January 15, 2008

Open the Pod Bay Doors, Hal (An Ongoing Series)

So having a iPod (finally, I buy a gadet before it is obsolete!) and having had some "downtime" at the firehouse last night, I downloaded a bunch of these "podcast" things I've been hearing about. Still having a dial-up connection at home, large downloads are not really an option there.

The new revolution? A way of knocking old media off of the pedestal? Maybe, but probably not. There's an interesting contrast in the podcasts...and the better podcasts are those with money, talent and quality behind them.

Here's an example: William Gibson did a book tour to support his latest novel, Spook Country (still on my personal Mount Toberead). During the course of the book tour he gave probably a couple of thousand talks, interviews, readings and what not (or, it felt like that). I know I've read one of the key phrases he's been using this go round—how if you walked into a publisher in the 1970's and pitched a SF novel with a global pandemic (AIDS) and a climate problem (AGW), you'd be shown the door and they'd call security—several times now. Most of the interviews have hit that highlight a few others.

BoingBoing had Gibson on for one in their short-lived podcasting series (they then moved on to doing short video webcasts but I think that has died as well). It was short. Gibson seemed to be talking to them over a cellphone while outside, so you could hear wind. One of the people from the BoingBoing end of things was dialed in on something (internet telephone?) that had latency problems. Two of the others also had audio quality problems. They kept tripping over each other, and their guest, in asking questions and interjecting useless noise.

Contrast that with this interview done by Rick Kleffel at The Agony Column. The interview runs quite long so you get more than soundbites on how we're living in the future. The interviewer allows Gibson to speak, only interjecting himself when necessary to get things moving again. Gibson even contributes two readings from two novels.

Podcasting may be the radio of the future, but quality will show. I'll be returning to hear more from The Agony Column; on the other hand, I won't be sad about the demise of the BoingBoing effort for long.

Posted by Fred Kiesche at January 15, 2008 03:33 PM
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