Podcasters’ Emporium: Let the Revolution Begin

podcastersemporium-logo1

I have had the most amazing few weeks in relation to podcasting. Last night I recorded the first of many podcasts that I am going to be doing with James Williams of the LifeStyle PodNetwork. The show is called Podcasters’ Emporium. But that is the end and the beginning of a journey.

James and I have been talking for a while about many things but we usually end up talking about something to do with podcasting. There has been a gradual hatching of a plan that we probably did not see coming but now that we have come this far we are glad we did.

James was struggling with trying to find a vision and a path for his show. We had so many discussions about it, I kept coming up with ideas and suggestions. My motivations were a tad selfish in that I was really wanting a podcast out there for podcasters. A show full of tips, tricks, advice and interviews. So yeah I was pushing him in that direction. The reason being is that I believed that he could pull it off! The other reason was and is that there is a great need for a podcast like that in the podcasting space. Just go and take a look at the podcasts on podcasting in iTunes.

So we decided to relaunch Podcasters’ Emporium with a difference, a podcast for podcasters with a vision to build a quality community full of podcasters from all over the globe and strive to be a “go-to” resource for the community. But James wanted me to co-host, easy decision.

Much of what else I would want to say was said at the first recording of the show together which will be episode 10. The energy and the enthusiasm for this project is huge and it comes out in the podcast. We have some great stories and ideas. I am so excited about it. So take a listen and find out why it will be worth listening to.

If you are a podcaster, you need to listen to Podcasters’ Emporium. Not only that, we don’t want a passive audience, we are committed to building this community and making it a valuable resource and not for us; for you. There are details in the first show about how you can become involved and be a part of the community.

Also check out the show synopsis before the fist show is launched tomorrow.

The Revolution Starts Now. Your going to love it!

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New Laptop

This morning the delivery company had the good mind to give the landline a try and we were going to town anyway and picked them up on the way. So after the jobs in town I came home and did the whole unboxing thing.

New Laptop Unboxing

I had a bit of an advantage in that there were two computers to unbox and set up. Cool, I can make mistakes on the wife’s and mine will be perfect (don’t tell her that). So I unboxed the “ruby red” version that Kate got, set hers up and got onto mine. No major dramas with hers at all.

Pictures are good and I took some, check out the whole unboxing there. The model that I purchased was a Dell Inspiron 1720, 2.4Ghz processor, 3 Gig of RAM, Audigy soundcard, NVIDIA 256mb 8600M GT video card and TV tuner. That’s the basics of it.

New Laptop Unboxing

I was expecting to have a laptop full of crapware, but to my surprise there was not much at all. The major one being IE and that was gone as quick as I could download Firefox. IE did have Google Toolbar, which is not a big deal. There is a trial of McAffee Security Center installed. Again not a big thing, I am actually giving it a try because it is there, seems to be doing the job and it is not as if it is Norton. Plus there was the usual stuff from Dell that you might expect and in fact you don’t have that much choice about. Again OK by me and not irreversible.

One thing I had to get used to was Vista. Now I feel kinda dirty saying this, but Vista has it’s good ponts. For example connecting wirelessly to the Internet was as easy as pie. The interface is pretty much XP but prettier. But there are some nice gems among the nice graphics. Such as uploading pictures from my camera. Again very easy and straight forward. I really do like the way that Vista handles images, having them sorted into dates and tags turns what used to be a complete mess into something actually useful. I have not found the UAC to be as annoying as I thought it would be either.

I have to admit that my bashing of Vista was unwarranted in the generalized fashion that was prone to doing. I said I would never get or use Vista. This time I was not given a choice. I am kinda glad that I had no choice. Sure Vista has issues but so does every operating system, the ones regarding Vista are not as bad as people would have you believe. Sorry but I am yet to find a “puke” factor to Vista. I still might and I’ll be the first to let you know.

