Questions for Cory Doctorow Interview

I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the podcast that this coming weekend I’ll be at Philcon. The sole reason I decided to brave the two and a half hour trek was the chance to catch up with Cory Doctorow during his very short US book tour for his new novel, MAKERS. I just confirmed the interview today and sometime between now and o’dark early Saturday morning, I’ll be drafting my interview questions for Cory. I’ll focus primarily on the new novel but will include questions about his self published short story collection project, With a Little Help, and possibly some of his other upcoming releases.

If you have a question for Cory that you’d like me to consider including in the interview, please be sure to send it to me at before Saturday morning.

If you are going to be at Philcon, feel to drop me a note or come and find me. I’d post a schedule but I am neither a volunteer nor a participant at this convention and I cannot find a programming schedule on their web site.

TCLP 2009-11-04 Monologue: Social Identity

This is a feature cast.

In the intro, a reminder that if you want to win one of three signed copies of J.C. Hutchins’ “7th Son: Descent” you need to get your email in to by this Friday. Use the subject line “cmdln sent me”, and in the body include both the phrase, “Kilroy 2.0 is everywhere”, and your mailing address.

Also, I will be at Philcon, just for the day on Saturday the 21st of November. I will be heading up to meet up with some friends and to interview Cory Doctorow about his just released novel, “MAKERS”. If anyone is interested in a meet up while I am there, send me a note at

Lastly, the intro includes a brief clarification and comment about the experimental opening music from the last show.

There is no listener feedback this week.

The hacker word of the week this week is Eric Conspiracy.

The feature this week is a monologue on social identity.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

TCLP 2009-10-21 Interview: Randal Schwartz

This is a feature cast.

In the intro, letting you know that part one of a two part interview with me is up at the Life after Law School podcast.

There is no listener feedback this week.

Due to the length of the feature, there is no hacker word of the week this week.

The feature this week is an interview with Randal Schwartz. I first met Randal through his talk on his experience being snared under one of the problematic computer fraud and abuse laws. We don’t discuss that topic in the interview but if you are curious, he recommends his appearance on the Security Catalyst podcast and his interview with Stephen Euin Cobb on the Future and You. Randal also mentions the Squeak by Example book in the interview which is available as a free electronic edition and a print-on-demand edition. You can also hear Randal on the excellent FLOSS Weekly podcast which I also recommend for its consistently superb coverage of free software and open source projects of all varieties.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

TCLP 2009-09-30 Copyright Panel at D*C 2009

This is a feature cast.

In the intro, a correction from Randal on the correct pronunciation of “Kernighan”. Also, Gail Martin interviewed me for her podcast, Ghost in the Machine. We chatted about peer media, open content and media advocacy. You can download the interview or subscribe to her feed, she interviews many other fascinating, aspiring authors on her show.

I’m going to push off on listener feedback until next week. Also, no hacker word of the week for the same reason, the length of the feature.

The feature this week is the recording of the “Creative Commons and Legal Issues” panel from the podcasting track at Dragon*Con 2009, otherwise known simply as the copyright panel. I was joined by Thomas Vincent, Randy Chertkow of Beatnik Turtle, and Courtney Lytle Perry. This is the third time Randy and Courtney have joined me for this panel and it was a sheer pleasure. The audio is a little over driven, we were having speaker issues this year, but I think I managed to get things a bit under control.


There are no detailed show notes this week. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Software Freedom Day 2009

Chuck Frain Warms Up the Crowd

Originally uploaded by cmdln

Yesterday was Software Freedom Day. I was invited to speak at the Maryland Ubuntu Local Community by its leader, Chuck Frain. He suggested I speak on open formats, a topic which makes considerable sense given my podcast. I put together about thirty minutes worth of material and headed up early yesterday morning.

The Miller Branch of the Howard County Public Library is a great place. They have a very picturesque atrium with a sunlit, indoor garden. The computer lab took a little finding, a staff member had to show me where it was. I was delighted to realize all of the lab machines were running Ubuntu. In retrospect, that should not have surprised me.

