FLOSS Weekly 722 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Doc Searls (00:00:00):
This is FLOSS Weekly. I'm Doc Searls. This week Aaron Newcomb and I are joined by Tim Požar and Brian David, who were on a few months ago with so much to talk about with DIY broadcasting. Run your own radio station entirely with open source. Lots and lots of tools. Lots and lots of approaches. Lots and lots of progress. So much that we had to continue the last show on this one. And we couldn't even finish everything here cause there's so many questions we have and so much good stuff to talk about. But there's a lot. And it's coming up. Next.
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Doc Searls (00:00:43):
This is FLOSS Weekly, episode 722. Recorded Wednesday, March 8th, 2023. DIY Broadcasting with Open Source. This episode of FLOSS Weekly is brought to you by Kolide. That's Kolide with a k Kolide is a device trust solution that ensures that if a device isn't secure, it can't access your apps, it's zero trust for Okta, visit Kolide.com/floss and book a demo today. And by aci, learning Tech is one industry where opportunities outpace growth, especially in cyber security. One third of information security jobs require a cyber security certification To maintain your competitive edge across audit IT and cyber security readiness. Visit go dot aci learning.com/quit. Hello again, everybody everywhere. I am Doc Searls. This is FLOSS Weekly, and I am joined this week by Aaron Newcomb, who is Hey Doc here. Hey. And now bearded, like aggressively bearded, a very forward looking beard. I I like the look.
Aaron Newcomb (00:01:55):
Yeah. Well, I'm trying to, I'm trying to to model your look a little bit here, <laugh> as, as best I can. The gr the gray is starting to come in. I,
Doc Searls (00:02:04):
Yeah, the gray. So he, you, you know, one gets a kind of a skunk look for a while, you know, where it's kind of a white streak down the middle and <laugh> and, and, and dark on this sides. I'm past that now. I'm kind of more like the the polar bear look. But it's more like, it is actually a goatee in the sense that it, it's derived from the, from a goat. And I, I can't grow anything on the sides. There's nothing there. So and I was young. I look like the young ho Chi min. Now I just look like sort of like a bad Vince surf sort of, you know,
Aaron Newcomb (00:02:35):
<Laugh> <laugh>. Anyway, <laugh>. Well, I'm trying yeah, it grows in pretty quick. I haven't grown one for a long time. I, and I haven't been on the, the show for a while, so I know. Yeah, I know. It's been a few months.
Doc Searls (00:02:46):
It's, it's, it's, yeah, it's been too long. And I wanted you on this one. We had Sean on the last one. This is kinda like part two of of of this show. Cuz we had a long outline last time and wanted to make, we didn't cover the same stuff, but being as big on retro as you are and because you haven't been on in a while, I wanted to get your take on this cuz we're really looking forward here. But these guys, I know these guys from Radio <laugh> and, and I've known Tim a long time from both radio and from web stuff cuz he was a very early web developer and and Brian from last time. But he was, works with K P F A in Pacifica. And but anyway, so I wanna jump into the show. Just, just to get us started. So our guest today are, are Tim Požar and Brian David. Tim. Tim is <laugh>. They're waving at it. I mean, <laugh> Tim, as I was saying, has been a, a developer of long-standing. One of the earliest developers of of of
Tim Požar (00:03:51):
Well, the internet
Doc Searls (00:03:52):
<Laugh>, well, the internet. I know he all the way he's
Tim Požar (00:03:56):
Doc Searls (00:03:56):
Web, one of our her people. But even before there was the web, I mean, you know, when there was just T C P I P and a whole bunch of things you could do on it if you happen to be lucky enough to be at a university or a big company or a hacker who could get into it somehow. Anyway and, and Brian wasn't, I think still is like, and a chief engineer or something that was titles now says volunteer with K P F A, which is the original Pacifica station in Berkeley. But you're in Pittsburgh, right? Is that right? Yeah,
Brian David (00:04:23):
Still in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Yeah, I just kind of needed to take a little step back personally from the radio station for a little bit. So I'm like more of like an advising ca you know, capacity and like, but I still like work with my team and Tim and still make moves.
Doc Searls (00:04:38):
And, and Tim, you do, you, you still have, it's not a parrot station, it's like an actual L P F M somewhere. I have
Tim Požar (00:04:45):
Two pf FMS licensed at my house. Yes. <laugh>. They, they go all of like three blocks I think something
Doc Searls (00:04:51):
Do, do you, do you have call letters for those?
Tim Požar (00:04:54):
Can't k p a and I forgot what the other one was. I all P kp. What is K P E A?
Doc Searls (00:05:02):
Oh, as in P
Tim Požar (00:05:03):
Size? Yeah, it's, it's a piece through technology or something like that. There's a foundation that, that has it. And and you know, dash lp. Yeah. So, but and then I forgot what the other call is. I'll have to dig it out. But it, it, it mainly we're, we're kind of sitting on it in order to not make sure to make sure that it doesn't go back to the FCC and it, and the license gets lost. We're trying to reorganize it so that it goes to some place that can actually do some decent community radio with it. But it, you know, if it goes back to the fcc, then these licenses are gonna be very difficult to get again. So we're, we're sitting on 'em here at this point.
Doc Searls (00:05:44):
Oh, there you are. 96.1 in Sausalito. That's our, that's, yeah. Yeah. Or, or in a, you found
Tim Požar (00:05:49):
One of them
Doc Searls (00:05:50):
<Laugh> I found. Yeah. On a city block of Sausalito actually. <Laugh> something like that.
Tim Požar (00:05:54):
That actually the, if you track it down, find my house. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah, it's, but I'm, I don't live in Sausalito. I live in Mill Mill Valley, which so you have to look at the current license.
