Archives / 2005 / May
  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - June 1

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    Episode #40 - to the person who blew the ending of the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" for me...damn your coal-black heart.

    Topics Discussed:

    • I'm so swamped, Florida would be jealous of me
    • I'm starting a multi-media production company (web, video, audio)
    • Giving away $3,400 in books to UOG, $400 worth of clothes to Salvation Army
    • Lori says hi and endorses tourism from Alabama
    • Today in history
    •  I've made a career out of doing Career Day speeches
    • How much of a geek am I...instead of just balancing my checkbook, I wrote an application to do it for me
    • A truly revolutionary moment in broadcasting - Soccergirl's "bathcasting"
    • No, KUAM's news theme music isn't the "Top Gun" credit sequence
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  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 27

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    Leave me a voicemail, send me a shoutout, or make comments about today's podcast: 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)

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  • Optimizing MP3 exporting in Audacity

    I've been messing more and more with the settings in Audacity, specifically towards tweaking audio settings so that my  produced podcasts will sound great and not take forever to work on.  With the LAME MP3 Encoder Library that you'll need to download to export your files as podcastable MP3s, it's a snap, but the default settings don't always produce the friendliest files.  Here are some tips.

    Optimally, you'll want to achieve 3 main goals when producing your podcasts, regardless of what audio editing program you happen to be using:

    • Have great-sounding content
    • Have the generated file size of the resultant MP3 be as small as possible, to reduce bandwidth and data transfer concerns, and generally be better for users to store on their PCs, iPods, iRivers, or other digital media.
    • Have your MP3 file export quickly once you're done recording/editing your show, so that you won't be waiting forever while it renders (this isn't expliticly required, but if you either podcast frequently enough that people expect your show to be available by a certain time, or you just need to export and get on with your life, it can be a concern).
    For the first point, you need only invest in a good microphone.  But don't think you need to drop $400 on studio-quality equipment - I get by with great recording by using a $20 Plantronics headset mic I bought at a local shop. 

    Secondly, to get the filesize shrunk down to a manageable level, you'll need to modify Audacity's default settings by tweaking the bit rate at which Audacity saves your recording to an MP3.  To do this, click on File and then select Preferences (Ctrl+P).  Then, from the "File Formats" folder tab, reduce the Bit Rate setting from its default setting of 128K in the MP3 Export Setup group.  128K is near CD quality, but results in larger file sizes (about a MB per minute of audio).  Even for podcasts that feature music, I've found using a bit rate of 64K works great, resulting in about half the size (makes sense, 64 being exactly half of 128).  Note that reducing the bit rate shrinks the filesize by applying compression to the file, and so takes more work and results in longer exporting time for rendering.  But that's our next point...

    Lastly, to speed up the rate at which Audacity will actually export your recording to an MP3, you can save the recording in mono (as opposed to stereo).  This doesn't degrade the quality level as much as you might think, because you're reducing the number of channels carrying audio in half, and balancing it between the right and left speaker for a nice mix.  So make sure in Audacity's Preferences window on the "Audio I/O" tab (or "Digital I/O" on some versions), that the Channels drop-down menu is set to "Mono" in the Recording group.  Again, this forces Audacity to do half of the work, only needing to render half of the content. 

    But there's one more thing to get your podcasts to export quickly: for those of you who import clips (sound effects, promos, songs, etc.):  you can save additional rendering time by making sure the clips are mono tracks before rendering starts.  Often, when external sounds are imported, they come in as stereo (two-channel) tracks, and are displayed as such.  If you're going to be exporting your podcast MP3 file as mono, there's no reason to keep a track in stereo, so left-click on the track's title, and then select "Split Stereo Track".  This creates two tracks for that clip - one for each channel.  Click on the "X" on the second track to delete it from the timeline, and then click on the title for the clip's remaining track, and then select "Mono".  Having all your tracks in the same format reduces Audacity's need to convert/upscale/downscale tracks, and do less work overall - resulting in faster exporting so you can get your content out to the world faster.

    Happy podcasting!

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 26

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    Leave me a voicemail, send me a shoutout, or make comments about today's podcast: 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)

    • Let's take a trip through the ARC Top 40
    • Comments on Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" - love the vocal, digging the groove, but "bananas"?  That's totally a 70's white people word
    • So glad you liked Beatallica
    • Glenn from Vallejo infiltrates the voicemail box
    • Thinking about the littany of merchandise that podcasting will spawn
    • Rumorville: The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride at Disleyland will be brought...but with a "Finding Nemo" theme
    • SHOUTOUT: Phil Winstanley from the UK
    • Transcontinental commuting from the Pacific is a bitch
    • My marathon job interview with Microsoft 
    • Your biggest office pet peeves
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  • "Guam is Good" wristbands in support of cancer research

    I recently bought and began wearing a wristband in support of the cancer research foundation created in honor of my company's late owner, Edward Calvo.  Much like the yellow "Live Strong" wristbands made popular by Lance Armstrong, these obviously help a very needy and worthwhile cause, and feature "Guam is Good" - Calvo's final words on hs deathbed last September.

