Monday, 30 April 2007

A First Step

“…take 100 great journalists, give them small HD camcorders and laptops and say ‘here’s your camera, there’s the door….They could upload their stories and feed them to a web site, 24 hours a day…..and it would not cost all that much…say we paid each of our 100 reporters, $140,000 a year. Where would you get the money from?… take the $14 million you’re paying Katie Couric and guess what… you’re there.” – Jeff Jarvis

Friday, 27 April 2007

Garrick Balances the Minnesota State Budget


My pass at MPR’s Minnesota Budget Balancer with the differences from Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. Numbers in $$ millions.

Spending Garrick Pawlenty Difference
K-12 Education 685 685 Same
Pre-school 200 38 -162
Healthcare 300 48 -252
Long-Term Care 76 76 Same
Welfare & Other 48 48 Same
Local Aid 300 65 -235
Property Tax Relief 40 300 +260
Rebates No change No change Same
University of Minnesota No change 155 +155
MnSCU No change 125 +125
Student Aid 25 140 -115
Debt, State Agencies, & Veterans No change 120 +120
Agriculture & the Environment 200 85 -115
Jobs, Housing, & Arts 130 15 -115
Transportation 185 65 -110
Prisons No change 70 +70
Courts & Public Defenders 100 70 -30
Budget Reserves No change 50 +50
Resource Garrick Pawlenty Difference
Personal Income Tax No change No change Same
Corporate Income Tax No change No change Same
Sales Tax No change No change Difference
Cigarette Tax 100 No change +100
Alcohol Tax 55 No change +55

Hey, MPR, I think you should make these things much easier to share – like providing a permalink to My Budget.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Fear of Chicago

I’ve got two trips to Chicagoland already queued up for this summer.

The first one is Saturday, May 19. When, of this writing, I’ll be spending some time on a go-cart in Buffalo Grove.

The last time I attended one of these events, I was trapped on a permanetly-docked gambling boat near Aurora after dining at a suburban Hooters.

I’m betting on a more enjoyable trip this time around.

Wonderlick – Fear of Chicago

Anyone know a good source for downloading, local, independent music. Specifically, I’m looking for Minnesota-based or MN, WI, NoDak, SoDak, IA music. Thanks

Update 27 April 2007:
I’ve Googled for answer to this question and come up with a number of local music directory projects – some clearly abandon, others just useless. All of these projects (alive or zombie) assume I know who all the musicians are.

I don’t…that’s why I’m looking.

At minimum, I’m looking for a Last.FM search or Pandora stream filtered by geography. A steady stream of recommendations – like AmigoFish for local music, not an alphabetical directory of meaningless artists names.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Daily Catch: Beer, Dr. Who, and the First Crack Podcast

Donavan Hall recently said some very nice things about the First Crack Podcast in his Daily Catch podcast. (After popping by and saying ‘thanks’ last fall, this episode finally came up on shuffle.)

He covers the new Dr. Who in the same episode and talks about some of the same issues I have with the episodes we’ve caught…Netflix hasn’t sent the anything from Season 3 yet. Tick….tock.

As you’ve seen here, I’ve been in a podcasting lull. Like I’m actively avoiding wanting to hit the #100 episode mark. I’m not. The podcast is. I can guarantee at least 2 more of the kind of episodes you know and love. “It makes me think about stuff”, as Donavan describes it.

Thanks again Donavan.

Learning the Rails

I’m taking a week off of active programming to focus on better understanding 3 aspects of Rails development I’ve been wistfully ignoring: Migrations, Testing, and Deployment.

There’s a tiny, fun little project I’m using as the venue for these subjects.

One week from today (May 1) is what I’m giving myself on this effort. Any longer and it’ll be a distraction rather than a learning exercise.

I’ve always have a conceptual issue with Migrations. While migrations make it super easy to iteratively change the database, I’m accustomed to having the database a rock solid representation of, well, the database. My inclination is to look in and modify the database directly, then within create_[model].rb, then within schema.rb. Having bits of the model strewn about numerous migration files feels messy.

I’ll get used to it. Probably even savor it once I wrap my head around it.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Podcasting’s Image Problem

I’m finally getting around to listening to the sessions I missed at last fall’s Podcast and Portable Media Expo. While there, all the sessions felt like we were prepping for a boom. Everyone looking for how to hit the mother lode.

Seven months later, listening to the sessions, that suspicion is confirmed. The tone, pitch, and demeanor (of all but Dave Slusher’s session) is one of snake oil pyramid scheme sales pitch.

From an aesthetic sense, even today, if ‘pod’ is somewhere a company’s name, the presence looks cheap, unpolished, half-baked, and feels as reputable as a payday loan provider.

This is a huge problem. For everyone that publishes enclosures via RSS.

It’s not a lack-of-money problem. It’s a customer experience problem. The latest Web 2.0 toysite is far more polished and thought-through from an experience perspective than people frantically digging for fool’s gold in podcastville.

Hopefully, we’re in podcasting’s dip. A lull. To shake out those that can be shaken out.

“There was no boom in podcasting technology, and there won’t be.” – Dave Winer

So, You Want to Be a Public Radio Star?

I had a great conversation with Tim Elliott and Phil Wilson this weekend at MinneBar, we started talking about the early days of podcasting and how Tim and I both saw podcasting as a farm league for broadcast radio in general – and public radio in particular.

The problem is by the time those institutions start asking, the podcasters have moved on. Realizing they don’t need the broadcast distribution model to be successful and podcasting is no longer the radio farm league, but a completely different game. Then, when the big league starts asking, you know something’s up.

“PRX has launched the first-ever Public Radio Talent Quest, a nationwide search for the next generation of hosts for public radio. Contestants can submit a 2-minute audio demo for their shot at $10,000 and the opportunity to produce a pilot show for public radio.”

Reminder: Twitter isn’t IM in the same way RSS isn’t email.

Friday, 20 April 2007