Close encounters of the Guardian podcast kind

dsc_0339Someone mentioned to me about Guardian’s Close Encounter podcast series. I subscribed today and pretty much listened to the whole thing this morning and part of the afternoon. Funny enough I didn’t even have breakfast, just a some pre-packed breadsticks from last nights dinner (somebody will know what I mean, when they read this).

The podcast series is quite amazing, which is surprising because the guardian tech podcast isn’t exactly great) But I found refreshing to hear such adult talk, after the warnings at the start of each podcast. The content is certainly #nsfw (not safe for work), but I was playing it out loud in my flat. Like when I was at Futurefest earlier in the year, I certainly felt like I was listening to something so very honest, human and authentic.

Some of the topics might shock some but there’s nothing wrong with getting out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

Great work by the Guardian and I look forward to the next season. Certainly another jewel in podcasting as a medium not turning your back on.

Dyslexia, creativity and diversity

The advert that caused controversy, asking for dyslexic people

I am a subscriber to the codpast which is a excellent podcast about dyslexia and dyspraixa. Almost every episode is great and I started going through the back catalogue a while ago. There are some suprises like how I kind of warmed to Peter Stringfellow (I never thought I ever would).

But the most recent one really got me rewinding once I finished in the shower (I tend to listen to podcasts in the morning while getting ready for work)

Creativity is often seen as the preserve of artists, musicians and writers, but Chris Arnold, founder of ad agency The Garage, sees creativity as an essential aptitude needed to make it in the world of business.

With dyslexia and creativity tightly linked, Chris put his money where his mouth is and courted controversy when he posted a job ad stating, ‘Only dyslexics need apply’!

 

I wish there was a transcript but its such a great listen…

What do I make of the advert? Well the word “Should” makes all the difference in my mind. If they said they would “only” accept dyslexic people that would be rightly breaking equality law. The law which is setup to help.

 

Lovegrumps is back… Dating apps, wtf!

Date night ...

The Lovegrumps is finally back, with a critical eye on dating apps. Ideal 2 weeks before I stand on stage at TedXManchester and talk about online dating and much more.

We’re back after almost a year of silence, this time to talk about those new fangled dating apps… with Ian, HwayoungTom and David..

Mpeg3 and Ogg on Archive.org

Podcast’s 3rd era?

Myself and Chris were walking back from Sunday roast dinner, and we got talking about Podcasting. The current media darling is a thing called Serial.

I have always maintained that podcasting is different from radio and part of the confusion (as such) is radio shows using podcast distribution to deliver content. Most of the professional stuff is radio shows using podcasting distribution, which is a real shame. I remember my cry out for more British podcasts even.

…there were not enough amateur British Podcasts. I know theres the BBC podcasts and the Guardian podcasts which both have got a lot of success in this area but theres nothing like TwiT or Revision3’s series of video podcasts

Now of course that was 4 years ago and things have shifted. Chris pointed out the raff of amateur to professional media on youtube. But the big question remained…  what is the difference between a podcast and radio show?

Well I struggled to remember the arguments about podcasting when the BBC first did its podcast trial, to replay back at Chris. The verge video reminded me exactly what the point I should have made more clearly.

Its not about production, its about depth! I eluded to it but never actually said depth. With Radio you need to be broad, with podcasts you can be so niche it hurts.

Talking of niche audiences and podcasting, we launched the Lovegrumps podcast this weekend. Lovegrumps is like Techgrumps but about love, sex and relationships. Audio  only and wondering if audioboo, mixcloud or soundcloud might be better places to put the podcast?

If this is the 3rd era of podcasting, then its certainly time to evolve… Expect intro music and other production stuff next time.

Oh by the way, the verge are wrong. Perceptive Radio is clearly the future of radio… Just imagine what could be done with Perceptive Podcasts!

Official Perceptive Radio photo

LoveGrumps?

geeky and sexy logo...

You may have heard or subscribed to Techgrumps in the past, and we are thinking about bringing that back. However there’s an appetite to do a version of techgrumps for love, sex and relationships.

Think geeks talk sexy crossed with Techgrumps with discussion and ranting. I think the pick up artist will be the main theme of this first podcast.

To kick it off, we are recording this Sunday evening/night maybe on Hangouts. If you are interested in taking part, get in touch with me or tommorris on twitter.

