Day 342 – How To: DIY

24 – The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running A Business

I have ideas. Some of them even seem like good ideas. I’m really not sure what I am waiting for exactly. Probably for that moment of clarity where the good ideas suddenly come into sharp focus, and I jump.

And it doesn’t even need a very big jump to begin with. You don’t jump off a cliff before you have jumped off a hill without bruising yourself. That’d be insanity. And an unnecessary insanity.
Continue reading Day 342 – How To: DIY

Day 290 – Media Democracy

76 – The Stitcher List – Top 100 Podcasts

I have talked before about the podcasts I listen to.

I am always taken a little by surprise when I talk to somebody and they have no idea what a podcast is. Apparently podcasts are sufficiently obscure as a technology that the majority of the population has no idea what it means.

Even William Shatner was confusing it with a blog when he actually was *on* the Nerdist podcast recently. But then, how do you blame an 83-yr-old for not having kept up with the latest technology. And frankly, I have to say I’m impressed how with-it he is at that age, because he *almost* gets it during the podcast itself. And he manages to make some very quick and piercing observations to Chris Hardwick on the show. I’d hope to be that switched-on at 80 myself.

The best explanation I’ve managed to come up with is: it’s like radio, only you download the episodes and they are mp3 files. I think most of the words in that sentence are now familiar to almost everyone. But it doesn’t in the slightest explain why this is so revolutionary.

It completely misses that *anyone* can start a podcast if they like. And an interested audience can listen to amateur shows via the same software they use to listen to NPR.

Any podcast can suddenly gain visibility, get nominated, win an award… there is really no big money needed. Just a quiet room and a decent microphone. And many smaller podcasts work with far less than that till they get some listener donations.

It’s all part of this new world in media, where it is impossible to be across everything that is created, but for every interest you can find someone that will bring you the latest discussions, interviews and rants surrounding it. Straight to your ears. Over the Internet.

How do you sum all that up in a second sentence?

Day 253 – Chromecast Rocks

But first… it sucks.

It sucks that Google aren’t officially selling it in Australia yet. In the US you can buy the Chromecast home-delivered for US$35. And it’s a no-brainer from what I can tell.

A Chromecast is a small Linux computer inside what looks like a USB stick. But instead of a USB connector, it has a HDMI plug on it. You stick the Chromecast into your televisual device, set it up to connect to your wireless network (I found the Android app the easiest way to go through this process). First thing it’ll do then is connect to the internet and download the latest firmware updates, and then you’re set.

Chromecast is basically a multi-media front-end PC stuck right into your television. And all your Google-based devices and apps have the potential to become a remote that can control it.

When I’m in YouTube on my Android, I can hit the Chromecast button, select the TV device by the name I’ve given it, and it’ll playback the YouTube videos that I select and control on my Android.

When I’m in Plex on my Android, I can hit the Chromecast button, select a movie, or a television program, or a music track/playlist that exists on my Plex server, and the TV will start playing it… again with my Android continuing to act like a remote control.

When I’m in Chrome on my laptop (with the Chromecast plugin installed), I can hit the Chromecast button and display my current webpage on the TV to share with everyone in the room.

It’s the cheapest media PC I’ve ever had in the living-room, and it’s by far the most satisfying. The way to use it is so simple and transparent… and from what I understand, the API is fully public, meaning that any app-developer can add a Chromecast button to their Android app and define the behaviour for the Chromecast device to follow.

I had to pay about AU$50 on eBay to buy a Chromecast from the US, but it’s easily worth it.

Heartily recommended!

Day 48 – Podcasts

I was completely stuck for something to write about today. Nothing I had done seemed at all interesting and worthy of a post. I was almost resigned to the fact I was going to have to write the dullest post yet.

And then it occurred to me that I listen to my podcasts when I commute. I used to have a longer list of subscriptions in my DoubleTwist on my Android, but I found some although interesting enough were just not worth the time investment.

Currently my subscription-list consists of the following:

  • The Nerdist: Chris Hardwick’s podcast interviews Nerd icons across the spectrum. Often funny, sometimes rude, always worth listening to
  • 99% Invisible: a very recent addition on design; so far the signs are good for this being a keeper
  • Common Sense with Dan Carlin: an almost-weekly independent’s view on American and global politics
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: a ready-when-it-is-ready podcast using 4 hour episodes to dig deep into historical topics
  • Hanselminutes: a podcast by Scott Hanselman on a range of programming topics, very large back-catalogue of episodes to choose from
  • Savage Love Podcast: Dan Savage gives a broad mix of acerbic and insightful relationship advice to callers… warning to the intolerant or easily icked – he covers everything and anything
  • TEDTalks: often inspiring talks (video) on topics from architecture to nature and science to religion and anything and everything else
  • This American Life: long-running radio show where each episode has a theme, and consists of a variety of stories on that theme… both factual and fictional… touching and hard-hitting
  • This Developer’s Life: inspired by This American Life’s format, and created in collaboration by Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman on topics in software development
  • Writing Excuses: a weekly podcast that has run since early 2008 on topics surrounding writing by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal

If you have any other quality podcast recommendations, please feel free to leave me a comment!