kentbye's blog

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Tweaking the Drupal RSS Feeds to Download an Entire Audio Archive

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I want to publish more interview audio, but I need to make a modification to Drupal before I do -- and I might need some PHP coding help to do it.

I want to be able to have an RSS feed that people can pop into iTunes at any time and download all 86 of my interviews.

UPDATE: I've successfully written a Drupal module to do this. I'll post it below.

I need to have my audience be able to very quickly and easily have access to all of my source material by copying one feed into an audio aggregator and let it do a bulk download of all the files.

Expecting people to download each interview is out of the question -- there are too many. I could split it up separate feed sections, but I want to make downloading all of the files as easy as possible with four easy steps:

1. Copy the feed
2. Paste it in the subscribe window
3. Download all the files
4. There is no step four

And so I imagine that this will require a relatively simple Drupal module or "PHP node" that can produce the necessary XML data to do the trick.

I welcome any help in making this happen since it seems like it should be a pretty useful feature to have.

I specifically need to take all of the nodes that have the "Interview Audio" tag, and produce the RSS code to send down the Feedburner feed.

The issue is that my regular feed is limited to displaying 25 posts -- and I also have the full text selected.

This means that this Drupal only displays the last 25 posts for all of the feeds, but for the posts tagged with "Interview Audio" I want it to display the last 86 posts.

I also don't want to send the full text down the "Interview Audio" feed because I plan on posting the entire transcript with each audio file, and this would inevitably exceed Feedburner's bandwidth limit by the time I would reach the 86th post.

So either I need to dig into the Drupal code myself and hack something together, or I need to find someone who can help out.

I'm going to assess the solution until I run into a road block, and then I can start publishing more interview audio.

Below I've posted the code for the module...

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Releasing All Interview Audio Soon -- Help by Listening


I will be publishing more Interview Audio as soon as this technical issue is resolved.

So please subscribe to the Interview Audio Feed -- or the more inclusive All Media Feed -- and start listening.

There is 50+ hours worth of quality information and knowledge that I've collected so far, and people need to start digesting it. That's because I'm going to need your help with editing sound bite sequences -- as well as gathering a larger context for the footage by you becoming familiar with material and then sharing what it means to you through the various mechanisms that are put into place.

So I'm going to be releasing the audio in the following four chunks.

[1] 13 interviews conducted at the Personal Democracy Forum -- Post-production is completed and will be posted soon.
[2] 10 Media & Consciousness interviews
[3] 8 We Media Conference Interviews
[4] The 45 interviews with Journalists, Media Critics, Journalism Professors, Think Tank Scholars, Retired Government Analysts. International Lawyers and Other Perspectives.

The first three chunks are the solution-oriented interviews that are investigating how to more tightly integrate the latest new media trends into journalistic practices. The are all of fairly short 5 to 25-minute interviews that I conducted at conferences throughout 2005 and 2006.

The bulk of the 45 sit-down interviews were conducted during the summer of 2004 right after the New York Times Mea Culpa, and before all of the media controversies leading up to the 2004 election. These were much more extensive and in-depth 30 to 90-minute interviews focusing on both the systemic and specific problems with the media during the build-up to the Iraq war.

So hopefully the technical development of the collaborative filmmaking infrastructure will eventually be completed and converge with a large community of volunteers who have listened to the source material and are all eager to start editing sequences together for the first-ever, massively scalable collaborative documentary.

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What I Have, What I Need & What You Can Do To Help

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Momentum is building for The Echo Chamber Project, and it is time to share my assessment of What I Have. What I Need. And What You Can Do to Help.

I believe that I've collected a critical mass of value, and I'm hoping to leverage this towards taking this ambitious project to the next level.

My biggest need at the moment is help recruiting PHP developers to help implement some of the collaborative editing infrastructure for sequencing sound bite sequences. This infrastructure will enable even more people to get involved.

The biggest thing that everyone interested in helping out can do is to start listening to the Interview Audio (via Audio Feed or All Media Feed) that I'm publishing as well as reading through these interview transcripts.

I am going to need your help with making sense of all of this information and insights that I've collected once the tools are finally in place for you to do so. The more familiar you are with the material, the more that you'll be able to get involved and participate.

So take a look at the assets that I've gathered below, and think about the following:

* What are some next steps that you can take to help me fulfill some of my immediate or long-term needs?

Finally, let me know that you're listening by either sending me an e-mail at -- leaving a comment below -- or signing up as a user to this site.

*** WHAT I HAVE ***

* A very hot topic concerning how the media covered the build-up to the war in Iraq.

* 5 months of ABC, CBS and NBC footage & transcripts leading up to the war.

* Over 40 hours of interview footage & transcripts filled with problem-oriented insights about the media from scholars and journalists.

* Another 10+ hours covering the future trends of the media and solution-oriented insights from thought leaders in the field.

* The willingness to publish all the interview audio underneath a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license of all of my interviews to spur innovation and collaboration.

* The willingness to release all of my video footage underneath a Creative Commons Attribution license after I finish and release my version.

* A lot of ideas and theories for how collaborative filmmaking could work.

* The attention of many different journalists, scholars, new media thought leaders and media technologists for my project and how I'm going about it. This success of this project can make a profound impact on how journalism is produced.

* A lot of contacts with bloggers and activist technologists from various technical conferences who have a fair amount of social capital.

* An unspecified strategy for how DVD sales will provide a revenue stream and return of investment for this project.

* An unspecified grassroots marketing strategy that involves the open and collaborative production of the film to help spread the word about the project.

* A part-time Drupal czar for emergency site maintence.

