23 Jan 2014

Hello is this thing on

Author: will | Filed under: blogging

is anybody listening?

The Blue Yeti

The back end has been repaired, primped, scrubbed and mobile versions are back.

I think I feel some blogging coming on. I have a few LCB posts to make…

photo credit – Evan Gray

23 Mar 2013

Days with my feet in the clouds

Author: will | Filed under: Cork, LBC, thinking

In ancient Ireland there were three classical elements; fire, earth and a combined element we would describe as air/water. The fact that air and water used to be considered as the same element says a lot about Irish weather. And I’ve been living that combination on and off.

The weather was foggy, raining heavily and windy. Its a combination which shouldn’t exist, but it did. For a few days. Only when evening came and I ventured down the hill did the weather change, and I realised that I had spent the day inside a cloud.

So that’s where I’ve been spending my days. I’ve been quiet here. You see I’ve changed cities again, and I’m back. I’m living in the house I’ll have to pay property tax on (I’ll grumble later). And that’s where I made the simple mistake.

I thought that be getting back to my old haunts that I could get some of my old life back. I thought that I would have time denied to me while living away.

I was wrong.

I was right.

Apparently it takes 40 days for a habit to take hold. And not blogging was such a habit. I’m not actually sure where my time went. I’ll have to keep a time spending diary, unless keeping such a diary takes too much time. But in the process of trying to get a life back together, I stopped doing something which requires a bit of hard thinking.

Blogging. Some optional courses. Toy making.

Pulling this ramble back to the LBC topic; frugality is not just about cash. Frugality is not just about scrimping. Frugality is also about spending wisely. And since time cannot really be saved (unless you really have a time machine), how you spend your time matters.

Or rather you need to force yourself to spend time on what matters to you, and what matters to those around you. If you care enough you will find the time to do something.

Sometimes you’ll need to force yourself to do something, sometimes you’ll force yourself to let something lapse. Sometimes you’ll form a rigid, regimented timetable. Sometimes you’ll discover that rigidity also means fragility. Sometimes you’ll lapse thinking “I’ll do it later”, but “later” never becomes “now”.

If it matters you’ll force yourself to break the easy options (usually sleep, and boy does that compound problems for later), and  do “something” to force “now” from the loving arms of “later”.

Like finding that time to sit down in front of a keyboard and type. Eight weeks later.

Time flies away, even if you don’t spend it.

This is a Loose Bloggers Consortium post on the theme of “Frugality”.
To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, …
Delirious, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Maxi Malone, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil, Shackman and Grannymar.

Do you blog? Do you have an RSS reader set-up to read blogs?

If so, what happens on October 20? Will you be posting to nothing?
Will your feeds dry up as feedburner is no longer passing the message through?

I honestly don't know which of my many blogs and podcasts are delivered through feedburner. I might have noticed at the time, then promptly forgotten about it.

I'm not looking to have to trawl through my feed collection to see if their owner has moved from Feedburner to their own feed (like me) or to a rival.

Or to nothing.

You see, if a blog goes silent, its going to take me a while to notice. Unless the person or company post a few times a day, their absence is going to take a little while to be noticed.

You only notice a noisy person going quite because its unusual for them. You don't notice a quiet person staying quite.

Who will I read on the 21st?

Embedded Link

Prepare for goodbye Feedburner in October 2012
Did you know that Google intends to shut down access to Feedburner’s APIs on October 20? A banner note on the Google Developers Feedburner API page makes that intent clear:
Important: The Google Feedburner APIs have been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011 will be shut down on October 20, 2012.
It is the case that Google signalled a limited future for Feedburner with its deprecation post in May last year:
[...] Following the standard depreca…

19 Apr 2011

Stepping in to the dark

Author: will | Filed under: photo

You have to do things that are hard if you want to progress as a man. Or a woman. Getting on my arse and blogging is the hard part.

Part of it is a hectic life. Part of it is other things looking for my attention. Part of it is laziness and resistance to something hard.

I need to get back in there.

Light_Man_Popes_quay_Cork

9 Mar 2011

40 days of shite

Author: will | Filed under: Android, blogging, blogs

Traditionally you are supposed to sacrifice something for Lent, but recently, well since my childhood anyway, people have stopped giving something up and started taking something up for the 40 days of Lent. Me? I’m going to blog.

Things have been a bit quite around here lately, but they shouldn’t be. So I’m going to be blogging for the 46 days until Easter Sunday every day except Saturday. In case you are wondering, its 46 days between Ash Wednesday and and Easter Sunday, its only 40 days if you don’t count the Sundays. Does that mean I could have eaten sweets on Sundays? Saturdays are usually days of chaos for me so I’ll skip those instead.

I’m trying to get back in to the habit of regular blogging, and this is a convenient way of forcing myself to actually use my fat fingers and do it. It should be easier for me than ever before. I have a mobile with WordPress installed and linked to my blog. It’s got an inbuilt camera with  Dropbox so I can take the photos, edit them and put then on place for uploading and hosting on  Pix.ie (and yes I have a backlog of photos to upload). I have  Audioboo setup so I can even embed podcasts in the blog. And while I think I can use the YouTube app to automatically record and upload, I suspect that I’m not going to try that one. Bandwidth is really what is stopping me there, but I might try it out in a rush.

