It started with a subscription and a email…

I started subscribing to the Dyslexic Advantage, as I have gotten much benefit from the book and decided it would be good to digest much more.

After looking at their premium section, which has a lot of media I started thinking there is maybe too much and they are adding more to it all the time. I started thinking if they have RSS, I could subscribe and get updated media without having to go to the site to check.

Looking at their RSS it was the generic one for the blog no matter which page I went to. There was a note at the end of the podcast section saying if you have troubles or would like it another way ask.

So I did and got into a discussion with Dr. Fernette Eide and Dr. Brock Eide the researchers and writers of the dyslexic advantage. I talked about the advantage of RSS and explained you can have http authentication on RSS to keep their premium content secure.

They were using some other system which was costing them a bit and there was extra step of uploading content to the other system from their dropbox drive, which they nicely shared with me.

Dropbox drive I thought… sure I saw a service which will take a directory of files and generate a RSS feed? I remembered it was called Justcast.com

I set up a account and tried out Justcast for myself and was impressed with how easy it was to get up and running. The one thing which seemed to be missing was authentication on RSS feeds. So I ping them a support request.

Josh from Justcast wrote back pretty quickly… They were on it!

Thanks so much for your suggestion and interest on JustCast, and you know what, we are actually going to work on implementing this Authentication to the feed feature in July. I will definitely keep you in the loop on our development progress.

Following that email we went back and forth and he showed me what it would look like. Then a day ago (29th June) a email

Adding authentication to the feed feature went live. You will able to find the config under the Settings > Advanced. Please give it a try.

I did and it worked exactly how I specified previously. https://user:password@www.justcast.com/mypodcast/blah/index.rss

Perfect…  and the Justcast team have so many features, check out their blog. If I was creating podcasts not on archive.org. This would be my number one option now.

In the meanwhile I was equally impressed to see the dyslexic advantage team had taken my advice, converted their whole premium content to Justcast and were asking me to test the RSS feed.

Dyslexic advantage rss podcast with justcast

It worked perfectly, no need to have access to the dropbox anymore. I was able to subscribe to the RSS feed (theres a button called subscribe which gives you the full RSS feed link). I was able to add it the feed to my complex setup.

I was impressed with both sides and everything seems so much easier for all now. It reminded me how important it is to take advantage of those opportunities.

Justcast got a new client, dyslexic advantage cut their costs and time to upload and share new premium content. I got my RSS feed(s) with a automated drip of new content as they come.

Another nice unexpected thing came out of the whole thing. The dyslexic advantage team wanted to know my story and may turn it into a recording…!

The important elements of Inclusion

Element of Inclusion by Dr Jonathan

There is a podcast which I have been listening to for quite some time (almost 2 years) its been going for a lot longer and its a gem to listen to. The podcast is called the element of Inclusion.

Its been a breath of fresh air in a crowded market of Diversity & Inclusion experts., partly because of the free flow of extremely useful information in podcast format.

element of inclusion
For example he’s boiled down a lot of mater and found 3 key elements (element of inclusion)

People

Organisations ind it difficult to engage with people that are currently being excluded “Employee resource groups directly engage employees that are underrepresented and excluded. These are the people at the Bottom of the pyramid who are being ignored”

Potential.

Organisations find it difficult to create a culture of inclusion “Employee resource groups can help to change the narrative of what it means to be a successful employee within an organisation and this is one of many things that helps to change the culture”

Performance.

Organisations find it difficult to articulate a compelling business case for diversity

A lot of the core information is usually buried deep in academic papers and dense books. As we are all now time poor, its amazing to have Dr Jonathan (Jonathan Ashong-Lamptey) read through the books and papers pulling out the wheat from the chaff, and then dicing it up into easily digestible form for all. Once you digested, you have direct links to the source material be it a book, review or a paper. This is so uncommon in a industry which keeps the source hidden away.

I do believe his mission of empowering 1 million people like me to make our workplaces more inclusive is a noble one; but also possible with the information Dr Jonathan keeps putting out.

Here’s some of the noticeable episodes I heard recently, although I would suggest starting with the 150th episode.

