Apr
0

Need the help of a PHP/WordPress/Joomla expert!

So a few days ago I noticed that sites that are hosted off my dedicated host at Godaddy started throwing errors, on both WordPress and Joomla, but they seem to be PHP related, and I have NO idea what the hell has changed that could cause this problem accross two different CMS’s.

It’s intermittent, could happen on every page load, or one out of every ten.

On Joomla you get a blank page with :

Fatal error: Call to undefined function call_user_func_array() in /var/www/vhosts/newlongdistance.com/httpdocs/libraries/joomla/event/event.php on line 67

Line 67 in event.php reads: if (method_exists($this, $event)) {

On WordPress you get a blank page with:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function call_user_func_array() in /var/www/vhosts/beta.x-sanguin.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

Line 67 in event.php reads:  $value = call_user_func_array($the_[‘function’], array_slice($args, 1, (int) $the_[‘accepted_args’]));

Ideas?  HELP!

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Apr
0

How large IT support departments are like a M.A.S.H. unit

I somehow doubt that large IT shops are usually compared to the T.V. series M.A.S.H., but the more I thought about it, the more it really made sense.

This whole thing started with me talking to one of the folks at my company in engineering who was asking me about what they considered lack luster effort on the part of IT in diagnosing a problem with their machine.

Disgruntled Engineer
“So I called IT the other day and complained about issues with my machine being slow, random Office errors popping up, and this weird thing where IE would freeze from time to time, and you know what they wanted to do? They wanted to wipe my machine and re-install Windows!

Why don’t you guys spend more time finding the root problem, and spend less time re-installing machines that impact engineering productivity?”

Me
“Well to be honest, when we get trouble tickets we triage them according to severity, and our ability to fix them with limited resources, and sometimes the best option is to wipe your machine and start over”

Disgruntled Engineer
“So your saying because my machine didn’t have an “easy” or “moderate” problem to solve your answer is to just re-install?”

Me
“Uhhhh yeah, that’s how it goes sometimes”

So for those that are too young to remember M.A.S.H., it was a T.V. show that ran in the 70’s and 80’s detailing the exploits of a mobile army surgical hospital.

M.A.S.H units would be moved from time to time to be closer to the front lines, and they served as the first stop that wounded would be brought to, think a trauma ER room made out of tents. There the wounded would be assessed, quickly patched up, and then sent off to a more robust medical facility.

Incoming wounded would be flown in on helicopters and dropped off and then immediately triaged by the medical staff into by which get priority based on their condition. Unfortunately one of these categorizations was “Not going to make it”.

Due to limited medical staff and the critical need of other patients, hard decisions had to be made right away about who could be saved, and who was probably beyond saving, and that holds true in large IT departments today as well.

If we think of machine problems as “wounded”, on an average day we receive 850 “wounded”. These range from someone has a stubbed toe (password reset) up a patient who is flatline (dead CPU).

We also have similar constraints as the medical personal in M.A.S.H., limited personnel, resources, and equipment, and keeping those in mind we have to make hard decisions about where we spend those resources.

So if an employee brings in their machine with really odd problems, or intermittent issues we often times don’t have the luxury of spending 8 hours on a single machine, trying to determine the root cause of the problem, but we have to recommend that we have to re-image.

No IT person likes to punt and just re-image, but we are constantly reminded by the sound of those choppers that we have wounded coming in on average every two minutes, day in and day out, and sometimes the best you can do is admit that you don’t have the time and resources to determine the real issue.

That’s not to say we would ignore a systemic bizarre problem that seems to be widespread across the enterprise, it just means that we often can’t spend the time we would like to on each and every issue that we see.

Machines much like the human body are prone to problems and as they age can exhibit all types of interesting issues that can be difficult and time consuming to diagnose, and unlike the folks in the #4077 M.A.S.H. unit, we have the option starting over when need be.

Hopefully that helps educate folks that what some could perceive as lackluster effort is really us just trying to triage patients as fast as we can with the resources that we have been given.

