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Talking Audio

(Cross-posted)

In light of a glitch that happened late Sunday with TWiT 187, it is perhaps appropriate to talk about digital audio structuring.

There are three main sampling rates used with digital audio. Those rates are:

  • 11.025 kHz -- Wireline Telephone Quality
  • 22.050 kHz -- AM Radio Quality
  • 44.100 kHz -- Compact Disc Audio Quality
A typical sample rate that programs from Erie Looking Productions stick with is 44.1 kHz if file size caps permit. For the longest time such was not possible as the Drupal implementation LISNews ran on had a ten megabyte cap. At this point, the current Drupal implementation lets us get away with files up to twenty megabytes in size. Our sample rate and bit rate change every week as we try to optimize content to sound good within the cap we have to work with.

Something we try to avoid is using the 11.025 kHz sample. In most respects such sounds awful. It can be useful, though, if you have a sizable audience operating with lower than average bandwidth. Last night the folks at the TWiT Cottage mistakenly released in the main MP3 feed their low-resolution file encoded at the 11.025 kHz sample rate with a bit rate of only sixteen kilobits per second. Such works great if you have to be in the American Pacific on a slow link and still want content and have a high tolerance for distortion and digital artifacts.

At this point, there is no plan to release programs from Erie Looking Productions in such a low-bandwidth version. It does not seem that such will serve the audience well. If there is demand, such as getting a version of the program available under the ten megabyte cap iPhones cope with for over-the-air podcast downloads, then reconsideration may be possible.

Creative Commons License
Talking Audio by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Technical Note

As you might have noticed, the "podcast" link isn't working. I had to make some taxonomy changes to support the full-blown launch of the LISNews Netcast Network. Unfortunately doing so broke that and I am not able to fix it. The matter has been flagged for Blake and should be okay when he has time available to fix it. If you are already subscribed to the podcast feed, you're fine. Your podcatcher likely saw the name change and adjusted things appropriately. If you already subscribe to the e-mail service, you're still fine. The key concern, though, is that you'll be getting everything posted to the LISNews Netcast Network. While we work things out and complete the finishing touches, this table may help with ways of subscribing at finer degrees of granularity:

Program

Feed Reader/Podcatcher Target

E-mail Subscription Option

Hyperlinked History
Presented by Great Western Dragon/The Faceless Historian

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast
Presented by Stephen Michael Kellat

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

Tech for Techies
Presented by Michael J. Kellat

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

All Network Programs

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

Programming will post throughout the week instead of in a single flood on Monday morning Coordinated Universal Time.
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Quick Word

This will head out over e-mail and RSS. In the midst of shifting things over to the LISNews Netcast Network model, some things are slightly messy. Some things are also beyond my ability or access permissions to fix. Please bear with us in this faster than planned transition.

What is the LISNews Netcast Network? See: http://erielookingproductions.info/archives/2009/02/10/index.html#e2009-02-10T15_53_31.txt

Financial thoughts

"God watches out for fools and little children," an old proverb states. Times are interesting for LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast. The production engineer has been at risk since last Saturday of being unemployed. As of last Saturday he has been a "grey market" employee with no known direction as to his continued employment. Every day has been such that one of the first questions asked was: "Were your termination papers sent into processing today?" Jobs results yesterday put Nevada at 9.1% unemployment which for the measurement period year-on-year is 3.9% higher. The national average is 7.2%. The only places worse off than Nevada in terms of unemployment are South Carolina, Michigan, Rhode Island, and California. See: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm I've been working on the podcast full-time since the end of July 2008. We've had a variety of interesting guests. Landing guests is not a simple matter and takes time. A single day's turnaround is highly unusual. Taking up a whole week is more average. Spending a month pursuing an interview, such as the recent one with Felicia Day, happens from time to time. While it seems that only mediocrity is expected of the crew here, I try to exceed that expectation. My work has been subsidized at some cost to the production engineer, my father. LISTen apparently serves an audience. LISTen's audience is hard to quantify for an agency like PodTrac or Blubrry so that we could start pursuing advertising revenue. If anything, average American librarian behavior prevents that. Today on LISNews we saw that Reed Business Information has been consolidating operations fairly harshly. Layoffs are common in today's news. If anything, the crew here in Las Vegas has nowhere to go but up. Here are our minimum operating budget needs:
Item Monthly Annually Notes
Production Staff Compensation $3,485.00 $41,820.00 Includes compensation for both presenter and engineer
Broadband $75.00 $900.00 Monopoly provider locally
Other Telecommunications $40.00 $480.00 Cover cost of fallback systems
Outside Freelancer Compensation Pool $50.00 $600.00 Unused balance to carry-over month to month
Equipment Repair/Purchase/Evaluation Pool $75.00 $900.00 Unused balance to carry-over month to month
Shortwave Broadcast $75.00 $900.00 To be negotiated with WBCQ
Facilities Cost/Contingencies $1,200.00 $14,400.00 Contingency in case need arises to relocate production operations




