Ugh….I can’t believe it, but I just lost track of the Dog Days because of two GOP debates and Jon Stewarts’s last Daily Show. It’s not a good excuse, but it is what it is. I profusely apologize, and plan for better days.

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It’s Day 2 of the Dog Days, and I’m back on track! Today I chat a bit about deck building games in general, and Arctic Scavengers in particular, the game Charlotte and I bought last night at Oxford Comics and Games. See ya tomorrow!

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Arctic Scavengers (BGG)

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And…we’re back! (though already late publishing…*sigh*). Welcome to the 2015 Dog Days of Podcasting, folks! This is a quick “try to get one in to kick things off” cast, which I still didn’t get uploaded to my feed until the second day of DDOP. Hopefully I’ll sort things out on Wednesday…

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I read The Lefsetz Letter; I often find his comments useful when thinking about music and the music industry. I just finished a recent letter, “Apple Streaming”, and it inspired me to try Spotify Premium’s current “3 months for 99 cents” promotion.

The key insight wasn’t monumental, but he did lay things out more plainly than I’d seen other places. His point was to make the difference between “streaming radio” (like Pandora) and “streaming on demand” (like Spotify Premium, or Apple’s rumored upcoming service). His suggested use for Pandora is exactly what I use it for…background. I like radio-style services for background music; I pick a genre/artist/style, and while I don’t get to control things completely, if I don’t like a given song, it’s only a couple of minutes from being gone.

What I haven’t done in a long time is play large playlists of specific songs. And to be clear, I have a reasonable amount of music in Amazon Music (as well as backed up directly long ago straight into Amazon S3, in Google Music, and heck, probably in a couple of other places I’m not thinking about). And while I usually have the required app installed…the kicker that finally made me pull the Spotify trigger was how I built those libraries.

Back when I was “rip, mix, and burn“-ing, I used to worry about storage. As I ripped my CD collection (which was never huge in any case) I carefully picked out my absolute favorite tracks from each individual CD. (I believe the only discs I completely ripped were The Police’s “Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings”. Yeah, I’m one of those.) So while the playlists I can currently generate are pretty much full of songs I love, I did leave things on the table when I was making those decisions. There are many songs that I still have on CD (somewhere), that I really like, that I simply don’t have digital copies of.

Thus the reason for Spotify Premium. For the albums that they have available (and I’m getting good results so far), it’s one click to add the entire thing to my library, and start building playlists with songs that I like that I may not have heard for years. (Some of them I tracked down myself, some showed up in my Amazon library because I bought the CD there, but many had stayed orphaned on plastic discs…until today). Nothing amazing, of course…but I’m just not enough of a music lover to either rip or buy all these tracks. But if someone makes them available at a click (and a small sub, of course)…maybe!

Again, I like radio-type streams at times; as I said, background music. But I’ve got 3 months to play with Spotify this summer and enjoy custom playlists like I never have before. Will I keep it for ten bucks a month? Not sure yet…that’s what the experiment is for. But I’m looking forward to finding out. Thanks Lefsetz!

 

Wow. Working towards enabling POSSE (Publish Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) is…um…fun. I’m moving slowly forward, getting syndication working manually, trying to get things to work properly without intervention. Hasn’t happened yet; I can manually repost most blogposts (potentially including this one) and get them to post to FB and G+, but auto-posting isn’t working yet. AFAICT, it’s something to do with the builtin WP-Cron. In other words, now I have two problems…*sigh*.

Also having issues with brid.gy (the synchronization of replies and likes etc. back to my site), but that’s actually working fairly well. I’m not mad; this entire process is complicated, fidgety, and pretty brittle. It’s interesting to work through this entire thing, and I expect that we’ll resolve these issues eventually. It’s kinda fun!

Earlier today, I published a post about getting POSSE working on my blog; in effect, a way to publish at kenzoid.com directly, but syndicate both the posts (to facebook, g+, etc.) and the responses (*from* facebook, g+, back to my blog). It’s been a learning experience, and very interesting. I’m most of the way there, I think, but the bridging plugin that I’m using to share *to* the Social Web has a hangup; you can’t use it to “reshare” something that has already been published. Like, for example, the test post I made earlier today. *sigh* So I’m just writing this up real quick to be my first test post…let’s see how it goes!

(Inside baseball note to other POSSE-folk: I’m currently using Jetpack vs. SNAP, because I don’t want to turn off 2 factor authentication for G+. I’m going to see what the Jetpack posts looks like; if I don’t like the format, I may turn on SNAP for everything *but* G+. After all, why use only one plugin when I can use two and make things even more complicated! LOL)

A busy lunch today; I’m hacking on my website. I’m working on enabling POSSE (Publish Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere), an IndieWeb publishing model that I’ve read about for some time, but I haven’t taken the time to wrangle with. POSSE allows me to initiate my writing here, on my own site, and a) simultaneously publish to Facebook, Twitter, etc. plus b) poll those external sites and retrieve the comments, likes, reshares, etc. and publish them here.

