AmeriNZ 408 – The year winds down

amerinz_podcast_1400x1400-2016Today was predicted to be the hottest day of the summer so far, and it was for some areas. I haven’t done much since the last episode, mostly routine stuff, but sometimes that, too, is my life, One thing I did was fix this site, so there’s that.

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Links for this episode
“The heat is on” – My blog post about the warm/hot weather.
“Memories shared, forgotten, and reviewed” – My post on things that happened on December 18 over several years.
Solstices & Equinoxes – a list of the dates from Time and Date.

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A new phone line

I added another K-7 phone line. It needs to be called within 72 hours or it will be deactivated—will it be? I posted it to Twitter, the podcast’s Google+ page and here. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

The US number is: 206-426-5394. Go mad!

Update – April 5: Yay! People rang the AmeriNZ Podcast voicmail line to activate it, so it’s good for 30 days. There’s no outgoing message yet. I’ll get to that on Monday.

Update 2: The voicemail line was discontinued from non-use.


Not in service at this time

Another line bites the dust—OOPS!

Over the holidays, I lost another voicemail line, and I won’t be getting another one, at least, not yet. It’s too much hassle for me to make sure it’s rung every 30 days, and there are no other free options that I’m aware of (Google Voice numbers aren’t available in New Zealand). The only other option I’ve been able to find so far is a Skype Number, which costs US$30, but I don’t know if that’s a year or a shorter term (apparently, the only way to find out how much it costs is to sign up for one).

So, for now, at least, I have a few options for you. First, you can leave an audio message at the right side of this site, using that SpeakPipe widget. Or, you can leave me an AudioBoo message. You can also leave me a voicemail on Skype (username, surprisingly enough, is amerinz; however, I don’t know if you have to be on my contacts list first). Finally, you can record an audio message and email it to me. For some of those options, you can use a smartphone app to send me a message, but the SpeakPipe option isn’t available on Apple products (because it’s Flash-based). Actually, you could also ring the voicemail line for 2Political Podcast (206-350-3982), because those messages come to me.

I think I’d like to move away from a voicemail phone number, anyway, because it’s very limiting, even when it’s free: Most of my listeners are in the USA, so having a number there makes sense—but that can make it expensive for people in other countries to leave messages. With the spread of smartphones, I think other options are the way to go. At the very least, I’m going to be promoting options that don’t require phoning the USA.

This is all a work in progress—when is it ever anything else?—but for now, these are the options. I’ll post more here, and mention it in the podcast, as things progress.

And, of course, you can always leave a written comment here on the site, or you can send me a Tweet, etc.

Thanks! New episodes will be out soon!


Changing the past

This is a bit of a weird story.

On December 25, 2008, I posted a video called “Auckland Christmas” to YouTube, and also to my podcast as “AmeriNZ Video 03 – Auckland Christmas” (and I also posted a verison to my blog as “Auckland Christmas”). The video contained a music track that I used under license from the Podsafe Music Network (now called Mevio Music Alley).

At some point after I posted the video, the artist apparently signed up with a licensing agency that charges for use. I was unaware any of that had happened—who keeps running checks on tracks they’ve used?

Today I got an email from YouTube telling me the video “may have content that is owned or licensed” by the new company (which I’d never heard of, though they’re a “YouTube Partner”, whatever that means). They also said that while this wouldn’t count against me, and the video would remain, there might be ads posted next to the video. However, despite saying “this claim is not penalising your account status,” they also ominously warned on the notice page that my “video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change.”

Here’s where it gets really weird: The track is still listed and available on Mevio’s Music Alley—so, therefore, my original license must still be valid. If it’s not, then the burden of proof ought to be on the company claiming licensing rights, and they shouldn’t get free ads at my expense.

However, I’m not a copyright lawyer and can’t afford one, so I can’t comment on any of the legalities here. Instead, this is only about my sense of right and wrong: I legally used a track provided for my use and I fully complied with the terms of the license I was given. That license appears to still be in effect. I think—but don’t know—that the copyright licenser didn’t take any further action because I complied with the terms of the license I’d been given (and which may still be in effect).

However, I’m in no position to challenge them or Google/YouTube. So I was left with few options.

First, the new company licenses tracks for $1.99 and I could have paid their fee to re-license the track from them, but why should I? As far as I’m concerned, I already had—and still have—a valid license to use the track.

The second option is the nuclear option: Deleting the video from YouTube (which is a shame because it was the most viewed one I had). This is the option I chose (though I first made it unlisted while I decided what to do).

My next step was to take the original video project and delete the music track entirely, along with any mention of it in the end credits and written descriptions. I left the end of the video silent as a sort of protest. I then overwrote the copy on my podcast site so the video’s still available.

My final step will be to upload the altered/censored video back to YouTube. Had I paid to re-license the track I already have a license for, I’m sure I’d have to alter the credits in the video and re-upload, anyway, so why not instead make a point?

I chose that track originally because it was free and reasonably inoffensive, meaning, innocuous. It wasn’t overtly religious, as so many Christmas songs are, and wasn’t awful (as, frankly, so much free music is). There was no option to pay anything for the music and, four years ago, there were few if any other options for music I could use legally.

