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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Live in Second Life

I'm sitting at the moment in Second Life, listening to and watching Emerian Rich talk about her book on Podiobooks, "Night's Knights."  Second Life opens up all sorts of options for conferences and lectures and such.  There's plenty of other stuff to do there, and people do most of what you can think of.  But this is nice.  It's even being recorded for Treet.TV, SL's version of network television.

I'm still thinking about recording a podcast from within SL, but haven't quite done it yet.  I even have my Hiber-Nation Theatre space set up for exactly that.  My original idea was to get a group together and record everybody live via SL's own Voice Chat mechanism.  But since I've had no visitors to speak of, I haven't seen the point.  Not yet, anyway.  The flipside is that if I'm -not- doing shows, why would anybody be showing up?

I'm a little hesitant to think anyone would want to come just to hear me.  On the other hand, a few hundred have come to hear the Podiobooks versions of some of my books, so I suppose I must be doing something right.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Blog Posting Month -- Day 1

I'm going to give NaBloPoMo another shot this year.  I completed it last December, the month after The Big One.  Didn't find it all that hard, but this year I'm lots more busy, with school and whatnot.  Not that much whatnot -- like work & such, no job -- but school is plenty.

Heck, I may even manage to have something to say, rather than just rambling incoherently -- which might leave you wondering if you are reading the right blog.  So I better avoid that.



Monday, October 26, 2009

JC Hutchins, I Knew Him When -- sorta

If you've been listening to my podcasts from the beginning, you might remember my reviews of JC Hutchins "7th Son" books.  Largely due to the great popularity of the books on Podiobooks.com, Hutch managed to get the book published by a real-deal publisher, St. Martin's Press.  And you can order it now!

If you liked the books as much as I have -- and I'm also listening to the new edition of the Podiobook -- I hope you'll want to own your very own, shiny new copy!  You can click on this link to order the book  7th Son: Descent from Amazon.com, if you'd like.

You could also go to Hutch's own site to order.  Up to you.



And to think, I reviewed his book back when he was just Some Guy.  Mostly.   :)



Sunday, October 4, 2009

Promo for "The IDSL" - Take 3

I put this together this weekend for my Video Graphics class at LSC. It's not perfect; there's a spot in the audio I should fix, and that white bar where the URL appears is a bit unsubtle. But it's still pretty cool for a beginner. And I had fun making it! UPDATE: Fixed the audio. Decided to not change the one tiny thing that bothered me in the video. Just as well. ANOTHER UPDATE: Finally decided running my voice audio through Levelator wasn't cheating. Glad I did.




Natalie Brown

LeVar Thomas

Chris Kirby

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What should I look for in a laptop?

My sister's XP laptop died.  It was kinda old, and she got it used.

About a year and a half ago, she'd bought me a brand-new Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop for Christmas and by birthday, and I've been quite satisfied with it till recently.  Now, for my Media Studies class, I've been doing and will be doing a lot of video editing, which is hard work for any computer and (they tell me) requires serious hardware to do reasonably quickly.  My current laptop is adequate for this, sort of, mostly.  The machine's been upgraded to 3 gig memory and a 360 gig hd both which seem adequate.  I haven't discovered any way to upgrade -only- the Video hardware, and I suppose it's built into the motherboard and can't be upgraded.

My sister, who is an email-and-web person mostly, has suggested buying me another brand-new laptop, and taking over my "old" laptop for her own use.  This would be wonderful, of course.  She has more money than I do.  But she's asked me to just tell her what sort of computer to buy, and she'll see about buying it.  Thing is, I have no idea what specifically to look for, other than "larger" and "faster" and "better video" and other vague generalities.  Twenty years ago I coulda told her, now, not so much.

Any suggestions or hints?  I have heard for years that Macs are generally "better" for video editing.  True, somewhat true, not true anymore?  There is a premium to pay for Mac hardware.  How does the price for a Macbook Pro compare with the price for a PC laptop "adequate" for video editing in particular?  I've been using Windows since 3.1, DOS before that.  I know Macs only by reputation.

What would be considered big or fast these days?  I know what the numbers mean, to the extent they're larger versions of the old numbers.  I don't want her spending the cost of a new car, though, for example.  What would you say is a "reasonable" price for a laptop for "reasonable" video editing functionality and speed?

