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Hobby Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.



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Host ID: 107

episodes: 53

hpr2762 :: What You Really Are

Released on 2019-03-05 under a CC-BY-SA license.

I got into Dungeons & Dragons back in the 1970s. This is my memory of that time and that gaming group, and especially, of the guy who taught me how to play.

hpr2753 :: Specific Settings In Storytelling

Released on 2019-02-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

How does setting interact with plot or character? Why would you choose one type of setting over another? And how do certain specific settings become intrinsic aspects of the story itself?

Lostnbronx takes a breezy, mostly incoherent stab at this rather complicated topic.

hpr2728 :: The Unreliable Narrator In Storytelling

Released on 2019-01-16 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In some stories, the narrator or dominating character can’t be trusted by the audience, creating opportunities for various storytelling effects. What makes for an unreliable narrator? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this technique? How can the underlying structure of a tale be similar to an unreliable narrator, even if the story doesn’t actually have one? Lostnbronx takes a rambling, off-the-cuff look at this interesting literary tool

hpr2718 :: Genre In Storytelling

Released on 2019-01-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Many people see genres as being largely interchangeable, but are they really? Why can some stories only be told in a particular genre? When are genre stories truly alike? And when are setting, character, and plot more important than genre? Lostnbronx takes a quick, rambling look at this complicated subject.

hpr2687 :: Some Additional Talk About Characters -- 02

Released on 2018-11-20 under a CC-0 license.

What are some typical ways to create characters in your stories? Should you create the plot first, or the characters first? Should we think of characters in terms of heroes and villains, or protagonists and antagonists? What is the value of character depth, and is it the same as the character arc? Lostnbronx offers up even more off-the-cuff thoughts about this complicated subject.

hpr2680 :: Some Additional Talk About Characters -- 01

Released on 2018-11-09 under a CC-0 license.

Some characters are simple, some are complex, and some are entirely unknowable. What sorts of characters work best for grand, sweeping good vs. evil tales? Which types work best for simple character dramas? And how do characters interact with the setting and story? Lostnbronx offers some off-the-cuff observations.

hpr2670 :: Character Arcs In Storytelling

Released on 2018-10-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Characters are intrinsic to stories of all types, and they often have journeys, referred to as arcs. What, exactly is the character arc? Does everybody in a tale have one? Do they even need one? How do arcs affect the plot, and vice-versa? Lostnbronx shares some off-the-cuff thoughts about this often misunderstood aspect of storytelling.

hpr2643 :: The Payoff In Storytelling

Released on 2018-09-19 under a CC-0 license.

Lostnbronx takes a quick look at how story endings need to be structured in order to be satisfying. Lots of endings are possible, but they don’t all require the same treatment. Some can be abrupt, some can be sad, but all of them need to meet certain emotional expectations.

hpr2584 :: Plot Twists In Storytelling

Released on 2018-06-28 under a CC-0 license.

Plot twists come in several varieties, and can produce different effects in stories. They can be powerful tools, done correctly, but quickly become trite and predictable if over-used, or used poorly. What's the best way to include them? And when might it be a mistake to even try?

hpr2563 :: Action In Storytelling

Released on 2018-05-30 under a CC-0 license.

Lostnbronx contrasts what he calls "static action" with "story action", and looks at the functions of these techniques for storytelling in various media.

A car chase is action-filled, but so might be a quiet Victorian drawing room, where, at least on the surface of it, nothing is happening.

What actually constitutes action? What purpose does it serve? And how much of it do you really need?

hpr2548 :: Single Vs Multiple Characters

Released on 2018-05-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx goes over the narrative technique of using one main character to tell a story, as opposed to using multiple characters. What advantage, if any, does so-called "head-hopping" have, over focusing on a single character at a time? Why is it sometimes better to do the opposite? And how can these different construction elements impact the story as a whole?

hpr2541 :: Microphone Wind Screen Demo

Released on 2018-04-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is just a quick demo of my new microphone wind screen muff. Though you can still hear some wind noise getting through when especially sharp gusts roll by, I think you'll agree the difference with and without the screen is dramatic.

The Movo is not perfect, and will not stop all wind noise on a very blustery day, but this kind of screen is essential for outdoor recording. The only editing I did on this track was a fade-in and out, and transcoding it from wav to flac (which was then transcoded at HPR into other formats).

hpr2536 :: Lostnbronx examines points-of-view and tenses in storytelling.

Released on 2018-04-23 under a CC-0 license.

Lostnbronx takes a breezy look at narrative points-of-view, as well as temporal tenses in storytelling. What are they, how do they differ, and why might one be better than another in a particular situation?

hpr2531 :: Plot And Story

Released on 2018-04-16 under a CC-0 license.

