What is my iTunes podcast bitrate?

… and why should I care …

Well for those times when you get this error message when trying to download a 1 hour podcast:
Connect to a Wi-Fi network or use iTunes on your computer to download.

My suspicion is that the podcast author is using a high Bit Rate.  Luckily you can get this information by adding the “Bit Rate” column into the iTune application Podcast view.
ie.
Podcasts view showing the highlighted Bit Rate column

Which confirmed my suspicion.  My favourite podcast uses a 256 kbps Bit Rate (podcast not shown above).

Let’s confirm that by looking at the actual audio files.  I did that by doing the following:

  1. Downloaded the iMazing application.
    iMazing will allow me to extract some additional; information from the podcasts.
    (the iMazing trial edition allows you to copy up to 50 files off the iPhone).
  2. Exported a number of podcasts to compare with the “large” podcast.
  3. Compared them below.
Podcast Bit Rate
(kbps)
File size Length Format Mono / Stereo?
A.D.D. Comedy with Dave Razowsky 114 50.8 MB 1hr

m4a

Stereo
Conversations 64 22.3 MB 0hr 48m 10s

mp3

Mono
How ‘Bout This 128 95.7 MB 1h 44m 9s

mp3

Stereo
Impro Podcast – Claudia Hoppe 160 67 MB 0hr 58min 30s

mp3

Stereo
Improv Nerd With Jimmy Carrane 128 52.6 MB 0hr 57min 11s

mp3

Stereo
Mr. Fred’s Amazing Podcast 256 108 MB 0hr 58min 56s

mp3

Stereo
Story Wise Woodend 64 12.4 MB 0hr 26min 51s

mp3

Stereo
The Comedian’s Comedian 64 34.2 MB 1h 11m 36s

mp3

Stereo

The reason why the “Mr. Fred’s Amazing Podcast” podcast is over 100 MB, is that the author is using a high Bit Rate.  Reducing the Bit rate would mean that I could download it over a cell phone network AND they would save on hosting costs.

References:
The Podcast Host: What Bitrate Should I Use For a Podcast?

On Vista performance, Mark Russinovich and others …

Videocast seen over here.

It was worth an hour of my time.

Some of the highlights:

  • If you’re going to deploy it and expect it to run on four year old hardware, wellll, it’s not going to operate very well.
  • Vista SP1 made a huge difference to performance.
  • Using the latest drivers is key.
  • In the corporate environment, never upgrade. Rebuild the PC instead.
  • Set expectations.  If a PC boot is taking 6 minutes, it’s not a “”Vista”” problem, your PC has a problem.  You need to get it fixed Mr. End-user, by telling someone.
  • Review your Group Policies.  Do you really need synchronous blocking enabled?
  • 64-bit Vista is best for systems with >4gb memory and the workload to support it.
  • Defragging makes no difference on a SSD drive.
  • Defragging on a normal drive doesn’t make much difference.
  • Xperf toolkit will allow you to trace the entire Vista boot process.
  • Task Manager has a new option, Resource Manager, located in the Performance tab.
    ”Hard Faults” are virtual memory faults which result in disk I/O being performed.
  • Start with a clean image.  Vendor OEM images add value, and sometimes decrease performance.
  • Autoruns is a better tool to use than MSconfig.
  • Don’t disable SuperFetch.

The other speakers were Stephen L Rose, Michael Boyd, Doug Miller, David Straydee, Gabe Auld, Ed Bott & Celine Allee.
Apologies to those people who’s names I have mangled.

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“Web delivers new worry for parents: Digital drugs”

Queue the IT news beat-up:

We all know that music can alter your mood. Sad songs can make you cry. Upbeat songs may give you an energy boost. But can music create the same effects as illegal drugs?
This seems like a ridiculous question. But websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.

All your child needs is a music player and headphones.

Readers will remember I wrote about binaural tones here.

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Of Tin-Foil Hats and Binaural Tones.

logo There is some thought that listening to binaural tones can improve your attention, concentration, and consciousness.

What are binaural tones you ask?  Good question!

Let’s go with my simple explanation.  Say you are wearing a stereo headset.  In your left ear, a sound is playing at a 400 Hz frequency, and in your right ear, the sound is playing at 410 Hz.  The difference is 10 Hz, which your brain detects as a beat at 10 Hz.  10 Hz places it in your brain’s Alpha frequency range, which is good for relaxation.(1)

Does this actually work?  I don’t know.  But if you want to try it for yourself, visit the I Dose website, where they have a number of Binaural Beats available for streaming media playing.  As I think streaming media generally sucks (ie. tied to your computer, can’t drop it onto your iPod/MP3 player etc.), I have the direct download links here:

I Dose track Benefit File link
Mirage Helps with art & creative activities hallucinations
Super brain Helps in problem solving activities super-brain
Inspiration and Creativity Stimulating inspiration and creativity inspiration
Coffee break Wakes you up and sharpens your alertness Coffee
Aspirin Helps against headaches and general pains Aspirin
Relaxation Relax at the end of busy days and weeks Energy-cleaning
Meditation Helps in getting in meditation state Meditation
Pain killers Helps with general pain Pain-Killers
Lucid dreams Intensifies dreams Lucid-dreams
Energy drink Boost of energy Energy-drink
Focus Sharpens your mind Focus

1 – the sharp-eyed will notice my explanation is similar to the Wikipedia one.  That’s because I borrowed from there.

