Monday, May 18, 2009

Podcast Review: The Dog Whisperer

For those of you who don't watch much educational tv type channels (i.e. Discovery, National Geographic, etc.) then you might not know about the show "Dog Whisperer". The host Cesar Milan is a dog trainer who specializes in dog psychology.

Cesar offers amazing samples of clips from his TV show in podcast format once a week, three to five minutes in length, these video clips give a great insight to the show, his amazing talent and the tools/tricks he uses. As a personal testimonial, I have applied some of the methods he demonstrates on the show, and it has worked and improved the relationship between me and my dog.

Not going to lie, this is most likely to appeal to dog owners (like me), and since I live abroad, and cannot get the show directly (even with satelite) this podcast is the only exposure to the show that I have. With these short weekly installments I am able to enjoy the meat of the show.

I recommend this for the dog lover who listens/watches podcasts. Even if you don't have a video enabled player, the podcast is short enough to watch on the computer where you are catching the podcasts anyway.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Podcast Review: Real Time with Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher is a new platform for the old Politically Incorrect format. While Bill himself is very "Left" I find that when his panel is too one sided even he will play devil's advocate and it is a forum in which opposing views are shared by people who normally would not be publicized in any mainstream media format.

I've enjoyed the political commentary that Bill has brought to the public view over the years and even if from time to time I may not agree with him personally, I find that those even with an opposing view are given a chance to air their opinions in an uncensored format. I admire his spirit of "tell it like it is" along with his openness to hear out people with different views.

This hour long podcast I receive in the audio form since I live outside the US and iTunes doesn't allow the video version here. I suppose if you were in the US you could subscribe to the video version also. This is the second of only two political podcasts that I listen to and find that between them both I am generally informed, if not in a comic way, about all the political news I care to hear about. Honestly, I find too much political news to be just a point of frustration and causes ulcers. I feel that like myself, Bill is on the lookout for any candidate who is in the political camp of Common Sense and that subscribes to the policies of honesty. I have to say that would be the politician that all of us could get behind but is a rare breed.

of previous fame on .... views....podcast.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackelope Review

Ubuntu which has been my Linux distro of choice now for just over 3 years had it's most recent release at the end of last month. With version 9.04 codenamed Jaunty Jackelope, Ubuntu has made what I think was a more polished interface, and while notable improvements I found it not to be a revolutionary change from 8.10.

I am one of the lucky ones who did not lose any functionality with the upgrade (there have been some strong voices who did) and I would like to point out that a great many things that are the Ubuntu release are not entirely the result of Canonical directly, but rather upstream developers. As with any distribution the operating system is a collection of coding, improvements and bug fixes from many varied sources. Most times this works out just great, but others is has negative effects.

As to the positive, it won't be the first time you hear about the new system notification system which I find to be matching that of the Growl notification system you can install on a mac. My 2 points on this would be that 1.) great the way that they make the notification bubble disappear when you mouse over it (I tend to be going for something under the bubble and not the bubble itself and 2.) I do miss that there seems to be no control panel or preference pane for the notifications (I might prefer to have those remain open until acked by user or display for a longer period of time so I can actually read them).

On my systems which are now a bit "long in the tooth" have not seen the dramatic improvement in performance in boot and operation. I have not done everything possible to improve my system performance to date (reduced unused kernel modules, formatted to ext4, etc.). I have noticed that it seems to be quite stable and solid and as reliable as my 8.10 install was.

My summary would be that I'm happy with the new version, it offers some "spit and polish" to what is already a very healthy Linux distro. I would have no reservations about recommending this version over any previous versions. We have now seen 3 steadily improving version of Ubuntu released all of which were evolutionary and not so revolutionary, I hope that in the next two versions or so that Ubuntu does some of the "stand-up, pow, knock your socks off" stuff that they managed to do in some of their earlier releases that really set them apart.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Podcast Review: Linux Basement

Chad Wollenberg is a real guy, doing a real job and making more of a difference than a lot of us combined. He lives in Virgina USA and is introducing Open Source Software in a very grass-roots way. The podcast he offers is more or less a digest of the OSS and Linux servers he plays with to propose practical working solutions in a public school system.

Chad is, I have to confess, one of my heroes. Not because he is a great coder or has created the next application to solve world hunger, but for his efforts to fight the "good fight" and pursuit what most of us linux users have known for years and that is that you can do more with less if you use OSS.

During the course of 45 min to an hour Chad talks about his most recent trials and tribulations in his efforts on the Linux Basement podcast. He tells tails of successes and frustrations in promoting OSS and deploying OSS in a fairly non-tech environment. Great stories of his use and application of OSS and linux to replace expensive closed sourced and propriotity formats in a community that doesn't have vast resources to waste on such foolishness. Lastly, for the entertainment value, Chad usually adds a self written and performed song at the end of his shows. The songs are very enjoyable and might be worth the wait through a topic that might not be of particular interest.

Chad tells his story in a very human way, even confessing when he had to redo something due to human error, passing on his mistakes which leads to his successes. I have a great deal of respect for Chad since he is humble and confesses his shortcomings when applicable. I recommend this podcast especially for the "young" linux user who is putting his toe in the water of starting to set up server solutions for home use, or to learn for work puposes. Chad is a real success story. Of particular note the recently appointed US Government CTO was the Virgina State CTO who gave Chad the green light for is Open Source initiatives in his school district. Which is very promising that the new US CTO is at least familiar with OSS.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Podcast Review: No Agenda

From what at first blush would be a very unlikely combination for a news source, John C Dvorak and Adam Curry unite forces to bring what might be one of the most comprehensive "news" shows of our day.

With Adam bringing a more European point of view from the MTV Generation, and John with a more conservative while very informed point of view manage to cover the hottest news topics of the day from almost all points of view.

I am content that on occasion that conspiracy theories and corporate assassins are used as plausible story coverages, because these guys manage to cover the narrow and wide view of political and economic issues. These are the ways in which current topics won't be covered in mainstream media and whether you agree with the points of view offered, the dialog between the two of them most times offers the "devil's advocate" perspective.

Non staged or scripted besides talking points, No Agenda is where I get clued into mainstream news stories without having to follow the fear monger, commercially paid for media coverage. This exposure brings me back to the days when "news" was reported and not presented with an agenda as the name of the shows implies.

Two thumbs up for this news show which is not my normal flavor of show, but if I had to choose only one news show to have in my podcast diet it would be this one.