Podcast Recording Shootout
The two main contenders that are suitable for workhorse podcast use are Skype and Gizmo. Both are very easy to download and install. Both offer comparable rates on calls coming in from the phone network and going out again, both nationally and internationally (though Gizmo has a slight edge in this respect). Both are user-friendly and easy to get potential guests set up on so they can be on your show.
They both are usable. They both are workable. They both run quite well on Linux, Windows and Mac OS. Their feature sets are comparable in many respects. But, they are not the same.
Neither Skype nor Gizmo offers anything in the way of 64-bit versions for Linux, even though there are user complaints and pleadings about this dating back to May 2005 on both companies' support forums on exactly this topic. Skype recently has introduced a 64-bit Vista client, but Mac and Linux 64-bit clients are, as yet, nothing more than a pleasant adolescent fantasy for the lonely off-platform user. Gizmo, meanwhile, is 32-bits all through.
Both install and run on 64-bit distros, with a little bit of a headache making sure they've got the right 32-bit libs to call in and with setting up the chroot environment. It's a stopgap that works okay, but it ain't pretty, and in a time when 32-bit desktop and laptop processors are being end-of-lifed by hardware manufacturers, this situation really is irritating.
Skype, now the prized stepchild of the eBay corporation, runs on a proprietary peer-to-peer networking back end that co-opts the user's system resources to route calls, up to the maximum of what it can grab that's not being used by other systems. This is comparable to how BitTorrent works, though unlike with BitTorrent, users have no control over how much in the way of bandwidth or system resources they want to allocate to the task. The practical upshot for this where performance is concerned is curiously double-edged. At the beginning of a Skype call, the connection typically is loud and clear, the mix is well proportioned, and the compression artifacts are very difficult to hear (and, if you're good with EQs, you can pretty much notch out the most obvious ones). However, as a call progresses, more of your personal bandwidth gets allocated to other network calls, and the quality of the audio gradually degrades. At low traffic times, this effect is barely noticeable, but at high traffic times, you may find yourself having to restart the call every 10–15 minutes as the quality falls below what you find acceptable (or intelligible).
Its networking setup isn't the only thing that's proprietary—it's also a closed system. Skype's network can't be dialed in to directly from any other voice-conferencing network. The standards are closed, and they're black-boxed. Although this isn't a problem that's directly relevant to podcasting, if you're looking for a general first-line VoIP package, it's something you'll want to keep in mind. Skype is like Vegas: what happens there, stays there—well, assuming its encryption algorithms are robust.
Gizmo, a service and application owned by SIPphone, Inc., has a somewhat different approach. Although the software itself is proprietary, it uses the open SIP protocol for its transport across the Net, and calls are routed directly over the SIPphone network between the individual call participants, rather than being routed through a peer-to-peer network. Because it uses SIP and Jabber, it can hook up with any software using either of these protocols fairly transparently.
Gizmo uses TLS and SSL encryption to discourage eavesdropping—open technologies whose strengths and limitations are well known. The corporate culture is deliberately geared toward transparency rather than toward opacity, which is an operating philosophy that warms the cockles of this Linux geek's heart. However, when it comes to encryption, Gizmo also loses a point, as it does not encrypt between Gizmo and non-Gizmo SIP clients.
The sound quality on Gizmo follows a different curve from Skype. Because Gizmo routes over the SIP network instead of through a peer-to-peer setup, it is more subject to the fickle winds of fate. When Net traffic is up, Gizmo calls tend to decay. When it's down, they do better. However, Gizmo does not progressively degrade performance over the course of a call or take your bandwidth for allocating to other calls on the network.
In terms of actual performance, the sound quality is usually a wash, but Gizmo consistently sounded better the times I've used it for multiparty conferences than has Skype, particularly on extra long calls.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide