Episode 12: Dr Aleks Krotoski

This week we are lucky enough to be joined by technology broadcaster Aleks Krotoski, known for her work at the Guardian (particularly the Tech Weekly podcast) and most recently for her new four-part prime time BBC Two series, Virtual Revolution. Aleks tells us about some of the leading lights she spoke to on this innovative show and explains why she believes we live in such exciting times. Still, we can't resist reminding her of some of her more dedicated followers.

Virtual Revolution is on Saturdays, 8:15, BBC 2, and you can watch the latest episode on iPlayer. Needless to say, she can be found on Twitter.

We also accost Mark, one of the dashing chaps who stands on a box outside Hamleys in a top hat. He tells us about the origins of the biggest toyshop in the known universe, and why his daughter hates Toy Story.

Meanwhile, Dave Green continues to eat rubbish so you don't have to, as we look back on the second half of the decade in snacks.

More links: Aleks: blog | twitter | wikipedia | shrine | 1984 in 369 days Flickr project | Tech Weekly podcast

Unfinished Swan

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Posted: February 4th, 2010 | 13 Comments »

13 Comments on “Episode 12: Dr Aleks Krotoski”

  1. 1 Chris said at 2:37 pm on February 10th, 2010:

    Hi guys! I’m loving your podcast. Only picked it up a couple of weeks ago when it was featured in

    Just wondering if it would be possible to improve the audio? It sounds resonable in stereo but it’s terrible on mono. You see i tend to listen to you while i’m in bed and lying on one side. It hurts my ear if I have the earbud in the side I’m lying on so I try to use just one earbud in the non-pillowside ear. Only this sounds real bad. BTW, I don’t have this problem with other podcasts, just yours. Why would that be? Anyway, hope you can sort something out so that my pillow ear doesn’t get hurt.

    Also, how about enabling the wptouch extension like on Leilas blog?

    Keep up the great work !

  2. 2 Roo said at 5:51 pm on February 10th, 2010:

    Chris: what are you using to convert the mp3 from stereo to mono? I want to try it for myself. Also, what sort of earbuds are you using, and can you describe the pain in a little more detail?

  3. 3 Chris said at 12:34 am on February 11th, 2010:

    Roo, I’m not actually doing anything to downmix the recording, I simply listening in with just one ear through either the L or R channel.
    Thinking about it, I could probably rewire a set of eabus to put the L+R channels to each earbud, but i canvreally be bothered. I guess most podcasts are stereo, but the mix between their L&R channels is not as wide as yours so there is as much difference between them.
    The ear bud headphones I use in bed are the inexpensive JVC gummy ones. I have a nice set of AKG cans for when I’m rocking the streets around Hoxton, but they are a bit big for bedtime.
    Regarding the pain, I would say it more an annoying discomfort. A bit like beign gently punched in the ear by pansy.

  4. 4 roo said at 1:04 am on February 11th, 2010:

    Well, it is a stereo podcast, and Leila and I are often on opposite sides of the microphone, with any guests often occupying the hallowed middle ground. Sorry if our stereo separation is a bit too great for you. My fault. I’ll try to let them overlap a bit more, but editing a podcast is hard, and boring.

    Unless you’re prepared to downmix to mono, I’d suggest the next time you experience the pansy-ear-punching pain, you try the following:

    1 – pause the podcast (you wouldn’t want to miss any of it, after all).
    2 – gently remove the offending earbud. If it’s hurting, that’s probably a good idea anyway.
    3 – turn over, so if your left ear was facing the pillow, it’s now the right ear.
    4 – insert the other earbud in your other ear
    5 – press play to resume your listening experience.

    Now, you’ll probably be hearing Leila more loudly than me. Pansy issue resolved. Of course, you might now be experiencing a feeling of being punched in the ear by a girl, which might be worse.

  5. 5 roo said at 1:33 am on February 11th, 2010:

    Oh, and re the wptouch plugin: thanks. Good idea. I’ll enable it over the weekend. Leila will have to test it though; I don’t even have an iPhone. Imagine that.

  6. 6 Chrs said at 12:25 pm on February 11th, 2010:

    Thanks for being so understanding Roo. Appreciate any efforts you make to overlap the stereo mix. Maybe you could each have your own microphone? I know it’s a pretty crazy idea, but maybe it will work. I kinda think that’s what the do at those radio staions, but I’m no expert.
    In the mean time maybe I’ll look into buying one if those pillow speakers they used to advertise in the TV guide.

  7. 7 roo said at 2:12 pm on February 11th, 2010:

    One microphone each you say? How decadent.

    Actually, we could (and should) do a better job of audio mixing. I have some ideas there. Thanks for your support, and continue to expect good and exciting things from us.

  8. 8 leila said at 3:28 pm on February 11th, 2010:

    Yeah – thanks Chris (& excellent debugging there Roo), we genuinely value all feedback, of any sort. It’s all we have! Hope you like today’s ep. x

  9. 9 roo said at 11:11 pm on February 11th, 2010:

    I’ve just installed wptouch too. Try browsing the blog on your fancy iPhone now and let me know if you see any problems. Cheers.

  10. 10 Tom said at 11:25 am on February 12th, 2010:

    Hi Chris,

    On the offchance that you’re listening on an iPhone 3GS or a late-2009 model iPod touch, there’s a “Mono Audio” setting in Settings > General > Accessibility that should downmix the stereo for you.


  11. 11 Making a podcast – some notes and observations – Roo Reynolds said at 12:32 am on February 13th, 2010:

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