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51  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Your favorite podcasts? on: September 04, 2014, 06:34:53 PM
Mostly lit and sci-fi audio stories for me:

Escape Pod

Escape Pod is the premier science fiction podcast magazine. Every week we bring you short stories from some of today’s best science fiction stories, in convenient audio format for your computer or MP3 player.

We pay our authors, but we will always be 100% free. We are supported through listener donations and sponsorship, so if you like what you hear, please consider donating via our PayPal button!

Escape Pod is produced and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Clark's World Magazine

The Clarkesworld Podcast features all of our fiction in audio form. Each episode is hosted by Kate Baker and features an original story from our current issue. By visiting this page, you can sign up to have each episode sent to you via iTunes or email. If you use Stitcher, you can find us here. Best of all, we offer this service completely free of charge.
Episode Schedule

A new episode is added to our site on the 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of each month.
Prior Episodes

A complete archive of all our podcasts is available here. You can listen to them at any time.

The Drabblecast

The Drabblecast is a weekly podcast featuring flash fictions from a variety of genres. Its singular message is that of off beat, funny, eclecticism. It is a paying fiction market, accepting submissions (see the submissions page for more information). The Drabblecast is the winner of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Parsec Awards for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Magazine.


Fantasy fiction. Some R-rated.


Welcome to Pseudopod!

You’ve found the world’s premier horror fiction podcast. Pseudopod brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere.

WARNING: This is a podcast of horror fiction. The stories presented here are intended to disturb. They are likely to contain death, graphic violence, explicit sex (including sexual violence), hate crimes, blasphemy, or other themes and images that hook deep into your psyche. We do not provide ratings or content warnings. We assume by your listening that you wish to be disturbed for your entertainment. If there are any themes that you cannot deal with in fiction, that are too strongly personal to you, please do not listen.

Pseudopod is for mature audiences only. Hardly any story on Pseudopod is suitable for children. We mean this very seriously.

Tor.com Audio: Fiction with Mur Lafferty

For over a year, Tor.com has brought you excellent short fiction on our site, but now, podnovelist extraordinaire Mur Lafferty is making the audio of these stories available to you in podcast form. We’ll be bringing you both new fiction and our archived stories, so don’t worry if you’ve missed anything archived on the site. The podcast will also include mention of the recent topics on the Tor.com blog, convention reports, and interviews from time to time.

There's many more podcasts I regularly follow. But these will do for a start.

Oh yes....one more...

If you're a Blues fan, The Roadhouse  Kiss ("The finest blues you never heard.") is a must listen. Straight blues, blues-rock, roots, Chicago-style...this podcast covers it all. Something for everyone.

The Roadhouse is a true labor of love, intended to present the full range of blues music to a broad Internet audience.

I’ve often heard folks who are unfamiliar with blues note that it’s “such simple music.” Indeed, it is. But the range of blues styles is breathtaking. From the Delta to Chicago, from pre-war to jump, acoustic, electric, harps, horns – it’s difficult, if not impossible, to describe the emotions conveyed with such a simple form. Blues music is, in my mind, that last great act of defiance; a declaration to the world that, “You gave me your toughest shot and, yes, I’m still standing.” Blues lovers everywhere understand.

With that in mind, I’m dedicated, via The Roadhouse, to preserving this priceless musical form, to presenting a broad range of blues each week (much of it by artists that even hardcore blues fans may not be aware of), and to promoting gleeful chair-dancing with each and every show.

52  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Anyone have a recommendation for a USB voice recognition headset on: September 04, 2014, 02:30:11 PM
I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to Dragon Premium 13. (I was still using 9.)

Anybody have a recommendation for a decent USB headset primarily intended for voice dictation use? I've heard good things about the MS Life Chat LX-6000 and the Logitech H650e. But I have very little experience with headphones and boom mics outside of pro audio products. And I'm embarrassed to admit I have been using the very cheap mic/headset which had been included with my old copy of Dragon ever since my snazzy old (now obsolete) Logitech USB headset gave up the ghost about a year or so ago. About all I can say for the one Nuance included was that it worked surprisingly well once Dragon got retrained. But it (and me) have both seen better days - so it's time to buy a better headset. Or keep the headset and replace me, whichever is easier.

So - DoCo voice recognition/dictation users...what do you recommend? I'd like to stay below $100 if possible - and wireless isn't a must since I don't tend to pace around when I'm dictating things. Head back with eyes closed - and a fresh cup of Earl Gray in one hand - is more my style.

