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SlowTV-TimFlannery Have a look/listen to “After Copenhagen” a SlowTV recording of Tim Flannery in conversation with Robert Manne.  It’s wonderful to hear Tim’s realistic optimism in the wake of 6 months of bad news for the world’s climate future. It is also interesting to see how well this format works.

We’re blessed with a new medium – recordings of public meetings where interesting people speak, enabled by the new economics of low cost video recording and the Internet. It gives speakers the time to expand on their views without relying on the quick grabs demanded by impatient “Old Media”. Credit to The Monthly for using this new medium, showing that it’s possible for the old media (magazines) to reinvent themselves

Mind you, I still think it is better suited to Radio (Podcast) rather than Television (YouTube, etc). So I was relieved to discover that a podcast version is available. A small criticism: the audio is unnecessarily split into three sections. It manages to reverse the order in which it ends up on my iPod. It would be good to have the podcast as a single file or alternatively reverse the order in which the podcast sections are syndicated.

After Copenhagen Conversation with Tim Flannery on SlowTV.
The Monthly

jc.jpgThis morning I listened to the podcast version of Andrew Ford's Music Show. Andrew is a great interviewer, not just a personable guy, but a real musician (a composer, actually) and has a knack of making his guests comfortable. Of course that's made easier with certain guests!

So, have a listen to this repeat performance of his interview with Jon Cleary, the English/New Orleans pianist. Andy just gets out of the way and Jon takes charge.  Great radio, great music...

Listen (MP3)
The Music Show (ABC Radio National)

Regulars know that I’m a fan of podcasts, particularly of NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. However, the cynic in me always checks for commercial “agendas” in radio programs/podcasts. We all know that many interviewees present themselves in order to sell their books, movies and CDs. So often the interviewer isn’t really interested and the interviewee tired of answering the same old questions. That’s rarely the case with Fresh Air but, like I said, I’m a cynic…


The last Pixar movie (Wall-E) didn’t score highly with me, so I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing about another movie promotion in the recent edition of Fresh Air. Have a listen and see if you can spot whether Terry Gross really saw/liked the movie and whether Pete Doctor is just selling the movie. Oh, and I’m going to see Up as soon as I have the opportunity….

andrew I've been catching up with podcasts. Something tells me that I've subscribed to more than I can consume. This morning I listened to one of Jon Udell's Innovator interviews with Andrew Rasiej, who calls himself a Social Entrepreneur.

The interview hit home on a number of levels. One point which was particularly painful: If you have an opportunity to work with a 20 year old or a 50 year old in a project - work with the 20 year old. Sigh... That's a problem at two levels, first because I'm about to turn 62, and second because the network I'm trying to build has no one below 50. Supposedly if you're lifelong learner, you're an exception and you should look for others. Jon...

The discussion touched on a few positives for me as well, how the abundance social networking contrasts with the scarcity of email communications. I won't bother explaining - just listen.

Long Time Olden Time

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Cover of Long Time Olden Time CD-ROM A friend "innocently" pointed me to this Ars Technica article on e-books, in the full knowledge that it would destroy the rest of my day. He knew that I could not leave some article, which seemed to pretend that the e-book started when the writer joined Palm Media in 2002, alone without reply. The article is more a 5 page rant from a frustrated e-book publisher, rather than a balanced perspective on the history (and challenges) of the e-book.

The Voyager Company  developed an e-book format (called Expanded Books) in the early 1990's. I read Jurasic Park by Michael Crichton on my Powerbook in 1991. It had no DRM and a superb user interface which did not get in the way of the reader. It came compressed on a floppy disk, which installed on a Macintosh and ran on top of Apple's Hypercard.

Usage Instructions of Long Time Olden Time CD-ROMFirmware Design (our company) published an oral history project on CD in 1993 using the Voyager Expanded Book Toolkit. Long Time Olden Time was an oral history of Aboriginal experiences in the Northern Territory, collected by Peter and Jay Read. Originally published as a book and separate audiotapes, it could be read on screen with its synchronised audio track.

Bob Stein, co-founder of the Voyager Company, is a professional maniac, who deserves (but probably isn't interested in) a lot credit for the first practical e-book. His connections with the Book Publishing Industry convinced Publishers to experiment. He is now the founder and a director of The Institute for the Future of the Book.

link to the book's web page I enjoyed listening to a segment on Gordon Barton on Monday night's Late Night Live.

