Wednesday, November 30, 2005

PSP Software 2.6

Right after finishing the write up on my insane new Location Free media server, I saw that Sony had released a new version of the core software for the PSP. Russ Beattie did a good review here.

In a nutshell the new upgrade has a couple of features. 1. It supports WMA. Cool for those who use that. I have MP3 files of everything I listen to. 2. It supports Podcasts via a thing they call RSS, which to me makes sense, but to many they think it is confusing and a missed opportunity. That's probably true but it seems that the frequency of releases for the PSP isn't giving them much time to let the marketing folks come up with fancy new names for things everyone else calls something standard.

One more quirk, or feature that is important to note is that when you subscribe to a podcast you don't get to download the MP3 file. Instead the PSP streams it to your player. Although this really isn't in the spirit of podcasting for some, to me it's perfectly fine as it avoids me putting a bunch of stuff on my hard drive that I have to delete later or creating a CD to fill up the landfills.

The last kind of cool thing I will mention is that every artist on AcmeNoise has a podcast link on their artist page. This functionality is really cool with the PSP as you can go around and sign up for music from your favorite bands on the site and then stream them whenever you like.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Location Free Review

Around my birthday I have been given a chunk of cash from a family member with the explicit instructions to go buy myself something just for me that nobody else could use. I love those kind of missions.

After hanging out at the podcaster convention, and seeing a couple if video iPods, I was sure that I had to go get one of those. But I paused for a second, Why would I get a video iPod when I have this rocking device called the PSP that has a screen the size of an iPod. I spent some time working with the various client software and came to the conclusion that generally speaking, the PSP is a by far superior device for what I want/need. Back to the drawing board.

I thought for a couple of seconds about a Series 2 Tivo, but decided to wait for just a wee bit longer as I have several Tivo's in the house and I should just start to swap them out over the coming months. The Tivo to go for the PSP had me really intrigued. While looking for the Tivo to go stuff I found something called Location Free. Oh my God. Wow.

So get this, I buy a little media server that I hook up to my home network via my router. I then take my media server and plug any sort of AV device I have into the media server. This could be a DVD player, TV, Tivo, etc. Once I have this set up I have to go and make sure that I have the most current version of PSP software, which of course I have. Additionally there is a disk that comes with the server that I can use to load software onto my PC.

Once the connections are made and the software is installed I can pair my PSP or Laptop with the media server. It essentially makes a WEP key sort of connection between the device and the media server. Once the connection is made, I can stream the AV from the media server to either the PSP or the PC wherever I am in my house. So for example while Jessica was watching the Macy's parade, I was busy cooking turkey and watching the football game on my PSP in perfect quality video. This is simply insane.

But it really wouldn't rise to the level of cool that it aspires to if it was restricted to just my house. With a couple of tweaks, I can access my home TV and media anywhere in the world where I have a Wi FI connection on my PC or my PSP. This is without question an amazing thing. Bored in a hotel room in New York? Nothing on TV? How about I go to the hard drive on my HDTV Tivo at home and stream a show to my PSP? Now that's cool. CNN? No problem. Local TV back in San Diego? Easy.

Aside from the gee whiz technical aspects this type of device, and I know that there have been other pieces of client software that do stuff like this but I would argue not as elegantly, there are amazing implications for personal media services and how we consume media in the future. I am currently demoing some advance software from MP3tunes called Oboe that is essentially a music locker service that Michael is rolling out. I'll post more on that later. To me it is very much in the vein of Flickr or Google Video or whatever celestial device there is in the sky

As a user of these types of services I totally see the value in it. The problem I have is that it requires me to do something to transmit the media elsewhere. The reality for most of us is that we have machines or hard drives lying around that have all this media that it would be really cool for us to access remotely. If it was made seamless and easy then it would preclude us from having to use some centralized service. In a way it kind of speaks to the difference between centralized services and peer to peer services. I know that I have small subsets of media on every service you can imagine. But I know that I have every picture I have ever taken on a digital camera on a hard drive stashed away on an old machine. If I can get to each of them in a simple fashion my guess is that the latter is better than the former. It will be interesting to see which is true.

