Making friends, Web 2.0 style

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Though it may be Dan‘s resolution to blog everyday, it’s certainly not mine, so I’ll let his post (mostly) speak for itself. I will add that we do share similar interests: We’re Buzz Out Loud listeners, work in the tech industry, were brought into the Mac world by the companies that we work for. It’s all quite interesting, although if there’s any place it would happen, it would be in San Francisco.

Read on, here!

The State of Bay Area Podcasting

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In a recent blog post that created quite a stir among the San Francisco Bay Area podcasters, Michael Tolosa commented that the scene is “incestuous” in nature, citing that most hosts of one show are guests of another, and vice-versa. While this may be true, I don’t necessarily feel that this community is incestuous. Abstracting the definition of incest, it would imply that the sharing of ideas between shows is not accepted by our society’s customs. This couldn’t be farther from the case; in the specific case, the melting pot of guests from various viewpoints within the tech industry that Leo Laporte has on the TWiT podcast allows for an engaging and eye opening discussion about technology and forecasting for the future.

When we consider the evolution of podcasting from someone recording a few moments of audio for download to the full blown audio netcasts and video podcasts, it doesn’t surprise me at all that podcasting, especially in the tech-heavy Bay Area, has taken this route. It is as if podcasting has evolved in the same way the internet is used: Podcast 1.0 was a single-user system, while the current Podcast 2.0 is a more social, interactive environment that provides more information, reaches a larger audience, and, most importantly, is an open forum for discussion.

I am reminded of a time when the now-defunct Play, Inc. set up a network of online interactive shows using their Trinity broadcasting system in a box. The premise was to have live streaming shows that included audience participation (through some sort of instant messaging utility). Alex Bennett, a prominent Bay Area radio personality, signed on to this format and had a good run with it until, unfortunately, Play, Inc. closed its doors. The format of the Play TV network perhaps was a bit ahead of its time, but it demonstrated the social nature of broadcasting over the internet and how Netcasting should move into the global conversation.

I think we should be thankful that the podcasters in the Bay Area have created such an open community that shares ideas, stimulates discussion and genuinely provides entertaining content that I can shove onto my iPod.

Monitoring Line In on a Mac

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At work I use a combination of Mac OS X (Tiger) and a Windows XP laptop (mainly for developing web applications running in a Linux environment — go figure). I currently use Synergy to share the keyboard and mouse on my Mac with my XP machine. This really is an awesome program. It can be a pain to setup on non-windows machines, but it’s well worth the time and effort. I plug my headphones into my PC for mail and instant message notifications and to listen to music. My problem arises when I’m doing something on my Mac and I come across something that I want to listen to. I could blast it over the built in speakers, but I’d prefer to not have other office inhabitants loathing me.

I finally took the time to get a 1/8″ male to male stereo cable to connect the two audio systems together. At first I connected the headphone out of the Mac to my line in of my laptop. This worked fine, but the SNR on the laptop of the line in port wasn’t all that great. I wasn’t about to pollute my ears with the subtle sounds of a hissing cat. I decided to reverse the process: the output of the laptop goes to the line in of the Mac. Perfect — I play the sound on my PC, and I see the meter pumping in the sound settings. But I can’t hear a darn thing! Apparently, an out of the box Mac cannot route the line in port to the ouput.

After a few minutes of “Googling”, I found LineIn. This allows you to take any input and assign it to any output. Go figure. At least it’s freeware.

Housing Woes

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When I took my current position in San Francisco, I was living in Stockton. It was clear that I needed to move closer to the job in order to make the position work on a daily, ongoing basis. Since my wife works in Manteca, we needed to be in a location that allowed me to get to head west towards SF and my wife east towards the valley. We ended up in Livermore, CA. This put my commute at 1hr 45mins, and my wife’s at 30-45mins. As our current lease is expiring at the end of April, we’re actively researching other places to live.

Enter Castro Valley. We’ve driven around there for a while looking at rental prices as well as home prices. It is a beautiful town, but the majority of it is older residential areas. There does not seem to be too much to do in terms of shopping and entertainment. It seems as if we’d need to go into San Leandro to get anything done. Yet these days it seems as San Leandro has a worse rap than Oakland in terms of crime rates. My wife is friends with a police dispatcher who works in the area. She relates many horrible stories that she’s heard of the area. Although her viewpoint may be skewed a little bit, San Leandro wouldn’t have such a bad stigma about it if the crime rate was low.

My wife and I do plan to raise some sort of humanoid life form, perhaps even multiple, and the time is now to begin thinking of the best places to live to provide a safe environment for our family. I think the days of being able to live in your house and not lock your door are forever gone. However, there still remain places that don’t make you wonder if you’re going to get jumped when going to the mall.

Therefore, we have stricken Castro Valley from our viable community list. We’re now back to the Dublin/Pleasanton area. Now if we could only afford a house.

Tweaking the Theme

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I’ve been spending some time tweaking the wordpress theme today.  Shoot me over an email (or comment on this post) if you notice anything that’s wonky.

Another reason my wife is awesome

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Two words: Family Guy.  I always saw the previews for Family Guy — stared at it and said “What the hell — how come the baby can talk?  It doesn’t make any sense.”  Enter my wife — she showed me the light.  It is probably one of the funniest shows on television — the parodies are outstanding, the voicing is great.  Everybody should be watching this show!

Good morning, bright sunshine.

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There is the adage: If everybody jumped off the Empire State Building, would you? Consider this my arms-a-flailing, head-first jump into the blogosphere. It’s only fair that I empower myself to pollute your bandwidth with my inane drivel as have so many other internet inhabitants. As Apu Nahasapeemapetilon would say, “Thank you, come again!”

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