Doc Searls (00:06:05):
Yeah, yeah. So well, and an interesting thing about this is that we are really at a liminal stage between broadcasting as we knew it, and b, broadcasting as it will be. And it strikes me as an interesting framing for this, that in the beginning, broadcasting was a hacker thing. You had to be a hacker to make it work and, and everybody could do it, you know, and if you were organized, you were called a church or as a fraternal organization or a retail establishment, and you put something on the roof and you broadcast with that, and now we're there again and it's all open source and you guys are at the front edge of that. So what does that look like now? I mean, you've, you've got editing, you've gotta roll your own stuff. This is kind of the stuff we're gonna go over today. What, what's the sort of high level look of that right now? Well, as you're doing it on the internet,
Tim Požar (00:06:57):
I'm gonna jump in cuz I'm, I'm a little bit more of an old timer than, than Dave or Brian is here. But that, you know, my days when I, when I got into this, it was Amex four 40 s and 3 51 s and things like that. And you were using single-sided razor blades to cut tape. And I was having to try to figure out how to make a 40 mile sstl or studio transmitter link at, at 900 megahertz to work properly. And, and, you know, having to replace tubes, we had these giant tubes that we'd have to pay several thousands dollars for to replace and every six months or every, every 12 months or so. And all of that's gone now. You know the technology has gone past that point where you don't have to spend, you know, you don't have to worry about tubes.
Aaron Newcomb (00:07:47):
Looks like Tim Lock locked
Doc Searls (00:07:48):
Up a little bit. Tim froze.
Brian David (00:07:50):
Oh, the, the tube got
Doc Searls (00:07:50):
Clogged. He went down the tube. For a moment. <Laugh> <laugh>.
Aaron Newcomb (00:07:55):
That's okay. That's okay. We'll, we'll come back to him when he comes back on. We're, we should also let people know that we're kind of picking up the discussion after our the previous video, right? This is kinda like part two, right? Of what we talked about before, which was I actually went out, I went back and watched, it wasn't that long ago. I think it was back in December, right? November, Brian, that you guys were, were on. So but, but if people wanna watch that one, there's some great history as I did. There's some great history there in terms of like what the, what a radio station looks like, how it broadcasts the, we, you guys kind of went over the, where the towers are in the Bay area and stuff and what kind of equipment you use and how you do that. And then you jumped into how to some of the open source tools, not all of them, but a few of them that you can use to do like scheduling for your station if you wanted to create your own station. Brian, I think you went over some of those scheduling tools.
Brian David (00:08:46):
Libre time Yeah. Was like one we use for automation. Great open source project. Like really love to follow the development over personally, like the last 10 years which was like a fork from another project called Airtime. So we, we talked about that. And so like seeing things change and transition and grow is sort of the magic of being open source. Like I as like a person in the public get to see that contribute, be a part of that. So, yeah.
Aaron Newcomb (00:09:16):
Yeah. So great setup to this one. I just wanna let people know to go back and watch that one if they want to, and then we can come back. They, they should watch, or, or it, it stands alone so they don't have to like do it right now. <Laugh>, they don't want to. They can go back and, and listen to that one or watch that one on the normal places, either on the website or, or YouTube or whatever. But I just wanna let people know. That's why we're kind of pick jumping into this in the middle here, talking about the open source tools. But Brian yeah, <laugh>, maybe we should start with you while we're waiting for Tim to jump back in. I mean, you, you mentioned kind of the history of, of that project and some of the things going on.
I mean, you know, what are some of the tools that people need to know about as they maybe, maybe consider either starting a station or, or just kind of jumping into this field, or this is gonna be adjacent for a lot of people because they, a lot of folks that listen to this are already using a lot of open source tools or, you know, I myself use a lot of open source tools for editing for, for for video editing and audio editing and things like that. But mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, what kind of tools should people be looking for if they want to get into the broadcasting space?
Brian David (00:10:26):
Yeah, I think you know, one of them, you know, I guess maybe like a king player might be Audacity, which is an open source audio editor, multi-track audio editor. And it has something that like I really appreciated cuz if it's like ease and straightforward access. I think you know, with Audacity there was a low learning curve. Like I didn't have access cuz I didn't have money to pay for the expensive tools, like, as a teenager, like, like there was a cost barrier. It was cost prohibitive. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> to jump to something like from Adobe or some, you know, from, from a company. And so Audacity being like download done and it being multi-platform on Windows, on Linux, on Mac, you know, really had a ease of access and low barrier to entry. And then as it's developed over, I mean my guess might be like 20 years at this point it really started to have some nice features.
And some of them in particular are really pertinent to broadcast. One of them is the ability to do audio normalization, which is sometimes you'll record a clip or a segment and you might have these like very loud segments, these high peaks. And then you have like some soft, you know, kind of personal conversation and you don't typically want a lot of variance in your audio. It becomes very tiresome to the ears when you have and so recently in the last couple years, they added a feature to do loudness normalization. And that's something you can do at the end, after you've done your editing, your clipping, you've put all your, your segments in there and you know, you're fading your fade out and you can just make it all kind of a uniform sound, which really polishes the, the product, right? And, and, and someone in the industry, a friend once said, quality is respect for the listener.
And that was something that I, I took home. And so like at the station that I'm a part of, K P F A, you know, that's kind of lamato we run with. And so that's something that we, we implement is the ability to normalize audio to a standard. Standards were set probably by N P R in this country. In across the pond in Europe, there's a different standard as well. Relatively the same at negative 24 lus in the us negative 23 in Europe. Somebody, correct me if I'm wrong here, <laugh> and yeah. And it's the broadcast standard and there's a different one for podcasting, I believe negative 18 loves and a different one for listening on the radio on like Amazon, like Alexa, and then kind of like the streaming services. But with Audacity, you just pick the number and you're good to go.
