Podcasts Moved To podcast.bieberlabs.com

I’ve been thinking for a while about moving the podcasts out of the main site in order to continue doing them but see what is going on from a traffic perspective. One of the things I wanted to do was change the feeds to use FeedBurner for the podcasts alone as I did with the main site.

On November 14, Tony Steidler-Dennison of The Roadhouse put up a show in which he was talking about how his feeds were split and asked all of his subscribers to resubscribe to the new feed so that he could get numbers to use in his talks to get permission from labels to broadcast music. As I listened to this, I was a little concerned at inconviencing the small amount of people who might have actually took the time to subscribe and listen to the drivel I’ve been putting out as I learn how to do this stuff. I didn’t want to have to make them resubscribe to a new feed, so I rethought my original plan to move the feeds to a different site.

Then I said to myself, “Self, there must be a way to redirect the feeds to a new feedburner feed from iTunes, and if there is, there must be a way to redirect them to a new site as well”. So I started playing around.

Luckily, before I submitted to iTunes, I thought ahead enough to use Apache URL rewriting to rewrite the URL http://www.bieberlabs.com/wordpress/podcasts to my WordPress RSS feed in order to provide a level of indirection to the podcast RSS feed. This is the URL that I then used to submit the podcast to iTunes. Since I had this level of indirection, once I moved all of the content and set up a FeedBurner feed, all I had to do was add this little section to my .htaccess file to redirect to the new feed:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /wordpress/
RewriteRule ^(podcasts)/?$ http://feeds.feedburner.com/bieberlabspodcast? [R]

This little block of instructions tells the Apache server to redirect any requests to http://www.bieberlabs.com/wordpress/podcasts over to the new FeedBurner feed, making the transition to the new site completely invisible (at least it is to me so far).

So, all of the podcasts are now finally moved to http://podcast.bieberlabs.com. This site will be used to only support my podcasts, which will be refocused on instrumental guitar music like the stuff that I played on the 7th show. I have always had a real passion for this type of music and I have to say, Rory’s music completely inspired me to refocus.

So, in addition to the new site, I’m putting a call out to instrumental rock guitarists. If you create this type of music, please send it to me (bieber.r_at_gmail.com) so that I can start creating shows highlighting this beautiful type of music. The great thing about podcasting is to be able to create shows around niches and aside from Satriani, you rarely hear this type of music on the radio. I’d like to be the place in which people come to find this kind of music and to be able to give the artists a place to have their music played. The frequency of the show, at least initially, will be dependant on the amount of music in this genre that I can find, but hopefully as people see this and submit their work, it will be more frequent.

I hope the new shows are to someones liking. I also hope this explanation of how I moved the content without interupting iTunes service is helpful to someone starting out. Until Apple gives us a way to modify a feed URL in the iTunes interface, this is most likely the way that moving content like this needs to be handled and I feel really good in figuring out how to get around this gap in the interface.

To those who are subscribed or listen to these shows periodically, thanks for being patient as I stumble through the learning process. This has been a lot of fun for me so far and I hope to get a lot better and have a lot more fun in the future.

Software based IP PBX System – Sphere Communications

Yesterday I saw a presentation by Sphere Communications showing their product Sphericall, a service oriented PBX system.

The ideas in this software were really cool. The product is a software based IP PBX system which includes a SOAP based interface into the system, allowing you to completely integrate your VoIP network with your business applications.

The ideas presented in the presentation were pretty interesting. The product integrates phone, IM, and presence capabilities into its main desktop product, and also allows integration via web services to your business applications, allowing you to integrate your phone system into any application via a standards based interface.

Imagine being able to pop up customer information as soon as they dial in and being able to greet them by name and have their full history available to you right away via your CRM application. Imagine being able to put together conference calls by dragging and dropping people into your conference bridge when they call your office number. Now, image having IM like presence capabilities built into your phone system, so that you know whether someone is on the phone without having to call and be dumped into phone mail. These scenarios and many others were some of the things that Todd talked about during this presentation.

I thought the product looked extremely cool and shows a vision of corporate communication systems that is very compelling and exciting. The company has a whitepaper available on their web site (registration required).

More on the iPhone


The Times in Britain has an article entitled Apple bites back against music rivals with iPhone. According to this article, the new iPhones (at least from the British supplier) will only have capacity for 25 songs. An article in the Register also reports that songs for these devices will be $2 per song. They’ll have to up the capacity to something that compares to my current iPod for me to even consider something like this.

Hardware Upgrade At the Labs

About two years ago I bought a Compaq Presario 3000 laptop computer as my primary machine. It started overheating whenever I would try to check things out of a source repository or build software on it. I had it dual booting Windows XP and SuSE Linux 9.1. The overheating would cause it to just plain shutdown on Linux, or completely freeze under Windows XP. It was impossible to get anything of any substance done on the machine past email and web browsing, but I stuck it out because I didn’t want to spend more money on a new machine — and I didn’t want to be without a machine for 4-6 weeks while they sent it in for repairs.

At the time I bought it, it was brand new on the market and the poor customer reviews weren’t available. By the time I called support, the machine was on Compaq’s “classic” list.

Last month I got completely frustrated and decided to go out and find a laptop. I settled on the GATEWAY 7422GX Notebook Computer. It’s a 64-bit AMD chip with built in wireless, universal card reader, and DVD-RW drive. To be honest, I was actually too cheap to settle on this one and bought a cheaper model. However, that model I soon found had a known defect with the system restore, and they let me trade up for this model for the same price. You have to love Best Buy.

My first inclination was to again dual boot the machine running Linux and Windows XP. I need XP because my Digitech GNX4 software does not run on the Linux environment. However, once I got Linux on the machine, I found that the wireless card wasn’t supported on the distribution of Linux that I was installing (or if it was, I couldn’t figure out how to get it running after hours and hours).

VMWare on Windows Rather than spending my time wrestling with the machine and operating system for hours on end, and realizing that I actually wanted both Windows and Linux without having to reboot every time I wanted to change operating systems, I grabbed VMWARE WORKSTATION 4.X for Windows NT/2000/XP and installed it.

I decided that this time around, I was going to try out Fedora Core 3 as my Linux operating system. Having VMWare at my disposal was great, as I could muck about with the configuration as much as I needed to without hosing the machine. Once I found the documentation on getting the VMWare tools installed under Fedora, the machine has worked great.

In addition to being able to run multiple Linux distributions at my whim, the virtual machine is also able to piggy back on the hardware drivers for the Windows operating system, giving me access to my wireless network from my Linux installation. For each virtual machine installation, I now have the ability to snapshot the environment before making any major changes, guaranteeing that I can get back to a working installation.

This is truly the best of both worlds. If you want a truly safe way to run Linux on newer hardware and have any questions as to whether it will run or not, I highly recommend VMWare as a platform to integrate Linux into your daily work. I haven’t been happier.