Category Archives: Blogs

TV Activists Expose Corporate TV

TVParty!, an old TV show website, has a entry called TV Terrorist. It contains real historic examples of TV broadcasts being hijacked. Lots of comments by users too about the events and their details. Side Note: It’s really sad when the colloquial term for political action is terrorist not activist. The events described on the TVParty! website didn’t involve suiside bombers or any death that I’m aware of. Just dramatic oposition to corporations who lease the public’s airwaves. I’m so sick of the term activist being used pejoratively. (i.e. Judicial Activist) Anyway…

My favorite example on this site is called, “Sometimes it’s the network that does the hijacking!”. It’s an example of “hijacking” media with a spoof cartoon called Conspiricy House Rock (MPEG video). It appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1998 and is quite funny. See a transcript I found bellow on the site snltranscripts.jt.org.

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Two Thousand Six: Photo and Video blogging

Lots ahead for me in this new year. PodcasterCon 2006 in a few days, getting married in July 2006, etc. etc. As for AudioActivism.org who knows exactly. I have some ideas though.

Right now I’m thinking about images and how to make them move. I got a Canon Digital Rebel XT recently and am enjoying the hell out of it. See my Photo Slide Show page for examples I’ve put on flicker.

One of my small goals for 2006 is to videoblog from AA.org. I’ve been working on a simple way to take still digital images, add audio, animate, and then export them to a mpeg4 file format. Why don’t I just use a digital video camera? Well… lack of time for one. It takes a lot of time to shoot, edit, and export GOOD video content. Lack of fast enough computer hardware for another. Also I’d like to complete a tutorial on how to create good video peices with minimal hardware and software.

Anarchogeek blogged about some neat examples of telling stories with photos in his post Photo Audio Story Telling….. Very inspirational stuff. It’s amazing what you can communicate with a few still images and an audio naration.

Text to Speech to Feed

For months I’ve been thinking about how to turn the text in my blog posts into audio. The next step would be to put this audio into my RSS feed. Bang, an automatic podcast!

First I ran across a set of unix shell scripts over at Jerremy English’s blog Sky Clothes called How to make a podcast from a website. I need to find time to set it up for AudioActivism. Basically I could create my own audio from text then put it into a rss feed on my linux laptop. Then upload the rss to my site manually. Bit time consuming for me now.

Next I tried out the service Feed 2 Podcast. It’s free for now and works quite well. Here is the AudioActivism RSS feed created by Feed 2 Podcast. The computer voice reading my blog posts sounds pretty good. Listen to the AudioActivism blog posts with this flash player from Feed 2 Podcast.

How do I get the audio Feed 2 Podcast creates put into the RSS feed automatically? Tons of people are already subscribed to my podcast feed. I could just cut and paste the mp3 links into a post like this.

AA.org Text to Speech MP3s: (Thank you Feed2Podcast)
Links from Digg
Del.icio.us creates podcast feeds
What is real news?
Thank You John
Chapel Hill Free Public WiFi Petition.

It would also be cool if I could embed the flash player on my site. I’m sure that isn’t hard. Might raise the bandwidth usage on Feed2Podcasts web server though. Also dear Feed2Podcast creators PLEASE make the flash audio player on mute by default. I find it really annoying to go to a website and hear some audio right away. Much better to let users CHOOSE when to listen. This also prepares people to pay attention to what they are listening too. I’m looking forward to how this service evolves.

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!

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.

Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers

I’ve read on a few blogs that some staff members of Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite TV station, have created a blog called Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers. It appears to be in response to the story in the British Daily Mirror newspaper that Bush and Blair discussed plans to bomb the buildings of Al-Jazeera. (The fact is the US military did bomb Al-Jazeera buildings several times killing at least one Al-Jazeera staff member. Each time the US military claimed it was an accident despite direct hits on these buildings.)

From DemocracyNow:

The attack in Iraq killed Al Jazeera’s correspondent Tariq Ayub. Ayub’s widow, Dina, said she is now considering suing the U.S. government for her husband’s death. She said “America always claimed it was an accident. But I believe the new revelations prove that claim was false or at least not trustworthy.”

At first I was a bit skeptical that this blog was really by Al-Jazeera staff. Then I read about it on Global Voices Online, a blog I trust, and I saw the AlJazeera staff want answers flickr photo set. Propaganda? All depends on who you trust I guess. People in the US who still trust Bush will think so.

From the AlJazeera staff want answers flickr photo set:

Al Jazeera staff organised a symbolic gathering outside their offices Thursday, 24 November 2005.

We demand that the truth about Daily Mirror report to be revealed and that the Britsh and American governments tell us the truth about Bush wanting to bomb Al Jazeera.

These are a few examples why individual citizens using blogs and social software like Flickr are better than the main stream media. WE can develop personal trusted networks that can help to verify a story quickly AND democratically.

YES there are real human lives being taken by the US military! YES there are real people who live in fear of this violence! When we hear from people in danger US world domination becomes much less abstract. It’s not just some “terrorist TV station” or “evil other person” anymore. (Not that many of us ever belived these Bush government lies…) Blogs like Don’t Bomb Us can show the real potential of increased humanization that the Internet provides.

PodcasterCon Updates

PodcasterCon is getting closer! [Jan. 7, 2006] Here is a bunch of info I’ve put up on the PodcasterCon blog and wiki recently.

Reserved Hotel Rooms
We have a block of rooms reserved at a local hotel for PodcasterCon. I sent an email to all the people who’ve registered – as of Nov.23, 2005 – and checked they need help finding a place to stay. If you havn’t registered please do. REGISTER FOR PODCASTERCON HERE. Here is the hotel info:

Hampton Inn Chapel Hill
1740 Fordham Blvd.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
27514
United States
Tel: +1-919-968-3000
Fax: +1-919-929-0322

The rooms are available for $79 a night. Don’t forget to mention our group name – PodcasterCon – when making a reservation. They claim to have WiFi. 🙂

The hotel is about 3 miles from the event site. We plan on picking up a group from the hotel the morning of the event and taking people back to the hotel later in the day. So please let me know where you end up staying. More info as we get closer to January 7 – PODCASTERCON 2006!

Big mad props to Mur Lafferty and Ryan Ireland for help with the hotels! 😀

Airport Info
The closest airport to UNC, where we’re having PodcasterCon, is RDU – Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It’s about 30 minutes drive from UNC. GSO – Piedmont Triad International Airport – is about one hour from UNC. CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport – is about three hours from UNC.

There are no quick and cheap public transportation options from RDU to UNC. There is a regional bus. Go to ridetta.org. It could take an hour to get from RDU to UNC, plus a fair amount of confusion if you take the bus.

Check with the hotel you are staying at and see if they offer shuttle service. Any local folks who are willing to pick up people at the airport let us know in the comments.

If anyone needs a ride post your arrival time here, airline, and cell number to hook up with people to share a cab. A cab ride from RDU to UNC will be about $30.

New Wiki
I just finished installing a new wiki for PodcasterCon. All the old information is there from the old one. This wiki uses the MediaWiki software and should be more robust. In case you hadn’t noticed the old wiki was acting up.

Here is the new URL. www.podcastercon.org/share/ Please update your bookmarks, but all the old ones should redirect to the new pages. All the most up-to-date info about PodcasterCon will be posted there. Get ready for more info on how you can add to it before and DURING PodcasterCon2006! (Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.)

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