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Linux Appliance Brings Podcasts to the People

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the still-doesn't-come-with-personality-in-a-box dept.

70

An anonymous reader writes "Linux has been used to create a podcast capture appliance that aims to make podcasting as dead-simple as possible, in order to give everyone a 'voice in public discourse, not just those who own TV towers. [...] Aimed at corporations, schools, radio stations, and churches, the "Podcast in a Box" appliance starts recording when a USB key is inserted, and uploads the podcast to a server when the key is removed. The product is also available for free as a live/installer ISO image based on Ubuntu.'"

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70 comments

Dapper Duck? (2, Funny)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375385)

On the software side, the PIAB is currently based on the "Hoary Hedgehog" release of Ubuntu Linux, with a "Dapper Duck" live/installer CD image in the works. In addition, the PIAB uses a variety of open-source software packages, including icecast, darkice, perl, and ruby-on-rails. "We do as much as possible in 'agile' programming environments," Dawson said.

Strange I can't find that one listed on the Ubuntu web site! ;-)

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

mocm (141920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375427)

Duck, drake almost the same thing.

Re:Dapper Duck? (3, Funny)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375445)

Duck, drake almost the same thing.


So if I throw a ball at you and shout "drake" you won't end up bleeding?

More to the point, no Breezy at all.

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377061)

I don't remember their hedgehog version being "hoary" either, but I've always thought that Ubuntu distros had stupid names anyways.

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377667)

5.04 was called Hoary Hedgehog
5.10 was called Breezy Badger
6.06 is called Dapper Drake
And 6.10 will be called Edgy Eft

them's the facts...

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

Sarisar (842030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409845)

7.04 as Fornicating Frog?
7.10 as Gay Gopher?
8.04 as Horny Hippo?
8.10 as Innuendo Iguana?
9.04 as Jolly Jackal? (just don't ask why he is so jolly!)
9.10 as Kissing Koala?
10.04 as Leering Llama?
10.10 as Mincing Mouse?

OK I'll stop now

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375461)

Maybe they were thinking about Drakes Cakes at the time. http://www.drakescake.com/ [drakescake.com]

Re:Dapper Duck? (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376213)

Do they come in duck flavour ?

Re:Dapper Duck? (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377023)

I don't want Duck god dammit, I'm a Dapper Drake man! [imdb.com]

Re:Dapper Duck? (1)

xrd (861793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16383821)

Hi, this is Chris Dawson from Box Populi. Just for the record, I said "Our newest live/installer ISO will be built on Dapper." I know a duck when I see one. :) You can read the full response to the Linux Devices media request on my blog: http://webcastinabox.com/openminded [webcastinabox.com] .

End of the world. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16375397)

I don't see how this is much different from any other sound recording software! Linux isn't doing anything... but then again this is slashdot, the world will end before they stop pushing linux [endofdayz.net] .

Re:End of the world. (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376549)

I think the point here was to make a podcasting appliance for non-techs. Anyone can walk up, insert the appropriate token, and record. Nothing further to do since it uploads the podcast when the key is removed. An interesting concept. Of course, first to market (in this niche) does not necessarily guarantee success. My guess is that the next team to do this--with a lower cost for the hardware and an integrated online hosting forum--will be the winner in this sector (if it ever takes off as an "everybody is doing it" technology--I think not everyone will choose to podcast--some will always prefer to listen rather than to opine).

One area where this could be pretty cool is if they became mandatory for public meetings (town councils, school boards, Congress, etc.). Then discussions and minutes would automatically be available online, and perhaps we could use the recordings to hold them to their word once in a while.

Re:End of the world. (1)

xrd (861793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16383959)

Hi, Chris Dawson from Box Populi here. The point is that this is not sound recording software. This is a podcast *hardware* appliance.