Sub-total $5,000.00 $60,000.00
Tax Burden $1,500.00 $18,000.00 Currently estimated at 30% due to uncertainty in possible tax law changes




Total $6,500.00 $78,000.00
Now it may be best to explain further some of the line items. For the staff compensation line, you need to split that a minimum of two ways. If split evenly, that would result in USD$20,910 per year. That is hardly living high on the hog and would only be considered well-to-do in one place in the US: American Samoa. Such would only be a little over twice the average annual income there. If individuals who happened to not be family were engaged for engineering tasks, the overall staff compensation line would easiily balloon to a minimum of USD$80,000 per year with a more likely point of USD$100,000 with compensation being divided in an asymmetric fashion. This is the cheapest this line item would get, in case anybody was wondering. There is no broadband competition really in the Las Vegas Valley so that cost is fixed. Other telecommunications refers to the backup cell we use when broadband malfunctions. There is a need to commission freelancers in other realms to report on stories that we lack the ability to cover and, unfortunately, people will not do such original reporting for free. Equipment repair refers to the reality that things do break and while we can undertake repairs, we do not have funds to pay for replacement parts now. Shortwave broadcast is for a small low-tech expansion of program coverage that we want to start. The facilities cost/contingencies line refers to the possible need to outright lease space so that we have greater ease in recording compared to our cramped, ad hoc facility that doubles as a dwelling space. For us to qualify as a media entity, we cannot take money directly. If somebody wanted to contribute to costs so that we have a firm foundation and not have to worry about people's day jobs disappearing, send the money to Blake. Blake is effectively the fiscal agent for this. Consulting the details at http://lishost.org/order.php might be worthwhile, I presume, for reaching Blake. This would allow for an appropriate paperwork chain that would indicate that the funds went for media purposes with all the intervening W-9 and 1099-MISC forms required. Don't ask me why, I don't write tax laws or the definitions of "media organization" in statutes. Not-for-profit entities always ask for money. I get letters from my religiously-affiliated undergraduate institution asking for money to keep going. A post like this is much like a Salvation Army bell-ringer or an American Red Cross funds appeal. To say a post like this is something different is intellectual dishonesty. We've tried to wage commerce instead of war by offering materials for sale that nobody has bought. We've tried to secure advertising but found that librarians are too flighty of a demographic for that to happen. We've sought sponsorship in the Las Vegas Valley and after five inquiries we've come up with nothing as they did not want to touch the demographic of librarians. All other avenues are exhausted and this is what we are left with relative to stabilizing the money side of production for the podcast.
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Why the MLS matters

In the news today, education professor Bill Ayers was turned away at the Canadian border. Professor Ayers noted that such seemed to be a violation of his academic freedom. While never tried and convicted in the United States for any Weather Underground related events, Canadian law cares not. Canada's counterpart to our USA PATRIOT Act can be somewhat more draconian and goes places that would scare Americans.

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Thinking About Radio

Some thoughts were left at the Erie Looking Productions blog. Comments aren't possible there yet. I'm still working on integrating It was messy but I integrated Disqus with Nanoblogger so it is not like there is a switch that can be simply flipped on or off relative to allowing comments. [Updated at 1626 PST on 3 January 2009]
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Weather for the podcast team

My local weather conditions outside: Snow?  In Las Vegas? 5 Clicking on the picture will whisk you away to Flickr to see the full-size version.

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas

Erf? The weather was quite weird today. As I write, there are still fog issues. For the past two days we've had record rainfall. (Click on the picture to be magically transported to Flickr for other picture sizes)
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Sadly, no LISTen Halloween special

Due to illness, there will not be a Halloween special of LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast.
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Works in progress for LISTen #44

For the sake of those who want something more than just plain text:
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