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Editor of, the daily podcast newsletter. Radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant.

What data does that barcode contain? And what can you do with it? Everything, it turns out…

On my desk is a boarding pass from a flight I took yesterday. You’ll notice I’ve blocked out the barcode, and you might wonder why. Allow me to tell you.

The barcode is in PDF417 format, which is the standard format for any airport-printed paper boarding pass. PDF417 is an open and unencrypted format, and because of that, you can download a PDF417 scanner almost anywhere. I got one called PDF417 barcode scanner from Google Play, which is free and seems fine, and it tells me the barcode contains the following…

Some podcast hosts give podcasters a sub-domain for their RSS feed. Here’s why that’s a bad thing.

Visit an unencrypted HTTP website like and every single part of your connection is visible to anyone who can see your internet traffic: your co-workers, your employer, or your ISP. They can see the entire contents of the web page; and anything you type into it.

The pandemic has given us many things: including a new way to promote your podcast

In 2009, I visited Japan. It was my first time, and like many visitors there, I was thrust into an exciting world of bewildering things that I had never seen before, some of which I excitedly photographed.

I think I may have finally found something even better than my trusty Kobo

For a while, I’ve had a Kobo Aura One, a rather fine ebook reader that has served me well. My main use-case has been sitting in planes reading books, though for whatever reason (gestures outside) I’ve not been doing that too much recently. My secondary use-case is quietly reading in bed.

I’ve long waved goodbye to the Amazon Kindle. I strip any DRM off any books that I buy (if they have DRM), and store them in .EPub format. I don’t need, nor want, Amazon’s bookstore service. Hence why I initially went with the Kobo.

The Kobo Aura One is…

And Bingo was its name-oh

How good can a smart watch that costs US$29 really be? Not that bad, it turns out.

I was offered this watch free to review it.

My terms were “sure, but I’ll just say what I think about it”, which they agreed to, and told to me to expect it in the post. Thanks to the lack of aircraft flying to Australia currently, it took six weeks to get here from the Netherlands; but it’s here now, so I thought I’d give it a go.

As you might know from some of my previous posts, I like a good smartwatch. But given that this model is just US$29 on Ali Express, I was, frankly, a bit sceptical…

Your data appears to show that people lose interest in your show after 25 minutes or so. Does that tell you that shows should be 20 minutes, or does it tell you that you could do better to keep your audience's attention for longer? goes into that in a bit more detail.

The way many of us use AWS Cloudfront and EC2 together is to have an origin server on EC2, and then a Cloudfront distribution over the top of it. That means that your website is available in two places: and the origin server, so that Cloudfront can see it,

The benefit is that you can use your origin server for developmental purposes and to double-check what you can see before it’s cached by Cloudfront.

The downside is that anyone else can see your origin server too, and some spiders might come along and start spidering it. …

A thing that Clubhouse might have an effect on that isn’t a podcast

Is Clubhouse going to kill podcasts? Nope.

“The thing that amazes me about Clubhouse”, says a friend, “is that everyone has to have a take. They can’t just quietly use it. They have to have an opinion in it.”

So, here I am, with a few opinions on Clubhouse, since it seems everyone else has to.

It won’t kill talk radio

Talk radio superficially seems easy. Have a Bloke (and it’s almost always a Bloke) who has an Opinion. Bloke states the Opinion to either a) ensure he gets a ton of people phoning Bloke to agree and to add an Important Point; or b) make every listener angry at the Opinion…

Accra, Ghana: the next generation of podcast listeners

High quality MP3 audio is great: but it is pricing out a whole generation of potential listeners. Can we do better?

In South Africa, Vodacom has around 45% of the cellular market.

Worked out using Vodacom’s R99 per GB “pay as you go” price as a percentage of the average wage (3.6x less than the US), the cost of data is stunningly high.

Mobile data costs a typical South African the equivalent of US $23.50 per GB of data.

Or, to put it another way, download the latest episode of This American Life and the 66MB for the episode will cost you the equivalent of $3.52.

This American Life isn’t a particularly data-thirsty podcast. It’s just over an hour long, and it’s a pretty standard 128kbps stereo MP3 file. It sounds nice.

Turn it into mono at…

Wrist: author’s own

Is it better than WearOS? Or just different?

Smart watches have plenty of promise. Ever since I lost a lovely Mondaine watch in a Canadian hotel room, I’ve been hopping between WearOS smart watches, which used to be called Android Wear until Google changed the name because Google is a company seemingly run by toddlers with attention spans of five seconds.

I started with an LG square Android Smart watch; graduated to a round LG one; then a Huawei one; then a Fossil Sport. The Huawei one was probably best, but the screen became horribly burnt-in; the Fossil Sport should have been excellent but was hampered by an…

James Cridland

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