What we aim to do is solve the production problem, not the recording problem. You are correct in that anyone can record a podcast using Audacity (http://audacity.sf.net/ [sf.net] ). I use that terrific software all the time myself. However, if you put an unskilled user in front of Audacity and tell them to make a podcast, they probably will fail because the process requires understanding audio levels, uploading a file, managing RSS, and everything else. It is not rocket science, but it is absolutely beyond the ability of 95% of the people out there.

With our appliance, you can plug in a USB thumbdrive to start capture, and then remove it to stop capture, and then walk away. The box does *everything* for you. We think this is something you can train a teacher or church sexton to do in minutes without stressing them out. No other solution (software or hardware), IMHO, offers this ease of use.

Re:End of the world. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16387621)

It is not rocket science, but it is absolutely beyond the ability of 95% of the people out there.

So, the goal is to keep users uneducated?

Re:End of the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16397105)

troll

WOW (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375417)

Next month Linux will be ready for the Desktop! And next year we will have the 87% of the desktop market!

From TFA (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375437)

PIAB has been available for about two years, priced at $2,000.
I would have hoped the price would have come down somewhat in that time. Oh well.

I love the idea of making podcasting a simple task like this and, working in the Education arm of local govt, I can see how appealing this will be - the opportunities for seconeary schools, especially, to do interesting things with this gadget are endless. However, I really feel for schools when it seems anything with "education" in its profile gets another zero added on the end. Sad, but true.

Still, I like the "plug/unplug" functionality. That's something that can really help with technophobic teachers, thank god.

Re:From TFA (3, Informative)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375551)

The PIAB is based on a mini-ITX motherboard powered by a 1.3GHz x86-compatible Via processor and equipped with 256MB of SDRAM and an 80GB hard drive. Audio is supplied by an onboard Intel audio chipset. The system is housed in an off-the-shelf mini-ITX case from Travla.

Come down? That was about $500 worth of hardware 2 years ago, it never should've been that high. I can understand they want to make a profit on it, but 4x what its worth seems excessive.

PIAB has been available for about two years, priced at $2,000. Alternatively, it can be obtained for free as a live/installer ISO from the Box Populi website, although that site appears to be down at the moment.

You think they could've at least done enough research to include the correct domain name [boxpopu.li] in their article.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16381925)

What so all the other expences of running a business do not deserve to be covered in the unit price? Advertising? Distribution? Assembly/Fabrication? Accounting? Legal? Development? Customer Service? Salaries? These things all have to be covered in order to make a successful product/company.

Re:From TFA (1)

xrd (861793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16384189)

Chris Dawson from Box Populi here.

I understand the sentiment, but can you then tell me why Avid workstations run $100k? After all, the cost of the software and hardware is not much more than a few thousand dollars at most.

The reason is that this is not consumer electronics equipment where the margins are razor thin. We factor into this cost the cost of setup and configuration and production. For example. using multimedia within a disfunctional IT environment can be *very* tricky and it often becomes our problem when it is really an IT issue, but we still have to allocate a lot of time and resources to resolve these issues if we want happy customers. We also have to factor in the costs of production: explaining microphone issues, proper production practices, and so on. Of course we could ask our customers to research this on their own, but if they ask us, we want to help them, and we do.

Re:From TFA (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16387595)

I understand the sentiment, but can you then tell me why Avid workstations run $100k?

Because Avid are rip-off merchants who were the first with their back against the wall when the revolution came. Why do you think so many production companies use Final Cut Pro these days?

You may as well ask "why is Quark XPress so expensive?" Same story. They are too backwards to compete with Adobe's better, but lower priced offerings.

For example. using multimedia within a disfunctional IT environment can be *very* tricky and it often becomes our problem when it is really an IT issue, but we still have to allocate a lot of time and resources to resolve these issues if we want happy customers. We also have to factor in the costs of production: explaining microphone issues, proper production practices, and so on.

