IT Conversations: podcasting feeds your brain

There’s only one way to check if podcasting can change your life, and that is by diving completely into it. Since last week, I am the proud owner of a 20GB iPod, (the first Apple product I have ever bought) and it is hard not to be enthusiastic about it. It might not be the cheapest hard-disk MP3 player around, but it is by far the most funky. Especially the user interface was very intuitive, which is important for the ain’t-gonna-RTFM person that I am.

Anyway, I also installed iPodder and Doppler. Doppler is really nice, but depends on the .Net runtime, which might be a turn-off for some people. iPodder is based on Python and has just released a great upgrade 1.1. It includes the iPodder.net OPML directory and something I want to play with: executing custom commands on each MP3 that is downloaded. I’m thinking about: setting the ID3 ‘Genre’ tag to ‘Podcast’ so they show up in my ‘New Podcasts’ Auto-playlist, or converting to 64kbps-mono to minimize size (for those who ‘only’ have a Mini-iPod, or a Flash 256MB player).

The Gillmor GangI’m obviously subscribed to the classics: Adam’s Daily SourceCode and Trade Secrets. But my biggest discovery was IT Conversations: a podcast with contributions on politics, media and technology, and how they influence each other. This is where podcasting shines! Instead of listening to idle chatter and stupid music on the radio, you can now spend your time in the car in a very productive way.

Some recent shows I particularly appreciated:

Here is the IT conversations RSS feed: .

Conclusion: although it is not necessary to have a portable MP3 device to participate in podcasting, you won’t fully appreciate it until you do!

Cool speakers: Bose Personalized Amplification System

Bose Personalized Amplificiation System
While researching speakers, I came across a new concept of amplification for musicians: the Bose Personalized Amplification System.

As I understand it, you place a Cylindrical Radiator speaker, combined with one or two optional Bass modules, close to the musician, and it takes care of ALL amplification, that is,

  • on-stage monitor for the musician
  • on-stage monitor for his/her fellow musicians
  • and PA for the entire venue.That last one is amazing, no need for separate amps + speakers for the audience. I would think that in order to cater for the audience, the sound would have to be so loud it would bother the musician, but apparently this is not the case. It’s not the first time Bose Research has done amazing stuff.

    Starting at $1500 however, it’s not (yet) for me.

  • Engineering for the ego

    I impressed my daughter today! The CD-ROM drive in her computer was stuck halfway and wouldn’t move anymore.

    I opened up the case, took out the drive, removed the casing and peeked into the interior with a completely fake ‘I know what I’m doing’ look on my face. I saw a piece of plastic that was twisted, I removed it (silently praying), I put everything back together (actually I did that twice, I forgot some parts the first time) and voila: it worked! Elementary, my dear Watson. And I probably made the same impression on Clemence as my father used to make on me: my dad can fix anything!

    Actually, for some reason this technique works quite often: you reverse-engineer a gizmo, optionally you actually fix something, you put everything back together and it works. The trick is then to put an expensive label on it: “Presumably a bad contact”, “Undoubtedly a rogue device driver”. In this case: an acute mechanical encumbrance.

    [Listening to: “So What” – Miles Davis – Kind of Blue]

    A Pentium 4 is not necessarily a Pentium 4

    I was throwing my DAW system together, first time I actually ‘built’ my own PC, and I thought it went kind of smooth. But my PC did not want to boot every other time. It just started beeping ee-oo-ee-oo, which indicated a CPU problem. I upgraded to the newest BIOS posted on the Aopen site, and then I got the real culprit:

    This motherboard does not support Prescott CPU, turn off power to prevent damage.

    As if I should know the difference between a Prescott and a Northwood processor… I didn’t even know I bought a Prescott.
    Anyway, this Anandtech article made it clear: both use Socket 478, but my i865G motherboard only accepts the older ones. Well, I’m learning and that was the purpose. I’ll change my Pentium4 for a Pentium 4.

    [Listening to: “Finally [the Sting Reprise]” – Julie McKnight – Yoshiesque, Vol. 2 Disc 2]