Archive | December, 2004

Prometheus ‘Zine

The other day I recieved the new edition of Prometheus Radio Project‘s newsletter Prometheus Delivered in the mail. Although they call it a newsletter, it more resembles a ‘zine to me, with a simple photocopied layout.

There’s good stuff inside, including a story on how a LPFM in Idaho Springs, CO kept the town informed during a “freak snowstorm,” and a short article on the Radio Re-Volt project written by Christina Dunbar-Hester, who spoke on a panel with DIYmedia’s John Anderson and myself. And that’s just a portion of it.

They send copies to everyone on their snail mail list, so it’s easy to get yourself a copy. Then consider sending them a few bucks to help them keep up the good work.

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Review of MZ-NH1, Sony’s Top Hi-MD Recorder

I just posted to Epinions a pretty long review of my MZ-NH1 Hi-MD recorder that I’ve mentioned here recently. I like this recorder a lot, especially for its ability to upload audio you’ve recorded directly to your PC. At $329, it’s pretty pricey, but there also isn’t any other device out there that is as functional and capable at digital recording and playback in its price range.

I post electronics reviews to Epinions on an occasional basis. I do it because I’ve found other Epinions user reviews to be helpful in the past and I want to contribute to this store of knowledge. Even though it’s a dot-com profiting from user’s reviews, they do pay you based upon how many views your reviews get.

If you post a popular review, which means it’s a review of a popular item, you can easily make at least $25 for just one review. Although this may sound like pennies, you’d be lucky making any more than that writing freelance for a small print or web publication. The only way you’d make more than that is as a staff writer somewhere.

The other reason why I post reviews there is because they have a greater likelihood of being read by potential buyer than if I posted them here. I think user reviews can be useful when you’re contemplating a purchase since professional reviewers typically only have an item for a week or so, whereas someone who owns the item knows it much more thoroughly due to constant use. That doesn’t mean that every Epinions review is a gem, but it’s easy to pick out the thoughtful reviews, and Epinion’s own review rating system is a helpful guide.

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Anti-Inauguration Pirate Broadcasting on AM in DC Gets Dimed by CNN, Moves to FM

Last week ran an article on pirate station WSQT broadcasting at 1680 AM in Washington DC and making calls for massive protests against the Bush inauguration in January. The station was apparently discovered by a CNN reporter, who called the FCC for a response to the station. This tipped off the FCC, which didn’t yet know about the station.

As far as I can tell, no other news outlet has reported on the station.

In response to getting dimed out by CNN, the station posted an article to on Sunday stating that they’re moving their signal to FM because the setup is much more mobile:

The FM rig and its antenna set up and break down in seconds. The nature of FM(VHF) signals and their small antennas allows security steps to be taken that are impractical on AM.

Even if the FCC manages to capture one of our rigs, we have a bottomless ability to make more.

Unfortunately, this situation is just another example of why mainstream press coverage is not necessarily a good thing for an unlicensed station.

One thing that I am curious about is what kind of transmitters they’re using, since they both told CNN and posted to radio.indymedia that:

The big AM rigs with their 10 mile reported range(and a suspicious, questionable report of a skip heard in the UK) cost maybe $40 plus some time in the dumpster fetching parts, and the 3 mile range FM rigs maybe $15 for what the dumpster cannot provide.

I’d love to know how they’re making AM transmitters with a 10 mile range for $40. I can only guess, but that would have to be bigger than 100 milliwatt Part 15 transmitter to get that kind of range consistently.

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Sorry for Mediageek Outage

Some of you may have noticed that mediageek was out Thursday through Monday. This was the result of the commercial DSL line that feeds the mediageek server being cut abruptly. Mediageek is hosted on a community server that got DSL from a local ISP, which is basically a reseller of SBC DSL.

The local ISP notified our sysadmin, Zach, just about 10 days ago that the DSL service was going away, but without giving a firm date. Zach tried to negotiate with the ISP, even offering to buy a T1, but got very little response. So when service went down abruptly early last Thursday, he was prepared, but not quite ready.

Thanks to the generosity of a local tech firm, the server is back connected to the internet while we wait for new service to be installed by MacLeod USA.

Other websites hosted on the server, like the U-C IMC, were back on-line Friday. Mediageek took longer because my domain registration is with a different company that was on holiday until today.

Big thanks go to Zach for getting the server back on the ‘net within 12 hours. He has been the tireless sysadmin and host of the U-C IMC website since inception, and mediageek for the last 2 years, and has kept it going through hack attacks, website spam, and crazy service outages. It’s dedicated geeks like Zach who keep Indymedia and independent websites running, and they deserve our continuing gratitude.

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