Scratching at the online dating bubble

Freakonomics recently put up a podcast about online dating. I love the it the show and you know your in for a good show when someone says…

…if only everybody approached it like an economist would…

Online dating through the eyes of an economist is a very intriguing world indeed. But unfortunately not everyone does. In actual fact theres a well known phenomenon which happens when faced with love.

…being attracted to a person is a lot like being on drugs. The release of chemicals into our brain and body creates an altered mental state in which we both perceive and behave differently than we normally would..

But back to the Freakonomics podcast. The bulk of the show was dedicated to AaronCarterFan, who I have written about before.

Theres some nice juicy parts in the show including,

OYER: Okay, so as I look at what you’ve got here, well, before we even look at it we have to stop and think about the first thing an economist is going to do is think about supply and demand. So I don’t know if you realize this, but you’re in a great position. New York City is demographically more female than male. I’m not entirely sure why that’s true. Out here in San Francisco it’s the opposite. We have an oversupply of men relative to women, at least compared to other cities. New York City and Washington D.C. tend to swing much more towards more available women. So you’re in a good position from a competitive point of view. You’re providing a good, single, straight male, which is in relatively high demand. Now the other thing to keep in mind here is time is very much on your side. So you’re in a good position for two other reasons, and that is the male/female differential I just mentioned is going to swing much more in your favor over the next 10 years. So you’re under no pressure to hook up for a long-term relationship right now. So that’s one thing that’s good. The other thing is just more generally, aside from your gender, the fact that you’re 28 years old from an economist point of view means that you should be very picky. So you should be picky, you should be looking for a really good match. And the reason for that is suppose you do find just the right person, and get married and live happily ever after, well you’re in no rush to do that because you have, let’s just say 50 more years in which to enjoy the relationship you find if it’s a successful one. So when I was on the online dating market recently, you know, I’m much older than you are, and from a rational economic perspective, I should be less picky than you. I should be searching a little less carefully. I should be settling, settling is an important idea, it’s a very important idea to economists because of what we call search theory suggests that at some point you should realize that  having what you have is better than expending more resources to try to do better. And that’s more true when you’re my age, I’m 50 now, than when you’re your age, which is 28.

And the guys are right… no rush, be a picky, nothing worst that rushing into something which isn’t going anywhere.

Justin WOLFERS: The Internet has turned matching upside down. It used to be that you would find compatibility first and then learn more about someone else’s attributes. And now you see all the attributes and then you learn about compatibility later.

This is something which certainly makes things very different. I always say to people who say, its easy. Go find someone and your done. Well here’s the big difference… Attributes before Chemistry. We’re still grappling with this major shift, and to be honest I hadn’t really thought about it in these terms before. This is the internet’s effect on the way we meet. We truly do live in the age of algorithms, like it or not!

Even the likes of Speed dating, Singles party’s, etc are holding to a somewhat dying tradition?

What you want to remember in your profile is that you want to be very upfront and forthcoming in anything that is what an economist would call a coordination game. It’s where our interests are aligned and as long as we have the right information we’re going to make the right decision. So in my case I was very upfront and forthcoming in my profile about the fact that I had a large and badly behaved golden retriever, and the fact that I have two teenaged children. Because if somebody was against those things, then those were deal breakers. And in your case, you want to be honest about the fact that you’re a public radio producer because on the one hand that’s very attractive to some people, but it also indicates that you’re not going to be rich, at least in the short term. You don’t want anybody who wants you just for your money, either because you don’t like those types of people or because even if you do you’re not going to get them once they have the information anyway.

This for me is an argument why you need to be honest on your profile. Its not about attracting everyone but the right people for you. Define your dealbreakers too. Although I joke I wouldn’t date someone who shopped in Aldi, its not really a deal breaker. I would have to wonder about their taste buds when it comes to fruit and veg, but its no deal breaker. A deal breaker is someone who drinks to get drunk all the time, dabbles with hard drugs, strong right wing views, can’t think deeper than what the soaps are showing.

Of course deal breakers can change, for example a while ago a deal breaker was having a child. Not because I have anything against kids, but I just wasn’t ready for that. And I’d rather be upfront about that. Hence on my profile it says…

I have little time for the mainstream garbage of pop music/fashion/celeb driven nonsense.

