17 December 2009


The Lip Gloss and Laptops podcast shuts down

Lipgloss & Laptops Photoshoot at Flickr.comYesterday my wife Air and her co-host KA posted their 150th and final regular episode of Lip Gloss and Laptops, the podcast they started way back in 2006. The blog will continue, with frequent updates about the cosmetics and beauty industry, but the podcast had become too much work.

As for the vast majority of podcasters, the LGL show was a hobby, not any kind of paying job, and so was only worth continuing while it was fun. When KA left as regular co-host earlier this year (she started grad school), the podcast became a lot more work for Air, even with other guest hosts in the interim.

And then my latest new cancer growths dropped our family into a yet more intense pit of chemotherapy and medical treatments and side effects and general hell, so that not only takes more of Air's time, but also makes it more difficult technically, since I've been the engineer and producer of the show since the beginning.

Nearly four years and 150 episodes is a pretty long run for a podcast. Lots of people will miss Lip Gloss and Laptops, me included, but it was a good time while it was going. And you never know—some one-off special episodes might yet appear from time to time.

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31 October 2009


Links of interest (2009-10-31):

  • The rotor on the new Grouse Mountain wind turbine is turning very slowly, first time I've seen it move. Must be testing.
  • Notice that when they have all those many layers on, supermodels almost look like normal people?
  • Sydney, Australia covered the road of the Harbour Bridge with grass and cows, and 6000 people had a picnic.
  • "No child has been poisoned by a stranger's goodies on Halloween, ever, as far as we can determine."
  • Brent Simmons on vaccines (via Daring Fireball). I had chicken pox almost as bad, but at 15. My wife Air got shingles in '04. I'm flad the kids will get neither.
  • If, like many Canadians, you have a huge voice crush on Nora Young, then this audio from CBC's Spark will slay you.
  • Awesome song flowcharts for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Hey Jude."
  • Dan Savage is always so cheecky: "I don't believe that couples who make the choice to be monogamous should be discriminated against in any way."
  • Archaeology doc "The Link" a few months ago was full of needless hype. Discovery Channel's "Discovering Ardi" shows how it's done properly.
  • "I'm all for winging it, but saying 'I'm not really prepared' to an audience shows them the ultimate disrespect."
  • Some interesting iPhone photography apps.
  • Dark areas on this world map are the most remote from a city. No Antarctica, though.
  • A new deal today with the Cowichan band means you'll be able to buy real sweaters at HBC Olympic store.
  • Twelve images showing how vastly digital imaging has improved astrophotography on the ground and in space since 1974.
  • Seven questions that keep physicists awake at night (still lots to learn, which is great).
  • First-ever Lip Gloss and Laptops video podcast (for Halloween).
  • American Samoa could have had a tsunami warning system, but funds were frozen in 2007 because of waste and corruption.
  • Telus is selling iPhones in Canada Thursday of this week (Nov 5). Pricing is basically the same as Rogers/Fido (no surprise).
  • The opposing Canadian "No TV Tax" vs. "Local TV Matters" ads are indistinguishable, obnoxious, and make both sides look like shitheads. Makes me want to go out and get some man-on-the-street interviews. "Excuse me, ma'am, did you know that both the TV networks and the cable companies are wasting money on advertising instead of trying to make better programming, using fake man-on-the-street interviews to try to confuse you about their own pissing contest? What do you think of that?"
  • Here's a flu primer. The October 25 edition of CBC's "Cross Country Checkup" (MP3) is also good. Here's a slightly contrary position, and a more general one about the dangers of not vaccinating. Wired also has a cover story on the topic.
  • Weird Al's relentless perfectionism in the studio (love when he gets a headache trying to channel Zack de le Rocha).
  • As of today it's been 32 years since the last case of smallpox in the world was eliminated by vaccination.
  • The 27" iMac has a shockingly low price for what you get - even for the LCD panel alone (via Dave Winer).
  • Dave Winer also notes why death of a parent can make you grown up. My parents are alive, and doing great (better than me!).
  • I like Barbara Ehrenreich's new book, though I haven't read it yet.
  • Two people I know both had cancer surgery the same day, this past Monday.
  • Top 10 Internet rules (via Raincoaster).
  • $400 is expensive, but if you make serious video with a DSLR, I bet this LCD viewfinder is worth it (via Scott Bourne).
  • Having to medivac a sailor from a US Navy submarine to a helicopter offshore is hairy and dangerous business!
  • As Paul Thurrott said, people are going to be wandering into Microsoft's new store all the time and asking, "Excuse me, where are the iPods?"
  • "If what you're doing does make sense, then, for Christ's sake, talk like a human being."
  • From Psychology Today in 2008, ten ways we get the odds wrong on risk.
  • You can now buy the whole Abbey Road album for Beatles Rock Band.
  • Daughter M just described a fever-induced time dilation hallucination identical to mine from childhood. Never thought anyone would understand!
  • Red Javelin Communications is apparently working with my company Navarik, but I'm finding their website rather too buzzwordy for my taste.
  • Research in Motion. Oh, what will we do with you and your fine, fine, not-at-all-dirty URL http://rim.jobs?
  • A great (much improved) update by Billy Wilson to my very popular "All the Current DLSRs" camera collage.
  • Here's a sign of flu in our neighbourhood: our local Shoppers Drug Mart was entirely sold out of hand sanitizer. Both my kids were stricken, but I avoided it.
  • Noya sings with my band sometimes. Here's her solo video.
  • Another Ralph Lauren Photoshop disaster.
  • The Diamond Dave Soundboard is still genius.
  • As always, Saturn's rings and moons are some of the strangest and most beautiful things you can see.

