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Author Topic: EP Metacast #3  (Read 50603 times)

SFEley

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Reply #25 on: March 11, 2008, 06:46:26 PM
Okay, after actually reading this...is there any word on the flash fiction?  Are you guys still accepting flash fiction submissions?  I know some of the stuff from the contest will be on Podcastle, so I'm hoping we'll see some on Escape Pod, too. 

Yes.  We're still reading flash and sometimes buying it, but a bit more sparingly than full-length fiction, since the backlog is so huge.  (Don't take that as a discouragement to submit, however.)

Some of the contest fiction and other flash stories I've bought over the years for EP has been transferred to PodCastle.  The rest of it will eventually get produced and put on Escape Pod.  I don't want to give a timeframe, because it's still pretty far down on my list of actions, but having a production team will help a lot with this sort of stuff.

Meanwhile, I do hope that everyone who enjoys flash is listening to the Drabblecast, and hopefully sending your stories there too.  Norm and his team are kicking ass, and I must confess that I'm a bit jealous of their production values.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


SFEley

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Reply #26 on: March 11, 2008, 06:56:02 PM
And in terms of Escape Pod's hardware, it'll be easier on the servers if they can break up the heavy load days. Even if it's just a thousand or two downloads offloaded to a Sunday, it'll probably mean that the current hardware (and bandwidth) setup will last longer it could otherwise, as it won't bog down as much on download days.

This is getting into minutiae, but we're no longer hosting the MP3 files ourselves.  We've moved back to LibSyn; they offer a full-blown content delivery solution that won't break under any plausible load.

Apart from the MP3 files, the Escape Pod and Pseudopod Web sites, as well as these forums, are on a virtual private server now, so we don't have to worry about my former shared hosting provider crapping out.  The custom feeds will be generated from a Ruby on Rails application that I'm writing, and any time you do anything with RSS you take the risk of heavy load because some clients check their feeds every hour.  I'm hoping caching techniques will help with that.

BUT.  Honestly speaking, if we end up having so many donors on our system that it starts to create a load problem for us and we have to scale up...  That's a problem I truly don't mind having.



ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


oddpod

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Reply #27 on: March 11, 2008, 07:00:26 PM
in steave we trust

card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery


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Reply #28 on: March 11, 2008, 07:00:57 PM
In terms of discussion threads on early releases, etc., I have ideas, but I don't want to dive too deep into that without first talking to the moderators here.  Anything involving the forums is going to be a team effort, and I'm pretty sure that in this case the team is smarter than me.  

I'm throwing my two cents in here, because I want to hear what the forum folks have to say.  

I think the threads should just go up on the earlier day.  Everyone time shifts at least a little.  Normally people don't look at the episode threads until after they have heard the story.  Many people come into a thread for the first time weeks after the story has run.  I just don't see it having any impact.

Those of you who disagree may now pick up your rotten tomatoes.



DKT

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Reply #29 on: March 11, 2008, 07:13:22 PM
In terms of discussion threads on early releases, etc., I have ideas, but I don't want to dive too deep into that without first talking to the moderators here.  Anything involving the forums is going to be a team effort, and I'm pretty sure that in this case the team is smarter than me. 

I'm throwing my two cents in here, because I want to hear what the forum folks have to say. 

I think the threads should just go up on the earlier day.  Everyone time shifts at least a little.  Normally people don't look at the episode threads until after they have heard the story.  Many people come into a thread for the first time weeks after the story has run.  I just don't see it having any impact.

Those of you who disagree may now pick up your rotten tomatoes.

I'm totally cool with that.  I don't usually read a thread until I've heard the story, so it wouldn't bother me.

Okay, after actually reading this...is there any word on the flash fiction?  Are you guys still accepting flash fiction submissions?  I know some of the stuff from the contest will be on Podcastle, so I'm hoping we'll see some on Escape Pod, too. 

Yes.  We're still reading flash and sometimes buying it, but a bit more sparingly than full-length fiction, since the backlog is so huge.  (Don't take that as a discouragement to submit, however.)

Some of the contest fiction and other flash stories I've bought over the years for EP has been transferred to PodCastle.  The rest of it will eventually get produced and put on Escape Pod.  I don't want to give a timeframe, because it's still pretty far down on my list of actions, but having a production team will help a lot with this sort of stuff.

Meanwhile, I do hope that everyone who enjoys flash is listening to the Drabblecast, and hopefully sending your stories there too.  Norm and his team are kicking ass, and I must confess that I'm a bit jealous of their production values.

