Monday, November 20, 2006

Chesterton Society Idea

I was recently reading the notes from a past Chesterton society meeting, and they were saying how they would get the tapes from the conferences, play them at the meetings, and then discuss them.

I thought this was an excellent idea not only for the local societies, but for other groups, as well: Homeschool groups, Bible-study groups, Couple's discussion groups, Union groups, any kind of small group meetings--even families who want to discuss Chestertonian ideas.

I know that the tapes/CDs from ChesterCon06 are still available here, and judging by my ability to find older tapes, I think if you are interested, you ought to order these tapes now. That's a hint. Five years from now when you really want one of them, they may be gone.


  1. I bought some tapes in the past, but I was somewhat disappointed. I understand that it isn’t easy and cheap to professionally record everything, so I am willing to accept lower quality. (Quality is also lost in duplication.) Besides, since tapes are becoming obsolete, (car stereos and most bookshelf players now come with CD’s only), perhaps in future the ACS should consider recording and selling CDs?

    However, I was mostly disappointed because the lectures or debates seemed to have been edited or shortened. Also it would be most interesting to hear questions & answers after a lecture or debate, so record those as well.

    Wild Goose

  2. Actually, soon, CDs will also be obsolete. Downloadable podcasts and MP3 files would be the way to go (do NOT use RealAudio!). It would cut down considerably on the cost of manufacturing, and also limit the loss of sound quality from the duplication process, plus no need for shipping costs and inventory. You could then offer those files for download for a nominal fee in relation to actual CDs - a fee high enough to generate income for the ACS (a suggested donation[?] maybe, to make it tax deductible), but also low enough to make them enticing to buy.

  3. The 2006 ChestertonCon was the first year that CDs were used for recording the talks. With CDs, there is more flexibility with time. But with cassetes, if the talk + the Q&A went past 60 minutes, the overtime material wasn't recorded. One of the shortcomings of the format.

    I imagine it will be some time before we find ourselves in an all-podcast/mp3 world.

  4. Trubador,

    I don’t think the CDs (I mean disks) will become obsolete any time soon. It is a good idea to replace the analog media (audio and video tapes) with digital (CD and DVD), for a number of reasons. MP3 is a software compression of the file (different file format, smaller size, faster downloading, can put more stuff on one disk) and once compressed one can put maybe 200 songs on one disk using the regular computer burner. (Similar to JPEG for pictures.) There is a price to pay, some information is definitely lost in the compression process. There is a debate among the audiophiles whether the data loss due to the compression is significant for serious music lovers of classical music, but this wouldn’t apply for speech. Still, if one wants to reach a wider audience, CDs are definitely more readily available as players in homes and cars.


    I agree with Trubador that the MP3 would be more flexible and perfectly adequate for saving speech. One could probably put the entire conference on one disk with MP3. (Reducing the cost and selling the whole conference, rather than individual selections.) Whether ACS wants to get into podcasts is a different issue. Personally, I don’t bother with listening to podcasts (there is only so much time one can spend in front of the computer), but I think it would be ideal if the files were available online in an archive, and I could choose which files I wanted to download and listen to, either sitting in front of the computer, or perhaps burning some CDs if I wanted to listen to them while driving or commuting. A lot of time is wasted by millions of people while commuting, either driving or just sitting on the buses, planes, or other modes of public transportation. (Or at any other place where waiting is involved, be it a doctor’s office, or some lineup.) And while people are hesitant to waste precious free time at home, I think they wouldn’t mind listening during all the wasted time.

    Wild Goose


    On a more philosophical note, since you have admitted the shortcomings (limits) of the medium like tapes, it seems your case is a good practical proof that we (or Chesterton) don’t really want to “brag” about the limits. We deal with them the best we can. (See my reply to Dr. Thursday in the Mahematical Thanks/Eternity thread. :-)


Join our FaceBook fan page today!