Google starts transcribing podcasts?

Android police podcats transcribed

Google is finally transcribing some podcasts… It made sense a long time ago and its happening for real. No april fools.

Google Podcasts is now automatically generating transcripts of episodes and is using them as metadata to help listeners search for shows, even if they don’t know the title or when it was published.

Its a shame its only for use in Google podcasts, but I guess nothing is free when it comes to tech corps.  I remember thinking Google was going to start doing this when Google talked about podcasts, and what a time to start doing it I guess?

But there are questions about which podcasts are transcribed, is there a waitlist, how do you opt out and of course horrible errors from an automated process.

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

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)?

Favourite new podcasts I’m currently listening to

Me listening to podcasts in madrid
During Mozilla Festival last year Annabel Church ran a session about podcasting. The session included a look at the diversity of podcasts we listen to. It was interesting to share our podcasts with each other.
So in the same vein, I thought I’d share some of the ones I’m listening to at work, on the go or in the mornings when getting ready for work . I included the RSS feed because some of them have that frustrating apple podcast link and I need the RSS for my smarty pants podcast system.

Anna Sale explores the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.

Death, Sex and Money is highly produced American public radio and Anna Sale really has the non judgemental tone needed for some of the sensitive subjects which are covered. Great podcast material always

RSS – https://www.wnycstudios.org/feeds/shows/deathsexmoney

Risk podcast

RISK! is a live show and podcast where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public

Talking of death sex and money, imagine if there was podcast which was a cross between that and the Moth. That is pretty much RISK and its great listening, with lots of quite quiet laughing at work.

RSS – http://feeds.feedburner.com/risk-show/yWzy

Team human

Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of pre-eminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals.

Team human is just a fantastic listen, real high level conversation with a grounding in common sense. Such great guests and well worth it to hear Rushkoff’s thoughts at the top of each podcast.

RSS – https://feed.pippa.io/public/shows/teamhuman

After on podcast

The After on podcast is described as series of unhurried conversations with thinkers, founders, and scientists. Like Teamhuman, its great to hear the conversations about the future. Not every episode is as interesting to me as others but when they are, its perfect.

RSS – http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss

The guilty feminist

Each week Deborah Frances-White and guests discuss topics “all 21st century feminists agree on” while confessing their insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine their lofty principles.

This is essential listening for everyone, a combination of the live events cut together for the podcast. Its just perfect to hear the insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine the sometimes lofty principles of a feminist in the 21st century. Funny but so insightful always.

RSS – https://guiltyfeminist.libsyn.com/rss

Revisionist HistoryMalcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and broken record

Anything Gladwell is always full of insight and interesting. Even the most unlikely of subjects can be great. He’s gone of and started Broken record, which is ok but prefer Revisionist honestly.

RSS – https://feeds.megaphone.fm/revisionisthistory

If you know anything about TorrentFreak and Jamie King. Then you know filesharing, decentralised tech, copyright, etc are common themes. The guests are pretty incredible with the depth of the always on podcast but with a slight political insight of team human.

RSS – http://stealthisshow.com/feed/podcast

Darknet diaries
Darknet Diaries: True stories from the dark side of the Internet.

Following up from Steal this show, comes a format which is great to hear. Each episode is a single story told extremely well focusing on the hacking, cracking and related fields. Its actually very accessible without loosing the details which matter. Each episode is pretty compelling and you can feel the darkness as you listen.

RSS – https://feeds.megaphone.fm/darknetdiaries

Following Reni’s amazing book Why I’m not talking to white people about race. I found out she followed up with a series of podcasts. I haven’t had the chance to listen to them all yet but its well worth listening to and sounds a bit like the old guardian token series. I also find the nod podcast good but this is better, as its more focused.

RSS – https://audioboom.com/channels/4947699.rss

Mozilla IRL podcast

Because Online Life Is Real Life; Host Manoush Zomorodi shares real stories of life online and real talk about the future of the Web.

Excellent podcast from Mozilla, explaining different parts of the internet through a combination of stories, interviews and news stories. Really well put together and interesting to experts and novices on the internet.

