LISNews Netcast Network

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #55

This week's episode brings a chat with Cameron Kaiser, the creator of Twitter client ttytter, as well as a piece from The Effing Librarian and a commentary written by the program's engineer.

Blog entry referenced in the engineer's commentary
The prepared commentary text that was presented
The Twitter client, ttytter
The book by The Effing Librarian
The blog by The Effing Librarian
One book by the podcast production team
Another book by the podcast production team

23:12 minutes (8 MB)

The LISTen New Year's Day 2009 Special

Welcome to 2009! This special episode features Blake Carver's outlook on 2009. A look at the events calendar is also presented and shows how busy the first couple months may well be.

The next regular episode of LISTen will be posted on or near 5:00 AM Coordinated Universal Time on January 5th.

LISTen budget needs for 2009
English Internet Regulation Case
Inauguration Website by District of Columbia municipal government

19:33 minutes (8 MB)

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #54

This week's episode doesn't have a single theme. First up is an interview with John C. Dvorak about a sad situation with Google Docs. Following that is a brief report about the impending demise of podcasts hosted on Podango. After the Podango update a commentary is presented on utterances made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, & Sport in the United Kingdom.

Post referenced in discussion with John C. Dvorak
Mashable on the Podango situation
LISNews post containing multiple links to stories on the situation the commentary references
Direct link to the Christmas Special if you missed it

19:52 minutes (8 MB)

The LISTen Christmas Special

No spoilers.

7:17 minutes (8 MB)

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #53

One could blame it on the holidays. One might blame it on the news being slow. In the end, this episode is a brief one. Computer complications delayed the post to where it could not post on-time either.

The episode begins with a recap of the top ten stories of the past week at LISNews. Following that the sixteenth installment of Tech for Techies is presented discussing some recent remarks by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Homeland Security as they might relate to libraries. A review of openSUSE 11.1, which is available for purchase as well as download, is then given. Wrapping up the episode included a note that a Christmas special may or may not happen. Decisions have not been taken yet on that.

There will be an episode released at the usual time on December 29th. It should be remembered that CNET as well as the TWiT Network will not have podcasts coming out at that time with current coverage as they are on holiday breaks. A LISTen special for New Year's Eve is under discussion as to its specifics. Further details will be announced once they are available.

12:01 minutes (8 MB)

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #52

This week's late episode brings interviews concerning technology. The first interview was with Jerry Bell of Cytec Corporation about PodboxxTV. The second is with the CEO of Mahalo, Jason Calacanis, about the newly launched Mahalo Answers. The zeitgeist round up is not repeated in this bit of audio but can be found here.

Barring further complications the next episode of LISTen will be released on or near 0500 UTC on December 22nd.

29:35 minutes (8 MB)

How do you access LISNews?

I just want to throw out there a brief survey Survey closed as of 2037 UTC on December 16th as we have gotten more responses than viewable at our unpaid access level. The survey's purpose is to help ascertain how you reach LISNews most of the time. In light of the recent backslash issue, getting a feel as to whether people visit most through a feed reader or instead directly visiting the site makes a difference. When site software upgrades and/or changes happen knowing about such use patterns help with understanding how to serve the audience best.

Questions are not specific to only the use of feed readers and also encompass questions concerning the podcast.

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #51

This week's episode is characterized by variety. The episode kicks off with a recap of stories that might have flown below the radar. After that the program talks to Evan Prodromou, the creator of the Laconica software that operates sites site as TWiT Army and From there the podcast took a look at a musical program at the West Charleston branch of Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. After that there is a mix of Linux and open source news followed by another installment of Tech for Techies. After Tech for Techies the episode wraps up.

Links referred to:
Site to download Laconica
Guitar Society of Las Vegas
Download location for openSUSE 11.1-RC1
Download location for stable openSUSE releases
Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope Daily Builds
OpenSolaris download site
Download location for TinyMe
Koha download site
Evergreen download site
Greenstone download site download site
MarcEdit download site
Details about the Free Culture Showcase competition
The referenced wiki page showing all competitors entered so far
Announcement from TWiT Live about their mixer
MacBreak Weekly recorded without a mixer

36:25 minutes (8 MB)

And now a word from the podcast engineer

This was originally prepared to start LISTen #51 but I chose to yank it and put it here instead. -- Michael J. Kellat, Podcast Audio Proudction Engineer

Hi, this is Mike your audio geek. I bring this up now as it is better to be too soon than too late. As many of you are aware, these are hard economic times. Many people are looking for life rafts in this sea of uncertainty. I will be part of that group in a few weeks when my job disappears at work. Stephen has been there since August and has been trying to get out of it.

