Talk Radio

When I was younger, I swore to myself that I would never listen to talk or news radio, like my Dad did. As far as I was concerned, radio was for music, unless you were old.

All through college, I listened exclusively to music. I had an ill-fated BMG membership then, and to this day, the majority of my CD collection is from the mid 90s. Fantastic for my listening selection, but an early example of my poor financial decision-making. I loved the art and lyrics sheets that came in the cases, the art on the discs themselves, and of course, the tunes.

And then came internet radio. I got in on this one early – on the ground floor, as they say. IPM Radio was streaming in RealAudio, because that was the only thing. I listened to as many broadcasts as possible, and attended and/or DJed as well. Pandora came around, Digitally Imported after that. My CD purchasing dropped off steeply as I could stream music at home, and listen to radio in the car.

Then I found podcasts. A multitude of shows, many of which centered on my interests, updated via RSS, so I’d get an episode delivered as soon as it was released. There were so many, and over the years, there have been more… and more… and more. Most of the time, this has made me gleeful. Recently, though, I’ve fallen behind. Like, a year behind. I was catching up with all the driving I’ve been doing between Lansing and Detroit, but then 2020 happened.

Driving was consolidated, and non-essential drives were rare. Work travel was entirely on pause. So, my trend of catching up fell back into falling behind.

One day, on my way to the laundromat, I was weighing weather I would listen to a podcast or dust off my favorite radio station, and it hit me – podcasts were my talk radio. Sure, there may be as much fiction in my list as non, but not one of them was music.

So, as I’m sure many do, I’ve become more like my father as I’ve gotten older, and I feel like I owe my younger self (and probably my Dad) an apology.

Platform Divisiveness

DLive Icon

The platform that I’ve moved my stream to is known for its viewership listing to the alt-right. A lot of history, from it being layered on top of a cryptocurrency, to it courting PewDiePie as its “face”, has built that reputation up over time.

When I chose to move to DLive from Twitch, I focused on the strides that the platform had made in recent years. Abandoning the shady cryptocurrency as its foundation, no longer hosting the Pewds, implementing banning, clearing up its Terms of Service, etc. I could move there with a fairly clear conscience.

But, as was pointed out to me this week, being straight, white, and cis, I was never going to be made specifically unwelcome. BIPOC streamers, LGBTQ+ streamers… I get the distinct impression that there is still a large part of the viewership that would try to run them off.

No, I don’t have proof. But, when I’m in a laid-back streamer’s channel, and chat starts throwing out “SJW”, “snowflakes”, “owning the libtards”, and the streamer just chuckles along, the impression is made.

So, I’m on the hunt for DLive streamers that call out awful behavior when they see it, for streamers that care about people being treated with respect, for streamers that give a shit. If you know of any, or have any suggestions on how to find them, please leave me a comment.

As I say on stream, you’re awesome, and you’ve got this.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, The End

New base

It felt good to be active. It felt good to be working toward a goal, and to be making progress. I had to remind myself that the new iteration’s storage was limited, as mine had been before my journey to confront the Atlas. I disconnected several power cables, making sure my multitool was breaking them down into their component elements. Next was the ladder. I swept the beam up and down the ladder as I considered.

Elearu had given the Korvax Traveler an excessive amount of activated indium from their mine, as they had given me shortly after they’d built the facility. It made getting credits, at least in this system, an incredibly easy thing to do. Currency had become a non-issue for those on Akrodne-X, thanks to Elearu’s generosity. After watching the new iteration build a wood base, and then begin to erect pre-fabricated rooms, I knew what I could do to help, both materially and psychologically.

The ladder was gone, and its components were in my exosuit. Scanning the windows was next. What was it like, I wondered, to begin your life a short distance away from a previous version of yourself? How would that impact the new Traveler’s outlook on the Atlas, especially if they were pulled along the same trail of bait, and were given the same impossible choice, that I had? How would my bitterness taint their own experiences?

Wait. The Korvax were directly connected to the Atlas through the Convergence, weren’t they? And yet, many Korvax Travelers frequented Polo and Nada’s Anomaly station, which was hidden from the Atlas. Does that mean that every single one was Divergent, like Nada? Each one, a being designed to be part of a hive mind, and yet living their lives as individuals, alone with themselves? I stood in the windowless, doorless, ladderless prefabricated pod, and boggled. Beginning their lives with no memories or identity? The cruelty was staggering.

I began to scan the walls of the pod. With Elearu staying, and with the wave of newcomers, the new iteration would not be alone, would not be without help. In fact, I suspected that they may experience more companionship than they were ready for. They would have a better beginning here without my interference. I’d decided to disassemble the base that I’d so lovingly crafted, and gift the new iteration with all of those materials. Then, once there was nearly no sign that I had ever been there, I would follow those that came with me, and head out into the stars. My freighter would become my base, and perhaps I would come to terms with the fading simulation all around me.

But probably I’d still be bitter.

Breakup with Twitch

Twitch is back to doing Twitch things. What now, you ask? So, so much. Instead of the usual one at a time, they’ve gone all in on poor decision making. Let’s look at the three that irritate me the most.

