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paul wheaton
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In the last 24 hours I have received six emails of praise for the podcasts and one really long rant.

And, as evidence that I am a defective person, I accept the six warm fuzzies and get all pissed off about the rant. 

So a few points:

1) I never claimed to be any good at podcasting.  In fact, I got into it with the idea that the expectation for quality is utterly zero.  In the past when people called food noises distracting, I made sure to make extra food noises during the podcast - so nobody gets any ideas that there might be a quality standard.

2)  Some people seem to have the expectation that I am some sort of professional interviewer.  I'm not.  I'm a giant doofus that has found the record button.  To make matters worse, I am horribly arrogant and obnoxious.  If you have the tiniest expectation of anything else, you will just be sad.

3)  If you think that my podcast falls short in any way, then you are welcome to go out and make podcasts and replace me.  Making podcasts takes a lot of time and expense and pays back $0.00.  In fact, if you don't like my podcast, I hereby grant you a 500% refund of the money you paid for it.

4)  I have a parade of nitwits telling me how I have to be their personal bitch and live my life their way.  I wish that all of these nitwits could get together in a big room, and the mission is for all of them to reach consensus on all ways I should live my life.  They will then spend the next 40 years hammering things out (and being nasty to each other, rather than me) and by the time they reach a conclusion, I'll be dead.  As is, it is physically impossible to do all of the things all the nitwits want as most of the things are opposite. 

5)  These podcasts are for those people that like them, not for the general public.  If you don't like the podcast, turn it off.

6)  For every person that works long and hard to build a better world, there are 20 people working long and hard to stop them under the guise of "good intentions".


 
nancy sutton
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I loved the Lawton podcast - it beat my high expections!  So glad you got your critical questions asked...... if Geoff doesn't know the right answers, who does ?     

And I, personally, love the sounds of life.... with Ran, Geoff, traffic, seagulls, etc.   Studios smack of 'professional', 'commercial',...... actually 'unreal", as opposed to 'out here where it's happening'   (Maybe the complainer feels if didn't cost a lot to make, it isn't valuable?)

 
Brice Moss
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I gotta hear the the last few i'll come back n make snarky comments about the quality when I have time 
 
Andy Commons
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I love the podcasts. I download them via Google Listen to my smart phone, and listen when I'm driving or doing dishes.

I love that you can take a topic that might need reading a huge thread here at the forums and boil it down into a neat little bundle that I can listen to. (multi-tasking that actually works).

Then there is the "what makes Paul tick" stuff which I also find valuable.

I'd love to hear a podcast (or see a forum post) on Paul's approach to time management. He seems to get so much done each week. Perhaps we only needs 3 hours of sleep per night.
 
Phil Hawkins
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Hi Paul,

You and jack spirko have collectively replaced the radio in my car, and I'll often listen when doing other things that don't require me to be social.

I'm occasionally frustrated by some aspects of your podcast, but then I remember the price I paid (three fifths of fuck all, as we like to say down here) and get over it. With Jack's podcast, you don't get those sorts of things, but every time he says "fricken" it makes me cringe. Just once I'd love to hear Jack having a bad day and forgetting to censor himself

Perhaps the individual with the complaint might care to offer to drive around the pacific northwest instead of you, and interview them all on your behalf. Of better yet, he or she can do their own podcast instead. "Hi, can I interview you? No one will ever hear it, because no one knows who I am, but the production values will be amazing!"

In conclusion, speaking for (and as one of) the five out of six, I say keep up the good work, we really appreciate it, and it brings a lot of knowledge and food for thought into our lives.
 
chip sanft
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I've been listening to the podcasts. The best of those I've listened to are with geoff lawton -- I was blown away and super inspired.

I like Paul's interviewing: he brings out the good stuff, keeps quiet when people get rolling on something good, and livens things up when a particular interview isn't especially exciting.

Keep it up, Paul. Ignore the jerks -- that's one part of the price of being out front, unfortunately: you become a target for some people.
 
