Post Ike Post

Traffic Cop

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Traffic Cop

As the city struggles to recover from Hurricane Ike, more and most people are hitting the roads. Driving to work, running errands, etc. Of course with a lot of the city without power there’s a lot of traffic lights that are just dark. Traffic during peak hours, while not all that great on a normal day, is extremely bad as those who barely (if at all) qualify for a drivers license vainly struggle to sort out the de facto 4-way stops that plague even the shortest trip on any given surface street.

Today was the first day I’ve seen the local police out directing traffic. It helps, but there’s still a lot of congestion. As I was driving into town this evening the traffic on 59 headed out of the city was the thickest I’ve ever seen it. And that was at 8:00 pm.

Lovett

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Lovett

I swung by KPFT to see how things were going. I’d heard that the station had gotten back on the air on Friday and actually played “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles repeatedly for an hour. For those not in the know, this was the first song played on KPFT when it went on the air on March 1, 1970.

As of now the station is on the air and returns to the normal schedule first thing on Tuesday morning. We’re actually hijacking our own Internet connection to send the signal to the transmitter over IP until we get things sorted out with the microwave.

Of course this means Technology Bytes will be back on Wednesday which gives me the happy. Anything to return my own sense of routine and normalcy goes a long, long way.

The Geek Speaks

Once again the mighty news media empire calls out for a tech expert and Houston’s Best Tech Geek responds to the call!

Jeff Ehling wanted to come by and interview me for a a story on ABC 13 (KTRK) about about the new music service Qtrax that claims to be offering free and legal music downloads via P2P…

It’s available here for your web viewing pleasure:
Free online music downloads?

Jeff was telling me they’ve been getting mixed feedback on the new web site. I gotta say, I like it! It’s slick and easy to navigate. and I’m not just saying that because it was easy to find the piece featuring my interview so easily after the broadcast on the 6 o’clock news!

O Holy Night

Every year on Technology Bytes we play this song on the air during the show right before Xmas.

The artist is unknown as it was a random find on the Internet some years ago. Our engineer slash co-host slash resident humorist phliKtid brought it to the studio a few years back and it’s been a tradition ever since.

It has been called the BEST and the WORST rendition of this song ever recorded. I will guarantee you one thing, after you listen to it all the way through you will never hear this song the same way again.

You can download the file from the link above or stream it via the podcast player just below this text…

Volunteers Are Standing By

phliKtid, co-host and engineer for Technology Bytes, takes a turn manning the phones to take listener pledges during the 2007 fall fundraiser for KPFT on Halloween night…

Remembering his volunteer training phliKtid is calm, courteous and professional


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After taking the pledge he thanks the listener for their generous support


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Break time!


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Humberto And The SciGuy

The Houston Chronicle’s own weather geek, Eric “SciGuy” Berger, will call in
tonight on Technology Bytes to talk about the science of the tropical storm (Humberto) that’s bearing down on us here in Houston.

Eric does the SciGuy blog, and is a finalist for an Online News Association award.

We’ll bring him on right after the regular news segment around 8:30 CST or so.

Tune in at 90.1 FM KPFT or catch the stream from the station website at kpft.org

Don’t Shoot!

If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all this week then I am sure
you have heard about the recent shooting at KPFT, the station I broadcast Technology Bytes from each Wednesday from 8-10 pm.

To recap (from the KPFT site):

At about 1 AM Monday, August 13 a gunshot was fired
from a passing car into the KPFT control room. It penetrated thru both
panes of the outer window, entered the room and smashed into the control
room door on the far side of the room. Police were summoned and have begun an investigation.
Fortunately, Mary Thomas and John Orr of “Zydeco Pas Salé” were not hurt.

I have sat in that control room many times in the last 20 years of programming at KPFT. Only in the last few years have I had an engineer working the board (thanks phliKtid!) which allows me to sit in the windowless on-air studio.

I’m truly grateful that no one was hurt during the incident

This is not the first violent episode at KPFT.

The station’s transmitter was bombed and destroyed on May 12, 1970,
two months after going on the air. The new station was off the air for
three weeks until repairs could be made.

Five months later, on October 6, 1970, while the station was broadcasting Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” the transmitter was bombed yet again and
the damage was significantly more extensive. The second bombing took
KPFT off the air for three months.

Check out this rare video:

The bombing was at the transmitter and the actual station was unharmed, as were the programmers and staff of KPFT.

There’s a piece of the destroyed transmitter on display at the radio station.
It’s upstairs so you have to know about it or ask to see it if you are just
a casual visitor.

Then there was the time not too long ago that the guy who has been ranting and raving all over the Internet about Technology Bytes and KPFT conspiring with Microsoft to exploit the American public showed up at the station brandishing a shotgun.

