(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

RadioSharks, Remediations and a Digital Australia Day

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Originally uploaded by Tama Leaver.
Yesterday was a lovely Australia Day, spent with good friends and, in many ways, quite similar to previous years: a slow start, Triple J's Top 100 countdown permanently playing in the background, a BBQ lunch before a few glasses of wine in the afternoon, heading down to the SkyShow fireworks and then chilling out for a few hours to let the mad traffic dissapate. However, when I got back to the flat I've been housesitting, I realised that my Australia Day was a lot more digital than it used to be. Case in point: the picture to right which shows my new Griffin RadioShark in action. The RadioShark is a nifty little gadget which is essentially a moulded plastic USB antenna with some very clever software which allows you to both listen and record analog radio directly to your computer's harddrive. It's been called the "TiVo for radio" since is lets you not only record, but also--with buffer use--to timeshift radio. Given that I always miss bits of the Top 100, I figured I'd give the RadioShark a decent task and set the timer to record all 100 songs. I arrived home to find all 100 songs remediated (from original digital CD, to analog radio, back to digital recording on the hardrive) with crystal clarity, waiting to be copied into the iPod for future enjoyment (the only drawback is that the PC RadioShark software will only record to wave or wma, so I'll probably drop quality a little converting to MP3 when importing to iTunes as I recorded to wma - my harddrive doesn't have the space for eight hours raw wave files right now!). In terms of the songs, I was really pleased to have two Missy Higgins songs in the top ten, but mildly disturbed to see that Greenskeepers' song "Lotion" made the countdown, albeit at number ninety (you know about "Lotion", don't you? The lyrics are based on Silence of the Lambs and there was a really bizzare video clip made which lip-synchs the lyrics with footage from the film. I think I find it most disturbing because I occassionally find myself humming the song and then realise what I'm humming!!)

Also during the afternoon and the Skyshow, I took a fair few pictures with my digital camera. Certainly the digital camera lets me take far too many pix since I inevitably delete about 85% of what I take, but it does allow me to take enough to guarentee a few decent ones. So, an hour after I arrived home, my Australia Day pictures were up on Flickr, being digitally distributed to anyone who cares to look for them. (Oh, and a personal note to people taking photographs of fireworks: turn your flash off; you can't take good pictures of light by drowning it with more light!) During the Fireworks, since none of us brought radios along to hear the broadcast, we also ended up listening via the nifty little on-board radio in Jen's new Nokia. And to completely geeky gadget it up, when the call came to wave our torches, no one had one at hand: but we did have an iPod and my little iBeam, which is a tiny torch plugin which connects to the iPod! (And, yes, we used the torch, not the laser pointer!)

Finally, when I got home to find the final episode of the first season of BattleStar Galactica waiting for me in High-Definition Digital, despite the fact BattleStar Galactica hasn't begun screening in Australia yet and is only up to episode three in the US. (It's something of a novelty to see UK TV watermarks on Torrent TV!) Oh, and can I just say, I've really, really enjoyed the entire BattleStar Galactica series (so far, if it gets renewed), and I thoroughly recommend it.

So, with all these little digitalities in my day, I think my everyday life is definitely becoming saturated by the digital ... and I'm quite pleased that it is. I hope you all had a decent Digital Australia Day! (It appears even Google did!)


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