Disability The Basics [Book Review]

In this book review episode, Jonathan extracted some key parts from the book disability the basics including these 3 points.

The Disability Paradox

“There’s a perception that the lives of people with disabilities are completely undesirable, however the author said that data revealed that people with disabilities consistently report a quality of life as good as and sometimes better than people non disabled people.”

The Social Model of Disability

“some people have physical impairments, but it’s society through exclusion, through stigma, through oppression that makes people disabled”

The Thriving Disabled People’s Movement

“I was ashamed to say that I knew next to nothing about the disabled people’s movement. Described as the last liberation movement, it’s been inspired by previous movements like Civil rights”

The middle point about the social model of disability had me skipping backwards to hear it again and take it all in. Very apt for some of the neurodiverse conditions and one of those things I will always remember now.

The Relationship Between Social Isolation,Loneliness & Belonging

I hadn’t really thought about this one too much till we went into lockdown for Covid19 but Dr Jonathan really made things super clear.

Why Loneliness is Misunderstood

“It’s possible to feel lonely while among other people, and you can be alone yet not feel lonely”

The Difference between Social Isolation and Loneliness

“social isolation is not loneliness and loneliness is not social isolation.

Not everyone who is socially isolated is lonely and not everyone who is lonely is socially isolated”

Why Social Exclusion May Lead to Loneliness

“If you’re an individual that is being socially excluded, ie socially isolated against your will, we don’t need the research to recognise that that person may have an unpleasant experience”

Why Relying On A One Off Intervention Is An Inclusion Mistake

I swear by this one, and talk a lot about fireworks opposed to sustainable interventions. I also see this happen with one off training.

One Off Interventions are less likely to engage people in a meaningful way

“it’s the employees who get to see the truth, they get to see if the words and actions match up. They’re the ones you really need to buy into the narrative”

One Off Interventions are not as effective as programmes of change

“one off interventions have a smaller effect on attitudes, a smaller effect on how people feel and a smaller effect on behavioural learning compared to interventions that are part of a longer programme of change”

One Off Interventions won’t change systems of disadvantage

“It’s not always about individual behaviour, it’s about a system that reproduces existing norms and one-off interventions don’t solve that”Just these 3 are a

I always knew this to be true but Dr Jonathan armed me with some excellent case studies and data which is actionable.

Spotify exclusive ignites closed vs open RSS flames again

Spotify logo

So Joe Rogan, comedian and host of one of the standout hits in the podcasting world, is getting in to bed with Spotify. Making it a Spotify exclusive,

When I first heard this news I felt something had changed as I knew the time of the platform exclusives was on its way. Opening the debate about open ecosystems like RSS vs closed ones systems.

James Cridland is always on the ball and covered this much better than I could. He makes some very good points

  • The show will be free to Spotify users (both Premium and Free users).

This is Spotify’s platform play, exclusive free access but only if you use our player.

  • It will be available in video on Spotify as well as audio. Spotify tested video (May 7) but were tight-lipped as to why.

I was aware Spotify have been testing a few things for their player including video as James pointed out. Canvas their tool for creating interesting music videos went quiet a while ago.  I wonder what else they have added and are keeping quiet about. This is the big advantage of your own proprietary player/platform, do what suits you and make the rest come to you.  I keep wondering if perceptive podcasting needs to get ahead of this now before we are all buried in proprietary closed systems.

  • His full show won’t be on YouTube any more, though he will post clips. Possibly not that coincidentally, YouTube is readying a full launch of YouTube Music, a Spotify competitor.

I hadn’t really clocked that of course Youtube music is coming out almost exactly at the same time. The date makes a lot of sense now

  • His full library, going back 11 years, is to switch to Spotify from September 1; exclusivity comes later in 2020.

Moving all those archives to Spotify is a interesting but potentially bad news for future plans. Especially if things go wrong.

Sounds, Spotify and Luminary

I also found these reactions very apt as it doesn’t take much to see the important discussion over podcasts vs audio shows instantly flare up again.

