The SFFaudio Podcast #053


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #053 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Anne Frid de Vries of the Anne Is A Man blog for a talk about his wonderful podcast review blog.

Talked about on today’s show:
Anne Is A Man blog, reviewing podcasts, Five Free Favourites #4, Five Free Favourites (on Anne Is A Man), a Dutch person living in Israel, podcasting as “a new universe”, or “a secret world”, BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time, OPML files, iTunes, trading podcast subscription feeds, Dan Carlin, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, “History and Science Fiction go together like ham and cheese”, radio shows vs. podcasts, Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, interviews in different media, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBC, Tapestry, Spark, APM’s Speaking Of Faith, Canada wins!, Mary Hynes, Ideas, TVO’s Big Ideas, Hunting For Robin Hood |READ OUR REVIEW|, Writers And Company (on a re-imagining of Robin Hood), WNYC’s RadioLab, Robert Krowlich, Krulwich On Science, The Do It Yourself Scholar blog, UCSD podcasts, Victor Maganga‘s courses on East Asian Political Thought and Politics And Warfare, Yale podcasts, Stanford podcasts, the rationales of rating and reviewing audio, Harriet Klausner, Google’s PageRank, reading good books twice, Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Professor Hubert Dreyfus @ U.C. Berkley, the Greek and Judaic traditions, Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace, what’s wrong with radio!?!, radio in Canada, radio in the USA, radio in the Netherlands, radio in Israel, iTunes in Uzbekistan, The Teaching Company, where do you do your listening?, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Robots Podcast, Talking Robots Podcast, “The Future Of Artificial Intelligence“, “Robots: Chaos Control“, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: Carve Her Name With Pride: The Story Of Violette Szabo, S.O.E. operations, the film version of Carve Her Name With Pride, Dan Carlin’s series on The Ostfront, ‘WWII is the Iliad of our times’, the western front of WWI, Anne’s Pick Of The Week: New Books In History podcast, Marshall Poe, Jared Diamond, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Free @ Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

SFFaudio Online Audio

Hyperion BooksThis audiobook is a must listen for pretty much everyone who visits SFFaudio. It’s a fascinating history of the word and concepts of “FREE.” This is a word that affects you every day of your life. It’s a magic word, that creates fear, desire, curiosity, skepticism, love and hatred. If for no other reason listen for all the SFF genre mentions (though Anderson accidentally misnames one of Neil Gaiman’s books).

You’ll learn a ton by listening to this free book, I sure did! And, I bet if you listen to just 10 minutes you’ll have to listen to the whole thing.

In keeping with the recursive nature of the title, the UNABRIDGED audiobook version is FREE on It’s also available in a Zipped Folder for download from Wired magazine’s website |GET THE UNABRIDGED VERSION ZIPPED VERSION HERE|, from the publisher’s website (Hyperion Books) |HERE|. And it’s FREE in the Audiobook section of iTunes store too (that’s probably a first). Lastly it’s also available as an iTunes podcast too – do a search for it in iTunes (beware that the files are not ordered properly).

FREE The Future Of A Radical Price by Chris AndersonFree: The Future of a Radical Price
By Chris Anderson; Read by Chris Anderson
FREE Audible Download – Approx. 7 Hours 2 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hyperion Audio
Published: July 2009
The New York Times best-selling author heralds the future of business in Free. In his revolutionary best seller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that, in many instances, businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company’s survival. The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long. Just think that in 1961 a single transistor cost $10; now Intel’s latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor – effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don’t apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage. Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy. Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you’re trying to sell. In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how this revolutionary price can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.

Oddly, (or perhaps not if you’ve heard the book) the ABRIDGED audiobook version is NOT FREE!

is available |HERE|. There’s also a podcast feed of the abridged version HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Canadia: 2056 in the music section of the iTunes store

SFFaudio News

CBC Radio - Canadia 2056As our twitter subscribers already know the first 5 episodes of Canadia: 2056, the CBC’s last great Science Fiction (and comedy) series |READ OUR REVIEW|, are now available in the “spoken word” section of the iTunes store.

Spoken word is, of course, not the right category for Canadia: 2056. In fact it’s a terrible section for this great series. It is low traffic section and it has had titles removed from it (when has complained to Apple about titles in it violating their contractual monopoly on audiobook and audio drama content). Even worse these tracks will not have bookmarking features as found on audibooks in the audiboook section. Despite all these problems and the general caveats associated with downloading from the music store of iTunes (vs. the relative safety of you may want to snap these first 5 tracks up. Presumably if these first five tracks sell well CBC will put up the rest of season 1 and maybe even season 2!

Or you could just get the DRM free versions on CD through the CBC store HERE. It is more expensive that way, but it is 100% complete and it won’t disappear if you have a hard drive crash.

Matt Watts, the writer and star of Canadia 2056 points out that the files on iTunes are in fact DRM free! And that it’s just $4.99 for 5 episodes. That’s pretty damn good for DRM free!

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. CBC has failed to release the J. Michael Straczynski series The Adventures Of Apocalypse Al. For shame CBC! For shame!

The SFFaudio Podcast #033


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #033 – Jesse and Scott are burning bright this podcast. We’re talking new releases, recent arrivals, and future audiobook releases. We also briefly discuss the 2009 Hugo Awards. Around the middle we talk about BBC radio drama, specifically those based on the writings of Iain M. Banks and Alfred Bester. Feeling tenser? Perhaps you know the answer to this question…

“How can you get away with murder when everyone knows your thoughts?”

