Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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3/31/2009


Your ISP Hates You: AT&T and Comcast Confirm They’re Working With RIAA

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:03 pm

So sorry this is late…I thought I had posted the link, but found it in the “pending” queue.

From Gizmodo: Your ISP Hates You: AT&T and Comcast Confirm They’re Working With RIAA

From the article: “Remember how the RIAA was getting ISPs to help battle copyright infringers after they gave up lawsuits, and AT&T was all ‘no comment’? Now AT&T and Comcast admit, yep, they’re working with the RIAA.”

So does this mean they no longer qualify for common carrier status?

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3/30/2009


One XM Radio Down, Two to Go

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 9:32 am

I cancelled my Inno’s XM subscription this morning.

I cannot tell you how much that hurt, but it’s way past time. The service has collapsed in on itself over the past year or so, to the point where the only thing I listen to any more on XM is The Bob Edwards Show, and even that is barely listenable anymore - no, no, it isn’t the quality of the programming the show provides, it’s the lousy quality of the sound being broadcast. It’s clear XM dramatically cut the bandwidth on channel 133, especially whenever anyone on the show speaks a word with the letter “S” in it. Even so, they raise my rates for three radios by $13.00/month, while sending friends of mine offers as low as $4.99/month for primary radios! It’s pretty clear the only “loyalty” they have to long-time subscribers is to picking their pockets to try and dig themselves out of the massive debt that required selling 2/5th of the company to DirectTV.

It is especially painful since for years before XMPR, I was arguing that for-profit public-radio-style programming was a viable alternative to the screaming talk-jocks currently polluting the airwaves of commercial radio. I wanted XMPR to succeed, to play public radio programs and still make a profit on selling commercial time during those programs. But a succession of program directors without any experience in the public radio arena, coupled with a “bastard-child” mentality at XM and now SiriusXM, meant there was no chance of that ever happening. Couple the abysmal sound quality, and I’ve pretty much checked-out completely from XMPR, excepting the aforementioned Edwards show.

I still have two radios I’m paying for, but this too will be changing as quickly as possible. Any music listening I do is through Slacker or Pandora, which both have much better sound quality than the 32kbps XM stream (which, effective Wednesday, costs an additional $3.00/month, although they’ll add a 128kbps stream for that cash). And I’d wager a bunch that next year, when contract time rolls around, the Edwards show will be canceled. Assuming the company actually makes it that long, of course…

But still, it kinda breaks my heart to pack away that Inno. It was, in the beginning at least, one helluva radio.

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3/25/2009


No joke in April Fool’s Day computer worm

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:42 am

From CNN: No joke in April Fool’s Day computer worm

From the article: “…but on April 1 a master computer is scheduled to gain control of these (infected) zombie machines, said Don DeBolt, director of threat research for CA, a New York-based IT and software company. What happens on April Fool’s Day is anyone’s guess.”

Look, there is no need for panic, alarm, or sending email to everyone in your address book. Take reasonable precautions, just as you should every day; install anti-virus software (post in the comments if you need some suggestions or pointers), back-up your important files, and keep your copy of Windows current with the latest security updates from Microsoft (lord knows there are so many security holes in it MS is kept busy applying patches). And once that’s done, relax.

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3/19/2009


‘Star Trek’ Fans Put Kirk’s Command Chair in Their Homes

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:19 pm

From The New York Times: ‘Star Trek’ Fans Put Kirk’s Command Chair in Their Homes

From the article: “But lately fans like Mr. Veazie have been building or buying more sophisticated versions of the command module from which James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, ordered ‘Ahead, warp factor six.’ Moreover, they are making them the centerpiece of their homes, thus conquering what is for them a final frontier of domestic décor.”

Hey, at least I never actually built one.

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3/17/2009


Computer programmer from Finland has lost finger replaced with USB drive

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:52 am

From the London Telegraph: Computer programmer from Finland has lost finger replaced with USB drive

From the article: “A computer programmer from Finland who lost his ring finger in a motorcycle accident has had it replaced with a USB drive.”

Why the hell didn’t I think of that?

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3/14/2009


My One Day Away from Computers

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:48 pm

Tomorrow is the Ides of March, and as has been my tradition for many years now (much longer than most of you have owned computers, and longer than some of you have been alive), I am spending it away from computers. I’ve commented in the past about how things have changed over the years, and about how much simpler it used to be, and I can’t help but think about it again. When I started this, everyone knew what a computer was, but now the lines have blurred so that I can’t quite figure out how to be true to it. My cell phone has much more computing power than the machines I used to avoid for this day. Should I avoid it? If it’s ok to use it, should I send tweets (Twitter messages) with it, or only use it for voice? The television, microwave, almost everything has a computer in it nowadays.