Sorta like this:


...except wearing clothes and a headset...and holding a mug of tea.

53  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What age is too young for a mobile phone? on: September 03, 2014, 11:35:51 PM
Cripes - there are plenty of more common and more mundane situations that happen every day that a phone would make things easier for kids or parents.  For example, missing the bus or letting a parent know that you're going to stay after for some special project.


See my earlier post here which said the same thing:

"From a parent's perspective, most small kids don't need a full fledged phone. They need the functional equivalent of a StarTrek communicator. They need to be able to communicate with "The Bridge" of "StarFleet" for instructions; to ask or get permission; to request a beam-up; or (worst case) to scream for help."

54  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What age is too young for a mobile phone? on: September 03, 2014, 11:29:20 PM
At the risk of this degenerating to a basement thread, police, parents and/or cell phones were not involved in any way in escalating what happened at Sandy Hook: http://www.cnn.com/intera...2/us/sandy-hook-timeline/

I'm not sure exactly what you meant by "escalating what happened." The situation was what it was. And nobody said anything about cellphones having anything to do with anything. Where is there anything that could potentially "degenerate" into a basement thread? huh

I was simply referring to the massive turnout of parents, police tactical units and fire rescue responders at the school prior to the resolution of the situation. There were a large number of heavily armed police with weapons drawn conducting car and area searches for a second suspected gunman, which turned out not to be true. I'm not knocking the police. It was a very bad scene with parents and kids all over the place while that was going on.. But any time you have a large number of civilians and armed police in close proximity - in a situation where law enforcement is actively looking for an unknown gunman - the likelihood of 'accidents' increases exponentially.

 Hope that clarifies. smiley

55  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What age is too young for a mobile phone? on: September 03, 2014, 03:50:24 PM
^Actually, in the case of Sandy Hook, the real danger was just about every police department in the state sent their tactical units in. There were so many hopped up young cops in riot gear with military grade hardware ready "to take decisive action" it's a wonder nobody was shot and killed by accident. 
56  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: September 03, 2014, 01:40:19 PM
+! for Clockwork Orange. Especially the soundtrack. Wendy Carlos's "electronic realization" of Beethoven's Ode to Joy on Moog synthesizer is still a masterpiece. (Oddly, you can't seem to find the original cut anywhere on YouTube. What's usually posted is the remix. For some reason, the original gets taken down almost as quickly as it's put up. Must be some weird contractual issue - or Carlos being Carlos.)

57  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What age is too young for a mobile phone? on: September 03, 2014, 01:05:17 PM
They already had them.  They apparently didn't take off as much as you intuit they would.  It says something about the market when Disney can't even market this niche.

I'm talking more like one of those "life-alert" type gadgets.

And yeah...

But it was Disney who pooched it royally by attempting to push their content and other crap as part of their kiddie-mobile service. It was a complete turn-off for most parents. Even the ones with half a brain soon saw it for what it was - a "wedge" product Disney could use to "upsell" your kids with once they got one. That poisoned the well a bit. And unfortunately, several other mobile providers attempted to follow in Diz's footsteps. Some even stooped so low as to pitch "your first real phone" directly to the kiddies themselves. Soon, your kid's "street cred" took a serious hit in the cut-throat K-3 world if their classmates saw them haul out a Firefly. The cool kids all had real phones - or at least their Dad's hand-me-down.

But I was talking more like one of those "life-alert" type gadgets. And I still think (if marketed honestly) it could sell - provided the price point was right for the device and the subscription. Otherwise, might as well just get a standard smartphone bundle and put one of those "parental control" apps on it. Which is what has seemed to have happened.
58  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The One Word Game! on: September 03, 2014, 11:05:30 AM
59  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What age is too young for a mobile phone? on: September 03, 2014, 11:02:50 AM
I'd suspect the feeling is it's never too young now that incidents like Sandy Hook School are behind us.

Simple suggestion - remove the numeric keypad & restrict inbound callers. Problem solved.

Parents really want something like this:


From a parent's perspective, most small kids don't need a full fledged phone. They need the functional equivalent of a StarTrek communicator. They need to be able to communicate with "The Bridge" of "StarFleet" for instructions; to ask or get permission; to request a beam-up; or (worst case) to scream for help.