Talked about on today’s show:
New Releases, Recent Arrivals, Infinivox, Aliens Rule edited by Alan Kaster, How Music Begins by James Van Pelt, Okanaggan Falls by Carolyn Ives Gilman, Laws Of Survival by Nancy Kress, Full Cast Audio, Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce, Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein, William Dufris, Have Space Suit Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein |READ OUR REVIEW|, Tantor Media, The White Plague by Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, The Road To Dune |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ireland, Whipping Star by Frank Herbert, The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard, Todd McLaren, METAtroplis The Dawn Of Uncivilization |READ OUR REVIEW|, Brilliance Audio,, Brilliance Audio is releasing hardcopy DRM free versions of the Audible Frontiers audiobooks, Kurt Vonnegut, Audible Modern Vanguard, Dennis Boutsikaris, A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving, Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz, Keith Szarabajka, story on Iain M. Banks’ next novel Transition (podcast or audiobook?),, State Of The Art (BBC Radio Drama) based on the story by Iain M. Banks, BoingBoing story on Geoff Ryman’s novel The Child Garden to be podcast (with music), Simon Bloom: The Octopus Effect by Michael Reisman, Simon Bloom: The Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester or Tiger Tiger by Alfred Bester, there is no audiobook version of The Stars My Destination, the 1991 BBC Radio Drama version of Alfred Bester’s Tiger Tiger, telepathy, teleportation (jaunting), The Demolished Man would make an amazing audio drama, Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester, the 2009 Hugo award winners, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear (SSS Aural Delights version), Exhalation by Ted Chiang, The Erdman Nexus by Nancy Kress (is not available in audio), Inside Job by Connie Willis (is), Drive by James Sallis (a novella, is too), Wii Sports Resort, Wii Motion Plus, Bowman, turning off cable TV, X-Box 360, Wii Fit, Netflix, watching soccer/football without TV, Free:The Future Of A Radical Price by Chris Anderson, YouTube Star Wars fan Lego animation vs. Lucas Star Wars on DVD.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Hardware review of iPod Nano: 4th Generation 16 gb (purple)

SFFaudio Review

iPod Nano 4th Generation (purple)iPod Nano 4th Generation (Purple)
Capacity: 16GB (flash)
Manufactuer: Apple Inc.
Software version: 1.0.3
Themes: / Audiobook / Podcast / iTunes /

This is my third Nano and my fourth iPod. So far I’d rank it as the 2nd best audiobook and podcast player I’ve ever used. This Nano is just a smidge smaller than my previous iPod Nano, an 8gb 3rd generation model. The 3rd generation had a couple of features that make me prefer it over this latest model.

First, though the 4th generation’s screen is exactly the same dimensions as the 3rd’s it doesn’t function as well for audiobooks and podcasts. This is because the 3rd gen’s horizontal layout was friendlier for reading. The 4th generation, when turned sideways, will NOT display text from the Audiobook or Podcast folders, you have to keep the iPod vertical, this makes the amount of time you have to wait to see what’s in a directory a second or so longer. Second, unlike ALL previous iPod models the 4th gen will not charge with my bedside charger/speaker system. In order to keep the iPod charged I have to plug it into the computer itself. I am currently looking into an adapter – the seem to be about $50.00.

The Nano model series has been the best audiobook/podcast player up to the 3rd generation. Up to that point each model and software update the iPod Nano had been improving. Adding a bigger screen and more memory. On the day my first generation Nano was stolen I went straight to the store and immediately bought the 3rd generation – not only was the memory bigger, it’s screen was too. If my new 4th generation was stolen today I’d go out and buy another today- but for if they were still making 3rd gens in 16gb models, I’d buy that instead.

There are issues with the iTunes/iPod interface, many people complain about it, I myself have bitched now and again, but compared to the vast field of MP3 and other portable media players out there iPod+iTunes combo still has no serious competitors.

Features that make the iPod Nano a winner include:

1. True audiobook and podcast bookmarking.
2. A one handed (just your thumb actually) highly intuitive interface.
3. Small size (it can fit in a shirt pocket).

The bad:

1. DRM. provides all of the audiobooks available through the iTunes store, all are DRM’d making sharing and sometimes even accessing audiobooks inconvenient. And, the iPod isn’t compatible with Overdrive (the other big DRM audiobook service) – libraries are wasting their money on a service that can’t be used by more than 70% of the market.

2. $$$
The price is a little high, given the competition I’m willing to pay the premium, but the fact is these devices are always more expensive than their similarly featured (though not similarily functional) rivals. My latest iPod cost me $199.99 CDN, admittedly for the highest end 16gb model. But that’s about $20.00 more than the 16gb Microsoft Zune.

3. Reliability
iPods can be fairly good or fairly bad. When they work, they can work great day after day, and week after week for more than a year. But they all seem to have a fairly short lifespan. My last iPod lasted through only a 13 months of daily use. I definitely got my money’s worth, but I’d prefer to get MORE than my money’s worth.

4. Music/Video domination.
Despite the high praise I give for the iPod Nano as an audiobook and podcast player the machine is still primarily designed for music (and increasingly video). This reveals itself further in this the newest model, which has a widescreen interface (making it harder to read text and easier to watch movies). Another new feature, “genius” idea (shake it to mix it) is also utterly useless for audiobooks and podcasts. The only shaking I do with my ipod is when I’ve had too much coffee.

iPod Nano 4th Generation (purple)

Posted by Jesse Willis