  • “Fuck Spotify, and fuck any ”podcast” that’s only playable in one app”, tweeted Overcast’s Marco Arment, adding that “moving an existing, open, free show behind a proprietary wall results in massive audience loss. I hope he at least leaves his public feed up so he can return to it when his Spotify exclusivity fails.”
  • Spotify’s new strategy is to kill podcasts (Simon Cohen, Digital Trends)

James made clear podnews stance on this all.

A “podcast” is something that is delivered via an RSS feed to multiple podcast apps. Podnews refer to things available exclusively on Spotify, BBC Sounds or Luminary as “shows”. Accordingly, from late 2020, we’ll no longer refer to The Joe Rogan Experience as a podcast.

Harsh? I think not, he’s right this isn’t podcasting…

Jamie King’s monologue about Covid-19

https://stealthisshow.com/s05e08/

It was interesting listening to the most recent stealthisshow. Jamie King’s podcast is always a good listen and his monologue is right on point. Here is the text copy of the part I felt was most important.

…Of course, we also have the internet to thank for actually being able to continue distributing the show so far the internet’s continuing working just fine even if Reddit seems to be under duress and normally streaming services have had to downgrade themselves. BitTorrent also seems to be working great. And that’s the main thing making this lockdown less weird than it would otherwise be to continued functioning of the Internet because it just enables large part of everyday life to go on.

I wonder how much Covid-19 will contribute to a future rise in teleworking. teleconferencing repopulation of rural areas by people who no longer see cities as desirable and can manage to work as a distance. How much more of the world’s everyday functions will now in other words be swallowed by the internet.

Specifically, I find myself wondering as governments prepare for unprecedented bailouts of business and showing. Just how critical things really are even ordinary individuals, whether the future of money might well make a shift online too and just how weird it is that Satoshi Nakamoto had a vision in 2008 of a currency that could survive a moment exactly like this.

In any case the show must go on and steal this show will go on. But while the crisis continues, I think it’s important to direct the show’s focus towards the role decentralized technologies peer-to-peer collaboration, online and organization, etc etc can help us survive and even prosper. In the context of crisis and whatever comes next.

So the next interview I’m gonna do is with Gotana who’s project of using meshing Wi-Fi notes to create survivable. Bitcoin infrastructure looks to me increasingly crucial. I’ll also be posting that to make world the podcast. I’ve started looking at the ideas politics and technology of building a new sustainable livable human habitat for our future.

You can check that out at make world.io during these uncertain times. I’d love to connect with listeners more than ever…

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2020)

Microphones on a desk

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking at the sorry state of the UK during our EU withdrawal or the tech press panic over the corona-virus.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with the rise in unions and labor rights in the gig economy.


Google users in UK dropped into GDPR limbo

Ian thinks: I always thought this was going to happen, once out of the EU our data privacy laws won’t be respected by the GAFFA’s and why would they?

Signaling to the masses, leave whatsapp

Ian thinks: Signal as a behemoth is concerning but its clearly made the best use of open source licenses to keep itself in check. Love the new systems which are being built on the protocol, real opportunity for something very new.

A future without public service media?

Ian thinks: All public service is under treat and hearing the words of the CEO of the CBC, really sends the message loud and clear

Governments who lockout their Public service broadcasters

Ian thinks: Following the previous link, a look at the sorry state of American’s public service broadcasting. The up lift of donations is good but for how long, how sustainable is public donations?

Making the digital economy working for the 99%

Ian thinks: 3 words – Transparency, auditing, diversity.

Spotify’s plans to take over podcasting?

Ian thinks: The comparisons are spot on and its clear podcasting is going through a massive change right now. Spotify’s play to commodify and dominate is hard to break unless there is experiences they can not own.

Centralising podcasting with trapping techniques

Ian thinks: The writer makes a good point about Spotify taking decentralised open media and locking inside a closed proprietary system. Lessons to be learned for future services we use.

The utopian vision of Airbnb vs the harsh reality

Ian thinks: I like Airbnb, I’m even a host but its clear there isn’t just a problem but its fundamentally broken and actively exploited by too many.

Could containers for web browsing benefit you too?

Ian thinks: Been using Firefox containers for the last 6-8 months and find them incredibly useful. The user experience is a mess and provides an opportunity for design disruption.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2020)

Smartcity - Wakanda

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking at the sorry state of the UK during our EU withdrawal or the tech press panic over the coronavirus.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with young people leading the way on climate change.

