Where do you get your truth from?

Before I delve into this, a quick screening video. If you think this guy doesn’t know his arse from his eye socket and the satellite was cut off by accident, go back to sleep. This post isn’t for you.

Do I still have your attention? If you’re the sort of person who believes that even some of what he’s saying could be true, there are some very interesting discussions over at the podcasts daily source code and no agenda. Mevio have finally added useful RSS links directly on their show pages so I don’t mind linking to them:
http://dailysourcecode.com/
http://noagenda.mevio.com/

 

Now, I’m not saying that Adam is a genius. Far from it, he’s a total crackpot (and not ashamed of it) with so many conspiracy theories up his sleeve that the rabbits got bored and went home. You have to take everything he says with a mountain of salt; something around the size of mt everest per episode should do.

What he does have is an army of followers feeding him links from mainstream publications that don’t get attention. It’s one giant news aggregator. I won’t link to the aggregation site directly; that thing is information overload taken to an extreme and you could be lost for days. What Adam has turned the DSC into is discussion of the links that are posted to it.

If, now that I’ve prodded you a few times, you do check out the podcasts, you may be wondering how you’ll ever find time to listen to oddball shows that are up to and sometimes over 90 minutes. I get by in bite-size pieces. I don’t listen to regular news anymore, if you total up the shows per week it comes out to around 4 or 5 hours which suits my commute time perfectly 🙂

Oh and if you do take the plunge it is far better to combine both shows into a playlist and listen chronologically. Not only do conversation topics carry through both shows, but after the endless doom & gloom stories during the week John C. Dvorak is the voice of reason over the weekend. I’ve said before that No Agenda is good to leave in the background and pick up interesting things occasionally; I’m finding that recent shows have had a much higher ratio of topics worth paying attention to.

 

Personally, I’m on the fence about how much of this stuff is true. I keep listening mostly because this is a great way to get alternative news stories – helps me to keep an open mind about what’s going on in the world and give at least a passing thought to what I would do in the worst-case scenario. I have to admit though, part of it is because life is still pretty good in Australia right now and it’s darkly amusing to see how screwed the rest of the world will be if even half of the predictions are true. Not to make light of the current global problems but I can’t do anything to solve it. All I can do is hope that enough of the people who are affected wake up and start working toward actual long-term solutions.

My favourite new feature of iTunes 8…

Isn’t the obvious one. Genius looks useful, but I don’t play music on my computer much so I’ll wait for the iPhone 2.1 firmware before I try it. Grid view is all nice and fancy, but lags on my old mac 🙂

I didn’t even know this other new feature existed until I read John Gruber’s summary on DF. You can now change podcast settings per-podcast!

Over the last 4 years I’ve been fairly happy with “keep all unplayed episodes” but this has meant I tend to unsubscribe from high traffic shows. Now I can use “keep the most recent episode” for those shows 😀

The infection approaches

I’ve been kinda busy at work for the last 3 weeks and haven’t felt like blogging; I’ll get these posts I’ve been planning out soon.

In the meantime, I want to leave you with this promo video for the print edition of a podcast novel I raved about last year:

Scott being who he is, the topics discussed probably aren’t safe for work or small children – so watch it with headphones 😉

One thing he doesn’t mention is that he’s re-releasing the podcast novel under the “infected” title (it was originally “infection” but that name conflicted with other book releases).  If the story sounds good to you and you can’t wait 3 weeks, head over and start listening!

No agenda, but plenty of interesting discussion

In the last couple of weeks I’ve started listening to a new show from two of the more recognisable names in the podcast universe – John Dvorak and Adam Curry – called No Agenda.  It’s a nice return to the podcast days of old; no jingles, no music, no ads (except the usual podshow/limelight tail) and, funnily enough, no agenda of topics the show will cover.

Normally I wouldn’t post just because I’ve found a cool new show, but these guys have been talking about some really interesting stuff.  Here are two of their topics that I was tempted to blog about, but to be honest I wouldn’t be saying anything that wasn’t already said on the show.

  • American Thought Crime Prevention Bill – although depending who you ask people may be overreacting to this one
  • Dutch backpackers who overstayed their Tourist Visa due to illness and wound up in a Texas prison for six weeks (article in Dutch here, you can either get a basic translation from something like the fish or listen to Adam translate the major points on the show).

So far, the show seems to mostly revolve around topics they think need more attention in the news.   That’s not really surprising given their backgrounds, but it means that if you do give it a try you may hear some stuff you wish you hadn’t (and I’m not talking about their language 😉 )

J.C. Hutchins is evil

I’m beginning to wonder whether J.C. Hutchins is actually a better podcast author than Scott Sigler.  Not only does he have some of the most famous names in both Sci-Fi and Podcasting read the “story so far” intros, 7th Son is one of the best stories ever, period.  I got cliffhangered so many times in Book 2 that it made me realise my ambitions of spacing the episodes out were shot; I can’t stop myself and after hurtling through Book 2 I’m already up to chapter 10 of the 17 available from Book 3.  Maybe it’s just been too long since The Rookie finished but for my money, Sigler-brand violent sci-fi horror comes in second to the involving, page-turning suspense of J.C. Hutchins.

