BluePhase Episode 011

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This podcast was recorded in two parts. First was a drive to work this morning in which I tried to provide an update on the ongoing reclamation project. It turns out that there are nearly 200 recordings I’ve made over the past decade now available on this blog. During the drive, while trying make sense of what I’ve been doing I mentioned an old note I discovered last night that pointed to an old Jean Shepherd radio program that I listened to at some point in the past through Max Schmid’s Mass Backwards podcast. And because the topic of that 1968 radio show pertained to some of what I’ve been experiencing lately, I decided to listen to again last night.

In that episode, Shepherd spoke about Krapp’s Last Tape and Vic and Sade. By the time I arrived at the teaching factory where I work, I realized I was becoming confused about when I heard the Shepherd recording and how it might have influenced my listening habits and thoughts about recorded audio in the intervening time. So I played an excerpt from Shepherd talking about Krapp.

The second part of the podcast is a monolog I did later this evening after doing a bit of research into the various points that came up during the morning drive. The result of that brief research is that I find myself in way over my head. And then I remembered what it was that I’d originally intended to talk about before getting distracted by Shep’s show from ’68 this morning. And that topic was the experience of relistening to an old Tokyo Calling episode which I also listened to last night.

Ultimately the thing ended with a whole bunch of loose ends that hopefully can be tied up this Friday at 19:30 AST live BluePhase transmission on ds106radio.

At some point toward the end, I think I recommended a fun sight for listening to old time radio. On that site is also a link to a pretty nifty app for listening to the same archive.

BluePhase – Episode 010

The previous post referred to Bill‘s amazing work in building a prototype version of Dr. Nakamatsu’s TDM/7300 multiplex radio tuner. It’s hard to imagine that he will likely have a fully functioning version ready before year’s end. What a treat it was to be able to play his initial recording of his first temporal bandwidth live on ds106radio. And that’s not all there is to look forward to on the BluePhase.

As mentioned in the final segment, Lisa and Tim have agreed to appear on future episodes to talk about voicing primary documents and reclaiming online content respectively. I can’t wait for the chance to visit with these two awesome innovators. Subscribing to podcast will ensure that you don’t any of the awesomeness to come.

A request was also made for interested listeners to produce reviews of favorite podcasts to be played on upcoming installments. David is onboard to talk about one of his favorite podcasts: Welcome to Night Vale. And I hope to soon be able to review a podcast episode Bryan Alexander recently recommended.

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Creative Commons licensed music from the Free Music Archive by Bottlesmoker.

TDM/7300 Beta Test

Inspired by Lisa’s awesome work in bringing historical texts to life through current web animation tools, I decided to experiment with GoAnimate to introduce the amazing mp3 file Bill was able to capture while trying to build the machine from Dr. Nakamatsu’s 2004 block diagram.

TDM/7300 DEMO by scottlo on GoAnimate

Below is Bill’s recent announcement in its entirety:

The diagrams you gave me of Dr. Nakamatsu’s unique radio device are quite complex, even Byzantine. However, I was able to kluge together part of the tuning section. In a trial I attached it to a standard Japanese 1960s vintage 6-transistor radio. The results are attached as a mp3 file of about 1’39″ duration. As best I can determine it was picking up radio from the 1930s to the 1960s. Perhaps the near limit is determined by the vintage of the radio, but due to changes in radio technology that occured after the ’60s, I am not yet able to connect the TDM/7300 tuner to a newer radio. In fact, I am seeking an even older, vacuum tube model, which my theory indicates will give virtually unlimited temporal range.

On today’s installment of BluePhase, I intend to play Bill’s startling recording of his early reception test. With any luck at all, I’m hoping Bill will be able to join an upcoming transmission to demonstrate a fully functional TDM/7300. Thanks and good luck Bill!

BluePhase Episode 009

image by blamb

image by blamb

The entire run of Tokyo Calling podcasts – save episodes 61-65 – along with original blog posts is once again online. Confronting the personalized memoir format of the various audio journal projects I’ve dabbled in over the years might not be the healthiest way to spend my time. But I remain committed to the deeper purpose of archiving all of this stuff in one place.

One intention in recording this podcast while driving to work at 140 km/h today was to draft a blog post that would help to document the process of completing this first phase of the Tokyo Calling Reclamation over the past week. Instead, I found myself trying to explain why I feel the need to build this archive at this time. It wasn’t a surprise to again trace the genesis of the idea to the Monday morning brainstorming session in Fredericksburg, Virginia earlier this month.

It was surprising, however, to hear myself blurt out the story of being identified as the “Tokyo Calling Dude” by an irrepressible Twitter and web luminary later that same morning. And in some twisted way, the idea of being the “Tokyo Calling Dude” really appeals to me. But if the recordings aren’t available online then there doesn’t seem to be any justification for being identified thusly. So it’s beginning to sound like I’m saying that this archival project is all part of some big ego trip.

And there’s probably some merit to that.

Hopefully, though, I think there might be something a bit more worthwhile at play here. For whatever reason, I decided several years ago to conduct a personal journey in a public way. Is only over the course of the past few months that I’ve come to appreciate a value trying to connect the various components that I previously felt the need to withdraw or keep separate. Said another way, I don’t see any way for this journey to progress in ways I hope to unless there clear path to where it began.