Anonymous still legion?

Ian thinks: Nice summary podcast about the book, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Curious about hacking?

Ian thinks: Excellent growing resource explaining the origins of hacking in a balanced way through different interviews and press coverage

Fediverse Is here to stay

Ian thinks: English language CCC (Chaos Computer Congress) videos I found. Really good points made about open society and Aaron Swartz

I imagine Vice’s journalist has a awful uber rating

Ian thinks: So clearly outlines the case for Uber to disappear in to the past and what ride sharing really could be.

Cities which work for their citizens not the other way around

Ian thinks: Citizens as sensors, rather than a thing to be sensed; is a good primer for future smart cities

Tracking through podcasting

Ian thinks: Interesting talk from the CCC about tracking and advertising through podcasting.
[English audio stream in downloaded video]

The real drug dealers get away with murder

Ian thinks: Its so easy to point the finger at the darknet markets, but Jack really hits home with the true crime lords.

How is that advert following you around?

Ian thinks: If you don’t understand how cookies work and why you really should reject those cookie banners, this is idea for you.

Sexual harassment, anonymity and

Ian thinks: Sigi’s story told by herself is a powerful one in the era of Background on the story.
[English audio stream in downloaded video]

Everyone needs a little self-care time

IMG_20190625_161128-EFFECTS
Nothing better than a little self-care, by indudging my love of rollercoasters

Its a lesson I’ve learned after many mistakes from a previous life (before my brush with death). Taking some time for myself to chill out a little, especially after one of those busy weeks that I sometimes post.

A while ago during my sabbatical after my brush with death, I did read (listen) to a lot of things, this is also when I decided to get hypnotherapy for my fear of needles. Another thing I picked up was the idea of self-care.

Selfcare is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good selfcare is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.

I tie it directly to the conscious living lifestyle which is simple in concept again but being mindful is more tricky that it first seems. For example one of the things I do is plan in self-care time in my calendar, especially when I identify a potentially stressful period coming up. It could be a great time away for work but flights are always full of stressful moments and finding hotels etc. For example last week, I flew to Madrid to talk at the xR fest. It was great but the weather temperature hit a maximum of 41c and my flights were via Brussels. I knew the connection was tight with 55mins between landing and the connecting flight leaving.

Express connection ticketOf course we didn’t actually get into the air for 45mins from Manchester, giving me no time to run across the airport through passport control with the express connection ticket and luckily catch my flight as it was also delayed and they couldn’t quite close the gate with people arriving from previous flights. Trust me it was a close call!

This is all the stuff I thought about while resting in the hot tub at the Hilton Hotel Manchester Monday July 1st. I had planned in a day off and took advantage of a treatment some kind friend had bought me for my 40th birthday.

While listening to The Nod recently I was impressed with the discussion about Self-Care. There were two aspects I liked quite a lot (wish I could transcribe it). In summary the conversation was about getting men (especially black men, being a black culture podcast) to consider self-care as part of being masculine. The discussion reminded me of a discussion I had a long while ago about the game being a self-help book for men who usually avoided self-help books.

Self-care is clearly important but its equally important to find what works for you. The example of a yoga retreat just doesn’t work for me although it might work for others. My kind of self-care is certainly spas and rollercoaster parks

Maybe your more a sleep in long hours type person or rearrange and clean the house hygge person. What ever it truly is (and I mean truly deeep down) then a little self-care when things get tough is really a life savor!

Interviewed by PyDataMcr for their podcast about data in dating

Beginning XSLT with Jeni Tennison

I had the pleasure of talking to PyData Manchester better known as PydataMCR.

They post their podcasts to Anchor.fm oddly enough but post it elsewhere too, so its take your pick. There is a RSS feed too which was tricky to find at first for us old skool podcasters.

The interview was nice but if you heard me talk about online dating data before you may have heard a lot of it before. It was noticeable how things move in the dating world, should do some more research really.