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Podcast: “Sorting out Internationalization with Michael Kaplan”

Just finished listening to the Scott Hanselman Podcast with Michael Kaplan.

It seems the four good languages to test your application for Internationalisation problems are as follows:

Language Test
Turkish The Turkish “i” problem.
(Turkish language has four i’s)
German 30% -> 40% longer than the equivalent English words.
Arabic Right-to-left language
Thai Good test of how your application handles Uniscribe formatting.  Particularly word-breaking.

Another interesting test from Scott:

When I was doing internationalization, we were working in banking, we thought about the German example and we thought about more complicated examples. One of the things with one of the bugs that we wanted to catch was pushing UTF-8 code all the way through the system and back and making sure that as it move from web server to middle tier, from middle tier to database and back, that we didn’t screw something up. We didn’t go turning into block squares, testing the system all the way through to make sure that something wasn’t lost.

The Hanselminutes podcast is on my weekly listening list.

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Your computer security is just keeping honest people out.

… And just buying time you time with the dishonest ones.

Which is the great truth. Security just buys you time. If a burglar really wants to get into your place, they will.

But more often than not, they’ll move on to the easier target.Bank robberies by month, January 1998 to April 2002

We saw this in the 1990’s, when banks installed anti-hold-up security screens. The criminals just moved on to easier targets, such as Petrol / Gasoline stations.

So it is with computer security. You want to do as much as you can, so the bad guys want to move on to the next system.

Sure, the things you do ARE going to devalue over time. New vulnerabilities will be discovered in your security measures*, so you need to regularly assess what else can be done to improve your computer security.  Microsoft recognised# this when they developed the SDL, and they use it to this day.  You can see the benefit of this by looking at a comparison between Vista and XP right here.

First Year of Vulnerabilities XP Vista Comparsion

Which brings us to “Security by Obscurity+. Yes, it’s a good thing in my opinion.

Why? Because it gives you a layer of defense against dishonest people (primarily taking about script kiddies here). But it had better not be the only layer in your computer security plan.

Want to learn more about security?  "Well here’s the deal!", as the man said.  Invest some of your time in Kai’s security Webcasts.  I’ve blogged about them before.

Update: Or perhaps it’s "Aggressive Kindness"

~~~

Dale’s past experience includes performing risk assessments for desktop systems, reviewing desktop security audits, and working on a holdup alarm desk in the retail banking industry.
He knows there’s no money in robbing a bank.

* The discovered flaw with anti-hold-up screens was the staff entry door next to the bank teller counter. A 14-pound sledgehammer made for quick/effective entry. Until bank security fixed that flaw.

+ IBM relied on this with the MVS system. If you had access to a terminal, you could cause a denial of service. The security risk assessment didn’t take into account publicly accessible terminals (think public libraries).

# what they recognised was that a number of their products were not designed well from a security point of view.

references:

Australian Institute of Criminology – No. 253 – Bank Robbery In Australia

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Three Podcasts worth listening to …

… if you’re into AppCompat

  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Making Windows Vista Application Compatibility Testing More Predictable (Level 300)
    When helping our customers accelerate their deployments of the Windows Vista operating system by assisting with application compatibility, we found that there are a number of technical skills to master. However, technical acumen is never enough-effectively managing the project is critical to making the process predictable and measurable, in addition to controlling costs and maximizing effectiveness. In this session, we review the best practices we have learned for effectively managing this process from enterprise customers worldwide.
    Chris Jackson blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast: LUA Buglight (Level 400)
    LUA Buglight (version 2.0 currently in the works) is a tool designed to help both developers and IT professionals (system administrators) identify the specific causes of least-privilege user account (LUA) bugs in desktop applications running on the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista operating systems. Once the specific causes have been identified, the bugs can more easily be resolved by fixing the application’s source code or by making configuration changes, letting the application work correctly for non-administrator users.
    Aaron Margosis blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Application Compatibility in 90 Days (Level 300)
    Deploying the Windows Vista operating system in the enterprise has moved from “We’ll see…” to “Let’s get it done,” and application compatibility is typically identified as the biggest blocker to a successful, low-cost migration. In this session, we identify the tools, technologies, and best practices that have been used successfully by Microsoft services and partners to minimize or eliminate many of the perceived (and real) challenges that customers experience with both independent software vendors (ISV) and internally developed applications running on Windows Vista.
    … couldn’t find a blog for Steve Campbell …

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Microsoft’s Defense in Depth series.

This series is well worth your time to sit down and listen to, the subjects covered:

(Part 1 of 8): Why Does Security Matter?

(Part 2 of 8): All Bark and No Bite

(Part 3 of 8): Gates, Guards, and Guns

(Part 4 of 8): Living on the Edge

(Part 5 of 8): Keeping Your House in Order

(Part 6 of 8): Save the Box, Save the Network

(Part 7 of 8): If You Build It (Securely), They Won’t Come

(Part 8 of 8): If a Terabyte Falls in the Middle of the (Active Directory) Forest

presented by Kai Axford, who’s latest role in Microsoft is as a Senior Security Strategist with Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group.

His blog post has more details about these webcasts.