I pre-ordered a copy of Windows 7 a few months back, which I gather will help this old laptop somewhat. I doubt it would help enough.  Am I wrong?

Thanks for your input.

Griz



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The IDSL 09/08/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can directly download the file from Archive.org here.

On "The IDSL" today:

"Chandeliers, Scientists, Freaks and Aliens" from Dallas Orbiter

"Change Again" from Midriff

"We Dream For Jeanne" for Spider Robinson

"Change is in Season" from Matthew Anderson

"Change" from Schiek

"Feedback PSA" from Nobilis

"Chap My Pride" from Static Captain

"Golden Year" from Chris Kirby

"In My Dreams" from
Natalie Brown

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from
RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

This program sponsored by You, our loyal listeners! Want to help? Go to our Donate page!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Now, ain't that a hell of a thing

I'm in school, now, studying Media Production. There's a lot I need to learn there. I'm pretty confident with audio, though I find Adobe Audition quite daunting. Video, well, I just don't get that. I suppose if I'd grown up with access to video recorders and such, like some of these kids did, it'd be another story. Never could afford video hardware, never had the option to simply fiddle and try things, so I never developed the sort of confidence these younger folks have. That's okay; I'll get there eventually. I haven't grown stupid in my old age.

Only one obstacle is utterly beyond me. I'm required to take a course in "College writing." I know I'm not a brilliant writer. I know a number of brilliant writers, and I've read their work, and I pale in comparison. I'm fine with that. I am a good writer, and certainly a practiced one. I spent a significant part of the last thirty years in jobs where my writing skills were vital to my work.

And now I'm taking a mandatory course that is apparently designed to turn an incompetent writer into a barely adequate one. The course requires following a very strict format, word by word, sentence by sentence, resulting in writing that shows every seam, crease, and scotch-taped-together phrase. And to pass the course, I need to spend the next four months writing down to this standard, rather than up to my own standards. This lock-step blather is better suited to a computer program than an actual writer. And it's presented as "College writing."

I don't want to do that. I doubt I can do that. I sure as hell can't do that for four straight months. To quote Truman Capote, "That's not writing at all, that's typing."

I certainly understand the necessity of the course for students who have never really been expected to write. Coming into this straight out of high school, some of my fellow students might have no idea how to write a simple declarative sentence. I can. I can't write like someone who doesn't know how.

But to be able to graduate from the Media Studies program, I am required to write badly for four months straight. Even now, I'm wondering what they'd do if I dropped the class. Probably kick me out.

Now ain't that a hell of a thing?

Griz

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Merchandize Me


I have a whole lot of reading and writing to do for school. Which explains why I spent the last couple hours fiddling with the Merchandise on my Cafepress Store.

I decided the logo for The IDSL looks much better than the logo for Grizzly's Growls, so I switched everything over to using that logo. Had to resize a bit for some items. Came out okay, if not to my satisfaction in all cases.

One minor niggle with CafePress. What I want for myself is a nice black mug with the nice black-background logo from The IDSL on that. Turns out CafePress doesn't offer any black mugs, only white mugs. What were they thinkin'?

Another thing their product design software should allow is to resize the selected image up to whatever size the product allows. If I find a graphic simply doesn't resize well enough to suit that item, then I can create a new graphic reaching that size. But their software only allows resizing up to a given size, and doesn't provide sufficient info as to what the largest possible sizes are. So I have to create graphics by-guess-and-by-golly, upload them, try them, and if they don't work, go through the whole process again.

They also have some decidedly weird items in their product selection. I could, for example, offer a thong with The IDSL logo on it. A thong. Huh?

I don't know why I worry about it. No one has ever bought anything from the Grizzly's Growls CafePress Store, not so far, not even me. So what does it matter what merch I do or don't have, or what color it is?

Hmmm... Wonder if they'd have a thong in my size? :)

The IDSL 09/04/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)





You could download direct from Archive.org, if you'd like.

On "The IDSL" today:



SPECIAL!!! Interview with R&B artist Chris Kirby, with music and discussion of his new album, "Vampire Hotel." Listen in, call in, join in!



Thanks for listening!



Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn



Want to hear it all better? Try here!



This program sponsored by You, our loyal listeners! Want to help? Go to our Donate page!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The IDSL 09/03/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can download a copy directly from Archive.org, if you'd like.