If the mobile market were smart, for little kids, they'd create a simple "phone home" model that only had three buttons: (1) call home, (2) call mom/dad's mobile; (3) call 911. And this same phone would require either a PIN entry or a number previously stored on the phone to connect an inbound caller. That way only people authorized to call the kid would be able to do so.

Older kids would get a scrollable directory of numbers they were allowed to call instead of a few simple buttons. Inbound restriction to authorized numbere and PIN callers would still apply.

Do This and the average parent would likely get a phone (and pay for an account) for everybody in the household - including their newborn and the family dog.
60  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: September 03, 2014, 10:37:22 AM
So Zoho is on for now.

Much as I'm not a big fan, if I were putting together a project team or a small creative endeavor today - with a limited budget and on very short notice - I'd most likely go with Zoho or Office 365. Office 365 for your standard "business' sort of operation. Zoho for creative/research/education/activism efforts.

Zoho also because most of the people I would end up doing non-biz things with with are either primarily Mac or Nix based (you know they type Grin ) - so missing Microsoft's weltanschauung is not a problem. That lack might even be considered a "plus" by most of them.

If 'real' world considerations necessitated 100% Microsoft compatibility for certain things (i.e. grant applications, financial filings, interfacing with legal or government entities) we can always spring for a single Office 365 subscription and set it up on a PC to be used as/if/when needed. Since the people I usually work with all know each other, we're very comfortable "hoteling" whenever we team up on a project. Saves huge amounts of time. space, and money.

Ah the joys of networked technology...  Cool

     Q: Where is our office?

      A: (1) Nowhere; (2) Everywhere

61  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Buying a 125CC Motorbike...Your Opinions Wanted! on: September 03, 2014, 08:56:30 AM
+1 w/Renegade. Definitely talk to SJ.  Thmbsup
62  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Game (& reviews) industry's silent scandal on: September 02, 2014, 03:41:01 PM
^Understood. And in agreement.

However, I'd like to think a certain higher standard of courtesy and decorum is possible here even though it may not be the case elsewhere. And because it is possible here, there's not any real reason why we can't or shouldn't hold to a higher standard when it comes to discussion and debate.

Just my two cents anyway. 
63  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Game (& reviews) industry's silent scandal on: September 02, 2014, 01:20:34 PM
The SJWs need to STFU.

Um...a point of order if I may be so bold? huh

Regardless of one's opinion on any given toppic, I think saying "STFU" to anyone about anything is completely out of place at DoCo.

Sorry to sound like a "SJW" or Boy Scout. But to my mind, a STFU comment runs counter to everything this community is supposed to be about.

Or so it seems to me. smiley
64  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 02, 2014, 12:29:21 PM
HA! More danger! But only to the police state. Wink

Activist apps! Cool

I saw this a while back, but didn't want to post it because it would most likely get sent to the Basement. However, there's a new interview out with the app creator that justifies it being sent upstairs here. But... again... in its own thread might be a bit too much. So, thanks 40! You've given me the opportunity to actually get this out into the daylight! tongue

Hmm...looks like 40hz's thread has just become Renegade's human shield...  huh tongue


65  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 02, 2014, 06:13:06 AM
^ C'mon April! We don't put Zen thinkers like you up against the FODI kiddies. (You have to let the kids win every once in a while or they won't play.) Grin Wink
66  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Microsoft Update MS14-045 (KB 2993651) problems - Win8.1 on: September 01, 2014, 09:17:42 PM
So much for auto-updates.

I've found it's generally wiser if a little less convenient to allow them to notify you updates are available, but let you handle it from there.

FWIW I almost always wait a few days before I'll install the latest Microsoft updates. I'd rather let somebody else have the pleasure of being Redmond's guinea pig. At my age, the thrill is gone, Wink

67  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: AdGuard: the better Ad Muncher? on: September 01, 2014, 09:13:15 PM
I understand, AdGuard does it by installing its own certificate and doing a man in the middle on all your https connections, and I don't know how I feel about that.


"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" still applies. Cool
68  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting study comparing reading on paper vs tablets on: September 01, 2014, 09:08:41 PM
@IainB - Don't jump to conclusions too quickly regarding Ms. Mangen...

The lack of quotation marks around the statement [The study might still provide fodder for those who insist that reading a novel on a screen just isn’t the same.] leads me to believe that sentence may likely have been inserted by the reporter or editor rather than the researcher. Especially since the statements on either side of it do display quotation marks - and do not draw the semi-conclusion the non-quotation does. (Reporters like a conclusion or sound bite. They hate leaving it with a "this opens up several interesting areas for further investigation - but much more data and study is needed before any real conclusions can be drawn" ending.)