* Boundless passion and determination to make this project work and to have it make a difference in the world.

* My own personal salary and living expenses covered.

* Some upcoming press from interviews with's Robin Good and an upcoming episode with


* PHP coders to help implement some of the technical infrastructure for browser-based sound bite sequencing within Drupal.

* More systems-level technical help with putting these theories into action.

* A producer who can help collect the necessary resources -- whether it be human or financial resources -- to help manifest this technical infrastructure.

* A film producer who can help tap into the energy of a technology-empowered collaborators to help craft the 90-minute film product.

* A multi-media producer to think about creating more interactive online experiences with the material, and mechanisms for how to continually add knowledge and value to the footage archive.

* A lawyer and accountant to create an LLC or other umbrella organization.

* Fiscal sponsorship from a non-profit to make donations tax deductable

* Philanthropists who are willing to invest in this type of open source infrastructure, and who can add value to the project with the connections and relationships that they have.

* I have an emergency Drupal administrator, but it would be nice to have a PHP/Drupal website administrator who has available time to help troubleshoot and maintain the site.

* Potential editing volunteers to start listening to the interviews that I've conducted

* Help with spreading the word in trying to locate any of the type of people above.


* A graphic designer who can make come up with a Drupal theme that much more aesthetically pleasing that the current one.

* A user interface specialist who can help make advise how features and the site can be more user friendly

* An information architect who can help make the information on this site more

* An information visualization guru who is willing to help implement some open source data visualizations to the social networking activity

* Artists to make graphics and logos that help communicate more visually.

* Academic Advisors from a broad range of different disciplines who have an interest in my project, and want to help gather help and support for the project -- Communications, Film, Journalism, Sociology, New Media, Politics, Law, International Relations, Peace Studies, Computer Science, etc.

* A more defined timeline once some of the above immediate needs are satisfied

* Community developers and outreach coordinators for the project

* Job descriptions for different tasks that volunteers could help out with

* Fair Use Copyright legal advisors

* * * * * * * *

I know that's a lot of stuff, but this interview material, technology assets and theories that I've gathered has the potential to snowball and manifest every single one of these desires.

We can do this together.

So what's your next step for helping it happen?

kentbye's picture

Community Audio: Kent Bye Interview by Robin Good

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New Media trendspotter Robin Good conducted a 24-minute interview with me last week talking about pre-war US media, the collaborative aspects of The Echo Chamber Project, and the Open Source Intelligence Conference that I attended.

Good has put together the most comprehensive launching pad to The Echo Chamber Project so far filling by his post with a lot of good pointers and graphics. He introduces me and the project by saying:

Kent Bye, is the author of a unique film documentary in progress that may become a future model for grassroots citizen journalism, while showing how to invest filmmaking skills and ideas in a production that has some real informative values and developing the first web-based collaborative video editing approach to build open-source movies and documentaries.

Check out the rest of the post, and the complete transcript for the interview here.

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Some Pioneering Efforts in Independent Film Distribution

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Now that it is so cheap to produce and distribute your own multimedia material, the value added provided by distribution companies is not as much as it used to be. The Internet has shattered the previous barriers for distributing video and information around the world, which has created an information explosion. And as Herbert Simon says, "a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." So the mainstream media companies and movie distributers are now competing with individual bloggers, podcasters and videobloggers for the attention of audiences.

And so instead of pre-filtering gatekeepers deciding what will and will not be published, now anyone can publish anything and it is up to post-filtering systems like Amazon's recommendation systems or word of mouth that is built up from a network and community of followers.

Below are a few pointers to how this environment is changing the field of film distribution...

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Dynamically Creating Sound Bite Sequences with SMIL & Drupal

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VICTORY! I am now able to dynamically generate audio metadata and have it be recognized by Quicktime as an edited sound bite sequence! This is a HUGE breakthrough for my collaborative editing schema. Here is a demo of a sequence of three sound bites that have been excerpted from longer audio files and strung together.

I've found a way for Drupal to automatically edit sound bite sequences without having to generate any text files or generate muxed audio files that need to be written to the server.

UPDATE 3/29/06 This URL has the dynamically generated SMIL code (i.e. take a look at the source code for the page to see the SMILtext). And then here is an embedded version of this SMIL metadata:

More details below...

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Interviews from an Open Source Intelligence Conference

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I attended a conference on Open Source Intelligence and collected over 3 hours of interviews from the 10 of the presenters. My citizen journalism coverage was looking through the following two lenses:

* What types of insights could intelligence analysis provide to journalism?
* How can information and communications technologies be used to help avoid and prevent armed conflict?

UPDATE:Here is a 90-second video introduction to these interviews

Music: On The Moon (Trip Hop mix) by disharmonic

FYI:You can use this feed to download all of the interview audio.

More information below...

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Interview Audio: Peter Morville, Information Scientist, Information Architecture Pioneer & Author of "Ambient Findability"

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(22:23 / 6.4 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Listen to an interview with Peter Morville.

More information on the Open Source Intelligence conference here.

Transcript Coming Soon.
January 19th, 2006

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Interview Audio: Stephen E. Arnold, Technology Consultant and Author of "The Google Legacy"

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(30:57 / 7.5 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Listen to an interview with Stephen E. Arnold.

More information on the Open Source Intelligence conference here.

Transcript Coming Soon.
January 18th, 2006

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Interview Audio: Robert Young Pelton, Adventurer, Journalist and Author of "The World's Most Dangerous Places"

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(19:26 / 5.6 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Listen to an interview with Robert Young Pelton.

More information on the Open Source Intelligence conference here.

Transcript Coming Soon.
January 19th, 2006

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