    I'm not one to typically back causes publicly, but having lost some members of my own extended family to cancer, it's something I'm glad to do.  If you're from Guam and would like to represent by wearing some (they're very cool and obviously go to a worthy cause), e-mail me and I'll get you in touch with the right people.


  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 25

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    Leave me a voicemail, send me a shoutout, or make comments about today's podcast: 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)

    Episode #36 now in the history books.  I talked about everything from Ph.D's who can't spell or compose a sentence worth a lick, the generation-spanning work of Beatallica, fostering good Christian morals, and things that really piss me off about office environments.

    • It's getting to be summertime in paradise
    • A quick tour through my inbox
    • Fantastic podcasting book available from Tod Maffin "From Idea to Air: A Podcaster's Guide to Making Radio"
    • I've been getting lots of e-mail from Ph.D's lately...
    • Still selling my guitar and other stuff
    • Jamie from Tennessee has gotta have more cowbell
    • Sir Wally got his first podcast together
    • Greg Lowe reportedly starting the "SQL Server Downunder Podcast"
      Lots of great feedback for voicemails and promos and clips AND grey's anatomy blog post...
      I have seen the future of music...and it is Beatallica - THEY RULE! (Track "And Justice For All My Loving...")
    • On the other side of the mic: Rob from Podcast411 interviewed me for his show
    • Studio setup tips on recording Skype calls
    • I did a live interview last night for Guam's annual transgender beauty pageant
    • speculates - Jerry Rice becoming Rickey Henderson?
    • TALKBACK: officeplace pet peeves
      • people who can't use the bathroom without the newspaper
      • people who say "I'm sorry to bother you, but..."
      • people who make their secretaries call for them
      • people that schedule meetings and then cal EVERY DAMN DAY in EVERY DAMN CONCEIVABLE MEDIA (fax, email, text message, IM, blog, call)
    • Morality dilemma with Star Wars
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  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 24

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    Leave me a voicemail, send me a shoutout, or make comments about today's podcast: 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)

    • This is Episode #35!  Congrats and props to those podcasts who've already hit triple digits
    • I'm selling my cherry sunburst Les Paul guitar & my Playstation 2
    • SHOUTOUT: Jason on the East Coast of Canada (the 5th jason in 4 days to subscribe to RSS feed)
    • Leave me a voicemail and help me build a montage for a promo - 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)
    • I'm going to be including some "podcatcher only" special content for the RSS crowd...sorry bloggers!
    • Sample promo for Digital Pontification (works for radio, but could be better, I think)
    • Apple announces iTunes will accommodate podcasts
    • Content vs. quality in podcasting
    • I'm looking forward to being interviewed with Podcast 411
    • Todd Cochrane from Geek News Central publishes first how-to podcasting book
    • TV rant: I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in months (damn reruns)
    • TV rant: VH1's "Behind the Music" has gone from being consistent, insightful journalism to a sporadic marketing ploy
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  • "Grey's Anatomy" season only 7 episodes? Damn.

    My favorite show this "season" (if we can even call it that anymore) is ABC's "Grey's Anatomy".  Funny, great writing, and yet again showing that shows about hospitals, police precincts and law firms never go out of style. 

    With Guam getting most of its basic cable service on tape delayed, I just caught last night that next week's episode will be the season finale.  I'm happy that what's become a TV season these days thanks to the morphing effects of reality programming (I mentioned this in my podcast today) predicates that for most programs, the entire set of new episodes is shown all at once.  However, I was bummed to find out that GA only had 7 or so episodes in its first run.  It hasn't gotten the fanfare or prolonges marketing push that "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" got, but it's managed to hold its own.

    I hope the show comes back for season 2.  If not, let me know when the DVD's ready.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 23

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    Leave me a voicemail: 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)

    What should have been a nice relaxing Sunday evening at home turned out to be a rather scary tech support call forcing me to head back into the office.  The bus on my PC's motherboard that controls the keyboard/mouse fried, locking me out of my own LAN.  I finally snagged a USB keyboard from a co-worker's workstation and got it up and running.

    Not the way one intends to spend the last day of the weekend before heading back to work, but it happens.  (And, I made it home in time to catch "Grey's Anatomy", so not all was lost.)

    Topics Discussed:

    • My thoughts on how the reality TV model has changed mass media
    • Leave me a voicemail for shoutouts, promos, and comments by calling 1-206-600-4JAS (4527)
    • Help me put together a real kick-ass audio montage of all my listeners
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  • "The Dark Crystal" sequel in production

    I read on a blog today that The Jim Henson Company is planning a sequel to the 1982 flick "The Dark Crystal".  Amazing news.  I would have been perfectly happy with this being a movie never replicated, as it came seemingly out on nowhere and blew me away.  This flick was years ahead of its time.

    When this finally was released as a DVD a few years ago, I rushed to Amazon to get it.  One of my favorite movies.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 20

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    How cool is this - 4 people are now listening to my podcast all named Jason, all signing up on the same day.

