Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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January 2012
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Google to merge user data across services; users can NOT opt out!

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:39 pm

From the Associated Press: Google to merge user data across more services

From the article: “Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.”

Honestly, I assume they’ve been doing that all along, frankly, my guess is they are just being honest about it now. And Andrioid telephone owners are really SOL, since Google will be able to track where they are, who their friends are, and everything inbetween!

You wonder why I remove all the Google applications from my Android tablets and turn off GPS and other location methods? If this doesn’t spur the creation or at least the fork of a truly open and free phone/tablet device operating system, one that is not giving every bit of your personal information to either the huge Apple or the mammoth Google, I will have lost my faith in the geeks of America, and know they have completely and totally drunk the corporate kool-aid.

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Yuri Rasovsky, Renowned Audio Dramatist, Dies at 67

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:22 pm

From the REPS Online Twitter feed comes the news that Yuri Rasovsky, contemporary producer/author of radio drama, has died of esophageal cancerĀ at his Los Angeles home. He was 67. You can find the full obit at The Hollywood Reporter, and visit Yuri’s website.

Yes, I realize it’s odd for me to be posting about a contemporary audio dramatist, but Yuri adapted for radio, directed, and produced one of the precious few contemporary audio dramas I believe is on a par with the very best of classic Old-Time Radio; a 1983 production of “By His Bootstraps,” starring Richard Dryfuss. Dryfuss in this production has that magical “it” that only the finest of the workaday radio actors had…the ability to sound completely and utterly natural while performing using only the voice. The supporting actors in this production do not exemplify this mysterious “it,” IMHO which allows one a contrast to explain what it is I do not like about almost all Modern Audio Drama (summed-up I think as, “Ohmygod I can hear that actor ACTING!”), but since this play is based on the time-travel short story written by Robert Heinlein, Dryfuss doesn’t need to share the microphone with many other than himself. Dryfuss’ performance, coupled with Yuri’s direction and technical skill in layering the performance, creates a tapestry one can easily get lost in.

Yes, this is actually the old curmudgeon praising a program of MAD.

If you can find a copy, I urge you to give it a listen, especially if like me you are an unabashed Heinlein fan. And another “thank you” to Richard Fish for both introducing me to Yuri via email, and providing a copy some years ago when my self-recorded copy went missing.

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The 2012 Cincinnati OTR and Nostalgia Con

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 12:32 am

Man, I am running way behind. Bob Burchett, he of all things Cincinnati Nostalgia, provided the flier and registration form for the 26th annual soiree last week, but I was so busy I didn’t get it posted. So here ’tis, right below. (And I’m really sorry there’s no scheduled dinner again this year…the Katester loves little more than getting dressed-up for a hotel-based rubber-chicken dinner.)

We received the sad news today that this will be the last Cincinnati Convention…after the end last October of the Newark Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, I’m afraid there’s nothing devoted to old-time radio on the east coast…let’s hope the folks on the west coast, SPERDVAC and REPS, can keep OTR-focused conventions going for a precious few more years.

icon for podpress  2012 Cincinnati Convention Registration Form: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:44 am

I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions…they are far too easy to ignore on January 2nd. But this year I did think it would be a great idea to blog more, posting more podcasts of Old-Radio Shows and sharing my pearls of wisdom about arcane subjects no one cares about.

Well, that worked out well.

But as I desperately hold on to the Winter Holidays for the last remaining days (we celebrate Christmas here, and the tree is starting to lose its needles), I’m looking around for a Christmas show to run this weekend, just to remind everyone that the holidays are more a frame of mind than a calendar date, and awesomeness doesn’t need to be limited to only a week or two at the end of the year.

The podcast, sparse as it might be, might not last much longer, though. If the Congress of the United States decides to pass the terrible bills SOPA and ProtectIP, anyone with a burr in their saddle could shut down pretty much any website, turning off the DNS and in the extreme taking away the domain name…much of this without the need for anything so trivial as a judge.

We’ll ignore my feeling that “intellectual property” doesn’t exist (the framers of the Constitution were very careful to separate out property and copyright). We’ll ignore that the rest of the world must look at the U.S. as a bunch of thugs who believe we can completely control the Internet, like some gang demanding protection money from the shop-holders on a street. No, my objections to this set of bills written in toto by the entertainment industry is simpler than that.

It won’t work, and will cause havoc on the Internet.

Look, I’ve been working in IT (Information Technologies) since the 1980’s (using a VAX and a Bitnet-to-Internet gateway to get information from the Net!), and over the years have needed to go to…less than savory corners of the Internet for information and sometimes hacks to get clients’ machines working again. While certainly no expert, I do know how to get around the minimal and silly restrictions these bills detail; now imagine how trivial getting around these restrictions would be for your usual fourteen-year-old kid. Nope, if someone wants to share a copy of Harry Potter and the Milking of the Movie-going Public, they will, and this bill ain’t gonna stop ‘em.

No, but it might cause people to be attacked by the Industry for posting videos of their children’s birthday party if “that song” is in it, or a podcast like this one because of some obscure theme song. Right now, there is a financial cost to taking serious action against a website or family, which would (by design) be eliminated by these bills.

The most reasoned dissection of these bills and their likely effect on the Net is in this TechDirt article. Take a moment and read it (you can skip the comments, which tend to be…er…less considered and measured), and then take another moment to contact your congrescritters today and point them to that article.

And once you’ve done that, grab a glass of egg nog and hum softly a holiday song. You’ll feel much better, I promise.

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