Aaron Newcomb (00:13:14):
Yeah, actually I use Audacity quite a bit as part of my, you know, daily routine. And the thing that I love about it is I can record my audio there and it has really good noise re reduc, good and easy noise reduction. Because I think as we're talking about this and a lot of people are recording at home, it's more likely that you're gonna be picking up background noise from, you know, things, other computers. Like I have several other computers here, which create a lot of, a lot of fan noise and things like that. I don't have a professional booth to record in, like a lot of people do. So I get that background noise. But you can select, you know, if you start with 10 seconds of silence, then when you go back to edit, you can select that 10 seconds, go up to the effects, hit noise reduction, get profile, go up to NOI, and then select everything, go up to noise reduction again and say reduce noise. And it sounds really, really good. And it's a lot easier than me having to go do that in my video editing tools. So it sounds better. And it's easier to get that noise reduction that I need because like I said, now people are recording at home a a lot of times. So yeah, I, I love Audacity. I think it's a great tool. Lots of good tutorials out there as well.
Speaking of background, right,
Doc Searls (00:14:26):
<Laugh>? Yeah, there's a little bit of it there. You know, I I I've, I've been using Audacity for years as well. I'm not as sophisticated as you guys are, but what I like about it and the ability just to use something, an open source tool like that is that professional audio, especially on the video side, has gone into a proprietary bill with, with Dolby 5.1, 7.1 and all that that you want in your surround side where it just used to be stereo. You have two ears, you have stereo. Stereo is well understood for a very long time, and we're still using it with podcasts, you know, is either mono or stereo. That's pretty much it. You have two headphones, that's enough. And it, and it's good. It's not bad. And, you know, so I I I like that. I like being in that world.
Aaron Newcomb (00:15:11):
Yeah, for sure. For sure. There's other tools out there as well. What about a tool like AR Door? Do you use that one at all? Brian or Tim?
Brian David (00:15:21):
Personally not. And it's nothing against the project at all. It's just like, I'm not like a music producer, like our door is the Cadillac, you know, it's got like a ton of features and a lot of thought, and a lot of intentionality with its ability, which is wonderful for people who really get into editing and mixing and layering and all of the process that's involved. And so it's a super fleshed out tool that handles the array of needs. Whereas with Audacity, it's a tool, like a hammer, like a wrench. It's got a specific purpose, you know? And our door isn't something that, like I said, like personally I've touched, but I believe you guys did a show back in November about it and went through it, through and through, and that's probably an amazing show for people too, to check out. I believe it was November 16th
Doc Searls (00:16:21):
Last year. Very good. I I was, I was gonna look back and see. I know we talked about harder, you know. Yeah. But it, it's, it's but I wasn't remembering what show it was and the rest of that. Th thanks for check for, for reminding, reminding us of that. I think now would actually be a good time to take a pause and let everybody know that this episode of FLOSS Weekly is brought to you by Kolide. Kolide is a device trust solution that ensures unsecured devices can't access your apps. Kolide is a big news. If you're an Okta user, Kolide can get your entire fleet up to 100% compliance. Think about it, your identity provider only lets known devices log into apps. But just because devices don't, doesn't mean it's in a secure state. In fact, plenty of devices in your fleet probably shouldn't be trusted.
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So, so I'm wondering for both you guys Brian and Tim, to what extent, like the amateurs of the pastor are becoming the professionals or dear professionals of the present using these tools because they're available to everybody. You know, now, you know, you can roll your own more than ever before. Is that the case? I mean, are we seeing, you know, more, let me put it another way. Is the talent increase going towards stations of their own or established stations using open source tools or are they just, or they using other things like Garage Band or something like that?
Tim Požar (00:19:16):
Brian or me? Yeah. Well
Doc Searls (00:19:18):
We can both tackle it. Yeah, sure. <Laugh>, I was was just listening to Doc. Okay, go
Tim Požar (00:19:22):
For it. There seems to be an inertia with traditional stations. I mean I'm seeing a lot of people, I, again, Brian is, is the unicorn in this case. And the fact that I, I haven't seen this with him, but in a lot of traditional stations, you have kind of the old gray beards that are, you know, still used to replacing tubes and things like that and are not, are very concerned or nervous about sort of IT infrastructure being brought in to replace traditional broadcast you know, tools and such. So they're, they're used to going out and, you know, getting maybe a A D A W from like Pro Tools or something else like that, and that's fine. But if they want to be able to sort of roll their own by using like, oh, let's, let's get rid of our Windows actor directory boxes and, you know, put in samba or something else like that, that seems to be or, or creating their own code that seems to be the point where they're, they're just a little bit reluctant to do that.
Now you have the sort of the upcoming people like Brian who's coming out of the IT infrastructure and say, gee, you know, we don't need to go out and spend you know, a bunch of money to pay Microsoft for, for this or, or pay Teos, I guess, or somebody else to be able to do a, a very expensive streaming server. We can roll our own using, you know, ICE cast or whatever else. And so that's, that's just starting to creep in where you're starting to see the technology sort of like show up particularly is like low powered fm. Like what I have in, in what I'm hosting here is that I can go out and run an automation system, an open service automation system like rivendale and for free it basically just uses a backend like MySQL and then and then have this thing pretty much run unattended for weeks at a time without having to worry about going out and spending tens of thousands of dollars a year for an automation system that has been traditionally done in the past.
So you're starting, you're seeing it with new people that are coming in, they, those youngsters, if I can call it with my gray beard mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and then the kind of the newer technologies that are coming out like L P F M.
Brian David (00:21:48):
Yeah, I appreciate that, Tim. I think Doc, when you were prosing the question, what was, there was excitement coming to my mind in part because I think it's open source fulfilling its mission of democratizing, of providing access it at its core as much as something is technical, there's also an aspect that it's a social program, and that's what allred me to it, like open source. And these tools were within my ability, and they had documentation and conversation, the ability to like talk to a developer and ask questions on community forms and so forth and so on, like I said earlier, really lowers the bar to entry and it kind of breaks down or demystifies that division between like amateur and professional, because like, I'm not somebody who went to college. I'm somebody who was dedicated and curious and had passion time and commitment and those skill sets and those abilities, and there's millions of people like that. And that's why we see such a flourishing of open source software. So it, jumping into radio for me was just the opportunity I was presented and the tools were already there, the opportunity presented itself. And so I said, okay, I can take this collection of tools and resources and make movement. And that is a very powerful and enticing combination that I've found.