In the seventies I was an avid reader of Nation Review and a member of the Australia Party, both Gordon Barton initiatives. Those were heady days... I'll be putting Sam Everingham's book, Gordon Barton - Australia's Maverick Entrepreneur on my reading list.

Allen & Unwin, the book's publisher have chapter one online

Note to friends at Allen & Unwin, as I'm writing this, the book's information on your website seems unfinished (0 pages in the book according to the blurb).

Oh.... ABC, please...

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is one of our great institutions. The best of its programmes stimulate and challenge. I listen to many of its programmes as Podcasts on my iPhone or iPod, at a time of my choosing, in a place of my choosing.

Robyn Johnston has been a long time favourite presenter with eclectic musical choices. This month,on IntoTheMusic she's been playing a series of performances with Richard Gill, helping "discover" music such as Elgar's Enigma Variations. Next week's program is an interview with Leonard Cohen. Talk about my "sweet spots"...

I understand the disruption of the business model for musicians and the recording industry, brought about by downloads. I still pay for my music. Happily, we're seeing some more flexibility by the music industry, but Podcasts which include music are a challenge, still today. So IntoTheMusic is only available as streaming audio, not as a podcast.

But how many of us sit in front of a computer, listening to Richard Gill explaining Elgar's music? C'mon ABC, you recorded it, you must own the rights to this. Australian tax payers paid for it. Podcast it...

[Update 13 Feb 2009]

Just received an email from the executive producer of "Into the Music" with a template reply."Music copyright issues prevent us from podcasting/offering as download at present....".

Hallo... The Richard Gill series was an ABC Recording, ABC broadcast. Elgar's public performance rights must have expired by now.
I can see that there are programs in the series to which the ABC does not have broadcast rights, but at least allow MP3 downloads for your own recordings!

[update 16 Feb 2009]

Robyn from Into The Music just followed up to point out that it needs permission from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Perhaps separating the Sydney Symphony from the ABC some years ago was a bad move...

[MC] In the mean time, there is always the  Freecorder alternative to turn the show into the MP3 format

Happy Birthday Darwin

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DarwinSpecial One of my podcast regulars is Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time”, a weekly BBC 4 radio show. This week, it featured a four part special on Darwin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. Great radio. Unfortunately the BBC doesn’t keep its audio files on their site for long, so hurry and download episode  1, 2, 3 and 4 or subscribe to the program.

Studs Terkel's Almanac

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StudsTerkelAlmanac I always knew of Studs Terkel, mainly because of his reputation as a broadcaster. There never had been much opportunity to listen to him, although I treasure a recording of an interview he did with Pete Seeger and Big Bill Broonzy (released by Folkways, liner notes here).

His recent death triggered many tributes. That in turn motivated me to look a bit closer at his life and work. I very much enjoyed what found and hope more of his work is released online in the future.

Here are some items worth listening to:

Minnesota Public Radio's Midday Show played a collection of Terkel interviews (53:54) with Pete Seeger, Gore Vidal (1961), Mel Brooks (1968), John Henry Faulk (1971), Bob Woodward (1987), Oliver Sachs (1986) and Garrison Keillor, all from the 6 CD set, "Voices of Our Time".

Phillip Adams replayed an interview with Studs recently and of course NPR has a bunch of excellent  articles and recordings by him, including a classic one hour interview with Bob Dylan in 1963.

NPR also replayed a program recorded in 1992 with Marian McPartland, "Radio Legend Studs On Piano Jazz".

And here is a "Conversation with History":

I love Gross

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FreshAirPodcasts.pngI first discovered Fresh Air, a National Public Radio programme, years ago when on one of my visits to the US. Subsequently, II always sought it out whenever I was there.

Terry Gross, its presenter is one of the best interviewers in the business and the program's format is that of the "long form" interview. Terry takes her time, is well briefed on the topic and the interviewee. Subjects range form politics to music and film, including sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. No taboos, no hype, just conversation, terrific...

Some time ago, NPR started making Fresh Air available via Podcast and now I'm like a "Pig in Shit". Every U.S. weekday 45 minutes of Fresh Air, I love it. If there is a criticism , it is that these programs are simply the radio programs with station announcement (and sometimes  the music) cut with simple edits and the effect is occasioanlly jarring. But that's easy to overlook when the topic is of interest and the guest engaging.

Especially for JD, here is my iTunes listing of the last 6 months of programs (click on the thumbnail). A truly eclectic range of topics and guests.

Links: Fresh Air  The Latest Show, Podcast feed