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April 29, 2005

Atlas Blogged

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I've been putting some special effort into these two new author entries. I remember when I was a senior in high school and I decided to dive into my mother's battered copy of "Atlas Shrugged". I was an ambitious reader from an early age, and this book was one of those classic tomes that everyone recommends but hardly anyone has actually read. I'm not sure the philosophy would have worked very well for my mother, but for some reason she had it and I remember getting through most of it. Anyway, that brings me to the Ayn Rand page I recently put up. I know there are many Rand fans out there so I hope my Biographical Sketch has done her justice. If I had included everything I could have written a block of text that was the size of Atlas, and "The Fountainhead" combined. I'm dead serious.

Btw, if you are interested in more about Ayn Rand's life, I found this link while I was snooping around the net for information on her. It's actually pretty interesting to see those pictures of her in New York.

The other page created was a little lighter for those that may not be interested in lofty terms like Objectivism. Don't get me wrong, Al Franken is just as interesting as Rand. It's just on a different level. Hey, I'm sure he'd admit as much too! I recommend you listen to all of Al's Audio books. He reads them all and I've never laughed more listening to an Audio Book.

 

April 26, 2005

Rent Me

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Sometimes buying an audio book is just too pricey. I mean it's about 10 bucks more than a CD and you might not even like the book after you've spent alot of time on it. Well, now there's a few options for those that don't like to buy audio books. Netflix showed the renting over the internet can be big business and now tons of audio book rental outfits are showing up like crazy. In the future me and david will be recording a podcast that will try to navigate a path through the murky world of online audio book rental services, but for now I want to give you some links to pages I created as guides to a few of them:

  • Jiggerbug
  • Come Hear Books
  • BooksFree.com

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    April 26, 2005

    A Challenger Arises to Fight Audible

    Just did want to notify you all who's going to be Audible's main competition in the digital downloading of audio books sector. Media Bay is joining forces with MSN Music to create the largest downloadable audio book fleet this side of Audible's union with Apple iTunes.

    Media Bay powers their Audio Book Club which is sort of like the clubs you get through Columbia House or BMG Music if you ever got suckered into those.

    Audio Book Club offers to it's members 4 audiobooks for 99 cents (plus shipping and handling) as long as you purchase 2 audiobooks at regular Club prices ($11.95-$30) within the next year. But then the hook is during the year you receive 12 Audio Book Club catalogs which contain hundreds of titles including their featured selection which is automatically shipped to you unless you specify that you don't want it on your mailed decision card or via their website within 10 days. It's probably not the hottest business model for the dot-com days. And good news for Old Time Radio fans that have upgraded to iPods. Media Bay also owns Radio Spirits and Radio Classics which I'm sure will make those a lot of old time radio programs available for digital download. And I'm guessing all Media Bay's audio books on the club will now be availabe for digital download.

    But it ain't up on MSN Music yet as I can't really find any of their audio books there. But MSN Music does have a pretty nice Spoken Word Section which has a ton of audio programs available for digital download. I'll do a blog on this section at a later date, but it's got Smithsonian Folkways recordings, Maximum audio biographies of hot music pop stars, William S. Burroughs reading his poetry, a bunch of great comedy albums, and I'm sure a lot more if I browse enough.

    So back to the main event. Media Bay & MSN Music go head to head with Audible & Apple iTunes at the 2005 Audio Publishers Association Conference in New York City on June 2nd for the Digital Audio Panel from 11:00a.m.–12:15 p.m. It's going to be a Royal Rumble.

     

    April 23, 2005

    Language Podcast Appendix

    We've just concluded a truly electric podcast on the subject of language learning websites. I think we had a good time and learned alot too. Now that me and Dave are on our way to becoming true polyglots, we've decided you should have the opportunity too. If you listened to the podcast and are interested in visiting some of the sites we mentioned, I thought it might be good to list them all for your web browsing pleasure:

  • Pimsleur
  • Linguaphone
  • Penton Overseas
  • Berlitz
  • Power-Glide
  • Living Language
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Audio Forum

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    April 21, 2005

    Conversations with Neale

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    Just finished a Neale Donald Walsch Page for you all to enjoy. This is the guy that wrote one of my mother's favorites "Conversations With God". Real inspiring story if there ever was one. Here is a guy that is as successful as anyone has a right to be and then comes crashing down hard. I mean hard: we're talking a car crash that breaks his neck, a fire that destroys all his posessions and a divorce from his fourth wife, all of which happens within a year. Then to top it off he has to be homeless for the better part of a year. Whoa. So what does he do? He writes a note to none other than God, sends it off and gets a reply. Or so he says. I should probably listen to what he has to say before I make a conclusion on his work. Regardless, he's pulled himself out of that incredible hole and is now quite rich. Not that you'd catch him saying it mattered. Interesting stuff...

     

    April 20, 2005

    Publisher Pages

    I've been working on some publisher pages recently and I felt compelled tonight to write my own meager thoughts on a few of the companies I've helped profile.

    Sadly these publishers mentioned are out of business.