Aaron Newcomb (00:23:23):
Very cool. Very cool. One of the things I wanna mention, and, and it's partly because I think if we don't our audience will be wondering why. I was certainly wondering why you didn't mention it in the, the last video a few months ago, which is o b s. And this may jump us into a little bit of a description on streaming here preemptively, but I, I do want to ask about it because, you know, at least for, for me, for, for YouTubers especially, I mean, we really rely on O B S and anybody that's doing live streaming you know, it's, it's quickly become the tool of choice for, for people doing live streaming. And so I wanted to ask about o b s, it is open source. What about a tool like that for audio broadcasting? You know, is it, is it worth going down that route? I know they have a lot of great filters that I use, for example on, on my audio when I'm recording with O B s. So w w what, what's your personal opinion of O B S and how people might use it for, for broadcasting?
Brian David (00:24:24):
So, like, O B S is absolutely a fantastic tool for podcasting, for video-based content, right? For audio-based content. I don't have much experience with it personally, that's why I didn't speak to it mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it's not something that I'm fearful of, but the opportunity, like hasn't presented, it presented itself to me. I know millions of people use it and rely on, when we did live performances in our performance studio, we used O B S to have multiple cameras and transport, or some of our hosts are doing video casting video blogs of their show, like letters and politics with a host Mitch, he's wheelchair bound and at his home and has been through the duration of COVID for the last three years. So at some point he's like, I'm getting creative and firing up O B s and learning it, and then was amazed at the number of tutorials and like, access to it. And that richness might not have been present in radio broadcasting world you know, before the internet. And with this you know, he, he's able to have access to that power. So it's absolutely a tool that is transforming society and also lowering that barrier to entry and people are creatively exploring with it, and it's incredibly powerful. I've only touched it once.
Aaron Newcomb (00:25:52):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and no problem. What about you, Tim? Do you have any experience with O B S? And if not, what are some other tools for streaming that you might recommend?
Tim Požar (00:26:01):
Well, in the, in the case of O B S again, my, my, my experience has been in the audio domain, it has been less than the video domain. We are gonna be, the times that I have touched it have been things like doing video conference or hybrid conferences and such where we're doing you know, half the audiences online and half the audiences at a location. So a SY Micro computer workshop is one of the conferences we do, you know, we do this sort of arrangement. And I find it's great for those sort of applications. We haven't seen it work. Again, this, it's, it's primarily a video kind of switching and processing and you know, it's, it's designed for that. We haven't quite find the fit exactly for kind of main line broadcasting that, you know, like for instance, what K P A is doing or commercial broadcasting is doing. So you know, if it, if I was doing more video side of the, the broadcasting, yeah, I'd probably be looking at this.
Aaron Newcomb (00:27:09):
So what, what are some of the tools, the open source tools you might recommend then for for streaming? Just for, for audio streaming then?
Tim Požar (00:27:17):
Well, the, what's we, we sort of touched on it a little bit last time a little bit. We're using things like icecast as a great open source tool for, for streaming. It's we do want to sort of touch on the fact that this may come to be a little bit dated at this point. My previous company that I had was a company called fandor, which was kind of this nichey video streaming company that did mainly sort of rep house kind of films and such. And that's the point where I got exposed to a protocol called h l s where Icecast uses, basically, you, you connect to an ICECAST server, you open up an h HTP connection and you start getting audio being sent to you. And that may be at 1 28 kilobits per second or 64 or whatever.
You're, you're, you decide that you want to be able to connect to at this is great. It's cheap. It's it it works well. But we're starting to see people who are running into things like, gee, how do I listen to live streams like in my car? Well, that means that you're gonna have to be going over kind of a lossy and possibly congested mechanism, like a cellular, your LTE connection or something like that to be able to listen to this. Some years ago I wrote, I was on the this kind of future foundation for Motorola, and I said, 3G is gonna be the new standard broadcast band because I saw AM and FM over the air as being deprecated and IP delivery. The delivery was going to be the, the way to do this. And this is borne out the fact that people want their their streams showing up in their car.
So there's a new protocol that's out there well, not so new, but it's been around for a while called h L s. And this is a chunked protocol. It means that and any, any Apache server or engine X server or anything else like that can do this. And how it works is you get a playlist, or the client gets a playlist of, of a bunch of different bit rates. So, you know, it knows it can connect at 64 or 128 or 2 56 or, or whatever else, or even flack. And then the client decides on which connection it's going to connect to at what, what data rate, depending on the congestion that it's experiencing in the car or wherever it is. And then on the transmit side you would have either these bit rates already sort of like programmed in that you're always streaming out these sort of bit rates, or you may do what's called adaptive or, or live transcoding of the bit rate.
So you may send like a an uncompressed stream to the server, and the server, depending on the client, what the client wants, it will automatically transcode that down into the bit rate that the client needs. At this point, and since it's a chunked bit, you're not, you're, you're getting you're getting like maybe eight megabytes worth of like 2 56, and then it decides it's over it's over subscribed. It needs to go down to 1 28, it's gonna ask for the next bit rate at 1 28. So it's gonna be a much, seem much more seamless experience and much more interrupt. You're gonna have less, far less interrupts in the, because of the congestion that you have, and particularly when you get into a point where you're further away from a cell site or you're gonna be competing with other cell, you know cell users in that area and such. So that, that's a, that's an open source, or that's an open protocol that can be done, as I said, with any sort of server like Apache or engine X at this point. So that's, that's the kind of the next step that we're seeing with, with streaming is, is these chunked protocols.
Aaron Newcomb (00:31:11):
Yeah. And Hhl s that's an acronym.