Sidekick II software upgrade

About two months ago, Dave Harper was telling me that he had a new software upgrade for his Sidekick. I was jealous. I wanted to force an upgrade but alas that was not to be. This last weekend it finally came. Here is a link to the information contained in the upgrade. For the most part to me it was largely a small feature tweak with two exceptions that I thought were cool. First of the web browser now supports Javascript. This really helps make the web experience on the device a good one. The second main upgrade was around instant messenger. I can now see icons, I can see how long people have been online, I can read their away message etc.

I can't wait to see the Sidekick III!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Henry Rollins

My good friend Damon came down from Los Angeles to join us for Thanksgiving and to insist that I go to see the closing night of Henry Rollins spoken word tour.

For those who don't know, Henry is the former lead singer of Black Flag. Black Flag was one of the main hardcore punk bands from Los Angeles. They original founders also started up the SST record label and one of the members, Keith Morris went on to found The Circle Jerks which is my favorite punk rock band.

I had seen Henry do a spoken word show in Los Angeles probably about 7 years ago. I can't believe I had waited that long for the next one. He was AMAZING. Please do yourself a favor and see him the next time he comes around. Or buy one of his books. He is a brilliant renaissance guy who not only is a great artist from the music world, but an intelligent social commentator and an occasional actor.


I love Thanksgiving. Here is a post from last year about it. This year Jess said that I should keep a diary of the dinner to refer back to. So for better or worse I figured it just put it here and then I can pull it up on the Internets in the future when I am looking for it.

My brother Rodney and I did all the cooking this year with two exceptions. Shawn came over the night before for the annual "Get boozed up and cook party" which was in fact very tame and small this year. Shawn made an amazing Acorn Squash Soup. We served it the day after Thanksgiving and everyone wanted to know how he made it.

My niece Alexis did all the pumpkin pies.

Rodney and I made the following:

Herb Rubbed Turkey - 24 lbs. Same one I have been making for 12 years. It makes the most amazing gravy so I can't seem to break tradition and make something else. By the way, I made the most unbelievable gravy this year.

Mashed Potatoes

Vanilla Infused Sweet Potatoes

Raspberry Cranberry Sauce

Jess's moms stuffing

Cornbread stuffing with Chestnuts

Green Beans with Bacon and Cocktail Onions

I put some pictures on Flickr and Zoto of the whole clan.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I am a big stats junkie, as you may or may not know. Of course I was very intrigued when I had heard of Google's new analytics package Urchin. I decided to check it out and see what a free analytics package would look like. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, so after a couple of days of waiting, I finally got to see a report. WOW. WOW. WOW.

If you are even a mild stats junkie, rush out and install this on your various domains and wait to see all the data goodness coming in.

I only have a couple of days worth of data to look at, and I haven't really dug in yet, but I really m amazed at the depth of data available with just a couple of embedded scripts to your website templates.

Friday, November 18, 2005

AMP Guys

AMP Guys
AMP Guys,
originally uploaded by goodbeershow.
Here is most of the crew.

C21 Tones

A person who is involved with the C21 Arts project sent me a link to a site they launched several weeks ago that is an arts project that is focused on creating original ringtones for free distribution. The site can be found at

Intercasting in the San Diego Union Tribune

They wrote an article today that you can find here. The article was a profile on a number of companies that came out of Lot's of our friends were featured in this article, including Trusonic where I am on the board.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The $250 Million Radio Show #28

The Show can be found here. The show notes here.

Happy Birthday to Jason

So I just finished $250 Million Dollar Radio Show #28 and pinged Jason from Insomnia Radio online. We had been meaning to chat about an article I am going to write for the Kill Your FM zine. I asked him if he wanted to talk today. He said he was splitting for the day to celebrate his birthday. I was like NFW! I couldn't believe it. Of the six of us who started AMP two of us had the same birthday? Strange. Happy 30th Birthday Jason! Rock on.

Team Building at Intercasting

You don't create the platform to enable the intersection of user generated content and personal media devices without a strong team. We have been slowly building up the team at Intercasting and wanted to say a little bit about that.

Next week we have two new additions to what we think is a strong and impressive team that we have already assembled.