Mid-Stream Commercials

They’ve been testing “mid-roll” ads. These are video advertisements that interrupt the streamer’s content, sending it into a muted picture-in-picture window in the upper corner of the stream. Now, the “pre-roll” (as you enter stream) ads are bad enough. You can’t skip them, you can’t provide feedback on them, and they certainly don’t earn you any Bits. If you were a paid member of Twitch Prime, their paid premium membership, you didn’t see any ads. NO MORE! Now, you get free games (that I don’t want) or in-game cosmetics (that I rarely want), and you see “pre-roll” ads like anybody else. Unless you’ve subscribed to that streamer. Confused yet? Welcome to Twitch.

Oh, and be sure that it’ll change again soon, with little to no notice. So, let me try to break this down a little bit, as I understand it.

For the pre-roll ads, Twitch’s logic was that it supported the streamer, because the desire to avoid ads would encourage people to purchase paid subscriptions to their favorite streamers.

  • Did they provide streamers the option to enable and disable pre-roll ads, so they could decide whether their viewers should have their eyeballs held hostage? Nope.
  • Did they provide the Twitch Prime members the choice between ad-free viewing and games/cosmetics? Nope.

So, big changes in the way paid memberships and ads work, no community input from Affiliates, streamers, or viewers. Very little notice. No response to consistent feedback of “We don’t want this!”

Now, it appears they’ve learned the smallest lesson from their last change. Let’s break down the recent mid-roll testing, as I understand it.

The bad:

  • No communication to Affiliates, streamers, or viewers until the day of.
  • Interrupting streamers’ content (what brings the eyeballs to the ads in the first place), shrinking it, and muting it.

The good:

  • The massive negative response on Twitter was recorded – responses were tallied.
  • An after-the-fact opinion poll was taken – responses were tallied.
  • There wasn’t any attempt to spin this as good for the streamer or their community.

Music Player

Twitch is rolling out their own music player for streamers. It’s guaranteed to be safe from copyright claims, much like Pretzel.rocks. However, instead of paying the labels and the artists their due, they are using legal loopholes to completely avoid paying for using and broadcasting the musicians’ work. Completely unlike Pretzel. This would be a normal corporate move, except that Twitch is part of Amazon, which has already built an entire infrastructure and application suite for legally playing music, keeping track of which artist, which album, and which song were played, and for what purpose.

Presenting a Twitch-branded player for in-stream music that purposefully works around paying the artists what they’re due is despicable.

Small Raids

Small streams are the norm. From my understanding, they are over 85% of the streams that run on Twitch. And when I say small, I mean 10 viewers or less. If one of these streamers, like myself, wants to send their viewers to another streamer at the end of their stream, they use a Twitch command called “raid”. This sends your viewers to the other stream, and sends a notification to that streamer. Many of us like to celebrate being raided, thanking the streamer for sending us their viewers, and welcoming them all to the community. Often, people will raid others playing the same game, or others that they know will treat their viewers well.

Twitch has stopped sending raid notifications for five or less viewers. This means that for the vast majority of raids, streamers are blind to the gesture, and to the people that have suddenly joined their viewership. That welcome, and that fostering of community, is no longer part of the Twitch experience.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Twitch is going the way YouTube did, and there’s no reason to stick around for it. I’ll be moving my stream to DLive starting Monday, so you’ll be able to catch it here on my usual schedule – Monday and Wednesday at 9PM Eastern, and one day on the weekend.

So long, Twitch.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 4

Korvax Traveler

I found myself staring at the security feed for far longer than was reasonable. While exploring a nearby system, I received a message from my Vy’Keen Weaponsmaster that there was a visitor to the base. This was nothing out of the ordinary; the base was open to everyone. The Colonel insisted that this one was different, and they were forwarding me the live data.

As far as I could recall, I had never met this Korvax before. They were wandering through the base, using my equipment. No, not wandering. They moved through the hallways and ladders with familiarity. They knew exactly where they were going, and precisely what needed. And yet, this was the first time that his base staff had felt the need to alert me.

As I watched, I noticed that the visitor didn’t move like a Korvax. There was a smoothness to their gait that implied an organic body. I’d only seen that in Apollo and Null. And, now that I was thinking about it, in the Korvax Travelers on the Anomaly station. Ever since it had changed, it was always full of all manner of beings from across the multiverse. And they all moved in the same fluid way that singled them out for what they were. So, our new Korvax friend was a Traveler.

Their multi-tool was low-end, and their ship was that little red and white fighter that I’d spent so long using. How long had it been since they’d awakened on a hostile world, with no concrete memories, a broken ship, and an exosuit computer that had just enough information to give them a chance of survival? It couldn’t have been that long, but they hadn’t come here first. They’d had a chance to customize their gear at a station Appearance Modifier. And what they’d chosen made the situation stranger yet.

If I had been a Korvax, rather than, well, me, I would have chosen nearly that exact configuration. Alternating purple and black, smooth armor rather than the leathers I wear now, compact and efficient armor rather than sturdy and obvious. Had the Atlas spawned another iteration of… me? Was it betting that a Korvax would be more compliant? Or was a new iteration another bug, another sign of the simulation falling apart at the seams?

Of course, there was no way to be sure. On top of that, none of this was this new Traveler’s fault. I immediately resolved to do what I could for them, and to ensure they did not suffer the same fate as Artemis and Apollo. They would know they weren’t alone, and that there were Travelers out there that would help them.

I closed the security feed and opened a communication channel to Elearu.