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Category archive: Podcasting

Friday August 24 2012

I just did a posting here about Doctor Theatre, which is about how performing stops you being ill for the duration of the performance.  But as soon as I stuck it up here, I realised it would also do for Samizdata, so I put it there instead.  Perhaps commenters will tell me about the physiological processes involved.  Hope so.

I seem to be almost the only person writing for Samizdata just now.  This troubles me.

Saturday October 08 2011

Well, I’m watching England go out of the World Cup to France.  At present it’s 16-0 to France, and who saw that coming?  Not me.  The French team seem to have decided that it’s time they started playing, and they have.

Earlier, Wales beat Ireland.  Who saw that coming?  Again, not me.

Earlier in the week, Michael Jennings recorded a conversation between him, me, Patrick Crozier and Antoine Clarke.  Antoine, like everyone, was pretty unimpressed by France, and in particular by Marc Lievremont.  But if France win this, as they look like doing, and if they then beat Wales (as they are also entirely capable of doing) and if they then upset the All Blacks in the final (ditto), will the Lievremont method be enthroned in rugby fan esteem?  Coaches everywhere will play totally different teams from one match to the next, and make a point of playing non-fly-halfs at fly-half, trying it first in a World Cup game against the All Blacks.

England have just scored a try.  I was just about to put that England are attacking, but look laboured.  This conversion has to go over.  It does.  In the first half, France scored two tries, but only kicked two kicks out of quite a few more than that.  Will this return to bite them?  Probably not.

In that recorded conversation, the most eloquent points were made by Antoine, not about the actual games in this tournament, but concerning the process of qualification.  He said something like: “The Christmas Islands had to play about thirty games over four years to qualify.  Wales had to play no games at all.  This is obscene.” He didn’t use the word “cartel”, but he easily might have.  Good that the most important thing that got said will outlast any silly guesses we made about who would win the actual World Cup.  I guessed Ireland to win it all, and said Wales would be the most surprising winners other than Argentina.  We all agreed that NZ were looking unbeatable, but would find a way to be beaten.

France, stung by that England try, are looking to finish this off.  Less than twenty minutes to go.

Tuilagi - is that how he’s spelt? (it certainly isn’t how he’s pronounced) - has looked good all tournament.

France scrum looks well on top.  Shots of insanely dressed French fans celebrating.  Well, they deserve to be happy, after all the misery Lievremont has put them through.  France attacking again, with just ten minutes to go.  If England can’t scamper to the other end and score this will soon be over.  Oh.  France seem to have scored another three points, some way or another, and now lead 19-7.  A drop goal by Frenchman number 20.  That means England have to get two tries.  No chance.  England bashing away but it’s too much.  Or is it?  Have England scored?  I think yes.  Video refs confer.  Try.  This also has to go over.  No.  19-12.  “What a come back it would be”, says a commentator.  Indeed.

I’ve spent most of the game resigned to England losing, and still am resigned, so am not now suffering that much.  I still think it’s all done.  Seconds left.  But, I fancy Wales to beat France.  England retreating.  80 minutes up.  Penalty France, and they win.  Final twist of the dagger.  It hit the post and bounced out, but might have bounced into an England hand, at which point England would have tried to score a converted try at the other end.  Only a bounce off the post could have had that outcome.

Thursday January 27 2011

Meanwhile (i.e. carrying on from the previous posting about Patrick-Crozier-Brian-Micklethwait techno-collaboration), Patrick Crozier has been investigating doing Skype interviews.  He did one with me not long ago, about Austrian economics, the recent financial turmoil and its possible ideological consequences, with me, as usual, trying to be optimistic about what might happen.  I did it pretty much off the top of my head, when he told me that he was recording our conversation, which when it began I didn’t realise.  He reckons what we then said was worth listening to.  I hope that if you listen, you agree.  It lasts just over half an hour.  When it starts I was talking about another talk I was thinking about giving a couple of days later.