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05 October 2009


Nominate our shows for the Podcast Awards?

Podcast Awards at Flickr.comI'm the co-host of Inside Home Recording and engineer for Lip Gloss and Laptops, my wife's podcast. We're trying the usual social-media methods of garnering nominations for the annual Podcast Awards, which have been running for a few years now and are organized by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

If you'd like to help out, here's what I'd ask you to do by the deadline of October 18, 2009:

  1. Please go to PodcastAwards.com.
  2. In the People's Choice and Health/Fitness categories, fill in Lip Gloss and Laptops and its URL, www.lipglossandlaptops.com.
  3. In the Best Produced and Education categories, fill in Inside Home Recording and its URL, www.insidehomerecording.com.
  4. Do not nominate either show for any other categories. Each show is only allowed two nominations (one of the top categories, and one regular one), and we don't want to be disqualified or to dilute the vote. (Inside Home Recording, for instance, is more likely to get a nomination in Education, because Technology is crowded with popular podcasts.)
  5. Feel free to fill in any other podcasts you like in other categories. But do it all at once, because you can only submit the ballot once per person.
  6. Add your name and email address to the bottom of the form (Todd has tremendous integrity—he's not going to sell or reuse your info).
  7. Check your form over, and submit it.
  8. Maybe tell your friends.

Remember, the deadline is October 18. I'll let you know when the actual voting begins after that, especially if either of our podcasts get in. And of course, please subscribe to the shows if you don't already!

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20 April 2009


Win $155 worth of Aveda body products from my wife's podcast

My wife's podcast Lip Gloss and Laptops is giving away two $155 Aveda Earth Day gift packs of various cosmetics and body products. The draw is open to Canadian residents only, and you have to enter by the end of Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2009. If it sounds like your kind of thing, the details are over at the LGL site.

What's the Earth Day connection? I haven't read the press info for the bundle, but I can tell you that the packaging is definitely green in colour, and you get a really sturdy canvas shopping bag if you win too.

Incidentally, I've never known how to say Aveda (or AVEDA, as they sometimes capitalize it). Ah-VEE-dah? Ah-VEY-da? AH-ve-dah? Anyone know?

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31 March 2009


IHR and LGL posted for March

My wife Air and her co-host KA have posted Lip Gloss and Laptops #132, and my co-host Dave and I have published Inside Home Recording #69 (dude).