Chuck explained before we got started that he first heard my podcast because of my interview with Celeste Lyn Paul. I put two and two together–she blogged some time ago about doing usability testing and studies with the Maryland Ubuntu LoCo.

Waiting for my turn to talk, I was more nervous than I expected. The lab was full but it isn’t very large. I have certainly spoken before much larger audiences before. Normally, though, I am a member of or moderator for a panel discussion. I am not used to speaking at length on my own. Well, not used to doing so live. When I record in studio, I can stop whenever I need to do so. I typically stop at least once during a recording session because I have flubbed or lost the thread of my notes. There is no stopping a live talk for either of those cases.

I received some encouragement via Twitter and, reviewed my notes while I had time and took some deep breaths.

Chuck warmed up the group with a short kickoff and walking tour of Ubuntu. He then introduced me and I got started. I wore my tee-shirt which explains, “Danger: May Geek Out with No Warning” and drew attention to it to break the ice. And to be perfectly honest to warn the audience that I may dig into some unfamiliar jargon. I invited them to stop me with questions as needed.

No one did interrupt me. I did see some nods though and the entire audience seemed to be paying good attention. I recorded my talk and as soon as I get it edited, I will use it as an upcoming feature on the podcast. I did get some excellent questions after my talk and a few further comments during the midday break. I think I will polish my notes for the talk and keep them handy against future need. Chuck seemed especially pleased and suggested I could come and speak about my main software project, flashbake, at the Columbia LUG if I wanted. Jim Sansing, who followed my talk with a demonstration of Audacity, chimed in that Chuck meant I was invited to present to the LUG. I may just do, if for no other reason than to get some clearly needed practice as a sole presenter.

Jim’s presentation on Audacity was quite good. He had a little trouble with some speakers he brought but the library staffer who supported the lab, Julian, stepped in to help. Jim did a solid job quickly showing what Audacity is and what is possible to achieve with it.

I stayed for one more talk, one given by Ron Swift on Asterisk. Ron had a short but well prepared slide deck. He clearly was very comfortable with the subject, not in the least because he uses Asterisk in his home and business. He concluded with a nice live demo of some of the features he discussed and of the setup that he uses. He provided excellent pointers for further information in case anyone was interested in trying Asterisk themselves.

At the break, I had to duck out as I had a social engagement to attend. The depth of the presentations and the comfort of the attendees surprised me. On consideration, I think the LoCo’s event served the purpose of Software Freedom Day quite well. Unlike some of the more open or larger events, the LoCo only reached a relatively small number of people. Judging by their questions and participation, though, they all to a one seemed like the sorts of people who would turn around and help advocate for free software from a good level of hands on experience and comfort.

Dragon*Con 2009, Day 2

I had the early volunteer shift again Saturday (and will have it again Sunday). I moderated both panels during my shift.

I was incredibly nervous on the first one and chose to stand with a wireless mic and act more to prompt the panelists and pass the mic as needed. The panel was on making your podcast sound better. The panelists were George Hrab, Slau, and Patrick McLean. Two incredibly talented musicians and one of the finest story tellers in podcasting in my opinion.

I appreciate and am flattered by my friends who thought I was an equally qualified panelist but when it comes to audio engineering, I am a dabbler. I do only as much audio engineering as is required to make my show of the quality to which I prefer listening. That happens to be a pretty high bar but I do not think it compares to folks who make their living via audio and/or performance. The skills that I do possess and have developed to an comparably advanced degree weren’t applicable to the topic at hand.

That being said, I was tickled to finally hear what is usually a commonly asked questions panel for podcasters actually cover the mechanics of vocal performance in a way I can apply to what I do. And to hear solid emphasis placed on being passionate and interested in your topic well above and beyond gear, tips and tricks. There was plenty of the latter, too, but the discussion was incredibly well balanced.

