TCLP 2008-02-20 Eben Moglen: The Danger of Software Patents, Part 1 (Comment Line 240-949-2638)

This is a feature cast.

The feature this week is the first half of a lecture given by Professor Eben Moglen on the danger of software patents. This first part is fifty minutes, so no new hacker word of the week this week.

Download the show directly. There are no detailed show notes for this episode.

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11 Replies to “TCLP 2008-02-20 Eben Moglen: The Danger of Software Patents, Part 1 (Comment Line 240-949-2638)”

  1. Consider the words of this speech and think about the patents that cover MP3 decompression software. My humble request to you would be to not support the institution of software patents by not using MP3 technology to share audio files. Instead, I would recommend you use Vorbis to encode your audio files for sharing.

  2. This is a very difficult question. I agree with you in principle and I have had a couple of people request Vorbis encodings in addition to MP3. You are the first to request it in place of. I understand and respect your request and would very much like to feel it was practical to do so. Unfortunately, the current situation is that the number of listeners I can effectively reach is limited if all I produce was Vorbis files. I wish it was otherwise but device support, especially, for Vorbis just isn’t as widespread as MP3. The choice that leaves me with is to reach a wider audience or make a stand on principle. Since the point of the podcast is communication and education, as unpalatable as software patents are, I can fulfill that goal more effectively with MP3. A surprising portion of my listeners are non-technical, which motivates me further to keep the barrier to listening as low as possible.

  3. Time and space. There is no one else working on the show, just me, so even incremental increases in the work load have to be seriously considered. My production software doesn’t support Vorbis so the time to convert is likely to be twice that for either of the existing formats. And the audio is only part of it, I’d have to find the space to host a third set of media and the time to update a third feed.

    There is also the potential for confusion. When I provided links to the two formats as is, even with some explanation, I still got regular emails asking which feed to use. I now reserve one pretty much exclusively for iTunes users and the other for everyone else. Adding a Vorbis feed would invite questions over which to use, especially since outside of tech geeks, Vorbis is pretty much unknown. I was on a panel with another podcaster two weekends ago who thought Vorbis was a “European format”.

    I like the Vorbis format and what it represents, do not get me wrong, it’s just not a good fit for my production load, the majority of my audience and my hosting limits right now. I will continue to consider it, however, and if anything of these things change, will be happy to add such a feed.

  4. On a related note, this recording needed a couple of post-processing effects to be listen-able. The distorted and overdriven S’s and the extreme loud to soft parts make it fatiguing to listen to, which is unfortunate because this is a great talk.
    In audacity I:
    applied a leveler -70dB noise floor and “Heavy”
    applied a compressor -20dB Threshold 9:1 ratio and 0.1sec attack
    applied an EQ 2000-4000 -3dB/octave slope 5000+ 18dB/octave slope

  5. Not sure about uploading a compressed audio format to the Internet Archive and having them automatically transcode it. And I am not sure if a raw audio file would be feasible for any number of reasons. I have also heard 2nd and 3rd hand that podcasters who have used them as free hosting have done so at the expense of reliable access. I am still considering Ogg, though. We’ll see if things change.

    On the audio quality, I already used a de-esser and a commercial noise filter. I did not use either a compressor to even things out, though in retrospect I should have. I do not have a software expander, if I did, that might have helped roll the noise out.

    Thanks for re-running the file through Audacity and for sharing what you applied.

    I continue to experiment and learn my chosen software, GarageBand, even with over two years experience. Most of what I learned I failed on this recording, which is to try to get the cleanest original audio possible. I am back to favoring the condenser field mics I have and thinking I need to build in more set up time to experiment with both kinds of mics and my portable recorder’s various settings to try to get the cleanest capture possible up front.

  6. If you have a choice over the type of microphone at the recording, I would use a desktop mic like the Shure mx412D and (if it is not part of the PA system) a boundary mic like the Crown PZM30D or Crown Soundgrabber for audience response. You would need a mixer, I use the M-Audio usb preamp (2-Ch) that has phantom-powered mic inputs.

    Any Cardioid pattern condenser would be tons better than an omni-directional, as long as the subject doesn’t get out of the cardioid pattern. I like to think of cardioid mics as a kind of audio “flashlight”.

    Boundary mics are great by themselves and you might be able to just get by with a decent quality and well positioned one by itself.

  7. I can understand Cmdln’s workload issues. Perhaps there might be a volunteer who can do the ogg editing for Cmdlin. I’d volunteer myself but my own audio editing skills are not that great yet 😉

    Remember that we are a community!

  8. Is a free and open source, lossy audio codec project headed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and intended to serve as a replacement for MP3. It is most commonly used in conjunction with the Ogg container and is therefore called Ogg Vorbis.

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