    Here's the final count from our first ever DP listener poll - "What's Your Favorite Cereal of All-Time?"
    Corn Pops (69)
    Cookie Crisp (51)
    Honey Comb (27)
    Peanut Butter Crunch (15)
    Sugar Smacks (15)
    Golden Grahams (15)
    Frosted Mini-Wheats (14)
    Cocoa Pebbles / Fruity Pebbles (14)
    Lucky Charms (12)
    Cocoa Puffs (11)
    Apple Jacks (8)
    Cinnamon Life (4)
    Froot Loops (3)
    Raisin Bran (2)
    Grape-Nuts (1)
    Cracklin' Oat Bran (1)

    Topics Discussed:

    • BONUS GIFT1- anyone remember Smurf Berry Crunch or Mr. T Cereal???
    • BONUS GIFT2 - take the awesome Name that Candybar Test
    • Greg Gattuso from Celebrity Vinyl Heaven shows some appreciation and flexes his savvy about Guam from the East Side of NYC
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: (Danica, Anaheim): "How many podcasts do you subscribe to?  Do you download shows from blogs?"
    • Valarie from giggles wickedly at being mentioned on a Guam podcast
    • Status on the ASP.NET podcast - creative control issues with Microsoft as a sponsor
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: (David, Ohio) - "OK, ya got me...I caught the podcasting bug.  Can I use your clips in my show?"
    • I've been archiving my downloaded podcasts on my iRiver because iPod Minis apparently don't free up drivespace when tracks are deleted.
    • BONUS TALKBACK: do you save downloaded podcasts?  How long do you keep them?
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  • On piety, Star Wars, and raising your children to be morally aware

    Let me preface this rant by first saying that I have no children at the moment.  I am a Christian, and as such, subscribe to the beliefs of wanting to treat each human being as I'd want to be treated.  I also realize that faith and rationality aren't necessarily to be used in the same sentence.  In my experience, rarely the twain shall meet.  Thus, I start my criticism.

    I came across a conversation this morning from someone who happened to also belong to a Christian sect, talking to one of my co-workers who'd seen the premiere of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" last night.  She was inquiring as to the child-safe nature of the film, and how violent and sexually graphic the film might be.  If the picture displayed any trace instances of either, she'd consider completely forbiding her kids from going anywhere near the theater.  Sound familiar?

    She probed my colleague's assessment of the movie, asking specifically about any love scenes.  He replied by saying the film would be, in his opinion, completely OK for today's kids.  "There's swordplay, some fights, gunfire," he recapped, "and a quick beheading, but that's minor.  That's about it."  Her reply?  "That's fine...but there's no sex, right?  A fight is OK with me, but I won't let them watch a movie with people making flippy-flop."

    This I have a problem with.  Not necessarily religious zealots, not moral elitists - but people that let what they think is piety create a system of misaligned morals. 

    This being an application of a thing that really irks me, I joined the conversation by asking why her morally-rooted parenting practice restricted her offspring from receiving sensory input of the act of intimacy, yet permitted her kids witnessing an act of violence.  I prodded, asking why she wouldn't allow her kids to see a love scene, because inline with one of the major tenets of her faith, they'll themselves someday engage in the act of bumping uglies.  Man was not meant to be alone, you know, and as such it's assumed that they will someday themselves fall in love...and eventually have sex.

    And futher building on this concept - and perhaps more disturbing - she was perfectly alright with letting her kids witness what essentially are fabricated acts of murder.  Which obviously isn't a Christian thing to do.

    Come on now - it's Star Wars.  If any "sex" scenes do exist, they'll be relegated to being tame, brief makeouts or a scene depicting intimate love...not a full-on, 200 MPH, jackhammer porno.  What did you expect?  Briana Banks getting buck wild with Anakin Skywalker, saying, "Yeah, baby...gimme that lightsaber..."?  Use some common sense.

    I find it interesting, and certainly not unique, how often this happens.  People reject the face value of intimacy caputred on film and grossly underestimate the impacts of violence.

    But recalling a bigger predication of my faith, I fall back on Luke 6:37 ("judge not, lest ye be judged").  So who am I to say who's right?

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 19

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    Mike Dunn from Nomadic Radio was right...recording sound-seeing tours isn't easy!  My latest sound-seeing odyssey has me hangin' out, runnin' errands, and grabbin' lunch at the Micronesia Mall in Dededo, Guam.  We jet over from the KUAM Studios in Harmon down the road to the Mall to pickup a cookie cake I ordered for my co-worker's birthday, stroll through a bunch of stores, and talk to some really interesting people.

    I hid my black stereo mic by wearing it on my collar (my shirt was black, so it's pretty decently chameleoned), and hid the iRiver 799 in my pocket. 

    I run into a friend I haven't seen since the 8th grade, I use too much CoolWater cologne at Macy's, I get a nice sidestream nasal buzz from inhaling too deeply in the vitamin store, and try not to get a bunch of weird looks from people that recognize me from TV.

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  • UDDI for podcasts & dynamic recommendation

    A major tenet of the discussions within the Podcast Specification Working Group is creating single-click subscription for podcasts, which at the moment still an arduous and non-automated process.  (Newbie or not, copying-and-pasting a URL is quite the laborious task).  It's been mentioned that perhaps autodiscovery should also be a feature common to RSS aggregators for podcasting, which I think is a great idea. 