At the end there is a shout out to a woman who has been an inspiration for me. Jeni Tennison the CEO of the Open Data Insitute. I wasn’t sure if Jeni was the only woman on a wrox book cover ever. Although I did notice both genders on the C# 2005 programmers reference book and Beginning XHTML. Even saw multiple races on Professional Multicore Programming: Design and Implementation. Then I finally found Beginning Java Objects: From Concepts to Code by Jacquie Barker

So I take back, although I was never so sure..

Thanks to PydataMCR for the interview and my chaotic schedule which caused many issues. Remember to subscribe to the podcast here.

How many black UK podcasts hosts are there?

The Black Detour

I was having a chat with someone (don’t have his card to hand) during a event in Salford University. We were talking about the perceptive podcasts application and podcasting industry in general. I was talking about how podcasting is/should/could be a different medium. There is still the opportunity to do new and interesting things with the format which suit/challenge the audience.

This lead into a discussion about diversity and how the established people are never going to be that interested. We zeroed in on ethic diversity

What we need is more diversity and new voices; not just in front of the microphone but as producers.“I power-phrase him saying.

This headed to towards a long discussion about how many black podcasts we have heard? I instantly talked about…

Then he dropped the bombshell, “what about the UK?

I found it very difficult to name any off the top of my head, so decided to asked the twit/fed-verse

A few people got back to me and I thought I’d share…

Then I found, podcasts in color which lists podcasts from people of colour (because actually its not about just one race). Its hard to work out which ones are UK but I found these.

There are many more but they don’t seem to be updated recently.

So the short answer is yes there are UK black podcasts but not as many as I would have liked. I’m planning to go back through this list and resources to find new podcasts to subscribe to.

podcasts in color

Interestingly James from podcast news pointed me at a piece of news about diversity in podcasts.

Dane Cardiel from Simplecast is “working closely with Dan and Jared on an initiative collecting input from podcasters of colour for the 2nd Annual Podcasters of Colour Networking Event at Podcast Movement 2019.” If you’re a podcaster of colour interested in participating in discussions later this month, here’s a form to fill in.

I missed my chance but good to know others are thinking about similar things.

Waking up to the fire, Zucked…

Its been interesting to hear and read about Roger McNamee and his new book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

I’ve listened to a few podcasts with him talking away and I find it insightful.

I took him talking with a massive bucket of salt being a investor in Facebook in the past and even now. To be fair I heard about Roger before in previous articles such as An Apology for the Internet — From the Architects Who Built It, The Ugly Unethical Underside of Silicon Valley and Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist who benefited from hugely profitable investments in Google and Facebook, has grown disenchanted with both companies, arguing that their early missions have been distorted by the fortunes they have been able to earn through advertising.

He identifies the advent of the smartphone as a turning point, raising the stakes in an arms race for people’s attention. “Facebook and Google assert with merit that they are giving users what they want,” McNamee says. “The same can be said about tobacco companies and drug dealers.”

That would be a remarkable assertion for any early investor in Silicon Valley’s most profitable behemoths. But McNamee, 61, is more than an arms-length money man. Once an adviser to Mark Zuckerberg, 10 years ago McNamee introduced the Facebook CEO to his friend, Sheryl Sandberg, then a Google executive who had overseen the company’s advertising efforts. Sandberg, of course, became chief operating officer at Facebook, transforming the social network into another advertising heavyweight.

McNamee chooses his words carefully. “The people who run Facebook and Google are good people, whose well-intentioned strategies have led to horrific unintended consequences,” he says. “The problem is that there is nothing the companies can do to address the harm unless they abandon their current advertising models.”

Thanks to Herb who recommended links to me.

Updated….

I knew I heard him 3 times in recent times and thanks to Eastmad for reminding me he was on Team Human too. I actually recommended him to Herb.

https://twitter.com/cubicgarden/status/1108643229833015302

Chidi and The Good Place

The good place cast

A podcast listen to now and then is the Nod, the latest episode (doesn’t seem to be on the site yet) talked about Chidi from the good place.

This week Eric talks with Cord Jefferson, a writer for NBC’s The Good Place, about how Blackness is depicted in the afterlife

Its a  good interview exploring stereotypes of black characters and I got to say Chidi is a excellent black geek. Just what we need more of…

Hooray, audacity files are XML

Plumbing for the next web, by ian forrester

I’ve been looking for a way to create SMIL files with an editor for a while. Main reason being to speed up the creation of creating podcasts for the Perceptive Podcast client and make it easier for those who don’t understand markup/code.