Like PBS, we are underwritten. We are underwritten by me with a small amount of support from Blake. If I am without a job, the underwriting disappears. Unless another miracle happens, I am slated to be out of work in mid-January 2009.

I sent letters to the heads of the fifty graduate programs in library science recently. This was not a simple matter and Stephen did most of the grunt work physically preparing the mailing. By the time this airs the programs should have seen their letters unless the postal service had a snag. Those letters discussed things on a smaller scale than I am about to.

Maintaining an endeavor requires capital. With respect to the audience served by this podcast, it is nearly impossible to raise such by conventional means. The audience is so erratic that we cannot in good conscience even talk to an ad broker. We cannot seek operating grants as we are not an incorporated charity. Trying to offer things for purchase so as to raise some capital has not resulted in a single penny coming in.

While ad dollars for online productions are actually up, we have no concrete data to be able to show advertisers about the audience they might reach. Librarians are often fiercely private in terms of their online data. For us, this creates hideous consequences. Without even a small sliver of a consistent notion as to the demographic we reach, we have nothing to approach an advertiser with. Any librarian who thinks that advertisers are not dependent upon demographic data needs to reconsider what they think they know about advertising.

With most of the normal avenues to fund a podcast foreclosed to us by a unique audience, we have to ask directly for support. While some librarians likely see this as begging, it should be instead regarded as the inevitable consequence of choices made by the audience at large. There is nothing wrong or immoral or inappropriate in doing this. If Felicia Day can be applauded for doing the same thing with The Guild, why does it suddenly become different in this context?

Considering full tax burden, the total cost for a full year to operate the podcast full-time approaches 78 thousand dollars. While things were great when jobs existed to be able to fund podcast operations, soon that is not going to be happening once January 16th comes around. A full thirty percent of that figure is the currently estimated tax burden owed to the government provided there are no changes in tax law. As is common with a startup and other such entities, a fairly large cost is ensuring that those producing things can have a roof over their heads as well as food to eat.

Up against other operations, that figure is actually low. To do what we do in any other subject field would cost almost 90 thousand dollars a year. So far we've been lucky to not have to replace any equipment or otherwise have balloon costs. These are very normal costs for any media effort and the spec shows us working below the going rate for local government A/V techs. For your average individual local government A/V tech, the average annual pay ranges between 52 thousand and 83 thousand dollars plus benefits. The 78 thousand figure lets us pay for two people, telecommunications, utilities, and more.

In a declining economy, we bring value to libraries. First and foremost we provide professional development functions through “current awareness” segments. Secondly we help highlight issues that might have disappeared from the landscape or escaped the attention of outlets like the BBC or the CBS Evening News. A prime example is the issue of Australian Internet censorship that we covered before even the BBC program Digital Planet got to it this past week.

The cost of this is not that bad. The cost to operate LISTen full-time for a year would be equivalent to roughly 273 round-trip coach tickets flying from LaGuardia to Denver for ALA Mid-Winter. Another way to look at it is that the full-year cost for us would be equal to 173 round-trip coach tickets between Seattle and Chicago for ALA Annual in July. The full-year cost of the program would also be 64 round-trip coach tickets between Auckland and Chicago. The cost of 6,500 subscriptions to Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite Radio would fully fund us for an entire calendar year.

The podcast has done great things in the face of quite a bit of adversity. Having the operation funded so that we don't have to worry about food and shelter will free us up to bring you even better shows. Since we already failed at trying to get somebody to give us a piece for free in a commissioning effort, money will help us have some leverage to hear local voices from outside the US about library issues. Stephen quietly tried to commission a freelance piece in the United Kingdom about a matter there but nobody would cooperate unless paid.

The biggest goal in 2009 is to bring you a little bit of professional development material every week. Our goal is to try to keep things going so that professional development is an on-going thing rather than just a patent nostrum at a conference. If anything, going this way actually would have less of a carbon footprint than traveling to different events across the planet.

I've laid out the case and given you almost all you need if you choose to act. There are so many ways to reach us that it cannot be said that we are unavailable. In the end, the choice is yours.

With that being said, I now give way for your regularly scheduled podcast programming.

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