Total of 322 posts

Herein you’ll find articles on a very wide variety of topics about technology in the consumer space (mostly) and items of personal interest to me. I have also participated in and created several podcasts most notably Pragmatic and Causality and all of my podcasts can be found at The Engineered Network.

Is This The Show Podcast

A group of internet friends that have known each other for years and podcasted together on different shows over the years, got together and created a new podcast entitled Is This The Show?.

It’s not meant to be a super-serious show and yes we’ll talk about things we like including anything from technology, podcasting itself, Apple, open-source, social media or just anything of interest. We’re aiming to record fortnightly and we’re tackling this very differently from previous shows where we each rotate edits and posts.

Due to our shifting life schedules, we have a core group of five people that will be on the episodes, but normally only three per episode. To date thus far we’ve released two episodes:

Episode 1: Socially Tolerated Episode 2: Your Closet’s Bigger Than Mine

You’ll hear myself, Scott Willsey, Clay Daly, Ronnie Lutes and Vic Hudson depending on who’s about that fortnight. ITTS is not part of TEN, it’s a casual side project I’m a part of.

Hope you enjoy it.

Leaving LibSyn

I joined LibSyn for Pragmatic back in 2014 when I left FiatLux/Constellation to take the show Indie. Between 2015 and 2017 I left LibSyn and tried BluBrry, then hosted my own files on a server, before returning to LibSyn again.

I originally left due to cost concerns. LibSyn required that you have subscription for every unique podcast however with 6 separate podcasts at that point, many of which I wasn’t producing content for regularly, just maintaining them and following LibSyn’s rules was costing a fortune.

At the time I was still taking sponsorships and advertising and frankly, LibSyn’s statistics were the best and met my needs at the time. When I returned however I restored Causality and Pragmatic, and cheekily added audio files from all other shows as direct download files incrementally to Pragmatic…risking LibSyn’s wrath were I to be caught out. They didn’t call me on it in the end.

Ultimately though I wasn’t using any of their RSS Feed functionality after a failed flirtation with the “Causality App” they were hyping at the time. I was using LibSyn essentially for statistics and file storage - nothing more.

Three things happened over the space of 2 years that made me decide to finally pull the pin on LibSyn, and likely any podcast host in future:

  1. The new User Interface (LibSyn Five) no longer included a File for Download Only option - everything had to be linked to an episode.
  2. A fluffy reason: LibSyn’s attitude about having been the longest-running podcast host was wearing really thin. Some of their senior leaders were proving they weren’t nice people either, and really rubbed me up the wrong way. (I’ll let you Google that yourself)
  3. Statistics could now be openly and professionally tracked using the OP3 project. Causality Stats

I’m not normally one to include “fluffy-feely-reasons” but the trend I’ve seen in LibSyn’s behaviour on “The Feed” podcast led me to stop listening back in 2021, and their attitude of having been the longest-standing podcast host meaning they understood the landscape the best, was less and less true with every passing week. It was frankly becoming embarrassing to even mention their analysis of pretty much anything.

The LibSyn product (interface) was being redesigned in v5 to compete with others in the marketplace insofar as it was more aimed at newbies/non-tech users (which is fine) and that wasn’t for me. Increasingly this is the case for all podcast hosts - the more technical of podcasters need not apply. That’s not a judgement, but it is a trend.

Finally if I could choose to spend about $10USD/m on hosting/statistics then I’d rather support an open project and file storage of my own choosing/control than to continue to support LibSyn.

Having spoken with my friends in the PC2.0 space, I shifted my Media to an S3-compatible storage bucket, backed by CloudFlare’s CDN and tested to confirm download speeds were as fast as LibSyn. Those tests ended a few weeks ago and now I’ve left LibSyn - this time for good.

Testing Whisper Transcriptions

In my efforts to support the Podcasting 2.0 initiative, I’ve had a stab at developing transcripts for Causality. I first started on this before PC2.0 back in 2018 and again later that year where I was using Dragon Dictate with only very average results.

I then went on and tried YouTube, since via LibSyn I’d been publishing YouTube auto-generated videos for Pragmatic and Causality episodes for several years, and I realised I could extract the SRT files from YouTube. They were substantially better but still had issues that required a significant amount of effort to bring them up to a standard I would accept on TEN.

Using Subtitle Studio I was able align, tweak and correct the files then publish them to the site. All the plumbing has been built so all I needed to do was add the SRT file and job done.

Unfortunately however, the process of correcting the numerous errors in the YouTube SRT was monstrous. A 45 minute episode would take me 4-5 hours to fix all of the SRT errors. I edited Episodes 3, 11, 17, 18, 22, 31, 32, 35, 36, 47 and simply burned out. I lost many weekends, long nights and the pay off was precisely zero. No listeners gave any feedback of any kind either way and so…I stopped bothering.

Irrespective of whether you think I should just put up rubbish transcripts anyway, or how you choose to interpret the legal requirements for posting transcripts in your specific country, I still wanted to do this…so when I saw people discussing an OpenAI derived project MacWhisper, I gave it a shot. The results were, frankly, transformative.

Whisper Comparison 1

The screen shot on the Left is the YouTube SRT, the middle is Whispers, and the Right is my corrected YouTube SRT. In the above comparison note that with a dodgy name like “Chidgey” no-one gets it right except me. That’s fine. It’s a cross I have to bear I guess and that’s okay. The first point of note: Whisper nails the punctuation almost every time! For every missed Full Stop, there’s a missed following capitalisation. That’s a huge time saver!

Whisper Comparison 2

Again Whisper nails the capitalisation of the correct words - in this example above, the title of the episode and it also inserts a comma which arguably I missed in mine. I also like how Whisper capitalises the date for me too. Not too shabby.

Whisper Comparison 3

Here’s where I lost so much time in the past with the YouTube SRT: Company names. Not only did Whisper get the capitalisation and punctuation correct (Yellow Highlight) the only tweak I would add is adding parenthesis around “or GCE” but otherwise perfect! Again, Whisper nails the capitalisation of GCE (the company name) and the punctuation between sentences. Amazing!

Whisper Comparison 4

The last and hardest part now is the technical terminology which is always a struggle for AI transcripts. YouTube put 9 ue when it should be 9UE, but Whisper nails that once again. YouTube does get the next two correct but didn’t capitalise 8UE and 10UE where Whisper did.

With the above results I’m just blown away and last night I began transcribing every Causality episode using MacWhisper on the Best accuracy model (2.8GB) to get the best result I can. I’ll work my way through the back catalogue but hopefully the editing times for SRTs will be significantly reduced and I can finally post word-accurate transcripts to TEN.

TD Shirts

To celebrate the 50th episode of Causality on (my podcasting site) TEN we’re releasing a range of Tee-shirts and smartphone cases by Cotton Bureau! Which can only mean that the TEN Store is once again open!!

I’ve released the first ever, TechDistortion Tee-Shirt for the true die-hard fans of this blog! It will remain open with items on sale only for a limited time, so grab something you like…while you can!

All Patreon supporters on TEN have access to a special discount off their purchase, should they wish to: for details Patrons should check the TEN Patreon page.

All Tee-shirts are by Cotton Bureau and you can choose from a Tee-Shirt (Standard or Heavyweight), Sweatshirt, Tank-top or a Onesie (for infants!), fitting for Men, Women, Youth or Toddlers too. With a choice of fabrics from Natural Tri-Blend, Black 100% Cotton or a Navy Blue 100% Cotton all in a wide range of sizes.

The Original Tech Distortion Shirt: Without Distortion

Tee-Shirt Natural Tee-Shirt Navy Tee-Shirt Black