It still sounds ridiculous. Even in a dysfunctional IT environment, how hard is it to use the multitude of cheap recording software, and podcast upload applications on something like a Mac mini? Answer: it's not hard at all. If somebody wants to "broadcast," they should at least spend minimal effort on the very simple training required. Otherwise, it's hardly worth it. I don't mind not hearing the broadcasts of people who don't have the ability or motivation to spend a single day doing a little research online.

In a way, this is even worse. You seem to be encouraging "dysfunctional" environments, rather than motivating people to ask why their system is dysfunctional and trying to change it. The situation where IT staff or specialist vendors do all the work, because they have made it difficult for users is damn stupid, and we should be seeing less of this, not more.

Make things more elegant and intelligent, not "dumbed down." Power and ease of use are not opposites. User friendliness, and users educating themselves are not opposites either.

Re:From TFA (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16381737)

A mac mini could podcast for a quarter of the price, as well as actually edit the audio with Garageband.

Re:From TFA (2, Interesting)

xrd (861793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16384101)

Chris Dawson from Box Populi here.

We are really looking hard at our pricing.

Pricing is a challenge because you are not only paying for the hardware and software (which has been costly to develop over the last three years), but you are also paying for the production support assistance. We have a support infrastructure in place that can assist you when you are in the midst of capturing a podcast and something goes wrong, or you need to troubleshoot an upload problem (whether that is a problem with your network or our appliance), and so on. Production is very costly, and most people who have never done that don't understand how costly it really is, so it is something people shake their heads at initially. But, I do think if you ask our customers (look at our websites and read quotes from our customers) that you would find our support is second to none and worth it, and it because they now understand the costs of production.

Something that people on this site especially should take note of is that if you put something out as free (as in beer) open source software, many people then don't perceive value in that software, as wrong as that is. Open source enthusiasts understand the value of free software, but most people (like teachers for example) might be inclined to think something is worthless if it doesn't cost money. Therein lies the dilemma. So, charging for it, charging for support, or charging for anything gets harder and harder even as we try to be more and more open with our source code. We've tried to make it as easy as possible for our customers to get access to our source code without putting ourselves in too much financial hardship. But, there is a delicate balance there we are searching for.

Re:From TFA (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16384981)

It'd be nice if enough people were still reading this story to mod you Insightful/Informative, Chris. My bad for not looking further into what the "product" actually is (ie not just a box but a service too). Sadly you're right about education-IT being a no-win for FOSSers and the like - people like what is a) familiar, b) well-supported and, usually, c) recommended by a consultant Advisor paid by the Local Education Authority. You've got b, a comes with time, but the people you really need to convince are those in c, or some very forward-thinking, technologically-minded Headteachers.

Believe it or not I think this is pitched about the right price for most secondary schools - if you can convince them that they'll be able to do something novel and useful with it, they'll find the money (best to showcase it March-thru-May, when budget-frenzy happens). If you can get interest from the "dynamic" trouble-shooter Headteachers brought into problem schools where they have shit-loads of funding just to keep the kids interested and in-school then (provided it's any good!) you'll get press in the Times Education Supplement (TES) and you're made.

Sorry. Train-of-thought stuff there. Now, suck eggs, gran.

been done (2, Interesting)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375469)

Linux has been used to create a podcast capture appliance that aims to make podcasting as dead-simple as possible, in order to give everyone a 'voice in public discourse, not just those who own TV towers

I hate to burst your bubble, but I think this has already been accomplished by Youtube, to the tune of 1.64 billion dollars worth of "public discourse".

Re:been done (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375797)

I hate to burst your bubble, but I think this has already been accomplished by Youtube, to the tune of 1.64 billion dollars worth of "public discourse".

who owns Youtube??? a corporation... next please...

Re:been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376025)

You're right to note that one implication of (poor analogy about) TV Towers is video which has been done "successfully" by the two weirdos at YouTube. But there isn't anything meaningful or intelligent on there, for the most part. What's there? Man gets hit in groin by football.

Maybe this podcast project won't be the next billion dollar idea, but it's hard to argue that voice recordings will not have a greater percentage of people actually having something interesting to say.

