Pleh

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Archive for October, 2006

Cheeky

Posted by pete on 20th October 2006

This is just too funny…
 Aaronandpatty Iweb What-The-Duck Comic-Strips 7A074Ac0-6B8E-48Ef-B828-Ffc8Aa6F2Aff Files Wtd68

Looks like we found this year’s Halloween costume. ;)

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Posted in Funny, Photography | No Comments »

Dang

Posted by pete on 19th October 2006

How is it that grease stains on your clothes always manage to hide until you’re out in public and can’t do anything about it? *sigh*

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Posted in General | No Comments »

Katamari Madness

Posted by pete on 15th October 2006

Accident

I love this comic. Being a recovered Katamari addict, I completely understand what the driver did. :)

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Posted in Gaming | No Comments »

This Annoying Life

Posted by pete on 4th October 2006

I’m a huge fan of Chicago Public Radio’s “This American Life.” My local NPR station, WAMU, broadcasts it on Saturdays at 3pm, which is not really a time I find convenient to listen to the radio. My favorite listening times are in the morning and the evening when I’m driving to and from work. My car stereo plays MP3 files, so I figured that I’d grab the MP3 and listen to it in the car.

When I first hit upon this idea, TAL was available in three formats: a CD you can buy directly from them for $13, a RealAudio stream, and you could download it from Audible.com. The CD is not really a feasible option as $13/week gets expensive, it takes time to get the CD in the snail mail, and it seems incredibly wasteful to burn a CD and ship it when it can easily be downloaded. The Audible option is also not acceptable since they use DRM (“Digital Restrictions Management”), which controls where and on what devices I can listen to content on. I refuse to submit to this.

The RealAudio stream was acceptable, but annoying. I had to capture the stream, then convert it to an MP3. I guess CPR got tired of paying for RA licenses or subjecting their listeners to the RA Player, but eventually they switched over to streaming MP3 directly. This was great! I could easily download the MP3. Apparently, they must have thought it too easy because after a few weeks, they switched over to M3U files. These are text files that list MP3s in them. It’s trivial to get the real MP3 from it and only added one extra, very minor step to my process.

Now, they want to make it a bit more difficult. Instead of letting the user chose their favorite player for listening to MP3s and let them listen to them when and where they want, TAL seems to feel that they need to force the PuPuPlayer on them. Not very cool if you ask me (which they didn’t).

This player gets downloaded to the user’s machine, which in turn, downloads the MP3 to play. Hmmm… no problem here. Just sniff the connection to see what the player downloads and grab the MP3 from the same place. The MP3s seem to be living at http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse/ismymamashouse/<mp3 file>. I got a chuckle when I saw the path to the MP3. Off the top of my head, there are a few things they could do to ratchet up the annoying even more (not stop, mind you, just make things more annoying) and yet still say they offer streaming MP3 audio, but let’s hope they don’t.

TAL does have a page where you can donate to the show and help cover some of their bandwidth costs. I highly suggest you toss some money their way. It’s a great show and very much worth some dollars.

The funny thing is, a) forcing people to use this Flash-based player wastes 80k right there (not including overhead), which really isn’t a lot these days, but still, it’s 80k just wasted and b) if they’d let or even encourage the sharing of their shows over P2P networks such as BitTorrent, they could reduce their bandwidth costs right there. How much they could reduce costs, I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet that it’d be more than the donation I made to their show. (And yes, it was a decently-sized donation. :)

Anyway, in a nutshell:

  1. This American Life is a great show.
  2. I wish they’d stop annoying their loyal listeners. (I haven’t missed a show in a long time.)
  3. They could save money by encouraging filesharing of their shows instead of wasting money fighting it.

Now, go listen to their show and donate. (Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.)

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Posted in Geekery | 11 Comments »

 
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