The Last ROTSS…

And the first TWIT. This WEEK in TECH is up for May 1, 2005. This edition is an hour long, because we had so much good stuff.
In this episode: We come up with a new name and new URL. Patrick reviews WinHEC. John C. Dvorak visits from beyond the grave. We answer listener questions about Tiger. And Kevin picks our site of the week: http://boxedthoughts.com. Join Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, Robert Heron, and John C. Dvorak for a look at This WEEK in TECH.

Thanks and a tip of the Red Hat to Mark Blasco for the very fun TSS clone theme we end the show with. Now that we have a name, please email me your logo ideas, theme music, too, to ThisWEEKinTECH@gmail.com. I’ve registered ThisWEEKinTECH.com and TWIT.tv and we’ll be moving to that domain later in the week.

Subscribe to the podcast at http://leoville.tv/podcasts/tlr. (In future the feed will be at http://twit.tv/hi – there will also be a twit.tv/lo, aac, and vorbis – these are Coralized feeds that should work with any RSS or podcast client.). Or download from the BitTorrent feeds:

64kbps MP3 | 32Kbps MP3 | Bookmarkable AAC | Ogg Vorbis

If none of the above feeds work for you, you can also download the 29MB high-quality MP3 directly from http://leoville-downloads.com/tlr/TLR20050501.mp3 – but please use this link only if you have to.

If you’d like to donate to support TWiT, click one of the buttons below…

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Subscribers will receive special access to the TWiT site, coupon codes, and other benefits as soon as we can con some companies into giving them to us.

ROTSS: TNG

News imageI can’t believe the response we’ve been getting for The Return of the Bleep. The BitTorrent tracker I’ve been running for serving the torrents has logged 984,000 hits on announce.php in less than four days. I don’t know how that correlates to actual downloads, but it’s a lot. (If anyone knows how to correlate these hits to downloads, please let me know!)
News image

We’re getting ready to unveil a name along with new feeds and a new web site. We’ve received over 2,000 entries in our contest to name the show, and I think we’ve got some good candidates. We’ll reveal the new name and new feed URLs on Sunday. The response to this is so incredible – better than anything Patrick, Kevin, and I have ever seen. It’s given us new excitement about bringing tech programming directly to you without involving mainstream media.

To that end, I’ve added a Paypal subscription button to the torrent pages. The podcast is free, and always will be, but we’d like to avoid putting advertising in it. If enough people contribute a modest amount to the show, we won’t have to and we can upgrade the production and maybe even do a video version. Who knows, we might even be able to re-grow TechTV from the ground up.

Cick the button below to pay just $2/month. That’s 50 cents a show. Your subscription will renew each month until you cancel it.

As always, thanks for your support. You’re proving that it’s possible to create quality tech shows by users for users without involving big media.

Difficulties Getting ROTSS

I apologize if your podcast client is having difficulty getting ROTSS. We totally overwhelmed the Coral mirrors and Coral isn’t failing gracefully. I don’t think they’ve ever seen demand quite like this.
The direct link does work however: http://leoville-downloads.com/tlr/TLR20050424.mp3 – as does the Vorbis link: http://leoville.tv/tlr/ROTSS002.ogg.

Your podcast client will get the file as soon as the flood of requests dies down. I will move the feed from Coral to bittorrent later today and for all future releases.

For those who are confused about which podcast feed to subscribe to, ROTSS is on TLR http://leoville.tv/podcasts/tlr for now. Once we get a name I’ll set up dedicated feeds. There will be four feeds, high and low quality MP3, Vorbis, and bookmarkable AAC for ipod users. I’ll give you those URLs as soon as we settle on a new name for the show.

Thanks for your patience.

Podcast Meetup

Ross Rader is hosting a Toronto area meetup for podcasters at the Lone Star Grill this Tuesday evening. Two Californians, Eric Rice and I, will be there, too. RSVP at Ross’s blog.
Speaking of podcasts, there are two new postings on TLR:

  1. My weekly visit with Bill Handel, Fridays on KFI – we talk about the Harmony universal remote

  2. My weekly tech news summary with John Donabie this morning on CFRB

Sunday evening Kevin, Patrick, Robert Heron, and I are going to try our first Skype-based podcast. I’m calling it TROTSS – an acronym for The Revenge of The Screen Savers. If all goes well I’ll push it out on the TLR channel Monday morning.

Podcast Change

News imageI‘ve been working with Michael Freedman at Coral to come up with a solution to the podcast issues some of you have been experiencing.
As you may know I use Coral to distribute the bandwidth costs for my podcasts. To quote from the Coral site:

Coral is peer-to-peer content distribution network, comprised of a world-wide network of web proxies and nameservers. It allows a user to run a web site that offers high performance and meets huge demand, all for the price of a $50/month cable modem.

Life of Leo imageCoral is part of the IRIS peer-to-peer network project funded by the National Science Foundation, and it’s an amazing community service.