Tim Požar (00:31:15):
Yeah. it means http livestream. It, there was a previous protocol that Apple had called hds and there's been a number of different, you know, of protocols about this, but everybody has been sort of like settling on hos at this point, or these kind of chunked protocols as opposed to, so they're, they're they're not sort of this constant on connection. They're, they're gonna be adaptive depending on, on your experience.
Aaron Newcomb (00:31:44):
Right. So you don't get an interruption as you're listening. Yeah. Brian, what about you? Any streaming tools that you might recommend?
Brian David (00:31:51):
Yeah, I think kind of bridging the discussion from h l s as a protocol and your experience with O B S the evolution, of course, is to, to merge that and make that a user-friendly application that's open source and self-hosted called Peer Tube. So Peer Tube is a YouTube replacement. It's something that one can host on their own server or at a data center or, you know, wherever you wanna host this box that can take a stream from O B S, and it could be video, it could be audio, it could be both, and display it to, to users. And there's a web interface and you can subscribe, you can, like, you can, and Peer Tube is developed from a French nonprofit called PracSoft. But there's also a lot of developers around the world. And it also interacts through another protocol called Activity Pub, which is what Mastodon uses, which is what the Feder verse uses.
And so you see a remarkable amount of interactivity with applications that are using that Activity Pro protocol. So you can stream audio and video and have a wide ranging audience, a hundred listeners, a thousand listeners. You're really gonna be limited by bandwidth of your, of your server, of your, you know, appliance wherever it's installed. And so it being a YouTube replacement and it being something you can self-host also opens up to you being the moderator. It means you can define what content you want to have, and you can do it without limitations. And most importantly, without the algorithms that come with the more corporate platforms, the more profit-driven platforms. And so you get a much kind of cleaner experience as a user and then as a producer. So taking kind of the best of what O B S has to offer in terms of pro producing something, taking the best of what h l s as a protocol has in distributing something, making that available in a click, kind of send my stream here, here's a link for my listeners to view all of this, or listen to all of it. Peer tubes been a rockstar at kind of, again, taking the best of open source and democratizing and opening up space for not just content producers, but for an audience that's unencumbered from like profit incentive and stakeholders and shareholders. And so you can kind of focus on just what you want to create.
Aaron Newcomb (00:34:34):
Yeah. And it's a, it's a, I'm just doing some, some, some live research here but it looks like it's a, it's really about enabling people to create their own YouTube, right? Yeah. I mean, it's not, it's not really in, in, in and of itself. It's not a platform where you go to watch the videos. It's, it's software that lets you create your own YouTube if you want to, basically. So you can kind of do your own thing however you want.
Brian David (00:34:59):
Absolutely. You know, it's and it's not just like your YouTube, your YouTube can interact with someone else's YouTube mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So you can see the videos on their server locally, on your feed, on your peer tube instance, and you subscribe, subscribe to their channel or their server. Or if there's a server out there that has content that's offensive that you don't like, you can def federate, meaning you just don't have to see it on your server, or if you're the administrator of the server or your channel if you're just a user with a channel. So it gives a lot more power and flexibility for constructing and crafting the world in which you want and a lot more control back in the hands of users.
Aaron Newcomb (00:35:45):
Yeah. Cool. It sounds like a little bit of a, of a similar to Mastodon in that, in that way, where you create your own server and you can say, I don't wanna see this. Whatever explicit material you can choose, you know the members of your server can choose, you know, what they, what they wanna filter out and things like that. So that's, that's really interesting. I know that it's one of the things that <laugh> frustrates me and a lot of YouTubers is there's no opaqueness, there's no, or there is opaqueness, I guess depending on which way you look at it to the algorithm to see like, why isn't my video getting promoted? Or why did that get video, get promoted o over mine when my video's better? Of course, <laugh>. You know, so it, it, it's kind of a fascinating tool maybe that people can use to get around that and really let people decide kind of what they wanna watch <laugh>, I guess. Cool. What other tools any other streaming tools we should mention?
Brian David (00:36:44):
One dimension, of course, and it's sort of been rapidly developing. It's kind of exciting. It has a large growth community is a zero cast like AZ U r a cast, and I believe you had another nice episode number 6 37 <laugh>
Doc Searls (00:37:02):
Brian David (00:37:05):
<Laugh> with the lead developer. So I honestly can't hold a flame to somebody who's, this is their passion project, but to have, again, kind of this like, self-hosted platform with nice, like accessible feature set, you don't it, it, it does like that intention created a low barrier to entry. And so you can kind of one and done install it and then start streaming with Icecast start streaming through h L s. You can integrate your audio feed to your, you know, your, your little low power FM webpage. And yeah, so it's kind of like a one stop shop you can schedule. It's similar to Libre time, except just a slightly different direction. And I think it would work really great for mus, like people who have stations that are filled with music. And yeah, beautiful interface, lot of intentionality to it. It's a great tool to check out. And also the episode with the link developer
Aaron Newcomb (00:38:08):
Doc Searls (00:38:10):
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Aaron Newcomb (00:41:29):
I've got, I've got a bunch of questions I
Doc Searls (00:41:31):
Wanted. Go for it. Jump Go
Aaron Newcomb (00:41:32):
For it. Jump back into this. So we, we, we talk, one thing that I learned very quickly, or I realized very quickly when I started doing my YouTube channel was that there's things beyond just getting in front of a camera or a mic and talking, right? So there's things like making your content friendly to be used by perhaps other people, and that there are some things you need to know about that standards lengths of time that work and don't work. Also you know, backing up my stuff it, it takes up so much space. I have to be able to put it somewhere, but I want to at hand so I can go get it. So do you let's start with Tim, maybe on this one. Have any recommendations for either tools you can use or best practices we can use for those types of things? Specifically when we talk about audio and broadcasting?
