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<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method unfancy_quote::strip_quotes() should not be called statically in <b>/home/martingo/</b> on line <b>166</b><br /> Martin Gordon's Blog / podcasts

Twitter 2007-2007: The Exodus

Twitter may be dying, but not for the reason you might think. It's not a matter of it not being monetized, or the servers crashing under popularity, or people losing interest. The reason is its name.

Last night, Leo Laporte, Chief TWiT, announced he was leaving Twitter to avoid confusion between it and the TWiT (This Week In Tech) network, especially in light of mashups like Twit Box, Twit This, etc. The now deleted Tweet said: "I've asked Ev to delete my Twitter account. I'm concerned about confusion with TWiT. I'm moving to Jaiku: account is ChiefTWiT. CU there!"

Robert Scoble thinks Leo is setting up for a trademark suit, since Leo does own the TWiT trademark. He's not doing it to be evil, but to simply protect his trademark. Trademark law states that if you don't protect a trademark, it enters the public domain.

Leo moved to Jaiku and I noticed right away it was down, no doubt due to Leo's switch. Leo is the most popular Twitter user according to Twitterholic, and his move also prompted Scoble (#3) and Paul Terry Walhus (#10) to jump onto Jaiku. That's three of the top 10 Twitter users that have moved to a competing service. And it's not just in the short head: there's been a lot of buzz on Jaiku, as a Twittersearch reported 210 tweets in the past 9 hours mentioned the competing service.

I don't see Twitter disappearing tomorrow, but Evan Williams (founder of Obvious, the company behind Twitter) needs to change the name of the service yesterday if he wants to keep Twitter's 1999-like growth going. The sooner Twitter becomes something else, the less time people have to rally behind Leo on Jaiku. For the sake of TWiT/Twitter fans, this needs to get resolved right away.

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CalacanisCast Reaches Beta 2

Jason Calacanis has put out a second beta (read: second episode) of his podcast, CalacanisCast. I'll admit I haven't subscribed to it yet because I'm trying to get my unplayed podcast count down to 0 in iTunes (only 4 to go!) before I add it, but I've been a fan of his blog for a while so I'm sure the podcast will be great as well. Can't wait to hear it as the reviews of the first beta episode have been generally positive.

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ScobleShow Review

I'm just about done watching every episode of Robert Scoble's ScobleShow put out so far. As someone who hasn't touched his DSLR in a very long time, my favorite (and most inspiring) episodes are the Photowalking with Thomas Hawk series of videos.

The best part of his show is that it works. I've subscribed to Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection and checked out Zoomr (though I'm still partial to Flickr). And while I haven't checked out all of the companies he's featured, I have checked out a few of them ( [video] and Cuts [video]). And while I probably would have checked those sites out if Robert would have linked to them on his blog instead, they are a lot more memorable if I can put a face to the site I might just look at a handful of times. In other words, the stickiness factor of video is much higher than that of text.

My concerns about video podcasts apply to the medium in general, not just Robert's show, but I think it's worthwhile to mention them here:

One of my big concerns with video podcasts, and particularly ones so full of content, is the inability to comment effectively. While I can easily quote a section of one of Robert's blog posts, it's currently impossible to similarly comment on a particular snippet of video without making people download the entire show and manually search for the part I'm commenting on. Perhaps Cuts (a video-editing app featured on the ScobleShow) could help with this.

Another factor affecting the amount I comment is that the iTunes -> web browser link isn't quite there. I know that Ze Frank and Rocketboom have active communities, for example, but they're non-existent to me because of the effort it takes (yes, I'm lazy) to go from a given video in iTunes to that video's comments. Contrast this to the simplicity of the NetNewsWire -> web browser link, where I can just push the right arrow and have the post load up for me in the background.

Finally, I feel that Robert's videos are a bit too long. The product demo episodes have been short enough and require video so I'll watch those straight through. The interview episodes tend to be a lot longer and keep my attention for less time. My main concern with those is that they often don't convey any visual information - I can keep them playing behind a bunch of windows and not miss anything by just listening to the audio.

All that said, Robert's show does give us some great behind-the-scenes content as well as also providing footage for those of us not in the Bay Area with which to refine our mental images. Unless I fall too far behind (which doesn't look likely given my ever-decreasing count of unlistened podcasts), I don't see myself unsubscribing any time soon.

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Ze Frank's Words of Wisdom

I've recently begun to think Ze Frank is the funniest man on the internet. I'm catching up on old shows since I just subscribed to his video blog/vlog/video podcast/vidcast/videoqjtnbmkjg a few days ago, when I stumbled across this gem from the July 11th show:

I run out of ideas every day! Each day I live in mortal fear that I've used up the last idea that'll ever come to me. If you don't wanna run out of ideas the best thing to do is not to execute them. You can tell yourself that you don't have the time or resources to do 'em right. Then they stay around in your head like brain crack. No matter how bad things get, at least you have those good ideas that you'll get to later.