On that note, I hear incoming helicopters, I have to run…

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Feb
0

I hope I will not be Part of a Lost Generation

From 2007

I think I will be part of a lost generation…

Not lost in the classic sense, but lost in the sense that my children and my grandchildren may not be able to look back on the history of our family during this time, because as a generation, we are in a transitional state of technology where our ability to manage and store data has not kept up with out ability to produce it.

I remember while growing up that I would often look thought my parents’ storage trunks and find old photos of them during their teenage years, or from when they were my age now. It was fun at the time to see what they looked like and the clothes that they wore, Image_1but it also gave me a sense of history and helped me see my parents and family as people rather than just “Mom and Dad”.

The photos that I, and I am sure others have found, are old and dirty, some of them are torn and have water stains and other random damage to them over the years, but for the most part it’s just like looking through a dirty window on history: it might not be perfect, but you don’t necessarily need it to be perfect. These photos become a visual record of both history and the people and events surrounding a person and family life.

However, my generation is a special one. My generation is one that started out with old-school film cameras and then found the wonder and flexibility of digital imaging. Digital cameras help scratch that itch of instant gratification but also give us the flexibility of sending out copies to friends and family with incredible ease and at virtually no cost.

My fear however is that as digital becomes the prevalent type of camera used in homes around the world, that users of these cameras now have a new responsibility to maintain the images in their computer systems using technology and tools that they probably barley understand. Photos from film that are printed on paper can be placed in a box and left in a person’s attic for years, only to be found later by some adventurous child or family member, but digital pictures have to live in a more controlled environment than an old box.

BarryAs digital imaging and storage technology progresses, people will be not only faced with how to manage and store their digital images on a day-to-day basis, but they will also have to consider how to create backups of them that are resilient to failure. Users will have to understand that the CD or DVD that they backup on today may become unusable in the future due to damage, or the media may be intact but the technology that reads it will no longer be available.

Users who store their images on their desktop computers will be faced with an ever-growing problem of digital information management. As time goes on, the probability for a catastrophic failure in their machine, or backups, greatly increases. Users will have to adopt a multifaceted backup strategy that will give them several things to fall back on in the event of a failure. That’s a lot to ask of some people who have trouble not clicking on an unknown person’s e-mail attachment.

So we see now that at any point during the lifetime of a person, if they should become lax, they could run the risk of losing their entire history of digital information.

Some would argue that there are companies that will store your information for you for a fee, they will ensure that it’s managed, backed up, and secured for a monthly cost. However, as we have seen with the dot.com boom (and subsequent bust) of the late 1990s, long-term outlook for private and public corporations is questionable at best. People may also face a time in their lives when they become financially unable to pay the monthly fee, only to see decades of digital information become lost due to their inability to pay.

Not all of the information that users have on their machines would fall into a category where they would want to keep it over long periods of time, in fact I believe that most people’s personal data needs fall into one of a few categories:

Type 1 Data – Transitory Class Information

Data that a person uses on a day to day basis, but that loses its value over time rapidly. This would be classified as casual e-mail on a user’s machine, a birthday card they are creating for a loved one, or a letter to a possible employer. Desired retention for this information is usually measured in weeks.

Type 2 Data – Persistent Class Information

Data that users access that is important enough that its loss would represent significant loss of time, expense, or emotional distress. This would include information such as digital music files, digital movies, address book, and long-term projects. Information in this category would usually have a lifespan of a few years, as digital standards for music and video will change over time, and data such as contact information is constantly in flux.

Type 3 Data – Heirloom Class Information

This final class of information represents information that would be of interest over very long periods of time. Digital images that are important to future generations such as family portraits, holidays, vacations, the birth of a child, etc. Digital information such as a person’s will, diaries, and medical history. Heirloom class information would be of interest for possibly 100 years or more.

As time marches on and future generations have access to more advanced computing technology, there will probably be solutions for future individuals to keep many copies of their data in some type of computing data collective.

However, for this generation, which has the ability to generate tens of thousands of images within just a few years, I fear we may become a lost generation without a visual historic record unless something is done.

