Show #114 Podcast Expo, Octothorp, Portable Apps, Office ’07 and ’08

Podcast Expo (Podcast and New Media Expo) fun and learning. Here’s a list of links mentioned from the Expo: Bill Palmer of, Sean Carruthers and Andy Walker from LabRats, Craig Syverson of, Kinji Kato recommended, this book Revolutionary QuickTime Pro 5 & 6, Don McCallister of, John Chambers of the Oneminutetip podcast, Andy McCaskey of the, Mac OS Ken at, Tom Merritt of Buzz Out Loud (CNET’s Podcast of Indeterminate Length), Father Roderick of the Catholic Insider podcast at New tips include: Portable Apps at, Wall Street Journal – click the link on!,,, link to this weird little left brain/right brain test,, HDA Bob at, Octothorp. Office 2007 for students for $60 at, verified at Microsoft site.

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[tags]Podcast Expo, Macintosh, shareware, freeware, Microsoft Office[/tags]

Today is Sunday, September 30th, 2007 and this is show #114.

Al in front of the show
Well I’m all jazzed up because I just got back from the Podcast Expo this afternoon! It’s technically called the Portable and New Media Expo, but most people just call it the Podcast Expo. It was held out in beautiful Ontario California, and I think there were a couple thousand attendees. Let me see if I can give you some highlights to give you the flavor of the event. Each day there’s a keynote speech – which isn’t necessarily a wildly famous person, but usually quite interesting. then the classes start – I think it was 6 different tracks at the same time. It’s nice having the tracks – some are podcasting 101 type classes, there’s also advanced presentations on things like video techniques, with a bunch of normal human stuff in the middle. In the unlikely circumstance that you don’t find something compelling, there’s always the exhibit show floor. When I got bored at one point I wandered into the Exhibit hall, and ran into Eddie Vogt, a listener to the NosillaCast . that was really fun, he was so gracious and complimentary, I almost blushed (ok, i said “almost”). I put a pic in the shownotes. Eddie Vogt and Allison

Bill Palmer, Allison and Shooby on the panelThe Exhibit floor was always interesing – getting to talk to people – guests and presenters alike – but all people trying to learn what they don’t know and to teach what they do know. I was quite honored to be asked by Bill Palmer of to be on a panel during lunch at the Orange County Podcaster’s booth with a subject of “should you hack your iPhone?” It was GREAT. Bill took the stance he referred to as “Nervous Nellie”, recommending no hacks at all on the iPhone. My job was to be in the middle – I’ve hacked it as far as to put 3rd party applications on it but I am not near bold enough to actually unlock the iPhone, or even put ringtones on it. The 3rd position was taken by none other than Shooby – the teenage assistant to Leo LaPorte who he frequently refers to as “America’s Favorite Junior”. Shooby was wonderful – intelligent like I’d hoped, and fun like I figured, and came with a tragic story – before the panel where he was going to extoll the virtues of unlocking your iPhone, he ran the iPhone update…and ended up with a bricked iPhone!

Al and ShoobyShooby was pretty irritated, as was Bill, that Apple would take such a hard stance as this, actively bricking peoples’ iPhones. From what Shooby showed us on the iPhone, they actually put an error code on the splash screen that tells all Apple employees that this was an unlocked phone, so don’t do anything to help the person. I expressed that I’m not so hard on Apple, because I realize this is a business venture, they have a contract with AT&T that you KNOW has language in it that requires Apple to make sure people can’t unlock their phones. Perhaps it’s a bit heavy handed to actually destroy the device, but I’d bet it’s a really effective way to stop people from doing this. It was an interesting debate, my buddy Ron taped the whole thing for me, and my husband Steve is going to pare it down from the excessively long 44 minutes it took to a much shorter video. when he’s done I’ll get that posted on

Macs and iPhones
four iphones at dinnerThe Podcast Expo is heaven for an Apple fan boy – you’ve never seen such high percentages of Macs in your life. I would estimate that around 70% of the laptops were Macs. It was a beautiful sight! That was wonderful, but what blew me away was how many people had iPhones! To date I think I’ve seen maybe two entire iPhones in the wild (not immediate friends of mine). At the Expo, at LEAST half of the people had iPhones! It was crazy! At the end of the show, I unknowingly dropped my iPhone out of my bag – and someone found it, held it up and said “who dropped their iPhone?” In any other circumstance, the question would have either been “what’s this?” or the person would have just stolen it, but at the Expo the guy probably had his own! I was sure glad THAT was where I dropped it. I took a picture of the dinner table one night – there were four of us, and of course there were four iPhones on the table!