Some people get addicted to that brain crack. And the longer they wait, the more they convince themselves of how perfectly that idea should be executed. And they imagine it on a beautiful platter with glitter and rose petals. And everyone's clapping for them. But the, but the, but the, but the bummer is most ideas kinda suck when you do 'em. And no matter how much you plan you still have to do something for the first time. And you're almost guaranteed the first time you do something it'll blow. But somebody who does something bad three times still has three times the experience of that other person who's still dreaming of all the applause. When I get an idea, even a bad one, I try to get it out into the world as fast as possible, 'cause I certainly don't want to be addicted to brain crack.

Absolutely brilliant. And the song right after it is amazing as well (though it's not for kids if you care don't want them to hear "bad" words).

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Becoming OS Agnostic

Now that my iMac can boot Windows and I'm spending more time in general away from my computer, I'm looking for ways to synchronize my data across OSes. The easiest way, I've realized is to do everything on the web.

I've taken the first step today by deactivating POP access for GMail in That way I can manage all my GMail email online. If Google decides to offer IMAP sometime, I'll turn it back on. Until then, I need my email to be the same everywhere and that place is online. My school email is IMAP/Exchange, so there's not much of a synchronization issue with that, except that's IMAP isn't too good and the school only gives us 50 MB of storage. Exchange Webmail is as good as Outlook if you're using IE, but in anything non-IE (e.g., any Mac browser) it reverts to an old version of Outlook Web Access which is terrible. Once I can spend a bit more time with Parallels, I can decide if running it 24/7 for just Outlook is worth it. If it's not worth it, I don't know what to do. Is there any way to push 3rd party email accounts through the GMail interface?

I was never a big fan of iCal and the lack of Exchange over HTTP on the Mac kept me from using Wharton's Exchange calendar, so I haven't really used an electronic calendar. Instead, I've been resorting to text files and post-its. Until Google Calendar showed up. Google Calendar has everything I need in a calendar (save Tasks), and with text messages to/from GVENT and RSS feeds, I can access my calendar away from the computer or offline.

I am still in search of a decent online RSS reader as I have yet to find something that can replace NetNewsWire. I like having a desktop client because I can read feeds offline if I have no connectivity. There is always NewsGator's multiplatform syncing solution, but I'd rather save myself the $50-$80 ($30 each for a Mac client, Windows client and $20 for the online reader) if there's a free solution available. My main requirement if I do decide to stick with NetNewsWire is that any online reader has to be able to do status syncing. I don't want to have to go through 100+ posts deciding what I've read and haven't read. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if I can find an online reader that is fast and fits my workflow (is that readflow?).

I listen to a relatively small number of podcasts and I'm so far behind that I don't need a cross-OS sycning solution. I'm backed up enough that I always have something fresh to listen to on my iPod even with only syncing once every few days. I haven't had a chance to set up iTunes in Windows yet, but I think with MacDrive I'll be able to share libraries between OS X and Windows without a hitch.

My other main concert with "going online" is that I won't have access to anything if I'm without an internet connection. There were many a time where I would be on-the-go with my Powerbook and still have my RSS feeds to read. I have no idea how good my internet connection will be in the new apartment, but if it's spotty then I'll be in trouble. Another issue is backup. Can I really trust Google and Mr. Online RSS Reader to hold my data for as long as I want it? What are my backup options for GMail/GCal, etc?

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Education 2.0

The University of California, Berkeley has posted recordings of some classes on iTunes. This is a great step towards Education 2.0 (.edu + Web 2.0). Students don't have to be in the same physical room as the professor to hear the lecture anymore. Heck, the student doesn't have to be go to the same school.

Critics may complain that podcasting lectures will completely destroy class attendance. I disagree. There is definitely something about being able to see lecture slides and be able to ask questions on-the-fly and have discussions with the professor and other students. But imagine being able to learn twice as much by being able to fill in downtime with recorded lectures (see the jar of rocks metaphor).

This is only the beginning. What I see a few years down the line are many-to-many podcasts much like the way blogs work now. The professor puts out (or it happens automatically via classroom technologies) the day's lecture. Slides are timecoded so as automatically follow the audio. Students post audio comments, listenable by everyone else. Each student has their own feed for each class they're enrolled in. If I like a particular student's comments, I can subscribe to his/her feed and have their questions/comments brought to my attention. I can hear what he has to say in other classes. I can respond to them even if I'm not in that other class. I can respond on my own time.

There's no need for everyone to get together in the same room at the same time to have class. Class can happen on your time.

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Apple Posts YART*

Apple posts a Rails tutorial (yet another one!) and I'm becoming ever more curious as to why the Rails community has taken a tutorial-based approach to teaching Rails.