And now I feel really bad about what I said in my earlier post.  At the end of book 2 JC scored some top secret book project and had to drop his conversational ramblings that I loved so much, shaving episodes back to the story-only shows usually reserved for podiobooks.com.  He emailed me after my last post to say thanks for the feedback – and although at the time I didn’t know he had been forced to cut back he was nice enough to not say a word about it.  It’s a shame, but he manages to holding down a job while he writes a book in 6 months and reads for his podcast so I’ll forgive him 😉

He’s still evil though.  The guy leaves you hanging from bigger cliffs than we had in Heroes last year and Book 3 does it just as much as the other two 😀

Update on my posts over the weekend

Some of the topics I posted about last weekend have received extra attention this week.  The majority of the new discussion is related to my DRM post; I’ve put all of this on my link blog but I know of at least a few people who read my blog and don’t subscribe to the links.

Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality wrote up a nice summary of BioShock issues that covers not only the issues I experienced, but the stuff that I left out.  He also links to a Bioshock DRM article at TwitchGuru which goes into a lot of detail about the SecuROM issues and quite rightly calls this “a badly botched launch for an early contender for game of the year”.  Meanwhile, Alex from the WGA management team has posted the details of why WGA failed (I was right, they had a cascade of sysadmin mistakes) and promises to prevent it ever happening again.

In much brighter news, both Scott Sigler and JC Hutchins left comments on my 7th Son post.  As much as they love me for what I say about them, I still consider this a bit of an honor and once again proves my point about podcasters connecting with their audience 😀

While I’m on the topic of podcasters loving me, if you listen to today’s DSC you’ll hear Adam raving about a link I sent him (show timestamp 12:50) – the Opera Mini beta which is attempting to produce an iPhone-like browser for any Java enabled phone.  I highly recommend the Opera vs iPhone video, it’s hilarious 🙂

7th son and a lesson in choosing your podcast source

While I was sick earlier this month, I had a lot of time to lie around catching up on my podcasts.  With so much time lying in bed, I managed to listen to everything by the time I had recovered.  It was time to find something new.

I turned to a podcast novel trilogy that I’ve been hearing about ever since it started, 7th Son by J.C. Hutchins.  Much like what happened with Scott Sigler, many of the podcasts I listen to are a fan of this trilogy and had been raving about it since it started in early 2006.  Even Sigler himself loves it, and I heard him say so many times while listening to his books (the two even collaborated on some book crossover competitions).

In other words, I’ve had these books on my list for a while.  I’m pleased to report that the book is everything I’ve heard about – and more – but while I could sit here begging you to listen to a book that is amassing a legion of fans to rival the Sigler junkies in number, I’ll give you the premise and move on to my other reason for posting:

7th Son is a free serialized audiobook. It chronicles the story of seven strangers who have been brought together after the recent assassination of the U.S. president. These men quickly discover they all appear to be the same man … with identical childhood memories.
 
Unwitting participants in a human cloning experiment, these “John Michael Smiths” have been assembled to catch the man who murdered the president. Their target? The man they were cloned from; the original John Michael Smith, code-named John Alpha.

Seriously.  If you consider yourself a sci-fi fan and the first episode doesn’t hook you, it may be time to reconsider just how much you enjoy sci-fi 😛

At any rate, when I finally decided to subscribe I wanted to make sure I didn’t cost anyone extra bandwidth so I used the files that my flatmate downloaded.  He’s been listening to it since July last year, and had the first two books archived.  This is where it gets interesting.

I carved my way through the first book in two days, totally hooked on the storyline and loving every minute.  At the back of my mind though, I was wondering how this guy had become so popular.  His story was indeed awesome, but he wasn’t connecting with the readers in the way that Scott Sigler does in his podcasts – playing listener calls, responding to questions, stuff that I came to realise was one of the reasons I enjoy podiobooks after being unable to stand regular audio books in the past.

At the end of the book, my question was answered.  My flatmate had downloaded the version from podiobooks.com – I already knew this from the sound clips played as part of each episode but didn’t think it was significant as Scott posts his books there as well.  Turns out that unlike Scott, J.C. creates a second version of each episode for podiobooks.com that cuts out all of the cool stuff.  I think this is a worthy idea for people that just want a plain audio book, but it would’ve been nice to know I was missing out on the discussion during the novel 🙂

The good news is that J.C. uses LibSyn to host his podcast which means he doesn’t pay per download, so I went back and grabbed the first book again, skipping the story to catch up on the extras.  My faith was restored, he is as cool as Scott when it comes to fan connection and communication.  Two weeks later I’m 20 chapters into the second book and getting “cliffhangered” as much as anyone who listened at the time.  I’m pacing myself now because the third book only started a couple of months ago and I want to delay completely catching up as long as I can 😉

It sounds like J.C. is already working on his next novel after book three, which makes me very happy.  He’s a brilliant writer and breathes a lot of life into his characters with his own voice acting.  Very highly recommended.

