Radio is dead

At least in our house. The FM radio in our car and the tuners around our home are never used. So, radio is dead. Or is it? I listen to huge amounts of audio content. Mostly as podcasts on my iPod but also as live streams on the internet. And what audio content? I listen to very interesting shows from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and some audio books.

What did you say? Audio content from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation? Yes, the same stuff that they broadcast on FM, or radio as some people call it.

So, you listen to radio? No. Or, it depends. What is radio? The content or the transport technology or the reciever or all of it?

My point with this cunfusing rant is to emphasise that in some discussions we need to separate the content from the technology. I think that much of the fear that content creators see in these so called new media channels are completely irrelevant. When Bill Gates says the TV will be dead in five years it is important to discuss what he mean by TV.

In our home we have a huge LCD monitor connected to a computer in our living room. Is that a TV? If it is a big monitor on the wall it is a TV and if it is a small monitor on a desk it is a computer monitor? Most people would look at it and say that it’s a TV. Technically it’s a computer monitor.

In the media industry we need to understand what kinds of delivery platforms people want our content delivered through. FM, DAB, podcasts or all of them? Satellite, cable, terrestial, streaming or download? And we need to learn how to build business models on those platforms.

We don’t have to go around getting scared when people that don’t know what they’re talking about are saying that something that they don’t know how to define is going away in five years.

For me it’s about podcasts, streaming and download. If you’re there with your content and your business models you win. You win my attention and if you’re clever you even win my money.

Radio is dead

Essential listening

Chris AndersonEven if you’re not too interested in media centers, this edition of the media center show podcast is essential listening. Ian Dixon has interviewed Chris Anderson. They talk about the long tail and how it will change the media industry.

There are three things that are driving the long tail content:
– The democratization of production
(cheap production tools)

– The democratization of distribution
(the internet)

– The connection of supply and demand
(the search engines)

…you learn about these issues and a lot more over at The Media Center Show. Listen to it directly in the web page or transfer to your MP3-player.

And while I am mentioning essential listening you should also load your iPod with this little gem:

How to Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times

This is important stuff — it explains why we’re socially willing to commit nigh-infinite social resources to fighting terrorism, though statistically, terrorist attacks almost never happen…. …it explains why people buy lottery tickets. It explains a great deal about many kinds of human activity. This is both sensible and entertaining audio.”.

Link to article and MP3-clip on BoingBoing.

Loic Lemur and Joi Ito
And if that’s not enough, you find a great little video clip of a conversation between Loic Lemur and Joi Ito over here. They talk about games, creative commons and the media industry. Some very interesting thoughts on the future of media there as well.

There’s a lot of things happening right now and there’s a lot of people out there that is kind enough to share their thoughts!

And when you head out to buy Chris Anderson’s book “The Long Tail” you can support by using this link:
The Long Tail : Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

The Long Tail : Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

Essential listening

MP3 player roundup

Diamond Rio and iPod

The ancient (to the left)
My good old Rio PMP300. Not the first one ever, but the first well known commercial MP3-player ever. 32 MB of on board memory and possible to expand with memory cards. At that point horribly expensive memory cards. Communicates with your computer through the parallell port!

The new one (to the right)
iPod 60GIG. Music, photo and video. Yes, I have managed to turn my mobile phone into a cool device for podcast listening, but there’s no doubt. For convenience, usability, battery life and sound quality. My new iPod’s podcasting capabilities are fantastic. And, I am actually already amazed over the development within the video podcast scene. Already some high quality content out there. Among other stuff, a fun revisit to the Happy Tree Friends. I had nearly forgot about those guys.

I want to play my music both on my iPod and in my Media Center, so after upgrading to iTunes 6 I have stopped buying music at the iTunes music store again. For a while, running iTunes 4 and jHymn to remove the stupid FairPlay DRM I have been a happy customer of iTunes Music Store. Now I’ll have to stick to cool shops like to be able to buy music that will play on all my devices.

Or, I could of course visit my local CD shop and buy the unencrypted masters they still sell over there. Just stay clear of Sony. Or, maybe not. My media center runs AnyDVD, and has actually protected me against evil stuff like the Sony rootkit from day one. (And yes, I know. There are a lot of free music out there that will play on all my devices and that will not infect my machines with evil software, still – I work for the content industry and I actually make sure that I legally own the music I have on my computers and devices.)

Quite interesting actually. As an old mac user, complete gadget freak, above average interested in design and above average interested in music – this is my first iPod. So all hints, links to web sites, tweaks and hacks are welcome! Use the comments.

