Hello everyone and welcome to 2011. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It’s actually New Year’s Day as I write these words and I’m sat here digesting tons of food and getting ready to play more FIFA 11 on my PS3, it’s the only way I can watch Liverpool win at the moment. I had hoped to write some more updates before Christmas but it didn’t happen, I still have a Linux Mint review to write and some other new features. Today I’m going to talk about the last couple of weeks and then pick out a couple of my favourite memories from 2010. So let’s get into it…
We’ve taken a break from live Linux Outlaws broadcasts in the last few weeks, firstly because of Fab’s stage play, but also because Christmas is such a busy time anyway. That doesn’t mean the podcasts have slowed down though, oh no! In fact there have been 3 new episodes over the festive period. We pre-recorded them and it’s strange not to have live feedback from the IRC as we talk. It’s amazing how much different the live show feels and I’ve really come to love that. Firstly we released episode 181 “BeardCash” on Dec 22nd, then we had our Gran Tourismo 5 game review special for all the freedom haters (like us), and finally we released our end of year round up show, which ran to over 3 hours! So nobody can say they’ve been short changed, that’s probably 6 hours of content in less than 2 weeks. We were also joined by Ade Bradshaw for the year round up show. I know a lot of people have trouble getting through all our shows because of the sheer volume of them, this might prompt a few more to declare pod-bankruptcy and start again.
I’ve also been busy as ever with the band over the Christmas season. We bought a shiny new PA and we’ve been practising hard for our gig on Jan 8th. I looked at many different PA solutions and although I haven’t worked in live sound for almost 10 years now, I like to think I still know a thing or two about it. I plumped for a Mackie PPM608 powered mixer as the basis and we’ve been really happy with it so far. Ross also bought himself a new drum kit and he’s settling into that. It’s all go and we have almost everything we need to be completely self sufficient in terms of gigging now which feels great. Hopefully if this gig next week goes well we can start to play out more and build up a bigger following. The website is still doing well (despite a slow server at times) and I released a new song on December 23rd. It’s available on the website and if you like you can also purchase the EP from Bandcamp. It’s something of an experiment to see if we make a bit of running costs back through online sales. I’ve been quite pleased with Bandcamp so far, they take 15% of the sales but that’s fair for running such a cool service I think. It’s a lot easier than setting up our own online store at this stage (though it is a future plan). I’ve embedded the Bandcamp player below and I set a minimum price of £1 for the 4 track EP. It’s much higher audio quality than the tracks on our site and you get artwork too. Fans can name their own price really with £1 as a minimum, otherwise we’d lose money with the transaction fees. I had originally set no minimum price so it was possible to download completely free, but people were confused by that. It seems most like to have a suggested price so they know where they stand. Some generous folks have paid much more than £1 and I thank them profusely for that. If you want a copy for yourself just follow the links on the widget below.
Christmas came and went with it’s usual collection of frivolity, food and much more. I caught up with friends and family and generally had a really nice quiet time. I’ve also been hammering FIFA 11 as I mentioned earlier, I’m thoroughly addicted to the career mode. On Boxing Day (December 26th) I broadcast a live Rathole Radio and had lots of fun doing it. I even played a festive acoustic song with my version of Shakin’ Stevens classic “Merry Christmas Everyone”, a scary thought indeed. I advertised the show as being on Boxing Day without really thinking about it, but of course most countries don’t have that holiday and I got some questions about it. We have Boxing Day here in the UK but it doesn’t really mean a whole lot these days, it’s just a historic left-over I suppose, quite ironic as for most people it involves eating left-over turkey for dinner. It’s the day after Christmas and you can read more on Wikipedia. Rathole Radio 42 was released earlier this week.
In the post-Christmas lull I was surprised by a delivery man knocking at my door with a very large box in tow. It turned out to be some Lenovo S10-3t netbooks running Meego 1.1 kindly sent to Linux Outlaws by Intel. It wasn’t a complete surprise as I had been talking to them about it, but it’s an incredibly generous offer. They want us to review the software and the plan is also to give some machines away as prizes to listeners in 2011. Stay tuned for more about this on Linux Outlaws soon!
So, what memories will stay with me from 2010? I’m glad you asked that. Well there’s 2 fairly obvious ones I’d like to highlight. At this time last year the idea to hold a large event in Liverpool had just dawned on me and the hard work was only beginning. I spent a lot of time organising and with the wonderful support of my family and friends the whole thing came together to become OggCamp10. I also held the Rathole Radio gig the night before and I don’t think I’ll ever forget driving around town with David Rovics getting increasingly lost in one way streets and dead ends. It was really incredible to see so many friends come to Liverpool and enjoy themselves that weekend. I love this place and I make no secret of my bias towards it, but I think the city and the people really showed their warmth and vitality. The fact that some people traveled from America just to join us was mind boggling to me and also very humbling. I’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard in making the event happen, it’ll go down in history as a great Free Software extravaganza, and so it should.
That also brings me to the other big thing I will take from 2010, the band of course. We formed to play the Rathole Radio gig in April. If you’d told me this time last year I’d be in such a cool band and doing so well I probably wouldn’t have believed you. It’s been really nice to play more regularly, and from my point of view to sing and play guitar in a band. I’ve played bass in countless bands over the years and sung a fair bit, but never quite like this. I’m really excited by our original songs and where we can take it in 2011. I’ll be pushing all the way to do everything we can this year, more gigs, recordings, promotions and who knows what else. Be prepared to get sick of the sight of 20lb Sounds in 2011. Bring it on!
Another very nice thing that’s happened in 2010 is co-hosting FLOSS Weekly on the TWIT network with Randal Schwartz. He’s kindly asked me to fill in as the main host a few shows while he’s away and I can’t wait. It’s quite an honour to take the helm of a TWIT show. The first show with me as host will be next Wednesday Jan 5th at 5:30pm in the UK. That’s 12:30pm in the Eastern US and 9:30am Pacific. I’ve lined up Fred Dixon of Big Blue Button to talk to us and Aaron Newcomb has agreed to co-host. It’ll be scary at first probably but lots of fun too. There’ll be more Linux Outlaws with the return of our live shows, the gig on Jan 8th and another live Rathole Radio the night after on Sunday Jan 9th. I’m also still chasing down leads on a new flat in Liverpool and a move should be on the cards in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more about all that, exciting times indeed. 2010 was very good to me and I can only hope 2011 will be similar. I wish you all the best for the new year and I hope it brings you all the things you imagine.