I was considerably more comfortable on my second panel. It was the third time for my copyright discussion panel. I was lucky enough to get almost all of my usual suspects from years past. Once again, I was surprised and delighted not only by the turn out for an early morning panel on what can potentially be a very dry subject, but by the excellent questions brought by the audience. Also as with prior iterations of this panel, we ran out of time before we ran out of conversation which I consider a good criterion for a successful panel.

In the afternoon, I finally managed to catch up with friends over lunch. We fought past the insane line for Patrick Stewart to the food court then had to deal with the peak time for the lunch hour. All things considered, we didn’t have to wait too terribly long for a table to free up. The line for Kameel’s was long but moved briskly. I introduced a few more friends to my favorite vendor in the food court, too.

After lunch, the group broke up a little bit with the majority of us heading into one of the three dealers’ rooms to explore. There were definitely some impressive wares on display, maybe a bit better than last year, but so far nothing I felt suitable for bringing home to the boys. Hopefully, I’ll manage to hit at least one of the two remaining rooms and can find something they might like.

The group broke up further still and I got to spend a couple of hours with Chooch and Viv as well as better introducing them to my room mates. They had laready met but briefly at the Technorama live show, Friday night. Viv was even a contestant in the Stump the Geeks segment (she was the only one who stumped us–rawr). Chuck and Kreg left to see Adam Savage and the plan was for the three of us left to play some Pandemic. After chatting for a while, we switch the plan to Monthy Python Fluxx, it being quicker to play. We never did play either game, we had such a good time just talking. As much as we all gather to spend time with our friends, the insanities of the con usually mean actually doing so is the exception far more than the rule.

This year’s Parsecs had an impressive turn out. The steering committee and MCs did an excellent job, improving on the ceremonies on almost every point over last year. The pacing was excellent and the whole affair just felt much more tightly crafted. This despite the one or two unavoidable but easily forgivable glitches. Mostly notably, due to poor scheduling, the wonderful Pamela Gay of the Astronomy Cast was late almost to the point of the program being altered on the fly to route around her absence. She literally ran from the other end of the con, however, and managed to pull off her part of the event, the giving away of several Galileo telescopes, with grace and humor, followed by presenting awards for two categories.

A large group of us gathered for dinner, after, and put up with incredibly loud karaoke waiting for enough tables to clear to seat us all in reasonable proximity. I enjoyed dinner, both for the company and the food. Metro Cafe Diner is one of my favorite spots outside of the immediate con environs.

After dinner, I was graciously invited back to Chooch and Viv’s room, which they share with P.G. Holyfield and Patrick McLean, for a sort of impromptu Parsec losers party. Again, a good con moment, the ones that if you search for them too hard, you never find them. When you stop, relax, and just sort of open up to the possibilities of the con, they just happen. Lots of great jokes, stories, and even the birth of a collaboration between Kim the comic book goddess and Patrick.

As much as I wanted to linger, I made my farewells and headed back to my hotel. My roomies were already asleep but left a night light on for me. (We’re all techies, we do not lack for LEDs and LCDs that serve quite well as impromptu low level light sources.) As responsible as I was being leaving my friends early, now I am feeling a rare bit of insomnia, perhaps brought on by the first bouts of homesickness. Spending so much time with Chooch and Viv actually reminds me of my own family waiting for my return in a few days.

I am hoping part of my lack of drowsiness is my promise to Andrea that I would post often. By filling that promise for the second day of the con, maybe I’ll be able to lay my head down and get some rest before I have to get up, hopefully for another day of unlooked for moments of that elusive social joy particular to conventions.

Dragon*Con 2009 Schedule

I already have my panel commitments on my Google Calendar, but here they are with the panel descriptions.