    I'm considering UDDI as a possible solution...but that of course, introduces and largely mandates the XML web services model.  Would this work?  Surely.  Would it add unnecessary layers of complexity?  Probably.  Would it be cool?  Undoubtedly.  Would it be hard to get all podcaters to register with a centralized repository?  Oh, my aching brain...

    I also suggested the concept of using both of these features with dynamic podcast recommendations to clients, based on a strength of relationship to subscribed podcasts.  Of course, this would require the podcast specification itself to include elements for categories to establish such relationships, but that's the next step.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 18

    Despite making countles calls and pulling numerous strings, I'm apparently not going to get into the special pre-premiere of Star Wars.  Damn.  I'm was a lot more awake for today's show than yesterday (which is good for you).

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    Topics discussed:

    • Madonna's evil endorsement on the "Justify My Love" 12" cut
    • The feedback from the BMW sound-seeing tour is great...keep 'em coming
    • (BTW, FYI - it's "sound-seeing" NOT "sound-scene" tour)
    • VIEWER EMAIL: someone noticed my your siblants have been seriously lateralized
    • Check out Jan Polet's Hit Test #38
    • RIAA issues position on copyrighted music
    • Brett Fausett comments on using licensed music in podcasts (awesome show)
    • Podsafe music from Bajawalla: Guam band in South Bend, Indiana
    • What makes music podsafe and KUAM's Right to Use Agreement 
    • BONUS CHATBACK TOPIC - What's your favorite cereal of all-time? 
    • Corn Pops is an entire meal unto itself
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  • Images/video in it so hard to conceive?

    One of the things I'm asked the most about podcasting, after telling people that it's a delivery format for MP3 audio content managed extensively (but not exclusively) by RSS feeds, is "So how come there's no video?

    I got such a response today during a talk with a friend.  But after getting past the obligatory regurgitated explanation that MP3 audio is just that, sans pictures, still or otherwise, I got to thinking.  Perhaps this isn't such a far-fetched notion...that someday (methinks within the next 18 months) with the widespread adoption and use of MP4s - capable of playing audio and video - such media distribution will be possible.  We'll in a sense have a choice between our media formats, and I talked about this possibility in my podcast today.

    The hard, but also foreseeable, part of the equation would be the rise in digital media devices capable of handling digital video.  This at the moment excommunicates iPods - the very devices for which the platform was named.  But Apple, too is starting to build the iPods that can display images, so it's grasp isn't totally lost.

    The Microsoft community has been slow to adopt the podcast phenomenon, but they're starting to come around (remember TCP/IP?)  Whether this is due to the fact that by name recognition alone "podcasting" implies an endorsement of Apple, or the fact that most MS jockeys don't consider producing audio content a software endeavor worthy of their time, or whether the underground nature of podcasting just kept it out of Redmond's radar, I don't know.  They're all valid reasons.  I'm more worried that the company would try to invent an alternative format that would make the podcast community - producers, creators, directory managers, and listeners - get campy. 

    Earlier talks I've had with MS developers saw that group propose perhaps creating its own brand of podcasts, in which imagery/video would be incorporated into audio content and exported as WMV files, Microsoft's file format for video suitable for Windows Media Player.  I'm not at all in favor of this approach, as it would totally wreck what little standardization we have at the moment, being the almighty MP3.

    So while I see more types of multimedia inevitably evolving the podcasting medium (I'm personally more interested in ramping up the interactivity element of podcasting), I'd like to retain what tiny similarities we do enjoy - before federal regulation and corporate marketing push really change the platform.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 17

    I've got an early morning meeting, so I came in to KUAM's Harmon studios before 6AM to record the show.  So forgive the lack of being fully awake in parts.  Today's show got a bit techie and strategic, with me wanking about progressive development (or the lack thereof) on Guam, and why you should get involved with podcasting.  Boffo, socko stuff.

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    Topics discussed:

    • Yes, it's anchors sometimes wear jeans or shorts with a tie & jacket
    • I joined up: I'm now a member of the Podcast Specification Working Group
    • I'm going to be developing a mobile pizza ordering app
    • Why e-commerce never took off on Guam
    • Tips on producing your first podcast: getting over the hump
    • Podcast distribution - lots of great podcasts coming out of the San Francisco, Illinois, the Netherlands
    • Dion from KISSPodcast mentions DP on his show
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: what happened to your blog?
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: (Alex, Dallas) - why doesn't your sound-seeing tour have video?
    • SCARY PRE-PUBESCANT MOMENTS: the boy in the window from "Three Men and a Baby" (look if you dare) / the backwards message in the chorus of Madonna's "Justify My Love"
    • Remember how Cap'n Crunch used to tear the crap out of your hard pallette?
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  • I joined the Podcast Specification Working Group

    I really liked the ideas and motivation that the Podcast Specification Working Group has about developing the medium and overcoming some of the pitfalls that content producers and listeners are facing, so I signed up.  After some consideration and stating who I was, what I did, and what I'd bring to the table, the lads let me in.

    Check our the open letter to the podcast community about developmental efforts:

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 16

    Episode #29 now in the books!  Still recovering from the post-production adventure that was yesterday's sound-seeing tour.

