Show #115 Al on LabRats, ugcdb, PiP, iGTD, Wikis explained

Allison will be on the Typical Mac User podcast LIVE on talkshoe.com at 8PM PST (that’s GMT -8) on Sunday October 14th. Sam told his audience about the NosillaCast on his podcast Windows 2 Apples hosted at inetsynch.podbean.com. Allison is interviewed on the Lab Rats podcast at labrats.tv. User Generated Content Database at ugcdb.com, WSJ article about the guys who duped the telco’s, WSJ article about Target being sued for inaccessibility, Allison gets Honda Bob’s email address right at hdabob@aol.com. Picture in Picture from pleasantsoftware.com, Bart reviews iGTD from bargiel.home.pl/iGTD/ (read the blog entry at bartbusschots.ie/blog). David Lawrence from thedavidlawrenceshow.com/ gives me a great liner for the show, CommonCraft explains wikis and Google docs through simple examples at wikis in plain English and Google Docs.

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Today is Sunday, October 7th, 2007 and this is show #115.

Wow, I’ve got so much to talk about I don’t even know where to start. Don’t want to forget anything! I better make an announcement before I forget. At the podcast expo i finally got to meet Victor Cajaio of the Typical Mac User podcast, hosted at typicalmacuser.com. He’s a great guy, very fun, very smart, animated and gracious. I was quite honored that he asked me to be on his live show on Sunday October 14th. It will be on Talk Shoe, which is at talkshoe.com. The idea is that you can listen live, and also call in and ask questions of the hosts! I would love it if you participated in the show, so head over to Talk Shoe right now and get a log in set up and there’s this weird code you have to get so you’ll be ready when show time comes up. I’d love to talk to some of you live, wouldn’t that be fun?

show promotion
Remember your homework assignment from last week? you were supposed to tell one other person about the NosillaCast, and tell me about who you told! Listener Sam is the star pupil of the week – he wrote in to tell me that he mentioned the NosillaCast on his podcast, Windows 2 Apples hosted at inetsynch.podbean.com so he told WAY more people than one! Tell me, who did YOU tell?

Podcast Expo Redux
Sean Carruthers, Allison & Andy Walker of Lab Ratsso do you by any chance remember last year when I went to the podcast expo, and I was really excited because I got to meet the Lab Rats Sean Carruthers and Andy Walker? To my terrible chagrin, I ended up on the cutting room floor. Evidently the audio was all messed up on the interview. I was very sad. So this year when i saw Sean and Andy, I went up and gave them a hard time. They remembered me, which was cool. And, they asked if they could interview me again! Yay! this show they were making was trying to answer peoples’ questions on how to get started podcasting, so they wanted me to address how I got started. I had a great time, felt very relaxed, and I think it comes out in the interview. Andy and Sean are very sweet, very funny and made me feel at home. Check out the video at labrats.tv and look for show number 92. I’m about 14 minutes into the show, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the whole thing! check it out!

User Generated Content Data Base
ugcdb.com entry for nosillacastYou’re all familiar with IMDB, right? the internet movie database? It’s a terrific site where you can look up any movie or actor and find out everything about it/them. I use it constantly because Steve and I are awful at names, so in the middle of a movie, he’ll say, “hey, who’s that girl? wasn’t she in that movie? you know, the one with the guy that used to be on that show we really liked?” We will go back and forth in this really helpful form until finally I open up IMDB so we can get back to watching the darn movie! So why do I bring this up if everybody already knows about it? Because at the Podcast Expo Ron and I met a guy named Arte who got the idea that maybe there should be an internet database for user generated content, not just the fancy pants movie and tv guys.

Arte’s site is called the User Generated Content Database at ugcdb.com. I ran over and put myself in, and later put in my show. With some help from Arte I was able to link the show to me – so if you search on nosillacast you’ll see my smiling face as the creator, but if you do a search on Allison Sheridan, it doesn’t show you the NosillaCast. I think he’s still working some bugs out of it. This is a growing idea right now, but I think it’ a great plan to represent the vast number of people creating content for everyone to enjoy. It will take time and energy of the community to start filling in all the information too, it’s pretty sparse right now.