About a year or so ago I began a conversation with Debi Jones who happened to share a lot of similar interests with us as it relates to mobile blogging and social media. Our conversations were interesting and insightful and this ultimately led to a broader conversation that culminated in her joining us starting next week. We think she is going to bring some great insights to the foundations we have established and look forward to her ideas finding their way into Rabble as well as our other products currently in development.

Our other new hire starting this week is a quiet giant who I have had the pleasure to know since 1999. John Hardin is one of the brightest people I met during my time at Although we had an impressive number of amazingly smart engineers, John was among the cream of the crop who is widely respected among his peers here in town. John played a variety of roles at including playing a part in the core team that developed My.Mp3. We recently plucked John from Napster where he was one of the top developers within the company. If you are going to build a strong platform for user published content, few people have the type of experience that John has given his experience in media serving and content management.

They join an assortment of other strong players including Deborah Critten, who oversaw our interactions with the labels at, ran our community efforts, and managed our most significant relationship with luxury brands company LVMH during the entire life of our deal with them.

On the technology side John will be joining a strong group of developers and some expected additions who will help to realize our vision of Intercasting on a handset near you. Stay tuned.

Almost 40

When I turned 31 my wife immediately started telling me that I was almost 40. Each year I had to protest that she was unreasonably aging me and that revenge would be sweet as two can play that game. Well today I turned 39. At last I have to concede that I will soon be turning 40. Sigh. 38 has been an interesting. Triplets, a new company, raising money etc. I suspect that 39 will be as interesting as 38 and frankly my entire 30s have been.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Music Licensing Link from Podcast Expo

Matt just sent me this link that has the audio of the session I was on at the podcast expo in Ontario. Unfortunately the first 5-10 minutes were cut off. When I find a better link I will post it. In the meantime you can get the idea of the conversation.

The AMP Guys at the Podcast Expo

The AMP Guys at the Podcast Expo
The AMP Guys at the Podcast Expo,
originally uploaded by zaldor.
Hey that's me on the left!

PSP Media Manager - What do you mean its for my PC?

Over the weekend, some of the guys at AMP who publish the PSP zine Kill Your FM told me that they had landed a sponsorship deal from Sony for the PSP Media Manager. They guys were saying that this was the iPodder or iTunes equivalent for the PSP. I was intrigued. I had also seen the headline in my RSS reader that Russ Beattie had reviewed the product as well. What I hadn't done was read Russ's review.

My initial use of the product yesterday made me recall that you should never assume anything. I assumed that the PSP manager was a client application that resides on your PSP and allows you to download podcast and videoblogs and what have you for playback on your PSP. I mean I primarily use the device around the house to do a quick check of Google News, Fantasy Football Updates, and to check up on my RSS feeds. The device is like a little wi-fi web browser for me. Unfortunately my big disappointment was that the client is in fact a PC based client that you need to connect to your PC to synchronize. What a disappointment.

So after the initial let down, I started playing with the client and subscribed to KillyourFM, and loaded some podcasts and started subscribing to videoblogs. I'll spend some more time with it later today and if I have any insight will post something.

I have been really happy with the PSP and in an earlier post said that I was surprised that there was nothing that allowed content creation. I think that the lack of a device side client, at least for now, is yet another small shortcoming that I hope they fix in the future. At least on the client side, that is something you can do with software.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Quote about AMP

Check out this link. I love the point about AMP about halfway down.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Portable Media Expo - Postscript

I had some family illness that cut short my trip to Ontario. My panel went well. I expected some copyright Bolsheviks in the audience but in general over the last year people have finally come to accept that the copyright issues around podcasting are pretty daunting. Given that reality people are trying to understand how things will unfold. That seems pretty straightforward to me in that certain subgroups will adopt this as a great marketing opportunity and ultimately so will the copyright holders. The question how long is that cycle. I think two years.

It was amazing to see how fast this thing has grown up. That is truly impressive.

I loved getting to meet Kevin and Renmarie from Bandtrax as well as Julien from In Over Your Head. They were fellow co-founders of AMP before they took of to work on Podshow.