As to the recent shooting, I have no idea what the motivation might be.
It could have been someone upset with our left leaning programming, it could
have been random, it could have been a disgruntled volunteer…heck,
it could have been someone upset with Rick Heysquierdo for playing one
too many Billy Joe Shaver songs on Lone Star Jukebox for all I know…

The Freepers are going back and forth from accusing us of shooting ourselves as a publicity stunt or a
conspiracy to suggesting that we were “asking for it” …

One thing’s for sure, this event has the opportunity to galvanize
support for KPFT in this community.

No matter your political leanings, no matter your spiritual beliefs
or taste in music, everyone (sane) can agree that shooting a
radio station is just crazy and, quite possibly, a REAL symbol
of the threat to freedom of speech and expression faces each
and every day in this country.

If anything, the recent shooting might bring some much needed
attention to the plight of our little public radio station. Maybe more
people will be motivated to get involved. It’s times of crisis that seem
to bring out the best in people.

I don’t see my show as a lightning rod for controversy, but I sometimes
lose site of the fact that KPFT can be.

I’ll be doing my show tonight. Business as usual. But you can bet I will be a little more on the wary side than before.

Links of interest:

Rolas de Aztlan (kpft.wordpress.com)
Notes from KPFT Program Director Ernesto Aguilar

The Texas Observer (www.texasobserver.org)
KPFT’s Close Call

Charles Kuffner (offthekuff.com)
KPFT targeted for “alternative” programming?

Geek Party

The party celebrating the 12th anniversary of Technology Bytes was, by all measures, a huge success. We had a good crowd and a good time was had by all. DJ Amanda Robinson was excellent in the mix and The Free Radicals were quite a lot of fun, especially when they performed a version of the theme song we use to open the show each week.

Thanks to everyone who came out!

Here are some random shots I managed to take in between all the socializing…



TV Time

Got a call from Jeff Ehling over at the local ABC affiliate (Channel 13). He was putting together a story to tie in to the recent FBI press release regarding botnet cyber crime and needed a geek talking head.

Lord knows there’s no talking head geekier than yours truly and despite my fear of being in front of the camera, I agreed to do it. I try not to pass up any opportunity to promote the radio show. Plus I think I must secretly enjoy being scared out of my wits.

Much like the previous times, it went smoothly enough and I was not horrified with the results. Jeff did a great job on the story and used sound bites from me in the piece that worked well and I was very pleased to hear him use talking points that came from our more candid off camera conversation.

You can see the news story video here.

Xshot promotional offer

So pleased was the Xshot corporation with my blathering the benefits of the Xshot that they have offered the readers of baldheretic.com and the Technology Bytes blog an opportunity to pick one up at a discount.

From now until July 15th you can go to xshotpix.com and order the Xshot and use the promo code GEEKRADIO at the time of checkout for a $5.50 discount. Just type GEEKRADIO into the box that says Coupon when you are checking out.

Look at me! I’m a shill! 🙂 Just kidding, I love my Xshot!

Tron

Gearing up for our 12th anniversary, Technology Bytes Radio is teaming up with The Petrol Station and St. Arnold Brewery to bring you Tron, the original geek movie, projected in all it’s gigantic glory outdoors and on the back wall.

The event will be Friday, July 1st. and admission is FREE!

The movie should fire up around 9 PM but feel free to come on out anytime after 7:30 and join the crew of Technology Bytes for some brews and a very geeky evening.

The Petrol Station is located at 985 Wakefield Dr. here in Houston, TX.
Click here for a map

Phone number is (713) 957-2875

Good Morning Houston

So the interview on ABC 13 went well, I think. 2 minutes and 27 seconds was the total time. You can view it on Jeff Ehling’s blog by clicking here.

I enjoyed the experience. The staff that makes up the Sunday morning crew made me feel welcome and at ease. Elissa Rivas conducted the actual interview and she made it very pleasant.

When the interview was over Mark Garay (who, by the way, was wearing tennis shoes behind the anchor desk) asked me to stop by and speak with Carmin the producer on my way out. I figured they must want me to sign something or I don’t know what, but I stopped by. No paperwork, oh no. Carmin was having a computer problem and they wanted my assistance.

Turns out that Carmin’s workstation was having a problem with the time change. This was the computer she was using to manage the current on air program with all the various time blocks, story segments, commercial breaks and so forth and every couple of minutes it was reverting back to pre-DST time after she would manually set it to the correct time.

My guess expert opionon was that it must be synching to an NTP server and also not have the current software update to allow it to sort out the time change.

How ironic. Here we are making light of the Y2K7 problem and how it’s no big deal and the very show hosting the interview is in danger of collapsing in a Microsoft-induced DST wormhole.

There’s no way to patch the machine what with it being used to mange a live program. It would have to wait till after the show and wait for one of the ABC IT staff as I was on my way out the door.

It was a great fun and I hope to do more work with ABC in the future.