Sean Carruthers & Andy Walker of LabRats
Sean Carruthers and Andy Walker of the LabRats
Got a chance to hang with Sean Carruthers and Andy Walker from LabRats a bunch. I was delighted that they remembered me, and even MORE delighted that they asked me to do a new interview with them. you might remember that last year I came back all bubbly with excitement because they had interviewed me, but it never aired. Unfortunately, as Sean explained to me at the time, the audio was all messed up. I was so sad. And of course thrilled that they wanted to try again. Sean is a regular on Leo LaPorte’s canadian show “the Lab with Leo” and Andy Walker guest stars on it from time to time. So that kinda makes me famous that they know me, right?

• Craig Syverson of
Craig Syverson
Interesting speaker, heard him before a couple times, like at the Gear Media Tech Expo. Assisted by Kenji Kato – asked Kenji about my problem shrinking a screencast. everything made it bigger – resolution, frame rate, quality of cmopression, answer was key frames. Setting kf from 24 to 100 reduced file size 40%, then I could start working the other factors.

Kinji recommended this book Revolutionary QuickTime Pro 5 & 6.
Al with Kenji Kato
• John Foster of MacBreak Tech – explanation of good and bad compression. Also helped teach me some QT Pro tricks

Allison on stage with the French Maids• Ron & I are party animals, stayed out till 9:30 on Friday night! Ok, not all duds, went to a party where the French Maids of were on stage, and they wanted female voluteers to join them, and Ron goaded Allison onto the stage. Explain the voting thing. Pictures in the shownotes. Saturday night Steve joined us and the three of us stayed up till 10 – because we rented the movie Ratattouile on pay per view! Hey – it’s GREAT Pixar movie!
• Don McCallister of – best speech of the conference, biased because he’s a friend, but overheard many others say the same thing. Great honor to meet him after all the time we’ve talked and even been on the MacRoundtable together. Had a fun dinner with Don and also John Chambers of the podcast.Don and John at dinner

I also got to hang out with Andy McCaskey of the podcast – we’ve been online friends for a couple of years and meet up each year at the expo and we ran into John Chambers so I got Ron to take a quick snapshot of us together for the shownotes. Andy McCaskey, John Chambers and Allison
• A few months ago listener James tipped me off to a podcast called Mac OS Ken at Ken Ray does a lot of research and provides a nearly daily Mac news podcast that doesn’t seem to rehash what everyone else is talking about. He delivers his material in a completely dead pan, dry way and then suddenly he’ll throw in a completely sarcastic, obnoxious comment that just cracks me up. I had the pleasure of meeting him, and just to make James jealous, I had a picture taken and put it in the shownotes. Take that James!Ken Ray of MacOS Ken with Allison

Al makes Tom pretend they're best budsTom Merritt of Buzz Out Loud (CNET’s Podcast of Indeterminate Length) Love BOL, Molly Wood, formerly Veronica Belmont. Tom is favorite – very technical – ATP joke and string theory joke. Gave a good talk on how to build up audience. Fun when I was talking to Tom and Dorothy Yamamoto came up to me and asked me if I was Allison Sheridan! How fun to have a fan recognize my voice – she’s a friend of Tim Verpoorten’s too so it was fun all around.

There was a lot of talk about how to build up your audience in a several of the tracks, and David Lawrence suggested one thing I hadn’t thought of. He said that I should ask you to help me with this. We have a strong and very loyal listenership/readership on the NosillaCast, but I can’t help but always wish there were more people gaining the benefits of the work I do to put the show together. If you would each tell one person (or five?) about the podcast, maybe we could swell the numbers a bit. I’d sure appreciate that! I appreciate so much that you are listening (or reading) the show – it makes me happy to have so many satisfied customers!

facebook group for NosillaCast
Another good idea for working up buzz for the podcast from Tom was to create a Facebook Group. I jumped on Facebook and created the NosillaCast group – not sure what I’m going to do with it yet – but I posted all the pics from the Expo up there too. If you are on Facebook, join the group right away and post stuff and tell me how I can make it valuable to you. or just write things like “this is the best podcast EVER” on there! If you’re not on Facebook yet, and you’ve been trying to figure out why you’d want to be on there, NOW you have the motivation. come on, the water’s fine, join us!

One epiphany came to me during the show, and I must give Ron credit for it. one presenter discussed the value of having a Flash Player on your website, and I made a remark to Ron about how I HATE sites with Flash on them because it cranks up my processors and turns on my system fans, and slows everything down that I’m trying to do – even when the website in question is running in the background. one time i tried putting a Flash Meebo widget on my site which would allow you to chat with me if I was on line, and BOY did I hear from you guys quickly to take that darn thing off! I also tried turning on a plugin on that turned every Quicktime player link into Flash players, and that was a disaster too. So at that point Ron said – but you can have a Flash player that isn’t playing any flash until you actually PUSH it! Oh wow – I didn’t realize that could be done! I’m going work on that too in the next few weeks and see how it works out.

