StephenK's blog

A Message For Podcast Subscribers

No, the campaign for county commissioner isn't happening as of yet. A PDF message is still being forward to feed subscribers, though.

Demographic Rambling

Four years of podcasting with LISNews.org has been interesting. The statistics make things even more interesting. Sadly, I do not have a complete set of data points. Those that I do have worry me.

Location is key. When it comes to covering the Library & Information Science world, our main focus is not geography but instead topical matters. Based upon what data I can derive from FeedBurner's limited statistics, we may cover the right topical matters but hit all the wrong areas of geographical coverage.

From the limited geographical data I have, the bulk of listeners to LISTen: An LISNews.org Program happen to be located in places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. US listenership actually comes in a bit lower than would be expected. This may also reflect regional preferences in how you subscribe to podcast content since the FeedBurner link is but one way to subscribe. We simply lack data for some means of subscribing to the podcast.

What can I do with having primarily a foreign audience while the content is primarily produced with a domestic US focus? Some changes in content focus may be necessary perhaps. The big problem with that is that we have virtually no budget and are tethered to the south shores of Lake Erie in a township called Ashtabula. We really do not have the assets in place to cover stories in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Expansion of assets would otherwise be necessary and we do not have a way to do so quite just yet.

The fifth year of the program is now underway. I want to make changes this year. A big one would be to secure funding for shortwave distribution. With the lessons of this year in terms of how fragile the Internet is, having a backup is important. Considering how much of the listenership is located outside North America, such would be a viable backup that would also skirt around national blacklists and firewalls.

Getting the resources to cover foreign stories is an even harder thing than simply buying blocks of airtime with money we don't have. Foreign collaborators would be necessary. Without any way to compensate them it is kinda hard to recruit such people. Indigenous correspondents would allow for better coverage anyhow compared to trying to secure a travel budget and visa clearances for international travel. We could previously handle this sort of thing through judicious use of Skype but with as unreliable as Time Warner Cable has been locally we cannot go with that option.

These speed results help illuminate what we are paying USD$39.95 to get:



The easy part is knowing what you want to do. The hard part is finding the resources to bring such to fruition. The search for resources is the big challenge for year five, it seems.

Creative Commons License
Demographic Rambling by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info. -- Read More

Oooops...

Erie Looking Productions regretfully announces that the release of normal programming is delayed until Tuesday this week.

We apologize for any difficulties caused.

The PDF to the essay

See the attached file.

Programming Note Relative To 4 July 2011

There will be an episode of LISTen: An LISNews.org Program released on 4 July 2011 notwithstanding the holiday in the United States of America.

FeedSync Test

The nuclear option is being employed on the FeedBurner side of things to realign a major feed. For those getting this as an e-mail digest, apologies for the repeat e-mail. For those seeing this in iTunes...I hope this fixes things...

Cancellation Notice for 14 March 2011

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Erie Looking Productions has suffered a catastrophic equipment failure. As we attempt to repair damage it must be noted that the regularly scheduled release for 14 March 2011 is cancelled. Barring disruptions the next programming release is set for 21 March 2011.


Creative Commons License
Cancellation Notice for 14 March 2011 by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Production Calendar Test

For better or worse an operational calendar is being updated using IceOwl with Google Calendar hosting it on the back-end. To keep up with the production calendar, use this link in your calendaring package:

http://www.google.com/calendar/ical/erielookingproductions@gmail.com/public/basic.ics

Notice of Programming Disruption

Sleepy Shadow

Erie Looking Productions regrets to inform you that, like the cat named Shadow pictured above, we need some rest. The current run-up to Christmas has created operational difficulties that prevent us from presenting LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast and The Burning Circle on December 20th.

We plan to return on December 27th. Thank you for your patience and consideration.

Since PNLA-L has all these updates on TSA...

As I've seen quite a bit of chatter on library-related e-mail reflectors, it is perhaps best to mirror the new signage the TSA just put out for holiday travel. I'm attaching the PDF here so it will distribute outward as a booklet as far as iTunes is concerned in the podcast feed. Podcast feeds can handle more than just audio and video files...

You can find more signage and the government PSA we'll likely be airing here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/holiday_travel.shtm

Reflections On Three Years

LISNews is celebrating its 11th birthday. The podcast is getting set to celebrate its 3rd anniversary in a few weeks. As always it seems to be my perennial worry in production comes down to infrastructure.

We've had some major backbone failures recently. Our cable broadband provider had a major outage event Monday that has us offline for a while. The only other alternative locally for broadband is asynchronous digital subscriber line and even that has reliability issues locally. In the 17th of 50 states in what should arguably be considered a first-world nation, access to the Internet is hardly reliable at all. While there was an attempt in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to ameliorate such digital divide issues through the provision of grants, that entire funding program was scrapped to provide the funds to shore up local education agency budgets in the United States reportedly to prevent teacher layoffs.

