ITC Reviewers

A few people have begun reviewing IT Conversations on at least an irregular basis. For example, check out Steve Richards’ reviews. (rss)

I need to figure out a way to link our shows to sites like Steve’s who are really adding a lot af value to what we do. We’ve got rating stars like Amazon, but we’re missing the written reviews, which are even more valuable. I had to turn off new trackbacks due to spam. Gotta come up with a replacement at least for reviewers.

IT Conversations Out Front

After 12 days, IT Conversations has a huge lead in the BusinessWeek Online poll of a sample of podcasts.

BizWeek Poll

To be fair, we’re probably the only one of the eight that is even close to business-focused, so this isn’t much of a surprise. Still, it’s nice to get the recognition. [more info]

DNS Propagation

Sort of fun to see the traffic to the old server die down as the DNS records pointing to the new server farm migrate around the world.

Traffic Pix

The peak at 2am yesterday was a batch (cron) job that kicked in. And while this move was underway, we had our highest-volume day ever: 254.21GB transferred, 203.37GB of which were delivered by our CDN partner, Limelight Networks. At the current rate, June will be a 7.7TB month for IT Conversations.

All Things Not Considered

Frank Barnako over at Marketwatch.com has this scoop:

National Public Radio’s daily and weekly shows are no longer available from the Internet’s largest distributor of audio programming, Audible.com. “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and other NPR offerings have been removed from the company’s radio and TV programs page.

Embedded-Player Options?

While the old-pro listeners to IT Conversations tend towards subscribing to our RSS feeds, newcomers often prefer to stream instead. Right now we have an admittedly baroque UI that offers too many choices: streaming in the Windows Media Player or from our ShoutCAST server, as well as two flavors of downloads: MP3 and AAC. I want to cut that back to just two choices: stream or download.

Downloads will be MP3 only, since I think we’ll soon have a solution for you iPod users who prefer bookmarkable AAC files. But for those who prefer to stream, I want to replace both Windows Media and ShoutCAST.

Instead, I’d like to have some simple embedded player with tape-drive style controls, and I need some advice from those of you who know more about that kinda stuff. What’s the best solution? A Flash player? Something else I don’t know about?

Is there a Flash guru out there that would be willing to volunteer some time to help us implement a Flash-based solution?

Update: Thanks to comments from a whole lotta folks out there, I just tested and installed the $19.95 Wimpy Button Flash player as a replacement for the more complex Windows Media Player an our ShoutCAST MP3 streams. You’ll find the Play Now button on all of our recent Detail pages. (It won’t play our older shows that were recorded at sample rates and bitrates not compatible with Flash.)

It’s Moving Day

It’s Sunday night and we’ve just started moving IT Conversations to a new high-performance server farm. Although we had to rewrite a fair bit of code for the new system, the goal is for a bug-compatible port. That is, if everything goes smoothly the site will work as it always has — warts and all — only faster.

We’re moving audio and database files at this very moment and should make the DNS changes before midnight. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the DNS changes to propogate. Then fix all the bugs that appear. Thanks for your patience.

IT Conversations News: June 4, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version in beautiful monophonic audio.)

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating. For descriptions, visit the IT Conversations home page.