On "The IDSL" today:

"cephalopoda of the desert" from Frowning Trees

"chainlink" from melisma

"Feedback PSA" from Nobilis

"Chalkboard Fingernails" from sombertown

"Podcast Bailout" from John Bell

"Chance Life" from Anoran

"We Dream for Jeanne" from Spider Robinson

"Chance" from Morrisson

"Lift This Fog" from Chris Kirby

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

This program sponsored by You, our loyal listeners! Want to help? Go to our Donate page!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Really Rather Graceful, Mainly

Something I wrote for College Comp I class the other day.

“Do you even ride that thing anymore,” my sister asked me, pointing to my bicycle in a corner of the garage. She seems convinced, now that I walk with a cane, I'm not likely to ride a bicycle. “Why yes, of course I do,” I answered. This is entirely true. If it weren't, I'd still keep my bike. Bicycles have always meant freedom to me.

I was never well coordinated as a kid, much less graceful. I grew up in the 1960s in a fair-sized family, one older brother, three sisters, lots of pets. What we had wasn't new, usually hand-me-downs, but still usable and in good repair, cause my Dad could fix things. All my siblings had bikes, that was a given back in those days on Trinity Road, the outskirts of town. My first bike was a one-speed, kinda beat-up, roughly the right size for me, mostly mine because the three older kids had newer bikes.

And those three knew how to ride, cause kids just did. I was born clumsy and uncoordinated. I tried to figure out bicycling by looking at what they did: sit on the seat, balance, pedal to go forward. Looked easy. I sat on the seat, tried to balance, and tried to get my feet on the pedals, by which time the bike was tipping over. Back to step one. No luck there. And my Dad wasn't that guy from the TV shows, running along side your bike, pushing and encouraging.

Eventually, the Abbotts from down the street somehow got all the neighborhood kids down to their front yard, a long, grassy slope. We lowered the seats on the bikes and coasted, feet easily reaching the ground. Coasting made balancing easy, and once I was coasting and balancing, pedalling was pretty straightforward. In later years, I read books by cycling professionals who taught kids to ride bikes. That turned out to be The Right Way to Teach Biking, as much as there is one.

Now I could ride all the way up to the Abbots and the Petersons, across to the Fosles, and down to the Stewarts, even all the way to Paul's Texaco. We'd ride along the dirt shoulders of Trinity Road, back when it was still a narrow, two-lane road with no great amount of traffic. And when my birthday came and I got my fancier, newer, more stylish five-speed with the big banana seat and the sissy bar and the high handlebars, my freedom of the neighborhood was nearly complete. The house where we went to get my new, used bike is still there, by the way – just to the right as you come in the main entrance of Lake Superior College.

I've had bikes ever since. Due to various sensory problems, I've never had a driver's license, and my basic transportation always had two wheels and pedals. But there was something perfect about that particular five speed. I could travel as fast as I needed to, come within a hair of a dead stop and stay balanced, even coast a bit backwards and downhill with no worries of falling over. I could ride it on the little foot trails through the woods, along the paths by Miller Creek, Chicken Pond, Coffee Pond. Our whole family would ride along the dusty and desolate shoulder of Miller Trunk Highway up to the Target store for groceries, past the abandoned miniature golf place on the corner, and the big billboard that was there in that empty, open field for much of my childhood it seemed: “Coming Soon: The Miller Hill Mall!” I wondered what a Mall was.

If I still had that big purple five-speed, I'd still ride it, not worrying about appearances. And I could go anywhere anyone else could go, and I'd get there eventually. On that five speed, nowhere else, on no other bike, just that one – I was graceful.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Podcast Awards Are Coming!

Since I have 3 podcasts, you could nominate me three times! Just sayin'.


2009 Podcast Awards

pca-2009It’s Podcast Awards Season again and I am preparing the site tonight the firm that manages the site will be putting us in pre-nomination mode tomorrow.

Podcast Nominations by your audiences will open at 2100 EST on Oct 4th so start getting your audiences prepared today to nominate your show.

We will be accepting sponsorships exactly as we were last year so be the first to get your sponsorship dollars in.

The awards take a huge amount of work each year, so much in fact that I had considered not holding the event this year. Over the past three weeks my email inbox has been exploding and I decided to go ahead and hold the event again. I am hoping that the volunteers step up like they did last year to help because without them it is a monumental job.

