Starring At The Bar

Now that I have some stability in my life, I’ve been thinking and wanting to spend more of my time and attention on the things in life that I am truly passionate about. It’s mostly nerdy things, wanting to blog more and start yet another podcast or three, get back into computer programming, maybe learn an instrument like piano or how to play the guitar that i got for Christmas years ago, gathering dust in the corner.
I get inspired by great content and the people that are behind it, but at the same time, while listening to great audio podcasts like Radiolab, I imagine the eight year old version of myself starring up at the monkey bars on the school playground; the bars seemed just out of reach, but at the same time, a lifetime away.

There are great podcast like You Look Nice Today and Radiolab that while listening I am just amazed at the level of production and the amount of time that has to be put into each episode.  There is an almost dibailitating thing by spending too much time watching and listening to everyone else’s work, especially when I’m are just starting out and don’t have a body of work to show, that scares me from taking the first step in creating something of my own. I think of shows like Radiolab and This American Life as the shows that all others are judged by and the little lizard brain that I spend way too much time listening to and following it’s advice has scarred me into inaction much of my life.

I get these fits of energy and focus, where I am able to shut out the voice in my head and actually create something, anything with my mind and hands. There is usually a process that envolves me buying yet another domain name in hopes that this time (about the 70th time) that I will actually make something and keep up with it. A podcast that maybe goes 6 episodes or a new blog with 4 posts is my normal tolerance to stick with something. I feel at times as a litterbug on the internet, littering the web with these scraps of content that exist forever, never to decompose.

This single blog post is something that I have kept coming back to and rewriting for almost a month. Each and every time, starting by reading and deleting most of the words that I somehow thought were good and descent writing on one of my sleepless nights, but I have to come to a point where I can let my work out and let it stand for me, and in a way that is a very vulnerable thing.  Maybe I should just click publish.

Buddypress 1.2 Comes Out

Buddypress is a great plugin (and to say it’s just a plugin is to demean it somewhat) that was originally built for WordPress Mu installations, but the new version 1.2 now works with standard WordPress installations as well. I’ve used Buddypress to build a site I started called PodcasterTech.com and really like the community functionality and built-in forum feature.

With the update to 1.2 also a new default Buddypress theme is released, and I immediately switched over. The new default theme was exactly the look I was going for when I installed Buddypress and tried to squeeze out of the old default theme. The new version is also easier to install and increases the social interaction features with greater support in the activity pane. It incorporates some twitter like features like @username support.

Download it and try for yourself at  Buddypress.org

Thoughts about the new WordPress 2.9 Update

Yesterday WordPress released an early Christmas present for all us bloggers with the update to 2.9. The update is mostly chocked full of bug fixes and improvements to the wordpress code. Below is a breakdown.

1. It’s faster: Although not a listed improvement, many users, including myself, are seeing that sites are running faster with the 2.9 upgrade.

2. Built in Image Editor: WordPress now includes a basic image editor including crop, edit, flip, rotate and scale images all available through the media library and when uploading/inserting images into posts.

3. Batch plugin updating: Now more updating each individual plugin site wide, under tools, in the update tab, a new option to update all plugins at once makes managing multiple sites more easy and the updater checks to make sure the plugin updates are compatible with your version of WordPress.

4. Oembed support: no more embed codes for inserting videos. Just paste the url for the video on its own line inside your post and the video will automatically be embedded. Currently all the major players like Youtube are supported with more providers coming.

5. Sitewide Trashcan: No more accidentaly deleted posts or comments; the new trashcan saves the posts for thirty days.

Below is a WordPress video highlighting some of the new features.

Newspapers and the Internet Today

Below is a post I wrote for discussion in my Mass Media and Behavior class about newspapers and their role in the digital age.


Newspapers like other old media formats has had to find ways to coexist and continue to be profitable in the digital age. The subscription and classified revenue models that newspapers subsisted on for decades is in rapid decline as subscriptions continue to drop because more and more people are getting their news from internet and TV.

With the growth of ebay and craigslist the money that newspapers would get from classifieds ads has been drastically decreasing as well as more and more advertisers are finding better success and higher engagement with internet advertising putting more strain on newspapers.