In short the only thing really stopping me, is me.

So if you don’t want to hear from me, now might be a good time to turn off your RSS link to here. If you do, is there anything I should cover?

take care,
Will

I was glad to see Alannah re-started blogging, but to took me seconds to realise that it wasn’t her; she wouldn’t blog about premiership football. Now that the New Year is comfortable over, I have a resolution I’d like you to consider; update your blog at least once this year, even if its just to say “I’m closing this down”.

And now, the long-winded meat of this post.

I am subscribed to over 900 blogs in Google reader. That is a seriously silly amount of information flowing in to my brain. Or at least it would be if they were 900 actively updated blogs.The sad truth is that for a lot of reasons, blogs die. Sometimes its because life gets in the way of a keyboard. Sometimes its because a death stops typing. Sometimes its because the blog was tied to a company position and the blogger has moved to keyboards new.

A silent blog gathers no feed. Or rather, its feed sits in silence. Polls are ignored and it takes up very little attention.

But recently three things happened which makes me question that.

First was the apparent hacking of Tom Raftery’s blog feed. Or rather the feed in Google reader. It appeared as if his blog’s output was replaced by a very spammy list of products. A few hundred a day. I confirmed that he knew about it, but I didn’t want the firehose of, well, DVDs in stock so I un-subscribed while he was trying to figure out its source.

I’m not too sure if the problem was at his servers now, but let me go on.

The next feed to suddenly spring to life was the life of the knitter Alannah of “Over a Cup of Tea”. But her feed was full of the minutia of the UK Premiership Football League. This wasn’t a spam stream of products, it was a stream of valuable (to the fantasy football players I know) information. It was tied to a site called “Over a Cup of Tea”, but that wasn’t the girl I was following. So I unsubscribed.

Then, since many things happen in threes, a third blog sprung to life. This time the technology blog “Its a Feature, not a bug” was replaced by details of a Japanese dance school.Yet another dead blog sprung to life in someone else’s hands, or in this case, shoes.

So what happened.

I have two possible answers, and both lie in Google Reader feeds.

Sometimes Google creates a feed for the blog, this usually turns up if I try to share a link from my phone. The format is something like feedproxy.google.com/~r/nameofblogwithoutspaces followed by a id string for the page. However, some names occur more often than others. If you don’t blog for a while, I suspect that the name get re-cycled to another blog of the same name.

The other possibility is that, while I wasn’t looking, the blog shut down. The domain expired and was reassigned, and a new blog started up in its place. Google then saw “nameofblog.com” with a new feed and assumed that it was a continuation of the previous one, and reassigned it the old feeds it had in place.

Either of them is interesting. Just think, how often do blogs and domain expire? And if a once popular blog goes dark, and then off, if you get that old name or domain, would you suddenly find yourself with an automatic audience (and they aren’t interested).

Personally, I don’t clear out old silent feeds because, since they are silent, they don’t show up. It would take me quite a while before I noticed that someone was silent, unless their quarterly blog posts always began with “must blog more”.

Which is something I need to do more of.

take care… with the feeding of you blog,
Will

Google Listen is a wonderful android app that gets your podcasts in your ears. It does have a few side-effects; it stops you from listening to music.

Now bear with me on this. It might just be me, but with a constant stream of podcasts that I want to hear, I sort of stopped listening to music. After all, I only have 80 slots, and only so much time I can listen to things. But let me go back a bit…

Google Listen is an Android App that ties in with Google Reader. Once the app connects to your reader account you discover that you have a new folder called “Listen Subscriptions”. Any correctly formatted blog post with an MP3 file (I said correctly formatted @enormous) in that folder will get the files scrapped in to the Listen app and it will download and queue it. It seems to work with M4A files too (@MajorNelson audio works however all the links are just a mess of notes. Add a bit more spacing for legibility next time).

However the details of an audio file are small. The actually audio files are much larger. Lets put it this way, if a picture costs a thousand words, then audio costs about ten pictures a second. And over a mobile network, with all the limits most of the carriers apply. Well lets just say that data packets can cost a packet if you exceed your limit. Fortunately you can make Google Listen only download the audio files while connected to a wi-fi connection.

Free wifi is not ubiquitous. And most “advert fronted” wi-fi nodes stop the audio downloads cold (they make Listen download the advert, not the audio file). This means that if someone leaves you a personal audioboo message, it might be some time before you can download it.

Listen also imposes a limit to the number of files you can download.This makes sense if you are running out of memory space on your device (Android has jumped to tablets, and one or two netbooks). The current maximum is eighty files. Not eighty megabytes but eighty files. To ease this a bit I push the short files, those under ten minutes to the top of the queue every morning (sorry @DoneganGardens, your Sodcast remains in the slow queue). This includes most if not all of my audioboo feed. Once played (or deleted), their slot is free for another file. This means that there is at least a delay of a day before I hear a personal message.