Get your audiences ready :)

Todd Cochrane
Found Podcast Awards!

The IDSL 09/01/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can download direct from Archive.org, if you'd like.

On "The IDSL" today:

"Carry On" on J and R Grace

"Carry" from Seazon of the Fly

"We Dream For Jeanne" from Spider Robinson

"Cat Got My Tongue" from PrairieHomeRecords

"Caviar" from Young Pluky -- well, okay, part of Caviar...

"Feedback PSA" From Nobilis

"Celebrate Your Love" from sonafide

"Don't Forget About Me" from Chris Kirby

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

This program sponsored by You, our loyal listeners! Want to help? Go to our Donate page!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We Dream for Jeanne


Found this on the website of someone I like and admire a lot, author Spider Robinson. Jeanne's his wife, and they're having some tough times.

------

HELP JEANNE STAY HEALTHY

This year a brilliant surgeon, Dr. Andresz Busczowski, helped Jeanne Robinson beat back a rare and virulent form of biliary cancer. But it’s so rare even he can’t say how much time he‘s bought her, how soon it might recur. For technical reasons she is not a candidate for either radiation or chemo. Her only hope for longterm survival is therefore to reboot and reinvigorate her failed immune system. She needs special therapies and meds, extensive diet and lifestyle changes, and a stress level as close to zero as possible. All those are expensive, none are covered by even Canada’s excellent medical care...and like many artists today the Robinsons were already running on fumes financially.

But Jeanne, a Soto Zen monk, has been spreading love and kindness in all directions for a long time. So her Buddhist sangha in Vancouver, her neighbors on Bowen Island, and friends as far away as Florida have all spontaneously come together to raise funds to help keep her around as long as possible. Your participation is welcomed. A Bowen benefit concert, “WE DREAM FOR JEANNE,” will be held at Cates Hill Chapel at 7:30 PM on Friday Sept 18 details here; cheques may be made out to Jeanne Robinson in Trust and sent to Mountain Rain Zen Center, 6183 Fraser St. Vancouver, BC V5W 2Z9; goods or services can be donated for eBay auction by contacting Jan Schroeder at <dreamforjeanne@aol.com>, and PayPal donations can be sent to http://wedreamforjeanne.blogspot.com/.

-----

I'm broke. I hope you can help them, though.

Thanks.

Griz

Jeanne's Paypal account is here. Send via paypal to jeannedream@gmail.com





More smoking restrictions


More smoking restrictions

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

The IDSL 08/26/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can manually grab a copy from Archive.org, too.

On "The IDSL" today:

"Can't Wait Anymore" from Unopened Presence

"Can't Wish It Away" from SteelgunBlu - The Music of Jeff Page

"Can you feel it?" from Rubasch

"Candle Black" from American Rust

"Can't Forget" from Tow Truck Tom and the Roadside Wrecks

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The IDSL 08/25/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

On "The IDSL" today:

"CAN I GO WITH YOU" from LOONEYMOBB

Can't Be Wrong" from The Weables

"Can't Make Love Alone" from Dances With Worms

"Can't Make You Love Me" from 1/2 Act

"Can't Say No" from ShovelDance

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The IDSL 08/24/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

If you'd like you can directly download a copy from Archive.org.

On "The IDSL" today:

"C U Next Time" from Rock On

"Cab Ride Through the South Side" from D B Phillips

"Calling down the stars" from Christian Nielsen

Podcast Bailout PSA from John Bell of "Bell's in the Batfry" podcast

"Camden Town" from Her Favorite Things

"Camille" from Elverse

"Stunna Shades" and "Tonight" from CBYA

"First Met You," the 12th and final track off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album. Thanks John!

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The IDSL 08/21/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

On "The IDSL" today:

"Bye Bye Bananas" from Doc's Kids

"Byte Me!" from ROMBAL

"Come Clean," "Don't Forget About Me," and "Lift_This_Fog" from Chris Kirby, who I found via Ariel Publicity

"Pancho and Lefty," Track 11 off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album

Thanks for listening!

Themes: "In My Dreams" from Natalie Brown and "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The IDSL 08/20/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

NOTE: My computer decided the pinhole microphone on my newly-installed Webcam was the one I wanted to use to record the show. Figured out the problem after 20-30 minutes or so. Sorry!

