Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Podcasting op zijn smalst

Net als vorig jaar heeft de Volkskrant een podcast in het kader van de Tour de France. Ook dit jaar gaat het om incidentele uitzendingen die maar een paar minuten kort zijn. Dit jaar staat het in het teken van het laatste jaar van Michael Boogerd; vorig jaar waren het gesproken columns van de journalisten ter plekke.

Het levert een amateuristisch oeuvre op. De casts zijn te kort, de kwaliteit is minimaal, de regie ofwel de postproduktie lijkt te ontbreken en zo er al een formule is, wordt daar niet eens consistent de hand aan gehouden. Moet het over Boogerd gaan? Kan er best een stukje van Bram Tankink over Bram Tankink tussendoor. Ten slotte komen de casts ook niet op een regelmatige tijd uit.

Kortom, de Volkskrant ziet wel wanneer er iets afgeleverd wordt en je moet maar afwachten of het je ergens verder neemt waar we de vorige keer gebleven zijn. In vergelijking met Britse en Amerikaanse kranten is het een regelrechte blamage. Naar mijn mening is dit symptomatisch voor podcasts in het Nederlandse taalgebied in vergelijking tot het Engelse. Totale achterlijkheid zowel qua inhoud als qua kwaliteit. Lulligheid troef.

SGU: Never grow old

It is a surprisingly exotic subject that features in the latest Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast: immortality. Guest Brian Trent has written a book on the subject: 'Never Grow Old: The Novel of Gilgamesh'. The idea is that in literature the concept of immortality, eternal youth and at least postponing death has been a subject since long. Another idea is that with the progressing technology, our longevity extends far beyond what we could have hoped for as a species.

I liked the interview. many of the aspects that are being discussed trigger much thought, questions and if not that then at least: the imagination. Shortly, also one of my favorite fascination jumps on the table: in terms of biology and evolution, we are basically pretty inapt apes, that stood up, because the environment and climate changes dictated that, but we are hardly built to do that and what is more, have no additional prowess to speak of. Nothing that would warrant the outrageous survival feat we have shown. Also, from a natural history perspective, our cultural development is extremely recent, if not to say, short lived. Hence, we are a feeble, vulnerable animal with little chance of survival, yet we survive beyond excpectation.

That is a way of saying we are pretty immortal as it is and kicking forward. But how and why, what does it mean. My thoughts go in all directions. This is the stuff I adore.

Getting published with Mark Leslie

The latest edition of the reality aspect in The Writing Show, getting published with Mark Leslie, made for an very interesting different impact on me. So far I have reported the writing show, somehow, mainly succeeded in discouraging me. The show reveals so many of the tough reality of writing, I was left truly disheartened.

The latest interview with Mark Leslie had the opposite effect though. Not because he had some good news to report. Just as Jean Tennant, he has sufficient trouble in getting published. But the conversation with Paula B, the show host, revolved mainly around the more exciting parts of writing. Much of what was discussed, revolved around the creative process and the various ways in which Mark could improve his novel.

he takes all the criticism he is confronted with very lightly and happily dives into the various options for improvement. I was sucked with the examples and much stimulated to think along and contemplate the options and desperately wanted to sit down and write my own version of the story elements. I was doing the weekly grocery shopping for my family though. So it had to wait, until I reached my blog. I can only say now: everybody, go and listen to the Mark Leslie interviews. Not just this one; all of them. Great stuff. Both entertaining as well as inspiring.

The Bitch, the Crone, and the Harlot

In issue 101 of Shrinkrapradio Dr. Dave interviews Susan Schachterle about her book "The Bitch, the Crone, and the Harlot" which is about women and middle-age. Susan found that even though women tend to be quite depressed about reaching midlife, but she finds in her analysis the strengths about the second part of life.

The episode, as far as the content is concerned, is yet again a high point for shrinkrapradio. The interview goes very well, the subject is very compelling and we are presented with a most thrilling conversation. The only problem is that the audio quality is really bad. David van Nuys cannot do much about that. He uses, as so many other podcasters, the utilities of Skype for recording the conversation. The problem is that phoning with Skype sometimes gives tremendous clarity and sometimes terrible deformation in the sound. then it is as if the parties are talking through a stretched tube.

And the next conversation it can be right again. Users like David (and myself) will have to make do, but I really wonder what can be done. Is this something for Skype to address?

I am happy to announce that Dr. Dave has edited this show and removed much of the bad sound. The republished version of show 101 is much improved.