I removed the sorry if that winds you up part. As I’m not sorry, it was never going to be…

The podcast or the transcript is worth a listen/read, theres some great down to earth advice for online daters and all from people who look at the hidden side of everything. Of course I’m very tempted to write them a email asking them to look at other parts of the online dating world including the crack of the dating, the 3day trial.

Northology podcast ep 8 with Ian Forrester

Ian Forrester

Not long after blogging about Northology and the other great things happening in Manchester, its great to be on the show.

This week Nathan talks to Ian Forrester, a Senior Producer with BBC Research and Development, about his move from London to Salford, his work with BBC Backstage and how narrative and story telling is changing.  He also talks online dating, bar camp, geek dinners and many other things he’s involved in.

The interview was a quick thing and before I even knew it was over. Which means I didn’t quite get everything I wanted to say into the interview.

Judge for yourself by listening here or subscribing here.

Big Data should be the word of the year

bigdata_network

I heard Geoff Nunberg’s piece on NPR’s podcast and I got to say, although I’m pretty much big dated out from BBC Backstage (in a nice way) I’m in total agreement. Here’s a few key points… Well worth listening to in audio form…

Whether it’s explicitly mentioned or not, the Big Data phenomenon has been all over the news. It’s responsible for a lot of our anxieties about intrusions on our privacy, whether from the government’s anti-terrorist data sweeps or the ads that track us as we wander around the Web. It has even turned statistics into a sexy major. So if you haven’t heard the phrase yet, there’s still time — it will be around a lot longer than “gangnam style.”

What’s new is the way data is generated and processed. It’s like dust in that regard, too. We kick up clouds of it wherever we go. Cellphones and cable boxes; Google and Amazon, Facebook and Twitter; cable boxes and the cameras at stoplights; the bar codes on milk cartons; and the RFID chip that whips you through the toll plaza — each of them captures a sliver of what we’re doing, and nowadays they’re all calling home.

It’s only when all those little chunks are aggregated that they turn into Big Data; then the software called analytics can scour it for patterns. Epidemiologists watch for blips in Google queries to localize flu outbreaks; economists use them to spot shifts in consumer confidence. Police analytics comb over crime data looking for hot zones; security agencies comb over travel and credit card records looking for possible terrorists.

It’s the amalgamation of all that personal data that makes it possible for businesses to target their customers online and tailor their sales pitches to individual consumers. You idly click on an ad for a pair of red sneakers one morning, and they’ll stalk you to the end of your days. It makes me nostalgic for the age when cyberspace promised a liberating anonymity. I think of that famous 1993 New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Now it’s more like, “On the Internet, everybody knows what brand of dog food you buy.”

Join Techgrumps now…

We need your rants
With the 50th edition of the ever-so popular (Popular with 2 or 3 people at least) #Techgrumps podcast coming up, and it being the holiday season, we will be recording two or three special editions with as many new ranters as we can think of. Like YOU! If you have nothing much to say, but can whine on a bit under the influence of too much caffeine, you too can join this most illustrious cast. And yes, that is Comic Sans in the speech bubble. Angry now? Rant with us!Remember, techgrumps is a family (Family of feral polecats) show, so use age appropriate language…

Let us know which dates & times works for you (add your twitter name to the doodle) and we’ll be in touch…

Techgrumps live! from VivID Lounge

We (me, josh and nathan rae) did our first live Techgrumps on Sunday 20th November… Live from VivID Lounge

Its also a Manchester only affair, as you’d expect with it being LIVE… Ian,Josh and guest Nathan eat breakfast while waxing lyrical… about exploring Sci-Fi elitism and a concept to replace the Royal Mail with UAVs all live on Sunday 20th November…

You can download it in Mpeg3 or Ogg Vorbis

Computer science has an image problem

John White, CEO and executive director of the computing trade group, says fewer students are studying computer science in college , and too many tech jobs are going unfilled, because young people don't have an accurate picture of the computer scientist.

Hummm, I wonder why? Could it be anything to do with stuff like this?

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Is the BBC Backstage podcast the first CC licenced piece from the BBC?

