October 2004 - Posts
I have a tradition of doing something weird at my house every year for the kids. Some of you might recall last year's post on what I did at my house for halloween.
This year I had planned something pretty elaborate but that fell through at the last minute. Instead I resorted to cheap low-tech yet highly effective fun. I used my wife's portable PA system that she uses for meetings (she is president of her quilt guild this year). It's a small 1'x8"x4 box with an antennae and a wireless headset mic. I have a small alcove of trees and bushes on the east side of my front lawn. I hid the speaker under some leaves behind a tree, and strung a long dark green extention cord along the side of the house to the back door, and plugged it in just inside the door in the kitchen. We have a large window with vertical blinds and a couch in front of it looking at the front yard, so I opened the window a crack, pulled the blinds so I could see just enough out of them, turned off the lights in the house, put a jack-o-lantern next to the tree (with the speaker in back of it) and a bowl of candy in front of the jack-o-lantern. I also replaced the porch light with a 40 watt bulb. Just enough to let the kids know we were home.
So, when the doorbell rings (and of course, I can hear them) I say into the mic: "Who is it?" in a rough low gravely voice that sounds like a cross between Harvey Feinstein and Robert DeNiro. We chat for a few minutes. I ask their names, etc. Hilarity ensues, and finally I say "The candy's over here" and they turn and come over to the voice. Once they were by the candy I could see them, so I commented about their costumes, etc. Most of them thought it was pretty freaky, but two teenage girls wouldn't stop looking for me and pestering me to show myself. They came back three or four times. Finally Gretchen and I came out of the house, said hello, and they finally went away. I really freaked out a few kids though. After the things I'd done in the past you never know what to expect.
Next year is going to be awesome. I'm going to start saving now for the effects. :-)
Apparently John C can't get his podcasting software to work.
I left him this reply:
Someday you should let someone show you how to use a computer. Apparently you're baffled by Word for Windows, and now can't even find ipodder.org, the source of ipodder, the podcast download software that launched it all, and has a nice easy windows version available for download.
I was talking to a classroom of people this week and someone asked "what is podcasting?" Within 5 minutes I had downloaded ipodder for Windows, subscribed to a few podcasts, and was downloading and listening to the latest stuff.
So, don't give up hope. Just find some really nice youngsters to show you around your computer, and answer your questions about Word for Windows and programs like ipodder, which are really simple once you get the hang of it, and I think you'll be amazed at what your computer can do for you.
I think we should all send Mr. D our old "Word for Dummies" and other such computer books because he obviously needs help. What we do if he were to suddenly get so befuddled that he couldn't write any more columns? I would personally be very upset.
So, please send him your old books and how-to videos. Keep Dvorak's column alive!
I know, I need to go to sleep. Just check out the new website for Mondays:
Did you ever have a moment where you feel you're surfing on the tallest wave in the universe? Right now as I write this, the Red Sox are about to win their first World Series since 1918, effectively lifting the curse that Babe Ruth put on them when the Sox traded himi to the Yankees, the moon is JUST about to be completely eclipsed by the earth, and I just got this link from Scoble to an article in the New York Times on Podcasting, which features a picture of Geoff and I editing .NET Rocks!
Now, I ask you...
We have a Mondays Tagline Winner!
We've picked a tagline for our new show, Mondays. We narrowed it down to two, and the winner was actually one of Rory's. So, we're giving the shopping spree to the runner up!
Winner: Mondays: What Sunday Threw Up
Runner-Up: Mondays: Embrace the Suck
Congratulations to NJ John who came up with the runner-up tagline. You win a $300 shopping spree at ThinkGeek.com. Email your wish list to email@example.com along with your mailing address and phone number and wait by the mailbox for your booty! Hey, make sure you blog it, and put in an appearance on the show sometime!
We're working on the website, and will announce it as soon as its available.
We will do the first show on November 12th from 9PM to 11PM (Eastern). Nov 12 will also be the first .NET Rocks! show that we do in the new stripped-down format. We'll record that from 7:30 to 8:45. The first Mondays podcast will be available for download Monday, November 15th.
The guest on the first show will be our friend and professional nutcase, Randy Judkins. We've got some new stuff to show off as well! It's not just gonna be .NET Rocks! without the .NET. We've got new bits and new music! It's a Carl and Rory Funfest (with Kirk, Geoff, and Richard too!)
