two heads better than one

First I tried Bermingham’s on burgh quay, they do cameras and such shops usually do digital voice records / DV cameras that need mics so I dropped in, No, that was it, blunt, no further help, one “No”. To be fair to Bermingham’s they have better sales staff than this & I have been using them off & on for 23 years.

Next the pokey Peats on Dame Street, handy for a fly by regular purchase. Nope here, no mic stands. They have my favourite mini disc mic Sony ECMMS907. for €140, I got mine in 1998 for 99 pound (126 euro) the price of this item is holding high and not falling (as it should) with supply or age. The amazon price convert from dollar to euro on this item is €45 save €95 !!!!!!!!!!!!

Peats did have stock availability in their other stores for the 907 (it was only the 907 stand I really wanted). But amazingly Peats had stock availability in the till display for Sony shops in Ireland! Peats said try Sony Stephens Green, are they on commission to do that?

I headed to Phillips Georges Street no stands but a 240/110 adapter for €2 less than Peats. Up georges street to independent electrical retailer, they had 907’s for €135 but no stands. They sent me to Music Maker exchequer street, (or was it Phillips that sent me there?)

Music Maker dug around and found me a Peavey mic stand [similar] €10 and two heads for the stand €5 each. Bargain. Its a stand for a kick drum I’m told, ideal. one of the heads [Hercules] is a clamp type and very useful on its own for a table stand to hold a DVR like the Sony MX20.

Solution! so I headed to Sony on the Green and trialled the MX20 from the display cabinet with my new stands and walked out with out buying anything. Happy shopping. But I must learn to not leave kit behind.

Difficult week for Taoiseach – Difficult text for talkr – Difficult to understand

confused? you will be. text from Irish Emigrant, this is a Brian Greene test post.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had a difficult week and all he could do was look on from the sidelines. He was again the focus of attention at the Mahon Tribunal, and to such an extent that his barrister, Colm Ó hOisín, felt obliged to accuse tribunal barrister Des O’Neill of “pushing a particular agenda” against his client. This allegation upset Tribunal chairman Judge Alan Mahon who told Mr Ó hOisín to “be careful about the words that you use because they are particularly offensive to us”. Judge Gerald Keys also intervened to say, “Offensive, and I reject them out of hand”. Earlier in the week, during cross-examination by Mr O’Neill, AIB official Jim McNamara confirmed that the Taoiseach had contacted him to ask about details of transactions given to the Tribunal. That allowed Fine Gael spokesman Fergus O’Dowd to describe the Taoiseach’s decision to contact a tribunal witness as “bizarre”. A spokesman for the Taoiseach responded by making the point that Mr Ahern could not be expected to remember details of lodgements and withdrawals which took place 12 to 13 years ago.

Two days later, after he had his chance to cross-examine Mr McNamara, it was clear that Mr Ó hOisín thought Mr O’Neill’s question was used simply to raise suspicions in the eyes of the public. He argued that it was perfectly reasonable for any client of a bank to discuss details of his account with an official of the bank. Mr O’Neill intervened to claim that the significance of Mr Ahern’s contact with Mr McNamara was to ask if the transactions involved foreign currency. It was at this point the heated exchanges between Mr Ó hOisín and the tribunal judges took place.

Much of the week was taken up with the cross-examination of AIB officials about different transactions. Mr O’Neill focused on how these transactions might or might not have included Sterling or dollar amounts and on how they allegedly didn’t equate with Mr Ahern’s explanation. It was all extremely complex and I suspect there aren’t more than a handful of people outside the tribunal who could explain clearly the issues involved. That, of course, doesn’t stop them having firm views on whether or not Bertie Ahern is telling the truth.

I am not one of that handful and the more I look at the figures the more confused I become. Even the journalists attending the Tribunal are confused or, if their reports are accurate, it is the barristers questioning the bank officials who are confused.

Despite my confusion I’ll mention two of the transactions although, according to one account it is the same transaction described on different days.

The AIB’s Philip Murphy was questioned about a lodgement of £24,838.49 which Mr Ahern recollected as comprising £16,500 and approximately Stg£8,000. It was argued by Henry Murphy SC for the Tribunal that there was no Sterling exchange rate that would support this. The witness was pressed by the barrister, “It doesn’t add up, isn’t that right Mr Murphy?” to which Mr Murphy replied “Yes”. I did some calculations based on the Central Bank exchange rate at the time and came close, but counsel for the Tribunal had been looking for a round Sterling amount and whether this meant excluding coins or a multiple of £100 is not clear.

On Friday it was again Mr O’Neill SC who was cross-examining an AIB official, this time Rosemary Murtagh. He claimed that from the bank’s records Celia Larkin could not have lodged Stg£30k on December 5, 1994. He noted that the total amount of foreign currencies purchased by the O’Connell Street Branch that day was £29,254.97 and argued this could equate to exactly €45,000. If the Irish Times reported the subsequent exchanges accurately, he then seemed to defeat his argument by accepting that some of the foreign currency was Sterling and that the balance was in other currencies, and he then managed to get Ms Murtagh to agree that this balance of $28,969.34 was “as a matter of probability if not certainty…. $45,000″. When Mr Ó hOisín cross-examined Ms Murtagh she also agreed that it was possible to carry out a mathematical exercise which would prove that £29,254.97 had to be Sterling and not dollars.

