Class 5 Rambling Ahead

Has the whole world gone mini? That’s what I wondered when SBC dropped its new phone books on my porch. Three arrived in one bag: a honking thick yellow pages for Oakland and vicinity, a slimmer white pages and a third “Oakland Mini” yellow pages. Roughly the size of trade paperback book, the Mini targets the small cities around Oakland. It’s a good product with one HUGE flaw — the type size. The book is useless to these aging eyes without a magnifying glass.

On that score a friendly comment said the type size on my new blog is too small. I will soon correct this.

What about mini mikes — as in microphones? I have been a print journalist for too many years and have only recently started trying to grab audio for podcasts and other communication schemes. I recent read a testimonial by Derrick Story, managing editor for O’Reilly Network, attesting to the ease and cost effectiveness of the roughly $80 Samson C01U microphone. It comes with a stand and plugs directly into a laptop USB port. Story calls it a contender for the title of “The ultimate podcasting microphone.”

While I’m on the subject of audio input devices, pointed me to a blurb about a higher cost (presumably higher quality?) mini-mike from the British audio firm, HHB, that has a built in flash memory. The HHB press release says: “With no fiddly cables and connectors to worry about, journalists can be recording instantly with just a single button-push.” The blog entry I noticed on unmediated says the wireless mike will supposedly ships in January and cost $999 Euro before taxes and shipping.

But fuggedabout the gizmo. What really wowed me was guy who wrote the posting. He is Jonathan Marks of the Netherlands, whose interests include the blog Broadcast and Podcast Gadgets where this write-up originally appeared. In rooting around Jonathan’s web site led me to all sorts of interesting stuff about the new media ferment in Europe, including a pointer to an organization known as the Club of Amsterdam that is holding a Summit for the Future on May 3-5 of 2006. What could be more hopeful than mulling the future in Amsterdam in the spring!

Obviously, I am ready for the weekend. I would say what a week it’s been but aren’t they all that way. I sometimes feel like I’m white water rafting down the river of life, dipping a paddle in from time to time to give myself the illusion of steerage, all the while hoping not to crash into the rocks. But when the cold spray hits your face, how good it feel to be alive.

See you Monday.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media