As for AMP, we had a great turnout and great reception from the various people we are working with or in the process of working with. I especially enjoyed getting to know and hang out with Matt Galligan, Chris MacDonald and Brian DeWitt. That combined with meeting others such as Ewan Spence, Eric Rice in person, David Betz, Samantha Murphy (in San Diego a week ago) and many others involved makes me psyched to be working with such a diverse and talented group of people. I expect lots of good things ahead for what we are trying to do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

At Portable Media Expo

Man I got in late. I posted some pictures and am off to bed. Very cool day standing around in a room with a hole bunch of people you know through phone/IM/and listening to their podcasts. All of us music people got a chance to hang out. More later.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Portable Media Expo

Dave Winer linked to a Wired article about the Portable Media Expo where I am speaking at Friday on behalf of AMP. It should be a good time. Matt Galligan from AMP is rolling into San Diego later today to hang with me before the event and then tomorrow I am hooking up with CC Chapman, some of the Odeo folks and some other friends. It is the first big podcasting event so if you happen to be in Southern California in the next couple of days do go check it out.

Arnold gets Terminated

Arnold's threats to take back Cali - fornia were thwarted yesterday as the people of the state rejected all of his "tools" to take back the government and fix California. Amazingly, every initiative on the ballot was rejected. I know I voted no across the board. Although some of the measures may have had some merit, the libertarian in me said that this was a big stupid waste of time and money for no good reason. So let's tell the whole crowd no. What a great way to spend $60 million dollars. I think across the spectrum of centrist voters there was a feeling of stop playing games and get back to your job of running the government.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Adam Curry Finds God

Or something like that. I have been so head down at work that I missed the fact that yesterday, Adam Curry FINALLY had the awakening that if he continues to play copyrighted music, he will get sued into oblivion. I am sure that his new investors were excited to hear about the potential exposure. It's funny but over a year ago I made that point in my first podcast which Adam played. I guess a year isn't that long.

The interesting thing to see is whether or not the various publishers decide to go back through his over 275 shows and slap him with a serious lawsuit that will liquidate the pile of capital from the Silicon Valley VCs. My guess, you can take that to the bank.

It's unfortunate if that happens as it really will be bad for podcasting in general. On the other hand, there is a great new opportunity for those who embrace this medium as a means to distribute their music.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mobile Users Vs. Internet Users

I read with a very big smile an article about Mobile Phone Data Useability sucks from Evan/Rabble over at Odeo. I know that I had at least one conversation with him about our approach to consumers and I think it is valuable to repeat it here. There are consumers who use their phone as their primary interface for communications. When I say communications I mean not just voice. These are people who use SMS the way I use Instant Messenger. These users are the earliest adopters of this sort of technology, and like all the good pioneers before them, they have managed to find ways to work around the limitations of the first or second instance of a platform.

When you think about mobile data, we are in the very very early stages. Phones are still being broadly manufactured to allow people to use the voice facility to speak with each other, not to surf the web or find their friends or other things that most people would use a computer for. Over time the usability will improve as more and more mainstream consumers start using those kinds of technologies.

When I look at what we are doing with rabble, we are focused on making the experience as strong as possible for users of this still early platform. To that end we have spent out time and resources focusing on the part that matters to people who use the phone as a primary device. What we haven't done has rolled out a website for our users. Our experience in the past has shown us that most people who are mobile data focused, don't necessarily want to mix that experience with the web. For those consumers who want to mix and match we have integrated Rabble with sites like Blogger and Live Journal because quite frankly, they do really good job for those of our users who use those tools.

We do plan on rolling out our website in the next couple of weeks. I'll be sure to post about that, but I am fairly certain that when our site goes live it will be a bit of a yawn for a bunch of our users. In the meantime I'd encourage you to check out the Rabble site where we are profiling some of our current users and their posts. It's good for some laughs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I received an email from someone on the staff of iSportscaster saying that since I was a aficionado of user generated content that I should check this out. I haven't played with it yet but I LOVE the concept. If I had the time I should grab the Chargers, but I can guarantee that isn't going to happen.

Rabble Featured in LBS startups to watch article

We were plugged and profiled in the Red Herring article you can find here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Neighborhood Kids 5

The Neighborhood Kids 5
The Neighborhood Kids 5,
originally uploaded by brikmaster.
My kids are the Yodas on each end.