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    Topics discussed:

    • The BMW sound-seeing tour took forever in post-production
    • Recording podcasts in stereo take twice the effort...DUH!
    • The coolest promo of all time - props from Valarie from ReallyScary says hi from Maryland
    • King Car makes a drink called "Root SARS"?  What's next - Ebola Cola?
    • MY BAD - more on the Black Eyed Peas and censorship, some radio station's still won't play Prince's "Erotic City"; The Corey Continuum (Feldman and Haim; Kevin Bacon's first film was NOT Friday the 13th
    • SHOUTOUT: Jamie Burkholder (Knoxville, TN), a former Guam resident
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  • Podcast Specification Working Group pens open letter to podcast community

    The PSWG wrote an interesting request for comment document on the current nature of podcasting, and where it's heading.  Whether you're a content producer, directory manager, diehard platform enthusiast, or just casual listener, it's worth a read:

    Specific attention is given to the fact that the podcasting "standard" is still highly technical in nature, and obfuscates the larger population of mainstream consumers from getting involved.  This, in large practice, has limited the range of people who can turn their ideas and thoughts into subscribable/downloadable audio files.

    It's no secret that to date most of today's podcast producers fall into one of the following categories:

    • web developers that extended their blogs and/or sites figured out the RSS spec enough to put together a feed
    • niche market enthusiasts/special interest groups who got someone technical to help them extend their effective reach (see above)
    • professional broadcasters who simply re-hashed their produced and aired shows as MP3s
    • technologists who stayed on top of the timeshifted phenomenon popularized by Tivo
    • former radio & media pros who tired of the required synchronicity and FCC-regulated nature of mainstream broadcasting
    • hobbyists or media junkies who who bought into Adam Curry's "Last Yard" concept, tinkered with the <ENCLOSURE> XML tag in an RSS feed and got it right
    • Mac advocates who stayed on the cutting edge
    Hopefully, those of us in the software biz can keep coming up with new ideas to help people less technically inclined produce and publish great content as podcasts, abstracting away all of the XML editing and audio engineering.

  • Still working out kinks in recording Skype VoIP calls in Audacity

    I've been working with Buddy Lindsey over the last couple of weeks, trying to hammer out what seems to be an endless number of bugs that love to spawn, in terms of recording Skype calls with Audacity.  This is mainly for the upcoming series of podcast interviews that we're putting together for the ASP.NET community.

    Buddy's been jamming out various quirks he's been running into with echos, voice levels and whatnot, while my major malfunction seems to be my soundcard - I can make a Skype call but not record it, or I can start recording my microphone, but not make any calls.  It's weird. 

    If you're on the short list of people we're going to interview for the first couple of episodes, sit tight...we should have this sussed out in a few days.  (And if you've got some tips on recording Skype calls with Audacity, I'd surely appreciate the help.)

  • One scary-ass product name

    I love this company's lemon tea, but I just found this off their site...this really scares me as a product name - especially coming from China. 


    I'm not sure if this is some cultural thing, maybe like a drink meant to protect one from dangerous diseases, but this tripped me out.

    What's next - Ebola Cola?

  • The iRiver killer: RF feedback from push-to-talk radios

    I've got a Motorola i205 cellular phone/push-to-talk radio that I use as my work phone. When it goes off, it generates a significant amount of radio frequency (RF) feedback that I've come to learn interferes with many electrical devices.  If you've ever heard the effect the phone has about four seconds before it rings on computer monitors and television sets, you'll know what I'm talking about: pre-ring static making the screen fuzzy, warbling the sound and producing a pulsating click.

  • Blog-mail etiquette: which of my posts are you talking about?

    The one thing that drives me nuts when people e-mail me by using the "Contact" form on my blog is when someone replies to a post I made without specifying the intent of the note, or which blog post they're commenting on.  In some cases, people write about a thought I jotted down as long as two years ago, and say simply "I agree - great idea!", or "Thanks!  That sounds good!  I'd like to help you...count me in!", without ever stating the topic, idea, or inquiry to which they're referring. 

  • Bad correspondence alibis

    Ever notice how anytime you ask for follow-up on an item and ask why someone never replied to your e-mail, they always say, "Can you send it again?  My computer crashed..."

    It's comical how marketing people constantly try to use computer alibis on computer people and think they get away with it.

  • My weekend project: show notes management app for podcast producers

    My big interest these days is to try to increase the amount of interactivity podcast producers can have with their listeners. I’m working on building a series of software tools to make this easy for the non-techie who just wants to let the world listen to what she has to say, without requiring her to be phenomenally gifted with technology. I’m currently working on a utility for podcast producers to help make preparation, organization and management of shows easy for those just getting into the craft.

    I’ve spent several years in the broadcast industry, and my idea is basically a mish-mash of several software products I’ve used to help develop and coordinate a show. Even though it’s the free-form nature of the podcasting medium that makes it great, everyone could benefit from a little organization from time to time, I think. The web-based app will basically will let people compose their segments (discussion topics, song titles, banter segments, promos, etc.) in whatever level of excruciating detail they wish, and then organize them into a logical fashion. They can also time the segments to hopefully get a preview of how long a produced show will be.

    There’s also a collaborative element to the software a la the wiki model that lets people interact with their listeners and develop, refine and request show topics and notes.