Tim Požar (00:42:21):
Sure. In the, in the case of you, you touched on, like, for instance, archiving and such. The making sure that first of all, the files you have out there are not going to go corrupt. If you just put, you know, a file on a, on a hard drive, some little you know, cosmic ray or blip on the drive or something else like that, there's a number of different failure modes that that can happen. And with a streamed piece of media, video, audio, whatever else like that, any little glitch like that is going to, or any little bit flip is gonna cause a major problem with, with the with the next chunk of file that's happening there. So having some way of being able to assure yourself that the, the media that you place there is going to be good and accurate and is going to last for a while, is something that is highly critical for us.
Again, back in my days when I was doing fandor, this is even more critical cuz we had like these ProRes files that were like a terabyte, gigantic file video files. Audio files are a little bit easier to store. They're much smaller. But even with, you know, 44 1, you know, two channels, things like that, you're, you're still talking about you know, reasonable size files. So what I do is I'm looking at things like the file system. I'm gonna be using something like zfs, which has a lot of overhead in file correction and sanity checking for the files to make sure that they're, they're accurate. I'm gonna be using Zfs also for doing things like snapshots. So I can if I inadvertently delete a file, I can roll back and get it back pretty easily. So I'm also going to be using things like samba for basically file delivery.
All of this is open source and this is all, you know light years ahead of particularly a lot of other commercial applications that I can find out there, or commercial solutions. I'm much rather be able to store my media on this sort of system. Obviously redundant drives, things like that, that you're gonna be doing making sure that you have some sort of way of being able to back this up to another Zfs server. So Zfs also supports this thing called, it's kind of their own version of Ayq, where they copy over things block by block to another server. In the case of file delivery ma Brian did a really great job of putting together kind of a file upload system. You, you may be able to find things like you, we need kind of the equivalent of Dropbox. So you could be looking at things like what is it? Oh, I just had a, I had a brain fart here. The what is it is called Open Cloud or
Brian David (00:45:22):
Tim Požar (00:45:23):
Me Next Cloud, yes. Yeah. Mm-hmm. <Affirmative> next cloud is looks like a great solution. I, I'm just starting to dive into it at this point, as a way of being able to sort of use as a, as an equivalent of kind of like Dropbox and such. But before Next Cloud came about Brian came up with a really great solution of the fact of just taking Apache and some P H P and writing it and coming up with a way of being able to upload content to the radio station from people that are out in the field. Brian, do you wanna talk about that a little bit or?
Brian David (00:45:58):
Yeah, sure. So, you know, sometimes there's wonderful pre-existing open source foundations which have programs like such as Next Cloud, which is full featured and does a lot, and sometimes, like with a radio station, you want a quick and efficient way for people to just give you their content and for them to do some, like, manual checking of it, make sure it sounds good, et cetera, or like clips. And sometimes a simple solution is just to, you know, check out GitHub, find some like PHP uploader script, modify it, make it look pretty, and put some credentialing in front of it, and boom. Then you have a nice intuitive and simple way for people to drag and drop, you know, their, their episodes or their content or their shows or whatever somebody from outside the station wants to bring into the station. And like Tim was saying, backing that up with some good hardware practices, some good like system admin skills, like yes, ZFS file system mirrored or, and some other sort of rate array. Having ECC Ram having a backup of that means your content has redundancy, it has built-in checks on it, and tying that all together, you have a reliable system that'll last for decades. And so, yeah, rolling your own or building off what others have done is what, what helped me to implement something during you know, the, the early stages of Covid when people were just not coming in. And so you needed something quick and easy.
Tim Požar (00:47:46):
So we, we may not, you may not find like the perfect thing. Next cloud may not necessarily be what you need. You know, audacity may not necessarily be the need thing you need, but the fact that we have a bunch of open source product out there, like, you know, Apache, EngineX, php Pearl, Python, whatever, you, it may not take that much to go out and code a little bit or hire somebody else to sort of do this coding for you to be able to get what you need to have happen. And that's exactly what Brian did to be able to have this uploader for his content providers to be able to push content back into the station or possibly deliver it back out so other people can pick it up. There's a piece of code that I, I may have touched on this last time, is there's a project that I'm on, which is called Radio for All which is a a content distribution.
If you wanna look for it, look it up. It's radio app number four, all net. And this is a kind of content depot. It's where content producers like, you know, people that are doing radio shows and such who wanna be able to distribute to L P F M stations and such. Yeah, thanks for the, the screen there can go out and be able to distribute to little L P F M stations and such. And recently we just took this, it was a bunch of Java and some pretty crofty P H P, and we just reported everything over to Jengo as a, as a framework. So it took it took a couple months and me hiring a, a, a, a a person to come in and do the coding and such, but now what we have is something that's gonna last for another 10 years that we don't have to worry about the fact that we have to be dependent on Tomcat. And that craftiness of Tomcat, sorry, you know, Tomcat fanboy. But it, it was really hard to sort of maintain it when, when it was in Tomcat. So having it as in a jengo framework and being able to leverage something a little more modern, we now have something that's gonna last another 10 years.
Doc Searls (00:50:06):
I wonder if any, everything lasts. This is and we're getting toward the end of the show here because this choice, an interesting thing about radio is this very old fashioned radio is very evanescent. It came, it went, it was what I used to call snow on the water. You know, it falls, you see it there now it's gone. When the neck came along, we started archiving things, but one of the things I've noticed about both Google and Bing, especially as chat g p t has come along is that they don't care about archives anymore. I mean, I've been, I've been archiving stuff on the net for, for 26, 27 years, something like that. My old stuff is, it's, there is there links to it, but page rank no longer works. They're not using Page rank anymore. They're answering questions. And this is something that came to me yesterday.
We're, we're moving away from the archival net. In the meantime, what you're talking about here, what you're, what I see with with with Radio for All, especially with, it says at the top, the older archives been substantially recovered, were the 23,800 files worth. They're caring about that, you know, and it seems to me that's really where this is going. I'm not sure Google cares about it that much. I'm not sure. Microsoft does, I'm not sure anybody who's in a a commercial entity cares about it much, especially when we're in the current environment, but we're caring about it with radio. That's interesting.
