Broadcasting From Home Wins Major Podcasting Award

sus4 LogoANN ARBOR, Michigan (Reuters) – Noted music podcast “Broadcasting From Home” was today awarded the prestigious “Sus4 Award For Podcast Excellence”. Awarded each year by noted technologist and writer Lawrence Lazare, the award is given to those podcasts that “manage to be brilliantly witty, musically profound as well as being entertaining – all at the same time.” Lazare made the announcement from the basement of his Ann Arbor publishing headquarters.

“I am both humbled and excited by this and I’m pretty sure I can find a way to monetize it”, said podcast producer and host Scrappy McGowan. “I knew this Lazare guy had money and power, but I didn’t know he knew (Italian avant-garde musician) Vinicio Capossela from a hole in the wall. That’s pretty cool that he actually listens to and appreciates the podcast. I thought that the only ones listening were old hippy friends of mine.”

The “Sus4 Award” does not include a financial prize, but it does mention the podcast in a press release as well as allowing the the producers to refer to their podcast as being “award-winning”. A graphical “Sus4 Award Winner” web-based button is being considered for 2011.

More information on the winning podcast can be found at the Broadcasting From Home website.

Free Long Distance With Skype

I’ve heard and read about Skype for a while, but never really had reason to give them a try, bu after reading that you can call any number in the U.S. and Canada for free, I figured I’d give it a try.

For those of you who don’t know Skype, it’s an Internet-based phone service, sort of like an audio version of IM. You have other Skype users on your contact list, and if they are online you can call them and talk for free. I’d never needed to try Skype before because, 1. I don’t make many long distance phone calls, and 2. I get 120 min. a month of long distance through my local phone service and finally 3. because I don’t know any friends who use it regularly.

While Skype usually charges a minimal amount to call actual phone numbers (skype to skype calls are always free), thye recently announced that all calls to U.S. and Canadian numbers are free through the rest of the year. Okay, now it’s time to dig that labtec headphone out of the basement and give this Skype thing a try…

The results? Yup it works, I can all any number and sure enough they can hear me and I can hear them. does that mean I’ll start using Skype? Probably not. Yeah I like trying new services out, but I don’t really need to be making phone calls while connected to the computer by a six foot headphone cord. Maybe the next time Sarah’s in Europe again I’ll have her bring along a headset so we can talk instead of IM, but other than that, I think I’ll stick to the phone.

Why Do People Hate Record Companies?

On the heels of the rootkit DRM disaster launched by Sony last year, we have this post from Boing Boing about EMI reocrds CDs that install malware that according to the contract, stays on your computer even after the digital content is removed. Read it and weep:

“Brazilian mega-star Marisa Monte’s new CDs from EMI (”Infinito Particular” and “Universo ao Meu Redor”) come with DRM that can’t be uninstalled, and requires you to “agree” to a contract that isn’t published in Portuguese. Even if you disagree, the malware is installed. The DRM blocks you from playing the CD on Linux and MacOS, and from loading it onto an iPod…”
Read the full story…

Why I switched to Firefox

Latest industry stats show that Internet Explorer still holds 76% of the browser market. Yeah Safari and Firefox are making inroads, but not fast enough. Unless you are required to use it, I have no idea why anyone still uses IE.
If you need more info to help you make the decision, the following post should help…

Scott Berkun is a UI designer who worked on IE 1 through 5. Over at his blog he discusses why he switched to Firefox.

Amazon’s Best Feature

There are lots of wonderful features about, but the one I use and rely on the most is their product reviews. Over the years Amazon has built up a huge database of user product reviews and these reviews are an indispensable tool when looking at products. Take this weekend for instance…

I am tired of always borrowing my 11 year-old son Jeremy’s ipod mini when I go running, so I’m always on the look for a low priced mp3 player with a decent amount of storage. This weekend while looking through the Circuit City ad, I saw the Go Video Rave-MP 2.5 GB player for $99! A 2.5 gig MP3 player with an FM tuner for under $100 certainly caught my eye and so the first place I turned was Amazon to see what others are saying about the product.

According to users over at Amazon, the reason the Go Video Rave-MP 2.5 is so cheap is that it’s a total piece of crap. I knew the $99 price tag was too good to be true and it’s much nicer to find out the skinny via the woes of others rather than buying one myself.

Defensive Design for the Web

For all my fellow web designers /developers /IA’s out there, I’m currently reading a great book from the folks at 37signals titled “Defensive Design for the Web : How to improve error messages, help, forms, and other crisis points”.

This straight ahead book shares a series of rules and guidelines that will help you design sites that guide users through crisis points and mistakes that happen when searching or browsing throught your site. The book shares simple but well thoughtout rules along with screenshots and documentation for each one. At $16.95, it’s a great tool for any designer/developer/IA.