Alex Albrecht of DiggnationI saw Alex Albrecht of Diggnation, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. wish I could have, because i was dying to tell him that I’m a 49 year old woman who really likes his show, and I got the tip that it was good from a 54 year old woman! they cater just a bit more to the 22 year old man, so I thought he might enjoy knowing on occasion he hits a nerve with old cronies like me!

Father Roderick
At the other end of the spectrum I saw Father Roderick of the Catholic Insider podcast at but I didn’t get to bother him either!

Greg Lemon and AllisonMy friend Greg Lemon of the wonderful was there again this year and we swapped some stories. His show is about myths and fairy tales and he’s got a marvelous voice. He had a really cool portable recorder that he showed me (I put pics in the shownotes) – it’s the H4 Handy Digital Recorder. It records to SD memory cards – with a 2GB card you can get 380 minutes of 16 bit (CD quality recording). this is a little hand held unit smaller than a paperback book. It’s not cheap at $300 but for what it can do it’s pretty amazing. It will take in two microphones with XLR inputs and can be hand held with a mic input on the top. I was very jealous of Greg. i want one. you know, for all those interviews on the street that I do? I put pics of Greg and I and his H4 in the shownotes.
H4 Handy Recorder opened upH4 Handy Recorder

I think you’ll have picked up from my enthusiasm about the show that the greatest value really is the people you meet and what you learn in the offline conversations. I see the presentations themselves as a launching board to have conversations with the people you meet afterwards who asked interesting questions, or the people who intrigue you at lunch or dinner or drinks. It was a great time, I learned a ton, and it charged me up to keep going another year. Next year it’s going to be in Las Vegas August 14-16th, I might have to stay up until ELEVEN next year!

time to get back to business I guess, right?

Portable apps
I haven’t done a cool Windows tip in a long time, but luckily listener Susan is an avid Windows fan and she sent in a really slick one. Remember it’s only supposed to be an EVER so slight Macintosh bias, and we all know sarcasm is never necessary, right? You may remember Susan – she’s the developer behind @Podder from, the podcatcher designed specifically for visually impaired but not blind listeners. Anyway, here’s her tip:

well, a small trend, especially for open source utilities, is “portable apps”, at the motivation is primarily to run on a memory stick and leave no traces on the hard disk. I have tried some of the Portable apps suite and what’s really neat is the standard directory structure: .exe, help, data, app, other. I especially appreciated this portability when I set up the FTP for my website using filezilla then just copied the directory to a memory stick and used the same FTP data n my newer PC. Other apps that seemed useful are a couple of accessibility aids, the PDF reader (but it’s not accessible), since acrobat wants to update every time it’s used. firefox and thunderbird are in the suite. I’m not sure these apps update or upgrade, but the portability goal is so sane and useful when it works.

by the way I’m typing this on the Levelstar Icon with a wireless bluetooth keyboard and pop3 to gmail. It is nice to have the keyboard several feet from computer,to type while reclining, and less expensive in case of spills on the keyboard 🙂

Hey thanks Susan, this is really slick. One thing Susan didn’t mention is that portableapps is free, which makes it even cooler. I wish there were something like this on OSX, but at least it’s there for Windows. I can imagine how handy it would be to be able to stick in a thumb drive and have your Firefox installation just the way you like it, flash block on, javascript turned off, all your bookmarks, that would be great. If you’re on windows, go check out

Wall Street Journal
I’m very excited about my new sponsor – the Wall Street Journal. this is going to be so easy. If you’ve been listening for a long time, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention the Journal – I love this paper. I love it because it’s actually a really good source for technology news. For example, just this Tuesday I read an article about how Facebook is being wooed by both Google and Microsoft to buy minority shares, and how Facebook should take a page from history – the investment strategies of GeoCities. Remember GeoCities? well, they’re not around any more, so that’s maybe why Facebook should pay attention. That was even in the Money & Investing section which I never read. The Journal explores the financial implications of world events, but the Money & Investing section is over the top on the issue. that’s why I really prefer the Market Place section. Every day there’s a whole page on Technology. And that’s just the regular days – on Wednesday there’s the Personal Journal and it has a big section on Gadgets. The best day of the week though is Thursday, which is when they have the Technology Journal. That means a column by Walter Mossberg, and then Mossberg’s Mailbox, plus the regular dose of technology. I’m in heaven on Thursdays!

