2016: The Year to be Network Aware

I’m really starting to wonder about the wisdom of plugging everything into the internet. This also includes the need to create another online account to go with each device.

So for 2016 I’ll be asking myself the following question before buying anything network enabled:

Does the convenience of having this device connect via wifi, mobile data, or bluetooth outweigh its inherent lack of network security?

I’m also going to guess that in most cases the answer will be “no.”

And yes, I’m going to start with the idea that network security is an afterthought in most of these things.

Podcasting File Sizes and Data Transfer Costs

In researching the how-tos of podcasting one of the more interesting things is the amount of data used in downloading files.1 I also noticed that audio is seen as the poor cousin to video. Video files are much larger, but very few people pay for their own video hosting. I doubt YouTube would be as popular if it required a monthly fee to keep your videos online.

The usual recommendations for podcast files seem to say to encode the episode file (MP3) at 128kbps. This works out to about 1 MB per minute of audio. These are usually stereo files, as most encoders default to that. To test this theory, I looked at a recent episode of a popular show. By opening the get info panel in iTunes, we can see what settings Serial uses.

Serial, season 2 episode 3 info.
Serial, season 2 episode 3 info.

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The End of Protesting

Today protesters in Minneapolis shut down the airport and the largest mall in America. Of all the protests so far, I think these two events are the most high profile yet. I also don’t know if they are as effective as they were a year ago. City governments don’t seem to be any more responsive than they were before the protests started.

In reading today’s news I had to wonder, will the protests ever get so big that the city decides clearing the streets is more important than not hurting people while they do so?

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The future of fiction is computer generated?

This morning I ran across a little tongue-in-cheek project called the National Novel Generation Month or NaNoGenMo, where the goal is to write a program that writes a novel. It’s an offshoot of the more well known National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that replaces the author with a programmer. The results are about what you’d expect from a niche-hobby project: odd to just plain weird.

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New Project: Planning a Podcast

Podcasting has always interested me. Over the last ten years or so I’ve had the thought of starting one cross my mind. But two things have held me back: choosing a topic and the “usual podcast format/formula” has always struck me as a bit boring. While stories told on public radio held my attention, podcasts seem to leave the tedious parts in.

That’s one reason for the relative silence on this blog lately (the other being health related). I’ve been putting in serious thought about the type of podcast that I’d like to hear. And I think I just might have figured it out.

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