But then, I don’t work all that hard…I just spend a day away from keyboards, the Internet, and work, and instead watch an old TV show, read a book, take a walk, and just enjoy the day. Soon enough, it’s over and I’m back in front of the keyboard, looking forward to next year’s day without.

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3/12/2009


2009 Cincinnati OTR Convention Moved!

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television — Charlie Summers @ 12:48 pm

Received info from Bob Burchett that the hotel scheduled to hold this year’s Cincinnati Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention closed it’s doors! Poor Bob only found out last Sunday, yet managed to scramble to find a new home for the con. (Bob is officially the man-of-the-hour as far as I’m concerned…I can only imagine what the last few days have been like for the guy!)

At any rate, complete information is included in this updated flier - download it ASAP for all the info, and send Tweets, Facebook updates, and anything else you can think of to get the word out!

icon for podpress  Ebook: Download

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3/11/2009


XM OnLine Low-Quality Public Relations Disaster

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 2:43 pm

Not that SiriusXM needs any more bad publicity, but now they are ticking off some of their most loyal customers by promising included access to higher-quality on-line streams and then not delivering.

While the reason is as yet unclear, there seem to be two possible yet mutually-exclusive possibilities; 1) They technically screwed-up and are currently prohibiting their customers from accessing the streams inadvertently, or 2) only the low-quality 32kbps stream is included in the long-term “lock-in” requiring a payment of $2.99 for the “Premium” streams. The latter could cause the company a problem, though, as customer service representatives told many of those who paid for long-term commitments they would be receiving the higher-quality streams as part of their package.

Either way, it’s yet another black eye for the satellite radio carrier, upsetting even some of the most ardent XM “fanboyz.” I’ll be updating this as information arrives; stay tuned.

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Leaked: Inno firmware v2.11 with FM modulator turn on

Filed under: News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 8:47 am

From Orbitcast: Leaked: Inno firmware v2.11 with FM modulator turn on

From the article: “This handy piece of version 2.11 firmware - with the FM mod turned on - fell off the back of a truck and landed in the hands of yours truly. And now, it’s available for all Orbitcast readers to enjoy. To be clear, this firmware update is not authorized by Sirius XM Radio… but that’s what makes it fun right?”

The idea of hacked Inno firmware fills my entire body with quivers, and a little annoyance since I decided to cancel my Inno’s XM subscription at the end of this month. And make certain you read the entire article and all comments before reflashing your Inno, or bad things could happen.

Now that hacked firmware is a reality, is it possible…after all this time…that someone on the outside might actually fix that d*mnable DST bug in 2.11???

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3/10/2009


Helping Hand Will Put Bite on Sirius XM

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:19 am

From the Motley Fool: Helping Hand Will Put Bite on Sirius XM

From the article: “The company is certainly not out of ideas to milk more revenue out of its user base. It has moved to increase monthly rates on additional subscriptions under the same account. It plans to charge for premium online streaming….None of the moves are easy sells at this point. Churn may spike as subscribers cancel additional accounts.” I will, anyway.

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3/3/2009


Re-creation of Baby Snooks at SPERDVAC

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 11:12 am

Gregg Oppenheimer posts to the Internet OTR Digest about directing a recreation of “The Baby Snooks Show” at this year’s SPERDVAC Convention (May 1-3, 2009 at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn). Additional information on the recreations Gregg will be directing is on his blog.

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3/2/2009


PODCAST: The Jimmy Durante Show, 10/8/1947

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 2:46 pm

I received from Jerry Haendiges, of The Vintage Radio Place a large collection of programs, with the suggestion I “broadcast” some of them here on the blog…thing is, many of the programs he sent I’d never heard, and some I’ve never heard of, even as long as I’ve been in the hobby. So for the foreseeable future I’m going to run the shows he sent in low-bandwidth MP3 format - even at 32kbps mono, these shows are some of the best-sounding shows you’ll hear. But remember for even better sound, these shows (and a few bazillion others) may be purchased from Jerry in either audio CD format, or ultra-high-quality MP3 format.

Today is, at Curmudgeon Central at least, a snow day; the Katester is off school, the skies are gray, and the driveway is filled with snow needing to be shoveled. So while I generally don’t run comedy/variety series here on the blog, I’m making an exception today to help lighten the mood.

NBC’s New Jimmy Durante Show was a continuation of The Durante-Moore Show, the successful collaboration of Jimmy Durante and Gary Moore. Once Moore left, Durante continued the show with Arthur Treacher, later the figurehead of a successful chain of fish-and-chips restaurants, Peggy Lee, Candy Candido, and in this episode, guest Eddie Cantor, who years before, John Dunning reports, was a singing waiter at Terry Walsh’s club on Coney Island while Durante played piano. At the end of the show, Rexall sportscaster Tommy Harmon reports from Detroit on all the football news. Enjoy this show from October 8, 1947!

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc.) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  The Jimmy Durante Show; October 8, 1947 [31:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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