Podcasters’ Emporium: Let the Revolution Begin

podcastersemporium-logo1

I have had the most amazing few weeks in relation to podcasting. Last night I recorded the first of many podcasts that I am going to be doing with James Williams of the LifeStyle PodNetwork. The show is called Podcasters’ Emporium. But that is the end and the beginning of a journey.

James and I have been talking for a while about many things but we usually end up talking about something to do with podcasting. There has been a gradual hatching of a plan that we probably did not see coming but now that we have come this far we are glad we did.

James was struggling with trying to find a vision and a path for his show. We had so many discussions about it, I kept coming up with ideas and suggestions. My motivations were a tad selfish in that I was really wanting a podcast out there for podcasters. A show full of tips, tricks, advice and interviews. So yeah I was pushing him in that direction. The reason being is that I believed that he could pull it off! The other reason was and is that there is a great need for a podcast like that in the podcasting space. Just go and take a look at the podcasts on podcasting in iTunes.

So we decided to relaunch Podcasters’ Emporium with a difference, a podcast for podcasters with a vision to build a quality community full of podcasters from all over the globe and strive to be a “go-to” resource for the community. But James wanted me to co-host, easy decision.

Much of what else I would want to say was said at the first recording of the show together which will be episode 10. The energy and the enthusiasm for this project is huge and it comes out in the podcast. We have some great stories and ideas. I am so excited about it. So take a listen and find out why it will be worth listening to.

If you are a podcaster, you need to listen to Podcasters’ Emporium. Not only that, we don’t want a passive audience, we are committed to building this community and making it a valuable resource and not for us; for you. There are details in the first show about how you can become involved and be a part of the community.

Also check out the show synopsis before the fist show is launched tomorrow.

The Revolution Starts Now. Your going to love it!

podcasters_emporium-scrn2

The Podcast Rebranded!

I have been podcasting now for two and a half years. For most of that time I have been producing The Global Geek Podcast. There have been a number of co-hosts and partners, it has been great fun and very rewarding. For most of this time the show resided as part of The Podcast Network, but there comes a time when you want to spread your wings and fly. The Global Geek Podcast is no more.

On the 19th of July the final Global Geek was posted. But this was not an end for myself and co-hosts. We decided to strike out on our own server and with it rebranding the show. So was born the Aussie Geek Podcast.

The reasons were many and we thought long and hard about making the move, it was a difficult decision. I really appreciated The Podcast Network and what C.E.O Cam Reilly is trying to achieve. The people and the community are awesome. We left T.P.N with no hard feelings that I know of and did not go out of our way to create any. Cam was aware however, that we were frustrated with not being able to tweak the blog in the way that we wanted to as well as having the fine level of control that we as geeks craved. Although it was very disappointing to have seen that comments on the last GGP referring to the new URL of the podcast were deleted by someone.

But we are off on a big adventure and we are loving it. We have built the site and are posting madly. It was awesome to see that we are already making great gains in Google results. Although I am sure that we have taken a big hit in numbers. That true figure is yet to be known as we have not posted a show as yet. The long and the short of that is that we are waiting on an update to the WordPress plugin called PodPress to be compatible with WordPress 2.6.

I am really enjoying the collaboration and multiple authors that we were not able to fully realize before. In addition Tim has been posting some awesome Quick Tips in video format and we have some great plugins that our readers and listeners can take advantage of.

It would be great to pull our community over to the new blog and podcast, so jump over and say hello. Don’t forget to upgrade your links and RSS feed while you are there! We will be posting the first full show as soon as we can.

I was bummed that we did not make it to the 100th show, at 90 it was so close. We have decided to start at 1 for the AGP.

PodPress has Vanished!

WordPress is the platform of choice for most podcasters running their own sites. One of the reasons for this is that it offers the most support and available plugins make it a powerful solution. In my opinion the most essential plugin for the podcaster is PodPress. However it appears that PodPress has vanished and is now a parked page at GoDaddy.

I just could not believe that such a successful plugin could be abandoned so I did some digging and it appears that the developer Dan Kuykendall went to Disneyland 18 days ago and forgot something rather important. It would appear that on the 26th of April their domain name expired. Do’h…

That is the conclusion that I have come to, anyone else know any different?

If however, the developer has jumped ship and abandoned development then I will be very surprised. If for nothing else than the fact that no one else has taken over the project.

One good thing until everything is sorted out is that it appears the download links are still operational from the WordPress extend site.

I certainly hope that PodPress is here to stay, I know I value the project as one of the best podcasting tools out there. Seriously though, GoDaddy start sending out emails at least 6 months before your domains expire, just don’t ignore them. Or change your renewal details to automatic renewal. But then it seems that it doesn’t matter how many reminders some people get.

Thanks Dan for your hard work and I trust that you have just forgotten to renew your domain.

UPDATE: I am not sure what the go is, but during the course of writing this post MightySeek is back up and “un-parked”. I also noticed that the whois has changed and the domain that expired in 2008 is now 2009. So perhaps suspicions were in fact true and we had a domain glitch eh? Yey, is all I can say.