One peripheral purchase that was a real winner was a Logitech V450 mouse. I still work faster with a mouse and I am using the trackpad as well. But this came in handy when I wanted to feel more at home on the laptop. Setting up was quick and easy, batteries, wireless USB and done in about 1 minute. Only one criticism is the hardness of the scroll wheel button, otherwise a real winner.

Well I am going to enjoy the blogging from bed that I will now be able to enjoy. I am pretty satisfied with Dell and the new laptops. More configuring tomorrow, no doubt that will go on for a week or so. Feel free to ask me anything about the laptop or Dell in the comments!

File Format List

Found this and thought it was interesting. Claiming to be almost every file format in existence in one list. Including now unused formats and current. I would have no idea if the list is complete but I reckon that it might go close.

So if you have ever wondered if a file format exists or ever has; this is a great place to start. Alphabetical order for easy searching.

Almost Every file format in the world!

every file format

Not a Good Week

Well I am back from the rebuild and you might be thinking, “damn that was a long time”. Well yes it was, if a re-install of Windows was all that I did. To cut a long story short; when I tried to reinstall XP the motherboard died. So that was a bit of an issue. What I have been doing is building my new PC from scratch, but I have a great new system and I love it. But that was not all that happened, here are the dramas that occurred this week in short:

  1. Motherboard died
  2. USB Hub died when I connected it to power
  3. Headphones disintegrated
  4. Microphone fell on the floor and died (had some help from one of the kids)

The motherboard dying was a no-brainer, new PC. Stupid trying to replace it as the technology has moved on and it was good to get current. The new PC is dual core Intel and is very zippy. Motherboard is a Gigabyte and has all the usual options. Although I lost the AGP slot, which means I had to give up my nVidia 256 graphics card. I am on internal graphics at the moment but I’ll get a card at some point. The RAM is 2 GB of DDR2 and is excellent. Everything loads fast and smooth. Standard DVD, CD drive and covers all the formats you would want. The hard drive is a 320 GB SATA Western Digital. The extra size is very handy and I don’t think that I’ll run out of room any time soon. Tack on an Audigy sound card and a Firewire card and that’s about it. No it is not a high end tricked out gaming machine, but that is not what I do. Plus I like my money in my pocket.

One thing that really ticked me off is the fact that the SATA drives do not come with a power cable. It seems that this issue falls into the same category as printers. They can’t decide which manufacturer’s responsibility it is to supply it; the motherboard company, the case company or the hard drive company. Me; I think that if you are forking out a couple of hundred bucks for a drive then they should be dishing out the gear you need to connect it.

The USB hub died for no apparent reason. After the build we were plugging in all the hardware and we could smell something electrical burning and pulled everything out. After some sniffing we found that it was the USB hub. Browned off because it was only about six months old! Can’t find the receipt… Got another one.

The headphones were on their way out anyway. Decided that since I was spending the college fund I would get a really decent set. I settled on a pair of Sennheiser HD 215’s. Absolutely love them! The sound is awesome and they are light. The cord is a spring type, but the kicker is that it is fully replaceable. I hate the spring type, it gets in the road all the time. Plus I like to be able to walk to the fridge. They cover the ear fully and block out about 80% of normal external sounds. The added comfort of the full ear type will be welcome for those long edits. The phones are not top of the line but I think they are a great middle of the road. Great quality but short of the high end $250+ variety.

The microphone thing… well. There was nothing wrong with my Shure PG48, until the youngest child decided to test the limits of the $200 dollar boom arm it is mounted on. He found the limit of the boom arm and the whole shebang went base over apex onto the floor. Don’t worry the fall of the boom was broken by the mic (the mic is actually the cheaper of the two items). The result was that the mic was buggered, it still “worked” but there were issues such as dead spots, muffling and a loss of dynamics. Que the purchase of one brand new mic to replace the one that was not quite 12 months old.

To top it all off the printer died tonight, the podcast was not fully uploaded to the FTP server and I am not sure what else can go wrong in actual fact. I know there are things much worse. I would rather not find out what they are.

Guts of the new PC

This is a photo of the internals of the new PC. We forgot to take progressive build shots. I spent ages on the cabling as the case has a perspex side and top. But I think the results are worth it.

