A comment on the editorial inspired by the TAL story. In addition to making donations to NPR over the years I’ve supported TAL directly by attending two live tapings of the show, each of which required a ticket purchase. I bought merchandise at both of these as well. Bottom line, there’s more than one way to pay the bills. Podcasting, particularly the stuff we’re cooking up over at PodShow, opens up new possibilities, too.

BoingBoing picked up the This American Life story. I don’t share the knee jerk reaction they and others seem to be having, but I do think the story highlights a question that podcasting presents for public radio: Which will win, the “public” or the “radio”? If public radio is truly public, shows like TAL will have to adapt to allow the public to use the content in ways that work for them. This is not an unreasonable request, considering that public radio is largely funded by charitable donations from foundations, non-invested corporations and listeners. I’ve personally contributed hundreds if not thousands of dollars to NPR over the years, and I can’t count how many times I’ve been reminded that “you put the public in public radio”. If that’s true, there should be more working together, more quid pro quo. If public radio is truly public and not just radio, it will need to do more to embrace, not fight, evolving communications technology.

Jon Udell received a takedown request from This American Life. It sounds like, policywise, TAL wants to host non-downloadable streams (see “Why you can’t download our MP3 files” on this page) but didn’t realize that m3u playlists leave the door open for downloading. I wonder why they abandoned their Real Audio streams? Side note, TAL figures into my early work on podcasting. But rather than try to force-fit the show into something it wasn’t, I simply found other programs to listen to.

Tilden Regional Park is another great place to take kids in the Bay Area. We met a nice couple from Alameda as we walked to the steam trains. They gave us this tip: as you’re driving out on 24, just go straight past Berkeley to Fish Ranch Road. Cuts the drivetime down by a good 15-20 minutes relative to driving through Berkeley (what Yahoo! maps told us to do).

There’s an interesting comment thread on TechCrunch about data sharing among competing web sites. In one of the comments, Kevin Burton says, “just be a real man and scrape the html.” I laughed out loud. There’s a route-around for this kind of stuff, of course. Take a look at what the coComment people are doing, and imagine extrapolating their idea to everything the user posts to the web. Want to switch to a new service? Point them at the middle-man instead. It’d be a perfect application of Amazon S3. And if you go build it, please cut me in on the IPO ;-).