Tim Požar (00:51:27):
You, you know, I, I highly suggest if you haven't talked to the folks at Inner Archive
Doc Searls (00:51:31):
They are, they so matter, they're huge. They,
Aaron Newcomb (00:51:33):
Tim Požar (00:51:34):
The, they ha they've been doing a lot of work on not only archiving, but how do you take media that was written in like real player or real audio and Yeah. And be able to play that back now. And how do you, how do you make that transition? How do you keep moving it off the, the old media to the new media or the, the old Kodak to the new Kodak? That's, that's a real difficult challenge.
Doc Searls (00:51:58):
Yeah, I know. They they showed me they're, they're, they're recard. They have a massive quantity of 78 s of 78 RPM records and special tone arms for different ways they were recorded and, and played. It's amazing stuff. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> up here.
Tim Požar (00:52:15):
So radio stations have that same problem. I have, I was moving an automation system for one commercial station that was using this kind of old Dolby format to try to, you know, get it into at least wave format. And we could not find a code deck that could move it into kind of a newer automation system. We were stuck with this proprietary format. So that's, again, it's a, it's a big, big problem for radio stations in just moving their old archives.
Aaron Newcomb (00:52:45):
Yeah, for sure, for sure. I, when I first started deciding to do this kind of for real as a hobby back in 2006, inspired by the way, by Twit, by listening to twit, I'm like, Hey, I can do that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I started my own show and I uploaded everything to archive.org. I used that as my cdn, so all of my RSS feeds and everything all just pointed directly to the links on archive.org, because it was a easy solution for me to get my content out there. I didn't have to worry about storing it someplace that was gonna disappear. Hopefully, at least that was the hope back then. And it's been great. So yeah, you can still find some of my old open what was that show called? The Source. If you wanna blast from the past and see me as a young boy go look up the source. <Laugh>
Aaron Newcomb on archive.org. I, I do wanna cover one more thing before we, I know we're kind of almost outta time here. But that's something that's very popular. The zeitgeist today, which is AI using AI tools. Have you seen, I'm using AI right now, by the way. I'm using NVIDIA broadcast or broadcaster Nvidia broadcast. And I use their little tool that you're not seeing my eyes right now. You're seeing fake eyes <laugh>, so that my eyes are always, my eyes are always pointed at the camera. Right. And you can kind of see if it's working. I don't even know if it's on, it might, maybe you are seeing my real eyes, but if it's not, I can kind of look to the side and it'll still focus my eyes on, on, on the camera. It'll keep my eyes on the camera, so it looks like I'm always paying attention. That's creepy <laugh>.
Brian David (00:54:22):
Aaron Newcomb (00:54:22):
It, it's, it's super creepy and you don't notice it until you look really close. Yeah. Like, I've only had one person that actually noticed it, and they were another YouTuber that, that pays attention really closely to these things. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So it does, it does a really good job. But that being said, what, what is the place of AI in broadcasting, especially for the person that wants to do this on their own from home, with all these tools we've been talking about, to make it easier, is there a place for AI to come in and help with audio and broadcasting as well?
Brian David (00:54:56):
I think it's a fantastic question. And it also, you know, it, it enters into the Pandora's box, right? Of like <laugh> with a tool. You have a question of like a purpose, a utility, right? Like, that's why we, we go for a tool in some way. It helps us to do what we want to do. And the, the, the presupposed question is, well, what do we want to do? You know? And, and, and broadcasting at least like my background is like more community centered. It's engaging questions, it's building curiosity. It's engaging wonder, right? And so I don't know how AI could help me engage by curiosity with others and develop a conversation. I'm not saying it can't, for instance, but like more interpersonal dynamics are at play, which is kind of at odds with an artificial dynamic. So I think there's a paradigm that might be a dichotomy at the moment, but I just don't know its role at least in something that isn't profit driven or at least in something that isn't quantitatively valued. So it's, there's still these kind of like you mentioned like the zeitgeist and I guess these are like real grounded philosophical questions of like, how do we want to use this? Do we want to use it? In what realm is there, is there any realm that's sacred anymore, Tim, with your phone,
Doc Searls (00:56:29):
The static, the phone, the broadcast guys got the phones.
Aaron Newcomb (00:56:32):
The realm is, the realm is calls. They want their, their broadcast.
Doc Searls (00:56:35):
Aaron's got his dog. We've got
Tim Požar (00:56:37):
Brian, I think, I think he made a really good point here and the fact that if you're trying to connect to the audience, AI may not necessarily be the best tool for you if you're just doing rote stuff. Like for instance, I, I need a bunch of copy for a, a Popsicle that I'm trying to sell or something like that. Maybe AI can help me write that copy for, for an advert or something. Or it may be able to help me come up with some news and such. But if I'm really trying to sell a a or tell a story about a, a critical need that's in my community, I may not necessarily lean on AI because it's just not going to convey the, the, the needs or the emotion that I'm trying to make and connect with the audience. So the, we have to see how well that cooks and see how well it that gets developed.
Aaron Newcomb (00:57:28):
Yeah, exact, that's exactly my take on it as well. I was glad to hear you say that, Tim, because there can be some additive stuff like my little I tool here or you know, I did a, I did an episode on my YouTube channel about using chat G P T and I did the intro, I made chat, g p t do the intro for that. And it, and it worked pretty well, but it wasn't as personal right as me doing it myself. There was no ums, there was no, you know, whatever. So if you really want a personal connection, I think it's gonna be a while before AI's gonna be able to help with that because it does get impersonal really quickly. So.
Tim Požar (00:58:02):
Doc Searls (00:58:04):
Brian David (00:58:05):
Kinda concerned about vulnerability, like, you know, our ability to be vulnerable with one another is what makes us human
Aaron Newcomb (00:58:11):
<Laugh>. A hundred percent. A hundred percent.