Dale Hodgins
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If you don't piss off at least 100 whining weaners every day then you're just not trying. I can't imagine sitting through a complete podcasts or TV program that I don't like. The Internet offers millions of choices of what we may do with our leisure time. So anyone who wastes their time listening to programs they don't find helpful has no one to blame but themselves.

 
Matthew Nistico
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I just listened to podcast #84 with alexia allen. Listening to your podcasts is a regular habit of mine, but I have to say that I enjoyed this one immensely and more perhaps than any other podcast yet. So much good stuff! I think you should make a regular practice of opening a thread in which people can suggest questions to be asked, as you did for this one. That seemed to work well. And I appreciated the great deal of interaction between the two of you, too - a true dialogue more than a monologue, which is inherently more interesting. I wish that I could articulate more details and aspects that appealed to me, but honestly it is very late now and my drowsy brain is not cooperating with me. I will try to post again when I have time and can think about it more coherently. So I will leave you with a "thank you" and a "keep up the good work!"

~ Matthew N., Southern transplant
 
Ivan Weiss
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I look forward to each and every new podcast. Please never quit making them. Thanks for all your good work.
 
Casey Halone
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I would make a request of an amazing joke, at some point during the recording. I always feel better when smiling. Your podcasts usually get me to smile anyway.
 
Chris Holloway
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Paul,
First of all THANK YOU!

Your pod-casts are fabulous. As for the extraneous noise I LOVE IT!! All I need to say is PIE!! I really love the videos too if I can help in anyway in processing audio for the podcast or in anyway please let me know. I am on the list for your dailyish emails but I seem to only get them about once a week. I try to spread the word when I can but links are hard for me because I do not have a site with any traffic that would be helpful. I will however be doing that soon when my blogs get started and grow.

Thank you again and I would only suggest that you and Jack Spirko begin a weekly show together I think this would ROCK!

Chris
 
Joseph Fields
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I real dig the style of your podcasts. It's like a conversation with friends.
 
joe pacelli
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I read this negative feedback about the style of podcasts and I find myself having a problem with it as well. I was one of the folks that begged Paul to start a podcast. I STILL don't care about the sound quality, as long as I can hear it, I can follow it and I'm very thankful.

I have a response as evidence that these podcasts serve as a cognitive ECO-LEVEL MULTIPLIER:

podcast 089 geoff lawton 1
podcast 090 geoff lawton 2

(don't know how to add links but please if a mod can do so, feel free to edit the direct links to those podcasts)



I've been listening to these 2 podcasts and I must say that if Paul didn't do things Paul's way on these forums and his podcasts, we wouldn't have gotten such great gems with Lawton. Paul asked all of the important questions, questions I wouldn't have had the guts to ask Geoff, and he got such great, clear answers. The format with no time limit was AWESOME. Not to mention the collective brainstorming between Paul and Geoff which took my awareness of permaculture to an entirely different level.

I just wanted to make a post and share my appreciation...

also I wonder if anyone else has found themselves repeat-listening the Paul & Geoff interview podcasts. Paul did a truly superb job.

 
paul wheaton
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I had two big complaints today.

One was where they played my latest RMH podcast in a church full of church folks and children. The person writing to me was shocked and appalled at my language. Specifically

the "F" word


This made me laugh. This is awesome.

And then they went on to say that they will tell everybody they can to not look at my site.

My response was " I hope that you tell millions of people to not come to my empire of stuff." After all, if a dolt like this is offended, my stuff must be really awesome.

The dolt replies that I am even more offensive because he was expecting an apology. Long rant about how nasty I am.

My response:

I support your right to fear words. I support your right to cower,
squirm and freak out in the face of my powerful words. And it makes
me laugh to see you, and your group, panic at the things I say.

Tell you what: you give me $100,000 and I will change my style to fit
within your gray little pathetic existence. Until then, I will
continue to enjoy the full, rich beauty of the english language.