The solution that I have kicking around in my head is patterned from the company Alcor. Alcor does cryogenic preservation of human bodies. The idea being that medical science might not be able to save a person today, but years from now the technology will be available to cure them of whatever they were suffering from. Even the technology to reconstitute cells damaged by the freezing process has yet to be invented.

However, one (of the many) risks in this sort of thing would be that Alcor as a viable business entity fails to sell their product and turn a profit and becomes financially insolvent sometime down the road, say ten, 20, or 50 years from now. That would be really unfortunate for everyone who was banking on the technology being available in the future to solve their problem when the company that keeps them on ice has to let them thaw out due to cash-flow issues.

Image_6So what Alcor did was to allocate part of the money that you pay them to put yourself on ice toward the creation of an irrevocable legal trust. In the event that Alcor as a corporate entity should fail in their business, this legal trust would take over and has enough money invested in low risk, long-term investments to keep their facility maintained in perpetuity (at least in theory.)

This same approach needs to be taken with digital information that someone wants to keep for an extended period of time. As an example, a person could purchase space on a storage server for a one time cost of say $1,000.00 for 50GB today. This seems very high, but consider that this really is just a one time purchase; users would never have to pay again for the space for their information, and part of the money would be used in a legal trust to ensure that in the event that the storage management company were to fail that the trust could take over and keep your data on-line in perpetuity.

Also keep in mind that there are certain real expenses (which will decrease over time) involved with maintaining data at this level of redundancy and availability. As an example, let’s assume four copies (that’s now 200 actual Gigabytes for the 50GB you have purchased) on high-speed, redundant storage arrays located on four different continents available online 24/7 over high-speed connections, along with a “hard” back-up archive located in a decommissioned missile silo.

As times moves on, your data would have to be migrated to new systems and new storage technology. Unlike the “freezing a human body” business model, costs would come down over time as storage technology was improved and updated. In 20 years the cost to maintain 50GB would be an order of magnitude, less than today.

This storage area would not be a place to host images for web sites and blogs, but a place to keep data that you want to keep for a lifetime. At the time of creation you would also be able to set inheritance rights for your information, so that the generations to come would have access to it. Encrypted personal information could be marked for deletion upon your death.

Steps need to be taken now to create something like this so that we don’t lose an entire generation’s visual historic record. Although my grandkids may not be able to rummage through old trunks of photos in an attic, they might be able to find them in some digital repository that still lets them see their family’s history.

I hope I will not be part of a lost generation…

#Updated February 18th, 2010
Holy crap, I just saw a company on-line doing EXACTLY that I laid out in this blog post…. Check them out Swiss Picture Bank

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Dec
0

Why you don’t need a new computer

OK, I admit, I probably should have entitled this “Why you probably don’t need a new machine”, but the current title is much more interesting and gets more people to read the blog post.

Also if your a die hard gamer, this is not going to apply to you.  The information may be  beneficial to you, but since your life is mostly defined by the frame rate on your video card, you can just take this as informational.

This article is really directed at those people out there that are running 3-4 year old machine, particularly those who use notebooks, who are not avid gamers but people who are avid internet users, who browse the web, download videos, use Photoshop etc.

These people own machines that are 3-4 years into their life , and their machine has just become slow over time, it just doesn’t seem to have that same speed as when they first bought it.

They might have reinstalled Windows and enjoyed a speedier machine for a few weeks or months, but then sure enough it was back to that old sluggish beast of a machine that they had before, and now they are considering buying a new machine.

I’m here to tell you that you might want to re-think that.

Continue Reading…

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Nov
0

I’m rethinking my job.

I’v been with the same technology company now for 16 years, and over that time I have seen it grow from a medium sized business to a Fortune 500 company that defied the wireless industry status quo, and made people re-think what they thought they knew about wireless communications.

I love the company that I work for, they have done nothing but treat myself and the other employees with the utmost respect and they have been there for me most of my adult life as a positive force.

Throughout this journey I have taken with them I have worn many hats, Novell Systems Administrator, Windows System Administrator, Software Development Manager, and Technologist.  At some point or another I have probably worked with most areas of IT at some level or another, and because of that I think it’s given me an understanding of the challenges and issues that we have faced both over the years and today as a large 15,000+ employee company.

