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May 2005 - Posts

Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 31

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  • Special Sound-Seeing tour: join me & the KUAM team for the 2005 Guam Relay for Life, where we take you inside an all-night community walk against cancer.  We have the 1am-7am shift.
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Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 27

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Posted: May 27 2005, 11:27 AM by guam-aspdev | with 1 comment(s)
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My interview with Podcast 411 is online
Rob from Podcast411.com interviewed me earlier this week, and featured the clip in his show today.  God, it felt weird to be on the other side of the mic for once.  How come no one ever told me I talk so fast?  ;-)

Thanks Rob for the opportunity!

Check it out!
Posted: May 26 2005, 11:03 AM by guam-aspdev | with 2 comment(s)
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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!
Posted: May 26 2005, 10:57 AM by guam-aspdev | with 17 comment(s)
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Digital Pontification: Podcast Show Notes - May 26

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  • 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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Posted: May 26 2005, 09:50 AM by guam-aspdev | with no comments
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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.

Posted: May 25 2005, 03:41 PM by guam-aspdev | with 1 comment(s)
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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
  • ESPN.com 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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Posted: May 25 2005, 11:24 AM by guam-aspdev | with 3 comment(s)
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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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Posted: May 24 2005, 09:51 AM by guam-aspdev | with no comments
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Creative .NET programing with Atom
I've been getting myself up to speed with some RSS topics, namely the Atom protocol and the use of extended metadata within a subscription-based XML feed.  For a great example/tutorial, check out Ben Hammersley's "Building Applications with RSS, Atom, and the Atom API".

Is anyone out there doing anything creative or noteworthy with Atom and .NET?
Posted: May 23 2005, 06:53 PM by guam-aspdev | with no comments
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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.
Posted: May 23 2005, 10:01 AM by guam-aspdev | with 7 comment(s)
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