One of the techniques we deployed during the Visual Perceptive Media project was to export final cut xml out of final cut/premiere pro then transform the lot with XSL/Python/etc to something else more usable. Its something I’ve had in mind for a long time, as you can see with this paper/presentation I wrote 12 years ago.

There was a point when Wmas, could create an editor for our director/writer (Julius) or allow him to use tools he was familiar with (non-linear editor like Finalcut/Premiere). Of course we choose the latter and converted the final cut xml (which isn’t really an official spec) into json using python. We were able to use markers and zones to great effect, indicating the interactive intentions of the director in a non-linear editor. This meant the intentions can exist and run completely through to the very end, rather than tacking it on at the end.

So with all that in mind, I started thinking if I could turn Audacity into a editor in a similar way? Is there a final cut xml format for audio? Thats when I came across this article which made perfect sense – Audacity files are just XML documents, sooo

Structure of a empty project

<?xml version=”1.0″ standalone=”no” ?>
<!DOCTYPE project PUBLIC “-//audacityproject-1.3.0//DTD//EN” “http://audacity.sourceforge.net/xml/audacityproject-1.3.0.dtd” >
<project xmlns=”http://audacity.sourceforge.net/xml/” projname=”blank-audacity_data” version=”1.3.0″ audacityversion=”2.2.1″ sel0=”0.0000000000″ sel1=”0.0000000000″ vpos=”0″ h=”0.0000000000″ zoom=”86.1328125000″ rate=”44100.0″ snapto=”off” selectionformat=”hh:mm:ss + milliseconds” frequencyformat=”Hz” bandwidthformat=”octaves”>
<tags/>
</project>

Just the title ignited my mind, the actual content of the blog is less interesting but I realised I may have a free & open-source editor which runs on every platform and with a bit of XSL magic could be the start of the editor I was looking for? The idea of it being a pipe, which leads on to more is something which fits in the bigger pipeline chain

I also found a GIT project to Parse audio track times from an audacity .aup projects. Its uses XSL to do the processing, so I may spend a bit of time playing with it to make something useful.

Just need to dust off my old XSL development skills… Which reminds me what happened to XPROC (XML pipeline language)?

Podcasts in Plex? But which Plex?

Verge podcast on PlexPodcasts on Plex, at long last?

I was excited by the news of podcasts on plex

So excited I decided to switch to the beta version to give it a try.

Now I know its beta but after closer inspection of the blog post, I noticed everything was focused on the player application. As most of my Plex use is as a server, I was expecting to see podcasts as a plex scanner/agent option or even better a library type.

Currently it seems like you can create a podcast library on the Plex player/app but that doesn’t sync back to anywhere. I expected that under my user account I would see the new podcast library on my Plex media server too. Trying to create a new podcast library also goes no where when using the web interface to the media server.

My hope is this is just a beta issue and it will be rolled out to the media server too. Because right now the point of Plex is the sync capability around one app. This does make me wonder about Plex’s previous move which upset a lot of people.

Till this is clear, I’ll be sticking with my elaborate podcast sync system.

How I listen to podcasts in 2018

Me listening to podcasts in madrid

I had quite a bit of time to read and listen to podcasts during my holiday in Portugal and Spain. One of the posts I read was Adrian talking about current his tech stack.

But I thought it might be good to talk about how I finally sorted out my podcast setup as it includes many parts of my current tech stack.

I listen to podcasts and audiobooks quite a lot. If I was still using last.fm I could likely quantify exactly how much but through my setup I’ll reveal a rough number at the end.

Listening devices

I listen to podcasts in the morning via Xbian running on Raspberry Pi 2 (considering switching to rasplex but Yaste remote supports Plex and Xbian as a audio endpoint/upnp renderer) which I bought a long while ago. This is setup in my room via ethernet and connected to a small amp and stereo speakers, one in my bedroom and one wired into the bathroom. I decided to do this after trying Bluetooth and FM speakers but they were just too quiet or unclear. Nothing beats a dedicated non-battery device. The wiring could do with a clean up. The Raspberry Pi is also connected to a audio splitter with one going to a FM transmitter.

