Kent Beck spoke at O’Reilly Media’s RailConf on Test Driven Development, Patterns and Extreme Programming and I got to listen while working out last week. A long trip to a client gave me an excuse to listen to last week’s Technometria interview on Sxipper, and catching up with some 2006 archival Twit.tv FLOSS recordings featuring PHP’s originator Rasmus Lerdof and a second one with Jeremy Allison on Samba.
At eComm 2008, Rich Miner presented a talk on “Openness and the Future of Mobile.” Rich works at Google and had a part in the Android project, but the talk is more general overview than product advertisement.
You can listen to the presentation here: http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3679.html and view the slides on this site: http://www.slideshare.net/eComm2008/rich-miners-presentation-at-ecomm-2008/
I listen to audiocasts (I don’t have a *pod, and don’t agree with the brand implications. Since I listen on my ThinkPad, they’re PadCasts for me. Let’s say “audiocast” or we could be really retro about it and refer to them as “audio recordings” since they’re neither cast nor podded.) while working out and go through quite a few. The Conversations Network has been a great source for these: IT Conversations in particular. Phil Windley’s Technometria is one I try to catch each weekly episode. Other features, like David Heinemeier Hansson’s keynote at the 2007 RailsConf or Tim’ O’Reilly’s keynote as OSCON are other favorites. There’s lots of other good stuff on Coversations Network, so much so that I’ve contributed to the network, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
But there are other, far smaller operations. I met Peter Nikolaidis through the Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, and he does an audiocast called “Fresh Ubuntu” with a fellow from the west coast named Harlem, a man with a voice for radio. An interesting show with contributions from many others, too, focused on Ubuntu, but ranging over many of the topics involving Open Source.
I like to keep up with all of these audiocasts (and would welcome more recommendations from others!), but it involves manually visiting the web site, checking to figure out if I’ve heard the audiocast already, and downloading it. I’m looking for an automated way of doing this.
I was (and still am!) a regular subscriber to Dave Winer’s Scripting News, and listened to his first audio enclosure (imagine that!) in his RSS feed, accessible directly through the Radio Userland built in feed reader. Since then, I’ve changed hardware a few times, operating systems at least twice, and feed reader software more times than I can recall. I’m looking for an application I can run from my Linux desktop that will regularly check the RSS feeds put out by the audicasting sites and download the new audiocasts of interests. Bonus points if the software is under a FOSS license, +1 for efficient and frugal resource use, cool interfaces, etc.
One recommendation off the Conversations Network is labeled iPodder, but points to JuiceReceiver, which doesn’t “yet” have a Linux port, despite being written in Python. It seems like there are close relatives to this code in CastPodder and IcePodder, but it’s not clear to me which of any of these projects is alive, well and legitimate. It appears to me that IcePodder has roots in the others, with directories still named iPodder (likely renamed due to near trademark infringement of a well-known player?) and a CastPodder manual buried in the download, dated 2005. (Here’s a clue: IcePodder’s About page says “IcePodder is a podcatcher (RSS client) for Linux conceived as a replacement for CastPodder. ” So my guess is that iPodder begat JuiceReceiver begat CastPodder begat IcePodder. Whether or not I’m on the “right” branch is something that a little more research ought to bring to light. (Update: a little Googling confirms the theory, and it appears to be pretty amicable.)
IcePodder was an easy install: download, unpackage, review the README and INSTALL, review and run the install.sh script. Written in Python, using wxWidgets for UI, GPL. A little shaky in operation – I’ve crashed it once or twice, but I’m running the old “stable” release rather than the current code, so I should upgrade before passing judgement. The code needs some serious search-and-replace s/CastPodder/IcePodder/g but it looks pretty promising. Anyone else have recommendations?
UPDATE: gPodder also looks promising. Don’t let the version 0.10 fool you – apparantly, that’s the version after 0.9, according to the developers…
Ten people attended the September meeting of the Monadnock Area Linux User Group, MonadLUG, one of the LUGs of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group, held as usual on the second Thursday of the month at the SAU 1 Administration offices on Hancock Road in Peterborough.
Charlie started off the meeting with a round of introductions, and we welcomed several new members and shared our interests and backgrounds. We covered a bit of news about upcoming events; I mentioned that we try to keep all upcoming meetings on gnhlug.org and plugged upcoming meetings by other LUGs as well as the Manchester Tech North conference, the GBC/ACM meeting with Guy Steele, and the SWaNH infoeXchange conference.
Charlie covered upcoming MonadLUG meetings, a record number of them:
- October 11,. Ben Scott, DNS
- November 8, Ted Roche, Cascading Style Sheets
- December 13, Tim Wessels, Revolution OS
- January 10, Ray Côté, something tbd
- February 14, Tim Wessels, SuSE Linux Enterprise 10
On to the main presentation, Charlie talked about his project of digitizing his collection (he estimates 800) of vinyl records. (For those not familiar with Charlie’s background, he spent 30 years as a piano technician, and some of his favorite recordings include pianos that he had tuned.) Charlie was not focused on high-fidelity, high-fiddling recordings; rather, just burning CDs he could listen to in the car, so quick, efficient, simple and good quality was the focus. Charlie talked about how he hooked up a consumer-grade turntable and stereo receiver to the computer’s sound card line in (you need to go through the receiver because phono output needs pre-amplification and the signal has a specific profile). Folks in the audience offered that pre-amps were available as standalone units inexpensively on eBay.
Once the sound arrived at the sound card, it needed to be digitized. Charlie talked about how it worked on his Slackware machine, but he could never figure out how to un-mute the sound inputs in Ubuntu. Several folks offered sympathy and similar stories of getting tangled up in the various sound systems (OSS, ALSA) and not getting incoming sound to work well. This is a topic where a local expert could make a very popular meeting, I expect!
Having failed to get the sound mixers and Audacity to record directly, Charlie used the rec command line (from the sox package) to record instead. Charlie provided a handout (which I hope to post to the LUG wiki here) with the commands he used and some additional notes.
Once the sound was captured as a WAV file, he brought the sound into Audacity and used the filters and trimming facilities to amplify the sound to the full dynamic range, remove (or at least reduce) clicking, get rid of background noise, and split the recording into separate tracks. Charlie would save these separately and burn them all to an audio CD to play on the home or car stereo.
It was great to see someone actually use Audacity and understand what many of the buttons and options are used for. I was inspired to try to digitize some of my old fogey music.
Thanks to Charlie for organizing the meeting and doing the presentation.This is one I would encourage the other LUGs to consider asking Charlie to repeat.