RSS – https://feeds.mozilla-podcasts.org/irl

Another busy month or so

Its going to be another busy month or so…

Tomorrow we start to Build a healthy public service internet in the first forum during Mozfest weekend. This will be further explored at Mozfest in the decentralised space on Saturday afternoon.

Not long afterwards I’ll be going to Skopje along the same lines as last year when I was in Sarajevo. This time we have the results of last years workshop, the living room of the future.

Then Berlin for Most wanted music with a adaptive narrative conference talk more focused on audio than video and our first perceptive podcasting workshop. Now this exciting but scary as its completely beta and being developed right now.

I’m back in Berlin not long afterwards for a look at object based media and how machine learning can work together for the future of storytelling, quite similar to TOA 17 but more exploring and more I can talk about now compared to then.

Finally wrapping up with a critical panel discussion titled New platforms, new ways of storytelling at the future of the book in London. I expect a few things I said at Oreilly’s Tools of Change in 2012 are still very relevant. But also Perceptive podcasting will be much more mature by then.

All exciting but quite a bit in one go…

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

Not enough detail?

If you are interested in any detail, just comment or tweet me for more info.

 

Rethinking Podcasting

Reinventing podcasting
Ok maybe less reinvent and more rethink?

I hinted at Perceptive Podcasting previously in a post about being busy. I have finally come out of that busy period and am UK bound as my passport is due to expire.

Just before the busy period, I drafted a post about Perceptive Podcasting and why it’s not simply another unique project. It went up on the BBC R&D blog recently which is wonderful because I can point to that rather than the other way around.

Perceptive Radio v1

Since we first launched the Perceptive Radio v1 in 2013 as a concept of what Perceptive Media (implicit interaction from sensors & data, adapting media objects) could become; the radio’s have always been a framework to explore further into adaptive object based media experiences. But we have always acknowledged the growing power of the smartphone and how it could be the container for so much more.

Even when we created the Perceptive Radio v2 with Lancaster University and Mudlark, it was modeled around an android phone and extending the sensors. The possibilities of IOT Storytelling with object based media was deep in my mind, along with research questions.

As a person who saw the revolution of podcasting in 2000, I was always interested in the fact its downloaded audio and generally consumed/created in a personal way, unlike radio in my view. I’ve also been watching the rise in popularity of podcasting again; heck Techcrunch asks if it could save the world 🙂

Of course I’ve started a few podcasts myself (recently Techgrumps and Lovegrumps) and love the fact it’s quite easy to get started and it can feel quite personal. I also found the diversity of podcasting quite interesting for example I’ve been listening to the guilty feminist, friends like us and risk, for quite sometime and find them fascinating every time.

Why a client for podcasts?

In 2017, you are seeing more webservices hosting podcasts like stitcher, (heck even Spotify is hosting some). At the server-side there is a lot you can do like dynamically change adverts, geo-fence media, etc. 60db are one such service doing nice things with podcasts but they are limited in what they can do, as they said in a comment on a similar post. But doing this all server-side is a pain, and tends to break the podcast idea of download-able audio (even if you have 4g everywhere), it feels more like the radio model of tuning in.

Imagine if you could do the server-side type of processing but on the actual device and even unlock the pools of sensor/data with the users consent? And imagine if the creators could use this in storytelling too!

Its Personal, Dynamic and Responsive without being creepy or infringing personal liberties, It adaptives to changes in context in real time. It dances with Interactivity and we are also exploring the value and feasibility of object based media approaches for engaging with audience. We believe that this offers the key to creating increasingly Immersive media experiences as it gives more story possibilities to the writer/director/producer. But also provides levels of tailored accessibility we have yet to imagine.

So many possibilities and its made in a very open way to encourage others to try making content in a object based way too.

Keep an eye on bbc.co.uk/taster and the bbc.co.uk/rd/blog for details soon.

Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

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 (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.

 

Podcast’s 3rd era?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlYXJz56DLg

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.

Geek and Geekhag Podcast 13 – Race and interracial stereotypes

Me and Sarah did a podcast last night about some comments on her blog recently.The post was about race and interracial stereotypes and centres around a piece in the guardian over a year ago (march 2005). Now someones called werdz has decided to write a comment and get back at Sarahs comments on the original guardian article. Sarah felt it best to reply by a podcast.

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