  • Making Your Podcast Sound Better
    Saturday 10:00AM Hilton 204
    “This group of wildly diverse podcasters have the gift for making auditory masterpieces. Learn their secrets to making it all sound so good.”
    George Hrab, Slau, Patrick McLean
  • Creative Commons and Legal Issues
    Saturday 11:30AM Hilton 204
    “Join our panel of experts in a discussion of legal issues as they pertain to the world of Podcasting, copyright and creative commons.”
    Courtney Lytle-Perry, Randy Chertow, Jon Stallard, Thomas Vincent

I am moderating both of those panels. I’ve done the creative commons and legal issues panel repeatedly in past years and at other conventions. I also have worked with all of these panelists before, so am looking forward to an easy and excellent discussion.

For the other panel, I will do my best to add my experience. Really, I think I can do the most good just by supporting the other panelists as moderator. Any one of them has way more experience than me in producing amazing quality audio. I’ll do my best to have some good questions for them to spur conversation.

I am volunteering again this year but as of yet do not know my volunteer schedule. I’ll try to get a post up as soon as I do know it, which should be Friday morning I expect.

For panels I want to attend, I haven’t gone through the schedule yet. I am certain I’ll be going to the Live Technorama Friday night at 10PM since I am rooming with the hosts and they are friends. Beyond that, going by past years’ experience, anything I do plan ahead rarely stays fixed through the course of the weekend. Much depends on my degree of sleep deprivation and who else is going to a particular panel.

If you want to find me, though, best bets are either in Hilton 204 or over in the EFF track. My phone is horrible but I have a new Google Voice number that should make that easier with which to cope. Email me for that number if you need it.

For social events, I am thinking about the EFF party which is usually Saturday night. I don’t think there are any podcasting related parties this year, so otherwise may be at loose ends. The Encaffeinated One is having an ad-hoc meetup for his projects which I will probably attend as I promised to discuss his project.

New Google Meetup in DC

Google has launched an official meetup for local folks, here in Washington, DC. The first event is tomorrow evening, at Lima Restaurant and Lounge at 6PM. It looks like some of Google folks from the home office in Mt. View will be present. I received an invite, probably because of my attendance at talks hosted at Google’s DC office, and am planning on going.

I’m not entirely sure what to expect but am hoping there will be some developers there. I am curious about any discussions around the latest research and any of the Labs projects. Judging from the attendee list so far (which is rather lengthy), there are also a fair number of the usual suspects at the tech policy events I tend to gravitate towards. Should be a good chance to network, then, as well.

Recent Podcast Appearances

Dave LaMorte, host and producer of Teaching for the Future, posted his interview with me this past week. This was a fascinating conversation that wandered a bit far afield from open source in the classroom, a topic Dave has been exploring in recent shows. I think the tangents were still highly relevant and our discussion of privacy and professionalism has me mulling over some topics I may put forward for discussion at PrivacyCampDC.

I want to thank Dave for inviting me onto his program and for engaging in such a great discussion.

My other podcast appearance was a bit more light hearted. The gravelly Martyn Darkly invited me to read for his excellent short form show, Movie Mantras. My reading was from the film adaptation of one of my favorite manga, Ghost in the Shell. I say light hearted but when I listened to the full episode in which Martyn used my reading, the meaning of it hit home in a very compelling way given some of my current contemplation around my professional and personal development.

I want to thank Martyn for including me in this clever, well produced series.

Teaching for the Future Interview to be Re-Scheduled

As planned, Dave LaMorte and I met on Ustream last night to record a live interview. After wrangling with the video settings for a bit, we had a great chat followed by a few live viewers. Even after Dave stop recording (after twice as much time as he planned) we continued to chat for some time.

Shortly after I left the video chat, Dave tweeted to me that Ustream had only record his half of the audio and video. I am not sure if this was operator error or an inadequacy of Ustream. It doesn’t really matter, I have forgotten to hit the record button my own self only to realize after hanging up with the other party. All you can do when this happens for whatever reason is apologize and see if everyone is willing to try again.

Having been in this situation before, I am more than happy to try again and immediately let Dave know. It will have to be after Balticon at this point. Hopefully if we stick to Skype or Gizmo the lag will be less of a problem too. Last night was the first time I was on the broadcatsing end of Ustream and the lag was…challenging.