam rubber on the walls, to cut down on echo. I heard the other day that Seth Harwood, creator of the Jack Palms audio novels (and now a published author), recorded the first in the series in a room with sleeping bags nailed to the walls to create that dead space.

And most podcasts are recorded with a microphone plugged into a computer, and, well, that's it. Free editing software. No elaborate mixing hardware. I'm pretty much on the bleeding edge of run-of-the-mill podcasters at least, with my Samson Zoom H2 Handy Recorder. For what it is, it's a pretty impressive piece of hardware. And it fits in my pocket and runs off of two AA batteries.

So I apparently explained the idea badly. But I still think the idea is good. For people like me, the space would be valuable. And I think the DAI could use it in the way my friend thought of, producing their own podcasts on arts-related stuff. Even without the expensive hardware. Even if they track down a bunch of used sleeping bags to nail to the walls. They could spend more, sure. But more expensive doesn't always mean better, and isn't always necessary.

If anybody from the Institute ever reads this, maybe they'll consider the idea. If not, I suppose it'll never happen.

Too bad, too.

If only I could explain things better.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Diamonds

Diamonds -- the gift that says, "I wanted to give you something flashy-looking and expensive, but colorless, and only apparently rare due to market manipulations by an international, white-run African cartel."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Exhibition, Not a Competition

Was thinking about my post yesterday about Danny Does Duluth. I was stressed about his show as competition; never had to deal with local competition before. It had already been a stressful night, for various reasons. Anyway, this morning it struck me, saying we're in competition is equivalent to saying Hawaii and Alaska are in competition.

Hawaii and Alaska both are US states, have Pacific coasts, mountains, forests, beautiful natural scenery. Both actively seek tourists and tourist dollars. So in a sense, they are competing.

But they are very different places. Someone who wants to go to a place like Alaska for their vacation, they could go to Alaska, Washington State maybe, Idaho, Colorado, the UP of Michigan, places like that. They'd be unlikely to go to Hawaii anyway, not because it's a worse place, but it's not a place like Alaska.

Ditto for Hawaii. You want a place like Hawaii, there's the state itself, maybe California, Baja, other Pacific islands of course, Carribean islands, whatever. Not liable to go to Alaska instead, because it ain't like Hawaii, and "like Hawaii" is what they want. They're appealing to different audiences, different demographics. Doesn't mean next year the Hawaii guy won't go to Alaska, and vice versa. This year, they have what they want, and that's what they're going to get.

Danny's show and my show are both podcasts from Duluth, hosted on Libsyn. And there the similarities end. We talk differently, act different, treat people different, cover differeent content, and have different plans for our shows. Apples and oranges. The folks who want to listen to a show like mine, listen to mine. The folks who want to listen to a show like his, listen to mine -- er, his. I'm not losing audience to him, and vice versa. And that's not liable to change. So no real competition.

Add to that, there's no reason if someone actually wanted to they couldn't listen to both shows. If he becomes a great success doing what he's doing, no harm done to me. I couldn't and wouldn't want to do a show just like his, even if his style produced a greater success and/or larger audience. It simply isn't the way I do things. I'm pretty sure he'd feel the same way.

And if one show inspires more people to listen to podcasts in general and increases awareness of the medium, it's good for the other show, at least up to a point.

So... please, no wagering.

Monday, May 5, 2008

OhMiGod, is She podcasting?

Just wanted to let you know, my friend TR Kelley is starting a new podcast, called "Radio Calico." Just put up the very first show. Just based on what I've heard and seen from her before, it ought to be fun and interesting, and just a bit odd. Which is what will make it fun and interesting. Not at all as staid and conservative as myself.

Congrats, TR, and I hope you have as much fun with it as I have!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Another "Guest Spot"

The other night I participated in two upcoming episodes of the "535 York" podcast, connected with the Long Live TechTV Yahoo group. We recorded episodes 97 and 98 on Thursday.

It was fun, and a bit challenging. The other guys on the panel are a lot more technically knowledgeable than I am. But maybe I offer the "regular user" perspective, and I ask some of the right questions. And I do offer my impressions about things, based on the news coverage I've seen. They may be wrong impressions, but they're my impressions.

I like being able to record with other folks. Unfortunately, we weren't able to record my own show at Androy the other night, but these things happen. I'm running through ideas for Episode 57 in my head as I type this.