I have officially retired from the Linux Action Show

Roughly 6 years ago, I started the Linux Action Show with my good buddy, Chris Fisher.

And it has been an absolute blast to do.

This show is, very much, my baby (really, our baby).  The show has enabled me to meet some amazing people — and make some great friends.  It is not lost on me that I am where I am at today thanks, in large part, to the work we have done on the Linux Action Show.

As I leave the show… I can say with absolute certainty that it is, without a doubt, to highest quality show in the Linux and Open Source world.

But it is time for me to move on.

This was a difficult decision to come to — but it is clear to me to that it is the right one.  In fact, I no longer have any ownership of, or involvement with, the Jupiter Broadcasting network whatsoever.  [My 50% stake in the network is now controlled by Chris.]

So why did I make this decision?

It isn’t about money.  [I’ve never actually made any money from the Linux Action Show or Jupiter Broadcasting… I think the last time it resulted in revenue for me was maybe 2 or 3 years back to the tune of a hundred bucks.  For the entire year.  Heck, I think I’ve spent more money on gear alone than I ever made from the network.  But I didn’t start this to make a billion dollars from ad revenue.]

And it isn’t about time.  [Though that would be a pretty reasonable reason.  Over the years, thousands of hours have been invested into the show and the network.  And freeing up that time for other projects is certainly logical.]

And it isn’t because me and Chris are mortal enemies.  [Quite the opposite.  Hell.  The man was one of the groomsmen in my wedding.  He’s my bud.  And that’s all there is to that.]

No.  The real reason is much simpler than any of that: It’s just time.

When we created the show, it was because we wanted to see a show like it — and nobody was making it.

Now it’s time to do something else.

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The Complete History of the Linux Action Show (abridged)

We’re quickly approaching the 6 year anniversary of the Linux Action Show.

Six.  Freaking. Years.

And I realized that I’m slowly forgetting a lot of the little details about how this whole crazy thing came together.  So it’s time for the official history of the Linux Action Show.  In chronological order.

Fair warning: This is in no way interesting.  Nobody should read this.  Ever.

Repeated warning: Seriously.  Do.  Not.  Read.  This.

Ok.  Here we go.

January, 2006

Two buddies of mine, Chris (my co-host on the Linux Action Show) and John (who some of you will remember from a few other shows at Jupiter Broadcasting), and I were all Mac users.  Apple stickers and everything.

Sure, we were nerdy and loved us some Linux… but we were “Mac guys”.  At the time, I made my living writing and selling Mac software (with a few Windows ports here and there).

In early January, at MacWorld San Francisco, Apple announced a feature in Garageband that was called “podcast studio”.  Basically you start an iChat conference and Garageband records it.

We thought “a-ha!  We’ll start a podcast this way and we will be AWESOME!”.

So we did just that.  The result was a show called “CastaBlasta”.

Some of you may remember a “general nerd chat show” called “CastaBlasta” that we all did.  That was a reboot of this original show.

The original was started as a “Mac news show”.  But it quickly evolved into three guys making pseudo-racist jokes (mostly about “the irish” — two of the hosts being, in large part, Irish) and generally goofing off with live mics.

There were three or four episodes that were genuinely funny.  The rest… were just damned bad.  We had no clue what we were doing… this was our boot camp.

February, 2006

Remember how I said we were “Mac Guys”?

Well… there was this website called “ResExcellence”.  Back in the day this was a, rather cool, site devoted to ways you could customize MacOS (we’re talking “classic” MacOS here).  Skinning.  Resource Editing.  Etc.

Well, that site was about to be shut down due to lack of interest from the original guy that ran it.  So, Chris and I agreed to pay for the hosting to try and keep the site alive (it had years and years of tutorials and the like that would have been a shame to lose).

May, 2006

From February to May, we worked to make that Mac website as cool as we could… but the community behind that website did not approve.  [To put it mildly.]

They blamed us for the previous owner of the site leaving (even though that guy was just going throw the power switch to the off position — and not say a word about it — before we stepped in… ungrateful little *grumble* *grumble*…).  And they pretty much full-on revolted.

Even had a flurry of death threats against us.  Was pretty awesome.

June 10th, 2006

Right about then, we both decided we’d had enough of the Mac community, and jumped ship — heading over to the green, green fields of Linux.

We’d both used Linux plenty (we are nerds after all), but always “in addition to Mac, Windows, OS/2, etc.”.  Now we were making the leap, feet first, into a nearly 100% Linux computing life.

And it was wonderful.  For so many reasons.  So wonderful, in fact, that we decided to start a 2nd podcast.

But what to call it?

We went round and round with all sorts of names.  All of which are lost to me now.  I proposed “Linux Action Show” — because it had the word “Linux” in the name [see how clever I was?] — and it stuck.

