Astro Audio Speech

Wil Wheaton has a new podcast

[Memories of the Future Jellyfish]

I just learned tonight that Wil Wheaton has a new podcast out, called Memories of the Futurecast.

The podcast is a promotion of his latest book, Memories of the Future, Volume One, which is Wil’s going-down-memory-lane review of the first 13 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I listened to the first episode of the podcast already, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest (12 of 13 have been published so far, as I write this). I enjoy everything Wil Wheaton does.

Check it out.

Antiwar Speech

CJSR is Podcasting Now!

CJSR, the community radio station from my hometown, is podcasting now. More specifically, it’s just the CJSR News Department that’s doing it.

Yeah, yeah, I know. News sounds really boring. But it really isn’t news—the word “news” is the wrong word. Really, what the News Department does is spoken word stuff, local happenings, interviews, lectures, and informative programming. So it has little to do with the “6 o’clock news”.

A lot of the programs are particular to Edmonton. But my favourite program, and the only one I regularly listen to, could easily entertain a global audience. It’s called “Radio Outpost” and it’s a travel show for budget travelers. Travel stories, travel documentaries, and travel tips. Check it out.

I also like “Youth Menace”, Canada’s only young offender/child welfare show, hosted by and for youth. It covers issues that touch a lot of people in our society, often the most forgotten.

There’s a whole lot more than these, so look around the site.

A nice feature is that the individual shows have RSS feeds so you can subscribe and have the shows automatically downloaded to your computer and put onto your mp3 player. The site also has an overall RSS feed that’s a bit hard to find, so here it is for your convenience. Rock on, CJSR!

RSS XML feed:

Antiwar Speech

After the Flood

In a recent post, I pointed you to an article written by a paramedic couple that were trapped in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They were featured recently on This American Life. The episode is in the 2005 archives in Real Audio format, under episode number 296, entitled “After the Flood”.

It’s disturbing and angering, but there are great moments of true humanity as well. And we find out from another interviewee about the true mission of the “armed thugs” moving about the Convention Center. It is well worth listening to and spending some time contemplating.

Antiwar Speech

Lance Anderson’s Magic

Lance Anderson’s recent Verge of the Fringe stories are brewing with the brilliant series entitled “The Pakistan Files”. Download the mp3s and hear Lance tell the tale of “The Twin Towers, The FBI and Goofballs” that suddenly showed up in his life, and just as suddenly, disappeared. If it happened to him, maybe it could happen to any one of us…

China Speech

A Secret Chinese Language

Here’s a very interesting interview of Lisa See, a journalist and culturalist, who went to a remote part of China to investigate a secret, ancient language used only by women known as Nü Shu 女书. It is the story of well-to-do women who spent their whole lives in isolation in upper-story bedrooms. They developed this language to secretly explore their inner lives and to communicate to other women in similar isolation.

It is a fascinating look at an obscure part of Chinese history and culture.


An old recording of my Grandpa

Here’s a little gem from my audio collection. Actually, I found it in my Dad’s collection of LPs. It’s a self-recorded record, not an LP, but I otherwise don’t know how to classify it. It’s much thicker than a commercial LP, a slightly different colour (not as shiny), and only recorded on one side. LPs are recorded at 33⅓ rpm, and singles at 45 rpm. Well, when I played this back, I had to go to the highest setting on my record player—78 rpm. The record sleeve carried the only marking of the contents—my Grandpa’s name.

The recording is a 3-minute mini-sermon that my Grandpa probably delivered on the radio (CJNB, perhaps) back in his radio preaching days. He talks about Revival and Canadian society, and the responsibility that Christians have in doing God’s work. He starts with the exhortation, “Revival is a matter of everyone sharing the load in God’s work…”.

Unfortunately, there is no date marked on the recording. Given the subject matter, the language used, and the availability of cassette tapes in recent decades, I would place the recording in the 1970s at the latest, but even the 1960s would be a possibility.

It is interesting to note that my Grandpa’s voice on the recording is much higher in pitch than I am used to. Of course, I realize that the recording process and the playback process probably took place at different speeds, thus affecting the pitch that I heard. In fact, as I was cleaning up the digitized audio, I reduced the speed (and hence the pitch) of the audio by 3% to make it sound most natural in terms of my perception of my Grandpa’s pitch and the likely rate of speech.

Here is the audio to give you a sense of what my Grandpa sounded like back when he was younger. We have a Johnson family reunion taking place this summer, so I welcome my family who have come here to download this. I’ll see you guys soon.

