Dec 10

Accessing Dharma Talks by Thich Nhat Hanh

We are currently in the midst of the Winter Retreat and Thich Nhat Hanh is giving dharma talks on Sunday and Thursday mornings (CET) each week. As in the past, most talks during winter are in Vietnamese with translations. The schedule will probably change slightly once we near Christmas and New Year.

If you are in a time zone that supports being awake, then you can watch these talks live on the New Livestream  – the talks may be archived here as well, but there hasn’t been consistent archiving on the Livestream site.

If you would like to watch at a time of your choosing, and can wait a day or two, most talks are archived on Vimeo  – if you create an account on Vimeo, you can often download the talks and save to your computer or share with your sangha. Right now there are almost 300 videos on this site and, like the Livestream site, it is managed by the monastics at Plum Village.

If you’re interested in a comprehensive archive of dharma talks starting with Winter 2009-2010 then look no further than – this searchable site includes annotations for each talk and therefore sometimes it takes a few days or week to get a talk posted. If you use iTunes, you can find this source in the Podcast library and each talk will automatically download to your computer. Alternatively, you can get an email notification for each talk by adding your email address on the home page (right side). This site is managed by me and the language posted is always in English regardless of the language of the talk.

Finally, a great source that is pretty reliable is the Vietnamese site Lang Mai – here you can usually get French, English, and Vietnamese versions of each talk. Unfortunately, they sometimes remove the talks after they’ve passed, so if you want French or Vietnamese then you should download and save the file (English is archived on the previously mentioned source).

Written transcripts are sometimes difficult to come by due to the work load involved with transcribing and editing. I can’t recommend an English source, but our brothers and sisters in France have been posting French transcripts online.

That’s my summary of Thich Nhat Hanh dharma talk sources across the internets. I hope you can find what you’re interested in seeing or hearing. Listening to all the talks has been a great source of nourishment for me and I will try to share a highlight here and there.

Feb 11

Adventures with iTunes Match

This post is about bit rate and mono files while using iTunes Match. For those of you who don’t know, for a small fee ($25/year) my entire music catalog is moved to the Apple servers and I can play it on up to five devices. The service will sync my playlists and keep track of the play count. The best part is any file that “matches” in their database that is less than 256k in my collection, is easily upgraded with just a few clicks. That’s worth the first year fee alone. The service is limited to 25,000 tracks (I have about 15k) and the audio quality music be a minimum of 96kbps.

I have hundreds of dharma talks by Thich Nhat Hanh in my collection. These will not “match” with iTunes but I am able to upload them to the cloud if they meet the 96kbps criteria. Unfortunately, many of these files are below this threshold. Fortunately, it is possible to trick iTunes into uploading the files by “converting”

them to MP3 files with a higher quality. Obviously, the files won’t actually have a higher quality but they will meet the criteria. To keep the files small, I “upgraded” them to 96kbps and then deleted the original files. In the case of mono files, the custom setting had to be adjusted to 192kbps to get the mono files to threshold because of how iTunes handles importing files. It took a few days to get everything converted and uploaded to the Apple servers, but all tracks are now in the cloud.

My next project is to get everything synchronized between the two home computers and the one work computer. I noticed some discrepancies between the track numbers on each of the computers. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Seeing a winner with iTunes Match. Are you using this service? What has been your experience?

May 19

Music is Still Central

PortisheadOne of my great loves in life is music. Though I can read music, and have played an instrument in the past, my primary interest is in listening to music – both live and at home. Since the children came, and we moved to a small town, I don’t see as much live music as in the past. I did try to get tickets to Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl (scalpers are selling tickets for hundreds to thousands of dollars); I was not successful. I am excited about seeing Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds for the 7th time (but never at the Hollywood Bowl) with Spiritualized (3rd time) and Cat Power (1st time). Should be fun and different with that line-up. Picked up the latest Portishead, their first in over a decade, and it is quite good. I saw them Continue reading