On "The IDSL" today:

"Bury" from taylor one

"BUST U DOWN" from LOONEYMOBB

"Butcher Block" from LOB (LEGION OF BOOM)

"Buttered Toast (rEmIX)" from Frumpy

"By Design" from Troop Of Echoes

"Faraway Friends," Track 10 off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The IDSL 08/19/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

On "The IDSL" today:

"brutal" from Fettler

"Bullet Proof Vest" from Peculiar Red

"Burning Bridges" from Jens Hegg

"Burning Darkness of Night" from The Copperheads

"Burnt it Up" from the Syprhians

"Beyond Our Time," Track 9 off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album

Thanks for listening!

Themes: "In My Dreams" from Natalie Brown and "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pacific, Stage 2 - Sale Now On



International Date Line Special
Get your bargains here....20% off

Freya likes to travel in her Roz Bag.... No, we're not setting up a dating agency, or one of those dodgey phone lines to call Lovely Ladies....There's a Sale On! From today until Roz crosses the International Date Line there is 20% off all Roz Savage Branded items at the Roz-Shop. Who knows how long it will last? If we were allowed to bet we could open a book on it....
Get yourself a new hat, buy a load of bags and give them to your friends. Or sell them to your friends and send Roz your profits.... let's use these quality items to keep the ripples moving around the world.
In the photo you can see my daughter Freya enjoys being carried about in her Roz shopping bag. If it can carry a chubby baby, just think how much shopping you could get in there!
Comedy Climate Change...
'Hudson and Pepperdine Save the Planet'

This afternoon I listened to a fun yet thoughtful play on the BBC Radio 4, all about 2 women trying to Save the World from the impact of Climate Change. They race against time to come up with ideas to save us before the sea comes to claim London at 6:40pm - according to the TV Schedules! It's on the BBC listen again site for the next 7 days. Enjoy.

Pass it on.....
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The IDSL 08/18/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

With my lovely and talented co-host, Your Girl Kali!

On "The IDSL" today:

"Brother Hawk" from American Gypsy

"Brouhaha" from The Oneironauts

"Brown Out" from room101

"Bruised" from Scott Morrisson Band

"Brundle Fly" from Gabe Powers

"Liar's War (Letter Home)," Track 8 off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album

"In My Dreams" from Natalie Brown's "Let The Candle Burn" album

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This could be hard...

As far as I can tell, it's official: I'll be attending the Media Studies and Production program at Lake Superior College, just up the hill from me here in Duluth.

I have all the Financial Aid paperwork done, so funding is at least applied for, and probably will be granted.  I have an additional, special funding source because I'm considered a Displaced Worker.

So I should be starting school next Monday.  Which is good.

However...

The school has decided to make the entire campus smoke-free
.  Indoors and outdoors, parking lots and all.  If you're caught smoking in your own car in the parking lot, you're subject to a $50 fine and "a hold placed on your record."  Whatever that means.

I've been smoking since 1978, starting in Basic Training.  I'm 50 years old.  I'm not likely to quit.

I also have Asperger Syndrome to cope with.  I get stressed by changes in environment, meeting new people, crowds, noise, all that stuff.  And now my erstwhile school wants to take away one of my main stress relievers.   I can't step outside on my breaks and have a smoke.  I have to completely leave the campus to do so.

This was already going to be hard.   Their draconian decision will make it much harder.

Thanks guys.  How can I ever repay you?

(sigh)



Sunday, August 16, 2009

September NaBloPoMo Collective Feed

It's that time once again!

I just looked at the Collective feed to see what was in there. Nothing was in the feed. Not even me! Turned out every blog that had been listed in the Collective Feed had expired, including mine. Could be, nobody's trying NaBloPoMo in the heat of the summer; there's so much other fun stuff to do out in the sunshine, after all.

Still, if you are attempting National Blog Post Month for September, the Feed is still available and functional. And now would be a good time to get your blog reactivated.

If you'd like to be on the September NaBloPoMo Collective Feed, first check the expiration date for your blog at http://libsyn.com/_static/grizzly/nablopomo.html, the current Feedlist (at any given time). If your blog is already there and doesn't expire till after the end of September, no worries. If it's there and expired or expiring soon, let me know you want your entry updated.

To be added, reply to the discussion in the NaBloPoMo Collective Feed group with:

The name of your blog,

A shorter name (to fit in those brackets at the beginning of your title),

The URL of your RSS feed,

The URL of your blog itself.

Normally, except for setup, the Collective Feed is run automatically (by Yahoo Pipes, if you were wondering). By default your blog will be ignored 45 days after you last told me to update it last. Only your last post shows up in the Feed at any given time. And posts over 31 days old are ignored in any case. This is intended to keep the feed both timely and compact.

Thanks for your interest.

Griz

I've Got Everything I Need... Almost...

(The title is from a Blues Brother's tune, by the way.)

On Friday, I got a cool new package I'm calling my Birthday Present, though I actually bought the silly thing for myself.



It's called a Behringer PodcastStudio Firewire bundle.  It includes an 8-channel mixer, a Firewire interface (stereo in and out to the computer), a decent condenser microphone, a decent headset, and all the cables you need to hook it everything up.

I really, really wanted this, because I figured I'd be able to play my tunes on my own machine via Mediamonkey, out through the firewire thingie to the mixer, then back into the computer to Skype, through Skype to BlogTalk Radio, where I've been doing a live show for a while now.  Normally there, I have to upload any music I want to play to BTR, then play the files via BTR's rather clumbsy Switchboard interface.  That way I can't actually hear what the music sounds like, though.  Hard for me to comment on music I can't hear well.  My worry there, admittedly, was loss of audio quality due to the many stages in the audio path: MediaMonkey to the Firewirebox to the Mixer to the Firewire box to Skype to the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) to BTR to whatever happens after that.

It's extremely hard to know how "good" the audio is after all those stages.  It might be good for one listener, bad for another.  It might be half-assed for everybody, or worse than that.  All I can judge from is what I'm told by the folks listening way out at the other end of the audio stream.  And there's really very little of that audio path over which I have any control at all -- Skype and The POTS system and BTR are entirely out of my hands.

Add to that, the POTS system, even if it's working well, is a very low bandwidth path.  Voice phonecalls are expected to use no more than 8 Khz or so, the bandwidth the very first phones would use.  The Phone Co doesn't promise to provide any more than that.  The idea there is that (more or less) old POTS hardware is -never- out of date; if it isn't Broken, you can take a really old phone, plug it in (or wire it in with the really old ones), and it'll still work as well as ever.

Skype has, in my experience, had a lot better audio quality than the POTS.  But that doesn't help because POTS is still in the path, possibly the weakest link.  Add to that, though, BlogTalk Radio's equipment actually has -lower- bandwidth than POTS.  I know BTR is monaural, and I've heard it's like 4.x Khz.  That is phenomenally low quality on a good day.

But wait, it gets worse.  BTR has a finite amount of outward streaming bandwidth available.  They have a whole lot more than I do, but it's still finite -- there's just so much and no more.  If they have a lot of shows on, each show gets a smaller slice of that only-so-large pie. 

I actually don't fault them for that.  It's called "BlogTalk Radio," not "BlogMusic Radio."  Most Talk Radio is on AM, not a terribly high-bandwidth broadcast path.  I think what BTR promises to deliver bandwidth-wise, they're delivering.  (They have other tech problems from time to time.  That's why I wanted to play my music locally in the first place.)

Speaking of what I have available...

I'm using Skype.  That's essentially all the streaming bandwidth I've got in the game.  And that seems to be plenty, far as I know.  At the far end of Skype, the audio ought to be just fine.  But streaming bandwidth isn't the only issue.  Processor time is critically important in livestreaming.

While I'm streaming, I'm running: Skype; BlogTalk Radio's Switchboard is open in Firefox; the Chatroom is open in Firefox; MediaMonkey is running to play my tunes.  The drivers for the Firewire interface are working overtime with alla that audio data.  I tend to have Tweetdeck open, so I can tell people what I'm doing on the show.  I tend to have other webpages open with info on the songs I'm playing.  Then there's Callburner which I have been using for recording the shows as I've done them in the past, and Audacity I've been attempting to use for recording with the new hardware.  Any windows I have open and visible are also driving my video displays (I use two); for example, Audacity updates the view of the recorded track as it's being recorded.

This puts an hellaceous load on my processor, on top of the already relatively hellaceous load from the audio stream itself.  And all of it has to run in real time, or the audio stream sounds like crap.

True, if I have the knobs set wrong on the mixer, the stream sounds like crap.  But that's something I can try to control.  All the rest of the stream I don't control at all.