Re:been done (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376045)

it's hard to argue that voice recordings will not have a greater percentage of people actually having something interesting to say.

I remember hearing something about a million monkeys with a million typewriters, and Shakespeare, if that's what you're getting at.

Re:been done (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377115)

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this folly, age, and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look whom she best endow'd, she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

-Shakespeare.
Happy? You can have as many monkeys as you want, it only matters if they have access to Google. Thankfully, this monkey does.

Not new, not for the people (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375545)

PIAB has been available for about two years, priced at $2,000.

'nough said, /me thinks.

Re:Not new, not for the people (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16375739)

Yeah, how does a VIA C7 end up costing $2000? Last I checked you can get the CPU and motherboard for $200. Plus CD drive and free software... ???

this is not linux.com (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375579)

This is not linux.com why start the article with "Linux was used to create XYZ" versus "XYZ was created .. it uses Linux".

Or should we still be wowed by the ability of Linux to act as an OS.

it's not apple.com either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377641)

yet we still have to see inane apple news on the front page daily.

what does this do? (2, Interesting)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375687)

I don't get it. So you plug in a USB key and it records from the Mic input to the USB key. then you plug it into a webserver, and i assume use a GUI to import the audio file into your website. This is hardly a quantum leap over just recording an mp3 on your pc and uploading it to the web, except you have to buy a $2000 webserver and have physical access to it.

am i missing the point or something?

Re:what does this do? (2, Informative)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375785)

No, sorry, you don't get it.
What this does is recognise the insertion of a "special" memory key - there's probably some kind of key file on the thing.
When the machine sees this key inserted, it begins recording. When the key is removed, it transmits.
The USB key functions like the key in a car, it starts and stops the process...

Re:what does this do? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376179)

Ahh, I see. So the box is a recording/publishing device, that uses the USB key to identify you and publish your audio to the correct website. So more than one organisation could use the same box / webserver to publish their stuff. Aaaaah now it makes sense - its like a cheap radio station that any one with a key can use to output content.

The article didnt convey this information very clearly. That's a pretty cool gizmo; they should do a video one.

Re:what does this do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16378485)

The article didnt convey this information very clearly.

I guess not, since it confused at least one person. I read the word "key" and knew you don't record data to a key.

Re:what does this do? (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375795)

1) You use a portable USB recorder to record an audio file. 2) You insert the USB recorder into the Linux Appliance 3) The Linux Appliance finds the newly recorded file, probably transcodes it, then uploads it to a web server 4) ??? 5) Profit! I can't believe this isn't a software problem...

Sample podcast (2, Informative)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375815)

"...[fumble noise] Ok, it's plugged... Is it? Wait... shouldn't someting pop up? Hmmm... [more fumble noise] Look into WHAT? Ok, I'm typing, tell me... [click, click] D, M, E, S, G, correct? ... It says USB Mass Storage device detected, ok? Now what? SCSI? What has this to do with SCSI? Ah, I'll trust you on this... [click, click][more fumble noise] Hello, here is Mark for another issue of Mark My Words, news from the world and stuff that matters to me..."

Since I don't have mod points, I'll just say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376697)

hahahahahahaha

Re:Sample podcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376717)

Hey dipshit, 1996 called and it wants its lame anti-Linux joke back. Did you miss the part about it being based on Ubuntu? Hell, even plain old Debian handles USB flash drives now. Get with the times, idiot.

Re:Sample podcast (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377591)

You're missing the joke, mister.

He just showed a sample PODCAST.. as in, what could actually be recorded.

I gathered a similar idea from reading the article:
1) You plug in.
2) The device starts recording.
3) You plug out.
4) The device stops recording.
5) And it starts uploading the file.

What Nuffsaid showed could actually happen, if the above is true.
But I probably should not feed the trolls here.