For now we have GPRS service on a prepaid basis as a stopgap recovery measure in the event of a back-end failure. That is only a stopgap patch and is not a permanent fix. Air cards and the like are available out here but the network connectivity is at least two generations behind what you might find in your average urban metro. There are areas within easy driving distance that are some of the most remote on the planet with no cellular carriers providing any coverage at all.

For Internet-based transmission of multimedia content, this area is hardly optimal. It also highlights the possible failure of the vision of a cloud-based future. For a cloud-based future to truly work, wide-area saturation of minimal access levels would be necessary. Radio waves handle that easily through physical propagation that follows simple laws of physics which makes broadcasting possible. With a network of networks like the Internet, signals do not necessarily have the same metaphorical landscape to propagate across that the ionosphere provides radio waves. Radio waves can move at the speed of light under optimal conditions. While the Internet can open new means of communicating, it does not provide the same relative uniformity the physical world around us has been able to in terms of communications medium.

Three years of podcasting has been interesting. The fourth year is appearing to be one of new challenges that have to be faced. We spent the summer of 2010 preparing for the loss of effective Skype access by improving our communications links. Skype is great...when you have a fast enough data link to support it. With the way our local infrastructure is starting to fall apart, we just do not have that anymore. Between now having to keep costs down let alone scheduling complications that we previously did not have, there are real reasons there have not been as many interviews as previously.

Keeping the program published on a regular basis is the next challenge we have to face. We'll be continuing to price alternative means of accessing the Internet and, if necessary, taking steps to begin alternative links. Time will tell where things progress.


Creative Commons License
Reflection On Three Years by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

Programming Notice for LISTen 125

Due to circumstance beyond our control and by decision of the Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions, episode #125 of LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast shall be delayed in its release until 2130 Eastern Time on October 18th. To convert this to your own local time, please consult TimeAndDate.com at this link: http://timeanddate.com/s/1v87

We apologize for any inconvenience caused hereby.

In case your community could not afford fireworks last night...

Here is a recording of some of our local fireworks in northeast Ohio seen last night:

Torando #2 locally...

Alrighty. About three weeks ago we had a tornado touch down and take out the Andover area in the southeast corner of Ashtabula County.

Overnight into today? Tornado touch down took out part of the City of Conneaut along the Lake Erie shoreline. This was the northeast corner of Ashtabula County.

If this pattern keeps up, presumably the Geneva area in northwestern Ashtabula County is next.

To the best of my knowledge, Conneaut Public Library and Andover Public Library remain undamaged.

This is proving to be an interesting summer.

Podcasts Without A Fruit-Based Player

Sometimes posts are not easily made to Drupal. Drupal likes text and can be tricky to use if you want to incorporate images into posts. When you have a situation of multiple screenshots to display with text, Adobe Acrobat format can be a better container for such information.

In recognition of that the software & service review article attached to this post is available in Adobe Acrobat format only. Click the download link to access the piece. Podcast subscribers will automatically receive the PDF in their playlist as if it were yet more liner notes.

Textual Miscellany

A June Miscellany
By Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS
Head Writer, Erie Looking Productions

The Search For Studio Space

With the main move out of the way, we are kinda lacking in studio space. This is why the hiatus is running as long as it is. We are attempting to raise money and are looking at real estate. Three possible partners have been contacted but it is too soon to have heard back from them. There is a building previously used by a Charismatic Episcopal Church for sale that costs roughly ten thousand dollars in the Ashtabula Harbor Historical District. While the building is quite tempting and would make for a lovely base of operations, it is not yet economically feasible to purchase. The local real estate market is in fairly bad shape where there are an infinitesimal amount of properties for rent/lease compared to properties up for sale.

The World Radio Network

A private company based in England, World Radio Network provides transmission services for quite a number of content providers. Considering that some of the content they air is geekier and appeals to a narrower niche compared to LISNews Netcast Network programming, they've been contacted to see what cooperation is possible. We have not heard back yet if there are any opinions positive or negative about the programming we produce.

Voting & Intentional Self-Destruction

Over a year into the presidency of Barack Obama, the economy of the United States is hardly recovered. A meme on conservative websites for a while was to plot against the unemployment change projections of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act what the actual unemployment rate happened to be. That such diverged was mocked. When the divergence was significantly out of line from the projections used to sell what was popularly known as “stimulus”, the laughter turned to grimacing.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was sold as a panacea. There were some fundamental kernels of nastiness deep within the bill that continue to produce unintended consequences. This has been clearly seen in New Jersey where Andy Woodworth has assumed a role akin to a minor prophet of the Old Testament documenting not the decline of ancient Israel but rather the decline of libraries.