The shows cover GarageBand '09, Simply Ageless Foundation, different types of audio delay, Barry M Cosmetics, too much Nickelback, and Rejuvelash Natural Declumping Lash Exhilarator. I'll let you guess which podcast addresses which products.

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11 December 2008


Congratulations to Lip Gloss and Laptops!

Lip Gloss and Laptops winsMy wife Air was pretty shocked when her podcast, Lip Gloss and Laptops, won the Best of 604 award for Vancouver's favourite audio/video blog or podcast. At this evening's award ceremony at the Cellar nightclub in Vancouver, they were up against some tough competition, including Tiki Bar TV.

Alas, co-host KA couldn't make it down, so when their win was announced (to a big cheer throughout the room), Air accepted the award from Rebecca "Miss 604" Bollwitt solo. Also cool was that the runner-up for the category was our pal, the legendary Dave Olson. Rebecca will soon post the award results at her website, so check back there for the complete list of winners.

UPDATE December 12: Here's the list of winners. Lip Gloss dominated their category with 35% of the vote—quite a landslide.

Air and I were both nominated for our podcasts and for our personal blogs; in that second category, local mega-marketing blogger John Chow (how did I not know about this guy before?) took the prize, but everyone was pleased as punch that the runner-up was Corinna's Gus Greeper blog, which I wrote about last spring. It's instructive that two so very different blogs—one focused on doing business and making money online, the other intensely personal—can come one-two on the list.

Thanks to Miss 604 and her team for putting together a great event and a fun contest among Vancouver bloggers in just three weeks.

P.S. Kris Krüg made his own list of winners, and named my site here as one of his favourite personal sites. Thank you too, kk+.

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14 June 2008


Getting good sound on your audio podcast

I co-host Inside Home Recording, a long-running audio podcast about recording music and other stuff in your home or project studio. Earlier this year we launched InsideHomeRecording.tv, a companion video podcast that offers short tutorials on the same subject. I just put together my first episode, which shows the process I use for my wife's podcast, Lip Gloss and Laptops, to get good sound reasonably efficiently and cheaply:

IHR TV #3 - Podcast Audio Production from Inside Home Recording TV on Vimeo.

You can download IHR TV #3 (H.264 video) or watch it at Blip.tv, Vimeo, and Viddler. A shorter version is also on Revver, YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. You can receive IHR and IHR TV updates at twitter.com/ihr. And you can subscribe to either the original IHR audio show or to IHR TV.

Let me tell you, though, video is hard. I constructed this episode using a combination of Final Cut Express (to import high-definition video from our AVCHD camcorder) and iMovie '06—which is an old version of that program—for editing. There was lots of importing and exporting, syncing and chopping up and reassembling, and general mucking around with stuff to get it to something I liked.

The reason I undertook such a convoluted process is that Final Cut Express is a big, hairy, complicated program. It does more than I need, and is nearly impossible to sit down and figure out by using it, while the "re-imagined" new iMovie '08 is too simple, designed with a minimalist set of features for absolute video beginners, which even I am not. But iMovie '06 is the perfect mix for me. Even so, it took hours and hours to put the episode together.

My next one will come together faster, because I've figured out some stuff, but I have a new respect for people who make videos, TV shows, and movies for a living—especially editors.

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08 April 2008


Whole lotta lip gloss

one - double zero at Flickr.comI didn't really get podcasting at all until the middle of 2005, which was some months after the technology first appeared in late 2004—and right about the time iTunes started supporting it. The first person to start a real podcast in our family was my wife, who launched Lip Gloss and Laptops with her friend KA in March 2006.

Their show has now reached its 100th episode. That would be a milestone in any medium, but in podcasting it's a big one. A good percentage of podcasts podfade and stop publishing long before their 100th show. Others, like my my personal podcast and the other one I co-host, publish irregularly and so take a long time to rack up the numbers (despite starting back in 2005, Inside Home Recording hasn't even reached episode 60 yet).

But other than a few holidays over Christmas and such, Lip Gloss and Laptops has come out every Wednesday for over two years. Even if you're not into the beauty and cosmetics industry, which it covers, it's an interesting and informative listen. (As the show's audio engineer, I hear every episode.)