Cool, I can wait, I'm just happy to know that it's being addressed and that it is coming.  One of my favorite things about getting the collections was hearing all the flash.  (And don't worry, I refuse to be discouraged about submitting :) )

Also, I realize I said above "Now that I've actually read this..."  I meant now that I'd actually listened to this.  I did read it when I originally posted :)


Heradel

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Reply #30 on: March 11, 2008, 07:18:01 PM
In terms of discussion threads on early releases, etc., I have ideas, but I don't want to dive too deep into that without first talking to the moderators here.  Anything involving the forums is going to be a team effort, and I'm pretty sure that in this case the team is smarter than me.  

I'm throwing my two cents in here, because I want to hear what the forum folks have to say.  

I think the threads should just go up on the earlier day.  Everyone time shifts at least a little.  Normally people don't look at the episode threads until after they have heard the story.  Many people come into a thread for the first time weeks after the story has run.  I just don't see it having any impact.

Those of you who disagree may now pick up your rotten tomatoes.

I'll be honest, I have about 3-4 episodes I haven't listened to yet. Usually I load up and do a couple at once while I'm out doing stuff or taking the bus between NYC/DC, and I don't look at the story threads until I do. Maybe once in a while I'll look at the top post that I know isn't spoiler'ed to get a preview, but otherwise they're pretty easy to avoid.

This is getting into minutiae, but we're no longer hosting the MP3 files ourselves.  We've moved back to LibSyn; they offer a full-blown content delivery solution that won't break under any plausible load.

Apart from the MP3 files, the Escape Pod and Pseudopod Web sites, as well as these forums, are on a virtual private server now, so we don't have to worry about my former shared hosting provider crapping out.  The custom feeds will be generated from a Ruby on Rails application that I'm writing, and any time you do anything with RSS you take the risk of heavy load because some clients check their feeds every hour.  I'm hoping caching techniques will help with that.

BUT.  Honestly speaking, if we end up having so many donors on our system that it starts to create a load problem for us and we have to scale up...  That's a problem I truly don't mind having.
.

Ah. I was remembering a while back when I noticed that the downloads would trudge along around 150 kb/s, but that was obviously under the old regime.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


sirana

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Reply #31 on: March 11, 2008, 07:52:36 PM
Regarding Donor Perks:

One thing that I liked about the way Rooster Teeth (http://www.roosterteeth.com/) handled this was the little star that they put next to your forum avatar/ handle if you were a "sponsor" (which cost 10 $ for 3 months, if I remember correctly). Really not much, but it was a feel good thing for me, even though I was never very active on the forum.

Another way that I like is the Monkey/Robot/Banana-Buying that Jonathan Coulton (www.jonathancoulton.com) does. If you donate 5/10/25 dollars you get a cartoon banana/monkey/robot on joco's front page and you can specify some small message that is shown on mouseover. joco is doing this via www.gimmesomecandy.com as are a few other people.



sirana

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Reply #32 on: March 11, 2008, 07:59:07 PM
In terms of discussion threads on early releases, etc., I have ideas, but I don't want to dive too deep into that without first talking to the moderators here.  Anything involving the forums is going to be a team effort, and I'm pretty sure that in this case the team is smarter than me. 

I'm throwing my two cents in here, because I want to hear what the forum folks have to say. 

I think the threads should just go up on the earlier day.  Everyone time shifts at least a little.  Normally people don't look at the episode threads until after they have heard the story.  Many people come into a thread for the first time weeks after the story has run.  I just don't see it having any impact.

Those of you who disagree may now pick up your rotten tomatoes.

I personally would open the thread on the earlier day, although I could see some non-donors beeing frustrated that they had to wade through 10 pages of donor discussion before contributing themselves. But of course that is true for everybody who doesn't listen to escapepod the day it is released, so it shouldn't be to big of a problem.



Mr. Tweedy

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Reply #33 on: March 11, 2008, 09:08:09 PM
That was downright inspiring.  Seriously.  I have nothing but respect and admiration (and lots of it) for this sort of entrepreneurship, this taking nothing and building something valuable from it.  That kind of vision and spirit is what makes the world move, and with 20,000+ subscribers it sounds like you're moving a decent chunk of it.  It's inspiring in a moral sense–it's good in principle to see this sort of thing–and in the practical sense of encouraging me to strive for my own goals.  This is what freedom is made for: So ordinary people can do.

I wish that I could do something to contribute directly, but for what it's worth: Congratulations.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2008, 09:09:53 PM by Mr. Tweedy »

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!


wanderer

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Reply #34 on: March 12, 2008, 12:38:33 AM
Excellent Excellent Excellent!, spurred me to register for the forums.
Really Stephen trully inspiring.  I also might be able to get some places to put your bookmarks. I'll let you know. I'm Glad to hear that things are improving for you now.
Good luck with this plan. Here's to hoping it works.