Brian David (00:58:13):
Yeah. Doc, sorry.
Doc Searls (00:58:14):
So we actually are outta time and you know, the, whatever our things we ask at the end, is there anything we haven't asked? And you have a very long list of those things already on a document. Those things we haven't asked, we had that last time. We have it left over this time and we will actually have to have you guys back again. I'm sure maybe not quite so quick, but it's all moving very fast. So let me just finish by asking what we always ask and you answer before, but maybe people won't remember and it doesn't matter anyway. What are your favorite text editors and scripting languages?
Tim Požar (00:58:49):
<Laugh> all the East Coast folks are gonna complain. It's vi and they record
Aaron Newcomb (00:58:56):
Doc Searls (00:59:00):
Tim Požar (00:59:00):
Aaron Newcomb (00:59:01):
Someone's playing a video from, from the past, I think.
Tim Požar (00:59:04):
Oh, I see. <Laugh> v I n Python or Bash, actually, I love Bash. If I could do everything in Bash, I'd be happy.
Brian David (00:59:11):
<Laugh> nice. Yeah, I I answered last time with Nano, so I guess I'll just say Pico <laugh> and yeah, I probably, probably second Bash or, you know, I really like some Coball.
Aaron Newcomb (00:59:24):
Doc Searls (00:59:25):
Brian David (00:59:26):
I did learn Coball in high school. It was rough
Doc Searls (00:59:28):
<Laugh>. I, I have friends that continue to make money with Coball Hey, and banks. So guys, this has been great. We'll again, we'll have to have you back and you know, yeah, take it easy and, and keep Powder dry. Thank
Aaron Newcomb (00:59:48):
Thanks for inviting us.
Brian David (00:59:49):
Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Aaron. Thank you Doc. Tim.
Doc Searls (00:59:54):
So <laugh>, so Aaron, that, that was a good one. I was noticing we are all bearded across the board here. Yeah. so how, how was, how was that for you, Aaron?
Aaron Newcomb (01:00:06):
Oh, it's great. I mean, there's so many things to talk about. I mean, it, it, it, you know, it, it mirrors up with, with my interests, so, well, like you said at the beginning even when we were talking about Zf s for example, my first appearance on Twit was talking about Zf Zfs. I was working for Sun at the time and this was back in like, I don't know, two thousands, maybe 2008 or something. And I actually came to the old cottage, talked about Z F S, and then after that was talking to Leo and was like, Hey, you know, maybe I could host some time or something. And that's what got me started down the path of co-hosting FLOSS Weekly. So really fun. Also something I was kind of surprised just really quickly, I know we don't have a lot of time, but we didn't talk about this, but there's a great, for anybody that wants to get started on a really geeky level.
There's a great old project that you can do on a raspberry pie, which is you take your raspberry pie and you turn it into a little mi mini broadcast station. You can do a Google search for FM Trans trans transmitter raspberry patio. You'll come up with this and you can actually take any wave file or other files if you want to get really into it and kind of like create your own little radio station that'll go 20 feet or something inside your house. So this is playing right now off of a battery in a raspberry pie. And if I take my old transistor radio here, I actually, I don't think it's a transistor radio, but if I take my radio and turn it on, it should be so
Beyond that, though, he did such a good job. Like I said, not much really else to say about
Aaron Newcomb (01:01:34):
It from a, so that's just a little bit of audio from one of my YouTube videos that I converted to a Wave file and just, just put on the raspberry pie. Now that's playing around my house. I can listen to myself talk as much as I want to with, with any old radio I can find. But it's a great project for people to get into and highly recommend it if you know, especially if there's any youngsters out there that just wanna get started and do something fun.
Doc Searls (01:02:00):
Aaron Newcomb (01:02:01):
Doc Searls (01:02:02):
Take, I have a, a Ramsey, I, I if Ramsey's still in business or not, but a Ramsey kit. I built a Ramsey kit that gave us a, I guess a quarter watt transmitter. And, but it is all open source in the sensitive is all available parts. They're all off the shelf parts. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, capacitors and resistors and things you sold are onto boards. And of course, the thing weighed half a pound, you know, it wasn't like a raspberry pie. But anyway, this is, this has been great. Gimme your plug Aaron Quick retro Hack Shack and the rest of it.
Aaron Newcomb (01:02:32):
That's right, youtube.com/retro Hack Shack. Go watch that episode I did on chat G P t. It was really not talking about how to do an intro for a YouTube video. It was talking about if I could use chat e p t to write programs, basic programs for the Commodore 64. And there, what you're seeing now is the recent one I did where I added H D M I to an Atari st. And I've also added H D M I to an Amiga. So if you like that kind of stuff, go check out my YouTube channel and would really appreciate it. I'd love to see FLOSS Weekly viewers cross over, back and forth to my other stuff. It's great.
Doc Searls (01:03:07):
That's great. I, I, I, I want I want an AI to, to look at my audacity files and cut out all my ums because Yes, yes. I use my, I can look at the waveform. I know what my arms look like. I don't even know. Listen to it. I just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. I'm an umer. I after me too, so many decades on earth, I'm not gonna stop uming. So next week everybody, we have Seth Fry on he's an academic, as a uc, Davis cognitive scientist, but with open source connections, really, really, really smart, interesting guy and I advise you to come back next week and listen to that. In the meantime, I'm Doug Surles. This has been FLOSS Weekly, and we'll see you then.
Rod Plye (01:03:50):
Hey, I'm Rod Pyle, editor-in-Chief of Ad Astra magazine, and each week I joined with my co-host to bring you this week in space, the latest and greatest news from the Final Frontier. We talked to NASA chiefs, space scientists, engineers, educators and artists, and sometimes we just shoot the breeze over what's hot and what's not in space, books and tv, and we do it all for you, our fellow true believers. So whether you're an armchair adventurer or waiting for your turn to grab a slot in Elon's Mars Rocket, join us on this weekend space and be part of the greatest adventure of all time.