If you think you might want to get the WSJ delivered to you, or if you’d prefer the online version, please go right to and click on the WSJ badge on the right hand side. You’ll really like it – I promise!

All My Faves redux
A few weeks back I told you about a fun site called It’s a site that categorizes tons of cool sites and lets you go to those site by simply clicking on their icons. I was enamored by this tool, but when I showed it to Bart, his first instinct was that this was a bunch of ads and that’s how the site is paid for. I thought maybe I’m naive because that didn’t even occur to me, but I decided to check it out by writing to the developers and asking them. I was curious how they decide what sites are worthy for each category, and especially how they decide what goes on the weekly faves tab since there’s a lot of sites there I’ve never heard of. Roy wrote back to me, and here’s what he had to say:

Hey Allison,
Regarding your question. It sure looks obvious that we will choose the sites by their popularity, but actually a lot of thought is put in to every site. We have a very strict criteria for selecting the sites:
Not the biggest, only the best.


Of course you will find the most popular sites because you can’t ignore them but almost in every list there is at least one small site that is not quite mainstream. This applies to our “Weekly Faves” which needs to stand to these criteria and usually are new and upcoming sites. As of your friends question, the sites are not affiliated with us, they are all hand picked and placed by how good they are.

Currently we are working on a customizable version of the site where you can pick your top “Faves” and make your personal frequently visited homepage, share them, and get recommendation about new sites. All this by keeping our main idea of a visual website. Make sure to check back for some more surprises.

Hope this answers your question. Thanks again for the excellent review, Best regards, Roy Pessis.

I love that he wrote back with such detail about the site, and he intrigues me with his teaser about more surprises. Good to know the links aren’t paid for ads too. I’ve been using as my home page for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve noticed two things – I used it to quickly navigate to a site I needed (I needed American Airlines and instead of figuring out the url (it’s I just clicked on the travel tab in allmyfaves and the first row is airlines, and there was the American Airlines logo right there. click and I was in. I think the fact that they use the very recognizable icons is what makes them jump out so easily to my brain. The other thing I noticed is that I’ve been clicking on logos I have never seen before, just to see what’s there.

should do this pageJust as an example, last week I was gazing at weekly faves, and I saw something called “should do this” at This is an interesting site – basically if you think someone should do something, you write it in here. You have a field for who should do it and another one for what they should do. Like, “Apple” should “unlock the iPhone”. I made that up off the top of my head, then did a search, and 15 people have submitted the same thing! It’s a fun site to state your opinion and also to find out what other people think should be done.

And then under weekly faves, they had a link to this weird little test to see if you’re right or left brained – it’s a woman in silhouette spinning on one foot, and whether you see her spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise is supposed to tell you if you’re an artistic/intuition person or a logical person. Shockingly I saw her turning clockwise, which is the logical side of the brain doing all the work. I never would have stumbled across these cool sites without All My Faves. Check it out yourself, you’ll lose valuable hours there yourself!

Office 2008
You’re going to think I finally went off my rocker, but I am actually lusting after a Microsoft product. Yes, it’s true. James tipped me off to a sexy, drool worthy Microsoft product – and it’s called Office 2008 for the Mac! You’re scoffing right now, but when you go over to, you’ll see what I mean. Maybe the software itself isn’t actually sexy, but the website sure is! When they show how they have fully integrated iPhoto into Powerpoint, and how you can make a photo look like a curled up pic from the 1950’s, it really IS drool worthy! I know, I know, I shouldn’t ruin all the good part sfor you and leave some discovery for you. Go check it out and tell me if you don’t drool too!

Honda Bob
I am an essentially lazy person who values her own time. I think a lot of us feel guilty for feeling this way, but let’s be honest, our own time is something in short supply. That’s one of the reasons I use Honda Bob to do all my auto maintenance and repairs. He’s got a terrific business model – he has a full shop that he carries in his cherry red Honda Element, and he can do just about any car repair out of that vehicle that you can imagine. Because he provides a mobile service, he has developed ingenious mechanisms to do things as complex as replacing a transmission in your driveway. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I can prove it – I’ve seen it done, and in my own driveway at that! I gave Honda Bob the pictures i took of him replacing my daughter’s transmission a few months back and he posted them on his wonderfully useful website at If you don’t believe me, go look at the pictures. If you haven’t heard me talk about Honda Bob before, I should mention that he specializes specifically in Hondas and Acuras, so if you don’t own one, you should probably stop listening to the show right now and go out and buy one. come back here when you get back from the dealer and pick up where you left off of course. I suppose I should also point out that he services the Los Angeles and Orange County areas only, but it’s ok to buy a Honda or Acura even if you don’t live around here. If you’d like to have Honda Bob take care of your car, give him a call at (562-531-2321), or send him an email at If you have questions about how cars work, Honda Bob would love to have you submit questions to you and he’ll answer on his website. Check out all the great Q and A he’s got going at the link in the shownotes