What does this delay mean. I means that one-to-many or personal messages audio in search of a reply don’t get heard until the next day. And a response could be delayed even further depending on how much you can afford to reply with over-the-air audio. Even if I was connected to wi-fi constantly, I suspect I wouldn’t push those short audio files for an immediate listen either.

Brian Greene asked if using the likes of pub-sub-hub for audio blogging would make audio-file chat more likely to happen. The problem isn’t simply technology. Its cost, and lifestyle. And yes technology. Costs can come down, technology will reduce the amount of time before you can listen to near zero. But it takes time to listen. It takes time to find the time to listen.

At the moment, this isn’t the time for real-time discrete audio file chatting. Its as much as lifestyle as it is technology. Real-time audio chatting is better on a one-to-one connection, such as a phone call or a skype chat. Even something like a Kinect video chat party conference is a possibility. These are a “stop what you are doing and talk to someone” technology, or synchronous. Swapping audio files, even in a public forum is closer to non-synchronous technology such as e-mail. Or voice mail. Audioboo makes a twitter public style version of voicemail, but its non-synchronous. Meaning it can wait while you do something else.

So my answer is “no”. I’m not saying “not-yet”, I’m saying “no”. Its because actively seeking to hear all new comments is a very active choice in a mostly passive medium. Netbooks are an example of “good enough” technology. They are not the latest and greatest, they are small, light and cheap enabling a lot of functionality in a convenient form-factor for a lot of tasks. Non-realtime audio-blogging is “good enough”. Mainly because you are recording a message.

Recording an audio message implies that its not urgent, its passive. A phone call is an attempt to form an active connection. An e-mail is a fire-and-forget leave it until you are ready connection. A podcast, even a personal one, is a style of communication that can wait. And audio-blogging is such an example. It will never be as current as sending a tweet.

Otherwise you are chatting. And if you want to chat… chat.

But let me ask you to do a test. Get a text-to-speech application. Send your real-time, pushed twitter feed to it. Its noisy. Literally noisy. That is the possible end result if everyone tried to real-time audio-blog. You would need to stop the feed to reply. Even the fire-hose of video bloggers on YouTube know that immediate chat is not possible. Life and a mixture of more feed than there are hours of the day get in the way. Besides, the consumption of this video feed is not a real-time push, but a I’m-ready-for-it-now pull.

As a technology, its great for breaking news. Real-time release of news-in-the-field is a wonderful thing. However, the people actively listening for that real-time push is few. News organizations and news junkies would love it. And then they curate that feed. The old slow systems are not just a “good enough” technology for most, may actually be chosen by preference.

If the technology becomes widespread, then to manage it, you’ll have to do what many do with twitter. Watch some in real-time. Watch and later read a few twitter feeds that are personally important to them, and leave all the others go in to the ether of the web until a search finds them.

I’m just not too sure that its what the advocates of audio-blogging are actually looking for.

13 Dec 2010

Author: will | Filed under: blogging, do we really need this, electronic identity, friends, opinion, podcast, technology

This post has moved to “Google Listening” (because I forgot to title it. Really shouldn’t blog late at night)

Its been a while since I’ve been here.

And how many things have changed.

Will Knott
Bill the Carousel horse

This is a personal blog, just saying. That means, to me, that I blog because I feel like blogging. But when life offers you options that make blogging hard to do, it makes blogging hard to do. Simply put, I’m not too sure what to put here.

Anything that stops the merry-go-round of a need to write will stop it. Part of this is of course that I write on Culch.ie and I’m doing some work for WRF2.com. And part of it is that this particular itch hasn’t needed scratching.

I haven’t even been photo-blogging (most of the photos  taken over the last few months were either for relations (and not to be disseminated beyond cousins) or for friends to put on Facebook (usually under their accounts).

But the itch is returning. There will be cross postings (of course) , but expect to see this blog rise up.

Part of it is, its Summer. I feel a little bit better. My life is still in a state where I don’t want to write about it, but I’m looking around more. Feel like writing more. Getting my fngers to write for me anyway.

There will be shuffling. But I think this blog is going around once more.

28 May 2009

Comments, mails and text

Author: will | Filed under: blogging, blogs, comment

My last post has generated a lot of comments, and mails.

Some have asked why I did the transcript.

Sometimes, when I do a search there is a video clip. A stale non-functioning video clip. it may be the nature of the internet, but things change.

Sites, links, images and embedded objects move about like stones on a beach. They will stand unmoving for years, but the right tide or the right storm, and all the markers shift. The links change, the sites are reorganised and embedded videos point to an empty page on their parent site.

Text survives.

Text can be copied and pasted. Text can be put in e-mails, on t shirts, in books and survive by being spread out across the world. Nowadays text is the viral source of a meme.  It can remain silent in an old print out for years, only to unfold the flower of an idea years later.

Text isn’t strong however. Often if needs a voice to be spread, a video to be seen.

Text however is the king of the internet. It drives the search engines to make an idea findable. Until technology gets to a point where it can determine an image or a video or a sound clip without surrounding text to explain it to the search engine, it is what remains after all else has moved on the ebbing tide of time.

And some tales need to remain to be told through the years just like some songs need to remain to be sung after the singer has moved on.

Will