Michela Ledwidge asks the question, and we racked our brains and did a lot of searching. I think it might be, but I can't say for sure. If thats not a first, using blip.tv is certainly a first. And to be honest, if it wasn't for the ability to…

  1. Set the license (creative commons attribution 2.5 in this case)
  2. Pipe content to Archive.org for permanent storage and to the benefit of generations to come

We would have never have consider it. Maybe we've been drinking too much of Lessig's kool aid. Although I was a little worried about the Blip.tv EULA. But Mike at Blip says,

As far as the EULA, we don't own all the rights. Don't want them. We need to find a way to make that even clearer. When you upload you give us the rights to create derivative works (for thumbnails and transcoding) and to distribute (i.e. make available for download). Those rights go away when you delete the content from blip.

Another reason why the archive.org angle is very important. If Blip.tv ever pulled a Yahoo/Flickr thing on its users. You could pipe them all to Archive.org and remove them from Blip. Metadata and all..

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The reaction to the first Backstage podcast

Podcast group

The first ever BBC Backstage podcast has caused a quite a stir. Some of it negative and some of it positive.

Generally the reaction to the podcast is positive but Ben did say he felt Backstage shouldn't be hosting such a debate. Its bigger that Backstage and should be taking place somewhere else. Fair enough, but till then backstage is where it will stay for now.

Before coming to Cory's thoughts on the BBC and DRM, I thought I'd better cover some of the other points from others first. Upyourego loves the podcast too and makes a good point about the lack of RSS like Tom Morris. Adam, Brian, Superfly
picked it up
and so does Euan Semple, who is surprisingly quiet about it. But some of the comments left are interesting, including one from Cory. Weird Cory didn't post any comments to mine or Ben's
blogs entries
.

Corys post to BoingBoing is over the top. I love Cory but he took a few points from the podcast and went to town on them. He threw out most of the other stuff which made it a much more balanced debate. For example,

You can hear the disappointment in the visionaries at the BBC, the betrayal at being sold out by management. The BBC is forcing Britons to buy an American operating system — Windows — in order to watch British programming, made in Britain. The free and open GNU/Linux — whose kernel is maintained in Britain — can't be used for British TV, because of DRM.

Well yes there was something in the air but we're positive about making things right and turning things around. Open DRM is one of many things discussed but Cory doesn't mention this. Tom has a comment which I don't quite get, but I'll ask him tomorrow.

Arstechnica does a much better job at reporting a more balanced view of the podcast. Although the title is misleading – BBC explains decision to go with Microsoft DRM.

The brouhaha surrounding iPlayer makes for some good reading, but more interesting is the podcast. The BBC engineers on the show come off as intelligent, affable folks who don't like content restrictions any more than consumers do. They're also fully aware of recent technologies like Ogg Vorbis, BitTorrent, and SlingBox. For those curious how DRM and rights decisions are made behind the scenes at a major public broadcaster, this is definitely worth a listen.

A couple of good comments follow too.

That's an amazingly insightful podcast! Thanks!

Which company has used DRM longer, the BBC or Apple? Just because Jobs uses DRM and then says “but we shouldn't” doesn't mean a thing. Well, depending on how gullible you are. It's about as meaningful as Google's “do no harm”. Actions speak louder than words.

Currently Digg and Slashdot have yet to pick up the podcast or its reactions. Oh it looks like we'll be uploading the video this week.

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The first BBC Backstage podcast: DRM and the BBC

Podcast group

The first ever BBC Backstage podcast kicked off in fine style on Wednesday 7th February.

We invited some of the most vocal backstagers in the long running debate over DRM, to come and join us at the BBC to discuss face to face what they felt about DRM and the BBC. The hour long discussion around DRM and the BBC included,

You can listen with the built in player below, or you can download and remix the MPeg3 file or the Ogg Vorbis file. Both are licensed under creative commons attribution. So as long as you credit backstage.bbc.co.uk, your good to go. Don't forget to check out some great action shots from the debate…

Dave tries to reason with Michela

Miles asks some difficult questions

Dave

Brian prepares to answer James

Tom listening to Brian

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The Tom and Ian Show?

Recently I've been doing more podcasts, and finally not cringing when I hear my deep voice. Me and Tom Morris have started a podcast in the vain of the pretty dead Gillmor Gang. The MP3 file is on Archive.org and you can subscribe to the feed here.

Between all the outages and bad quality of my voice, there is a pretty good discussion about a whole host of things including RDF/A vs Microformats, XHTML vs HTML5, the semantic web vs The Semantic Web. Tom is working on some clever notes system which I assume uses RDF or OPML to clever effect.

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