Moral of the story: Oh no! Somebody on the internet said "fuck"! and they won't obey my commands!


 
Matthew Nistico
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@Paul - What, did the churchfolk whose idea it was not actually listen to the podcast before playing it to the entire congregation? How is this your problem, and not their problem? I'm with you 100% on this one.
 
paul wheaton
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Matthew, I get a bunch of crazy email every day. Every last one wants me to live my life their way. Lately, I've been getting more than usual.

I used to say over and over to these people "please give me a link to your podcast so I know what a good podcast sounds like" and I have never received a response. I now send out "give me $100,000 and I'll do it your way".

The idea that I could shock a bunch of people in a church is just too funny!





 
Matthew Nistico
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@Paul - I don't know... when I think about the photo of you as the mad-scientist in your new podcast header, that's pretty shocking, LOL! ; ) I don't know what kind of church this was, but you can never overestimate the rigidity of conservative cultural norms, even in this day and age.

I live in upstate South Carolina, the buckle of the Bible Belt. But I was born and raised in Maryland; a border state for sure, but I still never identified as a Southerner. I came to this town first many years ago as a college student and was completely unprepared for the culture shock. In high school I'd been introverted, studious, dorky, boring, and definitely clean-cut compared to the antics of my classmates. In South Carolina, all of a sudden, I shocked people with my wild Bohemian lifestyle! I'd always had progressive ideals and permissive social values, I suppose, but this reaction was crazy. So, its all relative. And the fact is that someone somewhere will always find you shocking; it doesn't necessarily mean you are radical.

On a more serious note: while I have no idea how aggressively worded was the email you received, perhaps in similar future situations there might be a more diplomatic way to respond? In attempt to smooth the waters a bit more? I suggest this for one reason: consider that the mere fact of the email you received means that someone at that church (presumably not the same person who dispatched the email) had listened to your podcast and thought "This is valuable stuff! I'm going to share this with my church group in order to inform and enlighten and spread the word about practical steps to a more sustainable lifestyle." Isn't that what your evil empire is all about?! It seems a pity not to try to encourage such people somehow.

I totally agree that you can't and shouldn't censor yourself in order to please everyone out there who might possibly raise an objection to something you say. Anything you say. You'd end up never recording again. But since you indicated that you keep stock replies prepared to dispatch to the hate-mail authors you encounter, perhaps you could prepare an alternate stock reply for the slightly-less-venomous emails, the ones in which you sense there might be the slimmest hope remaining for effective communication. Suggestion: keep a paragraph prepared that you could copy into your responses along the lines of "I'm sorry that my language or my message didn't jive with your social norms, expectations, or pre-existing notions. I live and work according to my own norms, based on my own principles, and don't censor myself in order to comply with others'. But if you find the topics that I address interesting, please consider downloading [insert short list of links to articles and podcasts] which my friend Jocelyn has reviewed and found to contain valuable content with less controversial language or opinions."

P.S. I nominated Jocelyn for this assignment because she strikes me as having an innate sense of diplomatic tact.

Just a suggestion in keeping with the let's-not-bicker-and-all-focus-on-practical-steps-for-forward-progress philosophy you promote here at Permies (which, by the way, is what I love most about your forum!).

Sincerely,

M
 
paul wheaton
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I wish to be clear: the person that wrote me is a dipshit. Attempting to please dipshits, rewards the entire dipshit movement. Sharing the dispshittery is provided here for the sake of comedy - which is all it is good for.

I think that if there is value in doing all of this a different way, then somebody other than me should stand up and do it. Until then, I will continue on my path.

At the same time, I do want want the hugelkultur article to get into the brains of 50 million people. So I will continue to push that in a way that will get the information in their head before they ever hear one podcast. And then, out of those 50 million, maybe a couple thousand will be a fit for our community and stick around.