Lostnbronx talks about plot and story, as well as characters and backgrounds, in storytelling of all types. These things are closely tied together, and a problem with one can easily be a problem with all.

hpr2527 :: Reviews Vs. Critiques

Released on 2018-04-10 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx takes a quick look at what it is that constitutes "reviews" of stories (be they books, films, TV shows, audio dramas, whatever) as opposed to "critiques" of them.

How do these two things differ, and what are their purposes? Is one more important than the other? Why does it even matter?

hpr2522 :: Flashbacks In Storytelling

Released on 2018-04-03 under a CC-0 license.

Lostnbronx looks at flashbacks, flashforwards, plays-within-plays, and dream sequences as techniques of both good and bad storytelling.

hpr2508 :: False Prophets

Released on 2018-03-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx considers the effect that Elon Musk and SpaceX are having on the latest push for the exploitation and exploration of space, and the danger of pegging the future of the human race upon the showmanship of one man.

hpr2502 :: Volume Of Thought

Released on 2018-03-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx measures how loud his own thoughts are -- or rather, how loud outside noise has to be before they are disrupted.

It turns out that unwanted music in his ears at -30 dB is when his train of thought starts to derail.


Released on 2018-02-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.


hosted by Lostnbronx

Turning a large audio file into a tiny video file for a very specific use case.

This solution probably won't work for you, because none of the ones I found on the Internet worked for me. Trial and error led me here, and it's probably the only guide you'll have as well.

Start with as high a quality audio file as you can manage. .wav is good, but it's big. Let's convert it to .flac. If you already have a .flac file, skip this part.

1.) Convert .wav to .flac.

sox INPUT.wav OUTPUT.flac

2.) Convert the .flac to a very small mono .opus. Bitrate can be even smaller. I went down to 14.

opusenc --bitrate 18 --downmix-mono INPUT.flac OUTPUT.opus

3.) Combine the .opus file with a single static image, and output to a .webm video. This should not be very much bigger in file size than the .opus and .jpg combined. The smaller the image file, the better. (I tried using a .gif, but it was actually bigger than the .jpg I ended up with.)

ffmpeg -i INPUT.opus -r 1 -loop 1 -i INPUT.jpg -c:v libvpx -tune stillimage -shortest -y -c:a copy OUTPUT.webm

The final file. It doesn't sound great, but it's listenable, which is all that was desired.

Here's a better quality version of the audiobook.

The process and final result can be improved upon by people smarter than I, without doubt, but this works for now.

SPECIAL THANKS to the Urandom guys (X1101, Thaj, and Pokey), Monsterjavaguns (Jason van Gumster), and the ever-fabulous Klaatu, for their suggestions and encouragement. I would not have found a solution to this, nor even thought to do an episode of HPR, without them!

Editor's Note 2018-02-15: The wrong audio was accidentally released with this show. It has been corrected and should be re-uploaded by your podcatcher.

hpr2484 :: The Big Idea

Released on 2018-02-08 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx looks at the concept of the "big idea" in storytelling and various genres, arguing that such a creative tool may not actually be all that necessary to tell a compelling tale.

hpr2475 :: Information Underground -- Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll

Released on 2018-01-26 under a CC-0 license.

Deepgeek, Klaatu, and Lostnbronx look back at the flappers and speakeasies of the 1920's and 30's, and attempt to draw a line from the newly independent women of that era, up through the Playboy Bunnies of the 1950's, all the way to today.

Are things better or worse? Is what we "know" about history really important? And do the Info-Underground boys have any clue what they're even talking about?

hpr2472 :: Forum Failure

Released on 2018-01-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In 2017 I created a forum over at Proboards dedicated to my audio work and writing. It didn't attract a user base, and I deleted it when 2018 rolled around.

These are just some thoughts about why I wanted it to begin with, and why I think it failed.

I still believe Proboards is a good way to jump into forums and using forum software, and still recommend it for that reason:

Here are some of my projects mentioned briefly in this episode:

hpr2445 :: Information Underground: Backwards Capitalism

Released on 2017-12-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The Info-Underground guys consider why capitalism does (or maybe doesn't) work, why people use it as a tool for a better life (or maybe don't), and what the source of ambition, commercial aspiration, and greed truly is (or maybe isn't).

hpr2439 :: Internal Logic of Stories

Released on 2017-12-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Lostnbronx rambles on about the structure of stories, and how their internal logic can make or break them.

hpr2431 :: Information Underground: Local Control

Released on 2017-11-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.


