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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The video podcasting system - Don't Panic!

I tested my new setup for live-streaming and/or uploading vidcasts for YouTube et al.  Now I'm gonna see if I still remember how to include an enclosure link to pull a file from Archive.org, as in Podcast, as I did for The IDSL back in the day.  Might even work.  You an't missin' much on the recording itself.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Watch this!

Had a Microsoft Band I really liked.  I'm not even a little athletic -- well, I do bicycle in the summers, for transportation.  I mostly wanted a wristwatch that always showed the correct time.  The Band asked my phone, the phone asked the cell company, and I had the right time.  I liked the Band enough that I'm the owner of two of the special recharging cables that are utterly useless for anything but a Microsoft Band, so I could plug it in to charge at work.  Had maybe a day of battery life.



Got it on sale at Best Buy.  Seems they had too many of the large size left over.  Wasn't cheap, but cheaper than they usually were.  About 6 months after I got my Band,the hard rubber "band" part of it cracked, clean through.  (Probably the Large size being wrapped around my Medium wrist, excess stress on the materials.)  Only thing holding it together was the wiring through that part of the band.

Went to Best Buy for service, they said their contract with Microsoft meant I had to mail it to Microsoft for warranty service, more likely replacement.  Didn't want to do without it, so I superglued it back together.  Was fine for a while.

Month or so later, the battery stopped taking a charge.  So, non-useable Microsoft Band.  And two charging cables.

Thought about getting another Band, because of the charging cable thing.  But they're kinda pricey, and it was disappointing, and I don't entirely trust I wouldn't have another six-month watch.

So... tonight I found a Pebble watch on sale.  Functionality looks good.  Battery life claims look okay.  It's "Certified Refurbished" from the Geek Squad.  Yep, Best Buy again.  And of course, the Pebble uses a whole different proprietary charging cable.  I'll probably go ahead and get one.

Ever notice how much buying technology is like dating?


The (Dates and) Times, they are a changin'

Just a heads-up.

Since I started podcasting in 2007, I've numbered my podcasts, from grizz001 to grizz173.  Did the same with Hiber-Nation (GGHN0001 and so on).  I did things a bit differently with the IDSL, for example the December 11, 2011 episode was IDSL111211, yymmdd if you will.

One of several troubles with numbering is my sequence is constrained.  Already had grizz171 and 172 and 173 recorded with chapters of Everlasting Man, and I wanted to do a special Christmas episode.  So I had to insert a 171a.  Which was actually derived from GGHN0045, but who's counting?  Well, yeah, I am.

So sometime soon instead of starting with "Episode 174" et al, and numbering grizz174, the audio is just going to include the recording date, and the filename is going to end with year month day. 

Considering going with four-digit years.  Wouldn't want to run into Y3K issues in 984 years, of course.

What this may mean is a fairly open grid of evenly spaced regular podcasts (as much as I've ever managed that), with the occasional injection of more spur-of-the-moment podcasts on topics I just feel like talking about, with the dates (and track numbers will be tricky) putting them in the correct order.  Audio with recorded dates, filenames with posting dates, I'm thinking.

The numbering on both podcasts is low enough that this new numbering will still put the newly-numbered casts after the current ones.  Mostly.  Impulsive as I am, I might start doing this before I run out of the old ones.  So grizz20161229 is a possibility, for example.  I almost did this blogpost as a podcast.  But I'm kinda tired, and I didn't have much to say, as you can see.

Thoughts?  Should I bother with the four-digit years (yes, the Y3K stuff was facetious)?  Makes it more clearly a year...

I probably should have started that way, I suppose.  But it's 10 years too late now.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Episode 172 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Part II Chapter VI The Five Deaths of the Faith


Maybe strained my voice a bit recording this second- or third-to-last episode for this book, but I definitely want it on Podiobooks, too, so...

 

Part II On The Man Called Christ

Chapter VI The Five Deaths of the Faith

Book Theme "Deliberate Thought" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

 

Show Theme "Hot Swing" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Episode 171A -- The Symbol and the Saint by Eugene Field - Revisited



"The Symbol and the Saint," from "Christmas Tales and Christmas Verse," by Eugene Field, published in 1912.

A very pretty story I found, and recorded on this date back in 2008, as Hiber-Nation 45.  Still makes a good audio Christmas card, not perfect, but heartfelt.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate!  And here's to better times in the coming year.

Show Theme "Hot Swing" and other music from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hiber-Nation 169 -- Swinging Doors by Quinlan Michael Hampston Part 25 Chapters 50 and 51


Chapter 50 - Sharon Rose

Chapter 51 - Molly, the Football Fan
 

Show Theme: "Canon in D" from Owen Poteat

Book Theme: "Five Card Shuffle" from Kevin MacLeod

Get your own copy of the book for your Kindle reader, or at R. T. Quinlan's Saloon in Duluth MN.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Episode 171 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Part II Chapter V The Escape from Paganism


Preparing for Chapter V, I found out there's also a Chapter VI that I hadn't known about, as well as a Conclusion chapter, then there's the two appendices.  So I better get to steppin'.