So congratulations to Airdrie and Kerry Anne on their 100th show. I'm sure they'll be hearing lots more cheers from their fans around the world too.

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25 January 2008


A good place to learn about podcasting


Todd Cochrane, one of the hardest-working guys in podcasting, and his team at RawVoice have just launched podcastFAQ.com, which looks to be a great one-stop resource to learn about podcasting: what it is, how to find shows, how to make shows, and so on.

As someone involved in three podcasts (Inside Home Recording, Lip Gloss and Laptops, and my Penmachine Podcast), I often get questions about podcasting from both prospective listeners and people interested in making their own shows, so I expect I'll be pointing quite a few people in podcastFAQ's direction.

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20 January 2008


Yay for the indoor kids

kerry anne and paris at Flickr.comOur pal Kerry Anne (left) was one of the team of kick-ass bloggers who swept the CBC Test the Nation 21st century trivia game show tonight on national television. Of course, who do you call if you want trivia? Chefs? Flight crews? Celebrity impersonators? Cabbies? Backpackers? No! You call the bloggers!

It was an impressive showing, with a team average of 50 out of 60 questions correct (83%), a blogger (Rick Spence) with the highest individual score (57 of 60, or 95% correct), and the team's celebrity endorsee Samantha Bee (of The Daily Show) also scoring highest among the celebrity panel, with 49 out of 60. You can read more from Miss 604, Calgary Grit, and Mighty God King—and surely dozens of other blogs by now.

UPDATE: Unsweetened.ca has a big ol' list of blog reactions. And the CBC Test the Nation blog and Buzz Bishop have way more.

Nice job, KA and crew. And you didn't even have to wear jumpsuits, chef's whites, or Borat costumes.

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29 December 2007


WordPress Automatic Upgrade is great, but you need web-fu if it goes wrong

WordPress logoThis site runs on Blogger, as it has for more than seven years, but if I were starting over again today I'd probably use WordPress. That's what I recommend to my friends and relatives, so that other sites I work with, such as Simon's, my wife's podcast (as well as her personal blog), and Inside Home Recording all use it.

If you use the free WordPress.com hosting service, all maintenance and upgrades are handled for you by the fine folks who run it. But if, like me, you're reasonably geeky and need the extra customization available by running WordPress on your own server, the main hassle has been that, when a new version of WordPress comes out, upgrading the software involves:

  1. Backing up your installation.
  2. Downloading the latest version of WordPress.
  3. Deactivating all the WordPress plugins on your sever.
  4. Putting your website into Maintenance Mode (basically, activating a page that says, "Hold on, we'll be right back" to your web visitors).
  5. Uploading a whole ton of updated files to your server, usually in several stages so you don't accidentally overwrite any of your own customizations, plugins, or themes.
  6. Running an upgrade script to update the database.
  7. Taking the site out of Maintenance Mode.
  8. Checking to make sure nothing's broken.

I've gotten reasonably good at that, but it's still time consuming, especially for multiple sites. Today, while surfing around feeling gross from chemo side effects, I read about the Automatic Upgrade Plugin (via Scott Beale on Twitter). It does all of that stuff with only a few clicks.

I tried it on two websites without a hitch, even using the Automated Mode that avoids the multi-screen, "Here's the next step, CLICK HERE if you're sure you want to proceed" process—with hardly a hitch.

Then, confident, I proceeded to the third site, Inside Home Recording, again in Automated Mode, got almost all the way through, and encountered the dreaded "500 Internal Server Error" page. I tried rolling back to my previous installation of WordPress manually. No dice. I noticed even the IHR forums (which use different software) were dead, which was mysterious and a bit freaky. And when I tried putting a generic "Sorry I broke the site" HTML page at index.php or index.html at the root of the site, it still didn't work. Yikes! I'd blown up the whole website!

I had a hunch, and took a peek at the invisible .htaccess file. That's a plain old text file sitting on the IHR web server (which I think is in Texas). The ubiquitous Apache web server software it's running uses .htaccess as a list to answer the question, "What do I do with stuff on this machine when I sent it out to the Web?" It seems that either WordPress or the Automatic Upgrade plugin had added some extraneous stuff to the end of that file. I deleted the extra text and, bingo, IHR was back up.