  • The Software 2005 CEO Panel (2.7)
    How does a five million dollar company become a fifty million dollar company and eventually a five hundred million dollar company in the high tech industry? Join a panel of CEO’s as they share their thoughts and experiences on building a business capable of sustaining long periods of growth. Along the way you will discover the social and technical challenges they faced and how they triumphed.
  • Steve Iverson – Streamload (2.8) 50,000 Gigabytes of online storage. Send 2GB email attachments. Free! Store your entire media collection online: your MP3s, DVDs and eve DVR data. San Diego based Streamload offers a service which allows unlimited storage at no cost. On this week’s edition of Larry’s World, Larry Magid talks to Streamload’s CEO Steve Iverson about this service and their unique business model which makes it
    financially viable for them.
  • Betsy Dresser (2.8) On last week’s Biotech Nation segment, Moira Gunn interviewed Dr. Betsy Dresser, Vice President for Research & Director of ACRES — The Audubon Canter for Research on Endangered Species. Betsy tells us about their frozen zoo.
  • Dill Faulkes (3.3) Moira Gunn also speaks with British software entrepreneur Dill Faulkes who explains why he located his telescopes for the schoolchildren of Britain on the other side of Planet Earth.
  • Meg Hourihan – megnut.com (3.5) If you have a blog, you must surely be aware of Blogger.com. But how did it all start? Did it actually ‘invent’ blogging? When did it rise? When did it fall? Where is it at the moment? Well, surely there’s no better person to answer these questions other than the co-founder of Blogger itself, titled "Young Innovator Who Will Create the Future" by MIT’s Technology Review magazine, Meg Hourihan, in this Memory Lane with Halley Suitt.
  • Fred von Lohmann – EFF (3.7) Do you watch TV? Listen to music? Use a phone, camera, computer or the web? Then you should get to know Fred von Lohmann because in some sense, he’s "your" lawyer. As Senior Intellectual Property Attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fred’s work shapes the law and public policy of modern technology life. In his interview with Denise Howell, Fred reveals that in addition to being one of California’s most influential lawyers, he is smart, funny, and wields a mean light saber.
  • Susan Krieger (3.8) Moira Gunn speaks with Dr. Susan Krieger, a sociologist and writer who teaches in the Program in Feminist Studies at Stanford University. She explains how the loss of her eyesight as an adult has guided her to new inner dimensions.
  • Lawrence Lessig – Clearing the Air About Open Source (4.3)"Fight!" exhorts Professor Lawrence Lessig as he rallies the open source community in what he calls the war against monopolistic businesses. How is this war affecting the culture of innovation? How do you need to defend your right to innovate? Hear Professor Lessig lay bare with his powerful arguments the stories behind the defining milestones of this war starting with the historic 1976 Sony Betamax judgment, in his keynote talk from the Open Source Business Conference.

This week’s Doug’s Favorite from the IT Conversations archives:

  • Will Wright – Lessons from Game Design (4.2) This week’s Doug’s Favorite is from the awesome SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series. The creator of The Sims and SimCity considers the relationship between games and the computer industry. He designs the problems his players face so he can push the boundaries of graphics, user interface, AI, metrics and simulation. Hear what Will is learning about how the abilitites and psychology of his players will be used in the mainstream software of the future.

More Volunteer Audio Engineers Needed

We had a terrific response to my request last week for more volunteer writer/editors. Nine people volunteered, but because we don’t have enough mentors available, five of those are still on the waiting list. Within a few weeks we should be able to add them to the Team. Now, however, the pendulum has swung the other way, and we’re a bit short of audio experts. The majority of the shows are being produced by only three or four engineers, and they could use some help.

If you’re interested, take a look at the wiki page. You may also want to take a look at our new Audio Workshop forum to see if the issues we deal with are within your range of expertise. If so, send me a message at doug@rds.com.

Happy Birthday, IT Conversations

Lots of folks talking about the impending first anniversaries of their Internet-audio programs. But IT Conversations’ first program was released two years ago yesterday, and the official site launched 6/9/03. From my blog on 6/5/03:

IT Conversations. On Monday, June 9, RDS Strategies LLC will launch a new series of recorded audio interviews on the hottest topics in information technology. The MP3 files can be downloaded or streamed for free, and they’re supported by an online forum.

I’m posting this three days in advance in the hope that my technically adroit readers will visit the site, download and stream the files, leave feedback on the forums, and generally give us a the beta testing we can’t otherwise get.

For now there are just two conversations on the site:

* Tony Greenberg, CEO of Ramp^Rate, discusses the state of the web-hosting industry in light of this week’s announcement by Cable & Wireless (owner of both Exodus and Digital Island) that it’s getting out of the U.S. market.
* Phil Windley, former CIO of the State of Utah, covers a wide rage of topics on web services.

On Monday we’ll have two more conversations. By the following week, we should have a total of eight. And that’s just the kickoff!

Let me know what you think. And ask your friends to stop by and give it a test drive.

Perhaps none of us should refer our shows as podcasts until the points at which our MP3s were delivered as RSS 2.0 enclosures. IT Conversations began doing so on September 24, 2003.

IT Conversations now has 553 programs either published or at some stage of post-production and we’re releaseing 9-11 each week thanks to the amazing 42 members of Team ITC. (They’re not all on the public list yet.)

Happy Birthday, IT Conversations, and thanks to all of you for listening and your ongoing support.