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Ubuntu developers: Stephen Michael Kellat: Mass Media Thinking

Posted: June 14, 2012 / in: Linux / No comments

Writing about one form of
communications or another is a weird enough thing to do during
easy times. When faced with service cuts, though, it becomes
easier to do. In losing yet more channels from my Time
Warner Cable
line-up, I end up facing the scenario of losing
access to more of what is broadcast contemporary moving image
content. Living in Ohio’s Ashtabula
also presents some additional factors that don’t help

Ashtabula County is not
considered within the local service area of any
terrestrial television station even though we’re roughly equal
distances away from Cleveland and Youngstown in Ohio and Erie in
Pennsylvania. As the crow flies, we’re actually closer to
southwestern Ontario though Lake Erie kinda gets in the way. My
cable television service, such as it is currently, relays local
affiliates from Cleveland and Erie of NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. The
affiliate of ION
is also included in the line-up. There are two public access
channels for now, the Univision affiliate in Cleveland, and two
home shopping network affiliates from Cleveland that I do not
happen to watch yet pay for.

Now, I am a subscriber to
SiriusXM with their News/Talk/Sports
. I can hear MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and FOX News even though
I cannot see them. With them not included in my cable line-up I
have to ensure my imagination is in good and working order. My
primary reason for maintaining that SiriusXM subscription is so
that I have access to the BBC World Service since shortwave
broadcasting to North America by BBCWS halted in 2001.

Sadly, the number of
shortwave broadcasts to North America are decreasing. A post by
shortwave analyst Kim Andrew Elliott, though, brings some
hope for the future

As for local radio, we’ve got

  • 2 country stations

  • 2 religious stations

  • 1 Rock and Roll station

  • 1 ESPN Radio affiliate

  • 1 “oldies” station

  • 1 station that rotates
    between news/talk, Catholic programming, and oldies randomly
    throughout the year for no apparent reason

a podcast producer, I do listen to plenty of podcasts. I avoid
live streaming for the most part except
France24 in English via
Digital Entertainer Live
box. Programs like Linux
, Ubuntu UK
, Ihnatko Almanac,
CBC’s Laugh Out Loud
With Craig Norris
and Full
Circle Podcast
are among the things you can find in my
download mix.

Podcast reception is
dependent upon having proper Internet service. Right now such is
tied to my cable television service. There are no normal
alternatives to them. While wireless hotspots are available, the
bandwidth cost compared to the amount of programming downloaded
makes SiriusXM far more attractive. Then again, Leo Laporte’s TWiT
network is not available on that satellite system.

I don’t get a normal view of the world around me from the mass
media sources available to me.

to Over The Air antenna reception is
option in this case. This county is just too far from the main
transmitter sites feeding the Cleveland and Erie markets. Even with a
lousy set of rabbit ears,
of WJET and WFXP in Erie is possible. Due to the nature of ATSC
television transmissions, which do not degrade gracefully as they are
all or nothing affairs, there is a strong chance that reception will
be impaired. Normally massive Yagi-Uda antenna arrays are called for
in addition to excellent preamplification. Not everyone can scrape
the sky with that, though.

configuration of AM and FM radio service by the FCC pretty much
prevents getting stations beyond my local area. Recent increases in
local electrical noise make Detroit’s WJR
and Windsor’s CKLW
harder to receive than they used to be.

Podcasts are podcasts and remain inextricably linked to the Internet
as transport medium.

All this being said, now what?

main solution I am looking for right now would be to take COTS
(Commercial, Off The Shelf) hardware to build a bit of a
multi-platform personal recorder. Thankfully things like Mythbuntu
exist though I need to read up heavily before I begin to approach
such. At best I want to get at least one TV tuner, one AM/FM tuner,
host hardware with decent oomph, I want to be able to set up the box
somewhere else like a barn with better reception capability and leave
it sit. With the programming data that is carried as part of the ATSC
signal standard, the box should not necessarily need Internet access.
On occasion I would visit the actual site to download copies of
programs recorded that are converted for my personal media device and
set up events to record.

folks over at Linux Mint have their new mintBox
announced which will carry their derivative on hardware that they
hopefully make some profit from. My big question now is what would it
take to do something like
Mythbuntu? Does something already exist that I’ve overlooked?

N.B. I don’t have Disqus
installed on the blog yet and want to save that for another time
trying to integrate such with Blazeblogger. To react to this, contact
me via Launchpad

Creative Commons License
Media Thinking by
Michael Kellat
is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License

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License: The original licenses are retained – MIT (Expat) License

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