octothorp (the pound sign)Have you ever heard of an Octothorp? My best friend from high school, Linda, sent me an explanation of what an octothorp is, and it made me really happy, so I’m going to share it with you. First of all, the octothorp is the symbol frequently referred to as the “pound sign” on a telephone – the number symbol above the 3 on your keyboard. Here’s the story.

Origin: The odd name for this ancient sign for numbering derives from thorpe, the Old Norse word for a village or farm that is often seen in British placenames. The symbol was originally used in mapmaking, representing a village surrounded by eight fields, so it was named the octothorp.

Isn’t that delightful? Ok, so you’re thinking I have a screw loose again, right? Well, I bet you find yourself thinking “it’s an OCTOTHORP silly” the next time a recorded voice tells you to hit the pound key!

MS Office Ultimate Steal
Ok, I’ve got a hot tip for you that sounds too good to be true. If you’re a student, or you’ve got a student in your family, AND you’re a Windows user – how would you like to be able to buy Office 2007 for $60US? I know this is hard to believe, but if you go to you’ll see the $60 offer for students carrying at least a half course load. At first blush I was certainly skeptical when my friend Bruce told me about it, but he also supplied the link to the Microsoft site explaining that it is, indeed, true. I just wish it was for Mac users too, but I sure hope someone listening can take advantage of this offer!

Well, I’m exhausted after 3 days of learning and shmoozing, and of course those late nights till 9:30 or 10! Don’t forget your homework assignment and tell at least 1 person about the NosillaCast – if it turns into an interesting story send me an email and I’ll try to read it on the air! you know I love to get comments, feedback and reviews, so keep those emails coming too – it’s so great to hear from you! Send those emails to Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

7 thoughts on “Show #114 Podcast Expo, Octothorp, Portable Apps, Office ’07 and ’08

  1. Honda Bob - September 30, 2007

    Allison, My e-mail address is HDABOB@AOL.COM

  2. podfeet - October 1, 2007

    Argh!! can’t believe I messed that up TWICE! It’s fixed in the shownotes now. sigh. I even remember I started to type it correctly and thought I should use one of my scripts (if I type hda followed by a semicolon, it writes which in my delerium trying to get the show out with only 4 hours at home this weekend after the expo I thought was the script for your email address! the only saving grace is it wasn’t an email address that was wrong, it was your actual website instead of an email address.

    sigh, getting old is heck!

  3. Anthony - October 1, 2007

    I think the spambots are going to get Honda Bob’s address …

    Yea Acura’s are great .. anyone wanna buy my 15 inch wheels from a 98 Integra GSR? They’ve been sitting in my storage room since 1999 when the car was totalled 🙂

    ATT – apparently their policy is to allow unlocks after 90 days so no – its Apple. I think they are way out of bounds this time and someone needs to smack some sense into Jobs head. By being so restrictive he is preventing the possibility that a “killer app” will be developed for the iPhone by someone other than Apple. Stupid. I hope they fix their position. Still, people really shouldn’t run that update if their phone has third party apps or is unlocked – at least there are some methods out there to fix the problem. And just bricking the phone with a “sorry” when its apparently a fixable issue? Also lame. Charge for it sure, but to just say no is so anti consumer. I refuse to buy an iPhone now – they made up my mind!

    I don’t like to use facebook at work (we don’t get nice fancy private offices out here in the desert 🙂 ) but I’d love to join your nosilla group.

  4. Sam Caldwwell - October 1, 2007

    I enjoyed the show and will have to put Las Vegas on my 2008 calendar, sounds like wonderful way to network and pick up tips from the experts. I am planning to do video reviews of speech software for the Mac and PC. I have the software needed to record screen demonstrations on my PCs but need a tip on the best software for recording my attempts to use iListen on the Macintosh. What do you recommend?

    It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see a photo of you in the French maid costume.

    Windows 2 Apples

  5. […] has put together a great summary post all about the Expo here and has recorded a podcast all about […]

  6. Debbie T - October 15, 2007

    Hey Allison, I finally got around to checking out the photos from the Expo! They are awesome! So glad you shared them with us!

    And speaking of photos and galleries (I know how you just LOVE galleries), have you heard of this one?

  7. I am happy that people like you talk about these health issues! Good work!

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