Quote
Insert Quote
That was downright inspiring.  Seriously.  I have nothing but respect and admiration (and lots of it) for this sort of entrepreneurship, this taking nothing and building something valuable from it.  That kind of vision and spirit is what makes the world move, and with 20,000+ subscribers it sounds like you're moving a decent chunk of it.  It's inspiring in a moral sense–it's good in principle to see this sort of thing–and in the practical sense of encouraging me to strive for my own goals.  This is what freedom is made for: So ordinary people can do.

I wish that I could do something to contribute directly, but for what it's worth: Congratulations.

Tottaly agree with Mr. Tweedy also.



bikerhikerrdr

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Reply #35 on: March 12, 2008, 02:16:52 AM
three things:
1. What you seemed to forget is that you cater to people with hypertrophied imaginations.  When you told us that you had the worst day of your life, we were imagining very bad things.
2. you didn't say if purchasing pod discs generates revenue.  Did I support you when I bought discs 1-5, or am I a free loader.
3. and, I hate to criticize, because escape pod is the only weekly entertainment that I look forward to.... but, in regards to pseudopod, if the protagonist of a story is "crazy", you can be 99% certain that the story is badly written.  I think that pseudopod should set a hard and fast rule, "no more crazy protagonists".


Having said all that...god I love you guys.  Realistic or not, one of my big goals right now is to write something good enough for you to consider using on escapepod.
-bhr



Kaa

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Reply #36 on: March 12, 2008, 03:50:13 AM
I said this over on LiveJournal, but I'll repeat it here for a different (maybe) audience.

Something I thought of while listening to this: I wonder if it would be possible to convince book publishers that allowing Escape Pod or Pseudopod or Podcastle to podcast a scene or two of an upcoming release would garner interest? I've bought books before solely because I heard a good reading of a scene and thought, "I wanna know what happens next!"

I've been wondering for a while why Escape Pod had a $5/month button but Pseudopod didn't. Every few months I make a "catch-up" donation to Pseudopod, and until last month I was on the $5/month thing for Escape Pod (I'll reinstate after April; I'm not sure why February - April always have to be National Take All of Kaa's Money months, but they are). I'll gladly do the same for Podcastle without ever hearing a word of it, because I know that you guys do quality podcasts, and many times, they are the highlights of my week.

So I guess what I'm saying is: Thank you, Steve. Thank you for all that you do to make these podcasts as good as they are. For having the vision. For giving of yourself and your time. For getting me (and others, I'm sure) excited about short fiction again. It is all very much appreciated.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #37 on: March 12, 2008, 03:56:04 AM
Question concerning the perk thing:

I get my EP & PP from my subscription at iTunes--it's the easiest option for me and it guarentees that I get it in case I forget. Can anything be done at that level? You'll be getting a paper Lincoln or so from me either way, but I'm just curious.

Other then that, good to hear you're getting things straightened out. I can somewhat relate--like someone else mentioned, for me it's more "Lazy A-Hole Syndrome," or, as I like to call it, "The Procrastination Goblin," but I'm trying to go cold turkey on the habit, so you're not alone. Good to hear you're expanding Escape Artists with PodCastle. I probably won't subscribe, since I could never get into fantasy, but it's cool to hear. And if only I knew anything about sound design, I would have totally helped out. :(



Sanpaco

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Reply #38 on: March 12, 2008, 04:09:16 PM
Don't know if its just a coincidence or anything that this is the point where I finally caught up on the stories.  I subscribed a couple months ago and have been listening when I could to each story in chronological order.  I really appreciate all the time you have put into this podcast and I want to say that for the non-sponsored proprietary type podcasts I have heard, this is one of the best.  Back in 2004 or so when I first discovered podcasts, I searched all over the place for a short story type podcast and couldn't find it. When I finally tried again this year this one and Psuedopod were the first I found and I've enjoyed both immensely.  Keep up the good work and I'll do what I can to support.



contra

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Reply #39 on: March 12, 2008, 07:43:26 PM
Escape pod has been there for the last few years when I have went through tough times and had nothing stable in my life.  Escape pod was always there.  I've never thought about supporting because... well donate buttons are on most sites and they become something that other people do.  However I'm in a better position now, and I want to support escape pod.  So as of 10 minutes ago I am.

Its good to hear about the state of the pod and so that I can know hows everything is going with it. 

Good to know you have a plan Steve and you know where this is going.  Its very good to hear things are already better than they were 2 weeks ago. 

Awesome stuff.