That's the problem with so much of what passes for science reporting. You never quite know what's a legitimate summary of something the researcher actually said, and what's an aside, misinterpretation, or editorial gloss by the reporter or the newspaper.

Remember the "God Particle" and all the fun the press and pulpit had with that - despite the fact the researchers never once called it that -  or made half the claims about it the press seemed to think they did?
69  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: September 01, 2014, 08:51:35 PM
@Ren - The Brain is one of those very cool looking apps I've played with but could never really find a good use for in the past.

I suppose if I were writing a mystery novel. or a thriller revolving around nested conspiracies over a long historic period - y'know, one of those "wheels within wheels" things that start back in 1776 and progress through Area-51 on the way to the official last Apollo moon mission with stops along the way for the Bavarian Illuminati, Majestic-12, and The New World Order...?


To me it's almost like an electronic version of "the board" allegedly used by police and intelligence agencies when they're investigating something. Except without the need for thumbtacks and colored string 'jump connectors' since the software's 3-D rotation capability handles that much more elegantly. Easier to pack up and/or archive than the physical equivalent too!

If you figure out something interesting and non-trivial to use The Brain for, be sure to let me know?

70  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: September 01, 2014, 04:42:23 PM
Wiznotes is a sleeper, discovered here. Maybe the best, putting aside the China Syndrome.

Not exactly an inconsequential consideration these days. Having something written and hosted in Communist China is almost as dangerous as parking it in the USA.

Onenote, again dunno, how is the cloud implemenation.

I personally think OneNote is vastly overrated. But it's a paradigm thing with me. How a big sloppy freeform notebook helps people keep organized is beyond me. For creative use, brainstorming, a junk box for rough notes and snippets...possibly. But for keeping a complex project on track? Not my idea of how to do it.

That said, the web implementation actually isn't bad. OneNote is one of those things (like Outlook) that seems to make a lot more sense with a big web-enabled server standing behind it. I use OneNote (reluctantly) because some of my clients use it. They're real diehards who put the time in to master all it's little nuances and quirks. (Of which there are far too many AFAIC.) But these same people are pulling down solid 6 and 7-digit salaries most of 'em (they run a private hedge fund) ...so what do I know? mrgreen

Microsoft will give you a free 30 day on Office365 complete with all the fixin's. Best bet is to check it out and pound on it. For a certain class of business requirements, O365 is pretty hard to beat. If you don't fit the model of the user Microsoft went into it with, it's another story. (You really can't customize it easily. And some parts you just can't. Period)  But if you're one of the business cases Microsoft designed Office 365 for, rest assured it will serve you very well indeed. If you do subscribe, pay the extra to get the plan that lets you install the actual Office software on your PC. That way you have on and offline capabilities. And it really doesn't cost that much more. It's $12.50 a month with a 12-month subscription. You can pay up front or month-to-month . But month-to-month cost $15/user if you do.
71  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: September 01, 2014, 01:57:14 PM
There's a new Suse Studio compilation called the Wallstone Creativity Desktop.


Are you a writer? Do you do heavy blogging? Do you edit other people's works? Are you a (self-) publisher? Do you need the ability to write, edit, or publish works on-the-go? Are you sick of paying Microsoft hundreds of dollars for software that doesn't work right?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then the Wallstone Creativity Desktop was made for you. This (mostly) complete system, Powered by OpenSUSE, has plenty of tools for writing, editing, converting documents, scanning documents, handling images and photos, planning, and much more.

In addition, if you work on audio or video projects, we're working on making your lives better as well, with programs like OpenShot and Cinelrella, Mixxx, and Audacity. The Wallstone Creativity Desktop wants to be YOUR favorite Linux distribution, so tell us what you'd like to see!

This effort takes a kitchen sink approach by bundling all the wordsmithing tools the dev distro creator could find and putting them into one convenient collection.

I have mixed feelings about doing a distro like this. First, because this approach leads to a bloated installation that sometimes develops dependencies issues or experiences slowness down the road. Second, because there's a huge amount of functional overlap since so many similar apps are included. Seriously, do you really think you'll need over a dozen separate wordprocessors and text editors for your daily work?