    But the cool part is that the app itself generates show notes from a produced show, which can then be accessed through an XML web service that facilitates a SOAP conversation between client and server. This lets the software connect with distant-end applications over HTTP, over multiple platforms and over a variety of devices - so developers can use it directly in their own projects, whatever they happen to be running. Or, the producer could just hit this service and have show notes published to their own blog or RSS feed (the latter of which is automatically generated by the system, too).

    I’m projecting this being a freeware web app, hosting the web app off of server space I control, so people can get secured access to their shows. I’m also thinking about releasing it as a desktop program. I’m a .NET dev, so all the code will be in C#, and the desktop component will only be executable on Windows PCs with the .NET Runtime installed. My intent for this is to be a freeware community project, so I’d be happy to share the 50,000-foot concept of the Show Manager to any developer(s) if you’d like to investigate the concept for inclusion into your own work.

    It’s all conceptual at this point, but I’m pretty excited to start work on it.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 13

    This is the Episode #28 special - you'd think that a Friday the 13th podcast hosted by a guy named Jason would be...

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    Topics discussed:

    • The pop culture signifigance of Friday the 13th - Kevin Bacon's first movie, the rare occurence of seeing Corey Feldman appear in film without Corey Haim, Quentin Tarantino may direct the next film
    • I go off on censorship in mainstream media: Case Study - Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Phunk With My Heart"
    • USA Network has the worst "for TV editing"
    • What artists would you most like to see mashed up? 
    • Props to Greg Gattuso, make sure to check out the Celebrity Vinyl Heaven podcast
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: how do RSS aggregators affect web site traffic?
    • I gotta find a want to export the playlists on my iPod Mini as a textfile
    • Working to make podcasts more interactive - an web service embedded on a CD-ROM/DVD to let people access the freshest content available; I'm working onan integreated rundown app to make preparing/managing show content easier for podcast producers ( comment on this idea on my wiki)
    • MY BAD - iTunes lists the DP's ID3 tags as "Power Ballad", not "Heavy Metal"; I said "allusion", but I meant "illusion"
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  • Is there a correlation between subscribing to blogs AND podcasts from the same producers?

    A thought just hit me...most of the podcasts I subscribe to are complimentary services to blogs published by some pretty smart people.  I'd like to see if people out there discern between who they listen to and who they read...or is there a trend that shows stronger preferences to download a podcast from someone who they previously read?  Or vice-versa?

    Do people try and keep their audible and visual information separate?  Or, is this a case of they just can't get enough of a good thing?  I try and add a little extra content to my blog that those who subscribe to my podcast don't get, and likewise put up additional MP3s that I won't write about to appease the needs of the podcast consuming community.

    I'm interested in finding out people's consumer behavior for new media...that's my thing, you know.  :)

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 12

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    Topics discussed:

    • Fond childhood memories of stainless steel King Car Lemon Tea cans and Guam kids making homemade cannons on New Year's
    • More and more people using RSS aggregators to access podcast
    • Great feedback on the sound-seeing tour
    • More on the House of Wax podcast (and the actual movie)
    • First interviews for DP coming up - interview with Gary Cornell from APress
    • Good show, Wally...the man is really getting into podcasting
    • Glenn finds snafu in MP3 ID3 tags
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  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 11

    I finally got my iRiver iFP-799!  This thing rules.  Next up to buy is the Church Audio pre-amp/stereo lavalier mic.  First DP soundseeing tour is now in the books.  Hope you like it...I took a stroll around my block and almost got attacked by dogs.  I looked like a total goof. 

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    Topics discussed:

    • Dion from KISSPodcast shares gear tips for sound-seeing tours
    • Get a soundseeing tour of me walking around my neighborhood looking all geeked out with an iRiver, headset mic and arm band strapped to my body
    • Thoughts on the differences between iRiver lines
    • Shoutout to a new listener from Guam - Dr. Michael Lanser
    • Get interactive with me - check out Beta 1.0 of my new DP show notes wiki/XML web service and get involved with the show! (email me at for the URL)
    • My competitor hates my guts because they're giving away iPod Shuffles...which people ultimately use to listen to MY stuff
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  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 10

    This is Episode #25!  The silver anniversary edition!

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    Topics discussed:

    • Disneyland leveraging time-shifted media to distribute visitor information
    • Your favorite Disneyland rides; Darien from Anaheim says "I've never been to that bad?"
    • The Disney genre in the podcast community
    • Check out The Frat Pack Podcast - hilarious clip of the wedding band from "Old School"  
    • I love my job...I start and end my days now by doing a show
    • My idea for making podcasting more interactive - wiki-based show notes development, web-callable services to let consumers access show notes across multiple platforms
    • ASP.NET podcast shaping up to be a good one (strategy talk with Wally & Buddy)
    • Fast Food Fandango - McDonald's makes you park & wait for the simplest items, The Taco Bell Hot Sauce Continuum, Subway sandwich artists ask you if you'd like each ingredient, Wendy's rules
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  • Becoming Mr. Media: my record-setting day in the news biz

    I'm going to do something completely out of character - I'm going to prematurely toot my own horn.  Hell, I deserve it, after what I've got lined up on Wednesday.  This week, for a brief shining moment on Hump Day - and with all due respect to Howard Stern, of whom I'm a huge fan - I will be The King of All Media.  By the time I hit the sheets Wednesday evening, I will have, within a span of 12 hours:

  • XML web service for podcast show notes

    I was thinking this weekend about the feasbility of developing a library of XML web services that would augment the various podcasts I produce or in any way allow people to be more interactive with them.  The one major downside to WAIS search engines, as I've mentioned before, is that at the moment they don't index voice.  But Yahoo seems to be working towards this end.