Continue Reading…

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Nov
0

Shopping for your geek?


So, being a geek myself I never get stuck trying to come up with ideas to buy other geeks, I just ask myself what is it that I want, and then apply it to others, saves time, and it’s almost 100% spot on.

So this year I decided to sit down and give folks who are less knowledgeable in the ways of the geek an insight into what their geek might want under the tree this year.   Obviously each geek is unique (just like everyone else) and have their own take on things, but the list below has some obviously geeky items, as well as a few that might truly impress your favorite propeller head.

COMPUTER GEEKS

First up are the computer geeks, now your geek might fall into several of these areas, but usually computers are a common element in any geek house.


Kingston 128GB SSD Solid State Drive

ssd

Ok, so here’s the deal, for years now hard drives in mobile computers have sucked, we all knew it, but there wasn’t much we could do about it until now.   By moving to a solid state disk you can take a four year old computer and make it seem like it’s a brand new machine.   Great way to breathe some life into an older machine and not shell out $1200 for a entirely new notebook.

Make sure your geeks notebook takes “SATA” drives, and not “IDE” , type the model number into Google and find somewhere where it gives the specifications for that model, SATA=WIN  IDE=FAIL

Approximate Cost: $245

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


G-Technology 1TB External Hard Drive

gtech

Yes you can find cheaper external drives, yes Best Buy has some really cheap ones that look just as good, but here’s why I love G-Technology.  They answer the phone… no really, they have real people answer the phone in their technical support dept, and they know what they are talking about.  Your call is not being bounced off a satalite to India where someone is reading from a script and asking you if you also might want to switch phone carriers.

G-Technology also understand that heat kills hard drives and they do a damn good job of using the entire enclosure (the metal around the hard drive) as a big heat sink to pull the heat away from the drive.

This particular model sports USB, 400MB Fire Wire, 800MB Fire Wire, and eSata, which means it will plug into damn near anything.   If they need more space than this, your geek has a porn habit, and you should get them a Drobo.

Approximate Cost: $179

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Drobo

drobo

Behold the kick ass power of the Drobo.

What does the Drobo do you might ask?  The Drobo lets your geek store a crap ton of data in this nifty little box on hard drives and still keep it safe if one of the drives takes a crap.

The magic of the Drobo lets your geek use their existing drives, and even drives that are not the same sized, and all geeks have a ton of old drives laying around, so this lets them put them all in a nice little box and makes them look like one big drive to the computer, all the while ensuring that their precious collection of…. um….. wild life photos are kept safe.

Approximate Cost: $249

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


Logitech Webcam Pro 9000

webcam

Yes, I know web cams have been around forever, why would my geek want a newer one?  Well this new generation of web cams sport HD video and a 16×9 aspect ratio just their their geeky HD TV’s.   The logic sports a kick ass Carl Zeiss lens (Carl kicks lens ass) and auto focus.

Of note here, if your geek has a Mac, don’t buy this since they have one built in, and Mac people we all weird if their computer parts don’t color coordinate.

Approximate Cost: $65

Extra credit, buy two and then you and your geek can video chat… hot.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


CREATIVE GEEKS

Your geek might be one of those creative types, may into photography, art, drawing etc.  I’v tried to put together a few unique ideas that will make your geek swoon with delight.

Lecia D-Lux 4 Digital Camera – Approx $699


lecia
This camera kicks all kinds of ass.

Yes, I know it’s not a Nikon, or a Cannon, it’s from some euro sounding company called Lecia, but trust me on this, Lecia has been around forever, and makes some kick ass camera that put out just amazing images.

This one is a 10mp (Trust me if your not doing prints more mega pixels doesn’t mean better pictures, it just means you can see nose hairs) and takes video as well.   It’s small enough to fit in the pocket, but put out images comparable to a $1,400 DSLR camera.

Approximate Cost: $699

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet – Approx $350


intuos1
If you have one of those creative geeks who loves to draw, paint, etc, then the Wacom tablet is for you.