Skydiving in Second Life

Listeners of the podcast would know that I have been delving into Second Life recently. The GGP number 69 Special edition just came out also, recorded entirely in Second Life. I am really enjoying Second Life, the chatting and the interaction has been great. But this week I went looking for some excitement… I found it.

Second Life gives people the ability to do just about anything they want to. I am slowly discovering how far that can go. I have always wanted to go skydiving, when a Second Life (SL) friend offered to take me in SL I jumped at the opportunity, we had a blast!

First up I was given a free parachute. Now the free version is not that great but it works. It puts you into a freefall pose and stops you hitting the ground with an auto deploy. On your float down you can see the canopy wires and nothing else. There is also no control over flight direction. So we did a bit of jumping from high objects in SL. These came in the form of floating platforms that we flew up to. If you want to give this a try in SL you will need “The Flight Feather”. Without it you won’t be able to fly very high, you reach a ceiling and go no further, with it the ceiling is 4000 meters.

One thing worth noting is that the spatial awareness of the voice communication in SL really added to the experience. Imagine the diminishing volume coming from an avatar that just jumped off a building! Adds to the reality and the fun of it all.

Now while the jumping from objects was great, it was hard to find ones that were high enough and at great locations. So in our search for better locations, we found the jump pod. Wow! The pod is able to seat four people, it is powered and can get you up as high as 4000 meters in seconds. Before this we were jumping from, at most 500 meters. Woot! Ignore the funny pose of the avatar in the photo, some stupid faulty script about an hour earlier. Although I laughed every time I saw him…

Now we had the ability to get to a greater height we started to review our parachutes and figured that there had to be beter ones out there. For a small price there is. The Mark III chute is the next step up and we got ours for about 200 Linden (One US dollar will get you 269 Linden dollars, or there abouts). Now this chute gives you many more options:

  • Visual chute
  • Flight control
  • Target
  • Wind noise
  • Plus it will keep track of your in world scores

There are a few other features, but can’t remember them :P

So we did a few drops with our pods and our new chutes. I laughed so hard and so long I had tears running down my face. My jump buddy was likewise impressed with the experience, we got some awesome photos, especially since they were taken with the new beta version of the viewer; WindLight. Another day dawns on SL.

Skydive 02

One of the absolute funniest things that happened during this time was that we found a great dropzone and went from the pod at 4000 M. In SL you can build in the sky, as long as you stay on the alloted area that defines your land. Seems we found a wayward building on this jump and smacked straight into it at Terminal Velocity.

You might see it in the photo, but yup that is a graveyard, it seems we were not the first to discover it. Note the structures in the back ground (you can’t see them at 4000 M!).

Skydive 03

Yesterday, we found that there was a model up from ours and we went ahead and bought the “Pro” version for an extra 100 Lindens. Money well spent and we should have got this one in the first place since it was a bit over one US dollar!

Now as well as the features above we now have added stuff that really does make this an experience worth having:

  • Deployment control
  • Altimeter HUD
  • Stunts
  • Realistic controls like flaring; don’t do it and you fall over and get knocked for the “hard” landing
  • Customizable textures (colours and look)
  • Extra animations in the script like a pool of blood when things don’t go right

Using the new chutes we found that we were able to also do co-ordinated stunt work, have heaps more fun and even attempt some base jumping. Although the base jumping has it’s issues, note the above example. The closer you are to the ground the more sky junk there is, we discovered a lot of it. I have also base jumped from the new HQ of The Podcast Network in SL, I think that is a first. We are on the lookout for more sites to jump from so let us know if you find anything in SL that you think is worth a look.

There is a lot more to this than I have included here. It is damn fun though and if you would like some help getting started then look me up in SL. My name in Second Life is “Rooster Rubble”. Say hello and how you know me. Don’t forget to get the viewer and register first!

Finally this is the best photo that was taken by CannedTuna on our first dive into Skydiving in SL, impressive isn’t it? Also thanks to Gary for being by jump buddy and exploring skydiving in Second Life.

Skydiving in SL Image by CannedTuna

Image by CannedTuna

Yahoo! Gives up on Podcasts

Yahoo! Podcasts LogoI was submitting a new podcast (not mine) to some directories today and came across something that completely threw me.

It appears that Yahoo! is closing down Yahoo! Podcasts and they have announced it with the following message on the Home Page:

“Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Sept. 30 Oct 31st, 2007″

I have heard not news or rumour that this was gong to happen. To speculate on the reasons I can only think that the service is not being utilized or that most people use iTunes or some other way to get their podcasts. Sure I don’t know many people that use Yahoo! for podcasts, but I would have thought a company like Yahoo! would not walk away from hosting a directory.

There are still plenty of directories out there and good ones. Podcast Alley for one. Maybe that’s part of the problem, other sites do it better. Who knows, as I said I have seen zero on this move.

So this is all news to me, I’ll be interested to see what the reasons are and if there are plans for something else. Anyone else see this coming?

