See you on the next level…

ze frank

The show is staying right there in my podcast list, waiting for whatever comes next. Truth be told we may well have seen the last of it. Ze is so far ahead of the game when it comes to understanding this medium that even when he resorted to cheap jokes and potty humor it was still a joy to watch. I have no problem proclaiming myself a Sportsracer. Hell, I’ve even joined the ORG.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of press regarding the end of the Show, but this LA Times Article notes that Ze “made enough to pay the rent and then some”. Now granting that his rent is in Brooklyn, which ain’t exactly cheap, this is fine and its how new medians should approach making money on the web. Part of the problem of hiring Hollywood representation and working within that system is that its built on the mass market- salaries and revenues depend on consumption by millions of people. Alternately, you can build a community, share in that community and prove to them that what you do is worth their money. Cut out the money machine because it isn’t built for narrow media.

Your Personal Soundtrack

So my Shuffle broke again this morning and I was forced to walk to the gym without the luxury of information flowing into my brain.  I’ve become so accustomed to jumping out of bed and walking up to the gym with the headphones on full blast that walking around my neighborhood without them at 6:45AM became an almost surreal experience.  I suddenly remember so much more of the walk, for one thing.  Without the headphones I observed so much more than I usually do.  The sounds of people unloading bakery supplies, the pollutive city buses.  The surprising number of people out and about.

Working out became a far different experience as well, as suddenly I was forced to hear the dance-pop on the gym stereo but also the assorted grunts and other sounds made by the other weightlifters.  All typically events really, but again I’ve been so accustomed to my own internal soundtrack it was absolutely alien.

Is it a good idea to constantly stream information into my head?  At high volumes?  All these times when I’m exercising or walking to work I could be thinking, instead of consuming.  It seems I consume so much information I may not have time to process it.  And of course there’s the issue of my hearing loss, which Dawn will tell you is very real indeed.

Things we learn from the Simpsons…

So Jason Calacanis, Dave Winer and Peter Rojas have been “jokingly” talking up producing a limited run, luxury mp3 player. I think the original inspiration was right on, and some of the features they’re talking about are great:

  • RSS based wi-fi file transfers
  • Podcast recording
  • NO DRM

However, I think instead of making the perfect mp3 player, they’re in danger of making the Dave Winer podcast player- a branded, commercial supported, podcast friendly monster that forgets that (most) people like podcasts in addition to their music, not the other way around. These three (possibly two- I don’t get the feeling Peter is all into podcatching) are forgetting that it has to be a great music player before it’s a great podcast player. Peter brought up a good point about mass storage mode players, though I personally have no problems with iTunes syncing- I sync 3 ipods between four computers and have never lost a track, I simply learned the use and limitations of the device, then built a workflow around them.

Overall, I think they’re on the right track but if this thing ever came to pass you’d be surprised how few people are really interested in Winerstein’s Monster. To sum it up, perhaps designing should be best left to designers, lest we arrive at:

And now a word from our sponsors.

Since my initial post regarding Podcamp, a lively conversation has erupted both here and over at the Something to Be Desired blog as spurred on by Podcamp Pittsburgh organizer Justin Kownacki.

I don’t have the attention span to cover everything point by point but reading over it all and thinking about it has lead me to reconsider some of what I’ve said, or at least look at it in another way.

First off, I want to be clear that I do not in any way believe that sponsorship of podcasts or an event like podcamp is a bad thing.  My previous post would most certainly lead one to believe that I do, but I will say that courting sponsors and working with them will inevitably lead to questions regarding your motives in what you produce- whatever you produce.

With that said, we can discuss how new media producers are supposed to earn money from what they do.  Making money is difficult enough, and doing so with a freely distributed good is nearly impossible.  It is the fundamental problem of digital distribution.  Currently advertising certainly seems like the best means to this particular end.  No one would argue with the kinds of numbers Google is doing.  As long as we are able to maintain an editorial line between advertisers and content, then we are safe.

Now, there will be those who cross that line, as there are in every medium.  This is expected and inevitable.  However, the difference is that we are working in an age where reputation is everything, and as Calacanis has pointed out, the community of media consumers will not put up with content that is bought and paid for by moneyed interests when it gets in the face of the openness and “truth” of the blogosphere.  Authenticity is king, after all.

Which leads me to my final point in this long and winding road:

Sponsorship is a necessity, but it must not frame the discussion. 

Podcamp would not work without its incredibly gracious, incredibly giving sponsors. Most conferences have sponsors and the attendees still have to pay!  I am so thankful for that.  But despite the “unconferenceyness” of it all, I really feel that having sponsors leading discussions, shilling their products and then disclaiming those shills is really disingenuous of those participants.  I think Network2 is a great idea, and I thought Chris was a really nice guy, I have purchased clothing from SpreadShirt, but when you open a panel called “The Future of Video” with a five minute pitch about the company you work for, I’m calling bullshit.  Even if that company has no business model, yet.
We are treading a very fine line, for sure.  Podcamp needs sponsors.  We all need to eat.  We all want to represent our stuff- I was there to talk about 54 hours as much as I was to network and learn.  Part of what is great about all of this is that people get to talk about what they love and we all get to hear about it.  I just don’t want to watch something with so much potential be subverted so quickly without at least calling attention to that subversion.

Rocket Reborn

I honestly can’t say whether she’s any better or worse than Amanda. Having done this kind of thing professionally certainly gave her encounters on the street a little sheen. She just jumped right in though and it really does feel like Rocketboom, so you go girl.

The Grungeman Cometh

So via a certain message board I discovered that Pittsburgh’s own king of hiphop, Lord Grunge himself, has a podcast, which you can listen to here. I guess I’m not really surprised by the content of the episode I listened to- he talks to Dave Mansueto about Net Neutrality and it quickly turns into a debate over liberalism vs libertarianism. I am going to have to rethink whether or not Americus was a joke. Its pretty entertaining and mildly disturbing, which I guess is what I take from lots of things Grunge is associated with. Four Seasons Boys anyone? Not that I don’t love the Four Seasons Boys.

With all that said, do check it out for some sweet Pittsburgh flava.

54 Hour Movie Project #8 is up!

Month eight of the 54 Hour Movie Project is here! This month’s sentence: “They started an online gambling web site.”
Each month teams across america get together to produce a movie in 54 hours. 6pm Friday they get “the sentence”- the single guidepost for the film’s content. Teams must submit by 12am on monday.

read more | digg story

Make sure to check out Yar Hasty Ent’s Entry Toxic– Its a play on the Google dominated future!

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Digital Citizen #1: Coming TONIGHT

I had some technical difficulties last night working on Digital Citizen #1, but it will be finished and available for your listening, commenting and guffawing pleasure at

Episode 1 will feature:
The Sony Rootkit Debacle
Bogus Wifi Laws
Blogging legislation
Technology Voice’s own Hul Mal Gamay on “The Analog Hole”
Piotr Konieczny on the Wikipedia

Well, I had the entire thing recorded and was about to sit down and edit it together when I realized I somehow deleted 90% of it. Back to the drawing board, as they say.

This is how I feel.