Columbus Social Media Cafe – Central Ohio Bloggers, Podcasters and Social Networking

Anyone in the Central Ohio area who is a blogger, podcaster or social networking enthusiast/expert should be aware that there is a potential meetup group organizing called the Columbus Social Media Cafe. Yesterday was the 4th SMC meetup and I gathered that they are just now working on defining what the goals are of the group and plan on forming a mission statement. You can read more about the last meetup at Elephants on Bicycles and This Woman’s Work blogs.

When I arrived, I found myself briefly explaining what PodCamp and PodCamp Ohio is. I was not prepared to make any sort of presentation at the meetup but I did my best. This was a learning experience for myself, as I found myself speaking to a crowd of bloggers who are aware that podcasting should be included in their space but don’t exactly have a grasp on what exactly podcasting is. I also mentioned briefly some of the viral networking techniques that PodCamp Ohio is using in order to market the event to bloggers, podcasters and social networking enthusiasts.

I learned a lot from the meetup. What I found the most interesting was what they are envisioning; a social networking web site that pulls in feeds of blogs and podcasts and provides social networking features such as tags and comments. The group would be the perfect customer for the RawVoice Generator, which does pretty much what they want. One of the organizers mentioned someone who is in the process of developing such a tool that the group could use, so I didn’t quite feel comfortable mentioning that my company already has such a product on the market for more than 2 years now. The process they are undertaking made me feel vindicated that the past 3 years of my life that I’ve spent developing such tools is of real importance, not just globally but also for the local community. There is real potential for blogging and podcasting to connect with its local communities, and I for sure want to be involved in helping that happen here in Central Ohio.

I hope they can create a brand/logo soon and put in place a scheduled meeting time using not just meeting spaces in the public but also utilizing those social media tools that are so important such as TalkShoe/BlogTalkRadio for on-line recorded phone meetings and Google Group public mailing lists. At the moment the only way anyone can participate is by attending the public meetings, which may limit the audience size of participants. The more opportunity to let someone be herd, the more opportunities that will be used by those with the means. I’m pretty confident they will pick up on these other tools soon.

I am a little concerned that some of the founders organizing the Columbus SMC group found PodCamp Ohio somewhat threatening. I hope they did not get that impression cause it is definitely not something meant to compete with other groups with similar goals. PodCamp is a social event with the primary goal to bring bloggers and podcasters together to share knowledge and network with each other. I hope the Columbus SMC organizers don’t feel threatened by the event, that’s certainly not the events goal and I am confident that’s not what Chris Brogan or Christopher Penn intended when they created PodCamp.

podcastFAQ.com everything you need to know about podcasting

podcastFAQ.comI’m proud to announce that podcastFAQ.com is now available. podcastFAQ.com aims to be the starting point for podcasters and enthusiasts looking for information relevant to the industry.

The web site came from conversations Brian Yuhnke and I had following my visit to PodCamp Arizona. Many session speakers referred to tuns of web sites for podcasters to go to for information on specific topics. At the end of the day, I had about 40 different web sites to check out and they weren’t organized very well. About the same time, Rob Safuto left RawVoice which put the documentation responsibilities on the rest of the RawVoice team. After a few chat and phone conversations with Brian, we came to the conclusion that a wiki would be the ideal way to get the site started.

Once we discussed the idea with the rest of the RawVoice team, everyone at RawVoice went to work taking our own scattered documents and organizing them into the site you see today. As we were developing this web site, Todd Cochrane found the ideal domain name in his portfolio of registered domains, podcastFAQ.com.

As we developed and organized the content, we quickly discovered that we had a lot of missing information. To keep with the feel of the industry, we decided to make the home page of the site as honest as possible to encourage others to contact us with ideas and content.

We made a soft launch of the site last week to members of Blubrry, PodcasterNews and Tech Podcasts Network. Everyone has been very supportive of the site and it’s unbelievable how much content we’ve received already.

If you’re a podcaster or interested in learning about podcasting, please check out podcastFAQ.com. If you have some ideas for content or suggestions, please feel free to fill out the contact form. Your help will make the site better for everyone!

New Year Update

It’s been a while since I blogged anything. I’ve been very busy. Here is my update of what is going on in my life.

RawVoice
Been very busy working on a number of projects as usual. We are about to launch a new web site on Monday, January 14, 2008. If things go well, we’ll be launching some new service each Monday for the rest of the month. We’ll see if I can keep up.
http://www.rawvoice.com/

Spaceblue
I reprovisioned the server the day after Christmas, I am happy to report that I finally have everything on-line and running strong. I quickly got the crucial items on-line. I mainly had to get web stats and a few other little things setup after the new year. Setting up the new server took much longer that I anticipated since I switched from using Apache to Lighty web servers. It is paying off though, the server is handling the same amount of traffic without using all of the system resources.
http://www.spaceblue.com

PodCamp Ohio
I’ve been leading up the charge to organize PodCamp Ohio. Over the past month, we’ve secured a venue location and launched the web site. I am pretty happy with the core podcasters participating, they are really on the ball and have no problem taking charge of items they are good at. PodCamp Ohio will be on Saturday, June 28, 2008 from 9am to 5pm at the ITT Technical Institute in Hilliard (just west of Columbus), Ohio. More details are available on the web site.
http://www.podcampohio.com/