 
Ernie Wisner
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hey that was erica and I's pod cast WTF I listened to last night and i think you cussed one time. hell i am the sailor here i should be cussing every other word.
Naa Paul you cant make everyone happy and i would expect that there is probably one person that complained. We are not saints and i dont think i want to meet a Paul that is acting like everyone wants him to. he would probably be a cereal killer (watch out raisin bran) and weigh about 1000 lbs. heaving his bulk out to the fields of monsanto grass to graze with the rest of the cows with guns.
 
Mark Harris
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I have listened to loads of old podcasts, and to all the new ones for a few months. They are oddly compelling.

Recently though Paul, one was nearly three hours long ! MP3 players are designed for 3 minute pop songs. If by mistake I skip to the the end or back to the beginning of a long podcast I am screwed.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Apparently I need to make a list. It appears that I have missed out on a number of podcasts. Church people? Lawton? Did Alexia do another podcast?
 
paul wheaton
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Mark Harris wrote:I have listened to loads of old podcasts, and to all the new ones for a few months. They are oddly compelling.

Recently though Paul, one was nearly three hours long ! MP3 players are designed for 3 minute pop songs. If by mistake I skip to the the end or back to the beginning of a long podcast I am screwed.


There is "pause" though, right?

And fast forward and rewind, right?

How do recorded books do it?
 
paul wheaton
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:Apparently I need to make a list. It appears that I have missed out on a number of podcasts. Church people? Lawton? Did Alexia do another podcast?



Only one with alexia.

Two with Geoff Lawton.


 
Mark Harris
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paul wheaton wrote:
Mark Harris wrote:I have listened to loads of old podcasts, and to all the new ones for a few months. They are oddly compelling.

Recently though Paul, one was nearly three hours long ! MP3 players are designed for 3 minute pop songs. If by mistake I skip to the the end or back to the beginning of a long podcast I am screwed.


There is "pause" though, right?

And fast forward and rewind, right?

How do recorded books do it?


No idea re recorded books. I listen to the podcasts whilst working on the farm. Its very easy to bend down and by accident hit the button that sends the podcast to the beginning again, or to the next podcast. Yes there is forward and rewind, but on all the players I have had its very slow. As I said probably its designed for 3 minute pop songs. Plus to forward and rewind to find where you were on a long podcast is not easy. Especially when its one 2 hours and 50 minutes long (as happened the other day).

Your podcast. Your work. So I am not telling you what to do. But I reckon people will be more likely to stay attentive if its under an hour. Getting the mesage across is whats important right ?

 
paul wheaton
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So if three hours is problematic, what is the longest size that is not problematic? Is a podcast that is an hour and fifteen minutes a hassle?

 
Matthew Nistico
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@Paul - I can answer your question about recorded books. I listen to audiobooks on my iPod all the time. They are most often divided into chapters, so that you can skip to the chapter start nearest to the point where you left off. The best are, of course, divided according to the actual chapters of the book, though strangely the divisions are sometimes at arbitrary points instead. Go figure. I imagine that you might divide yours podcasts evenly into 5-minute sections or something. Occasionally you do get an audiobook that is one continuous 7-hour .mp3 file, and Mark is absolutely correct: screaming, expletive-filled nightmare just waiting to happen! As he correctly pointed out, iPods are designed to handle short songs. The fast forward feature is very slow, so it can take many minutes to scan through a very long file in order to locate your desired point in the middle. I've never had this problem with your podcasts, but then I am not a representative sample to point to, I'm sure - I never actually download yours; for some reason my pattern has always been to stream them live from your download page through my computer speakers, usually listening while I fix dinner or something.