Tutorials are nice for getting down the basics, but they are of limited utility once you start modifying the application to suit your own needs or start creating your own from scratch. When I started learning Rails, I read the OnLAMP tutorial and the others out there to get an idea of what I was doing, but now that I do know how to create links to actions, and how to render partials and what goes in where under the MVC paradigm, but there's very little out there for the intermediate-level developer like myself.

It seems like my only resource is the lackluster Rails wiki which is a mashup (and not the good kind) of half-baked tutorials and a discussion board and the Rails API, which I've only now started to get the hang of but still feels inadequate for solving algorithmic questions ("How do I go about doing X?" rather than "What's the syntax for Y?").

So while I'm having a lot of fun developing in Rails, I do run into some roadblocks where I spend an hour debugging a NoMethodFound error or why my records aren't cascade deleting.

The tutorials do a great job of "showing us how to fish", but after that, it seems like we're dropped into the middle of the ocean instead of letting us row from shore at our own pace.

One other thing I should mention: The Ruby on Rails Podcast has lots of great interviews with prominent figures in the Rails community. It's helped me get a better "big picture" view of Rails and exposed me to some existing Rails projects that are out there, so if you're interesting in that kind of stuff I urge you to check it out.

*Yet Another Rails Tutorial

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Listen To bill's Birthday Suit

bill's "Sound Scientist" has been featured on several podcasts since the debut of the Podsafe Music Network. After hearing the song on the Daily Source Code last week, I checked bill's website and they're offering their soon-to-be released album, "Birthday Suit", for free. Sound Scientist is great and so is the rest of their album, so I urge everyone to check out "Birthday Suit" and buy it if you like it. Yes, all the cool kids pirate their music, but let's support the independent artists that aren't associated with the major labels and maybe, just maybe, the labels will realize they can't keep shoving crap down our ears.

(Yes, the band's name is intentionally lowercase)

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Media Glutton

I just started watching Scrubs, and after realizing I have ~50 episodes left to watch before I'm all caught up, I came to the conclusion that I consume too much media.


  • American Dad (22 min)
  • Desperate Housewives (42 min)
  • Drawn Together (22 min)
  • Family Guy (22 min)
  • Reunion (Cancelled) (42 min)
  • Scrubs (22 min)
  • South Park (22 min)
  • The OC (42 min)

On a week when all shows are on, this takes up: ~4 hours/week

This is a bit of an overestimate because not every show is on every week (especially over the holiday season), however, it doesn't take into account the time spent acquiring the shows (maybe another 15 minutes a week).


Total time: 7.25 hours/week

Podcasts take a long time to listen to because a lot times I have to really pay attention or else it becomes background noise. I've had to unsubscribe from IT Conversations because I fell so far behind, there was no way I would ever catch up. It's a shame, because the shows I did have time to listen to, I really enjoyed.


I've got 51 feeds in my feed reader that are updated at varying frequencies. I figure that even at 10 minutes per feed per week, I'm looking at 8.33 hours weekly. This does not include the sites I read that don't have feeds, or links that I follow from the feeds in my reader.

All things considered, this adds up to almost 20 hours a week that I spent not doing homework, reading for class, socializing or doing something that doesn't involve sitting in front of a computer. Somehow I need to trim some of my consumption, but its not going to be easy giving up the things I've grown attached to over time.

Any suggestions on how to cut down? What's your weekly media consumption look like?

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Naked Conversations

The other day I sent an e-mail off to Adam Curry about the Google Maps of aviation charts and he read my email on DSC 316! Man, was I excited when I heard him mention my email. Later on in the show, he talked about how podcasting is opening the channels of communication between podcasters/artists and their listeners and I'm thrilled to have just experienced that first-hand.

Today, I happened to pick up Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's new book, Naked Conversations and even though I've only read the first chapter already, I'm already excited about reading the rest of it. The first chapter details the story of how blogging got started at Microsoft and how it has helped Microsoft turn its public image around.

An interesting little anecdote mentioned is how they came up with the name Channel 9:

The name is derived from the United Airlines (UA) open audio channel, on which passengers can listen to pilots during take-offs, flights and landing.

It was this channel 9 that helped Lenn Pryor, former tech evangelist of Microsoft, overcome his fear of flying. In the same sense, Microsoft hopes to make people less afraid (or less hostile?) towards them by letting customers "listen in" on the company.

After spending all of last week attending presentations for internships in the financial services industry, these two events brought me real voices from inside companies after having to deal with all the garbage "corpspeak" that comes with those corporate presentations. A bit disturbing was that a quick search last week (which was by no means extensive) didn't produce any results for bloggers who work in financial services. Is the industry that competitive that no one is willing to give up any information that would take away their edge over their co-workers? Or am I just being antagonistic and the real reason is that blogging doesn't really have a place in B2B businesses?

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