This is it.  Patrick’s blog posting about it is here.  I’m listening to it again, and technically, it is imperfect.  I am louder than I should be compared to Patrick, which means that my interruptive umms and mmms and ers, a problem under any circumstances (although when doing Cobden Centre interviews I have learned not to do this), keep trumping Patrick when he talks.  Sorry about that.

Tuesday January 11 2011

Last night, doing some homework for that architecture talk which I am doing next month, I googled “spontaneous architectural order”, with the inverted commas.  I found that I seem to be the only person who has ever used this phrase during the last decade, if the internet is anything to go by.  Which saddens me.

But I did find my way to this posting, and to this conversation about modern architecture with Patrick Crozier (useful (mostly) London pictures there, if you are a non-Londoner), which I listened to again.  I was actually quite pleased with it.  It covers a lot of the ground, more than I expected, and most of the judgements I then made struck me last night as between about right and very right. I hope I do as well (or better) on Feb 14.

Friday October 29 2010

At least as important as the eloquence of Jesus Huerta de Soto last night was the size of the audience that he addressed.  Here are a couple of snaps I took.  Click to get them bigger:


The point about these people is that these were not the usual movement suspects, such as will be attending the Libertarian Alliance Conference this weekend.  These were mostly civilians (i.e. mostly regular LSE students), wanting to know the answer to the question that all civilians want the answer to just now: What the hell just happened?  And there are a lot of civilians out there.  This was preaching to the unconverted, big time, as the Q&A afterwards demonstrated.  They weren’t hostile.  It was just that half of them had never heard such stuff before.

Said somewhat grumpy Samizdata commenter “Snag” (on this):

It was good, it was also over-full, I was banished to a separate room to watch a live video link.

Like I said, they wanted a good-to-bursting type turn-out, and they got it.

As for the sound recording I made (see immediately below), in the end I just uploaded it to my blog-host.  But didn’t post it here; I just sent the link to Cobden Centre Radio. Duh.  If it is reckoned usable (which it may not be - it does sound a bit “bumpy”, as the background noise cuts in and out), they’ll have it up in the next few days.  Whether that happens or not, there will be a video.

LATER: Cobden Centre Radio did use my recording.

Last night I recorded the de Soto lecture.  Just switched on my little machine and stuck it on the table in front of him, and now it’s all in there.  So far so good.

But, I now have it as a huge .wav file, and have successfully converted that into another huge .mp3 file, in “stereo”, but with what appear to be two identical tracks.  Don’t know.  These files are, as I say, very huge, what with it lasting over an hour and a half.  The mp3 says: “Bitrate”: 96kbps, size: 65.7mb.  Emailing that to Cobden Centre Radio (who would like to have it) failed.

I am using Audacity to edit.  Does anyone know how to turn this huge file (either the .wav or the .mp3) into a smaller mono file, and generally make it smaller, by “compressing” it?  This is a generic problem that I keep facing with these things.  Can find nothing in Audacity suggesting any such processes.

Any help that anyone can supply would be much appreciated.

LATER: I succeeded in turning it all into a mono file, by following instructions here.  But, the damn thing is exactly the same size as before!  Why?  Still need help with compressing.

EVEN LATER: Did some compressing with something called “Lame”, which I already had on my computer, for converting mp2s into mp3s.  Why would anyone call a programme lame?  Anyway, panic over, I think.

Read the text of the lecture here.

Monday August 02 2010

I was glad to read this:

Unfortunately, although the conversation is timely and should be posted quickly, but I have not had the opportunity to give it a great deal of editing. (I am presently in Romania, as part of having a life, and a touch short of editing facilities). As a consequence, the conversation still contains a few ums and ahs and pauses, and I think it is a little slow in starting. However, for those who want to give us a fair shake of the sauce bottle, I think it is pretty coherent once we get going.  Enjoy.

Glad because when I do recorded talks involving Michael Jennings, I edit him a lot.  No offence, and all that, but Michael is indeed an um-er and ah-er, and also a pauser, especially, as he says, when getting started.  And glad because it’s always fun to read a deftly written apology for something potential listeners might otherwise fret about and not get past.