Arte did tell us a great story at lunch one day. He explained that he’s a very recent Mac switcher. We asked him what compelled him to come over to the Mac, and he said, and I’m quoting here, “Microsoft did the one thing the Mac fanatics in my life could never accomplish, Microsoft convinced me to buy a Mac.” Turns out he bought a brand spanking new Dell with Vista on it, and it was so awful that he sent it back and went out and bought a Mac! Isn’t that beautiful? It brought a tear to my eye. He’s by no means a Mac fanboy (yet) but he’s really happy about the switch.

I logged into ugcdb.com while I was talking to him, and discovered to my horror that it required a visual only CAPTCHA! You know if you’ve been listening for any length of time that that’s the wiggly letter thing that you have to read to type in, but if you’re visually impaired, you simply cannot enter the site! I was quick to point out to him that he was slamming the door in the face of visually impaired people by not including an audio captcha, and he held up his hands and said, “I’m only one guy!”

Well, I wrote to him this week to tell him about an article in the Wall Street Journal this week. Turns out a California judge has just granted class action status to the lawsuit against Target for not making their site accessible to the blind! This particular suit focusses mostly on the inability of screen readers to be able to send out content from Target’s site, but the article also talks about visual verification tools (captchas) as being a big stumbling block for blind users. I was thrilled with this development and the fact that the real purpose of the lawsuit is to get Target to get off their lazy butts and make their site accessible! Evidently they don’t even put in the “alt tags” for images – those are the simple words you attach to an image when you’re creating a web page that allows the screen reader to have something to tell the blind user.

I take particular pride in the fact that I asked Steve Harris, the creator of Feeder, the software I use for creating my podcast, to FORCE us to enter alt tags on images. He implemented it instantly and now I never forget! anyway, I hope the Target suit catches the attention of big companies and makes them realize that they have to be accessible. By the way, the WSJ article also mentiosn that the National Federation for the Blind says that Amazon’s website i suspierior, as is Safeway to help blind users grocery shop without the hassles of going to the store! yay Amazon and Safeway!

Wall Street Journal
Get 2 weeks FREESpeaking of the Wall Street Journal, I’m advertising for them now! I’m so excited about this, it’s so easy to talk about this paper, because as you can tell I find fascinating tidbits in it constantly! That wasn’t a fake mention in the previous bit, I find stuff like this all the time in the Journal. I thought I should teach you how to read the Wall Street Journal in this week’s show.

First, buy yourself a good paper slicer. I don’t know why, but something about this paper makes you NEED to cut articles out of it. When my father was alive, he used to cut out articles and mail them to me all the time. After he passed away, my father-in-law started doing it. then I got my own subscription, and now I cut articles out all the time! I even had to get a bulletin board to put outside my office so i could post all the fascinating articles I find each day in the Journal. It’s like a compulsion – I suppose it’s because I learn things there that I don’t find anywhere else, not in any other paper or online. The articles are well written too, which has to help!

Next week I’ll teach more about how to work your way through the paper to get to the good stuff! If you’re interested in subscribing, PLEASE click the Wall Street Journal badge on podfeet.com because I’ll get credit for it – either the paper version or that fancy pants online version!

That completes the official Wall Street Journal commercial, but I still have another story to tell you about that of course I read about in the Journal. (and cut out with my paper cutter and put on the bulletin board outside my office!) Let me set the stage first. We all hate our wireless service provider, right? It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re with Verizon or AT&T or T-Mobile or Sprint, you’ve all had run-ins with them, you’ve all been frustrated at one time or another about not being able to up on ringtones, or not being able to use bluetooth to transfer files, or worse yet, spending HOURS on the phone with them trying to figure out how many off-peak, mobile-to-mobile in network minutes you have that don’t include roaming or long distance fees, right?

