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New Hitchhiker's Episodes Available Online 218

Michael Sheldon writes "The BBC is now offering the first of the new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio episodes as either Real or WMP audio streams. Meaning listeners abroad can now hear the new series, which started playing on UK radio last Tuesday."
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New Hitchhiker's Episodes Available Online

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  • RA and WMA? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@ g m> on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:56AM (#10339034)
    Shame that they don't offer either MP3 or OGG versions of the show. Wonder why they decided against using them, especially considering that the BBC has some experience with OGG - they used to have some live radio streams running it.
    • by SpooForBrains ( 771537 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:59AM (#10339060)
      They were working on broadcasting it on the Sub Ether Waveband but they didn't have the necessary rights.
    • Re:RA and WMA? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:00AM (#10339069)
      I suspect part of it is not wanting it in a format that can be saved to disk and kept for later (otherwise it would hurt sales when the thing is released on CD or whatever)
    • Re:RA and WMA? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Malc ( 1751 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:28AM (#10339259)
      Experience with OGG? They haven't touched it for nearly two years []!

      Personally I'm disappointed they didn't also offer it in FLAC, PCM, DTS, SDDS and Dolby Digital! Give it a rest, stop whining, and be happy that they made it available in the first place. It seems people get moderated up just for whinging about OGG. And no, I'm not new here ;)
    • Re:RA and WMA? (Score:2, Informative)

      by SpinyManiac ( 542071 )
      Well, I've got it in MP3.

      1 Plug laptop into digital TV STB
      2 Set STB to Radio 4
      3 Record
      4 Feed WAV into RazorLAME
      5 Enjoy VBR goodness

      There's an analog stage in the recording, and finding the cables to go from SCART to 3.5mm jack was a bit of a challenge.
    • go a little farther into the BBC website [] to hear/read the recorded interviews where Douglas Adams made predictions about how all these formats and playback technologies where going to mold the economy and user experience of consuming media. This page was also the entry point for a contest seeking new material you might create for submission to the HHGG. [like I wasn't already wasting enough time reading /. !-)]
    • Re:RA and WMA? (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedley ( 8715 )
      Use Streambox (google it). Comes with a transcoder.
      Drag drop ra onto it and you can get mp3 out.

      Streambox can also pull down any ra content as long as you drill down to the rtsp: tag that the stream uses. Thus I have already saved this weeks HHTG I did not require the Beeb link.


    • ...just roll your own MP3/vorbis/FLAC/speex version by recording the output from your FM/DAB radio via line in. Yes, it's an analogue hole, but you get *much* better quality than from a RealMedia source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:56AM (#10339036)
    FYI, Primary and Secondary Phase's are available from KCRW in Real format:
  • FFS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:57AM (#10339044)
    Look you don't have to wait for the BBC put *PUT THEM ONLINE* to listen from abroad. You can listen to Radio 4 *LIVE* via streaming (HHGTTG is on Tuesdays at 6pm UK time)... this story relates to the BBC's "Listen Again" feature which allows to to catch it if you miss it.
    • Re:FFS! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:07AM (#10339122)
      Yup, I listened to the first episode on Tuesday here in Wisconsin, live.

      But a minor correction: it is actually on Tuesdays at 6:30 PM [] their time. That is 12:30 PM my time (central), so that is 1:30 PM Eastern, 11:30 AM Mountain, and 10:30 AM Pacific. Every Tuesday for the next five weeks.

      The first new episode was really quite impressive, and brought back a flood of memories from when I'd last read the books 15 or so years ago.
    • Ah. Glad to see they're not on Thursdays. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.
  • by Aquatopia17 ( 710847 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:59AM (#10339059)
    I for one am really excited that HG2G has finally made its way back to radio. And on top of that, I can listen to it hassle-free (not as in beer) and free (as in beer) of charge over the internet. I wish listening to American proprietary radio stations was always this easy.
    • The BBC isn't propietery it is paid for by a license fee which is charged to all owners of Tv's and radios like a tax. They have to be as free as possible as it has been paid for by the UK citizens already.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        charged to all owners of Tv's and radios like a tax.

        No, just TVs; they gave up on taxing radios decades ago, after the invention of the transistor made radios so small, cheap and portable that it was impossible to keep track of them. TV's are getting near that magic transition point too, plus what the licensing people don't want the general public to realise is that digital TV tuners aren't detectable by their much hyped [] but rarely seen detection equipment... The TV tax is an anachronism, but politicians

        • And many bad whitewashed inquiries and the director general resigned and did some program about it on Channel 4.