    First I'll talk about Airplay. These guys may not have much and yes, there is some trash fiction in the mix, but when they're good, they're really good. The Jamaica Kincaid books, Poetry selection and Shakespeare titles are all top notch and genuinely unique. There were only 19 titles currently listed on their page, but over half were of high quality and a proceed of the sales go to charity. Pretty cool way of working guys. I give you a thumbs up.

    Oh but wait, there's the best of the best of the publishers I've recently encountered. The winner of my personal best publisher of the week is Audio Scholar. I couldn't believe the titles I was going through with them. Everything had something of value, from Gandhi's biography to Carl Sagan's essays; it was all too much to handle! I wanted to listen to every one. If you want to get an idea of their topic range, I think it skews more on the end of science-based books, but there are a few titles devoted to people with more spiritual leanings. I think science is a good niche to take on since there are ALOT of spiritual audio book vendors out there but not many for more... left brain listeners out there.

    Check out the links, there's alot of things in there that I'm sure you've never seen on audio before. At least it was new to me!

     

    April 19, 2005

    PayPerListen.com

    payperlistenthumb.jpgSo I was looking at what seems to be Audible's main competition today. They are PayPerListen.com, the electronic download sector of Audiobooks.com. They've about 500 audio books available for download on MP3 from Blackstone Audiobooks, In Audio, Tantor Audio, SoundWorks, Wiley Audio, Full Cast Audio, Hollywood Theater of the Ear, and Penton Overseas. With the exception of SoundWorks (which publishes a lot of famous speeches) all these publishers are already on Audible although PayPerListen seems to have a few more titles from each of them and they may have different ones. PayPerListen's main advantage over Audible for us consumers is that if you aren't an Audible member and you're just buying digital audio books a la carte, PayPerListen seems to sell their downloads about $5-$10 cheaper than Audible. But check because it varies and a few times PayPerListen was more expensive when I browsed.

    Downloading seems easy enough even though you have to wait for a confirmation e-mail before you can download it. They have to clear your payment first and then they send you a link with a user name and password and you then have access to you audio book which comes in 1 hour MP3 segments you download. So unlike Audible you don't have to download any software to download the audio books. Like Audible once you've purchased the audio books they are always in "Your Library" so you can go back and download them again or you can download them in segments at a time.

    PayPerListen.com's downloads are encoded MP3s as opposed to Audible's AA audio. Audible's audio put the audio book right in the Audiobook section of your iPod if you have one so that you can bookmark it there. PayPerListen's MP3s can be uploaded on to any MP3 portable player. They did mention though that because of a deal they made with publishers that you can't burn their encoded MP3s onto CD which is most likely bad for those who want to download their audio books and burn them to CD. You can come to your own conclusion on PayPerListen.com's browseability with its dozens of categories but they have a nice advanced search. So it's good Audible has a competitor. Tomorrow I'll tell you a little about the Spoken Network which is another up and comer in digital downloading. Until then LearnOutLoud.com!

     

    April 19, 2005

    Stephen R. Covey Author Page is Up

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    Take a look at the Stephen R. Covey page I just put up. This guy is the grandfather of 43 separate human beings. While this is an already formidable accomplishment, Covey has fortunately managed to put out some inspiring audio books as well. Additionally, he's a regular on the self development seminar circuit and a prescence in Washington. All this AND he looks to be an amazing parent. His site www.franklincovey.com is worth checking out too: He doesn't just sell his books, but office supplies and journals as well.

     

    April 16, 2005

    Resources & Content Are Up

    We've got our Resources and our Content Up. You can check each section out at:

    http://www.learnoutloud.com/Resources

    -and-

    http://www.learnoutloud.com/Content

    And it is just the start of those sections. They will expand infinitely in the next months to further meet your audio & video learning needs.

     

    April 15, 2005

    Radio Ruminations

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    I've been thinking alot about how radio is changing. I think with my antenna on the fritz in my car, I've decided it's a waste of time to even try to listen to it the old way and thus lately I've been listening to it on streaming audio via the web. I didn't realize I was a junkie until recently the other day I got angry that my real player wasn't working. This is just like getting a bad signal during a good program: you just want to hit the dashboard. At least I do because I'm a violent person. :) Anyway, with podcasts and streaming audio, the old transistor is probably going to die. Yes, I'll repeat it, DIE. But that's ok because it doesn't mean radio's relevance is dead. Quite the contrary, I hold it quite dear as a resource that not only informs me on the daily news, but gives me music reccomendations and gets me up to date on every topic I could ever need. Put succinctly: content is more important than the vehicle of said content. Bring on the digital man, it only makes for better choices.

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    FYI: if your interested in what I listen to daily I'll give you a brief rundown. I start my day around 9:30. By 10 AM I listen to the Al Franken Show on Air America. At around noon I feel like music usually so I go to Minnesota Public Radio's INCREDIBLE 89.3 The Current. After that I usually spend the afternoon listening to either my local KCRW station or if I'm bored with that I go to Wisconsin's Idea Network. Yes, I'm an NPR fan. Deal. Oh yeah and I don't forget Adam Curry's mainstay Podcast, The Daily Sourcecode.