The Power of Contactability

Wow – The very same day as I create a link to let people email me, I get some feedback on one of my HOWTO documents, all the way from Kansas!

Yesterday I set myself up a GMail account for this blog so that, just incase someone *does* read it (or I guess, more to the point, the articles linked to from it) they can contact me and give me some feedback.
I’ve come in this morning to an email message all the way from Kansas State University College of Architecture Planning and Design where Brent O’Connor has fed back on my Debian Sarge HOWTO, letting me know that to reload my Sarge Server without rebooting I just need to run “/etc/init.d/inetd reload” (given that I’d posted �Reboot the server (or figure out how to reload the affected configuration files – and let me know)� in my original document).

So wow, huge thanks for Brent from Kansas for paying attention to the man behind the curtain and letting me know that tip, I’ve since updated the page to reflect his advice.

For those of you without contact addresses on your websites, get one up there! You’ll see that I’ve used a GMail account as it’s pretty much disposable in terms of being able to change it at anytime should SPAM levels get too high, and of course I’ve also munged the address to try and upset the spambots ability to harvest the address in the first place (I guess the munging also serves as a kind of intelligence test for people contacting me too! 🙂 ). It’s kind of rewarding to realise that other people are reading your site and can discuss what you’ve written (should they choose to), so this isn’t really just a resource for Rob when I forget stuff any longer I guess – yippee!

Podcast on a Stick

Continuing in the vein of portable podcastiong, I’ve recently downloaded ‘MyPodder’, an open source pod catching client which installs on your USB memory key… Read on for my initial impressions

One of my favorite Podcasts at the moment is from Geek News Central, I find it has just the right amount of news, opinion and personality with the shows host Todd Cochrane sharing bits of his personal life (where relevant(ish)) with his audience… Anyway, he played a promo on his July 12th 2005 podcast which referenced an open source podcatcher which installs on your USB memory key.
Anyway, I’ve since headed over to the MyPodder site and downloaded their version 0.3 beta which has since installed quite happily on a spare 256MB USB key that I’ve recently freed up after getting a nice new Kingston 256MB key as part of a team day here at work. In summary:

  • The MyPodder site is fairly basic, but I’d rather they spend time on developing good robust applications than eye candy – so well done there.
  • The installation is basically “Unzip the download to the root of your USB Key” which is fine
  • The application lacks some of the niceties which I’d hope will appear in future versions such as importing XML files from other podcatching applications

So, all in all – it’s looking fine from the first cut, I’ll probably be back to this post to update my impressions after a while – one change I’ve already made is changing the launch batch file to make the last line read “call podcatcher.exe” which I hope will get rid of the current DOS window which appears looking like this:

You can close this ugly window
after the podcatcher had started.

I’ve also changed line 1 to read “@Echo Off” just to make that first bit invisible too 😉
I’m also having a quick google as a background task to see if I can develop an Autorun file so All I need to is plug in the USB key and the application will automagically start.

Nice effort, worth a look for those of you who want to take podcasts from machine to machine (I just want to be able to save state so I don’t re-listen to content and be able to archive/purge stuff I’ve already consumed).