Deepgeek, Klaatu, and Lostnbronx discuss communities, real and virtual, and get to the heart (or not) of the confluent issues surrounding modern confusion, apathy and despair with their leadership.

hpr2426 :: Let's Talk About Addiction

Released on 2017-11-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

I was partially inspired by Bitbox's really wonderful episode, "hpr2413: personal health care", to ramble on about the need for the HPR community to, maybe, start talking about a mental health crisis that touches pretty much everyone in the modern world: addiction.

Personal Health Care
hosted by Bitbox:

hpr2421 :: Project Interest

Released on 2017-11-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is just a short "episode" wherein I ponder the nature of showmanship and razzle-dazzle regarding the success or failure of FOSS, and other projects that require collaboration. Your comments and opinions are ACTIVELY encouraged.

hpr2411 :: Information Underground: Co-op Paradise

Released on 2017-10-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Deepgeek, Klaatu, and Lostnbronx discuss their long-running server co-operative, including the triumphs and challenges over the years, personal benefits, and why listeners might want to create such a thing themselves.

hpr2409 :: RPG Counternote

Released on 2017-10-26 under a CC-BY license.

I started with tabletop role-playing games just about forty years ago. Klaatu recently did a two-part episode on the merits of RPG's, and it prompted some thoughts.


hpr2396 :: Information Underground: State of independence

Released on 2017-10-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Deepgeek, Lostnbronx, and Klaatu talk about the state of independent art.

hpr1947 :: ocenaudio

Released on 2016-01-19 under a CC-BY-SA license.

ocenaudio is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor. It is the ideal software for people who need to edit and analyze audio files without complications. ocenaudio also has powerful features that will please more advanced users.

ocenaudio supports VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins, giving its users access to numerous effects. Like the native effects, VST effects can use real-time preview to aide configuration.



There's not much documentation out there for Ocenaudio. Here are a couple links to articles that might help:

hpr1739 :: Theater of the Imagination: Part 07

Released on 2015-04-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In Part 07, lostnbronx talks about his Tascam DR-40 solid state recording device, covers an OTR show of particular note, along with a new show that's also extremely cool, and then makes a plea for you to support your favorite artists.


The Tascam DR-40

The Zoom H4n


The Lives of Harry Lime

The Wireless Theater Company

hpr1683 :: Theater of the Imagination: Part 06

Released on 2015-01-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this installment, lostnbronx interviews Julie Hoverson, a modern audio drama enthusiast of great experience and insight.

Check out Julie's wonderful audio content at:

and (primarily)

hpr1609 :: Sigil And The Process Of The Epub In FOSS

Released on 2014-10-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Here are some links to the software discussed in this episode


Released on 2013-03-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.



hpr0997 :: Poorly Recorded Thoughts On Rural Computing

Released on 2012-05-28 under a CC-BY-SA license.
lostnbronx sends in a show which brings us down to earth when we talk about poor reception and slow Internet speeds.
Sorry for the sound quality. I recorded this in the car, Dave Yates style, with my Sanza Fuze v2, running Rockbox -- but my car is loud, and I had the Fuze hanging precariously from my jacket, where it was covered over half the time.

hpr0778 :: George Washington Carver

Released on 2011-07-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.
The summer shorts are intended to be shortform twitter like audio updates. In this summer short we are introduced to George Washington Carver, a personal hero of lostnbronx


Released on 2011-07-04 under a CC-BY-SA license.





(This is not where I bought mine, but the price seems pretty good -- better than I paid, anyway)



Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (At the Internet Archive)


H.M.S. Lydia



Citizen Nyx


Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)


Fat Chance Lester

Napalm Lounge (ZIP file, OGG format)

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported





Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License




Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License


Released on 2011-05-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

by lostnbronx





Podsafe Audio

A good Creative Commons list of music sites





Creative Commons Sampling Plus (1.0)





Released on 2011-03-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.


A convenient link to Part 1


Shameless Self-Promotion

Blue Heaven





Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)

hpr0566 :: Shotgun

Released on 2010-08-21 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Hyper-Scheduling For Maximum Effect

follow the progress of this likely-ineffective experiment

hpr0560 :: Old soldiers

Released on 2010-08-02 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Podcasting, Podfading, and Ordinary Voices Saying Extraordinary Things

Music in this episode:
"Test Drive" by Zapac
Available at

Script for this episode available on my gopherspace:

hpr0508 :: Pocket Full of Miracles

Released on 2010-01-29 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
lostnbronx talks about the contents of his pockets, in this latest edition of the "What's In Your Toolkit" series.

hpr0504 :: Hacker Public Radio Round Table 8

Released on 2010-01-13 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Join us as SigFLUP, Deepgeek, lostnbronx, and Klaatu discuss the sci fi movie THX 1138

hpr0482 :: Lugging it Home

Released on 2009-11-14 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Getting By Without A Local Linux Users Group

Music in this episode:

Check out their page at the Podsafe Music Network here
The Reductionist


Big John Bates
His page at the Podsafe Music Network

hpr0429 :: She went back to Windows

Released on 2009-08-25 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
My Wife And Her New Machine

Music in this episode:

The incomparable
Albert Collins
His very brief listing at the Podsafe Music Network can be found here, but it doesn't do this great man justice.