This broadcasts to my little micro-hifi in the kitchen which I got from ebay over 10 years ago; its handy for multi-room synced audio without messing around (although I considered using a Chromecast audio and other things). The small amp in my room is connected to a TpLink HS100 smart switch meaning I can turn it off when leaving easily and quickly. I have only set it up for local wifi access not remote access, because frankly why would I need to this?

When not at home I use Google Pixel 2, I decided to get the 128gig version because I had enough of dealing with space issues. I have plex client installed and I have a plex pass (life time subscription), so can sync podcasts and audiobooks with ease. I do have it on my Nexus 7 and 5x too, but don’t carry them around much. I find Plex client is pretty good and doesn’t eat too much battery. Syncing seems seamless but with offline support sync support and 12gig of mobile 4G data. Because its using Plex at the backend, plex will save position no matter what device, as I’m logged in using the same account.

I also have Chrome Plex client on my laptop, meaning I can keep on listening when at work. Yes I listen to podcasts and audiobooks while working. I know many find this unthinkable but it works for me.

Plex Media Server

I’ve had Plex mediaserver running for quite a long time now and the advantages of having a gigabit internet connection and decent vpn (zerotier) means I can stream, sync or download podcasts and audiobooks without any fuss to my own devices. Plex media server keeps the position and checks for updates to the server filesystem.
Plex indexes the podcasts and audiobooks as audio and with some tweaking works quite well, although it can get confused when podcasts numbering and dates. It would be great if it had a audiobook and podcast indexer to pull much more metadata.

Podcatching

Unfortunately Plex media server doesn’t actually support podcasts which would be great if it did but its a pain to get working and not worth it for me. Especially because I have a complete Ubuntu stack its running on.
Because of this I use to download the podcasts from the web using a native ubuntu app. I tried Gpodder and Rhythmbox but they were resource hungry when downloading 30+ podcasts. Then tried VLC but it seemed over kill just to download podcasts. So tried some command line programs including Podfox and podcatcher. In the end I used Podget then setup a cron to trigger it every 2-4 hours. I also have Podget clean up the podcasts every 3 months.

One of the biggest things which drove me nuts was adding and updating rss feeds. Someone says you listen to the guilty feminist podcast, and would have to update server configs, etc. But using my Tiny tiny RSS install, I now have all the podcasts added to the master subscription list and generate a custom RSS feed aggregated for podcasts. I add the generated feed to Podget and the next time its updated, it will automatically add new items.

Because its done via TTRSS, it means I can add & remove the feed via any TTRSS client including the one my phone or using the web interface via my VPN (I only expose the web interface that way).

Small pieces loosely joined

It sounds like a lot of work but honestly it works well and means I can remove a part of it and it will still work. Remove Podget, could be replaced with anything including VLC, etc. Plex could be replaced with Emby or another mediaserver. TTRSS could be anything self-hosted. Using Plexpy to log is under my own terms and the data is only shared and useable by me.

I do wish I could get to this type of space with so much more of the services I use. Right now, I’m quite impressed with how smooth everything works.

Looking forward

I’m looking at a way to tag and generate a feed out of the tags in TTRSS, instead of adding it to a hierarchy. Sometimes a feed could fit between two or more places. I’d also like to improve plex’s indexing around podcasts and audiobooks. Podget generates a m3u playlist file but not found much use for these yet. I also wish the plex input for kodi was less heavy.

I just added the Recode podcast while writing this post and I looking at my plex client on my Pixel 2. Podget downloaded all the episodes over my gigabit connection in about 6mins flat, the podget won’t remove them till a few months old but I can easily remove them via plex or directly from the file system over the VPN.

As promised, looking at Tautulli (what use to be PlexPy). Over the last 3 weeks I had 83 plays or 22 hrs 14 mins of playback.  The last podcast I listened to while on the Madrid Metro to the airport at 7:30am was Rob Reid’s Always on podcast – Episode 23: Rodney Brooks | Robotics & AI – Their Present & Future

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