I picked one of these up at Comic-Con two years ago and I love it.It allows you to draw on the surface just like you would with a pen, can detect what angle the pen is at, how much pressure your putting on it etc.  Fully compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other applications that your geek uses.

These new ones even come with “on tablet” controls to change ink, pen type etc.

Approximate Cost: $350

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Final Cut Express 3.5 – Approx $150


finalcute
If your geek is the movie making type, or a up and coming YouTube star, and they want to kick up their game from iMovie, Final Cut Express could be the answer if they are on a Mac.

Final Cut Express is the little brother to Final Cut Pro (which I list later on).  It picks up where iMovie leaves off and opens up some truly professional editing tools for your geek to become famous with.  Note, this only works on a Mac, if they have a PC, have a look at Adobe Premier

Approximate Cost: $299

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



GAMER GEEKS

OK, disclaimer here.  If your geek is a huge gamer there is a good chance they have one or all of these titles, so it’s best to make sure if they already own it.  Also often these games come out for various systems such as XBOX, PS3, Wii, etc, so be sure to check which system they have as well.

Dragon Age – Origins

dao My friend Paul came over and was giddy to show me a game trailer for this thing, and I almost went out and bought a XBOX just to play the damn thing.  Really kick ass RPG, amazing graphics and game play and it’s got FUCKING DRAGONS in it, how bad ass is that?

Check out the kick ass trailer here.

Remember find out if your geek has a XBOX or PS3 before buying.

Approximate Cost: $65

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Uncharted 2: Among the Thieves

uc2
The second game that Paul wanted to show me was this, Uncharted 2.  Evidently it has some of the best story writing anyone has seen in a game in a long fucking time. It’s compelling, interesting, and the game play really kicks the lamas ass as well.  It’s been compared to playing inside of a movie.

Check out the even more kick ass trailer here.

This is for PS3 only

Approximate Cost: $50

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Left 4 Dead 2

l4d2 You can’t go wrong with zombies, and this game kicks so much ass, it kicks it’s own ass! The game can be different every time you play due to the way it was created.  Play with a group or play on your own, this is probably the best zombie video game to date.There are few things more geeky that mixing zombies and video games, so this is a sure fire winner.

Probably has one of the best video game trailers of all time, click here to check it out

Approximate Cost: $50

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO




Sci- Fi Movie Geek

2009 was an amazing year for science fiction movies, and I might even so on record as saying it was one of the best ever.


Moon

moon
The entire movie has just one person in it, Sam Rockwell, and he pulls off an amazing performance as the sole astronaut on a moon base.

Directed by David Bowie’s son (yes that David Bowie) it was one of the best Sci-Fi movies I have ever soon, well done, not cheesy, and really original.  Get it on Blue-Ray if your geek has a Blue-Ray player.

Approximate Cost: $50


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



District 9

d9
This was honestly one of the best sci-fi movies that I have ever seen.  It’s currently tied for first place with Blade Runner in my book, and really is not only an amazing sci-fi movie, but a scathing look at social issues .

The look and feel of the movie is incredible visceral and has an element of realism that is not often seen in sci-fi movies.   Be sure to get this on Blue-Ray if your geek has it, and I for one am picking up the two disk set.

Approximate Cost: $50


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Mobility Geek

It’s no secret that I recently decided to go 100% mobile with my computer setup.  I realized I was only using my notebook, and have decided to make the move to try and make all of my tech/geek stuff as mobile as possible.  These are a few of the tools that will help keep your geek on the move.

MiFi Mobile Access Point

mifi
This  is amazingly bad ass.  It’s a mobile WiFi hotspot that uses the cellular network to reach the internet.  There is one button that turns it on and off.  When you turn it on, suddenly your computer, phone, etc all see a WiFi hotspot that you can use.

Since it just uses your regular WiFi connection there are no crazy drivers that fuck up your machine, and you can share it with up to 4 other people so that you can all be on-line at the same time.   Battery lasts about 3 hours in normal use I have found, and if you’re near a plug you can go forever.