By all means, check out his Wikipedia page for a nice overview. His career was shorter than it should have been, but he had no equal.

May he rest in peace.

hpr0400 :: Homeless where the heart is

Released on 2009-07-13 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
FOSS and the Barrier To Acceptance

music in this episode:

from AlienSeduction
by Giuliano Lombardo


found at The Podsafe Music Network

hpr0375 :: SAP - the Simple Audio Player

Released on 2009-06-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
the Simple Audio Player

The Sap Homepage:

SAP's Launchpad Page:

Music In This Episode:
Pineapple Rag by the one and only Scott Joplin; a recording of the piano roll (the original electronica -- or would that be mechanica?), available in ogg vorbis, among other formats, at the Internet Archive.

hpr0354 :: The Jerks Among us

Released on 2009-05-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Music in this episode
"Give Me Your Hand" and "Voicedance" sung by
Danny Fong, et al,
details here
Danny's page on the Podsafe Network

Ray (the man's a genius)
Found all over the Internet, but here's a link to it over on Zefrank's site, along with a page of funny remixes.

hpr0334 :: Toti

Released on 2009-04-10 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Dramatic Audio Media, And Its Context

Shownotes -- In No Particular Order (Yay!)

First off, there's the Wikipedia page for audiobooks (strangely, they don't seem to have one specifically for podiobooks -- at least, when I looked. Someone should fix that. But not me. I'm too busy. Or something.)

The Internet Archive's Old Time Radio "Gunsmoke" collection

Darker Projects (lots of fun going on here)

Decoder Ring Theatre (The Red Panda is da man -- and his female sidekick is too...rowaar!)

BrokenSea Audio Productions (lookin' good)

For live stage productions, check this guy out -- I haven't seen him, myself, but he's got right idea!

Again, not anyone I've seen, but they sure have the fire!

Original street sound f/x
By gezortenplotz ( NYC_street leve02l.wav (
remixed by yours truly

Intro and Outro music by the Benny Goodman Orchestra, "Sing, Sing, Sing", performed on the "Camel Caravan", on November 4th, 1939 (public domain, and available at the Internet Archive here)

hpr0313 :: Recesion Era Media

Released on 2009-03-12 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
The Gray-Hoverman Antenna (a GPL 3.0 version)
The Digital Home forum
TV Fool
The Linux Outlaws Antenna thread
A few do-it-yourself antenna designs on Instructables

Info about MythTV is not at all hard to come by these days, but here's a few places to start off with, just in case it is new to you.
This is an app that some people bill as an alternative to Mythbox

Rockbox rocks!

Gemini Division
Drawn By Pain
Star Trek: Phase II
Star Trek: Of Gods and Men
Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
(I figure there might be a few people on Earth who haven't yet seen Dr. Horrible. A really wonderful production, and a nice example of the wide breadth that Web content can take.)

hpr0290 ::

Released on 2009-02-09 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
"I Gotta Be Outa My Friggin' Mind" (National Novel Writing Month) is an organization that sponsors an event each November wherein participants set out to write a novel in thirty days. The challenges and obsticles are many, not the least of which are the writers themselves.

Also of interest to writers:
Critters Story Group


Released on 2009-01-20 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
makes roughly 1 US gallon after headspace and spillage are factored in


3 1/2 pounds (1.5 kgs.) of honey
1 large orange
1 small handful of raisins
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
pinch of nutmeg and allspice (optional)
1 sachet bread yeast
water to just under 4 liters


Cut orange into eigths.  Add orange slices (peels and all) to a 4 liter 
jug, then add honey, spices, and water to 4 liters, less headspace.  Cap 
and shake, mixing well.  Uncap, add yeast.  Cap and shake again.  Uncap 
and attach waterlock.  Let sit for 2 to 2 1/2 months.  When mead is 
clear syphon it into clean bottles.  Cap or cork these.  Mead is now 
ready to drink, but gets better with age. 

Additional Reading

The obligatory Wikipedia article
A nice overview of mead history and nomenclature.  (I've contributed to 
it myself, so you just know it's good!) 
The single biggest mead resource on the Web.  The forums are 
particularly useful.  Many very knowledgeable and friendly people hang 
out here.

The Mead Lover's Digest 
A venerable email forum, that gets sent out whenever there's enough 
content to fill and issue.  Lots of good advice and recipes here.  This 
is the introduction/signup page.

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