It is worth noting that no one has admitted giving the Taoiseach $45k, no one has accused anyone else of giving the Taoiseach $45k, Mr Ahern insists that he never had $45k and the bank has no record of receiving $45k from Mr Ahern or anyone else on the day in question.

Two morning sessions of the Mahon Tribunal had to be postponed due to the illness of key witness Tom Gilmartin. The questioning of AIB officials took longer than anticipated and that resulted in the postponement of the scheduled appearances of the Taoiseach, his former partner, Celia Larkin, and the Manchester-based business man Michael Wall, from whom Mr Ahern bought his Drumcondra home. The Tribunal is now adjourned for the summer and will resume in September.

Straight Talking Bank at No 1 with Talking Voices

first posted on Talking Voices blog

The TalkingVoices.com produced podcast for Rabobank [web] has entered at number one in the Irish iTunes Business chart. First recorded in February 2007, a second series was commissioned and recorded in May 2007, the episodes of which will be released between July and December.

“It has been an interesting first venture into podcasting for the bank and I’m sure it’s a channel we will continue to grow? commented Martin O’Leary of Rabobank.

In Ireland Talking Voices has also recently completed podcasts for Enterprise Ireland eBusiness Unit [iTunes : Web] and the Irish Internet Associations annual conference.

music in a podcast

ABC national radio has an intro disclaimer on the start of a music podcast [rss] that explains that songs ARE shortened to meet copyright demands but the intro goes on to explain that at a url provided has the whole show which can be heard with full songs ‘on demand’.

At a recent IIA event this issue came up by way of question to the speaker from RTÉ. Do the listening public understand or care or care to understand the difference between

1. live radio
2. live streaming radio
3. on demand (streaming) radio
4. podcasts

they want their radio!!! the difference between 3 & 4 is codec, quality and mobility of track. If you thought taping TOTP with a condenser microphone to non Dolby mono tape deck in 1980 was piracy, well you probably support the break down of 1 2 3& 4. You probably work for a national broadcaster or record company, and have not the solutions to round this square.

The time has come to not play their stuff if they don’t let you. Broadcasters have applied this stand off negotiating tactic before. Once or twice in the 80’s on Music Video on TV and once in the mid ’90s on streamed audio over the internet. On Music Video I think over the two legs of the fight the result was a draw. On the streaming radio issue in the ’90s the radio stations won without much of a fight. BTW radio measurement better start looking at podcasts, as the occupiers of the iTunes flawed measurement top 20 list in Ireland are leaking listeners to podcast! think ‘nob nation‘.

Time has come to put it to the copyright holders again. If you want us to play you lets us. If you don’t we wont.

ABC National & NPR seem to have similar approaches to music in section 4 podcasts. 60 seconds plus of song seems ok. If section 3 streams can be trans coded and section 2 streams auto recorded to hard disk why sure somebody will go to the bother of time coding the podcasts and use them to pirate the tracks. I just hope the podcasters of today talk a little less ‘up to the CRASH’ of an intro on songs unlike Jimmy Saville did in 1980 on lo-fi recordings on a C60 BASF I treasure as my pirate past. I poke fun, C60 wasn’t piracy nor is music on podcasts, nor is taking music out of podcasts. its whats possible today and its all for personal use. Charging the recording owner again and again as formats change is just as dubious as what the recording industry call piracy.

As DRM is removed from music. Lets get the show on the road for music in podcasts.

in praise of Microsoft

conn at edgecast.ie wrote

After a heroic editing marathon, Brian has just published the entire suite of podcasts from Thursday’s conference. If you weren’t there (or if you spent the day networking in the corridors), you can now take in the presentations and discussions at your leisure. Well done Brian – and well done Microsoft Ireland for recognising the sponsorship value of these podcasts. They’ll continue to resonate on the internet for months to come.

IIA newsletter wrote

If you missed the event do not fret as all of the speaker presentations are available as podcasts – simply go to the relevant post on the IIA Blog and listen! Thanks to Brian Greene for his work on this and Microsoft for kindly sponsoring the podcast.

now i’m blushing/ thanks to Microsoft who realise that long after the 300 people have left the Killiney Castle Hotel their sponsorship is working on demand along side the content! who said “no one got sacked for choosing Microsoft” perhaps they are just clever.

gmail & twitter down at the same time

hows me blog? ok really early days… the longest warrior of the web in Irish Music Eleanor McEvoy‘s new blog is under development. http://www.eleanormcevoy.net/blog/ like doop, eleanor progressed in podcasting via myspace before back tracking to blogs as a medium. more later.

Photo by Oscar Bedwyn, BedwyrPhoto.com, April 15, 2007

Who are the pirates?

Yes indeed the euro price is the same as the dollar. up 30c. the point should be that EMI have had a road to Damascus moment realising that DRM actually hurts them, so they are dropping it. The 256 v 128K issue, the cost of downloading the extra 128kbits is borne by the buyer in extra bandwidth not EMI. EMI Group licence music for sale on plastic without DRM, Apple made EMI see that it should never have been there. So no need to fleece us. Steve Jobs pointed out in the announcement that we can rip burn rip the tracks to bypass DRM, 30c is their way.

Now I want to see EMI stop restricting the use of music for promotion in podcasts.
Brian Greene
Irish Podcasters Representative Body
(PodRepBod) http://www.podireland.org

[in comment to Irish Times Blog Price Watch ]