Another Sad Departure

Sam with GilbertThis year has been a strange year for me, I have had a few more losses this year than I would have preferred. In April I lost my dog Amos. Last year there was yet another, but that is far more personal and I am not ready to blog about it yet. This afternoon we lost our very old bird, Gilbert. You might think losing a bird is not blog worthy, but read on. As with all our animals they are and were a part of our family and losing one is like losing a part of yourself.

We were given Gilbert as a wedding gift from very good friends of ours. But “Gilly” as he was known was not just any bird. When we got him, he might have had feathers but was just a chick. I remember having to come home from university at lunch time to hand feed him! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures in digital form to share with you. But we hand rared Gilly until he could eat on his own. Because he was hand rared he has always been tame and would roam the house and sit on whoever he liked. The cat came off second best on more than one occasion.

The pictures that appear in this post is testament to how long we had him, nearly 12 years. Our children have enjoyed him as much as we have. He was always happy and fun to be with.

Please don’t feel sorry for me or the family as we feel privileged to have had him as long as we did and he died in the way that was very befitting and due to him. If I were him I would have been contented.

I went outside after posting the last post and I was setting the hose up to water the lawn. I finished that and I was standingAngus with Gilbert next to the cage. I heard a scrapping noise and Gilbert was on the bottom of the cage in a bit of distress. I reached into his cage and got him out. I held him in my hands and sat down. Kate my wife called my eldest boy to come and see him. He is three and we felt that it was better that we included him rather than try to hide it from him. The latter would have been impossible anyway.

Angus and I sat there and scratched Gilbert’s head, just the way he liked and he passed away in my hands. He died where he was meant to and I feel that in some ways he chose it to be that way. So my son had some difficult questions after that which I answered as best I could. He reconciled that we would bury him in the yard, with his favourite toy. Angus although upset wanted very much to help, which he did.

My son placed Gilbert in the hole that I had dug and placed his favourite toy on his head (he used to scratch his head with it all the time). Angus was teary; as I was too, we filled it in and placed a cross near the hole. He was satisfied that it was right and he said he liked it and thought Gilbert would be happy there.

Now he is gone and I know there will be more losses, I dread each one as my pets are hardly that at all. I am not sure what is harder, the loss of another mate or that fact that my son now grapples with the realisation of his own mortality and that of all living things. Perhaps I lament the loss of innocence.

I do not regret sharing the experience with Angus, it was right and we shared something beautiful and sad together.

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Podcast Player Found! No Help from LibSyn…

Well I am as happy as a pig in poop! Yesterday I blogged about the LibSyn Player malfunction and the fact that I was not getting any help from Liberated Syndication with the problem. The no help thing has continued, step in the wonderful blogging community.

Big ContactYesterday I recieved a comment on the post that was an answer to my prayers. Rob from New York Mets Baseball Podcast put me onto Big Contact's Feed Player. To say that it is unreal is an understatment. It is feature packed and the main thing is: It Works!

In actual fact this player has more features and more options than the LibSyn did! Features like having a list of previous shows as well as the most recent show to play is great. In addition to that there is the function of being able to see the show notes from the player! There are also instructions on how to "subscribe" to the show… AND Adam has just assisted me to make the player "detach" from the page, allowing visitors to surf the web or work elsewhere and listen to the show. Very cool. There is more but I think you get the picture. Oh and did I mention it is free?

Please head over to the Global Geek Podcast Homepage and check it out, especially if you are looking for a player. There are many other customisable features that podcasters may want to modify to suit their needs and the very fact that you can is another big plus.

Many, many thanks to Rob again and hey Rob I have talked to Sebastian and we are only too happy to plug your show on ours so if you would like to send us a promo we will slot it in. Because that's how the world should work.

Stay on the look out for more changes to the Global Geek Podcast Homepage… woot this is going to good…

FeedDemon 2.0.0.23: Update

It would seem from both the comments on the blog post and the prompt reply on email that the update of FeedDemon to 2.0.0.23 was indeed legit!

It is apparent that the silence from the usually vocal development team confused more people than myself, so I don't feel so bad about questioning it. Nick Bradbury has taken the concerns regarding this; on board and will let everybody know in the future of pending updates. Phew 🙂

But yet again NewsGator and Nick have proved, to me in any case, that they are committed to their user base and most importantly responsive to their concerns and wishes. Thanks guys.

I am just glad I was not fighting some rogue virus or spyware at this point in time… I think I would have definitely been kicking myself and asking others to do it for me when I had finished.

I just can not speak highly enough of this program and the support, I just love it for lots of reasons and this is one of them.

Global Geek Podcast #004 Recorded

Another one down and recorded reasonably successfully. Although due to my state of health at the moment I am not sure about the speed at which I will have it out this week. For that I apologize in advance but I will do my best.

A few surprises this week. There is a special appearance by a young listener and we run our first promo slot!

Sebastian and I had a blast recording this show. We did a lot of work leading up to the show and we are refining our communication in the lead up to the show. To not give anything away we are utilizing RSS to "feed" each other links and information. I know we could just use email but the problem with email is that we would have to write it in HTML to put all the links in and the stories from web pages would not work unless they were in HTML. To top it off I never use HTML for email. We both use FeedDemon more than we use email so it makes sense. If anyone wants to know exactly what we do I am happy to give you details if you contact me.

I think that Sebastian and I are starting to work more effectively together, utilizing each others strengths and making fun of our weaknessess, as usua. But that said I think that we have put together a great show. We will leave the final judgment to out listeners.