Having rolled back to the older version of WordPress, I made sure I had proper backups again (I remind you, back up, back up, back up your stuff), then tried the Automatic Upgrade plugin once more, but this time in Manual Mode (i.e. confirmed each step). No problems on this second attempt, and IHR is spiffed up with the latest software release.

Elapsed time from upgrade to blow up to fix up? Less than ten minutes. Sometimes I'm glad I have some web-fu when I need it.

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20 December 2007


Last podcasts before Christmas

IHR ElfedThe latest episode of Inside Home Recording, the podcast I co-host, has just gone online in MP3 and Enhanced AAC formats. Go listen if you want to hear about nice headphones from Ultrasone, rockin' guitar sounds from Guitar Rig 3 software, or the black vs. silver debate.

Also, if you like the background music that's part of my Guitar Rig 3 review, you can download that (it's called "Striking Silver" and is 12 minutes long) as an MP3. It's the first original instrumental I've posted to the Penmachine Podcast since "Fakeout" way back in February. But you know, it's been a busy year.

My wife's Lip Gloss and Laptops podcast posted their final show (MP3) of 2007 last week.

Yesterday evening I went to three different Christmas events, all with food. This week may have been about podcasting, but now it seems time to eat. And wrap. Ho ho ho.

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28 November 2007



Lip Gloss and Laptops featured at iTunes U.S. podcast directory at Flickr.comMy wife's Lip Gloss and Laptops podcast has been featured on the main page of the Fashion and Beauty podcast category in the U.S. iTunes Store (they're on the second page here in Canada). We also figured out today that the show is #34 in that top 100 in Canada, and #68 in the U.S.A.

So congratulations, LGL, on 84 episodes and a feature at iTunes.

In addition, my podcast co-host Paul Garay and I have posted our 50th episode of Inside Home Recording, which we recorded live at a Coquitlam restaurant a couple of days ago. Mmmm, calzone.

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31 October 2007


Halloween simulcasting in the family

pumpkin at Flickr.comMy wife and I both co-host podcasts. Hers, Lip Gloss and Laptops, comes out more often, on a regular weekly schedule, while mine, Inside Home Recording, is more sporadic, usually every two weeks, although it's been a month since our last show.

There are lots of reasons for that, mostly that they are very different programs about completely different topics (cosmetics and music recording, respectively), with entirely different production styles and workflows. I also have my own individual podcast here at Penmachine, which consists mostly of instrumental recordings I've made and released to the public, as well as some interviews, spoken-word segments, and other stuff. Because of my cancer treatment, I haven't added anything to that show in months.

Today, by coincidence, is the first time all three shows have a new episode out within the same 24 hour period, and on Halloween to boot. Go give them a listen:

  • Lip Gloss and Laptops Episode #80 - audio file (MP3), web shownotes - some spooky stuff, reviews, and letters

  • Inside Home Recording #48 - audio file (Enhanced AAC), web shownotes - a new remix contest, Logic review, MIDI 101, drum recording

  • Penmachine Podcast - "Quick 'n' Dirty Drums" - audio file, web shownotes - sort of a cheat: it's the mixed drum tutorial track from my other podcast, recorded in my basement

I hope you enjoy them—if so, they're all easy to subscribe to, and here's more info about that: Lip Gloss and Laptops, Inside Home Recording, Penmachine Podcast.

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25 May 2007


Shows I'm not on

If you're looking for fun stuff to listen to or watch, I have some suggestions. In addition to the latest episode of Inside Home Recording (the podcast I co-host), which we released last night, my IHR colleague Paul Garay also recently appeared on episode #18 of The Lab With Leo, tech media legend Leo Laporte's new TV show, now available online at Google Video:

You should also check out the latest release in my wife's podcast, Lip Gloss and Laptops. She and her co-host KA have now reached 62 shows, putting one out pretty much every week since February 2006.

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