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Linux Appliance Brings Podcasts to the People 70

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-doesn't-come-with-personality-in-a-box dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux has been used to create a podcast capture appliance that aims to make podcasting as dead-simple as possible, in order to give everyone a 'voice in public discourse, not just those who own TV towers. [...] Aimed at corporations, schools, radio stations, and churches, the "Podcast in a Box" appliance starts recording when a USB key is inserted, and uploads the podcast to a server when the key is removed. The product is also available for free as a live/installer ISO image based on Ubuntu.'"
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Linux Appliance Brings Podcasts to the People

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  • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by PygmySurfer (442860) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @05:09AM (#16375551)
    The PIAB is based on a mini-ITX motherboard powered by a 1.3GHz x86-compatible Via processor and equipped with 256MB of SDRAM and an 80GB hard drive. Audio is supplied by an onboard Intel audio chipset. The system is housed in an off-the-shelf mini-ITX case from Travla.

    Come down? That was about $500 worth of hardware 2 years ago, it never should've been that high. I can understand they want to make a profit on it, but 4x what its worth seems excessive.

    PIAB has been available for about two years, priced at $2,000. Alternatively, it can be obtained for free as a live/installer ISO from the Box Populi website, although that site appears to be down at the moment.

    You think they could've at least done enough research to include the correct domain name [boxpopu.li] in their article.
  • by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <.kai. .at. .automatica.com.au.> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:12AM (#16375785) Homepage
    No, sorry, you don't get it.
    What this does is recognise the insertion of a "special" memory key - there's probably some kind of key file on the thing.
    When the machine sees this key inserted, it begins recording. When the key is removed, it transmits.
    The USB key functions like the key in a car, it starts and stops the process...
  • Sample podcast (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nuffsaid (855987) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:22AM (#16375815)
    "...[fumble noise] Ok, it's plugged... Is it? Wait... shouldn't someting pop up? Hmmm... [more fumble noise] Look into WHAT? Ok, I'm typing, tell me... [click, click] D, M, E, S, G, correct? ... It says USB Mass Storage device detected, ok? Now what? SCSI? What has this to do with SCSI? Ah, I'll trust you on this... [click, click][more fumble noise] Hello, here is Mark for another issue of Mark My Words, news from the world and stuff that matters to me..."
  • Re:Sample podcast (Score:3, Informative)

    by nick.ian.k (987094) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:03AM (#16377335)
    Absolute nonsense getting modded informative yet again. Try using a contemporary desktop-oriented distro -hell, try using last year's- and you'll see it's not like that at all. Ubuntu, SUSE, Linspire, and Madriva are all capable of managing removable storage devices such as USB thumb drives without any hoop-jumping, bending over backwards, or other assorted circus tricks and contortions.
  • Missing the Point (Score:3, Informative)

    by IEEEmember (610961) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:18AM (#16377499) Journal
    For those who said it has been done before;

    "aims to make podcasting as dead-simple as possible, in order to give everyone a 'voice in public discourse, not just those who own TV towers. [...]"

    YouTube and other solutions still require the user to understand and be comfortable with recording and uploading content. This device is aimed at markets serving people afraid to use ATMs. Perhaps many people here are too young to remember the days where the vast majority of VCRs flashed zeros because of the inability of the general public to set the time.

    For those who said it was too expensive;

    "Aimed at corporations, schools, radio stations, and churches, the "Podcast in a Box" appliance starts recording when a USB key is inserted, and uploads the podcast to a server when the key is removed."

    Frankly my problem is that, at this price point, you should get something that has a better form factor. I would think a device that looks like an audio recorder with rewind/fast forward/play buttons and level meters would be appropriate. However it appears that in many cases this device is being used in environments where the content was prerecorded, for example radio stations. In those cases the form factor and controls on this box are appropriate. The company specifically mentions the desire to tailor the box to the customer's needs.

    For those who questioned the prominence of Linux in the subject;

    "Linux Appliance Brings Podcasts to the People"

    The message here is not that "Linux is great, all hail Linux" the message is a marketing one. The term Linux Appliance is gaining great traction in the semi-technical literate community as a piece of hardware that can be dropped on a network to perform computer-like functions with very little configuration or support, like a TiVo. It implies (often incorrectly) a freedom from recurring fees (see TiVo). A customer's comment on the companies web site supports this statement "Our previous Windows solution crashed all the time; we never even think about our Linux appliances, they just work." Please note that the prominence of the term Linux Appliance was not limited to Slashdot, that is how this product was covered on other sites as well.

    While the Asterisk server is a great idea and I encourage you to build it, the point of this box is that it can be purchased, it works in tandem with a either the hosting server or the hosting service that is marketed to the same customers that are the target for this device. It does not require connection to a phone system that may incur a monthly charge and should be simpler for a non-technical staff to install and operate. Additionally this box is not subject to quality issues that might be encountered in a phone based system. The key to this solution is the end-to-end nature and hands off operation, the Asterisk solution you propose would be a nifty enhancement to one element of that solution. Frankly I think it has greater potential because content could be recorded and stored and then released for upload on a second call without any greater complexity than a typical voice mail system.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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