Ron LaudnerDavid EricksonOk, so the story in the journal this week was about 2 guys who actually stuck it to the telcos, making millions off of them with what appears to be a completely legal loophole. We have to dial back the clock to the 1983 breakup of the monopoly of Ma Bell. Back then it cost a fortune to run phone lines in rural areas, so the laws put in place at the time of the breakup required the big telcos to pay hefty fees to the small carries to compensate for the high cost of providing service across miles of sparse farmland. Today, because of new technology, hundreds of callers can be linked at very low cost, regardless of their location. How did these guys exploit this law? Well, David Erickson started freeconferencecall.com and found Ron Laudner, who ran a small telco in Iowa. The two of them devised a plan where all calls to freeconferencecall.com would be routed to the telco in Iowa, thus chalking up huge fees to be paid to them by the big telecom companies! Get this – every call to freeconferencecall.com cost the big companies FIFTY THREE CENTS A MINUTE! Isn’t that wild? It gets better.

Once the big companies figured out all these charges were coming through just a few lines in Iowa, they started blocking the calls to those numbers. And guess what? THAT’S ILLEGAL! The two guys contacted the FCC, who told the telco’s “no no no, you can’t do that!” Right now the calls are going through again, but the big companies are suing these guys and refusing to pay them the fees. I know, I shouldn’t get such joy out of someone cheating someone else, but hey, isn’t it just a LITTLE bit enjoyable to see the very same companies that torture us get tortured just a little bit? Just remember, if you click on that Wall Street Journal button on my website, you too can read enjoyable little stories like this!

Honda Bob
So I can’t believe Honda Bob even wants me to do ads for him – I keep getting his email address wrong! Ok, before I even start, his CORRECT email address is hdabob@aol.com. That’s hdabob@aol.com. I’m repeating so I remember, not you!!!

this week I was driving my relatively new Acura TL, about 2 years old. I drove it about an hour from the Podcast expo to home, and then in the morning I fired it up and ran over to Starbucks. Regular, every day event, right? But then i got back in my car with my tasty Grande non-fat, no whip extra hot mocha, and my car wouldn’t start!!! Can you believe that? I called AAA and they were there in 6 minutes with a jump for my car (you gotta love the Autoclub – was that worth the $24 I paid them this year??? You bet!) While I was waiting for AAA (all six minutes) I called Honda Bob. The only thing better than AAA is Honda Bob – he called me back and said he’d be over to my house with a new battery in a couple of hours! So I drove back to the house, and parked in the garage, turned the car off, and of course tried to start it again – no go.

When Bob came to the house he put a volt meter on the battery and it read the correct 12 volts. Hey, that’s good, right? Then Bob says, “open the car door”. I did, which made the ding ding ding noise cuz I had the keys in the ignition. When the ding ding ding noise happened, the voltmeter reading dropped to 9 volts! Uh yeah, I guess my battery was dead!

The bottom line is that when I needed help, Bob was right there for me, fixed up my problem and I was back on the road in just a couple of hours!

Bob wanted me to mention that he has a contact for new cars too now, if you want to buy a Honda or an Acura and you live in the LA area, you really should call Bob first at (562)531-2321. he’s got a fleet salesman available to make a good deal on new cars. And of course if you’re smart enough to already OWN a Honda or an Acura, then give him a call for all your maintenance and repairs. or of course you could email him at hdabob@aol.com

PIP
my picture in picture on top of the shownotesWhen I was at the Podcast Expo I sat next to a guy who showed me a really cool little application that fits a very narrow niche need. Let’s say you’re doing a screencast, but your audience REALLY likes to see YOU during your shows. Picture in Picture tool from pleasantsoftware.com turns on your iSight camera and puts a picture in picture of whatever it’s looking at on screen. this little picture in picture can be dynamically resized and you can slide it around the screen to any location. My description sure sounds dry compared to how cool this little app is. It’s very lite – I can toggle it on and off with a pulldown from the menu bar app menu. I took a screen shot of my lovely face hovering over my Feeder window and put it in the shownotes so you can see how it looks. Pleasant Software is also the makers of √úbercaster and ShowMacster. I reviewed √úbercaster a while back, I may have to find out what ShowMacster is, sounds like fun!