    So in the interim, we're left to the process of publishing show notes on blogs that profile the topic(s) discussed during each show.  This can get tedious, and at the very least, is cumbersome, and could/should be automated.  I'd like to make my show notes accessible, and give myself the ability to access the notes from the podcasts I enjoy, available over multiple platforms like desktop, SMS, SMTP, WAP, etc. 

    In similar fashion, I'd like to give people the ability to perform full-text index searches against my podcast show notes so they can find just what they're looking for.  Let me create the simple logic, and developers out there can incorporate this into their apps through whatever mechanism they're using.  The podcasting medium is young, promising, and un-incorporated enough that we can still create such tools and play around with concepts and not have to battle huge component vendors.  I'd just like to do my part and help out.

    I've been mulling over the notion of creating a community suite of services that would make show notes programmatically accessible to people who subscribe to an RSS feed.  Maybe this could be a feature the next great podcast aggregator could incorporate.  I don't do that type of work (desktop development), but I'd like to help in what little way I can.

    I'd firstly like to do this in ASP.NET, but since most people that produce podcasting aren't necessarily Microsoft-centric programmers or aren't necessarily even fully technical themselves, I'd like to do something really abstract and simple to use.  It would have to be platform-agnostic, meaning that it would need to be easier to connect with than the typical XML web service.

    Anyone want to discuss?

  • KISSPodcast producer gives gear tips/shares secrets to producing great sound-seeing tours

    I've been looking for a good stereo mic with which to record sound-seeing tours for my podcast.  Dion, who runs the excellent KISSPodcast, has an outstanding show with impeccable quality, especially when he takes his gig on the road and does talks in his car and interviews out in the field.

    He told me he's running a setup comprised of an iRiver (probably the 700 series, since he's said his device can take a line-in device), and uses as input a setup from Church Audio, featuring a pre-amp/stereo mic.

    I've been beta testing my own sound-seeing tours for a bit, trying to get the levels just right.  I'm using a $20 Plantronics headset mic into an iRiver 799, which works OK, but it's mono.  Earlier tests I did on an iRiver iFP-180T really amped up the background audible hum of my car's air conditioner and running engine, producing a rather annoying buzz.  Wish I had a noisegate.

    Seeing as how Dion's tone and levels make for good listening listen to, I might be picking one of these up.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 9

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    Topics discussed:

    • DP listeners comment on the worst cover songs of all time
    • What's up with the plethora of greatest hits albums lately?
    • Sure, Paris' podcast got panned, but it's better and more significant than you know
    • MY BAD - Sheryl Crow's dating Lance armstrong; Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico's independence day
    • On-air blunders on the TV news
    • Coverville does Disney tribute
    • TALKBACK: what's your favorite Disney song?  movie?  Disneyland ride? 
    • I was beyond bummed to learn they killed off the submarine ride for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    • I take it all back...import stock CD changers player suck!!!
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  • FireFox ignores cookies using expiry value of DateTime.MaxValue

    A friend on the ASPAdvice mailing lists found what appears a possible glitch in FireFox when setting cookies in ASP.NET.  He used code to use a long-running existing server-side cookie, using DateTime.MaxValue, which apparently didn't take in FireFox.  

    With firefox, it doesnt like it if the expire date on the cookie is too far ahead and i was using maxdate to set that. When i did that, firefox refused to display any of the cookie information, even though the cookie was getting set. It further refused to display any of the other cookies set by the site including the asp session cookie. Once i changed the expire date to something more reasonable, firefox started behaving.

    Someone also blogged about weirdness when using MaxValue:


  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 6

    Really funny show today...I had a good time recording it.  I talked about a whole lot of weird stuff, and the running time for the show is about an hour, so if you're listening on the ride home from work, you might want to take the long way home.   But...I got something totally mistake - Cinco De Mayo is NOT Mexico's day of independence (thanks, Clynt).  Sorry about that.

    Happy Mother's Day to all...see you monday!  I'm out like acid washed jeans!

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  • I've become a pornographer (by association)?

    I enjoy writing programming tutorials - taking what I've learned and have created and passing the knowledge onto others who might benefit from it.  I've never been one to mandate that developers who use code that I've put together credit me as the original author for the functionality, either directly on a web page or in source code.  

    If they do, I'm genuinely flattered, but I won't pitch a fit if they don't.

    As such, I'm hoping one site that's used a simple web page authentication script I wrote in ASP 3.0 doesn't decide to cite me as the originator of the functionality.  I got an e-mail from a nice person in the UK today, stating how she liked the tutorial I did and found it very easy to use.  She also wanted to expand upon this sample and use it on her site.