---
Mike---Glasgow.  Scotland.-->


CGFxColONeill

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Reply #40 on: March 12, 2008, 09:20:04 PM
So I guess what I'm saying is: Thank you, Steve. Thank you for all that you do to make these podcasts as good as they are. For having the vision. For giving of yourself and your time. For getting me (and others, I'm sure) excited about short fiction again. It is all very much appreciated.

I could not agree more.  Great job Steve thanks so much for all you do

I wish I could support EP but atm I am a 19 y/o college student which = I have no $ atm lol
I dont have much experiance w/ audio editing either so I cant help with that either
I wish there was something I could do but ya I will keep listening and spread the word when I can
thanks Steve and I am glad your life has been improving recently

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birdless

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Reply #41 on: March 12, 2008, 10:09:18 PM
This is a lifesaver during my hour commute, Steve! I mean, learning about Roman history and listening to TAL are all well and good, but every now and then I just want entertainment. I wished I could help, too. I am a Mac guy, but, unfortunately, I don't have any experience in the sound-editing field. If I come by the equipment and the knowledge, though, you'll be the first to know, because I would totally dig helping out in that capacity.



jeem

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Reply #42 on: March 12, 2008, 10:34:36 PM
don't have to worry about my former shared hosting provider crapping out.  The custom feeds will be generated from a Ruby on Rails application that I'm writing, and any time you do anything with RSS you take the risk of heavy load because some clients check their feeds

Do you need any help on the coding?  I'm a Rails coder, and would be happy to pitch in.

jeem



JoeFitz

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Reply #43 on: March 13, 2008, 01:05:37 AM
Not to belabour some points made by posters above more eloquently: humbling and inspiring, beautiful and tragic.

I never really thought about the monthly subscription as going towards both EP and PP. I was actually beginning to feeling guilty for supporting only EP but listening to both.

Frankly, I was a little disappointed when I heard the first Audible.com ad. I had been a member there, but the proprietary player bugged me, especially when trying to load files onto my HP Ipaq. The free offer, however, got me to sign up again. And this metacast has underlined why I should support those who advertise on Escape Artists podcasts.

A thought: there's a local community radio station that I listen to occasionally. It runs announcements which encourage supporters to patronize the businesses who advertise on the station - and tell the advertisers why. The advice is not to say "Tell them you heard it on X" but "Tell them you are supporting their business because they support X, and you think X is important." Given Steve's stated philosophy of advertising, it's fairly implicit that only advertisers that align with the audience are likely to appear, but telling the advertisers that is important, too.

It's great to know that amidst your chaos, YOU are having fun doing Escape Pod, because I know I have fun listening.

Thanks again, Steve.

JoeFitz



600south

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Reply #44 on: March 13, 2008, 01:57:42 AM
Hey Steve, i'm really sorry to hear about the shit you had to go through. As someone who's been in similar situations, I can say i empathize. I never managed to start a podcast with 20,000 subscribers, though.  ;)

Speaking of which, you certainly got your priorities right when you chose Escape Pod over the job, even if the decision was, erm, not 100% a conscious one. There are new millionaires created every day. Guys who run podcasts with thousands of listeners and reinvigorate the SF mass market are less common. The fact that you still managed to do it every week while everything else was going on shows that you're pro already.

Best of luck for the future and nolite te bastardes carborundorum. i promise to change my freeloading ways.



mjn9

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Reply #45 on: March 13, 2008, 02:09:15 AM
I don't need an email or thank you gifts.  The stories are great (and I wouldn't get those things from a magazine either).

I do wish I could pay directly with a credit card and not just through PayPal- I'm not a fan of that service and won't use it.



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Reply #46 on: March 13, 2008, 02:54:41 AM
First off Steve, I'd like to say thanks for making Escape Pod all these years. I think you've done a great job so far considering you've done this mostly yourself.

As for advertisements, I have some suggestions.
  • Shorter = better. 15 seconds = more than enough. Any longer will just annoy listeners. Ads should be short and sweet about what the product is and why it's so great.
  • Have ads at the end, not the beginning. I still listen to ads at the end but for some reason they are less annoying at the end. Also, if they want me to buy some product or sign up for some service, I'm more likely to do it at the end of the podcast and I won't remember if the ad was at the beginning.
  • Run ads that EP listeners would find interesting. You're doing a good job on this so far so I won't say anything else about it.
  • Don't narrate the ads yourself. Either get an "ad guy" or have the companies submit ads they've already narrated. To understand this, see if you can remember ever listening to the radio, and the host of the radio station promotes some type of crazy weight loss pills, saying, "I lost 20 lbs with this program." Lots of respect is lost for the host, even though it's obvious he's paid to do the ad. Whereas if some crazy weight loss ad comes on during the ad portion of the radio show, no respect is lost for the hosts of the show no matter how much the ad sounds like a scam.
  • You can mention the ad in your intro if you have something to say about it, and even briefly thank the sponsors if it's the first week of the ad, but don't go out of your way promoting their product or service. It makes the podcast feel like an infocommercial on late night TV. In my humble opinion, good products and services largely sell themselves once customers know about them, don't beat us over the head praising them.
  • On that note, try not to repeat the same ad two or more weeks in a row, if possible. I sometimes listen to Escape Pod stories back to back, and it's annoying to listen to the same ad over and over again. Do something; vary the ad, or put it on a rotating basis like once every three weeks.