That’s fantastic…I much prefer to write here at my personal site, but getting interactions here on “the old blogger’s Web” is way more difficult than just dropping a few lines into Facebook and seeing them get 5 or 6 likes in an hour. With POSSE enabled, all the Social Web interaction will get pulled back to my site as well, which is pretty cool.

I’ve been inspired by Dave Slusher and Thomas Gideon in this regard. Both of them have jumped through the hoops required to make this thing work, and I’ve got tabs open to both of their sites right now — they very helpfully detailed the process, and I’ll do the same once everything is complete. I’m looking forward to seeing how this works!

So this morning, I was lying in bed relaxing, and reading RSS feeds on my phone. I got to Wil Wheaton’s excellent blog, and thought as I was lying there “I really enjoy his stories; it’s like a little window into his head and his life”. And that’s what a blog is for, really, at least for me anyway. Most of my favorite blogs (and podcasts, for that matter) are really personal, “internal voice of the author” type things. And then I realized…that’s what I need to do with my blog. Heck, anyone who knows me knows that when I tell a story…well, I can ramble a bit. OK, a lot. But here on my blog, I’ve got nothing but time, and it’s my own space. So thanks, Wil, for reminding me what this darn thing’s for. And thanks to WordPress for the fullscreen edit mode they put in a few versions back; I’m using it now, and it’s nice. Keeps the distractions to a minimum.

I’ve been wanting to get back to the blog anyway; my friend Dave Slusher has been working with a software stack that does some cool integration with social media sites like Facebook and Google+. With it, not only can your posts on your blog appear as direct posts on those site (rather than you putting a link that people have to click through to read), but the interactions (likes, comments) on those sites are synchronized back to your original blog post. Very slick, and a great way to own your words, as Jon Udell likes to say.

(Opened a new tab here to track down the link for Jon’s post, but stopped myself. I’m doing a little markup to denote where I want to put hyperlinks later, but otherwise this is just straight typing. No stopping and ending up down the rabbit hole of clickthroughs somewhere…)

Anyway. I was lying in bed late this morning because I’ve taken enough Wednesdays and Thursdays off through the rest of the year that I’m not heading back to Atlanta until January. It’s combination of vacation days and holidays, because 2014 cooperated and made both Christmas and New Year’s a Thursday this year. (Honestly, I had more than enough vacation left that it would have worked regardless, but this makes it easier). I really enjoy my job, and especially the people I work with…but it’s been a stressful year, and there are not as many of those people working with me anymore as there were a few months back. (Google “Turner 2020” for background, if you like). There are changes still coming, and I’d honestly like some time to rest and recharge before tackling all of them. Trying to stay positive, expect the best, and as my boss said a few weeks back, “whatever happens, we’re going to have fun”. He’s the best.

I’ve got some projects tentatively planned for this holiday/vacation time; working up the blog/social media integration stack that Dave is using is one of them, and another is a way to push my soma.fm listening to my last.fm profile. I headed back to my roots a few weeks ago, and set up Debian as a dual-boot option on one of my laptops, so I’ve got an excellent setup for both projects (I’m probably going to use Google App Engine for the soma hack). It’s been several years since I’ve regularly run Linux on anything but an embedded device (Raspberry Pi) or in a VM. It feels good to watch it boot up on the bare metal again.

So I got up, poured a giant World of Warcraft coffee mug full of joe, and plopped down here to do some typing. Once again, I’m coming back to my personal domain and planting my flag here; that feels good too. I’m taking a lot of inspiration from Wil, actually, and I really appreciate his example. Not that I’m fooling myself or anything…he’s an actual author and creator; I’m a casual blogger and very casual podcaster. But a personal voice is a personal voice, and mine lives here.

I think I’m even going to go all crazy and shoot for a podcast today as well! My H1 is sitting out on my desk, and has been there for several days, but I’ve just not quite “gotten around to it”. I’ll probably hit a lot of the same points with the podcast, but that’s fine; it’s not like there’s a giant audience for either one, and anyone that subscribes to both is probably a personal friend.

Let’s post this thing!

(UPDATE: I did a good job of focusing while actually writing the post, but boy, did I lose it while rustling up my links! Heck, I ended up creating an account at a new site (Known), after noticing that Jon Udell was experimenting with it. *sigh* Focus, Ken…focus.)

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This episode, I describe the epic GeekFest that occurred this past weekend, and also discuss a couple of podcasts/videos that I consumed this week that discuss the terms geek and nerd, and how they’ve expanded in scope, and changed in meaning.

(UPDATE: I am currently working on a GeekFest album in Flickr…once it is complete, I’ll have a link in the show notes at kenzoid.com. URL: http://kenzoid.com/2014/09/24/kaz-episode-92/ )

GeekFest Flickr album (coming soon)
Introducing the iMortal Show – Episode 1: Ersatz Geek
Penny Arcade: The Series – Episode 1

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