October 23, 2007

WLS-AM Difficulties in Streaming Audio

Posted in Mac, Mac Software, Rants at 11:31 am by a11en

Well, I figure it’s time for a small mini-rant.  After all, you guys get tired of listening to me not-ranting, don’t you?  😉

I’ve been a long-time listener to WLS-AM (890 kHz- Chicago, IL).  When I can’t get it via the radio, I often attempt to get it via streaming audio.  Recently, the radio-station made a change to how it was streaming its audio.  It appears they have contracted out the audio streaming to some insane company called  players.eonstreams.com.  Fine.  Just fine.  Except, well, that it’s impossible for me to stream their audio anymore!  I can’t get their stream in anything other than a d*Q!#@ web-browser with their !@!@# pop-up window and in-line advertisements.  Well, that’s just b-e-a-utiful.

They’ve lost a listener, at least an on-line listener.  They used to be one of the major online radio streams, and I can only guess that now, they aren’t even registering in listenership.  Why oh, why, WLS-AM did you need to make this change?  Honestly, do you think it was worth it to get a few more adverts up to only support web-service streaming with weirdo-pop-ups and platform specific audio?  [Windows media player only!]  What in the world is happening up there at the station?  Someone dropped the ball on that one.

Guess the money was worth it.  Well, you can count me out on listenership online.

October 1, 2007

The Importance Of Dreaming…

Posted in Procrastination, Productivity, Work at 8:42 pm by a11en

One of the critical aspects of human nature is man’s capacity for imagination and dreaming. Recently, I’ve been exploring my thoughts as they arise a bit more than I have in the past. The reason for this, is that I’ve found my dreams are critical to my happiness.

Somehow as we age, and as our responsibilities increase, we slowly learn to turn off our dreams. We no longer dream of being an honorable fire-man or police-officer. Somewhere in the more adult version of us is a little whisper that we didn’t have as a child. It says things like: “Come now, that’s silly, you can’t possibly entertain that dream…” In some senses, we’ve either altered our consciousness as we’ve aged, or we’ve added a new darker conscience. Now, I’m not saying we all leave our jobs and pick up learning the fireman’s carry… but, perhaps some of you who’s deepest passions really do bend towards public-service and fire-fighting should consider joining a volunteer fire-department?

What I’m merely suggesting, is not to let go of dreaming. It’s one of those easy things that costs almost nothing. It costs a bit of day-dreaming time. I suspect (and am finding in my own life) it’s very very important.

When I talk about dreaming, I’m not only talking about the pie-in-the-sky type dreams we used to have as kids, but I’m also talking about thinking and dreaming positively about the future of our lives. In other words: “What would it be like if *I* was the manager?”… “What would my house be like if I had any ability to do what I wanted to with our house when we first bought it?”… “How would I be towards my wife if I truly was happy with our lives?” Now, be careful of negatives slipping in there… but, if you had all the time (and the kids weren’t waking up at 2am for water), how would you act with your wife? What would be your night on the town?

If I’m having the effect I want on you, hopefully I’ve touched off some day-dreams. Now, the next step is critical… I want you to entertain those dreams just a bit.  [If you are like me, just thinking of doing that is going to bring a smile and a smirk to your face.  Relish that smile for a bit…]  That night out you just thought of? How much money and time would be required for that? But, you have kids? Ok, well, how much for a babysitter for the night? Can you get someone to watch them overnight? See what I’m doing? I’m trying to get you to entertain what it might take to make some of your dreams come true.  Just *how* much would a Lear Jet to Paris really cost?  [go find out!]

When you start to see your dreams as being possible, start to entertain them a bit, a change likely will begin to happen. That negativism (that little conscience that used to say- yeah, but you’re grown up… or you’ll never make it… ) is quieted a bit. You’re turning a bit more positive in your dreaming, and positive in your life directions. And this, my friend, is *so* important.

I’m learning this first-hand. Somewhere down the line of my graduate work, I slowly became more and more depressed. Depressed because I wasn’t saving the world; wasn’t making the talks at conferences I expected; wasn’t publishing to the level I had dreamed of when I first started. Over the years I somehow started seeing me as someone other than I was at heart. That was at the core of my general malaise. Then, a dream, (which I likely won’t talk about here unless things look like they’re moving forward positively) became possible.

Oh, likely it won’t ever happen, but, I found myself encompassed by that dream for 3-4 days straight. Thoughts of: “I’ll never make the cut.” ; “I don’t have the physical ability for this.”; “I’m not fancy enough for them.” Were riddling my thoughts… but somehow, that possibility of the dream I had when I was younger was constantly in the fore-front of my mind. And it caused me to smile. I was laughing at myself. Seriously, I’m entertaining this craziness? Yes. I was/am. Hilarious. So, I continue to entertain this possible dream, and that’s when I noticed a positive change in attitude. I seem to have more energy to set goals and tasks than I had before. All because I had a focus, and a hope for something I never would have ever tried.

So, my thought for you, is to dream. Think of those things that used to focus your interest as you were younger. In the very least, entertain them at least a little. Are there hobbies or things you could learn that would make you smile a bit more? If you find a little dream (say learning to tap-dance, or paint with oils, or play the piano, or even learn to enter and exit a burning building…) talk with your spouse about them. Tell her of the importance of dreaming, get her to dream and talk to you about what she would love to try and do. Share your thoughts/ dreams/ idiot ideas together, without negativism. As your spouse’s help-mate, confirm her dreams, and either openly, or in secret, help her to pursue them.

I suspect that you will be finding a bit of a spring in your step, and more smiling happening. We are living on this earth a short time. It would be a shame to get to the end, and not to have done a few things that your adult-conscience would have said “Silly stupidness” to. Or, that negative voice saying: “You can’t possibly do that.”

The difference between adventurers and those who read about adventurers happens right after they dream. If you’re an adventurer, you’ll entertain that dream and make it possible against all odds.