One surprising result.  While attempting today's BTR stream and playing a lot of music, I decided to see how well uStream might work for the show.  I'm told the audio on the far end was actually pretty good.  It may be that the real problem with the audio quality from BTR is inside BTR itself.  I know that their phone-in system, the only way for a producer to connect to their hardware, doesn't work reliably.  It wouldn't surprise me a bit if it also constrained the audio bandwidth too much for my purposes, or just plain passed lousy-sounding audio.  As I said, it's BlogTalk Radio.  With someone calling in over a phone and just talking, many variations in audio quality will be lost in a jungle of varying speech levels and tones and whatnot.

But uStream was built from the ground up not only as a Streaming service, but in fact a Video streaming service.  Video uses vastly more bandwidth than audio on a good day, so they have to have more room anyway, might as well have plenty for audio.  Stop the video stream, you might even be offered more room for audio, not sure about that.  uStream captures their audio and video from a Flash driver right on my machine, with no intervening POTS hardware.  And I've confirmed I -can- stream from the mixer into uStream's audio inputs -- Flash just uses the default recording device, and it's easy enough to tell Vista my Default is my Behringer hardware.

So it appears, if I want to have a decent-quality stream on BTR, I have to go back to the old way.  And if I want a good-quality audio stream using the new hardware and software configuration, I need at least to switch to uStream.

That I'll have to think about.

Thanks for listening to my rant.  See ya around.





Friday, August 14, 2009

The IDSL 08/13/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

If you'd like, download a copy directly from Archive.org.

On "The IDSL" today:

"Breathe" from Seth Rush

"Breathe" from Troop Of Echoes

"Brian's Song" from Michael Dawald

"Brighter Day" from Words Of Wise

"Bring it on" from Hostile Environment

"New American Way," Track 5 off John MacLean's "Letters Home" album

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The IDSL 08/11/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can download a copy from Archive.org, if you'd like.

With Co-host "Your Girl Kali" from the Flaws and All show here on BTR!

On "The IDSL" today:

"Brand New Disease" from Stupid Emo Kid

"Breaking My Fall"from Laura Helde

"Breakthru" from Eddie Mac

"Breathe" from Autumn Dervish

"Breathe" from Landspeeder!

"Still Waters" from John Maclean off his "Letters Home" album

And from Assembly of Dust, who I found via Ariel Publicity, by the way:

"All That I Am Now" featuring Richie Havens

"Arc of the Sun" featuring Mike Gordon

"The Second Song" featuring Keller Williams

"Leadbelly" featuring Jerry Douglas

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The IDSL 08/10/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can manually download a copy from Archive.org, as always.

On "The IDSL" today:

"Bottom Out" from Stupid Emo_Kid

"Bottomless Pit" from Mimic of a Mind

"Box of Medals" from The Pins

Comment from Shawno of the Shawnogram and Hypernonsense podcasts

"boxes" from Joel Oscar

"Boy Meets Dog" from Noah Bradley

"Courage to Care" from John MacLean off his "Letters Home" album

"Strange Woman, Stranger Man" from Owen Poteat

"In Your Arms Again" from Natalie Brown

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The IDSL 08/07/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can download The IDSL directly from Archive.org, if you'd like.

On "The IDSL" today:

"B.I.O.H.H. (Blame It On HipHop)" from Hotskeems

"Bored Game" from Third Element

"Bored to Tears" from Idiocreiton

"born within" from Jana Thornton

"Bottom of the World" from Darkfold

And the second track, "Baltimore," from John MacLean's album, "Letters Home."

Thanks for listening!



Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The IDSL 08/06/2009 (Comment line 218-234-CALL)

You can download the show directly from Archive.org, too.

On "The IDSL" today, with my sometime Co-host, YourGirlKali of "Flaws and All" on BTR:

"Blurry Facts and Waking Eyes (Windows)" from room101

"Bobby" from American Gypsy

"Body of the Blood Machine" from Big Jesus and the Homeless Bastards

"Bombs Away" from Stupid Emo Kid

"Bones in the Hourglass" from Funhead

"Boondock Saint" from Ck5

"Blind Willie McTell" from John MacLean off his "Letters Home" album

Thanks for listening!

Theme: "140 Times" from RockOn

Want to hear it all better? Try here!

Roz Savage Newsletter



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