The last time I blogged about Podcasting, I was just learning a little about it myself and now that I’ve had a chance to explore the Podcasting world a bit, I’m starting to figure out who’s who. I found that the definition of Podcasting on Wikipedia is a good starting point if you’d like a very succinct definition. Podcast Alley is a good site where you can find the top 10 podcasters, based on a voting scheme that appears to be changing to avoid voter fraud. You’ll notice that currently at the top of the list is the Dawn and Drew Show, brought to you by a young married couple Podcasting from an old farm house in Wisconsin. Typical of much podcasting, the commentary is very raw, a little like a George Carlin routine, so be forewarned in case you are offended by that kind of language.
Adam Curry is considered the ‘Godfather of Podcasting’, and his is an interesting story. He was a VJ on MTV from 1987-1994. That’s the exact same period of time I was living in Amish country about 5 miles from where they filmed the movie ‘Witness’ and without cable TV, I wasn’t able to tune into MTV for the entire duration so I never saw Adam’s shows. After we moved back to Greeley, CO, and joined the rest of civilization with cable TV, I found that the music world had passed me by and that they invented a new station for my generation called VH1, MTV having been co-opted by a new generation of rap/hiphop lovers and weird reality shows. In any event, Adam does an amazing job with his very professional ‘radio voice’ podcasting from a cottage in the UK where he lives with his wife and teenage daughter. He’s always experimenting with his recording setup and manages to sound great whether he’s doing the podcast from his car, an airliner at 42,000 feet, or even while emptying his dishwasher in the process.
I’ve been hearing a lot about Podcasting lately, which is a little like audio blogging. I like to listen to audio programs but when I’m at my computer it’s hard for me to listen to an audio program because it interferes with my concentration. I sometimes listen to music when I’m working on the computer, depending on what I’m doing, and some of my most enjoyable CAD work was done while listening to my favorite music on my walkman back in the day when that was the only way to listen to music at a computer ;-). But I really can’t concentrate on working when there’s an audio (i.e., non-music) program in the background. However, when I’m walking, driving, or riding my motorcycle, listening to an audio program is a welcome addition. So for some time I’ve been downloading a 30 minute daily radio program from Kenradio.com for playback on my iPod. I’ve been surprised that more daily audio programs were not available in that format, but that may change soon.
Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogsinc, recently blogged about ‘how to’ get podcasts. It involves downloading and installing iPodder and then populating it with feeds. The feeds are very much like syndicated feeds for regular blogs, often identified with an XML tag. The iPodder software will check nightly for new audio blogs and download them automatically and put them in your iTunes library. Previously, to listen to an audio blog, you had to find the URL, download the .mp3 file, save it in some location on your hard drive, import it into your iTunes library, and then drag it into your iPod. Now that has all been reduced to a single step, i.e., dragging it on to your iPod. Ken Rutkowski of Kenradio.com says he will be arranging an Podcasting feed soon and it will be a welcome addition. Currently, I have to go looking for his daily show’s .mp3 file in one of his folders (www.kenradio.com/audio) because getting it through the main page is a pain in the neck, requiring a login that never seems to work.
I’ve listened to a few of the podcasts that Jason mentioned in his blog, like Coverville out of Boulder, CO which is a music show that features covers of popular music. Another show, Gadling, is dedicated to ‘adventure’ traveling. ReelReviews, a movie review podcast, gives in-depth movie reviews of older movies. Kenradio is still my favorite, but it would be nice to find a few more podcasts.
Formula One Racing
Formula One Racing season started this weekend and I’m looking forward to this season. Last year was a bit of a disappointment with the Williams BMW team having an off year. We went to the formula one race in Montreal, Canada last year and the team did great with both cars in the points finishing in 2nd and 5th place but they were later disqualified for having the brake ducts too close to the rotors. I blogged about that race here. This year there will be 19 races on 5 continents and the Williams BMW team has two new drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber. They aren’t exactly rookies, but neither one has won a race yet, partly because the cars they drove last year were not very competitive.
I hadn’t known much about Formula One racing since in the U.S. there are too many other race events which is a distraction from this global sport. To watch it for a season is a lesson in geography as they move the race between 17 different countries. I worked on a project at the Chemical Analysis Division of HP (now Agilent) that was a joint venture with an Italian company.
The company was located in Monza, just outside Milan near the famed race track. During my visits to Italy I became good friends with my host, Silvio, and we still communicate regularly. Terri and I have been over to Italy several times and visited him and his family while we were there. He lives very close to the race track, within walking distance, and you can hear the cars practicing at the Monza Autodrome from his patio. He knows the sounds of various engines so well that he can tell you which cars are practicing by listening to the sound of their engines. Hardly a day goes by that there isn’t some event going on at the track and we got to visit the track each time we were there and saw a wide variety racing, including Superbike racing which was truly a thrill for a motorccyle enthusiast like me. We’re hoping to visit my friend again soon and would like to time it so we will get to see the F1 race from a European vantage point
I took a flight in the LongEZ with my friend Kyle today from Greeley to Sidney, NE and back. Cabela’s is located within a mile from the field and they come out to pick you up with a free shuttle. It only took about 36 minutes to get there, and Kyle was impressed. We hit speeds of over 180 mph on the way thanks to a 20 mph tailwind. The crosswinds at Sidney were pretty lively, 18 kts. gusting to 30 kts. and not exactly down the runway, more like at right angles to it. But we were able to land safely and without too much trouble. He generally drives there about once a year and it takes over 2 and a half hours each way when you drive there.
We ran into my friend Rick Gardner from Greeley there. It’s a small world indeed. He was there giving a seminar on fishing. He’s a professional walleye fisherman with lots of sponsors who provide him with some fancy equipment. We had a nice lunch, resisted much temptation in buying lots of things, and then returned home.
The shuttle driver told us that Cabela’s will be building a 200,000 sq. ft. store in Denver next year. It should be a beauty if it’s anything like the one they have in Sidney.