Get Your Peanuts, Right Here!

Peanut feeders are specifically designed to hold and dispense peanuts to wild birds. These feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, and can be made from a range of materials such as wood, metal, or plastic.

A common type of peanut feeder is a mesh feeder. These feeders have a mesh wire or netting that holds the shelled peanuts in place. Birds can easily access the peanuts through the mesh, and the feeder can be hung from a hook or branch.

Peanut feeders are a great way to attract a variety of bird species. This video shows just three of my peanut visitors today; a Blue Jay, a Tufted Titmouse, and a Downy Woodpecker. Peanuts are also loved by the Nuthatches. The birds perch and have to work a bit to eat the nuts, giving me more time to observe them while they feed.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was.

Alan Watts

I Told You So

Cybervoiceguy

A few times in my life, I think I qualified as a bona fide futurist.

Around 1976, while employed in radio and TV, I sat in the station’s lunch area with a TV meteorologist and a few other performers. There I stated that if I had the money, I would open a store that rented movies on tape. My colleagues chuckled and gave the whole idea a thumbs down. The idea seemed a little far-fetched even to me, but I did feel like it would come to pass. Well, the first video rental stores started opening around 1977. They’re gone now, but they were the juggernaut of home entertainment for decades.

In the mid-’80s, at the same radio station, I pulled the Chief Engineer into my office and asked the question; Why couldn’t a broadcast signal be digital? He screwed up his face and said, “It’s all a matter of bandwidth. It will never happen.” Today, digital broadcasts, both over-the-air and online, are standard.

In the ‘90s, I was in the middle of a successful career as a voice-over artist and produced audio tracks for all kinds of projects in advertising and industry. While interacting with fellow voice talents both in-person and online, I predicted that text-to-speech technology would someday threaten our jobs. I don’t recall anyone agreeing with me. But, I persisted in my belief that it was inevitable and said so publicly twenty years ago in my company newsletter in August 2003.

It’s time again for a big ol’ “I told you so!” At the beginning of this month, Apple rolled out a digital narration service for audiobooks. The service uses artificial intelligence-generated voices based on real human readers. The quality of these AI tracks is impressive. They can be heard here.

I’m retired now, but I should disclose that I never saw audiobook narration as a viable business model and decided not to enter that market long ago. I much preferred making $5000 during a three-hour advertising session instead of making the same amount by spending weeks recording, proofing, and editing a 400-page audiobook.

I will make a few more predictions about audiobooks and AI voices:

  • This is an easy one – Text-to-speech voices will continue to improve.
  • Artificial voices will become so ubiquitous that it will be less and less the goal of developers to match human speech. Instead, humans will take on the patterns of artificial speech. I already hear artificial speech patterns in humans, especially those of the Tik-Tok immersed generation. The odd inflections and tempo of AI speech will become the norm.
  • Top-rated human readers will remain in demand for the near future, while mid-tier and mediocre audiobook readers will struggle to find work.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”

Maya Angelou

Ephemera

e·phem·er·a

/əˈfem(ə)rə/

noun

    Things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.

—–

Spring in January continues. Northcentral Kentucky was clobbered with noisy, severe thunderstorms early this morning. We received about an inch of rain in a little over an hour.

An ephemeral stream defines the back boundary of our little patch of land with flowing water only during and for a short duration after precipitation events.

This stream runs through a “draw,” the low land between two ridges. A draw differs from a valley in that a valley runs parallel to a ridgeline, whereas a draw is perpendicular to the ridge and rises, usually quite sharply. 

Our draw springs to life with runoff after every heavy rain. The sound of the flowing water is beautiful but truly ephemeral, as it will be dry and quiet once again within hours. I captured a few moments on video and some wet-headed birds enjoying an after-storm meal.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

What worries you, masters you.

Haddon K. Robinson