The Podcast Network v3.0

TPN V3.0 LogoThis is great news, although it did happen a few days ago now. But when it did we were in full swing getting the podcast ready and that means I have little time to blog anything. The Podcast Network announced the launch of  a brand new version of the homepage.

Complete with Ajax goodness and a completely different look. If you know nothing about podcasts there are links at the top to get you up to speed and listening to some great content. TPN is a the place to look for good regular podcasts. The right hand side menu gives you all the podcasts on The Podcast Network, separated into categories.

If you have not visited The Podcast Network before and want to know what it is all about, now is as good a time as ever. Nice work Cam and the development team. Next the show blogs! (That was a hint).

The Global Geek Podcast belongs to The Podcast Network. Hosted by Knightwise and myself weekly. Here is our latest show if you enjoy it, head over to our blog on TPN and subscribe. In addition to that I also post regularly there as well as here.

TPN V3.0 Screenshot

Social Networking for Nurses :: Nurse Linkup

Nurse Linkup LogoAs readers of this blog may or may not be aware of I am a Registered Nurse. I rarely if ever talk about my job or nursing or anything else to do with my career. In fact I make a point of not doing so. You can read all about this in posts that I have made before. But I think that given my career this site was worth talking about. I found late last week a social networking site for nurses. On the whole NurseLinkup is a fine effort and has all the elements to be successful with the target audience.

On first look this site is simple. But I think that is important. The reason being is that I am an exception; most nurses are not tech savvy. Sure we are where it counts, in what we do but RSS feeds, forums, podcasts and social networks… nope. So simplicity with this audience is important. It is also important because nurses are efficient people and more often than not tired. They don’t want or need a plethora of options to choose from. The information has to be easy to obtain, clear in it’s purpose and topic and it has to be quality content worth reading. Five out of five in my opinion. Niche social networks should learn a thing or two from the implementation shown here.

I could see this site as a wonderful place of information exchange and mutual support and discussion of issues that are important to the nursing profession. It has a number of features that it employs to accomplish these things.

Apart from the front page there are News, Articles and Forum tabs. All obvious and accessible from the front page. Although I would suggest that they source more than one site or service for their news and update more often. I do not know if this is a user contributed thing or not. So it may be that the users are not that involved yet. I have found that in cases like this then the best thing to do is to lead by example, which it appears they are doing if this is the case.
The inclusion of “most viewed” and “most popular” is a nice touch. However, what makes them different? If it has something to do with the comments then one tab needs to say “most commented”. But other than that this is a good tool to see what is relevant and felt most passionately by the users. There is a predominant U.S feel to the site but then that is where this is based so I would not expect less. In time should the service gain traction it will be good to see input from around the globe. The networking element of this as time goes on will be invaluable to nurses from everywhere.

The articles seem to have an educational focus. In addition to expanding your practice and getting the most out of your career in nursing. I noticed that there were articles on travelling with nursing and career paths in nursing. Along with a whole heap of other quality articles that are well written and researched with references. Users can also rate and comment on articles. I have not seen this as well done in this type of format before. I was also pleased to see that the articles are “on site” and not just links to articles elsewhere.

The forums are as you might expect. But the options are simple but as I said they need to be. There are forums for students, general nursing and speciality areas plus some others. Once you click on an option the various forums are displayed and the layout in it’s simplicity and ease of use is to be commended. I love the fact that they are making this technology accessible to people that would otherwise not bother or have the knowledge to do so. Any nurse out there would be able to access this service and be able to participate and get something out of it and most importantly put something back.

With these features there is also all the things that make for top usability and simplicity. Tagging is a well utilized feature, although I would question the validity of some tags (a sentence a tag does not make). There are lists of active users. Profiles and most importantly to me an RSS feed in addition the ability to subscribe via email if you don’t have a clue what RSS is. I like the thinking here. Again this makes the technology and therefore the content accessible via a medium that people both understand and trust. Users are able to blog on the site, add friends and upload photos. I would consider these features as standard for social networks but again simplicity at it’s best; well implemented and functional. Nice job.