          Sorry I am Yank living over here for the last three years, I really thought the fee was in the sale of radios, didn't realise they scrapped it altogether. Living in the states for 30 years and here for 3 I appreciate my TV license tax. It is excellent value that is produced with it. Is it still needed. I don't know but I would like to think that the BBC would have that revenue stream guarant
          • One of the best things about public TV as it seems to work in the UK and other parts of Europe is that it is not some kind of popularity contest where all that really counts is how many eyeballs will get to see the next advertisement.

            This results in also making programs for quality and making and broadcasting more experiemntal things without a 'guarantee' to get viewers.

            THere is a lot to say for both approaches (comemrcial and public) btw, I see them more as complementary then in competition with eachoth
        • plus what the licensing people don't want the general public to realise is that digital TV tuners aren't detectable by their much hyped but rarely seen detection equipment
          Surely it is not that hard to re-tune their equipment to the higher frequency produced by the local oscillator in the digital tuner. I mean, even I could probably do that.
      • The license fee for radios was dropped years ago. Only the TV license remains, which funds both TV and Radio. (And the BBC web site.)
    • by LordK2002 ( 672528 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:17AM (#10339197)
      I wish listening to American proprietary radio stations was always this easy.
      Really? I would prefer it if listening to American proprietary radio stations were made as difficult as possible.
  • For those of us too young to have known anything about HHGG except the books.
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:01AM (#10339074) Journal
    There are still copyrights, but more so they want to pull people into thier sprawl of a site.

    I love the radio shows. I have them as MP3 (must OGG 'em)

    Any updates on the film? It is a long way off, I don't wanna rush them, but they can keep us in suspense, and trickle delicious sweet information to us slowly - and an OGG of marvin saying 'diodes on my left side'.

    In unrelated 42 news, Seinfeld 1-3 series set was 42 on the amazon sales rank, and I bought it today. Nov i'll be out.
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:03AM (#10339093) Journal
    Errm... Here... []

    Or *mule*, gnu*, *azaa it. torrent to mp3's greatly appreciated, all proceeds go to my HDD.
    • NO, you shouldn't "pirate" it.

      They are providing a drm-free, "open" format, to sale the favorite show of many ppl. This is one of the more "slashdot-friendly" audio download ever, and then what are the first posts here ? Download it for free on emule or torrent or rip the stream.

      C'mon, please. Mod them as troll, which I hope those comments are.

      • I agree with you - I feel so guilty now...

        Just kidding. The original radio series was not available for some time, until recently. I am glad someone MP3'd the LP.

        I agree with you point, that they have a DRM free version for sale and a free broadcast (that went well for me) available right now.

        If I want to listen to it in 12 months, I will hope they have thier store open, and a non DRM copy then ey?
  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:04AM (#10339105) Journal
    $ mplayer -dumpstream mms:// 1.asf &

    Share and enjoy, and why don't you stick your head in a pig ;)

    • grmbl, damn slashdot. Watch out when copy&pasting that, there is a stray space in there courtesy of slashcode.
    • Share and Enjoy!
      Share and Enjoy!
      Journey through life with a plastic boy
      Or girl by your side let your pal be you guide
      And if it gets slow or starts to annoy

      Does it grind when it walks
      Or squeak when it talks?
      Has it eaten your hat
      Or had sex with your cat?

      Sprayed oil on your walls
      Or ripped of your doors
      And it gets to the point
      You can't stand anymore

      Bring it to us
      We won't give a fig
      We'll tell you
      Go Stick Your Head in a Pig!
    • If you want to encode it to something else, convert it to wav like this:
      $ mplayer stream.dump -ao pcm
      Convert the resulting wav file to MP3 (or OGG) and you're done.
      • Yeh, watch out with that. Converting a (really lossy) Real file to a (less lossy) mp3 or ogg will just get you a really, really lossy file.

        I'm waiting for someone with XM (or the brit equivalent) to upload some nice ogg's, but not holding my breath ...
    • Hmm, seems /.ed. Anyone got a torrent of the dump? Anyway, check this out: m l []

      There it says that the mms:// 1.asf link is in "experimental 5.1" format. Does anybody know more about that? Is this something that is autodetected in the download to determine a 2.0 or 5.1 mix? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
    • Okay, my MPlayer can't open that at all, it says there is no route to host. Funnily enough, going to the BBC web site works fine.

      Can't they just use a goddamned web server? It would save everyone's trouble.