Approximate Cost: NA / It’s free with a contract

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Amazon Kindle

kindle

ONE OF THE MOST BAD ASS THINGS TO HAVE EVER BEEN MADE FOR GEEKS

No, I’m not kidding.

For someone on the go, or hell just sitting at home this thing is amazing.  It’s an ebook reader that is connected wireless to your Amazon account, so you can buy books and such over the air.

Not only are the books cheaper on the Kindle you can get them RIGHT NOW, when you buy a book on the Kindle it’s downloaded to your device in about 5 seconds.   No more running into the crappy airport book stores and paying list price for something, you just click, and you have your book in seconds.

Did I also mention that the wireless service is over the cellular network and FREE FOR LIFE?  Yeah pretty bad ass.

The other bad ass thing about these are, when you purchase a book you buy the right to own the book, so if you loose your Kindle, just down load it again for free!   Need to make room because you filled it up with 2,000 books?  Just delete some knowing you can always download them again.

The screen looks like paper, so it doesn’t wear your eyes out, and you can control the font size, so if your vision is not up to reading the tiny print of books, hit a button and suddenly the text of the entire book is huge.

The Amish are jealous of this one, and your geeks friends will be too.

Approximate Cost: $250

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Flip Video Camera

flip
Since I’m a video geek, I get a ton of people asking me what’s the best camera to get to take home movies and such, which one has he best picture, features etc.

I tell them “The best camera, is the one you have with you”

The problem with big expensive cameras is they are just that, big and expensive, so people don’t lug them around all the time, or if they do, they are afraid something will happen to it etc.

The Flip camera takes good video, is brain dead simple, and fits in your pocket.  You can’t beat it for the price, and it does 720P video, and you just plug it into your computer.

Ideal for home movies…. if you know what I mean.

Approximate Cost: $129

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Podcasting/On-Line Video Geek

Maybe your geek is trying to become internet famous, maybe they want to host their own news show, either way here are some cheap ways to get them on-line and still put on a quality show for the masses.

Flashmic

flashmic
If your geek is going down the audio podcasting route and maybe wants to take the show on the road, this thing is amazing.  Not cheap, but it’s a professional microphone that records to a solid state card.  There are no cables, or wireless options to figure out, you just turn it on and go.

Ideal for man on the street interviews and locations where you need to be able to fit your entire studio into your pocket.

All around fantastic product.

Approximate Cost: $999

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera

kodak
Ok, this is a bit more than the flip camera, but not by much.  It can even do 1080P video, but chances are your geek isn’t going to need to use that option.

What sets this camera apart from the flip is the fact that it can take external audio, why is that important you might ask?   Because using the mic on the camera sounds like ass.

People are often willing to watch crappy video, but they are not willing to listen to crappy audio, by having an external audio port on this camera you can attach a quality microphone to it, and sound like a pro!

Approximate Cost: $199

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



AZDEN  Lavaliere Mic

lav
This is an ideal mic to go with the Kodak video camera above.  Small discreet and 10x better audio that what you would get out of the mic on the camera.

These things are delicate so best to start out on the cheaper side and work your way up to the ones that are 100’s of dollars, maybe they can use their new found internet fame to buy one of those.

Approximate Cost: $24

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
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Apr
0

Tom fired from Myspace?

MySpace

Whoa… just breaking news, looks like the exec’s from myspace.com might have just been handed their hat.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/21/core-myspace-exececutive-team-definitely-out-expect-announcement-soon/

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Apr
0

Cry havok, and let slip the dogs of war!

So I have been researching my moderately evil plan for launching a podcasting network only to discover two things.

  • There are tons of places with information on launching a single podcast via web/itunes/etc.
  • There is dickall information on the internet for doing anything close to launching a “network” of podcasts.

I could see this as a very bad omen, since if there is no information out there,  I am flying blind into this project with nothing more than a crazy idea and unholy zeal, or I could see it as I am a pioneer,  blazing a trail that few adventurers have tried, only to find riches at the end.   I’m choosing to go with the latter.

