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Okay folks, I’ve totally got writer’s block regarding my experience at the Allied Media Conference last weekend. I’ve got plenty to say, but every time I sit down to write it, the words look bland and unappealing, like oatmeal or wet cardboard.
I’ll just say that I had a good time, and came back with 17 metric tons of zines, flyers, newsletters, books and whatnot. I got to meet the folks behind the sites for Mediageek, DIYmedia.net, CounterRecruiter.net, and Anarchogeek. Learned a few things, met some cool folks, bowled (although sadly, I think I was the only one quoting The Big Lebowski), and promoted LMB and radioActive a bit. Good times. If I can find some non-goudging airfare prices, I’ll probably check it out again next year. Maybe I’ll follow the plan bubbling in my brain and set up a satirical “Corporate Media Is Neat” booth.
I came away from the conference with a list of tools that could come in very handy for indie media folks, and I’ll share those with you here.
LPFM Channel Search- let’s say you want to start your own low-power FM radio station. To make sure that your station doesn’t interfere with any existing stations, you’d want to make sure to be two full channels away from all channels currently in use (e.g. if there’s a station at 100.3 FM, you’d want to be at least at 100.7 FM). This page lets you search your local community for open frequencies like that.
Odeo- a commercial (gasp!) podcasting service that is remarkably powerful and easy to use. Basically, if you have a computer with internet access, a web browser, and a microphone, you could have your own regular radio show/podcasting channel within minutes. The recording software is actually embedded into their website, so you can click on a “record” button, start talking, and your audio is saved onto Odeo’s own hard drives (you don’t even need your own free hard drive space!), which you can then name and classify and turn into a podcast. Our friend rabble is the tech brains behind this operation, and he is very dedicated to independent and democratic media. Because of this, he’s giving out free Odeo accounts to activists. If you’re interested in this, let me know and I’ll contact him for you.
Podscope- another amazing piece of work. You know that voice-recognition software that your credit card company installed on its customer service lines that doesn’t work? These folks have managed to perfect it and turn it into a “text search of audio files” engine. In other words, you can type in any phrase you want, and Podscope will search all the internet’s podcasts for the audio of someone speaking that phrase. Your search results then pop up with tiny audio players, cued up to the segment of the program that has your phrase. It’s pretty impressive (although not as perfect as I imply. I did a search for my last name, “Sexton” and one of the results was another man’s last name, “Sifton”. Still, pretty good).
infoSHOP direct- basically an online store/paypal-esque service for activists and independent media types, run by activists and independent media types (the folks at Clamor Magazine). If you’ve got a small number of items to sell online, you can use this service and have the money you pay go to folks fighting the good fight rather than the shareholders of Paypal or Cafe Press or wherever.
Anyhow. Thanks to John and Paul for adopting my lonely self for an evening, to Mike and Evan for airport rides, Howie for car logistics, and to Clamor Magazine for organizing the whole thing.
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