More to come, and CONGRATS NJ JOHN!
OK here's the deal. You've heard me talk about how I'd like to do another show that has more mass appeal. You've also heard that occasionally listeners complain about the ah.... alternative content we sometimes have on our show that has nothing to do with programming.
Now that it seems we are getting some press around podcasting, it seems like the time is right to make a change.
Starting as soon as possible, .NET Rocks! is going to be a 1 hour and 15 minute show. All interview. Same great technical content. No gags. No Google Weirdos. No Weird Wide Webb. No Ask Rory. The music and news of the week will stay, but no gratuitous weirdness. We will do the live show as usual but it will start one hour and a half earlier, at 7:30 PM
We are also at the same time starting a new podcast show called Mondays. Mondays will be broadcast live and recorded immediately following .NET Rocks! on Friday nights and it will have Google Weirdos, Ask Rory, the Weird Wide Webb, and whatever else we come up with. Mondays will have the format that DNR has had, but the interviews will be on topics of general interest to everyone, with a techie underpinning. The show will be available by podcast on Monday Mornings along with .NET Rocks!
Mondays is not going to be just another show. We're going to start off interviewing people we know on topics that anyone can listen to, and go for big names when possible. However, we know that you have to do this kind of thing slowly and gain momentum. We think we have a good start already with our listener base, and we hope to be able to reach out to a broader spectrum of listeners.
Of course, we are not bound by law to censor anything, bleep F words, or avoid more adult themes. This will not be a show for kids.
Now for the problem. We have the name, but no tagline. Here are a few ideas Rory and I came up with:
- Mondays. God Damn It
- Mondays. Depressed Again
- Mondays. WTF!
But nothing is really sticking. So, we're having a "Write the Tagline" contest. Leave a comment with your tagline suggestions here, and if we pick yours, we'll have you on the first show in a cameo spot and give you a $300 shopping spree at ThinkGeek.com to boot!
We don't know what will happen but we think it's worth a shot to separate our diverging interests in interviewing .NET celebs on the one hand, and reaching out to a broader audience and having fun on the other hand.
Thom Robbins made a cool-ass video about the CodeCamp II which he put on in Waltham, MA outside of Boston last weekend.
Fun fun fun!
My friend and fellow MSDN Regional Director Scott Hanselman thinks "podcasting = verbal incontinence". What he's describing is his experience of listening to the podcasts that are avaliable now, and he has a point. The stuff that people are publishing is sometimes hard to listen to. It's done mostly by bloggers now, and people who have techie commentary, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but that's what we have today.
I want to encourage you all to think about podcasting as a publishing process or a new form of media. When the first video signals were sent across the air and there was no real broadcasting process yet, the content was rough. But the media itself had been established and it was just a matter of time until it was perfected.
From the non-techie perspective, podcasting is about pushing content. It's more than that, however. It's about pushing only the stuff that the customer wants, and filtering out the unwanted stuff. In the age of information overload, that is a breath of fresh air.
Blogging works for the same reason. I subscribe to that which I'm interested.
Now use your imaginiation. I belive that in a very short time, you'll be able to log onto cnn.com, msnbc.com, or any news content provider, provide a list of keywords or topics that you're interested in, which can be very very specific, and let a program like iPodder fill your mp3 player with the news that's relevant to you. Every day.
One of the things I love about blogging is that people can publish to a small crowd effectively. Small in numbers, but large geographically. So, all sorts of really niche shows will pop up, much like magazines. Not for the purpose of reading slides or conveying complex technical info, like Scott says, but for the purpose of creating community and keeping people plugged in and informed about the things they care about.
I see podcasting being used by a new breed of journalists who specialize in not just a topic but a particular story. Better than sending journalists all over the world to cover this and that, immerse them in a story and have them report on it daily, hourly, or what have you. Podcasting gives them a direct connection (effectively) to the people who want the information.
So, while I agree that it's early and the medium doesn't work well for reading code, or trying to convey ideas that are better suited to print, I think that podcasting as a media has just been born, and it (or something that smells like it) will someday soon perhaps be the foundation on which audio and video media, and perhaps even software, will be distributed.
In case you were wondering what being in my classes is like:
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