Also, I'd like to briefly mention the mental health issue. In my opinion, anyone under heavy stress can become very depressed and despairing. That's why torturing people is so bad, as compared to normal punishments like prison or fines or loss of privileges. I don't think you have to call it an illness or disease. Although depression from tough times is a very serious issue, which I think you are going the right direction in treating, I wouldn't put it on the same level as something like multiple personality disorder or mental retardation.

Anyway, I'm excited about the new direction of Escape Pod and the upcoming Pod Castle, so keep up the good work.



Heradel

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Reply #47 on: March 13, 2008, 04:08:00 AM
First off Steve, I'd like to say thanks for making Escape Pod all these years. I think you've done a great job so far considering you've done this mostly yourself.

As for advertisements, I have some suggestions.
  • Shorter = better. 15 seconds = more than enough. Any longer will just annoy listeners. Ads should be short and sweet about what the product is and why it's so great.
  • Have ads at the end, not the beginning. I still listen to ads at the end but for some reason they are less annoying at the end. Also, if they want me to buy some product or sign up for some service, I'm more likely to do it at the end of the podcast and I won't remember if the ad was at the beginning.
  • Run ads that EP listeners would find interesting. You're doing a good job on this so far so I won't say anything else about it.
  • Don't narrate the ads yourself. Either get an "ad guy" or have the companies submit ads they've already narrated. To understand this, see if you can remember ever listening to the radio, and the host of the radio station promotes some type of crazy weight loss pills, saying, "I lost 20 lbs with this program." Lots of respect is lost for the host, even though it's obvious he's paid to do the ad. Whereas if some crazy weight loss ad comes on during the ad portion of the radio show, no respect is lost for the hosts of the show no matter how much the ad sounds like a scam.
  • You can mention the ad in your intro if you have something to say about it, and even briefly thank the sponsors if it's the first week of the ad, but don't go out of your way promoting their product or service. It makes the podcast feel like an infocommercial on late night TV. In my humble opinion, good products and services largely sell themselves once customers know about them, don't beat us over the head praising them.
  • On that note, try not to repeat the same ad two or more weeks in a row, if possible. I sometimes listen to Escape Pod stories back to back, and it's annoying to listen to the same ad over and over again. Do something; vary the ad, or put it on a rotating basis like once every three weeks.

...

Anyway, I'm excited about the new direction of Escape Pod and the upcoming Pod Castle, so keep up the good work.

Except almost all of what you say concerning ads is broken by TWIT in the podcast realm and Prairie Home Companion in the radio realm. Long ads can work if they're good, and so can ones narrated by the narrator. As for the crazy ad bit it's pretty clear Steve isn't advertising anything he wouldn't buy, which takes care of the crazy weight loss stuff. A long ad/testimonial works fine so long as it's clearly delineated from the content and the audience is sure it's not editorial. And for most companies ad-buys work in blocks, so it would be rowing upstream to try for every-other week. Up front ads bring in more money, and are a lot easier to sell than ones at the end.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Mad Maxx

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Reply #48 on: March 13, 2008, 04:27:42 AM
Well, this update made me finally register on the forums and all.

I found EscapePod about 6 months ago.  And I havent stopped listening since.  I even have gone back and am working my way up from EP #1 to about #100 (which was the last-ish one left on the Main Feed with I found it) just to get all that I can.  It is just that good.  Heck, Im working on catching up on PesudoPod and am greatly looking forward to PodCastle when it starts.

And I think it is about time that I start contributing to this great Podcast.  Ill be looking into setting up my PayPal to start some sort of donations.

Keep up the amazing work Steve.  This is one Podcast I look forward to every week and love listening to every week.



Talia

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Reply #49 on: March 13, 2008, 07:16:06 PM
Thanks for the update man, and I'm glad to hear things are on the up-and-up for you.

Likely people have said it before, but sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the strength to change.

Very much looking forward to the future of the entire Pod family. ;)