New Audio Posted

Relative to the most recent essay posted, the production engineer at Erie Looking Productions decided it was time to make a practice run at producing spoken word content again. We used to do that on a fairly routine basis back in the day. My current day job really squelched that over the past six years.

Audio is posted to the Internet Archive for download in a variety of formats including Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Opus, and MP3. Currently the overarching album title is "Wildcat Feeds" as this is not quite podcasting but is still produced audio. The genre tag, for now, is "Folklore". The software is the typical Audacity and plug-ins that you find in Ubuntu from time to time.

If you want to sound great in your audiovisual project, take a moment to contact Erie Looking Productions via e-mail. We've been around for a while. We're looking at rebooting the "(Audio) Tech for (Computer) Techies" series from about ten years ago with some updates about audio reinforcement and updates in the world of microphones and other pieces of equipment. Other projects are also being planned that we hope will benefit the F/LOSS world.

Looking Ahead

Currently at Erie Looking Productions we are doing average maintenance. We are fixing the ikiwiki installation. As to the installation on we are evaluating moving that from being produced by LaTeXML to using Hugo instead. There are multiple conceptual difference we are still trying to figure out. We do not want to have two ikiwiki installations running, though.

Our recording platform for audio is in good shape. As for video we have some bugs to work out. We have some space issues we may have to deal with through relocating studio space.

Market changes keep getting interesting for us. With Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and Spotify being three of the biggest podcast directories now we have to take things in new directions. We were there in the early days of podcasting. After a brief hiatus we are going to be back.

Current Noodling

Relevant Document: Saldana, J., Arcia-Moret, A., Braem, B., Pietrosemoli, E., Sathiaseelan, A., & Zennaro, M. (2016). Alternative Network Deployments: Taxonomy, Characterization, Technologies, and Architectures (No. RFC7962; p. RFC7962).

I wish I could say broadband access around me is particularly healthy. It isn't. I have a single incumbent source that is Charter Spectrum. I am reading RFC 7962 as to the classification of alternatives in deploying networks. Reinventing the wheel is not necessarily a good idea. Local politicians truly enjoy doing that but I do not.

The notion of setting up a Wireless Internet Service Provider looks simple enough until I get to the question of backhaul. I know that there are providers out there now offering satellite backhaul, at least, such as Gilat Satellite Networks. Over land I would have to consider how to go from Ashtabula south to the Pennsylvania community of Pittsburgh which crosses into way too many "right of way" issues just to get to the closest IXP.

Mesh networking might be an easy off the cuff answer until you consider the size of my local area. Ashtabula County in Ohio is two-thirds the size of the State of Rhode Island relative to land area. Our population density is low. We have snow. We have cows. It is not a very viable solution. The sheer size of the area makes building infrastructure fairly difficult. One local community did not get dial telephone service until the 1970s as it is.

While there are other options mentioned in the RFC they get increasingly esoteric. The matter needs further thought. Where it all winds up is just a conundrum for the moment.

Another Zotero Backup Dump

From time to time it is necessary to backup what is found and logged to Zotero. There are many resources logged in my database. I do think biber would choke if I tried to make a single LaTeX-based booklet of all citations found.

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A Modest Ham-Related Proposal

Over the past couple months I have been trying to participate in the Monday morning net run by the SDF Amateur Radio Club from It has been pretty hard for me to catch up with any of the local amateur radio clubs. There is no local club associated with the American Radio Relay League in Ashtabula County but it must be remembered that land-wise Ashtabula County is fairly large in terms of land area.

For reference, the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has a dry land area of 1,033.81 square miles. Ashtabula County has a dry land area of 702 square miles. Ashtabula County is 68% the size of the state of Rhode Island in terms of land area even though population-wise Ashtabula County has 9.23% of Rhode Island's equivalent population. Did I hear mooing off in the distance somewhere? For British readers, it is not only safe to say I'm not just in a fairly isolated area but that it may resemble Ambridge a bit too much.

Now, the beautiful part about the SDF Amateur Radio Club net is that it takes place via the venerable EchoLink system. The package known as qtel allows for access to the repeater-linking network from your Ubuntu desktop. Unlike normal times, the Wikipedia page about EchoLink actually provides a fairly nice write-up for the non-specialist.

Now, there is a relatively old article on the American Radio Relay League's website about Ubuntu. If you look at the Ubuntu Wiki, there is talk about Ubuntu Hams having their own net but the last time that page was edited was 2012. While there is talk of an IRC channel, a quick look at shows that it does not look like the log bot has been in the channel this month. E-mail to the Launchpad Team's mailing list hosted on Launchpad itself is a bit sporadic.

I have been a bit MIA myself due to work pressures. That does not mean I am unwilling to act as the Net Control Station if there is a group willing to hold a net on EchoLink perhaps. It would be a good way to get hams from across the Ubuntu realms to have some fellowship with each other.