The main challenges that i am running into oddly enough is in the web CMS space.  Producing several shows, and getting them up on the internet isn’t really all that hard, it’s time consuming, but not really difficult.  The trick is finding a software CMS that has the concept of “you want to host different productions, each with many episodes”.

The tools out there now, really only understand the idea that you want a web site to host your podcast, and it will be audio or video.   The second you say “Hey!   I have like 8 productions that each need their own page, own category, own feedback, blah blah blah”  the CMS software out there takes one look at that, and falls over.   So my challenge has been to take software which was meant to host a single show, and craft it into something that can host many.

You could argue that you don’t even need a web site, that you can just stuff all of the shows up on a server, point iTunes at it, and boom, your in business.  However, the thing that most podcasters are finding is that it’s critical that you build a community around your productions, and you can’t do that without a web site, etc.   Also one of the benefits of doing a network is having a successful show drive people to your site and be exposed to your other productions.

So here is my Battle Plan (1.0)  Click for bigger version…

battleplan

It breaks down like this, once I am done editing the show, it’s setup as a H.264 video file that will be placed on the servers, pushed out etc.   It’s this single file that will serve as the “Master”.

In the diagram I have three distinct action paths, each one reaches a different set of folks/communities/etc.    Here is a synopsis of how each one functions:

Libsyn
Libsyn is a great service for podcasters in that they charge for total storage each month, not for bandwidth, and each month your storage allocation goes up.  So here is where I will push the H.264 episodes that iTunes will pickup.   For those of you who don’t know iTunes doesn’t host any of the podcast that they list, they just have RSS feed pointers to where they live, so you can think of them as more of a catalog with listings.     So once you subscribe to a podcast on your home machine, it looks to see where the file lives and you download it from my Libsyn account.

TubeMogul
These guys are great, they will let you push up a video file to them, and then they will upload it to all of the video sites that you configure it for.   This is a HUGE savings in time and effort since you can push to say 10 different video sites all at once.  They will also transcode your video to something smaller if some site has a size limit that you go over.

Progressive6.com
This is my podcasting network site, each time a new episode is launched we will create a new article in the CMS (I use wordpress) and point it to the Libsyn servers again.   That way my broadband bill doesn’t go through the roof, and people get to see a high quality version.   One of the tricks here is to use the Wizardmedia.tv player.  It’s a flash player that can wrap H.264 and deliver to your client the best version of the video that your internet connection can handle.

So there you have it, I’m sure there are some land mines out there that I will find, but this is Battle Plan 1.0.   I’ll revise it as I go.

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Apr
0

Great free WordPress themes

Found this in a tweet from Downtown Rob, and I had to share.  Some good ones in here.

02-20_irresitible

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Mar
0

Skype for iPhone, nerfed

skype_logoSo Skype comes out with an iPhone client yesterday and of course the buzz was everywhere.   Skype is arguably the biggest VOIP provider out there, and is HUGE overseas.   It’s really become a inexpensive means for people to communicate for either free, or just this side of free.

However, much as I would have guessed they are only allowing the calling portion of the application to work over WiFi.  The reason that they give is that “Due to the effect it may have on your data plan, this feature is currently disabled.”  Which is a complete load of crap.

The real message should read “Due to the effect of seriously pissing off AT&T and going into a lengthy court battle, Apple told us no way in hell, and hung up on us when we asked.”

The issue here is that just about everyone here in the US has an unlimited data plan, and if there was a way to make long distance calls that we only had to pay pennies to call London for, we would probably use it, thus cutting AT&T out of that revenue.

Now I am sure they could also bring up that your “Unlimited Data Plan” is also not really unlimited, but Apple doesn’t like to talk about that either, so the end result is we get what looks to be an amazing application, that’s been nerfed.

For those of you who are not gamers, the term “nerfed” is often used to describe what happens when a gaming company decides something is to powerful and purposefully weakens it to be fair to other players, in this case the other players are Apple and AT&T and I am guessing it wasn’t to be fair, it was to avoid everyone getting lawyered up and going at it with machetes.

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