One thing I end up embarassing myself about sometimes in the Ubuntu Podcast telegram chatter is that I end up buying and selling tiny amounts of shares on the US stock markets. All I can say is that I got spooked by the 35 day “government shutdown” at the start of the calendar year when I was stuck working without pay as a federal civil servant. Granted I did get back pay but the Human Capital Office at work is still fiddling with things even now in terms of getting payroll records and other matters fixed. I generally buy shares in companies that pay dividends and then I take the dividends as cash. At work we refer to that as “unearned income” especially as it is taxed at a rate different from the one applied to my wages.

My portfolio is somewhat weird. I am rather heavily invested in shipping whether it happens to be oil tankers or dry bulk cargo ships. In contrast I have almost nothing invested in technology companies. There aren’t many “open source” companies available on the open stock market and the ones out there either I can’t afford to buy a single share of or they violate my portfolio rule that stocks held must pay a divided of some sort. Too many companies in the computer tech world appear to make money but don’t send any profits back to shareholders as their dividends are stuck at USD$0.00.

All that being said, I found a very important post on Mastodon to be of interest. The post, located at https://fosstodon.org/@badrihippo/102426802394820437, stated:

gPodder.net is looking for a new maintainer!

If nobody comes forward by 2020, it’ll be forced to shut down. Please boost to spread the word.

https://github.com/gpodder/mygpo/blob/master/maintainer-needed.md

Note that this is the podcast-sharing website: I’m not sure about the status of the app, but I think that’s still doing fine.

#gPodder #podcasts #python #webdev #helpwanted

Now, you might wonder what this little piece of infrastructure happens to be. It is actually somewhat critical to have a free and open culture. The gPodder.net site is a critically important site for podcast discovery. Unlike Apple Podcasts, gPodder.net is integrated into many podcast applications across many platforms.

As a shareholder in multiple media companies (especially Scripps E W Co, Salem Media Group, iHeartMedia, Entravision Communications, Townsquare Media, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc, and Entercom Communications Corp) I have seen the answer the old media has made to the more free-wheeling world of podcasting and “new media” that I previously did quite a bit in. Scripps, a broadcast conglomerate, owns and operates Stitcher in addition to its broadcast television holdings as well as the Newsy cable television channel and website. iHeartMedia, the massive radio conglomerate that just emerged from bankruptcy reorganization, now boasts that its rather closed garden of an app is number one for podcasts in the United States and is the easiest way to listen. I previously held shares in satellite radio service SiriusXM and, would you imagine, they also happen to own Pandora which now also provides some listings of podcasts in its walled garden. Spotify remains an independent company for the moment but you can listen to the Ubuntu Podcast within its walled garden too.

If I ever get back into the swing of podcast, I have a daunting task that is growing of just trying to submit feeds to each individual walled garden. The number of them is growing. You don’t have to be a doctrinaire freedom by any means necessary person to see that that paradigm might be a bit stifling. I should caution that it isn’t confined to the USA as the British Broadcasting Corporation is still fiddling with its BBC Sounds and iPlayer applications.

I know I flat out do not have the programming skills to help. I do have the skill to explain why it is a social good to keep gPodder.net alive, though. Our world of podcasts should not be homogenized and formatted like radio stations have become in the United States. Nobody needs to imitate Ira Glass to be authentic.

A more freeform cultural world is possible if we keep up the architecture to make it happen. Right now gPodder.net is all we have and it would be a shame if it closed down. Now is a great time to lend a hand to keep a great piece of infrastructure alive to preserve free culture. Fullest details as to what this involves were posted to GitHub.