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Sci-Fi

Adams' Dirk Gently Serialized on BBC Radio 144

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-not-to-appreciate-a-robot-that-can-believe-stuff-for-you dept.
happy monday writes "Douglas Adams' 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency' is being serialised by BBC Radio, starring Harry Enfield. The first episode can be listened to on Radio 4's website now." The Times has a fairly glowing review of the program, and (for US folks like myself) some incomprehensible British-isms to boot.
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Adams' Dirk Gently Serialized on BBC Radio

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  • by tajmorton (806296) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @09:50PM (#20884313) Homepage

    Use mplayer to decode it and lame to encode it:

    $ mkfifo inandout
    $ lame inandout --tt "Episode 1" --ta "BBC Radio 4" --tl "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" --ty 2007 --tn 1 --tg "Speech" Episode1.mp3 &
    $ mplayer -prefer-ipv4 rtsp://rmv8.bbc.net.uk/radio4/comedy/wed1830.ra -ao pcm:file=inandout pcm:fast -vc dummy -vo null

    Or, if you want a script that cron can run: http://www.wildgardenseed.com/Taj/record-dirk-gently.txt [wildgardenseed.com]

  • Real player (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @09:55PM (#20884355) Homepage

    I hate real player too, but installed it a while ago to listen to BBC radio programs (some of which are worth it).

    In case anyone cares, this is apparently why they persist in using this abomination: http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedback/broadband_faq.shtml#latelyFAQ8 [bbc.co.uk]

  • by Smerity (714804) <smerity@smerity.com> on Saturday October 06, 2007 @10:13PM (#20884447) Homepage
    I'm glad that this is being serialized, Douglas Adams' work lives well in an audio form, and I'm sure the BBC will do it justice as they have his works in the past. I read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency some time ago and it held up to all the expectations I had from Douglas Adams. If you've enjoyed any of his past works, or enjoy the kind of humour found in Terry Pratchett you'd find this fun.

    This is honestly quite tailored to the scientific individual - the story focuses around a computer programmer (Richard MacDuff), an ongoing dilemma of Dirk Gently's great difficulty trying to track down a missing cat (Schrödinger's cat [wikipedia.org]), an issue with the moving sofa problem [wikipedia.org] (and how it was impossible for the sofa to actually become stuck in the first place) and for those who know of Coleridge's poetry (specifically The Rime of the Ancient Mariner [wikipedia.org] and Kubla Khan [wikipedia.org]) you'll be in for quite a few twisting and entertaining surprises. There's also a time machine in there for kicks =]

    Honestly, if the concept of a "thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time-travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic" interests you in any way, do yourself a favour and either listen in or buy the book - you won't be disappointed =] PS. I'm Australian (but with a strong grounding in American culture) and I didn't find too many 'Britishisms' in Dirk Gently... Maybe you're looking too hard? ^_^
  • by resequenced (656161) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @10:18PM (#20884465) Homepage
    VLC plays the stream just fine. There's even a handy "Listen using stand-alone Real Player" link; you don't have to muck through HTML or anything. Real Audio wouldn't be my first choice, but the quality is pretty good, all things considered.
  • by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @10:22PM (#20884481) Homepage
    ...make sure you at least read Wikipedia's entry for Samuel Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan". There are art, science etc references throught, but knowing a specific detail on the writting of that poem will help you appreciate more the conclusion of the amazing book.
  • by Larry Lightbulb (781175) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @11:29PM (#20884791)
    Elements of it were taken from "Shada", a Dr Who series which was never made for the TV due to industrial action, but many years later an audio version was made, available from Big Finish, and often broadcast on BBC7 - my page at http://www.radiolistings.co.uk/programmes/shada.html [radiolistings.co.uk] gives the dates when it was last on.
  • by piper-noiter (772438) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @11:34PM (#20884803) Journal
    I use Real Alternative. I also re-record it analog-style, save it as an mp3 and play it in the car to and from work once all the episodes of a radio program are out. I'm odd like that.
  • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @11:57PM (#20884911)
    Or use this handy script [blueyonder.co.uk].
  • Re:Podcasting (Score:3, Informative)

    by OriginalArlen (726444) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @12:03AM (#20884945)
    Actually he major problem is incidental music. It's easy to license someone else's copyright work for broadcast, (read: streaming) but a downloadable file that you can save and play back many times counts as distribution. (Yes, the law in the UK has not caught up to the fact that broadcasts can be recorded. My Dad has some old reel-to-reel tapes of 1950s Goon Shows he made at the time, so it's not terribly new idea...)
  • MP4? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @12:12AM (#20884995)
    Wait. What's your problem with MP4? Isn't it pretty much universally supported at this point?
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @12:31AM (#20885099)
    The Realplayer format is actually pretty decent compression wise. Of course, you should never use the standard realplayer viewing software for this. The best method I know uses MPlayer:

    1) Open a terminal and type the following:
    mplayer -dumpstream -dumpfile dirk.ra rtsp://rmv8.bbc.net.uk/radio4/comedy/wed1830.ra

    2) Wait about 30 seconds, then open another terminal and play the file dirk.ra from disk while it's still downloading:
    mplayer dirk.ra

    This has two benefits: you can put the stream in your collection (maybe convert to ogg later etc), and you won't get the annoying buffering pauses.

    This method also works with realvideo files, and wmv urls (mms://) if you want to save those types of movies. Finally, note that MPlayer lets you skip around an audio or video file, even if the file says you can't fast forward in other GUI oriented video players.

  • by Purple Screws (1017084) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @05:19PM (#20890899)
    MPlayer works fine for me. It doesn't seem to understand the .ram file, so I had to do "mplayer `cat dirkgently.ram`" instead. You can save the stream to disk using e.g. "mplayer -dumpstram `cat dirkgently.ram` -dumpfile dg1.rm".
  • Re:ever been there? (Score:3, Informative)

    by GaryPatterson (852699) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @06:51PM (#20891583)
    No, you're forgetting Pine Gap. It's a crucial military outpost for the US, as it ties into their surveillance programs and early warning systems. We don't have a similar base anywhere outside our borders, so clearly we're more an outpost for the US than they are for us. If you're in doubt as to how critical it is, ask your local MP about removing it. No matter who your MP is, they'll reject the idea outright. It's unthinkable to them.

    Watching successive governments bend over forwards for the US' slightest whim (none so bad as the current team, but since Holt's quip of 'all the way with LBJ' it's been clear) certainly gives the idea of a one-sided relationship a fair bit of support.

    Lastly, it's true that we are an English-speaking nation surrounded by Asian nations, but they're not alien to us in any way. The differences are minor when you get right down to it. My wife and I honeymooned in Vietnam, and their English newspaper had the same sort of content that you get here (although a bit more siding with the government, being a state-run 'paper). Add a strong immigration component from Asian countries and you've got an Australia that's closer to Asia in many ways than the US.
  • On CD November 8th (Score:3, Informative)

    by Larry Lightbulb (781175) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:06PM (#20892487)
    The full series of 6x30 minute episodes will be released on CD November 8th. Many of the recent BBC releases have had additional material, or slightly longer scenes, so still worth getting if you enjoyed the broadcast. My page about the programme - http://www.radiolistings.co.uk/programmes/dirk_gently_s_detective_agency.html [radiolistings.co.uk] will soon have better cast lists, and links on it.
  • Stream 'Ripping' (Score:3, Informative)

    by MMHere (145618) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:09PM (#20892507)
    One could use "Audio Hijack Pro" (OS X) to capture this
    stream-only programme to a file, then write to CD, or move
    to iPod for portable listening...

    http://www.rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/ [rogueamoeba.com]

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