On a sidenote;
The device does not make much sense to me, if the above is what is actually meant in the article. How would someone be able to mix, edit, and process the audio file, so that it is ready for consumption?

Re:Sample podcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16378299)

Oh no, I did not miss the "joke". My point was that it is a very lame joke, based on very outdated information. Imagine someone made a similarly lame joke but it was about Windows XP and referred to something in Windows 95 or even MS-DOS. That's what the supposed "joke" was like. And I'm not a troll. I'm simply posting AC so I can really vent. IMNSHO, the original post should have been modded 'troll' instead of 'informative'.

Re:Sample podcast (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16379283)

How would someone be able to mix, edit, and process the audio file, so that it is ready for consumption?

With some of the podcasts I've had the misfortune to hear, I suspect that won't be viewed by many as a shortcoming.

Re:Sample podcast (3, Informative)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377335)

Absolute nonsense getting modded informative yet again. Try using a contemporary desktop-oriented distro -hell, try using last year's- and you'll see it's not like that at all. Ubuntu, SUSE, Linspire, and Madriva are all capable of managing removable storage devices such as USB thumb drives without any hoop-jumping, bending over backwards, or other assorted circus tricks and contortions.

Apple (1)

loic_2003 (707722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375873)

Wasn't apple begining to open up "cans o' whupass(tm)" on those using the term 'podcast'?

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376529)

If by that you mean those attempting to trademark "Podcast Ready" and "MyPodder" for themselves, yes. Since this Linux appliance doesn't look like it's trademarking anything, it's in the clear.

Heavy? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375975)

``The product is also available for free as a live/installer ISO image based on Ubuntu.''

Isn't Ubuntu a bit heavy for this kind of task?

Ok, here's a non-stupid idea (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16375989)

Instead of having a box that makes it easier to make podcasts (or whatever the hell this thing does) why not make me an "appliance" that makes it easier to receive podcasts. Like, for example, you could have a web site where anyone can go and submit their podcast into a set of categories and then I could subscribe to the categories that I'm interested in and the appliance goes and downloads the podcasts as they become available and plays em when I request something from a given category. Add an "I'm feeling lucky!" button that chooses a random category and you're done. Of course, I assume a box like that will run me $4000, come only in black or beige, weigh over 30kg and require way more attention than I'm willing to give it, but what the hell, we like appliances.

Re:Ok, here's a non-stupid idea (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376069)

Oh you mean something like PodNova [podnova.com] ? They have a Linux client, that synchronizes your desktop with your online podcasts list. And you can listen to these podcasts online.

Re:Ok, here's a non-stupid idea (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376307)

Yeah, I search and get no results. I click on the "top 40" and get no results. Great site.

Re:Ok, here's a non-stupid idea (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377433)

I know it's slow... but I do get results after searching and clicking the Podnova Top 40 link.
(TWiT is at #1 in the Top40, followed by Diggnation, Slashdot Review is listed at #16)

Re:Ok, here's a non-stupid idea (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377699)

Of course, I assume a box like that will run me $4000, come only in black or beige, weigh over 30kg and require way more attention than I'm willing to give it, but what the hell, we like appliances.

Appliances don't come in beige, they come in bisque.

Wow! No, wait, what's that other word? (2, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376011)

Ugh. How is a $2K server appliance supposed to help the average person make a podcast?

How is this more "accessible to the people" than, say, any [pod2mob.com] of the podcast [evoca.com] by phone [audioblog.com] (or other hardware you already own) services out there?

This is a $2000 device that can record and MP3 and upload it. Ooooh. That's so much overkill for what it does I can hardly comprehend. If they had built that functionality into the USB key, and sold it for, say $80 USD, they might have some takers.

(And I'm not even getting into the "no one cares what you have to say" part of podcasts. We went through this same stupid thing with every form of media since speech was invented.)