I have a special interest in this recording, because although I had no hand in making it, I am now its host.  I have listened to only a tiny bit of it so far.  I sounds a bit quiet to me.

Sunday February 28 2010


Far as I can see the BBC don’t do podcasts. They just make their radio programming available to time shift. This is fine but it’s not podcasting. Podcasting has an emotional tug that most radio doesn’t. I have this discussion/argument all the time with radio friends like Trevor Dann of the Radio Academy. They think radio does most of this stuff and I don’t think it does. Radio is organised to minimise the likelihood of people changing the channels. Radio is push. Podcasts are pull. At the exact moment you worry your podcast is getting too obscure or self-indulgent or detailed, it’s probably just finding its groove. Face it. If you wanted a balanced diet there are no end of places to get it. Podcasts shouldn’t be trying to be professional and polished. I can’t abide podcasts that begin with a menu that tells us what’s coming up. What’s the point of that? It’s more likely to make you change your mind about listening to it than persevere. I also hate the feeling that people are reading from scripts. I wince when I hear journalists trying to crack the same kind of jokes that look OK in print. We don’t need any of that print or radio or TV baggage. Podcasts are punk rock. They’re the first thing that comes into your head. They’re an evening down the pub. They blitz the divisions between the speaker, the thought and the personality. They have little use for conventional professionalism. They’re so direct they’re hardly media at all.

I copied and pasted this because I like it, but thinking about it some more, I realise that Hepworth is just right enough to be seriously, because rather persuasively and attractively, wrong.

This is like those articles circa 2002 about blogging, which defined blogging in far too much detail - it’s about this long, it’s about this, it sounds like this, in this kind of style, and so on.  All of which blinded those who took such articles seriously to the true potential of blogging, which was that, potentially, along with a few more tweaks and widgets like Twitter, it could swallow “Fleet Street” whole, and several other ancient and venerable institutions besides, such as party politics, old school advertising, and several more yet to be identified.  To put it another way, those early observers of blogging, many of them bloggers themselves, made the mistake of imagining that all that blogging was ever going to be was BrianMicklethwaitDotCom.  Me in pyjamas, opining about this, and that, and kittens, and stealing all the real content from elsewhere apart from the occasional pretty photo of nothing very much.

Remember when the journos said blogging would only ever be, basically, verbal masturbation plus kitten pictures.  Now: Climategate.  Now: the Tea Party movement.  What next?  Not just more kittens, that’s for damn sure.

In other words, while trying to be completely open-minded, Hepworth is actually an old media pro telling himself and the rest of us that podcasting is amateur hour, and won’t ever be any more than that.  It most definitely is amateur hour, if what you are is an amateur, and you want to have your hour.  I am, and I do.  And like Hepworth, I despise the banalities of lowest-common-denominator broadcasting, and idiot podcasters who imitate this bullshit.  My particular aversion is shoving muzak on the front of people talking.  But podcasting is so much more than than a mere trip to the pub.  “Podcasting”, by which I mean everything that anyone can do with a sound file, is the next version of radio itself.  Amateur, that is to say, only in the economics of most of it.  The biggest and best “podcasters”, like the very best of the bloggers now, will turn out to be so blazingly professional (as in very good) that they will put the average BBC wonk to shame.

Why David Hepworth is wrong about podcasting
Reasons to be a bit more cheerful
Tama the feline stationmaster saves the Wakayama Electric Railway Co.
Tom Burroughes on the banking crisis
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
I listened to both of them at the same time!
Socialising with the Social Media
More rugby talk
A conversation - and another outage
Emmanuel Todd (5): A CrozierVision podcast
A talking blog welcomes me back
Patrick and Brian talk about the War on Terror - thoughts about podcasting
The More4 news blog – I’m grateful but I’m also confused
Unpaid happiness is not misery but it is a step in that direction
Run Germany with thirty megs
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Pie error
Lightning strikes twice
More election podcasting
Midsummer Night’s Dream now downloadable for free
The internet is creating new video stars
Hosting matters