Update: Date changed to the 31st of October… It gets stranger

Recording Skype :: MX Skype Recorder

We went to record The Global Geek Podcast last week and something came up and Knightwise was unable to attend the recording. Knightwise usually records the show on his Mac using Call Recorder. So as you might appreciate, him not able to be there and nobody else with a spare Mac at hand we were stuck. We needed to find a method to record the show and fast!

We went through a few dirty hacks. The worst of which is to change your audio source to Stereo Mix. This mixes everything that you hear back through the sound card. This means that you can hit record on any recording software and record Skype. While this works and flawlessly it has one major and limiting side effect. The other person gets their voice feed back to them with a slight delay. For some psychological reason it makes it nearly impossible to talk properly.

We also considered doing a double ended recording. That is I record my end locally and Tim his. This gives great quality and awesome control over levels. But the drawback here is that you have 2 huge files and one of those files has to get to me to edit it. Because there are 2 files it also means that I have to splice the two together flawlessly to sync the audio. Easier said than done. Extra post production editing is never a good thing.

We checked out a few options that I have checked out before. None are stunning or perfect and most are well below par in every respect. Tim though found a gem that I had not unearthed. MX Skype Recorder. Not a plugin but a separate program that enables you to record Skype with the great quality that we demand and expect for the show. It also has some features that make it ideal.

MX Skype Recorder Interface

Once you have downloaded MX Recorder you need to run the application then run Skype or make the call. You can not start recording mid call. It is as simple as hitting the record button to record a call once you have done this. By default it records an .mp3 with average quality settings. Fine to just capture the call but no good for podcasting. Enter the options.

In the options you can record a call in either a .mp3 (lame) or a PCM wav. The latter is what you want for recording a podcast. As I have said before you should not edit a .mp3 due to it’s lossy format. So I set to it to record a .wav. Now there are two options record as a “mixed” input and output or as a “dual channel”. Dual channel gives you one channel for input and one channel for output. So you have left with one person and right with the other. This is great because with any good audio editor you can get the levels right for each one. Once you are happy with the levels mix the audio into a mono mix then if you usually produce your show as stereo split it into a stereo mix. It might require some amplification after this process, just be careful you don’t clip the audio. I would suggest using a compressor to do this as it is a more balanced method of getting the volume right. Then just edit the show as you normally would.

MX Skype Recorder Options

There are many settings for outputting to a .mp3. Including changing the kHz and sample rate. Use this if you are into doing a raw unedited podcast. Your output is your show. Add ID3 tags and change the file name and you are done. Nice seamless experience.

One tip that I would pass on. Initially the levels were off, by a long way. I was very soft the incoming track was fine. But to try and fix this was a bit of a nightmare as I had already performed the above mixing procedure and edited the show. Now what we found out was that MX Recorder uses the levels that are set in Skype for the outputs. Do a few test recordings and get them right before you record. We also found this went part way to making it perfect. I needed to increase my output locally. We got a magic recording by taking the time to tweak these settings. Use the inbuilt level indicators, get your audio equal. Doesn’t matter it it is too soft you can adjust this in post production. But make sure you are not clipping, you can’t fix that!

The end result was great MX Skype Recorder is a winner in my book. It has a very small footprint and is easy to use. It compresses the file fast and outputs where ever you want it to and stamps it with the date and time. This little app works with multiple callers as well. But remember you have one channel for all input. Everyone that is conferenced in will be on that one channel. Do a test recording and get participants to adjust their output as needed. The mess that would result otherwise does not want talking about.

This program performed well and is one of the best recorders for Skype that I have used, if not the best. One drawback might be that the software is not free. There is a free version that will only record for 5 minutes. But for $14.95 US for the Standard Version it is a small price to pay in my opinion. Nice work by these guys and until Skype get their act together and give us a record button it will do the trick nicely.

Here is the show that I recorded with MX Skype Recorder. I am sure the next effort will be better still as we had a few settings that we could have better tweaked.

As a side note MX Skype Recorder will also record other VoIP applications such as Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger although I have not tested these applications.

MX Skype Recorder Homepage

The Podcast Network v3.0

TPN V3.0 LogoThis is great news, although it did happen a few days ago now. But when it did we were in full swing getting the podcast ready and that means I have little time to blog anything. The Podcast Network announced the launch of  a brand new version of the homepage.

Complete with Ajax goodness and a completely different look. If you know nothing about podcasts there are links at the top to get you up to speed and listening to some great content. TPN is a the place to look for good regular podcasts. The right hand side menu gives you all the podcasts on The Podcast Network, separated into categories.

If you have not visited The Podcast Network before and want to know what it is all about, now is as good a time as ever. Nice work Cam and the development team. Next the show blogs! (That was a hint).

The Global Geek Podcast belongs to The Podcast Network. Hosted by Knightwise and myself weekly. Here is our latest show if you enjoy it, head over to our blog on TPN and subscribe. In addition to that I also post regularly there as well as here.

TPN V3.0 Screenshot

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