    • by Hieronymus Howard ( 215725 ) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:12PM (#10340717)
      Gentoo users will require mplayer to be compiled with the new (and undocumented) network flag in their USE flags, otherwise streaming will not work.
  • Live Stream (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rollerbob ( 739079 )
    Surely listeners abroad can hear the new series at the same time as everyone else simply by pressing the 'Listen Live' button on the Radio 4 [] website at 17:30GMT (18:30BST) every Tuesday for the duration of the series.
  • * Non orthopaedicly sprung life-forms are reminded that mattresses are the only sentient creatures to require regular flolloping. *
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:08AM (#10339124) Journal 841

    Original cast and the Life the Universe and Everything, I think Dougie wrote it - although in thier infinite wisdom those fsk-a-wits at the beeb have actually not given the information in the description.

    I mean, it is not as if anyone would be interested to know.

    I really hate stupid websites. I am not sure if I should buy it - or listen to it. I am just going to go stand in a corner, brain the size of the universe...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...if you have a babelfish handy.
  • by stephendl ( 155902 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:15AM (#10339176) Homepage
    Even better on the site is a flash version of the original HHGTTG text adventure game... []
  • Updated Infocom Game (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:16AM (#10339186) Homepage
    As trailed a few weeks ago [], there's the updated version of the old Infocom interactive fiction version [] of the Guide.

    I had a play on it yesterday - I've no idea how they built it, but they seem to have some unholy alliance of Flash, Z-code and XML running it all. It's pretty cool, too - it's the same old game, but with added graphics...
    • As much as I liked HHGTG as a kid, and as much as I loved the infocom games (Planetfall and Stationfall are probably my favorites), the HHGTG infocom game was probably about the worst one they made. One misstep and the game was over, it was completely linear and frustrating.

      Check out this little quote on the fate of the "Restaurant" sequel [] that was never released.

      Apparantly DNA just didn't "get" the idea of interactive fiction.

      Anyhow, is there any way to hear the original radio series, or obtain the or
      • by Masem ( 1171 )
        While HHGTTG may have been the worst, all of Infocom's games suffered from dying easily from making the wrong move; HHGTTG made it worse that you had to make right moves, wholely unrelated to your actions at the current time, in order to survive the game later (e.g. dog/sandwich). <old-timer-mode> all you young'uns with your LucasArts never-can-die-at-all-no-matter-how-hard-you-try adventure games! </old-timer-mode>
    • it's the same old game, but with added graphics...

      Ah. That answers my question of why they haven't released the new version in Infocom format, then!

      I prefer the original. At least I can play that on the train on my Psion.

    • by Sean D. Solle ( 723177 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:00PM (#10344742) Homepage
      ... some unholy alliance of Flash, Z-code and XML

      The back end's a C++ multi-threaded ZMachine running as a web server extension (can be compiled either as an Apache module or an ISAPI DLL).

      As well as sending the user's input and the game's output back and forth as XML, it also watches the ZMachine's internal state to send the location, score, number of moves, inventory etc.

      It has extra "knowledge" about the HHG game's internals (which is how it can handle the bedroom being dark, house being knocked down etc). This was hard-coded in the release that the BBC are running (due to time constraints - we had to ship on Sep 21st!), but newer builds have an external config file which can let the game twiddle the XML output accordingly, so in theory it could run any of the Infocom adventures.

      Shim's Flash client grabs the XML, pulls up Rod's artwork, displays the inventory and handles the text i/o history.

      Most of the team is on vacation at the moment (I'm posting in the naive hope that it'll mean less email waiting for me when I get back ;-), but there'll be full spec released in due course.

      It's pretty cool, too

      Thanks ... glad you like it!


  • Quicktime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The show should be available in Quicktime format -- Douglas Adams was Macintosh fanatic.
  • by adsl ( 595429 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:44AM (#10339390) listen to a radio programme. I think I will go and dismantle myself. Love Marvin:(
  • This aired Tuesday AND last night. I listened to it twice (and got several friends on the second airing). Why wait till Thursday?

    Will we be seein this every week on slashdot now?

    "HHGG airs tonight"
    "HHGG is put online tonight"

    Maybe I should start submitting them and finally get an article up
  • Does anyone else find it annoying that the stream is interrupted every ten seconds to buffer?
  • but, to quote marvin, "I think I feel good about it."
  • ...that they're keeping with tradition - this series in no way fits inside of what we know of how the secondary phase ended. Might pull an extremely unwieldy rabbit out of their hat, I guess, but there's a good shot they'll just shrug and try not to mention it.

    Not that I'm complaining, or anything, it just makes listening to them in a row a mite difficult (or at least extremely confusing)


  • I've always hoped someone would make a guide simulator of sorts for the PalmOS, using the various entries detailed in the books/radio series/tv series for source material. I'd like to be able to look up vogon poetry at a whim on my palm.

    Clearly, there would be a copyright issue, but this is the 'net, and that's never stopped anyone before. Anyone know if anything like this exists?

  • Where can I start with Episode 1?

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky