Del.icio.us creates podcast feeds

Linking to mp3s using del.icio.us can play the audio in a browser with out another plugin. (We all have the flash plugin now, right?) This is called Play Tagger. I blogged about Play Tagger here.

You can also create a RSS 2.0 feed to podcatch (aka downloading) mp3 files you’ve linked to. THIS IS HUGE. Now you can create your own custom favorites list then share them with people via podcast. WOW!

Here are the mp3s that I’ve found at del.icio.us. http://del.icio.us/rss/yesh/system:filetype:mp3 Cut and paste that URL into your podcatcher software then listen to my favorites.

You can create one with your del.icio.us account too. Just link to some mp3 in your account, then type in the url like the one above but change ‘yesh’ – my del.icio.us username – to yours.

Let me know how it works for you. 🙂

Chapel Hill Free Public WiFi Petition

In an effort to bring a free public WiFi network to Chapel Hill and to let our elected representatives know how we feel I’ve created an online petition.

To: Chapel Hill Town Council

The time has come for the Town of Chapel Hill to build a free, community-owned, public municipal network. The network should have wireless access and provide an open, unfiltered, and unmonitored connection to the Internet available to ALL people. It must be maintained by a local nonprofit for the people of Chapel Hill. Not by a private business or corporation.

We request that the Chapel Hill Town Council act swiftly to bring this service to the people.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

It will be presented to the Town Council as soon as posible. If you are a citizen of Chapel Hill please go to http://www.petitiononline.com/chwifi/petition.html and sign it. Thank you!

The Onion Radio News

Gawd Dang this is the funniest thing I’ve heard in awhile! I wish my podcast sounded like this. I almost choked on my lunch when I heard the story, “Can Of Reddi-Wip Audibly Consumed In Next Cubicle” [MP3]. But the first mp3 of theirs I discovered was “Bush Proposes Trickle-Down Electronics Plan For School Computers” [MP3]. This one is ironic and scary, but hilarious!

The Onion Radio News is hosted by Doyle Redland an AM radio sounding dude. His voice and the production values of the audio are a spot on parody. If you weren’t listening carefully you’d swear it was a serious news segment ala ABC news radio.

I looked for a podcast feed for Onion Radio News and couldn’t find one. It seems they do have a RSS 2.0 feed but no enclosure tags therein. (Here is The Onion rss feed page. Pick one.) I’ll keep checking back to the site and ignoring the ads I guess….

Richard Stallman’s Political Notes

I subscribe to Richard Stallman’s RSS feed. Not for techie info – though I’d dig that – but for the great political links he has. The political notes section of his visually spartan website contains regular synopsis/opinion (aka metadata) of stories with links. [It’s like a very basic blog.] As a political lefty I really appreciate this “service” Mr. Stallman provides. It points me towards issues and events that I might never have found. One of the many reasons the internet, RSS, and metadata is so important. Most especially as it relates to the future of global equality.

WP Random Image Plugin

I just installed the WordPress Random Image Plugin by Justin Watt. See that neat o’ image over there on the right side bar? If you click on it you’ll be taken to the associated blog post. Cool! Thanks Justin for writing this plugin!

Also I’m trying out this neat Flickr flash slideshow thingy. You can put it on your own site too! See the article HOW TO Quickie: Embedded Flickr Slideshows.

Check out the AudioActivism Photo Slide Show for my implementation of it. It’ll show you all the photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr. In the near future I’ll be posting a lot more HIGH res pics that I’ve taken. (More details about that soon) Plus some other cool moving image type stuff.

Angry BellSouth and Anti-Public Good Chapel Hill Business

The Washington Post is reporting that Bell South withdrew the donation of a building to the City of New Orleans – that was to be used for local police – when the city announced plans for a free WiFi network. Why do you think Bell South did this?

Let me preface my comments with a technical explanation. A municipal network can provide wired and wireless access to the Internet and Intranets. WiFi networks are usually created to provide wireless access to EVERYTHING you can get to via the Internet. The term free WiFi describes the cost of the service at the time of use. Not the actual cost of the WiFi to all citizens or the Town. Dispersing or delaying the cost of access to the Internet can really help people like the working poor.

Here in Chapel Hill, NC fear of angering local businesses and large corporations is preventing a municipal network from being created by the Town. See how Bell South treats suffering New Orleans? Remember what Verizon did to Philadelphia? Imagine what big bad business will do to Chapel Hill if we dare give something to those in need!

Based on their actions and inactions many local citizens are against a free town WiFi network. I think they believe it’s wrong for the government to provide free services. They CLAIM free WiFi will unfairly compete with and disrupt businesses. This fear is incredibly short cited. The potential for other money making possibilities if the Internet is available to all is HUGE. The evidence is all over the place! Just look at how much money some business could make building the WiFi network and providing the network access. Somebody has to pay for this. Someone will profit from it.

So if there is money to be made in the private sector by the creation of a free town WiFi network then why is business against it? Network providers and ISPs understand that the real money isn’t in building networks but leveraging the data that is collected en mass about users network usage habits. All you have to do is look at Google’s billions and you can quickly understand that user data is big money. By retaining complete control over access to the Internet you can understand how it’s used. Over time this information becomes more and more detailed. A local government who controlled access to the Internet might have issues with a business watching how they use it.

The Internet has provided a more level playing field for making money. Individuals and small businesses can compete effectively with large business and government. This has put large business, like Bell South, on the defensive to protect what they already have and profit from generously. In the near future pipes to the Internet will be guarded much more diligently. They will become expensive toll roads to the public’s information super highway. Read the article Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes by Doc Searls to get the details and context.

In my estimation the biggest reason for business opposition to a free town WiFi network boils down to GREED. By working against it businesses and business people are preventing a valuable public service from being utilized by those who need it most. In Chapel Hill this is mainly poor black people – children, senior citizens, teens, and adults.

I don’t need free internet access. I can afford it, own the hardware to use it, and have the skills to take advantage of it. So can all the anti-public/pro-business people. Why not open your caring hearts and give other people this amazing privilege?

In the US we finally obtained public water, sewer, roads, street lighting, slumlord regulations, public transportation, public TV, etc. etc. etc. Do you think we got all these great public services by just asking nicely for them? NO! People in need had to suffer and die before the robber barons of the 19th Century would relinquish one tiny bit. (See the book People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn for the details.)

Citizens aren’t just asking for a hand out. We work for public services everyday. Public services aren’t free. They are only loaned to us at the time we use them. We pay back the local government for them later in taxes of all kinds. Yet another issue business has. They don’t want local government to get more of their money.

How will we win FREE public internet access for all? We reframe the debate and publicly shame businesses. The issue right now isn’t a technical one or really one of cost. The core issue right now is greedy business unwilling to allow the public free access to the Internet. You can look at it how ever you wish but greed is preventing “liberal” Chapel Hill from doing the right thing and building a free town WiFi network.

PodcasterCon Ride and Room Share

A note to everyone coming to PodcasterCon: Do you need a ride from the airport or train station? Would you like to share a hotel room? Could you give a fellow podcaster a ride?

If so please go to the entry Ride and Room Share on the PodcasterCon Blog and leave your contact info with your needs or time you can help.

I hope we can organize a room/ride share board. Also I’m working on other transportation options for our out of town guests.