Now to the technical part... The most simple method to divide your podcast would no doubt be to make each section its own .mp3 file. And indeed one often finds audiobooks prepared in that manner. The best, however, are a single .mp3 file with chapter subdivisions built into the file. The iPod recognizes these and displays them as little lines dividing the progress bar at the bottom of your display (I use an iPod Classic). If you press and hold the forward or back button on the iPod, it scans forward or back at its normal, infuriatingly-slow pace. If you just tap the button, it skips to the next/last chapter start. Very convenient! Unfortunately, I have no idea how one authors a .mp3 file in order to achieve this effect : (
 
paul wheaton
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Well, I was thinking that I might ask Suzy Bean to take anything longer than 90 minutes and cut it in half. This won't solve the problem, but it will reduce the problem.

I suppose that if the chapter marker thing is something that fixes things universally for folks, AND it is something that people here can tell Suzy Bean how to do using audacity, then it might be a doable thing.

 
Matthew Nistico
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@Paul - Regarding length, I usually find the podcasts anywhere between 45 and 75 minutes the most convenient. But it all depends on the circumstances during which you listen, so I imagine you will hear a lot of different preferences from a lot of different people. Truthfully, it also depends on content. I can listen to bricks about guilding together plant species or designing rocket mass heaters for hours. I can usually stick with a rant about stupid people or infighting within the larger permie community for about 25 minutes tops. Though these ARE informative regarding the nature of the green movement going on out there. Where I live, one can travel many miles before encountering another soul who could even define permaculture, let alone argue with you over implications of the Third Ethic. And I just don't have time to participate in many online communities. So in my world, I'm largely oblivious to the social dynamics that you have to deal with, which are interesting, too. When I someday become more active in such communities myself, I'll no doubt find your observations on how to deal with self-righteous hippies invaluable, hehe : )

Since you asked for our opinions, I have also noted that when you can get a good dialogue going with two or more people it generally makes for a more dynamic podcast. And who cares if one can hear forks clinking on china while you talk?!

But they're all good, so the most important thing is just keep 'em coming! And thanks for them : ) They’ve been a priceless asset for me as I struggle to establish my own homestead. Priceless… and you give them away for free. I must empathize with your frustrations: how can so many criticize you for such an altruistic endeavor?
 
Mark Harris
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paul wheaton wrote:So if three hours is problematic, what is the longest size that is not problematic? Is a podcast that is an hour and fifteen minutes a hassle?



Maybe a podcast that is one hour fourteen seconds is better ? Actually the idea of splitting podcasts around 90 minutes long into two is a good idea. Thats what I was getting at. Already book reviews for just one chapter are split into how many podcasts (I have lost count) ?

For those probable majority who listen via a computer what are they doing for an hour an a half ? Not everybody will be able or wanting to devote 90 minutes to listening to a single podcast. Its more likely I would have thought that people will listen to a 40 minute one from start to finish. Say for example you come in for lunch after working on your plot. An hour and a half lunch is a long lunch.

As an experiment I have just tested how long it takes to forward my player (sony walkman) by 1 hour of podcast. It took around three minutes and around ten seconds. It may not sound like long, but try looking at the players counter for three minutes, and you will see what i mean. Add onto that time to find exactly where you were in the podcast if you lose your place, and it gets really tiresome.

On my podcast downloader software thingy I have nearly 50 podcast programmes set to download fairly regularly. Most of them are ones that are BBC radio programmes (like 'Farming today' for example). Its very noticable that the independant ones are almost always alot longer !

Re swearing. It doesn't bother me. Maybe the people it bothers are idiots ? But in your quest for world domination (or just trying to get the message across to as many people as possible) would it be a good thing not to alienate the small number of people that it bothers ? If i had listened to these podcasts and you had never used the f word for example, I can't imagine thinking these podcasts would be SOOOO much better if he had used the f word. Maybe those church people now didn't listen to the overall message because of the swearing ? That might be a shame ?

Can I thank Matthew for saying I was right. Its a very odd sensation to hear somebody say that.

Lastly can I make it clear that I am grateful to Paul for the FREE podcasts. I could make some small points of criticism about the podcasts, but I think that would be pushing my luck ! But overall I really enjoy them, and are grateful for them when I am working (feeding the mealworms/digging up eggs etc).



 
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