Essentially, Coral is a distributed network of volunteer servers that cache content for web sites. When I post a new podcast I use a modified URL: http://www.leoville.tv.nyud.net:8090/airchecks/20050306-1.mp3 for example. A request for that file goes first to nyud.net over port 8090 – that’s Coral central. It will route the request to the geographically nearest Coral server. The server will check to see if it has a copy of the file. If it does not it will check with other Coral servers. If none of them have a cached copy of the file they will download it from leoville.tv and cache it for future requests. For the next 24 hours requests for that file will be served by Coral not leoville.tv.


This map of US Coral servers is from the Coral site and is, itself, Coralized.

This greatly reduces the bandwidth requirements for leoville.tv and provides users with faster servers that are closer to home. Because there are many Coral servers no one server should have to do too much work, but to protect the volunteers there is a quota system in place. When any one site, like leoville.tv, draws too much bandwidth, that server can decline the Coral request with a 403 FORBIDDEN error. We have exceeded quota with every single podcast release. In fact, Mike tells me we’re one of the top 5 Coral users.

This has caused a problem with some podcast clients. Instead of retrying later, they give up, saying the file does not exist and you’ll miss a podcast. Michael has implemented a new system that allows me to tell the Coral servers to redirect excess traffic back to leoville.tv. If I’ve saturated Coral’s bandwidth I will serve the file directly for a while. That means my bandwidth costs go up, but it doesn’t confuse podcast clients.

This system has been implemented starting with the current KFI podcast (shows from March 5 and 6). Please let me know if your podcast client has any problems with these files. You shouldn’t see any 403 errors.

Thanks for your patience. Just so you know, you’re involuntary guinea pigs in a brand new medium. But the combination of podcasting and Coral P2P makes it feasible for anyone, even with very limited bandwidth, to create programming that the whole world can download, and I think that’s tremendously exciting. You’re helping change the face of broadcasting!

Murray Wood Interview

I’m going to be on the Murray Wood show on Newstalk Radio 980 CJME in Saskatoon… right now!
UPDATE: The podcast is now up (album art included). Or listen in the player to my left.

Podcast Error

Something munged the KFI podcast and showed hour two of 2/13 as missing. It’s not. I apologize for the confusion. I’ve removed Feedburner from the loop. There’s no need to update your podcast client – the address remains http://leoville.tv/podcasts/kfi.
Update: it’s not Feedburner’s fault – apologies. It seems to have something to do with Coral – the P2P caching servers I’m using. A good podcast client should keep trying until it gets the file. Or download it directly from http://leoville-downloads.com/airchecks/20050213-2.mp3. As always, you’ll find direct links to my radio show audio at http://leoville.tv/radio/pmwiki.php/Main/AudioArchives – sorry about all this. Just remember podcasting is a new medium and there are still some kinks to be worked out.

After further investigation, it appears that Coral received a 404 (file missing error) from my server when it first requested the file. The 404 was cached and propagated to all the other Coral servers. Michael Freedman, Mr. Coral, is going to fix it so servers only cache 404s for five minutes from now on. We’re helping to make Coral better! Now to figure out why my server 404ed Coral in the first place!

Call for Oz

News imageI’m very pleased to announce that Call for Help is returning to Australian television. We were only on there for a short while last year, but the response from down under was phenomenal. They really took to the show.
Watch Andy, Amber, and me on The HOW TO Channel, channel 118 on FOXTEL Digital and Austar Digital starting March 7. And please start sending us your questions. We want to get as many Australian calls on as we can. Fill out the question form today and get ready to Call for Help, Australia!

Live MacWorld Keynote Coverage

Life of Leo imageLooks like Rick Yaeger’s MacMerc is going to be hosting live chat coverage of Steve Jobs’s keynote at Macworld Expo San Francisco. It’s grassroots bleeding edge journalism at its best.
Digital Bill Douthett, Jon Gales, and I will be giving you blow-by-blow coverage direct from the auditorium using IRC. In my case I’ll be using my Sidekick II to telnet to my server running a command line IRC client (irssi – thanks to Dan for that idea). Will it work? Log in and see!

January 11, 8a Pacific. Steve starts at 9a. Point your IRC client to irc.slashnet.org and join #mercworld for the play-by-play. Join #macmerc to chat with the peanut gallery.

See you there!

Now 11a-2p on KFI

News imageHere’s a hot flash… KFI is moving my radio show ahead one hour (yes, permanently Wayne). Starting this weekend it airs 11a-2p – prime time on weekends. Tune in both days at 11a for coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show with Patrick Norton, John C. Dvorak, Scott Wilkinson of Ultimate AV Magazine, Robin Liss of CamcorderInfo.com, thebroken.org’s Kevin Rose, Call for Help’s Andy Walker and Amber MacArthur, FCC Chairman Michael Powell and many more.