The site is graphically very appealing and not over the top. The site speed is good but the user base is small and yet to be truly tested. I would however question their picture use in the header. It seems a bit “old school” to me. You have to look at your demographic. Sure nurses are all ages, but what types of nurses are going to be making their way to these sites and services? I think that it is going to be the slightly younger crowd or those of a more modern thinking ilk. Or at least those that have the ability to use a computer and trust the Internet enough to join. This is definitely a younger crowd and I would argue skewed male. I think that a more appealing graphic to cater to this crowd would be better. But not over the top so you would still catch the rest. In my experience it just seems in stark contrast to other social networking sites. These services usually rely on good coding and appealing layout with a nice simplistic logo as opposed to a picture that I might find in a nursing journal. It is not a bad picture, but I can’t help but think it is out of place. But that is just my opinion.

One other criticism that I would have is that of their default avatar. It depicts in silhouette an image that would be considered a female. This may well be associated with the Bio that users set up. But if there is not the option to choose between a male and a female avatar; should you choose not to display your own, I would consider this a stereotypical assumption. I am a male nurse and I am constantly being mistaken for or thought to be a doctor only because I am male. It pains me that this is still the case in the 21st century, it would disappoint me more if this is the case in a community built by nurses for nurses.

These are minor gripes on a social network that is well built and implemented for the target audience and user base. Clearly a lot of thought and effort has gone into presenting a site that works and contains good quality content. I am very proud that we nurses are up there competing with major, better covered and known sites in design and usability. If anything this is an excellent example of how a niche community should be done compared to some if not most that I see (and that is a lot). This is no throw together service. I wish them all the best and hope that they see the growth that a site such as this needs to become a rich source of information and collaboration.

NurseLinkup Screenshot

Learning Firefox; Start Here

I found that I did not have to learn how to use Firefox as such. But since I have discovered the power that you have when tweaked I have learned to manipulate it to what I want. But you have to start somewhere. Learn Firefox is such a place to start and hopefully a destination to have some walk through’s for power tweaking.

I think that Firefox is very intuitive and easy to use. But then that is me. Sometimes people have a hard time doing simple things. True, Firefox does things differently to IE. I use IE as an example because I would argue that a lot of Firefox users come from there. You have to stop thinking that you use Firefox in the same manner. They are chalk and cheese. IE is a steel box, Firefox is plasticine by comparison. So where am I going with this?

Basically, Learn Firefox is a site attached to CyberNet that has been created as a visual “how to” guide to Firefox. They have started simple, for example how to set your homepage, make it your default browser and such. But there are more advanced features that are presented in an easy to follow format that makes it simple to do. Because it is simple, most customisations are very simple. But the functionality of Firefox can be daunting for some people, or they find it difficult to get started. This is an excellent place to get over those initial humps. It is also a great place for people that have used Firefox for a while but want to adapt it to their needs.

Everything is set out as headings and sub-headings. I am sure that most people will find what they are wanting help with very quickly and easily. One thing that I just thought of is that this service is a great way for people that don’t use Firefox to have a look at Firefox see what it can do and how it can be manipulated to what you need and want.

What I would like to see is some tips for power users such as tweaking the about:config page. Installing and using extensions like Greasemonkey and such. I know that it was not until I did these advanced tweaks that Firefox really became a powerful productive tool. Not that it is not that way to start with but I feel that tweaking it my way has made it mine. In actual fact I have tweaked it to the point where I think some users would have difficulty using it! That said they have just got the site up and going and this is the best place to start, basics.

Great job and if you are just starting out with Firefox or are thinking of using it; check out Learn Firefox. For more advanced users; keep an eye on it because I think this has huge potential to be the site to learn and tweak Firefox.

For those advanced users of Firefox check out CyberNet’s Updated Guide On Firefox 2 Tweaks as a great place to start tweaking and making Firefox your own.

Learn Firefox Homepage