Right now I have successfully converted a couple of movies using Videora iPod Converter. High quality. Very easy.

Inovix Sport - For kids?

And last but not least – The MP3 player for the kids
I agree with Oyvind, make a huge iPod maxi for the kids. It’s not there yet, so I headed for the sports department. Inovix Sport. 128 MB built in memory and expandable by SD or MMC. Cheap. Built in FM radio. Water resistant. Quite sturdy. Big buttons. No movable parts. Together with a cheap 1 GIG or 512 MB memory card this one is actually quite cool!

MP3 player roundup

Eirikso at the ITAvisen podcast

In today’s issue of the podcast that the norwegian website ITAvisen publish every friday they have interviewed the Admin of this website, Eirik Solheim himself.

I am talking about blogging, media centers, open and closed video codecs and the Online Spotlight service from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Unfortunately ITAvisen is entirely published in a closed codec called Norwegian. Including the podcast. That’s bad. Wasting the advertisers money on something that only four million stinking rich privileged people there up north can utilize! (Stupid joke alert)

For the people lucky enough to master this rare language head over to ITAvisen and listen carefully.

Eirikso at the ITAvisen podcast

How to modify your Nokia headset to accept your favourite headphones

I am syncing my podcasts onto my mobile. I have found the perfect software MP3-player. The final step in my quest to make a good device for podcast listening out of my Nokia 6630. I am now modifying my Nokia Handsfree set to accept standard headphones. All I have to do is to open the little box containing the mic and mount a standard minijack connector.

By doing it that way I will keep both the mic and the button that lets you answer calls.

All the pictures in this guide can be clicked to give you a closer look. And, for readers in countries with stupid legal systems I will have to mention that I do not take any responsibility for you destroying your new hansdfee while trying to apply what I have described here. That said, if you have ever laid your hands on a soldering iron, this is as easy as drinking a good dry martini.

This guide was inspired by this post in the HowardForums. If you have an Ericsson headset that post will help you out.

Let’s start

Use a small screwdriver to open the cover. On my headset it was tightened with a small amount of glue. It was no problem to carefully open it without destroying it.

Open it carefully. You will clearly see the mic and the switch. The interesting stuff is on the back of the board. Flip it back carefully from the top.

Now you can see where the headphones are connected. The four cables are connected to points clearly marked: L+, L-, R+ and R-.

Pick up your soldering iron and remove the old headphones.

I used an extension cable for headsets that also featured a volume control with a small clip so that I can clip the device onto my jacket. This will let the mic be placed in a useful position as well. The pin layout for a minijack is: tip=left, ring=right, sleve=ground. You can of course use any female minijack. Just make sure you know what cables is left, right and ground.

I made a hole in the plastic to be able to insert the new cable. Solder the cable connected to the tip contact point to the place on the board marked L+, the cable connected to the ring to R+ and the ground cable to one of the negative connections, left or right. Here you can see that I have used L+, R+ and only L- for the ground connection.

Depending on what kind of cable there is on your new connection you might want to throw in a drop of glue at the spot where it leaves the box. You want it to sit tight so this baby will last through all the extreme sports you do while listening to the Engadget podcast on your mobile.. You might also want to use some drops of glue on the case itself.

It will clip nicely back together, but you know – that 360 mute grab on your new pair of skis might put some strain on your equipment…

Now I can connect my Creative Travelsound to transform my Nokia into a ghettoblaster. I can connect my Sony noise cancelling earbuds and I can even borrow my wife’s PortaPro and look cool in the park. Or, how about using an FM SoundFeeder to listen to whatever I want to from my mobile in my car?

The mic still works fine, and when using the phone as a …phone, all the people I talk to sound great as well!

How to modify your Nokia headset to accept your favourite headphones

My brief encounter with a Creative Zen Touch

I recently bought a Creative Zen Touch. My plan was to use it for podcast listening, audiobooks and music. A good price, 24 hour battery life and a nice and sturdy construction tempted me. As my regular readers may know, I run a quite advanced media system at home, built on Windows Media Center Edition. The only reason for not buying an Apple iPod was that I wanted a player that could communicate as seamless as possible with my existing media. The Zen Touch plays WMA including the files with DRM. According to all the reviews I found a firmware upgrade was due some time late 2004 to make the Creative Zen Touch fully Microsoft “plays for sure” compliant.

And, yes. I was naive. I did not do my homework…
Continue reading “My brief encounter with a Creative Zen Touch”

My brief encounter with a Creative Zen Touch