Podcast 133: How Podcasting Saved My Mind

A somewhat coherent ramble after returning from a week long absence and discovering how much I missed a microphone. You can call it vanity if you want, but it's not that I like to hear the sound of my own voice as much as thinking that I can share ideas with someone I may never have a conversation with. I've always dug jamming on the keys, but this behind the mic thing is pretty special too.

lovehate: 3 Found Websites, 300 Subscribers

It's not often I just start picking up new websites/services. It's not that I intentionally avoid such things, it's simply that I spend more time writing and recording than exploring. This past week, however, I've jumped in on betas of a few sites that range from the popular to relatively unknown: Brizzly.com, Flowchart.com, Deals.Woot.com.
Brizzly has certainly been the darling of the social media set for the past couple of weeks as every strained to get their invites after being pissed off that they didn't find invites for Google Wave. Combining your Facebook and all of your Twitter accounts into a web interface is fairly cool, although it's been done by sites like Hootsuite and Friendbinder plus others.
I haven't really explored Brizzly enough to find how different it really is from the sites already out there. Maybe that's because I really enjoy the functionality of a stand-alone app for Twitter. I've been using Tweetdeck for the better part of a year now, and I have no real plans to turn back to the browser. I can appreciate the pull toward a browser-based solution by people in Enterprise environments where installing Adobe Air and a Social Networking app is a pipe dream at best. Perhaps in such an environment I would be looking for the best browser solution as well.
I like that Brizzly is doing what it's doing; I just don't know if I want to be doing it.
In looking for an online solution to creating flowcharts, I suppose I should've guessed that flowchart.com would've been a best guess - but I'm not prone to thinking things are that easy and it actually took me a bit of searching to find it. I'm becoming increasingly impressed at the interfaces that are being developed for web applications that create/edit graphics, sounds and video. While this is also a case where a freeware stand-alone app would probably be my first choice. I appreciate that I can do this online.
Flowchart.com does offer a pretty simple interface that I found it really easy to get used to. Admittedly, I have very rare occasion to ever create flowcharts, but I was thinking of making one for a blog post the other night. I realized that, where 10 years ago I used to have a bunch of apps installed on my PC that I could use for such a task, my lack of need to make flowcharts had diminished my software options. At least if I need to make a flowchart in the future, the URL will not be easy to forget.
Wrapping up my triumvirat of web exploration came perhaps the most appropriate site for the upcoming gift-giving season: deals.woot.com. For those of you that fondly remember Woot-Offs when a series of deals would revolve around at woot.com, the makers have basically added Digg functionality to deals. Users can submit their own deals and rate and rank them. What you essentially end up with is a dynamically-changing deals network. As you start to shuffle through some of the deals, you'll be able to sort by keywords, online stores or users and vote up the deals that you like. They've even aggregated a leaderboard that allows you to check out all of the deals stats that you could want.

Living in Canada, there are many of these deals that I can't take complete advantage of, but that's what snowbird parents and VISA are for. Not a brilliant trio of websites for sure - but certainly functional for the right reasons at the right times. I don't regularly "review" websites anyway... I know, a pretty weak lovehate right?

Actually, all this is a prelude to saying thanks to my 302 subscribers on Posterous. I had to wait a week to break 300, but I've been busy and beat and bereft of ideas when I get home most nights. (I hope at least some of you are enjoying the eclectic video embeds.)

I know that when radio stations get one caller for a contest, they have the market research that establishes the ratio of callers to listeners. I have to say that the community here at Posterous has been a joy to share ideas with and to gain so much knowledge from. Thanks Garry and Sachin for kicking things into gear a year and a half ago. Thanks to the new team members for the great additions. And thanks to everyone who has read even one full post from lovehatethings.

I've got to keep writing for sanity alone. If someone enjoys the reading, that's an added bonus. There are plenty of other communities out there. I'm glad I found this one when I did.

Thanks to all my Posterous LHT followers...

In the time it took to leave and return from Vegas this week, I broke the 200 follower threshold of Posterous users.

While I know 200 is a relatively small number over the expanse of the web, having that number (from one community) enjoy some of the things I've written and shared enough to come back and include me in their feeds is humbling. In just over a year I've come to know many small aspects of all of you through your posts.

I can say, without reservation, that without the simplicity and effectiveness of this platform, I would have had a near impossible time expressing myself and maintaining lovehatethings in its current fashion.

Thanks Garry, Sachin, and the team for helping lovehatethings reach at least 200 pairs of eyes and ears.


lovehate: The Vegas Experiment

Heading off on a semi-annual sojourn to Las Vegas at week's end, I'm excited at the prospect of two things:

  1. Staying at a far higher class of establishment than I normally frequent, thanks to the recession and four comped nights at The Palazzo.
  2. Trying to experiment in "trip report" podcasting during the days I'm there via my iPod Touch, the Voice Memo App, and any wi-fi connections I can find. LOVE that Posterous is going to make this process so simple!