Today it was announced that the New York Post is going to close its bureaus in New York, Chicago and Las Angeles; another strike for newspapers. With the growth of the internet the number of news outlets has grown and the pace that information travels is something that Gutenberg could have never guessed. Even now the 24 hour news networks are having trouble keeping up with breaking news and more and more people are using twitter where breaking news can travel the globe in seconds. MSNBC has recognized this shift and partnered with a leading twitter account, “BreakingNews”, to share content and assets with each other.

The way that people access the news has also changed, RSS readers and search engines are huge sources for new content and News Corp has recognized an opportunity to profit. News Corp signed a deal with Microsoft and their new search product Bing.com that will give Bing exclusive access to indexing News Corp content. News Corp has been vocal in their opinion that search engines should be paying newspapers for access to their content and the deal with Microsoft told to be worth one hundred million dollars could be the first in a wave of print publications that begin to limit access to their content. Several newspapers have tried subscription models with minimal degrees of success.

There has been a rash of newspapers going out of business or consolidating, reducing competition and consumer choice in print, but blogging more a viable reality than ever. It’s odd, colleges are reporting an increase in the number of journalism majors yet regular jobs in the media are on the decline. There is a twitter account called “themediaisdying” all about reporting the painful death of old media. The opportunity is for journalists to dive deep into topics that interest them and they can become their own boss. A battle that has yet to be tried out in the courts is in matters of freedom of the press, where reporters need to keep secret their sources and the court system will someday have to create the water test of what nowadays can be counted as the press.

Put This On


Put This On, Episode 1: Denim from Put This On on Vimeo.

The first episode of “Put This On,” a video podcast that comes from two “Monsters of Podcasting” Jesse Thorn (host of “The Sound of Young America” & “Jordan, Jesse, Go”) and Adam Lisagor (member of the “You Look Nice Today” podcast) made it’s web debut today. Put This On is a change from the normal tech based talk that often comes to mind when talking about podcasts. Put this On also is different in how it got started, they used Kickstarter.com to help raise funds to get the podcast project started. Kickstarter.com is a site that touts itself as ” A New Way to Fund Ideas and Endeavours” and provides a place for those with an idea and the willingness to to the footwork to gain funds to get started. Many of the Kickstarter.com projects come from artists wanting to make a book, record a new album, and other projects of the like. Thorn and Lisagor were able to use Kickstarter.com in a way to test the virtual waters to see if their idea for Put this One would work and to attract sponsors and gain the startup cash to get the series started right.

Thorn and Lisagor were looking for $1,500 to start “Put this On,” and within days of announcing their intentions and using twitter to get the word out quickly exceeded their initial goal and at the end of the funding round had pledges from people and businesses in total of more than $3,900. In full disclosure, I was one of the backers pitching in a couple of bucks to the cause. Most of the donnors pledged fifty dollars or less while Metafilter.com (a longtime sponsor of Thorn’s other podcasts) stepped up with $1,500 in return for a post-roll advertisment by Thorn and Lisagor that airs at the end of each episode.

The production value of “Put this On” is excellent and should serve as an example for anyone who wants to start a video podcast and really shows that online video has grown up to take on old media. Certainly, anyone who has ever worn jeans or ever will should check out the first episode of “Put this On.” I think the use of Kickstarter.com is an interesting development in the world of podcasting. It is a twist on the donation model that many podcasters have tried, but with varying degrees of success.  Not only do the donnors have the enjoyment of seeing the project come into reality, but they also feel a sense of ownership as they were there on the ground floor, getting the project started. It will be interesting to see what Jesse Thorn and Adam Lisagor come up with in future episodes of “Put this On” as they attempt to educate people on how to dress like grownups. I will admit that I could use the advice as there was a period in middle school where I wore sweatpants everyday, and despite what Michael Jordan’s hanes commercials would lead you to believe, sweatpants will not help your jump shot or help you in the ladies department either.

Wordcamp Dallas this Weekend

This weekend is the second year for Wordcamp Dallas.  The two day event is being held at the UT Dallas School of Management. I didn’t go last year and I signed up months ago and have been counting the days till the geekout event this weekend. I really like the power that WordPress gives me to mange my content and I use WordPress on most of my sites. I think it will be a great opportunity to meet with other geeks and since its at UTD its my home turf. It will be a great networking oportunity (even though I really hate the “N” word) and hope to learn some things to help step up my game. I’ll be blogging and twittering  a lot this weekend, so let me appologize right now.
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Wordcamp Dallas