Berthuld Thomas Johnson, on Revival (2:59, 1.3 MB)

[Rev. Bert Johnson at the microphone]

Update: Thanks to my Aunt Wendy for providing this picture. It’s wonderful! And, discussion in the comments to this post seems to suggest that the recording is more likely from the 1950s. Wow! Thanks, everyone, for commenting.

Copyright Speech

Why content must be free

Have you ever researched a certain topic on the Internet, gotten a bunch of promising results back from a search engine, and tried to access the links, but ultimately you were blocked from being able to read the articles because the websites hosting the information said a subscription or a fee was required? How did you feel? Pissed off, certainly. What did you do? You opened your wallet and became a subscriber? I highly doubt it. You most certainly moved down the list to the other content you could actually access. What does this mean to a content provider?

When traditional print publishers were introduced to the World Wide Web, they didn’t get it at first. They wanted to charge for their content. Some still don’t get it. In a fascinating interview about his highly influential IT Conversations, Doug Kaye spells it out plainly why content must be free. I’ve never heard anyone explain this before, and so well, even though I’ve always held the belief. And Doug Kaye is not some anti-capitalist quack. He’s a very well known entrepreneur in the IT business, and his IT Conversations, which offers audio recordings of conferences and interviews in IT, science, and technology for free download, is listened to by the most influential people in the industry. Here’s what he has to say, transcribed from the interview:

People are listening to the shows, but more importantly, people are linking to us… This is why the content has to be free… When content can be linked to, the value of that content goes way up… It’s the linking that allows people to essentially participate in the remix culture, as Larry Lessig says… It’s the remix and reuse of the content that actually makes it more valuable. When you do something like The New York Times is doing and put your content behind a toll gate of 49 dollars a year, you’re taking it off the market. You’re saying, “This stuff cannot be reused, it cannot be remixed, nobody can link to it.” And what you’ve done is, you’ve killed it. You’ve taken all the value out of it.

Listen to a 2-minute clip of the above text here:

Doug Kaye on why content must be free (2:18, 814 kB)

The entire interview is actually worth listening to. In it, you’ll learn about Doug Kaye’s business background before and during the dot-com era, how he started IT Conversations, and where he plans to take it in the future. He also throws his support behind BitTorrent, as he intends to use it for distribution in the new project. You can catch the entire interview here:

Copyright Speech Tech

The Birth of Podcasting, Chocolate and Peanut Butter, and BitTorrent

In his keynote speech at Gnomedex 5.0, podcasting pioneer Adam Curry tells the story of how he and Dave Winer accidentally created podcasting. He uses the analogy of Chocolate and Peanut Butter from the legendary Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial and the analogy of switching places from Tom Hanks’ movie Big (1988). It’s a very entertaining tale of how it all got started, and Curry covers where we are today, the impact that podcasting is having on music producers and music listeners alike, and he gives a call-to-arms regarding things podcasting developers should fix right now.

Wonderfully, Curry makes the announcement that he is going to embrace BitTorrent as a distribution mechanism for his Daily Source Code podcast. This is important because, politically, as a peer-to-peer technology, BitTorrent needs some high-profile examples of legitimate, non-infringing use. Through its peer-to-peer design, BitTorrent is able to reduce the bandwidth costs for the podcast producers and increase the download speed and efficiency for podcast listeners. Curry’s announcement parallels Doug Kaye’s intention to adopt BitTorrent for his new IT Conversations venture.

If you are at all interested in podcasting, or just curious about this new medium (by the people!), I encourage you to go download and listen to Adam Curry’s speech.

Antiwar China Speech

Radio Open Source on the Great Firewall of China

If you are interested in China and the Internet and censorship—all that’s been in the news lately—Radio Open Source has put together a panel of people discussing the issues in amazing depth and clarity. I highly recommend listening to this one. They do a much better job than I could ever do at explaining the intricacies of the Chinese modern culture and present political situation.


Habemus Papam! Podcast

An amazing piece of audio history was captured by the Catholic Insider Podcast during the final moments when the most recent pope was announced. Father Roderick Vonhögen takes you into the middle of St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on the evening of April 19, 2005, amidst the excited crowd, with people from almost every country expectantly waiting to see the white smoke and hear the bells proclaiming the new pope. The audio you hear is very real and it places you right in the midst of the action. Close your eyes as you listen and be taken to this special moment in history. It’s very personal and compelling.

Habemus Papam! – Catholic Insider, April 19, 2005 (54:14, 24.8 MB)

Note that the Catholic Insider site doesn’t provide a link to the show notes for this episode, so I have to link you to the mp3 file directly