Bart’s review of iGTD
This week we have a review from friend of the show Bart Busschots of the productivity application iGTD from bargiel.home.pl/iGTD/. Getting Things Done is a concept for self organization by David Allen. I read his book and tried to set out on the path to better organization, but I’ve stumbled a bit. Perhaps iGTD will help me get back into it. Let’s hear Bart’s review:

==================INSERT BART’S REVIEW==========

Thanks Bart, that’s got me excited, I think I’ll go download it and give it a try! You can read more on iGTD on Bart’s Blog at bartbusschots.ie/blog, but be careful, soon you’ll lose yourself reading all the other interesting things he talks about from astronomy to Irish politics to physics! Bart’s is the one blog I make sure I never miss!

Liner from David Lawrence
David Lawrence from thedavidlawrenceshow.com/ gave an excellent talk at the podcast expo. It was all about how to market your show (he’s really successful) and there was a really funny part to his talk. He encouraged any and all questions, and this one guy gets up and starts talking about how his show is towards a targeted audience, and he used the word niche, but he pronounced it “neesh”. David went berserk on the guy, yelling “IT’S NITCH, NOT NEESHE! IT IS NOT A FRENCHY WORD, IT’S AN ENGLISH WORD!!!” it was actually pretty funny because he was so over the top about it. Of course, it got me to thinking, so i looked it up, and found a really interesting discussion on-line about the origins of the word. turns out David was wrong, it IS a French word, but his vehemence about the pronunciation was correct. however, 80% of people polled pronounce it neesh. I sent him this whole explanation and he seemed to actually enjoy it. he wrote back,
“I had someone on my show from dictionary.com (a client, actually) who misinformed me of its heritage, I will henceforth be just as comedically vehement as to it’s pronunciation, but not it’s etymology as my source. Thanks for pointing that out.”

Not only was he fun in writing, he sent in this great liner for my show:

====================INSERT DAVID’S LINER=====

I love that! I might play it every week!

CommonCraft
I’m going to close with a tidbit from Niraj. You know how hard it is to explain technical things to non-technical people, right? you’ve tried to explain something to your mom or your boss or even your best friend and you watch as their eyes glaze over and you realize you lost them at “TCP/IP”, right? that’s why I so admire people who can take something cool and explain it in a way that anybody can understand. Niraj found a company who specializes in this – they’re called CommonCraft, and they’ve created two great videos. The first one explains what wiki’s are and they do it through an example. They start by having four people trying to plan a camping trip, and show how if they used a wiki they’d find the whole process of planning much easier to do. the second video explains how Google Docs can make you happy too. I put links in the shownotes to the two videos – if you find yourself trying to explain to someone what a wiki is, or if you are still a little unclear on what it is yourself, check out the links to commoncraft.com:
wikis in plain English
Google Docs

That’s going to wrap this up for this week on the NosillaCast, don’t forget to go out and register at Talkshoe before next Sunday. That way you can hear Victor Cajiao of the Typical Mac User and I pontificate on the wonders of the Macintosh universe at 5:00PM Pacific Standard Time (that’s GMT-8) on Sunday October 14th. Keep up all the great feedback by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com or send me an audio review at nosillacast@gmail.com. Thanks for listening and stay subscribed.

4 thoughts on “Show #115 Al on LabRats, ugcdb, PiP, iGTD, Wikis explained

  1. Tim - October 12, 2007

    Sunday is October 14th (Not October 13) So is the podcast the 13th or 14th?

  2. podfeet - October 13, 2007

    YIKES! the 14th! sunday the 14th at 5pm PST!!!

  3. Frank - October 14, 2007

    I’m seeing, or almost seeing, dark grey letters on a black background. Safari 2.0.4 plugins turned off. My eyes are old, hell, I’m old, and this is tough to read. But the bright blue links show up really well.

  4. podfeet - October 16, 2007

    Frank and I exchanged a bunch of email and determined it was a combination of a slow connection and something hinky in Safari – he was able to clear it up eventually!

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