It is without doubt that the Recovery Act disbursed money to put people back to work. A trip west from Conneaut to Ashtabula on Interstate Route 90 here shows in fairly graphic detail the impact of money as new lanes are added to the highway. The disbursement of money from the United States Treasury came with strings attached. As there are no free gifts from the federal government to grant recipients, it bears consideration as to the consequences of those strings.

The term “maintenance of effort” sounds more like a euphemism for benign accounting issues. That term is hardly benign. A key condition for quite a bit of education funding and funding for road works was that the states had to agree to sustain funding for those areas at or above a minimum benchmark. Failure to comply with funding above that benchmark would disqualify the state from receiving federal funding in that area for a set number of years. Maintenance of Effort, which a term of bureaucracy, would perhaps more appropriately be termed “Advance Commitment To Spend Certain Funds Without Regard To Changing Circumstances For A Fixed Period Of Years”.

Considering the proportions of state budgets spent on education, road works, and the like it is hardly surprising that governors like New Jersey's Chris Christie have done what they have after their predecessors signed up for stimulus dollars that had strings attached. No powerful lobby acted to get provisions included in the Recovery Act to exempt entities like public libraries, parks, mental health care services, and the like from possibly being cut. With the top-down imposition of spending priorities with draconian penalties attached if a state made cuts, public libraries were among the targets set up with very attractive targets painted on them.

Until the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires, libraries are in a bind. Libraries are deemed from the top down to not necessarily be a funding priority. As education matters and road works gobble up quite a bit of state budgets, any growth in their funding consumption will threaten libraries. The Recovery Act insures education and road works will never be cut unless a state had almost a death wish to lose access to federal funding. There are no financial consequences if libraries are dealt budget cuts, though.

In the end, elections have consequences.

###

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The Race Against Lord Mandelson

While you might not think so, the starter's pistol has metaphorically gone off. -- Read More

Workflow this weekend...

1. Finish The LISNews Bulletin
2. Do a check-print of the Bulletin since the printing costs have been fully funded
3. Finish writing freebie propaganda radio ad for New Jersey librarians (among others) to use
4. Ponder further this strap line: "American Libraries: Windows on our past...Bridges to our future"
5. Record and post the propaganda piece for use

Congrats Essayists

It is probably a good thing I did not ping Blake with yet another note asking if the votes were tallied yet. Congratulations to Abigail Goben in the US, The Effing Librarian at Effing's volcano lair, and Ned Potter out in the United Kingdom. I also want to thank all the writers for their great works.

Patient LISNews followers might be starting to see a pattern. If you are one of those followers, you're pretty much on the right track. We started out with the summer series in 2009 where essays were invited. The essay contest in February was open to all who came. The forthcoming LISNews Bulletin is going to be a hybrid of the two processes in which all can propose but due to the scarcity of available pages there will be choices made. You need to hear LISTen #111 to hear what the submission process for the Bulletin will be.

The end goal to all this is to encourage expression in today's knowledge economy. The traditional role of librarian as caretaker for end products is starting to go away. Nowadays librarian success is better ensured by knowing about the birth to death life cycle of information expression forms. Database vendors now securing exclusivity agreements with content producers will impact how librarians serve their patrons. Knowing why that happened helps with finding workarounds and other solutions to ensure that patrons are still being served. Practicing participation in the different stages of the life cycle for a piece of information allows for more holistic work within today's knowledge economy.

We keep testing out ways to build community virtually these ways so that librarians can stay on top of the heap in the knowledge economy. While the virtual world cannot contain the whole conversation all the time, it can at least serve as a starting point for it. How can we help patrons if we do not get our own feet wet?

In the end, keep writing.

Oregon Library Association versus Pacific Northwest Library Association

Recently the dispute between the Oregon Library Association and the Pacific Northwest Library Association had some new life breathed into it through at least one posting I caught over on LISWire. I've read through what Samantha Hines, PNLA President, has written as well as the statement of reasons by OLA relative to withdrawal as well as the PNLA response to OLA. A quite valid question that could be asked is if said situation will be discussed on LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast.

Nope.

Separatism within regional structures is a painful thing without a doubt. Just as divorce happens within human couples, this is essentially a divorce between two legal entities. Just as every single divorce is not given more than perhaps just passing mention in a newspaper's "legal news" section, this has not seemed to have risen to the level of frankly an interesting story. That it has dragged on since October 2009 with only occasional statements being issued infrequently by either side casts it either in the light of not being too worrisome of a concern or otherwise too far outside the usual weekly production cycle of the podcast.

I hope that both sides reconcile and come to a suitable peace either between them or through reintegration.

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