For now, I am going to make a modest proposal. If anybody is interested in such an Ubuntu net could you please check in on the SDF ARC net on June 17 at 0000 UTC? To hear what the most recent net sounded like, you can listen to the recorded archive of that net's audio in MP3 format. Just check in on June 17th at 0000 UTC and please stick around until after the net ends. We can talk about possibilities after the SDF net ends. All you need to do is be registered to use EchoLink and have appropriate software to connect to the appropriate conference.

I will cause notice of this blog post to be made to the Launchpad Team's mailing list.

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A Modest Ham-Related Proposal by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Three Quotes

Three quotes to ponder:

  • Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly. -- Roger Ebert

  • There will be good moments, and there will be less good moments. -- Donald Rumsfeld

  • A lie will gallop halfway round the world before the truth has time to pull its breeches on. -- Cordell Hull

Though separated by time and space those three quotes definitely speak to the state of our planet right now.

So That Happened...

I previously made a call for folks to check in on a net so I could count heads. It probably was not the most opportune timing but it was what I had available. You can listen to the full net at and you'll find my after-net call to all Ubuntu Hams at roughly 44 minutes and 50 seconds into the recording.

This was a first attempt. The folks at SDF were perfectly fine with me making the attempt. The net topic for the night was "special projects" we happened to be undertaking.

Now you might wonder what I might be doing in terms of special projects. That bit is special. Sunspots are a bit non-existent at the moment so I have been fiddling around with listening for distant stations on the AM broadcast band which starts in the United States at 530 kHz and ends at 1710 kHz. From my spots in Ashtabula I end up hearing some fairly distant stations ranging from KYW 1060 in Philadelphia to WCBS 880 in New York City to WPRR 1680 in Ada, Michigan. When I am out driving Interstate Route 90 in the mornings during the winter I have had the opportunity to hear stations such as WSM 650 broadcasting from the vicinity of the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. One time I got lucky and heard WSB 750 out of Atlanta while driving when conditions were right.

These were miraculous feats of physics. WolframAlpha would tell you that the distance between Ashtabula and Atlanta is about 593 miles/955 kilometers. In the computing realm we work very hard to replicate the deceptively simple. A double-sideband non-suppressed carrier amplitude modulated radio signal is one of the simplest voice transmissions that can be made. The receiving equipment for such is often just as simple. For all the infrastructure it would take to route a live stream over a distance somewhat further than that between Derry and London proper, far less would be needed for the one-way analog signal.

Although there is Digital Audio Broadcasting across Europe we really still do not have it adopted across much of the United States. A primary problem is that it works best in areas with higher population density than we have in the USA. So far we have various trade names for IBOC, that is to say in-band on-channel, subcarriers giving us hybrid signals now. Digital-only IBOC has been tested at WWFD in Maryland and there was a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission to make a permanent rules change to make this possible. It appears in the American Experience, though, that the push is more towards Internet-connected products like iHeartRadio and Spotify rather than the legacy media outlets that has public service obligations as well as emergency alerting obligations.

I am someone who considers the Internet fairly fragile as evidenced most recently by the retailer Target having a business disaster through being unable to accept payments due to communications failures. I am not against technology advances, though. Keeping connections to the technological ways of old as well as sometimes having cash in the wallet as well as knowing how to write a check seem to be skills that are still useful in our world today.

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So That Happened... by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Quick Bits

In no particular order:

  • I spent a little time fiddling with HDHomeRun reception tied to an over the air antenna pointed toward southwest Ontario. Results were mixed. Propagation has been a bit odd with heliophysics being off lately. You can follow me on Mastodon as well as many Ubuntu-related friendlies on a separate server in the decentralized federated environment.

  • Eventually I will get the script written for the short film I intend to enter into the Dam Short Film Festival near Hoover Dam in Boulder City, Nevada. A combination of LaTeX, git, Launchpad, imagination, and ingenuity might actually help me get the script written. Making the film is the challenge yet to come, though.

  • I am apparently still reachable via Telegram if anybody wants to call.

  • I'm still boggled by the varieties of non-free Javascript utilized in this Bodyweight Planner put forward by an entity in the US Department of Health and Human Services. It isn't a bad tool, mind you. Having a disconnected tool would be nicer, though. Major storms rolled through on Saturday morning causing power disruptions and some felled trees damaging houses. Life in the deciduous forest is rough.

  • Work has been a bit disturbing lately. When you're left contemplating the questions I have been stuck with generally major life changes end up happening. I don't like where things have wound up lately. I threw three job inquiries in the mail Saturday and since attending OggCamp is looking outside my grasp I won't be floating CV/resume documents there, alas. No, things are not okay right now.

  • The reported breakage suffered in the keyserver network was not fun to read about Saturday at all.

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Quick Bits by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A LaTeX Quick Hit

As a quick note, I should reference that the package from CTAN that I am using to prepare the script for the work-in-progress short film is the stage package. Yes, I understand it is intended for stage plays. It suits our purposes, though. You can track development on Launchpad and clone the git repository from since I want to promote Launchpad as an off-beat alternative to GitHub.

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A LaTeX Quick Hit by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.