Another intention in turning on the audio recorder this morning was preview the upcoming episode of BluePhase which will be on ds106radio this Friday. I hope at that time to get off the current self-absorbed narrative arc and shine the spotlight on recent batch of audio awesomeness that comprised ds106 Headless Radio Shows. So between then and now, I know what I’m going to be listening to (and it’s not the audio linked to below). I hope you find time to do the same.

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BluePhase Episode 008

bluephase-2013It took several days, but jet lag from the long flight back from Virginia finally began to hit this past Thursday. Frustrated with the slow progress and the unreality of listening to 9 year old recordings of myself while trying to put together a ‘show’ for Friday led me to take a mid-afternoon nap. When I finally woke up, it was 45 minutes before ‘show-time’ and there was nothing suitable for transmission so I decided to hop in the Mazda and head for the shore of the Gulf (about 5 minutes away) to do a live ‘show’ on ds106radio.

A friend who listened live, said I sounded melancholy. Perhaps this is so. There was certain degree of frustration in having failed to deliver what I’d intended. Midway through, I noticed that the application on my phone had lost the ‘feed’ to ds106radio. By the time this was noticed and the connection restored, I decided that the recording being made at home wouldn’t be used as a podcast. Freed from the pressure of recording, I think I went for broke and wound up dealing with some unexpected and important stuff (important for me at least, it’s probably inconsequential to others).

It was in listening back that the decision was made to distribute this as a podcast after all. For those able to listen all the way through, the Duran Duran song that comes on at the end was a total coincidence. It was the next queued song in the autoDJ list. That it dovetails so nicely with the Gardner Campbell riff is one of those little serendipitous moments that are difficut to dismiss. Make of it what you will.

And what a difference a day makes…

So today I decided to tackle a couple of the demons that were alluded to in last night’s shoreline confession. The sleeves were rolled up and the task of reclamation was undertaken in earnest and with relish. A free Amazon S3 account was finally registered and set up. A couple of hundred mp3s were upload to that account. Four years’ worth of Tokyo Calling blog posts and comments were imported to this blog from the MT-export file I somehow managed to create and keep these past 5 years.

Then the nitty-gritty work of categorizing, tagging and linking to the mp3 files was undertaken. The Tokyo Calling Reclamation task is far from complete (32 of 133 podcast posts have been completed so far). But the Slices of Life and LoDown posts and records have all been reclaimed. Go ahead and click the shiny links to see the posts grouped by Category. I didn’t know this was possible before today.

The most exciting part of this endeavor so far has been the emerging awareness of the value taking ownership of one’s digital output. It is still early days here but the emerging project is one that has been put off for far too long.

I hope the bread crumbs left behind and post cards sent while taking this trip might be of use and interest to some.

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BluePhase Episode 007


As mentioned here yesterday, this week marks nine years since the first episode of the Tokyo Calling podcast. In this episode, in addition to playing some old time music and a 1963 clip from Jean Shepherd, I played the first mention anywhere of Dr. Nakamatsu’s TDM/7300 from November 2004.

One of the exciting developments from my recent week in Virginia was to meet up with an electronics enthusiast who says he might be able to build a working version of Dr. Nakamatsu’s satellite radio receiver thing from the schematic diagrams I’ve been carrying for all these years. With luck, we might be able to talk about this in the future and hopefully play some of the amazing radio signal the device is reputed to be able receive. Stay tuned.

An attempt was also made to explain my take on the recent reclaim craze that has been sweeping the web. It was a Monday morning brainstorming session, one week ago today, in UMW’s ThinkLab that enabled me to finally begin to think I might understand what all the hubbub is, bub. The problem, I’m not yet up to the task of explaining it in any coherent way – as evidenced in the recording.

Fortunately, Jim Groom framed the issue and it’s various facets in his usual effervescent way, just today. It is certainly worth checking out. And if you want a real good time, check out the double-barreled backhand compliments for Jim’s post and other matters in commentary at OLDaily.

For those unable to use the FlashPlayer below, a link to the BluePhase 007recording is provided.

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Tokyo Calling Reclaimed

TC-ReduxEvery October, for the past five or six years, a bittersweet cloud of nostalgia falls over my head. That’s because I began podcasting nine years ago this week. Over the course of four and a half years and more than 100 audio episodes, I experimented with sound, storytelling, and personal reflection. It was exciting to discover that an everyday nobody could reach out and find an audience willing to listen to his half-baked ideas and semi-coherent flights of fancy. The experience was a chance to learn a little bit about how the internet can work.

It also provided a chance to open up on a personal level – with strangers – to a level that I’d never have dreamed of doing in person. And this I suppose is the reason for the bittersweet nostalgia. This is the reason why the podcast ended abruptly and why the mp3s were pulled, as best they could be, from the web. And ultimately, this is the reason why those mp3s have remained in a folder on hard drive unplayed and unheard year after year.

But something feels different this time around. It probably has to do with all of the talk I’ve heard recently about reclaiming one’s place on the web and ownership of one’s creative output. There’s a sudden imperative sense that the product of years of effort, excitement and pain that have been buried in a digital cold-storage need to re-released in some form.

The purpose of this post, then, is to announce that a project is now underway to examine and preserve portions of the Tokyo Calling archive on the Scottlo Radio Blog. I’ll be talking about this project as well as sharing old clips and reflections from nine years ago on this week’s BluePhase transmissions on Monday, October 21 and Friday, October 27th at the usual time on ds106radio.