So, on June 10th of 2006, The Linux Action Show was born.

It was me and Chris, talking into cheap condenser mics and me doing my damnedest to edit it together.  It was… rough.  But we kept at it.

July, 2006

Within a month we already had a good number of listeners.  Enough that we were convinced that the show was worth doing (and getting better at).

October, 2006

Interesting side-note: We had our first interview with Aaron Seigo of the KDE project right around here.  Primary topic: “What is KDE’s Plasma?”  That was in 2006.  It’s 2012 now (no need to check your calendar, I just did that).  Almost 6 years ago.  Crazy, right?

February, 2007

Right about this time, we got a new theme song.

We dipped into petty cash (ie “We asked our wives and if we could have some money”) to hire a musician to write and record us a theme song.

We didn’t really know what we wanted… just that we wanted it to sound “Action-y“… and I put in a request with the musician to have a “Sonic the Hedge-hog” vibe.

The result is the theme song you hear today.

Some people got a little cranky that we changed the theme song.  But they got over it.  Because the new song was awesome.

June 2007

As the Linux Action Show continued to grow, we made more and more jokes about building our own Linux distro [usually dubbed “LASnix”].

Eventually this “joke” turned into a full on real project.  We set up some dedicated forums, pulled together requirements, and [along with our awesome community] did some initial design work.  But, before long, that project generally fell apart and never really got off the ground.

But not before getting a name.  That name: “Jupiter”.

This came about as a combination of us both being big fans of “Lost in Space” combined with some ideas from the community.

May 2008

At this  point, the Linux Action Show was booming and we wanted to try our hand at earning some income from the show.  Mostly we just wanted to be able to cover our expenses (servers, recording hardware, etc.).

And we also wanted to try our hand at some new shows.  Making the Linux Action Show had been a blast but, after 2 years of doing it, we wanted to branch out a bit.

Chris and I decided to form a business and create a complete podcast network.

But what to name that new business?  We went round and round with a flurry of ideas (all of which are lost to time — though I recall several using “Action” rather prominently) but, eventually, we came back to a name that we liked in the past.

Jupiter Broadcasting is formed.

I recall that one of the big deciding factors for using this name, for me, was the dream of generating some original sci-fi shows.  The thought of making Jupiter Broadcasting into a general “nerd” online tv network, with both “chat shows” and original fictional shows, was quite exciting.

The first, and only, foray into the fictional space was Mack Murphy, P.I. — which lasted a total of 8 episodes.

August 2009

At this point Jupiter Broadcasting was a little over a year old… and we did the stupidest possible thing.

We killed the Linux Action Show.

Well.  Sort of.

Here’s how it kinda-sorta-happened:

Chris had been picking up the bulk of the editing duties for the Linux Action Show at this point (in the early days it was mostly me doing the editing work then, by about this time, it became mostly Chris) and, because we were doing more and more video, that work really couldn’t be done on Linux (certainly not at the time… and not in a time-efficient way).

So between video editing and his day job, most of his day was spent in front of a Mac or Windows PC.  Just how it had to be.  This combined with the fact that we are two nerds who like to tinker with anything we can get our hands on — resulted in a desire to have a show where we could talk about things like Haiku, AmigaOS (*cough* and Mac/Windows *cough*) and other super-nerdy “Computer” stuff that wasn’t specifically “Linux”.

Then we thought, “Hey!  Let’s just re-brand the Linux Action Show so that we can use that show to talk about all this other stuff!”

Bam.  “Linux Action Show” became “Computer Action Show”.

February 2010

For six months we tried to make it work.  It was a decent show really (the format was the same as before… just with less Linux and more… other stuff), but “yet another show about computers” was not what the world needed.

So, after roughly half a year, the Linux Action Show returned in all its glory.

Balance was restored to the universe.

September 2011

After having done the Linux Action Show (in one form or another) — and a number of other shows — for over 5 years, I needed to take a break to free up some time to work on other things (you can see what I was working up in that sidebar to the left) and spend some time with my family.

Allan, who had begun co-hosting another tech show at Jupiter Broadcasting, stepped in to serve as temporary co-host until I could return.

January 2012

Four months later, with my batteries recharged and whole lot more software created, I return to the Linux Action Show.

That brings us right up to today.  I probably missed some cool bits here and there, but this covers the key pieces of history I think.

It’s been a pretty fun ride thus far with the Linux Action Show.  We’ve done a lot of reviews, had a lot of great guests (ranging from Kevin Carmony, the CEO of Linspire, to Richard Stallman… and a whole lot of people in between), attended some cool conferences (including Linux Fest Northwest and the first/only Ubuntu Live conference) and generally had a lot of fun.

If you’ve read this far — holy cow man.  You really like the Linux Action Show.