Keep an eye out on the RSS or the web site for when it is published.

Global Geek Podcast 003 is OUT NOW!

I just finished editing and uploading the Global Geek Podcast, check it out and have a listen.

Sebastian and I are still trying to find our feet with the whole thing. For me this has been difficult as I have higher expectations of myself than I should. But I am happy with the show and I hope that you like it. I am finding the editing challenging but as you can see I am getting them out without too much difficulty.

I will be happier when we can find a better recording solution. The most frustrating thing is that we do a test and to us our audio sounds great. But then in comes the record. The recorded file has some problems. That said; the podcast is not bad quality. Rather there are small issues that affect quality that I have no control over. The issues that are apparent to us are not there "live" but are added in the recording. But hey we are doing our best and I am sure that Skype will come good with the record… eventually. The other thing is that I have heard podasts with shocking quality in comparison to ours, so I suppose we are OK. It is just frustrating.

So there goes another one, we are looking forward to the next and are learning all the time. Having fun as well 🙂

Hey we still need a logo, so please if you are a budding artist then send us any suggestions!

Skype 2.5 Installed: I am Over my Hissy Fit

Skype2.5Well I was a "tad" peeved off that this release of Skype did not include a record function and I had decided that I wasn't downloading it until I got over that. But after some encouragement from Sebastian I decided to install it.

I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The "new" Skype is not all that new, rather more functional. The install is all the same and that had no problems. The first really noticeable thing was that the audio quality is better and there is greater emphasis on that with the inclusion of a "quality monitor". Not sure how that works as I do not have that many issues related to audio quality because I have a pretty quick connection. The problems that do occur are usually related to lag or resources pressure on the other person or person's local machine. And that I am afraid is unavoidable.

I said that I did not think I would use the SMS function. But I have actually found myself using it a lot. Like today I have come online, I got a message that someone wanted to talk to me, they are online but not answering. So I have SMS'ed him and now he knows I am here: he is yet to turn up though. But I think that it is cool that I can do that. The reason that I hate SMS is the fact that it is a pain in the butt when I am used to a keyboard. Having the ability to SMS from Skype actually makes SMS more accessible to me. By the way any reply that is sent to an SMS that I send from Skype goes to my personal mobile, the recipient is none the wiser about where the SMS was sent from. Seamless; an in usual Skype fashion; "It just works".

By the way the cost of an SMS in Australia via Skype is 0.12 AUD and to send an SMS to the UK is 0.13 AUD. I was told today by a colleague that the cost to the UK is normally 0.35 AUD. Definatly a saving there.

I am yet to try the mass call function which can apparently support up to 100 people. I am also yet to investigate Skypecasts, not sure what that's all about but I think it has something to do with this new feature. The thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that when you want to join a Skypecast it says that it says Skype is making a SkypeOut call. Apparently, at this point in time they are not charging you for this service as reported by Andy Bramson. Andy also reports as to the origin of the SkypeOut call, interesting stuff. But I suppose that means they will have that option in the future, we will see what happens. Skypecasts are, as far as I can tell are community chats and conferencing. The scope of this is massive. Imaging a Podcast with 20 others listening, contributing and live! Awesome. Aparently there is a "virtual" microphone that can be handed out by the moderator. I am going to have to explore this as it looks exciting.

Topping up your Skype credit is much easier with 2.5. Which as I have said before is in the interest of Skype. That said it is much easier and it is secure.

There are some other minor additions like the fact that the modern ring-tone has changed yet again to something yet more nauseating! But they have included the "classic" ring-tone that we all love. That is my take on Skype 2.5.
Maybe in the final release they will just drop a record button in there…

Wordpress Response

I am not going to move the blog. Great response and in a timely fashion impress me, to the point of me totally deciding to stay with WordPress.

I got a response from a previous email that said that we are working on the problem and that it should be fixed now. Well that was before the problems last night. So I wrote a fairly pointed email back saying that in no way was it fixed. In addition there have been a few mentions in the blogosphere about the issues.

Seems that WordPress has grown at a rate that they were not expecting and that they have had some difficultity keeping up. This has resulted in servers slowing down and being unreliable. I got a response from my email in under an hour, you can not get better than that! The first thing I got was an apology. The second thing was that I was informed that they have purchased more bandwidth which should speed up things around WordPress. I have been informed also that as fast as they install new hardware (by that I presume hard-drives) it fills up. I think this is just a reflection of the growth of the blogosphere, it is growing at a phenomenal rate and doesn’t look like slowing down. However this week it looks like they are having a mass install of new hardware in their data centres and that will make a world of difference, I hope it does.

This is evident in the WordPress Blog so that’s good to hear:

We’re in the very final stages of bringing the new systems online, just waiting the last few bits of configuration to come online. As we’re more than doubling the servers we’re using, it should address all performance issues and help us prevent any for a long time to come.

Finally, I was told that they are working very hard at making WordPress a great domain that just works. The response also said that they have not been achieving that recently and that they have dissapointed their users. But they have the solution and they are working on it. So hang in there bloggers there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Interestingly Sebastian and I mentioned in the podcast last week that the ping times for WordPress to Technorati are terrible and that bloggers need to manually ping Technorati to see some benefits from it. This is a problem with Ping-O-Matic and Technorati recognised by WordPress as Matt has been talking to Technorati about resolving the issue. My advice keep doing it manually as this has not been resolved yet, I will try to keep you posted.

Great response from WordPress and I hope that I can continue to support WordPress as I like their style and they are excellent in the support stakes.