The TV industry needs to watch itself too

If you’re not into talk of the music industry failing from my last post, maybe you’ll be interested in the problems surfacing in the TV industry.  I’m going to be pointing once again at a Daily Source Code episode from Adam Curry – whether you like him or not he did work for MTV and has a fair bit of experience with both fields.

DSC 637 (warning: some nsfw language) is focussed on a TV controversy unfolding in the UK (and incidentally starts with one of my favourite songs about podcasting).

A week ago, it came to light that the BBC released some fabricated footage involving the Queen.  They quickly apologised, but it hasn’t ended there.  Partly because they did it to the Queen, and partly because the BBC is funded by the public (via a mandatory fee from all television holders), people are digging into the deception far deeper than anyone has before with some definite results.

What Adam has a clip of, and provides experienced commentary on, is an interview first with the chairman of the BBC, then with an ex-chairman of the BBC and a TV producer.  The TV producer is the one that stands up for the truth and rips a few shreds off of the BBC – stating, on the record, that this sort of fabrication has been happening since TV was first invented and anyone saying otherwise (which the other two both do repeatedly during the interview) is lying through their teeth.

If you do listen to the interview, go back and re-read at the article I linked above.  Note that it was a week ago, and both of these guys say the much the same thing as they did in the interview – passing the deception off as a recent trend – but the lies are slowly being exposed and it’s going to be fun to watch.

It often amazes me the stuff people will believe on TV, but if this news picks up steam it could change all that and do some serious damage in the process.  Adam, of course, is trying his hardest to make it happen and offer independent media to fill the gap.  If he gets his way, not only the UK but the US as well will start to find out things about their TV shows (and radio stations) that they might not have believed were possible.

And if you don’t believe me, listen for a few anecdotes from Adam’s own past with MTV and various radio stations.  Absolute, total, and deliberate deception.  He’s asked for people from his diverse listener base to call in with similar accounts, which will means the next episode or two of the DSC should be quite interesting.

I won’t bore anyone with further updates on the situation, you’ll have to subscribe to the DSC to hear more.  I will leave you with something Adam links to at least once a year, the Zen TV Experiment.  Once you try it, I doubt you’ll look at TV in the same way again 🙂

Podsafe music is coming, are you ready?

There’s been a lot of talk going around about the death of internet radio and the effect it’s going to have on the music industry.  Scoble half gets it – although he seems a bit concerned about what will happen to music if/when internet radio is shut down.  The main point that Scoble doesn’t get, and that I pointed out in his comments, is there are sources of music that have already routed around the new fees under the “free by prior arrangement” clause.  This is because people have been routing around the mainstream music industry for nearly 2 years now – the RIAA and their ilk have been singing their own death tune since napster, the second verse started with the birth of what is now known as “podsafe music”. They just didn’t, and don’t, realise it.

Now normally I would’ve left that as a small comment on Scoble’s blog and not given it much thought.  I’ve all but given up on convincing people that I’m as right about this as I was about podcasts[1].

Today though, I heard some interesting talk on the recent Fubar Friday DSC episode.  If you enjoy music I recommend taking an hour of your life and listen to what’s been happening in the podsafe industry as well as their upcoming plans.  Aside from some awesome music, you’ll hear Adam explaining that Podshow hasn’t been sitting back watching their Podsafe Music Network baby grow – they’ve been actively seeking out artists and labels who “get it”.  They’ve been doing this for a while, but with the Internet Radio changes there are some bigger independent labels who are looking for new ways to promote their music.

I’m probably not explaining it well enough, as usual.  If my past record is any indication, anyone reading this who isn’t already into podsafe music will just ignore what Adam’s saying and keep on listening to the same old stuff.  I don’t expect you to trust me on this, but I’ll see ya in a year or two when the world wakes up to the independant music revolution.

Artists are starting to realise that they don’t need a record contract.  You can have real and meaninful connections to fans while making as much, if not more money than you would on a label contract – by going independent and using internet marketing to it’s full potential.  I have been watching this happen for 2 years, and I’m as confident in this becoming a revolution as I was about podcasting and the Nintendo DS.  Will you be ready for the new music world when the big labels die?


[1] Oh great, now I’ve started using footnotes too hehe 😀
There are a few decent radio stations in Australia so very few people listened to me 3 years ago when I tried to tell them about this amazing new thing called podcasting.  I’ve told everyone I know that independent music is the future – very few mainstream artists can beat the podsafe music I’m hearing on podcasts and slowly but surely those that can are becoming podsafe too.  It’s already happening, but just like when podcasts first started it hasn’t yet cracked the mainstream audience.