    The kicker?  She runs an online escort service in London.  

    Now, I'm not being judgmental, but I'll pass on being credited for this one.  I realize that porn is a major driving force on the World Wide Web, that I can't control this type of thing.  And I appreciate imagery of scantily-clad women as much as the next heterosexual guy, but I wouldn't want to be labeled as a smut peddler by association.  Even in the world of adult entertainment, there's stuff that's classy.  There's high-quality porn and there's truly red-light district stuff.  Seeing as how I did the tutorial for my company, I wouldn't want us to be reflected in the blue light.  But then again - there's no such thing as bad press, right?

    This makes me consider the legal ramifications of such.  Could I be held liable for developing a feature which is ultimately used on a site of questionable morals?  Get back at me if you're in tune with the law and shed some light on this.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 5

    Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone!  I finally got around to discussing the comparison of podcasting vs. satellite radio.  Enjoy!

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    Topics discussed:

    • Anyone remember Pepsi AM? Or McDonald's Strawberry Shortcake?  It's true!
    • I really dug the VH-1 Save the Music concert wirh Rob Thomas and Robert Randolph
    • KISSPodcast returns
    • Thinking about changing my job title...nice credentials, no extra pay
    • MY BAD - Robert McLaws is in Phoenix, Arizona; Scott's last name is pronounced For-SEYE-th
    • Podcasting vs. Satellite Radio - a non-judgmental comparison
    • Catching up with the kids from Dream Job Season 1
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  • Not a bad consolation prize: ousted "Dream Job" contestant Casey Stern lands gig with

    I was really happy to see Casey Stern, one of the guys who didn't make the final cut for ESPN's first season of its "Dream Job" reality program, anchoring a webcast on  He's a good kid with some talent.  Glad he got picked up.

    I also remember my personal fave, Zachariah Selwyn, landed a TV gig hosting a dodgeball program on cable (which we don't get on Guam).  I wonder what became of Aaron Levine, the runner-up to winner Mike Hall, who now hosts ESPNU (which we also tragically don't get).

    Ahh...a quick Google revealed that it looks like Aaron got in at a CBS affiliate station in Bakersfield, and that fellow final four candidate Maggie Haskins now works for Sports Illustrated.  Good for them.  I've found yet another reason to hate reality TV - here I am stuck in Guam.  :)

  • Extending .NET globalization to allow for cultures-within-cultures

    I got an interesting e-mail today from a cool cat who read my tutorial on developing custom culture settings in .NET.  His idea now is to further extend the capabilities of the .NET Framework to allow for "cultures-within-cultures", meaning the shipped "en-US" culture could be further enhanced to include region-specific dialects, like "en-US-NY" and "en-US-NY-Brooklyn".

    A very interesting idea, and something we could all surely use at some juncture.

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 4

    Ran out of time before I could get to the podcasting va. satellite radio debate again, but it'll happen...

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    Topics discussed:

    • Orange juice: the news anchorman's saving grace
    • Podcasts now compressed at 64K (but it takes forever to render)
    • Podcast debut: Buddy Lindsey
    • Web site downtime and my growing hypertension
    • Thanks for the support, ORCSWeb
    • I am great: I remembered Wham-O manufactured Slip-n-Slide
    • When it rains it pours - is too much traffic a bad thing?
    • Robert McLaws talks about x64 and Longhorn on The Chris Pirillo Show
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  • Record a phone conversation with Skype

    Get Audacity from; Run Audacity; Go to File -> Preferences -> Digital I/O -> Recording and choose a “Digital Audio”-class device rather than an “Input”-class device (which will replace microphone input with combined microphone **and** speaker recording); choose to record two channels of stereo; finally, close Preferences, and choose “Wave Out Mix” as the source of signal on the main window of Audacity;

  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 3

    I had a whole great discussion about podcasting vs. satellite radio, but I ran out of time, so that'll be on tomorrow's show.

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  • Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 2

    I amped up my production PC, so I'm stylin' this morning, plus, I finally got my iRiver (sort of).

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    Topics discussed:

    • I got more RAM!!!
    • I got my iRiver (sort of), my first sound-seeing tour was a flop
    • E-commerce on Guam sucks
    • Reactions from Paris Hilton's podcast debut; ya gotta love time-shifting
    • If blogging has the blogosphere, what does podcasting have?
    • Enjoy the world of podcasting - I'm asking for listener loyalty, but encouraging audible polygamy
    • Adam Curry & Ron Bloom breakdown the future of podcasting in StrategyCast 2.0
    • ASP.NET-only podcast is coming!; Sir Wally's podcast debut; our de factor production crew
    • LISTENER E-MAIL: what's the difference between anchoring/reporting/writing news & sports?
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        • Web aesthetics: don't use DLLs in your URLs

          One of the things that's bugged me for years is when sites include DLLs in their generated page URLs.  It's non-intuitive, damages the potential marketability (a URL's sexiness) of the site, reeks of 1998 web practices, debatably a security risk, and basically tells the entire world and developer community what's used to generate the page content.  Although the same can surely be said for people who look at a site's source and determine that Visual Studio, FrontPage, or other suite built the pages by simply checking out a <META> tag.