In my 5th post to the lovehatethings blog over a year ago, I pondered the incredible waste that goes on in Las Vegas in an attempt to sound unsure about whether or not I could justify the gluttony... it was, mostly, tongue-in-cheek even though the over-the-top nature of the town is legendary.

In that post I opined:

They've got a lightbulb that planes can see from Los Angeles. They've killed thousands of trees a year to produce laminated cards that seedy characters whack on their leg, advertising silicon-laden escorts that'll do the macarena or the Dirty Sanchez. They've totally thrown scale to the wind by creating hotel/casinos that are measured in square miles and when the MGM Grand's 5000 rooms seemed insurmountable, the Venetian built a second tower (The Palazzo) to bring its total to a mere 7000!

You can lose your 20, 50, or 100 dollar bill in the time it takes to steal a glance at the scantilly-clad cocktail waitress that is bringing your free mojito as the blackjack dealer draws a 5 on her 16 after you've doubled down your 11 and pulled a 9.  You inhale the second hand smoke from an entire carton of Kools while walking 10 feet through the Gold Spike's penny slot aisles. You can play golf at an 18 hole course ON THE FREAKIN' STRIP while over the property wall homeless Las Vegans beg for change.

So as I prepare to return back to Vegas for another summer excursion, I thought I'd do something different. If everything goes as planned you'll be able to follow my special "lovehatevegas" podcasts on at least a daily basis. Hope you like them. I'm guessing there may some short blog posts as well, or at least as long as the mini Touch keyboard will allow.

If you love Vegas, like I do, hopefully you'll find something in the updates that resonates and allows you to have some good memories. If you've never been to Sin City, maybe you'll find something in the podcasts or blog entries that spurs a desire to go. I don't mind being considered a shill for Vegas. Even if you're not a gambler, You've got to go there at least once.

Thanks to everyone who follows lovehatethings. Keep your eyes and ears open starting Sunday!

lovehate: 10 Things I've Learned Since Starting Lovehatethings One Year Ago

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Lovehatethings and I figured Anniversary Eve would be a good time to reflect on the past year's most valuable lessons in my latest round of blogging. Lovehatethings is not my "side" blog or my picture/clip repository; it is my only solo blog.

  1. Subject be damned - I thought, when I first started lovehatethings, that I would try to stay on things tech and web culture with a dash of ephemera thrown in for good measure. I soon came to grips with the fact that no matter how I tried to craft a theme or topic for the blog, ultimately I was the theme. While I never wanted or considered lovehatethings to be a lifestream (and it's not) I was hoping I would have time to write longer sweeping pieces about pop culture on a more regular basis. In lieu of essays and longer reflections, the ephemera fleshed out the opinion and what resulted was a clearer scope of my views on culture instead of the culture itself.
  2. Staying current is currency - Having more time in the summer to keep up posting made the first couple of months easy to satisfy at least a post per day, and even when I have had little time to "construct" a written post, I have always tried to maintain some output on a daily basis (this is post number 483 in 364 days).
  3. Podcast or Perish - Lovehatethings is/was my first foray into podcasting (I know I arrived on the scene late). 98 podcasts later I've gone through scripted, unscripted, rants, recoils and rambles with the only expectation being that I would have a blast doing them and learning by them... mission accomplished.
  4. The medium is the message - In so much as anyone can put up content and hope that people consume, I really have to thank the Posterous team for giving me tools that allowed me to gain greater distribution control of content over the past year. Posting and podcasting by email, notifications, analytics, custom domains - anything I could've wanted in this first year was not only provided but made simple. My career isn't coding, but it does entail some heavy duty communication. I loved that I could handle the words while someone else handled the code.
  5. Buying into the community - My work with lovehatethings prompted a greater interest in the subcultures that are blogging and podcasting and social media in general. I attended Podcamps, tweetups, and become an advocate among friends and peers for social media growth and involvement.
  6. Words are not dead - As much as many web consumers seem transfixed with keyboard cats and memes-a-plenty, I have found more value in words over the past year than I have in a long time - and this comes from an English teacher. I do not, nor will I ever buy into the fact that a blog idea should be said in as few words as possible. The artistic sensibility in blogging should be found in words. While brevity is certainly economical, I don't read a blog or listen to a podcast to get headlines as quickly as possible. I want to be entertained and a well-crafted story, sentence, or turn of phrase can make the topic more enjoyable no matter how bland it should be.
  7. Fueled by stupidity - While I could easily accept others accusing me of this, I really mean to say that the stupidity of the world around me has really inspired some of the better posts on the blog. Whether it's a celebrity or a person who cut me off in a parking lot, disgust, disbelief and sometimes outright rage inject prose with a certain maliciousness that is therapeutic. It is also this stupidity, especially by people around the city, that inspired the Impromptu Podcasts that started up as a way to relieve the podcasting bug when longer written pieces were too far between.
  8. Readers and listeners are irrelevant - Not to insult you if you're reading this now, but if I was doing all this work for someone else, without getting paid, and agonizing over results, it all wouldn't be much fun. And it has been fun. I've always enjoyed watching band that were having fun on stage. I don't care how sloppy the arrangements or how many missed notes, but show me a band that smiles at each other and the crowd and I'll show you a crowd who smiles back.
  9. Plus ça changeplus c'est la même chose - As much as many Social Media people like to trumpet the vast differences between "new" and "old" media, the basic construct remains the same: sender to message to receiver. That the feedback loop has been shortened, when required, is an improvement, but has always been available even by Pony Express. The basic tenets of any media studies still apply: know your audience, know your medium, know yourself.
  10. The new web realities - Authority is awkward. Recommendations are required. Networking is knowledge. Parsing is premium. Cognition is key. And while some of you will recognize the acronym PWEI from a band called Pop Will Eat Itself, I've become half convinced that such is the fate of the web as bloggers write about other bloggers who write about other bloggers and somewhere in there is a fact or two. Facts are like Waldo.

