1. My day with AudioBlogs

    brian on 2004.09.17
    at 09:39 pm

    Last week, I listened to "Live from the Formosa Tea House" recorded by three two of the guys from SilverOrange, and one from Reinvented (sorry, Pete!). I listened to to it while I had a day off and was sitting at the computer doing my normal blog readings, writing, etc. It was nice, since I was the only one home, it was as if I were out to lunch with my buddies. I don't tend to get lonely, but this could have been a nice accompaniment should I ever find my self so.

    Today, a second experiment in consuming AudioBlogs. I had to work late and would not be riding my bike to work as I usually do, since my pathways are not lit sufficiently to commute home at 10:30pm. Thusly, I knew I'd be on the T (Bostonian for public transit, light rail and bus) for at least an hour, so I had some quality iPod time. When I saw that a sequel to Live from Formosa had been posted, I downloaded that. I also noted that Dave Winer had something new called "Trade Secrets" and I decided to give that a whirl, too, although the audio file was unnecessarily enormous.

    Formosa: 1:03:26, 11.8mb 25kbps (VBR) 11.025kHz Sample rate Mono.
    Trade Secrets: 1:06:20, 60.8mb, 128kbps, 44.1kHz Sample Rate, Joint Stereo.

    To be honest, the only reason I downloaded Trade Secrets was because of the tagline: "This is a bad place for fans of George W Bush." More on "Secrets" later.

    Off to the train, iPod loaded and on. Formosa first. Listening to three guys get lunch while standing on a crowded trolley is an unusual experience. As unusual as hearing someone talk about "FireFox 1.0 Preview Release" while I glide down the middle of Beacon Street.

    It was quiet enjoyable. The guys improved their schtick a little from the previous week, in that they had some prior laid plans this time. This helped keep things a little more focused. They improved their seating arrangements as well, so that the ambient noise (esp the background music) were less intrusive. I don't even recall hearing them start to eat.

    To be honest, I haven't listened to Acts of Volition Radio at all. Acts Radio is by Steve Garrity, one of the voices on Formosa. Perhaps when I start riding the train more in the winter I'll be looking for new content.

    I missed the last few minutes of the show when I got to work. But oddly enough, work was short lived. I apparently was supposed to be off today, to make up for some extra work I had put in the previous week, but apparently everyone was in the loop except for me. So once I left work, I had another hour to kill, and another hour log audioblog/ radio program (Maybe they should be called RadioBlogs... oh wait... how about BlogRadio?) to listen to.

    When the last ten minutes of Formosa wouldn't play, I skipped ahead to Winer/Curry's Trade Secrets, and was promptly caught off guard by some 90's hip hop intro music. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the show, I don't always agree with Winer, and although I'm familiar Curry's name, that was about it. After the overly long intro music, they transitioned into some politics talk, and then to some technology talk. And of course, talk about the upcoming BloggerCon.

    It was incredible the quality that Adam was able to record at utilizing iChat AV. In contrast, it was sad the low quality the Dave achieved on his PC. Was it simply the better hardware used by Adam, or was it that he was doing the recording locally and Dave was the remote end. Eitherway. the quality was passible. But "for Murphy's sake" if you're going to use MP3, you need to whip out the variable bit rate encoding. The file size is ridiculous.

    But what I wanted to touch upon here was the audioblogging format, not so much a review of the content of these two shows. I was really against audioblogging when it first started trickling out. I want to read your comments, not to be inconvenienced by listening to your voice in your file format of choice. However, I never viewed in another light. Throwing it on an iPod allows me to take blogging somewhere I previously could not enjoy weblogs... in a train tunnel. When viewed in this light, audioblogging is downright brilliant. Plus there is a sheer cool factor that one minute you're having lunch in a maritime Canadian province, or your chatting with a friend in Seattle from your home in Belgium over the net, then a day later, some guy is listening to your voice and idea on his iPod, in a train tunnel a country or continent away. When viewed in this light, audioblogging is actually pretty cool. Just so long as I don't always have to listen to you... I can mostly read about you in NetNewsWire.

    The other thing that's key is that if you have something really important to say, instead of just analyzing something already known about... what's important is that it's written somewhere, and not just in an audio file, because I don't think this will catch on quite as wide as written text. Audio and video will likely remain icing for the near future. But hopefully it'll be growing, improved icing.

    Posted in: Web


    Comments (5)

    1. Peter said on 2004.09.18 at 05:05 pm

      Live From the Formosa

      Two guys from silverorange, one guy from Reinvented.

    2. Brian said on 2004.09.20 at 01:09 am

      Sorry, Peter!

      Edit made in the post!

    3. div said on 2004.10.19 at 07:12 am

      am I missing somthing

      hey, just stumbled on your page. I'm a research student and my primary interest is online radio. I've spentthe last hour looking at audioblogs, and they are terrible. Am I missing somthing. What is the advantage of this information being audible. These people sound shy and uncomfortable and dont say anthing that would be better consumed in text form. Even on an Ipod! Please tell me what Im missing.

    4. Brian said on 2004.10.19 at 11:51 am

      Missing nothing, which is something

      You're absolutely right, they are generally unlistenable. But alas, you miss the point. With online audio, one doesn't have to be a polished radio veteran to be passed by the gatekeeper and gain access to the scarcity of the airwaves. Even though the American public (or any other country's) own the airwaves, as a commons, they don't have access to them. But the internet removes that. Anyone with something to say (not just something with commercial value) or nothing to say at all can express their freedom of speech over a broadcast medium (of a unconventional type). Right now, until some of these get "good" the appeal is that they are blogs that you can enjoy w/o a computer or internet connection in front of you. Timeshifting of blogs to fit into, say, your commute.

    5. Keith said on 2005.08.06 at 07:29 am

      Great Site guys!


      I’d like to have a webpage like this too. Can you help me? I have my own internet address (I got it from coolness ) but I can’t figure out how to make a webpage like this.

      Can you please help send me in the right direction to make a web page like this?

      Thank you,

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