Re:Wow! No, wait, what's that other word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376973)

Ugh. How is a $2K server appliance supposed to help the average person make a podcast?

cince you must not understand english I'll make it simple for you.

plug the little thingy in the front. talk into microphone. when done unplug thingy and your words are magically transferred over the internet by TCP/IP faries to the podcast hosting server that was configured by the IT trolls previousally.

even a 3 year old can figure this out so it should be useful for most Corperate executives and educational administrators.

Re:Wow! No, wait, what's that other word? (1)

Nakarti (572310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16393567)

Everyone seems to be missing the point.

This isn't for the poor, or the few.
This is for corporations and schools that have a lot of people(even students?) who want to make podcasts, but lack the know-how(students lack the authorization on the PCs there.)

So your company has 50 managers who want to do podcasts and you believe it can make them more productive or whatever. Or your school has 50 teachers .... and it will add educational value by interesting students.

So now you have a choice, pay the IT guy an extra (50*24) 1200 hours a year, hire somebody else for the same(part-time job for me, yay!) or buy this box for $2k and he works an extra 12 hours a year making sure podcasts get uploaded(teachers/managers can censor them if needed.)

A great task for asterisk (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376203)

With really not a lot of work, this makes a perfect app for asterisk.

  1. Buy an incoming phone number for a couple of $ a month. Setup an extension to accept incoming calls and after a pin gets entered write call to disk.
  2. Playback message for approval.
  3. If accepted send it to the webserver and rebuild the XML file.

Users can now produce a podcast by picking up the phone and calling a number. For the technophobic it just won't get easier than that. And the cost is a lot less than $2000

Re:A great task for asterisk (1)

xrd (861793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16384319)

Chris Dawson from Box Populi here.

Greg Lund-Chaix (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/01/22342 54 [slashdot.org] ) from the OSL and I just did a talk on this very thing at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. You can read more about his presentation here: http://staff.osuosl.org/~gchaix/2006/09/30/asteris k-and-podcasting/ [osuosl.org]

people? (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376209)

as opposed to podcasting to plants and animals. this is really the year of the linux desktop.

Dynebolic has done that for ages now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376301)

Dynebolic [dynebolic.org] has offered tools (as in form of Live CD) for people to do that for ages now. Free public voice! That's the message of Dynebolic. It's really cool if you think about it. You boot the CD and you can broadcast your message within a few minutes!

$50 Piece of Hardware (1)

fostware (551290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376387)

My $20 256MB generic MP3 + WMA Flash drive records mp3's from an inbuilt mic.
just set the autorun.inf to copy the resulting "record01.mp3" to a location for later renaming and upload.

For $2000 you could buy these for the whole school faculty...

Re:$50 Piece of Hardware (1)

fostware (551290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376459)

$50AU when I bought it a year ago ~ $20US now :P

Finally "dead simple" and "for the people"? (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376485)

Cuz this nascent podcasting thing has only been in the hands of Rupert Murdoch?
The instant podcast deal in Garageband was causing rickets?
Only $9,000 you say?
They must figure it's a bargain cuz adopting a tech-savvy 13-year-old would cost at least twice that in today's adoption market.
These guys must be onto something here.

Missing the Point (2, Informative)

IEEEmember (610961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377499)

For those who said it has been done before;

"aims to make podcasting as dead-simple as possible, in order to give everyone a 'voice in public discourse, not just those who own TV towers. [...]"

YouTube and other solutions still require the user to understand and be comfortable with recording and uploading content. This device is aimed at markets serving people afraid to use ATMs. Perhaps many people here are too young to remember the days where the vast majority of VCRs flashed zeros because of the inability of the general public to set the time.

For those who said it was too expensive;

"Aimed at corporations, schools, radio stations, and churches, the "Podcast in a Box" appliance starts recording when a USB key is inserted, and uploads the podcast to a server when the key is removed."

Frankly my problem is that, at this price point, you should get something that has a better form factor. I would think a device that looks like an audio recorder with rewind/fast forward/play buttons and level meters would be appropriate. However it appears that in many cases this device is being used in environments where the content was prerecorded, for example radio stations. In those cases the form factor and controls on this box are appropriate. The company specifically mentions the desire to tailor the box to the customer's needs.