Part II On The Man Called Christ

Chapter V The Escape from Paganism

Book Theme "Deliberate Thought" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

 

Show Theme "Hot Swing" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Moving right along...

So.

As I mentioned a podcast or two back, I have a little bit of time to squeeze "Everlasting Man" and "Swinging Doors" into Podiobooks.com under the old standards.  Have to get anything up prior to the end of January.  Doable, but.

I had been done with Everlasting up through Part II Chapter IV.  This weekend, I got Chapter V recorded.  In the process of doing that, I found Chapter VI, which wasn't in the table of contents.  After reading through that, I found the Conclusion chapter, also not in the contents.  I already knew about the two appendices.

So that left me with four more pieces to record before Everlasting is done.  So, I recorded Chapter VI, too.  Unfortunately, you gotta keep in mind these chapters are about an hour long, each.  That's a whole lotta talkin'.  That chapter it sounds like I had a bad cold.  Maybe I did; I do have ongoing allergy issues, so it's a strain to talk that much at once.

Had to get that done to stay more or less on schedule.  The reading was okay, but it's unfortunate that my voice quality wasn't the best.

And that's just the one book.  I've got ten or eleven chapters of "Swinging Doors" to record, too.  Those are much shorter chapters.  I can record two chapters and have the episode come in about a half hour.  Not as painful.  Still, that's a lot of recording and editing.  Add to that, I have one chapter that's supposed to be recorded by the wife of the author, and that'll happen when it happens.  Not just my schedule involved.

I can definitely get Everlasting done in time.  I can reasonably say I'm "almost done" now.  Swinging Doors is a maybe.  But I think, once I can get Everlasting out of the way, that'll leave a lot more flexibility for Swinging Doors.  That'll help.

Being me, of course... recently I came across a book that's a collection of Teddy Roosevelt's columns during and about World War I.  Saw some quotes from one of the columns, and they seemed worthwhile.  I'm kind of intrigued.  I always wait to read the book till I'm recording it.  Keeps it fresh and alive for me.

One important flavor I bring to these old books, I hope, is a breath of life.  Old books are hard to read, granted.  I know, I've read a lot of them.  I feel when you provide a real, living voice for the words of the author, the listener gets more of what the author meant to say.  Authors are people.  Authors of old books were people back when they wrote the book.  Usually dead by now, of course.

Read the book aloud, when you know how.  The process reminds me of when I used to perform Shakespeare with Blackthorne Repertory Theatre.  Some folks read Shakespeare in a sort of singsong.  You know what that sounds like.  But it's entirely different -- and much more intelligible -- if you actually understand what Shakespeare was saying.  Sure they are characters.  And sure, they were characters from a long time ago.  But they were also (fictional) people.  So you read the words like a person, with a real message to convey.

Old books, same deal.  There's a real message there.  And the author may have spent months or years finding exactly the right way to say it.  So, I figure out what the author wanted to say, and try to say it the way that best conveys what the author meant.  I absolutely do not try to do any impressions.  (GK Chesterton was an Englishman.  I suck at accents.)  Rather, I try to convey the author's message as a sort of metacharacter -- not really the voice of the author; rather, I guess, the voice of the book.

Never did get to do the interview about that with the Podioracket podcast.  Anyway, I hope I'm adding some value by recording these.  Gotta keep on, assuming that.  Because it's fun, and because it makes me feel like I have a worthwhile talent.  Which I will probably only ever get to exercise as a hobby.

Because nobody, including the folks who run radio stations, want the New Guy to be an Old Guy.  ;-)


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Episode 170 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Part II Chapter IV The Witness of the Heretics


I can maybe get this book up on Podiobooks in time... along with my other project.  But I'll have to be very quick!  And then...

Part II On The Man Called Christ

Chapter IV The Witness of the Heretics

Book Theme "Deliberate Thought" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

 

Show Theme "Hot Swing" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Episode 169 -- The Latest Thing


Only a couple subjects to cover tonight.  Maybe a brief "get off my lawn" rant on this new Virtual Reality thing.

First let me give you some rather bad news.  Podiobooks.com has been sold to a site called Scribl.  Podiobooks is still there.  Sort of.  The stuff I've already posted is still on that site.  So far.

Thing is, Scribl is all about _selling_ audio versions of books.  Podiobooks was about giving away audio versions of books, and accepting donations, if any.  There weren't many donations, or at least I didn't see many.  Lots of downloads and listeners, not so much with the money.

