What is your alternative?

Over at evilgeniuschronicles, Dave Slusher has dug out yet another Internet pundit who proclaims that the idea of allowing every individual to have their own radio show is somehow a bad thing. I promised that I wouldn’t rant, and it may seem like I’m piling on, but here’s my take.

  1. If you don’t want to listen, don’t. Podcasting isn’t like billboard advertising, or even television or radio. You have to specifically request any content you are interested in. Any perceived problem with listening is solved quite simply: don’t bother listening.
  2. Is this argument really saying that some people should not be allowed to express their opinions merely because someone finds them banal? Is the argument really that the world is a better place when there is less communication, rather than more?
  3. Podcasting allows audio publishing at very low cost. There are lots of reasons that someone might wish to do that, and many of them are great for society, not to mention the individuals who participate. If you are a musician, or in theater, or a performer, podcasting gives you the same ability to reach individuals with your talent that writers and programmers have had. That’s awesome. Revolutionary even.

I don’t care all that much about the business opportunities that podcasting represents. I’m more interested in the real opportunities that podcasting has to create a whole new class of human interaction. That’s good. That is very good.


My ipod is on the fritz, so this isn’t immediately useful to me, but check out pypod: a Python library and script for manipulating the song database on your ipod. Neat. When mine comes back from the shop, I’ll have to try it out.

Brainwagon Radio: Miscellaneous Rambling

Where your host blinks the sleep from his eyes, relates his experience with swapping operating systems on his laptop, and tells the story of how he came to work at Pixar and what he did on the Incredibles.

Expanding on my operating system debacle:

  • I never got Fedora Core 3 to have acceptable record quality. I also experienced a number of Firefox crashes which I hadn’t seen before. Not sure what was going on, but I decided to get back on more familiar ground and install FreeBSD 5.3 on it. (I’ve used FreeBSD a lot more than Linux.)
  • FreeBSD 5.3 installed easily, but when I tried to do a kernel recompile, I would get random segmentation faults from gcc. Usually such faults indicate bad hardware, and while I hadn’t noticed any problems like this before, I didn’t immediately discount the notion that the laptop could become less reliable when it overheated.
  • On the other hand, I thought it might be a problem with gcc 3.4 or something else having to do with 5.3. So I reinstalled 4.10-RELEASE on the laptop. After a problem with incorrect probing of the network device (it autodetected into hw-loopback mode) and noticing a problem with the sound driver (begins lound, but tails off after 15 seconds on the initial use, seems fine afterwards) I did a kernel/world recompile. The laptop shut itself off during the compile. Very strange, and could indicate an overheating condition.
  • Now, I’ve come full circle. Back to WinXP SP2, because I suspect I’m going to have to call HP to get this resolved (not under warranty anymore unfortunately). Surprisingly though, the laptop seems to be running cooler now, with less use of the fan than it has previously, even when I began with WinXP.

Additionally, here are the items that I got from Powell’s Books when I was in Portland:

A Day in Marin, In Pictures

Salmon Swimming UpstreamI just created a new gallery of Carmen and my Day in Marin in my brainwagon photo gallery. We marched around Muir Beach for a short walk, did a few mile loop at Muir Woods, and ended up searching for (and finding) a geocache on Mt. Tamalpais. Terrific day, but I’m worn out, so podcasting will have to wait for tomorrow morning.

By the way, how beautiful is this view? Or this one?

We also saw six salmon swimming in the stream, the best picture of which is probably this one. I haven’t seen salmon in the wild in a long time. Very cool.