For those who questioned the prominence of Linux in the subject;

"Linux Appliance Brings Podcasts to the People"

The message here is not that "Linux is great, all hail Linux" the message is a marketing one. The term Linux Appliance is gaining great traction in the semi-technical literate community as a piece of hardware that can be dropped on a network to perform computer-like functions with very little configuration or support, like a TiVo. It implies (often incorrectly) a freedom from recurring fees (see TiVo). A customer's comment on the companies web site supports this statement "Our previous Windows solution crashed all the time; we never even think about our Linux appliances, they just work." Please note that the prominence of the term Linux Appliance was not limited to Slashdot, that is how this product was covered on other sites as well.

While the Asterisk server is a great idea and I encourage you to build it, the point of this box is that it can be purchased, it works in tandem with a either the hosting server or the hosting service that is marketed to the same customers that are the target for this device. It does not require connection to a phone system that may incur a monthly charge and should be simpler for a non-technical staff to install and operate. Additionally this box is not subject to quality issues that might be encountered in a phone based system. The key to this solution is the end-to-end nature and hands off operation, the Asterisk solution you propose would be a nifty enhancement to one element of that solution. Frankly I think it has greater potential because content could be recorded and stored and then released for upload on a second call without any greater complexity than a typical voice mail system.

Re:Missing the Point (1)

IEEEmember (610961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377525)

Second to last paragraph that should have been "company's website" or more correctly "Box Populi's website".

Re:Missing the Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16379195)

"Perhaps many people here are too young to remember the days where the vast majority of VCRs flashed zeros because of the inability of the general public to set the time."

Mine still does that. It's not technical inability, it's because me and many other people don't value the extra functionality high enough versus actually messing around with the machine to make it work. Even if I do want to record something when I'm out of the house I can just put a long-play tape in and hit record, it'll catch it. Anything more complicated... well, that's unlikely given how little TV is worth recording, but if it did come up I can always catch the repeat 6 months later or just torrent it.

But will it give the people something to say? (1)

macz (797860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16378223)

Just because you have an easy way to convey your viewpoint doesn't mean that it is worth regarding. YouTube is the ultimate leveler in viewpoint distribution, you can put a video up and get 1000 hits in a few minutes... but if the lip-syncing, air guitar playing banality that predominates video sharing at the moment is any guide, making it easier for people to be heard is very different from making them worth hearing.

Dapper Duck? (1)

quackking (566916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16379705)

heh. They refer to the Ubuntu "Dapper Duck" release.

Spooky timing (1)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16385761)

I just happened to be working on the same thing this weekend!
My version is slighty different.

Rather than the mediocre onboard audio you get on those via boards I used an m-audio card. That gives me multiple different audio inputs including xlr for nicer audio.
I also used a mini-itx case that has a 5/14" bay for my CrystalFontz lcd display. The display lets me show audio levels (very helpfull to know if "the damn thing is working or not"). The crystalfontz display also has buttons which I use to start/stop the recording. The USB key idea is interesting but I didn't have any requirement to restrict access to the device so a button is just easier (you can't lose it or leave it at home).
Finally, I'm also transcoding the captured wav files to mp3, aac and realmedia before uploading them using rsync over ssh.
I just built my first demo unit so I don't yet have any info about it on my website www.isiglobal.ca. I haven't decided on pricing yet but it will certainly match or beat the PIAB pricing. (and it'll be in canadian dollars)
I'm definitely going to want to post something about it on linuxdevices like these guys did. hurray for free advertising!

misguided effort (1)

Norman Lorrain (11572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16388045)

Why not shell out some cash for Castblaster, or garageband, on a PC you already have.

Oh, and I doubt you'll be able to use a decent mic on a PC sound card, you'll need to shell out some cash for a preamp/mixer as well.

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