Tomorrow - the Anniversary Post!

lovehate: My Summer Bucket List

Below is my summer "bucket list" - i.e. things to do before summer kicks the bucket.

  • Think of a better name for this list than "bucket list"
  • Get back to Las Vegas and find a way to break the bank and come home with enough money to fund a winter trip to Vegas.
  • Spend ample time deciding whether I should get an iPhone.
  • Reassure myself that my decision to not buy a BluRay DVD player is completely justified because the cost is still too high for its own good, and even though I own a couple hundred DVDs, I never watch them.
  • Try to regain the same blogging output that I had last summer when lovehatethings first started. (Two weeks until the first anniversary!)
  • Try to encourage more of friends that Twitter is about way too much more than lifestreaming for them to use that as an excuse to stay away.
  • Catch up on the latest seasons of Weeds, Burn Notice, Ashes to Ashes, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and True Blood.
  • Go to see some late night movies... I wish they started at midnight - 10:30 is too early for this night owl.
  • Get on the ball and reserve a night for my 3rd annual Backyard Film Festival.
  • Book a gig so that my gracious friends who keep asking me to play are kept happy for another six months.
  • Find a cheap source of watermelons. Those things are like crack in the summer; gotta have my fix.
  • Play some poker with friends and at the closest casino.
  • Try at least five local restaurants I've never checked out.
  • Do at least one day of buying rush tickets for Stratford and checking out a couple of plays.
  • Find things that really piss me off... it helps the podcast rants so much.
  • Start to write the Great American novel and then give up in a violent fit having drowned myself in a sea of bourbon.
  • Start to read Finnegan's Wake... and then give up in a violent fit having drowned myself in a sea of bourbon.
  • Do annual summer viewings of Dazed and Confused, Almost Famous, Big Fish, a Kevin Smith marathon, and, if the moment moves me, a John Hughes marathon.
  • And last, but not least, read the books that have been gathering dust on the shelves for far too long.

Impromptu Podcast 39: Without Me, My Domain is Nothing. Without My Domain, I am Nothing.

Ever been declared dead and had to prove yourself still alive? That's kinda what I felt like this past week after having my domain redirect go wonky and then having some well-meaning, but ineffective, people try to fix it, followed by my ultimate decision to transfer... six days of HELL.
And on the seventh day, I realized my domain was more than my address, it was my home. Funny I discovered the problem while staying out of town at a hotel. That's what my online life has felt like all week.
Included in this Impromptu Podcast is a short pre-recorded piece based on the Marine Creed called My Rifle. I have adapted it to suit my feelings toward my domain.

lovehate: This is MY domain name

full metal jacket

After a recent glitch at my registrar, I had to transfer my lovehatethings.com domain. I can honestly say that the process of just waiting six days while nothing happened to expedite the transfer was painful... I never longed for my analytics stats so much. The email sent by my original registrar said my domain would be transferred in five days, and to only respond if I want to cancel the transfer. Now I know they are really only trying to serve my best interests by giving me such protection, but certainly there has to be a loophole, or at least a phone number, whereby I could have hastened the process.

There will be a podcast soon about how my domain has now become my new confirmation name (any other lapsed Catholics out there?), but, until then, I leave you with my version of the US Marine Creed as re-written for the newfound attachment I have with my domains. Put your best Full Metal Jacket filters on while reading.

My Domain

This is my domain
There are many like it, but this one is MINE.
My domain is my best friend. It is my life.
I must master it as I must master my life.

My domain without me is useless. Without my domain, I am useless.
I must update my content true.
I must post more intelligently than the commenter who is trying to quell me.
I must bury him before he buries me. I will...

My domain and myself know that what counts on Web is not the words we fire,
the noise of our backgrounds, nor the flash interfaces we make.
We know it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My domain is human, even as I, because it is my life.

Thus, I will learn it as a brother.
I will learn its CNAME, its redirects, its scripts, its subdomains, its sites, and its analytics.
I will ever guard it against the ravages of Denial of Service attacks and expiry.
I will keep my domain unique and steady, even as I am unique and steady.
We will become part of each other. We will...

Before WEB I swear this creed.

My domain and myself are the defenders of free thought.
We are the masters of our spammers.
We are the saviors of pop culture.
So be it, until there is no enemy, but NET NEUTRALITY.