So, Scribl the sellers of audiobooks, don't accept anything using Creative Commons content.  Can't sell something licensed for only non-commercial use.  And even if I decided my recordings were not so licensed... I use Creative Commons licensed music and sound effects.  I'd have to pay for commercially usable music to support the Public Domain books I record.  And of course I can't afford to do that.

Higher bitrates, that I could manage.  A few minor technical changes, maybe.  Paying money I don't have for audio I don't want to use just doesn't make sense for me.

So while I've been preparing both the books I've been recording for posting to Podiobooks over the months I've been producing them... I can no longer put them on Podiobooks, because Scribl sets the rules there now, and I can't afford to fulfill their requirements.  The only place my recordings of these books will be available will be on my own website.  Which will be disappointing, because I don't have the audience Podiobooks has had.  And I won't be able to do that final stage of posting Mike Hampston's book on Podiobooks, either, because I don't have the right licensing on the music I used to back those recordings, and I don't have the right permissions from the author to put it there anyway.  Not on a commercial site like Scribl.

I suppose I might put the recordings on Librivox.  The old books like Everlasting Man would be fine there.  Don't think I can put Mike's book there.  So all in all, after years of work... that kinda sucks.  I can understand Evo selling the place.  He's not obligated to keep it up just for someone like me.  But that kinda breaks my plans.  And I don't know what to do next.

And that other thing...

I've seen a lot of coverage of all the swell new-ish tech they offer now for trying Virtual Reality.  Got yer basic wrap-around headsets, and special motion controllers and whatnot.  All very shiny, new and expensive.  Tend to require more powerful computers and more powerful graphic cards.  Also very shiny and new.

But once I thought that through, the tech is all that's new.  I've been playing around in a simulated three-dee environment for several years now, Second Life.  No wrap-around goggles, just a keyboard and mouse to control interactions.  But still, it's a three-D environment, albeit rendered in two-D.  To be fair, sure the three-D effect is clever and new.  The fancier controllers are new.  To make all that work you'll need pretty heavy-duty graphics capabilities.  So does Second Life, but I don't think the machine I use for SL could manage that.  I'm sure playing with the new hardware will be fun for a while.

And yet...

What'll happen in these new VR worlds, in a social sense, will not be new.  You'll start with the early adopters, and for a while the only people there will be those people.  Exclusivity has a profound impact on the feel of any social environment, on computers or otherwise.  If you were there, you know that about every previous social site, for as long as there have been computers.  But then, of course, the companies trying to make money off all that will expand, and try to expand their audience.  Crowds of new folks will come.  The builders will come.  And so will the griefers.  The nice folks who treat each other well will be there, for a while.  And the bad folks who treat others evilly will be there, too.

The new tech might allow new ways to interact and experience the environment.  That'll be swell.  But the people will still be people.

So I figure if you want to know how VR in virtual worlds, as compared to 3D video shows from real life, will turn out... you'll come to Second Life.  The anonymity will most likely be the same.  The interactions without apparent consequences will be the same.  The loves will be the same, the hates will be the same.  People will be the same.  Only the technology will be different.

VR will be, they say, immersive.  Second Life is immersive, too.  Takes some time to get used to.  So will VR.  It would be entirely possible to upgrade the existing SL to work somewhat with VR hardware.  It might not work well, but it's liable to be doable.  And for that matter, however hard, it'd likely be quicker and cheaper than building a whole new world from scratch.  Probably won't happen.  But it could.

Anyway, if folks want to know what a real Virtual World, a real Metaverse would be like in a social sense, well, we can show you.  Second Life started out as an experiment in exactly that Metaverse like experience.  Been there, done that, got the virtual teeshirt.

Some of it is wonderful.  Some of the people, in particular, are wonderful.  And some of it sucks.  The sucky parts suck disproportionally to the time and effort involved.  I suppose the same could be said for the wonderful parts.  

I don't think saying any of that will change anyone's opinion of SL.  People who haven't been in SL, or been long enough to actually settle in, have already set their expectations in stone between their ears, and me talking here will probably not make a damn bit of difference.  I don't think much of anyone more will come to SL to find out what VR will turn out to be.  

But it's the truth.  And if anyone is still interested in the truth anymore, this would be a good place to come find some of that particular truth.  We have more than a decade of experience in a laboratory for the beginnings of that same phenomenon.  Some of it will be new.  Most of it will not.

Enjoy the magical new technology and hardware.  But don't expect magical changes to human nature.  Given time, you'll be in a place very much like here.  And from my experience of previous technological advances and changes, it'll probably be much less than what we already have.  

Good night.  And good luck.

 

Show Theme "Hot Swing" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Episode 168 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Part II Chapter III The Strangest Story in the World


Noticed an ironic typo in the title of the current chapter, and had to share that, but went with (probably) the correct version.

Part II On The Man Called Christ

Chapter III The Strangest Story in the World

Book Theme "Deliberate Thought" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

 

Show Theme "Hot Swing" from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

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