Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

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20 January 2009

I must tune in to Obama’s speech so I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren about it. I’ll catch the stream on the BBC.

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed…

Hey the text of the speech isn’t being provided live as well – only highlights. But it must be around somewhere… google google… Nope. Hey I should microblog about that… tap tap tap… Hm. I don’t feel like the speech is really moving me as I’d hoped. I’ll blog about that too.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

Ah that’s a good bit – I’ll blog about that. As soon as the BBC feed catches up. Tap tap tap…

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Oh – over already? Well that was historic… but I don’t know that I’ll be able to give much of an account of what it was like to be watching! I guess the habits of reporting over experiencing I developed in my stint at BBC News Online haven’t left me…

9 October 2008

I found a way around the problem I complained of earlier – having no way to publish my list of subscribed podcasts from iTunes. Check out the list I just added at the right about two thirds of the way down and enjoy a great selection of largely speech-based podcast goodness. And just above that check out the list of posts I have read on others’ blogs and elected to share via Google Reader because I found them interesting.

11 August 2008

Britain From Above seems to be more than usually focused on cross-platform consumption, divided into two minute chunks with pictures and extras online as well as being available on HDTV. Alas two minutes isn’t enough to really dig into any one item but some are interesting – I was intrigued by this glimpse of Lord Abercrombie’s well-meaning but disastrously ill-conceived vision for post-war London:

18 January 2008
Filed under:Online media,Useful web resources at11:46 am

After 12 years, Yahoo’s “picks” feature has packed up. I have been following it off and on since its inception and especially in the early years when there wasn’t so much going on on the web it was for me an invaluable information source. I suppose Yahoo’s owners believe that there’s no point in hand-picking when the wisdom of crowds finds the ‘cool’ automatically. I’ll miss it, if only because of nostalgia…

11 April 2007

Over at Media @ LSE I just posted about my experiences with Librivox – a free project to read public domain texts aloud turning them into audiobooks. I hate to criticize a bunch of people just trying to help spread the availability of classic works but… well… check out my posting…

17 February 2007
Filed under:Online media,Weblogs at7:57 pm

365 Ways to Change the World – stocked by the cash register of my local bookstore – includes “Fight child slavery with fairtrade chocolate” alongside, “Influence the world’s media: become a blogger”. Unless you happen to live in a country or situation that is both inaccessible and newsworthy or you have specialist expertise and connections to the mainstream media you are unlikely to make much of an impact on the mainstream media, and in any case there are many reasons to blog and a desire to influence the world’s media is one of the least common.

28 August 2006
Filed under:Old media,Online media,Weblogs at10:30 am

Here’s a radio series I am going to have to record – Meet the bloggers – mostly A list British personal bloggers but also featuring an interview with the ubiquitous Instapundit.

13 June 2006

Wow – at last you can look at the BBC News site statistics in some detail so you can see who reads what (at least for the top ten stories in a given subject or continent – and without exact page views).

Interestingly, the site’s announcement of this feature is in the top 10 even though it doesn’t appear on the front page….

12 September 2005

I am beginning to realise there is no reason for me to be bored ever again…

My biggest problem remains books – I occaisionally run out of books I am interested in reading (I tend to rely on book reviews from The Guardian, Time Out, or more occaisional outlets). I do really wish that as much work was dedicated to making book reviews and recommendations available and searchable online as has been devoted to movies and music. But now that I am an academic I have plenty of interesting books and papers I can and should read alongside my recreational reading.

I am not a great TV watcher anyway but now that I have a DVD recorder I have recorded more documentaries and movies than I will ever have time to watch – around 70 hours unwatched on DVD, another ten hours or so of unwatched – and unlikely to be watched – videotape and perhaps 500 hours or so of stuff I have already watched but am keeping for a rainly… er… month. In fact the size of my collection is starting to alarm me a little.

I spend most of my time in front of this lovely little iBook and as you can see from my link list on the R there is plenty there to both interest and entertain me online…

Which used to just leave the time I can’t spend in front of a book or screeen – when I am in the shower, cycling around or doing the dishes or ironing etc – which I tend to spend listening to an MP3 player. I selectively recorded the many speech radio programs listed at R from the Internet into MP3 format and listened to them, normally in preference to music (though I now have nearly 15Gb of MP3s now that I have almost completely digitised my CD collection). There too as with books I sometimes found that I would sometimes ‘consume’ faster than I could ‘collect’ good listening material. Now with the arrival of podcasting (see new collection of links on R) I am finding at last that there is more interesting stuff coming in than I can listen to in a week and my last ‘content gap’ has been filled.

Like I said – there is no reason I need ever be un-stimulated. But I fear this may be a bit of a problem. I am getting used to having every waking moment filled with some kind of stimulus, and I can’t help thinking this isn’t particularly healthy. It also means there is an abundance of distractions available for my all-too-distractable mind…

5 September 2005

Playlist magazine has a handy roundup of places to get free or cheap audiobooks, including an interesting organization called Tell Tale Weekly which sells the audiobooks it produces but for very small sums and gives the money to the people who read out the books, which has helped to produce a reasonably large list of available works. Then after five years (or 100,000 downloads) it releases the audiobooks that have been digitised under a Creative Commons license. Librivox is a similar effort but relies on volunteers to read the books and charges nothing for the result. There are a couple of books read by people available through Project Gutenberg as well – lots more if you are happy to listen to computer-generated dictation.

If you want to hear free contemporary SF instead, check out Escape Pod (which broadcasts short stories) and Podiobooks which hasn’t quite launched yet but you can subscribe to it through iTunes or whatever and wait…

Benjamen Walker’s Theory Of Everything is quite like one of my favourite radio programmes, This American Life, but… well… stranger (which is sometimes no bad thing). Ben is a professional radio producer and it shows.

If you are more interested in technology (and I am guessing most of you have some interest in it) the top-ranked podcast at the moment – This Week In Tech – is head and shoulders above much of the podcasting rabble. It features a large round table of tech luminaries and is a very convincing and enjoyable reproduction of the kind of tech-related banter, gossip and bluster that I used to enjoy myself when I was a tech journalist (though at over an hour each week it may be a little self-indulgent). For daily more ‘straight’ tech snippets, you could try Future Tense, and for recordings from the many technology-related conferences that seem to happen every other day across the US you should check out IT Conversations. And if you are a hardcore Macintosh user you should try listening to the MacCast (though frankly it could do with a little pruning as there is a lot of discussion of minutiae on it).

Update: If you want more audiobooks for no payment there are a number of streamed options. They are less easily downloadable (you need to use Total Recorder – PC – or WireTap Pro – Mac – to turn them into MP3s) but OneWord radio offers free audiobooks and book commentary 24 hours a day (streamed only) and the BBC – Radio 4 and BBC7 broadcast less but includes some originally commissioned work too and unlike OneWord the streams are archived (if only for a week) which makes capturing easier. A few BBC radio programmes are even being podcast (though not drama yet).

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