So there you have it. Some company asserts its muscularity and someone like me has little choice but to surrender—or fight and face the consequences. This song is not worth the fight, even if the principle could be. But since I clearly have no idea what the law says about a situation like this—someone legally uses a music track they’re licensed to use, then later someone else claims the rights—this case is too murky to take a stand on.

Next time, it may be different.

This is crossposted to my blog, one of the few times I’ve done that.


To comply with the law

I am temporarily turning on comment moderation on this site. You can still leave a comment, but it won’t be posted until after 7pm Saturday NZDT (1AM Saturday EST). I’m doing this to comply with New Zealand election law, which, apparently, mandates that I turn off comments (even though the law was enacted in 1993…). I will re-enable comments after the New Zealand polls have closed, and will update this post to confirm that as happened.

Update 26/11/11: Now that the polls have closed, comments are once again unmoderated, so they will post immediately (unless you’re a first-time commenter, in which case it will still need to be approved). Thank you for your patience.


Repairs complete

Yesterday I received an email from a listener asking about access to old episodes, and that reminded me: I never finished my repair project. Last night, I did.

Last year I upgraded WordPress and podPress, which together power my podcast, and in so doing my audio files were all unlinked from the posts they were part of. This meant that they couldn’t be downloaded or listened to through the player in each post.

It happened because a setting had changed, and all I had to do to fix it was to add the complete file path name to each audio and video file. “All” I had to do—there were already a couple hundred to deal with!

Initially, I re-lnked all the files for 2010 episodes, as well as December of 2009. But apart from a few old episodes (and all video files), I just stopped. Then, I became distracted (as I often do) and forgot all about it. That email changed things.

So, last night I took a few hours and finished that project. I think that all files are now linked, but if you find one that’s not playable, just let me know. I also cleaned up a few things left over from moving the posts to this site: I fixed a few typos, added tags, those kinds of things. Someday I should clean up the posts themselves.

One addition some people may find useful is that I added political episodes of AmeriNZ Podcast with Jason to the 2Political category; those episodes eventually led to our 2Political Podcast, so I thought it made sense to make them more easily available. Categories are listed in the upper left of this site.

And that’s it. Thanks to an email, this site is back to full functionality—I hope…


Indefinite hiatus

The upload problem with this site still hasn’t been resolved. The site’s hosting company says it must be a problem with my firewall, even though there have been no changes to those settings, despite the fact that I was able to upload only a few days earlier, and despite the fact that even now I can upload to my other site hosted by the same company (and yes, I told them all that when I filed the incident report).

So, at the moment, I still can’t upload any new AmeriNZ Podcast episodes. Apparently, WordPress (which is what this site basically is) allows me to upload a file no larger than 8MB, which would be a very short episode. I haven’t tried that to see if it actually works or is similarly affected. I could also probably upload the audio files elsewhere and link to them here, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having this site.

Until this is resolved, or until I can change hosts (whichever comes first), the AmeriNZ Podcast is on an indefinite hiatus. If this continues more than a few days, I may try the methods I mentioned above, and I may put out a few Audioboos in the meantime (if you go to my Audioboo profile, there’s a button you can click on to subscribe to my Audioboos through iTunes; the RSS feed for my Audioboos is ).

I suppose there’s some sort of irony in that this all happened in week in which I was finally able to record two episodes. I just find it incredibly frustrating and annoying.


Episode cancelled

I recorded an episode yesterday, but I couldn’t upload it using my FTP software. So, this morning I tried uploading through the host’s website—five times. It wouldn’t upload. So, until I have time to make an international long distance phone call to try to sort it out, I won’t be posting any audio or video files. Damn. I actually managed a second episode this week! Grr.


Clearing some dust

I’ve now restored the links to all AmeriNZ Podcast episodes for 2010 (and December 2009, too). I’ve also restored the links to all four videos, three of which can be viewed here on the site (for some reason, video 4 won’t play, and I have no idea why—I’m stumped). I also fixed my video player skin, which had an image I made—up until it disappeared.

It turns out all these problems—and more I discovered just this evening—were all caused by upgrades to podPress. I know they call it a “labour of love”, but I’d sure love them a lot more if they didn’t break things when they fixed other things.

Anyway, I’ll keep restoring links. The next update will be when I’ve completed re-linking the podcast episodes from 2009. Please let me know if you discover any broken links to my files (I can’t control external links) fro anything posted in December 2009 or later. Thanks!


Pardon the dust…

Over the weekend I upgraded WordPress on this site and there was a small but critical change I didn’t know about: It changed the way it handled file path names, and that meant that all my audio and video files were no longer available.

As of this posting, I’ve restored access to all files going back to the Pride 48 live episode posted the end of June, so all episodes from then on (July and August) are again available. I’ll get the rest sorted out, too, but it’ll take time because I have to fix it one episode at a time.

What happened is that before the upgrade there was a drop-down menu for my audio files so I could simply select them. After the upgrade, that drop-down menu was gone and WordPress couldn’t find the files anymore.

So, I have to go in and add the complete web address for each file—easy enough to do, but it takes time. Actually, it’s not that easy: For older episodes I’ll have to check on the server to find out what the filename actually is, and that’ll take a little while longer.

2Political didn’t have this problem when I upgraded it because it never had the drop-down menu: I always had to enter the location of the files.

Oh, and one other thing: I realised I REALLY need to make a custom “404” page—the standard one is ugly.