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Mack Murphy, P.I. – The Lost Jupiter Broadcasting Radio Drama

I have been digging through some of my old archives for a side-project I’m working on… and I stumbled across something rather fun.  First, a little back-story.

About 4 years ago, in May of 2008, Chris and I had just officially formed Jupiter Broadcasting as a podcast network — and we needed more shows.

Our staple has always been “guys talking nerd-ily about nerdy news”, which can be fun.  But I wanted to try my hand at something… different.  I wanted to do an old-style radio drama.  To be specific: A Sci-Fi-Alternate-History-Mystery Radio Drama set in Seattle in the 1920’s.  And I wanted to do it in a short, serial format.  With killer robots.

So I set about making it happen.

Enter: “Mack Murphy, P.I.”

I wrote the scripts for the first season (trying to be no more than 5 minutes each episode).  Then recorded the dialog (there weren’t many characters, and a lot of narration, which helped) and edited it all together.  [With a few short cameo’s from my (sexy, nerdy, amazing) wife, Katie, and Jupiter Broadcasting’s Chris to keep it interesting.]

Now, to be clear, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing.  I knew that putting together a radio drama would be a lot of work… but I had no idea quite how much work.  You’ll notice that the audio are almost never the same between episodes, for example.

All told, I managed to make about 8 episodes before we swung the ax of “Indefinite Hiatus” at the show due to the low listener numbers.

But man.  It was fun.  For posterity’s sake I’ve put them all here as MP3’s.

I give you… Mack Murphy, P.I.

Season 1, Episode 1

Season 1, Episode 2

Season 1, Episode 3

Season 1, Episode 4

Season 1, Episode 5

Season 1, Episode 6

Season 1, Episode 7

Season 1, Episode 8

As Garth Marenghi would say, “Sit down, relax, and enjoy. Well I SAY, enjoy.”.

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Windows Action Show – Windows 8 Consumer Preview Review

Jupiter Broadcasting‘s most ambitious undertaking yet: We review Windows 8 Consumer Preview on the Windows Action Show.

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Whoah. Bryan apologizes for Stallman interview.

I want to take a brief moment to apologize for getting so torked off at Richard Stallman (yes… you heard me right… I’m apologizing).

So, we had Richard Stallman on the show.  And it didn’t really go as planned.

The plan was, roughly, this:

RMS would come on the show.  We would ask him some questions and let him talk about a few things he wanted the opportunity to talk about (namely eBooks).  Then we would talk about practical solutions for migrating a piece of proprietary software to be licensed under the GPL… all while trying to maintain steady income for those involved.

Then, after the show, I was going to turn around and try to put one of RMS’s suggestions into practice with some of my own software.  Turn the whole thing into a real-world example of some of his ideas.

But that’s not exactly how it turned out.  I’m not going to go into it all in detail here, as you can easily watch (or listen) the episode.

But what I will say, is this:

I allowed Stallman’s responses and ideas (which he has every right to have) piss me off.  And that resulted in me loosing my cool.

Do I agree with Stallman’s views on children?  No.  Not even a little bit.  I find his views to be deeply unethical and frightening.

But that should not have been part of the discussion.  Initially I brought the word “child” into the conversation as a means to illustrate the reason for a need (that most of us have) for a practical solution to migrating software to the GPL (“how do I put food on the table and feed the kids”).  Stallman’s reaction here surprised me (in retrospect, it really shouldn’t have).  And once Stallman ratcheted it up a notch, by declaring that nobody should have children… well… that kinda broke my brain.

On the other hand, I also have (fairly major) disagreements with his valuation of software licensing and his stances on how best to implement said licensing.

Those disagreements should have been the focus.

I doesn’t matter, not even a little bit, what Stallman thinks of children (or the people who have them).  What does matter is the specifics of the licensing (that he has made his life’s work) and the practical applications therein.

Was the interview a wasted opportunity?  No.  But it could have been even better.  I could have pressed Stallman harder for an answer to the questions presented to him.  But I let myself get derailed.

And that is my bad.

When I see, what I feel is, harmful extremism.  It makes me cranky.  Should it?  Probably not… there’s plenty of it in this world, and a man can’t be cranky all the time.  When that extremism is directed towards children, I get doubly-cranky.

And that’s what happened here.

So, to Stallman: I would like to apologize for focusing on this topic, and your statements relating to children, when there are other areas you would be better prepared to comment on.  I would also like to apologize for discussing this topic after the fact, when you were not there.

To everyone else: I would like to apologize for the exact same thing.  How many of us really care what Stallman thinks of children?  Does it actually matter?  Are any of us going to be having him over to babysit for us next weekend?  No.  So the topic isn’t relevant and simply serves as a distraction away from the areas where he does have an influence.

Now, all that said.

Next Sunday’s Linux Action Show is going to be a much more up-beat one.  It’s time to play games.

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