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News Podcasting Project Trans Am Technology

Project Pontiac Trans Am

Last week I purchased a 1981 Pontiac Trans Am! If you know me well, you know I’ve wanted a 1978 Trans Am for years. Even though this is not the correct year, it’s very similar to the Trans Am I wanted and with a little effort over the coming years hopefully it will look like a 78′.

This is the first time I bought a car off eBay. The experience was a good one, but I certainly learned a lot in the process. Biggest thing, ask the seller lots of questions. I was not aware that some of the dashboard components were broken including the turn signal. I did, however, anticipate some issues with things like the doors, window gaskets, etc… So even though I was initially shocked by a few of the additional problems, I still feel somewhat satisfied that I got a decent deal on the car.

Important details about this car:

  • Has no rust (came from the West Coast)
  • Any Pontiac engine from 1970-1981 will fit (I’m looking for a Pontiac 400)
  • Car has factory T-tops

When this car was new in 1981, it was originally dark gray with silver interior. It came with the Turbo Pontiac 301 (4.9L) engine, power windows, power door locks, all wheel disc brakes, posi rear end, air conditioning, cruise control, intermittent wipers, and aluminum honeycomb wheels. It currently still has all of these options except the interior has been converted to tan color, the power door locks is no longer present, and the car was repainted black. For those Trans Am enthusiasts, I am sorry to say that it does not have the WS6 performance package.

The car needs a lot of work. So far the engine needs replaced, interior panels need some TLC, drivers door mechanically  needs some TLC, the wipers are not functioning, heater/AC controls are not functioning, broken interior heater core cover, window and T-top gaskets need replaced, turn signal is broken, steering column needs tightened, and heater core molding needs replaced.

The initial plan is to replace the engine with a Pontiac 400, fix the steering column, heater core cover and drivers side door.

I’ve decided to document all the work I do to the car as a podcast. I haven’t yet decided on a name or format for the podcast, but it should be a lot of fun. Anyone who would like to be involved with the podcast and/or help me with restoring this car, please shoot me an email, angelo [at] mandato.com.

Categories
Podcasting

Blubrry Powerpress podcasting plugin for WordPress

The new Blubrry Powerpress podcasting plugin for WordPress is now available. This is a very light weight podcasting plugin for WordPress to provide only the fundamental features for hosting a podcast on a WordPress blog.

Features:

  • Easily add/modify/remove podcast episodes from blog posts
  • Integrated media player
  • iTunes RSS tags
  • iTunes album/cover art
  • upload new iTunes/RSS cover art
  • Ping iTunes
  • Media size detection
  • Duration detection (mp3 only)
  • 3rd party statistics integration

Add podcast episode to post screen:
Add Podcast

Cross section of settings page:
Cross section of settings page

For over a year now we (RawVoice) have talked about working with the existing podcasting plugin for WordPress to get it to support storing podcast episode information in the native enclosure format in WordPress. After a lack of interest from that plugin’s developer to work with us (I think working with us would have conflicted with his work with one of our competitors), we decided we would create our own WordPress plugin. Even though we decided we would write our own podcasting plugin for WordPress, the idea was not accelerated until the latest version of WordPress 2.6 came out 3 weeks ago. The latest version quickly caused issues in the podcasting space. Since many of our podcasters on Blubrry use WordPress for distributing their Podcast, we decided it was integral that we provide a light weight podcast plugin alternative that would be more reliable for our podcasters to use. The last thing we wanted was our podcasters to fall out of podcasting simply because their web site was no longer functioning.

Within the first week of WordPress 2.6 being released, I designed the initial feature set listed above and we hired a developer to start development of the plugin. He did a great job of getting the plugin it to a beta stage within one weeks time. Following his work, I took the project over and polished it and optimized the code over the course of this past week. Many of the changes and enhancements I made were to streamline the plugin so it would utilize the least amount of server resources as possible.

An example where I took extra care to optimize the plugin was with how it detects the duration (time in hours, minutes and seconds) of mp3 files. The other podcasting plugin available uses Ajax to tell the wordpress blog to download the complete episode to detect the duration. This ends up creating very long executing script on the server to download very large media file just to calculate the duration. I developed code that only downloads the first few hundred kilobytes of a file in order to read the ID3 tag information. The result is very smooth and fast detection of the duration information saving server resources.

If you’re a podcaster looking for a well designed and light weight podcasting plugin for wordpress, I strongly encourage you to check out the Blubrry Powerpress. Please let me know what you think and if you have feature suggestions or comments.

Link: www.blubrry.com/powerpress/

Categories
Movies Technology

Netflix on computer plus 50 DLP TV equals AWESOME

Netflix‘s recent announcement that customers can watch as many movies and TV shows on their PC recently motivated me to check out the online service. I have to say the service is AWESOME!

We recently purchased a new 50″ DLP HD TV which includes many inputs including VGA. So we hooked up a computer and away we went. In no time we were watching movies from netflix.com on our big screen! The picture quality is excellent, I would have to say better quality than traditional cable. I would even go as far as say to say the quality is high enough that if Netflix offered all of their movies online, we wouldn’t even bother with the traditional movies by mail.

Future entertainment is going to move on-line. Live events will be streamed live and prerecorded content will be released in the same fashion as podcasts. On demand services accessed through the Internet opens the doors of possibility that no Cable or Satellite service could match. I’m convinced Podcasting will be considered the precursor to this New Media movement. I’m very excited to say I’m part of this revolution.