That said, "kitchen sinking" can be a handy thing if you are new to Linux and don't have much experience with what software is available. This distro helps out with that by the simple expedient of taking a large amount of what’s out there and including it by default. (see below)

IMO the smart way to use a distro like this is to run it straight off the live DVD (it's 2.74Gb in the 64-bit version) and explore the various pieces of software included. When you find the apps you really like - make a list. Then get a more basic distro and use the package manager to grab and install the list of apps you made earlier. Or alternatively, install it to your hard disk and then let the package manager remove all the stuff you aren't using. You can always easily reinstall something if you find you need it.


Anyway, there it is, the Wallstone Creativity Desktop. Get it here.

72  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: September 01, 2014, 11:42:40 AM
I don't know if Zoho would work for you. They have a very comprehensive collection of 25 apps that cover most business, productivity and collaboration requirements. I have two clients  heavily vested in it. The only problem is the completely à la carte pricing schedule. While one or two apps are generally affordable for small groups, the monthy per-user fee adds up pretty quickly if you're not careful. But you can add and drop products and users as needed. So if not everybody in the group needs something, there's money to be saved by only buying what you need for whoever needs it when it's needed. A good example is the Meetings app. Some of my client's customers like to web conference - so when they have a big project in from one of them, they add the meeting module for their employees and the client's reps that will be participating. When the project is finished, they drop it till next time they need it.

Zoho offers free trails (2 weeks if IIRC) of all their products. So it's easy to see if it will work for you. All said, it's a very nice suite of offerings.

I personally don't care for it. But my two clients love it. YMMV. smiley
73  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 11:17:49 AM
My feeling is that one good thing about publicly discussing "dangerous" ideas is it gets them out in the open where you can often see the clear difference between "bad dangerous" and "good dangerous." And it's not just dangerous ideas. Look how many "good" ideas turned out to be "not very" once we uncovered the hidden agendas behind them and suddenly realized just how ugly and batshit crazy their chief proponents really are. (ref: The Patriot Act, FISA, Libertarianism, etc.)

Everything benefits from a healthy dose of sunlight IMHO. And talk is cheap - so let's talk about everything. In public. And in a well-lighted forum.

Risk always needs to be assessed against the potential benefit(s) to be gained. Almost everything worth having comes at a price. The question is how much risk and how high a price you're willing to pay to attempt to gain something. That's where common sense, economic reality, and ethics come in. And those are much harder criteria to apply in a rational manner.

But we can save those for a separate discussion. The one where the word "let's" replaces the phrase "what if we..."
74  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 09:51:00 AM
^The degree of "tameness" (is that an actual word?) varies from year to year. And it's not just confined to their big annual soirée. They have a year round program.

Not for everybody. But since I'm most comfortable, and my brain seems to function best whenever I'm outside my 'comfort' zone, I think FODI has a role in the world of ideas.
75  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 07:07:45 AM
Think the Basement can get a little over the top at times?

Well...there's a festival, now in its 6th year that takes it (by design) to the absolute limit. The Atlantic recently did an article on the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) to be held in (no surprise) that strangest of all self-styled democracies: Australia. And at their iconic Sydney Opera House no less.

The article in The Atlantic says it all:


Can an Idea Be Dangerous?
An Australian festival aims to shock and provoke its audience. Does it go too far?

Kathy Gilsinan Aug 31 2014, 12:08 PM ET

What does the notion that “cat videos will save journalism” have in common with the claim that “women are sexual predators?”

According to the organizers of this weekend's Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, these ideas are both dangerous. The festival, which just wrapped up its sixth installment, offers a roster of speakers on topics that could alternately be described as gently counterintuitive or, in the words of co-curator Simon Longstaff, “offensive, obnoxious, fearsome, [or] dangerously stupid.”

And while even journalists don't tend to seek shelter at the sight of a cat video, what makes all of these ideas “dangerous” to the festival’s organizers is their potential to challenge. “The original intention was to look at things that are difficult to discuss and are not discussed, that go against mainstream thought and opinion,” co-curator Ann Mossop tells me from Sydney. These can include big ideas about freedom, life, and death, or ideas that challenge everyday behavior by arguing, for example, that recycling is basically a waste of time. An idea could pose danger to any number of targets, be they a set of beliefs, an industry, or the very structure of society.

Interesting read. Find the full article here.

You can find the Festival of Dangerous Ideas webpage here.

And their YouTube channel called Ideas at the House here.

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