Association for Downloadable Media
Last fall I was elected Chair of the Measurement Committee of the Association for Downloadable Media. The entire process is exciting. I purchased a copy of Roberts Rules and have been slowly coordinating all of the members of the committee. After 12 people joined the committee, I was looking for the board members to set a limit to the size of the committee so it would not become too large to manage. The consensus of the board is to allow as many ADM members to join the committees as possible. I understand the motives, as the podcasting community is oriented in a way that encourages participation, it just makes managing the committee that much harder. I am up for the challenge and started devising ideas how to manage the situation. My position as Chair of the Measurement Committee could not be more perfect for the Association since I have both a technical background with Internet Engineering and vast experience with measuring podcast downloads.
http://www.downloadablemedia.org/

The House
Dad was in town two weeks ago when I was about to fix a shower leak. The work started with Dad reminding me to buy the tool recommended to remove the faucet cartridge in the documentation I printed out. A couple of minutes later, I broke the cartridge trying to remove it with pliers. Lesson learned, still listen to your parents! At this point I think Dad was convinced we would have to call a plumber, but my plan was to buy the removal tool and a screw tap. My plan worked luckily, with the help with an extra long screw replaced in the recommended tool. The rest of the process of installing the new cartridge went smoothly. I am happy to report the shower no longer leaks! If any family or friends need to fix a Moen shower/bath leak, let me know cause I have the recommended tool to remove the cartridge. Definitely don’t try to remove it with pliers!

San Giorgio Pasta Choo Choo Wheels
I told Heather a long time ago about Choo Choo Wheels Pasta and she looked at me rather strange. Two weeks ago I came across a package of San Giorgio brand Choo Choo Wheels and snagged a box. Sam Giorgio is my preferred pasta brand. The back of the box has a recipe for spaghetti meat sauce, so I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t have all of the details here, but the main ingredient are 2 large cans of whole pealed tomatoes, 2 small cans of tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, graded and 1 pound of ground beef or sausage. I used a 1 pound roll of Bob Evans Italian Sausage. Cook the sausage, then mix everything except the Parmesan, bring to a boil then cook on a medium/low heat for 30+ minutes. When you are ready to serve, add the Parmesan, which will thicken the sauce. I like thick sauce, so stumbling upon this tip has revolutionized my spaghetti sauce making abilities! 🙂

Anyway, the sauce on the back of the Choo Choo Wheels box was awesome and so far is the closest thing I’ve been able to get to taste like real home made spaghetti sauce the way Grandma would make. She would cook the sauce for hours and have 3 different types of meats in the sauce. It is the standard which I use to judge all other sauces. Funny how that works.

What’s Next
I’m going to restart my Compiled Weekly podcast. The recent work I’ve been doing moving blogs around for RawVoice and reconfiguring the Spaceblue server with Lighty has given me a lot of content ideas for the show. I got a lot of knowledge to share about Lighty and tips with server management. I got just about everything automated so I don’t have to manage anything now. 🙂

PHP code to format Program Name for 1-click zune subscription

ZuneI added the Zune 1-click subscription option to the RawVoice properties at www.blubrry.com and www.techpodcasts.com. I ran into an issue where show titles that contain special characters, such as quotes, would break the rest of the web page.

Below is the solution I implemented for the problem.

Fix

<a href=”< ?php
$title_for_zune = ereg_replace(‘[^A-Za-z0-9 ]’, ”, $show_title);
$title_for_zune = str_replace(‘ ‘, ‘_’, $title_for_zune);
echo ‘zune://subscribe/?’.$title_for_zune.’=’.$feed;
?>” title=”Add to Zune”>Add to Zune</a>

Having spaces in the URL does not validate, so I replace spaces with the _ character. If you are not worried about HTML validation, you can remove the str_replace function call.

I am not sure who came up with this protocol for the add to Zune 1-click subscription, as it does not appear to be very well thought out. Most other sites like Digg only require the feed url, which will never contain characters that could break your web pages.  As Jason Van Orden points out, the format is more complex than it needs to be.

PodCamp Ohio

I recently started organizing and planning an event called PodCamp Ohio for 2008. So far everything is coming together, I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.

The week before Thanksgiving, I started a Google Group and invited some podcasters who were previously interested in a PodCamp Ohio for 2008. Within a week the Google Group lit up with lots of participation. We’re having our first on-line meeting tomorrow night (Thursday) and our first meet-up this Saturday.

For those who are courious, PodCamp is an event for podcasters and bloggers to meet and learn from each other. Each PodCamp varies but typically they include tables for sponsors to hand out swag, a commons area for socializing throughout the day and plenty of 1 hour sessions where bloggers and podcasters talk about specific topics.

Web Site: www.podcampohio.com

The tentative date for PodCamp Ohio is Saturday, June 28, 2008. If you’re a podcaster/blogger or interested in either, please come. The PodCamp should be very educational.