Odeo Cripples Functionality

Odeo LogoOdeo seem to be updating and improving their services every other day of late. However, it is not every day that you see such a great service actually remove a feature and make it harder for users to utilise their service. They have indeed done so and perhaps in doing so shooting themselves in the foot.

One of the great features that is available to Odeo users is to have an "inbox". If you were to place a button on your website, be it blog or some other site you have enabled your readers to leave you audio comments by clicking the link. They get taken to a page that has a recording interface, which is simple and easy to use and the result is great audio. You as the user of Odeo get that recorded audio in your inbox once it is sent to you. You are notified of this by an email.

Another great feature is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of your own inbox! So this is a great way to receive feedback on anything. Including podcasts. Seb and I saw it as a great way to get feedback for Global Geek Podcast, so we set up an account. The advantage of getting audio as feedback is that you could go to your inbox once you were notified and click the new Odeo comment that was left for you. You can listen to it. But the biggest feature was that you could click a "download as MP3" button and download the audio comment and insert it into a podcast! The result was excellent and we loved it.

The ability to download the MP3 has been removed from the play window! So what the hell is Odeo thinking in removing this key functionality. It means that it is impossible to download the audio from the page to your local machine. Rather it makes it a pain in the butt to do it.

I found that there is a work-around but it is messy: Open Audacity, set the source to "stereo mix" get ready to hit record… Open the Odeo message that you want to record. Flip back to Audacity and hit record, nip over to the Odeo page and click play. Go back and hit stop on the recording when it has finished. As I said messy. In addition the audio that you end up with is less than ideal and requires a bit of editing.

I am utterly dismayed as to why Odeo have removed this from their site. The only thing that I can think of is that they want users to listen to audio, only from them and not from another source. Perhaps they were not aware that the service was being utilized in this way and they have done it ignorantly, I just don't know. Sebastian has suggested that perhaps they are beginning to think about implementing a pay service and this has something to do with it. But since when has any site reduced their services as opposed to offering more. We are not the only podcast doing this. I can honestly say that if this situation remains as it is; the blogging and podcasting community could deliver some negative press, big time.

Global Geek Podcast has mentioned Odeo on every show that we have done. Not only that there is a link on the Global Geek Podcast website to Odeo, there is a link to Odeo on Rooster's Rail, Seb's Random Thoughts and we have plugged them for their service and functionality since utilizing their service. It is not like we have not given back to Odeo. This I feel is the thanks that we get.

Global Geek Podcast have sent off an email to Odeo in regards to this issue and we await a response, I will let you know what we get back from them when and if we do.

Update: Please check out the Follow-up Story

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Eight Bucks Worth of Advice

Not very happy today. I went to the doctor and it turns out I have infected sinuses. In addition to that I went to the music shop to try to return an audio cord that was faulty. In addition to that I thought I had found a solution to record Skype which worked yesterday and does not work today! In addition to that I had a weird thing on my back biopsied cause the doctor was concerned it might be something "nasty". In addition to that my Line Out on the computer is stuffed.

So I feel like crap. The doctor put me onto some antibiotics to clear up the infected sinuses. Still copious volumes of what can only be described as primordial ooze continues to inhabit my sinuses which refuses to budge. This in turn is causing a headache from hell that is immune to paracetamol. I sincerely hope that it improves by tomorrow. The results on the suspicious thing is pending pathology.

So today I went looking for some digital speakers (I have SPDIF on the sound card as well) and I check the shop that I got my audio gear from. They like every other shop in Cairns does not have Digital Speakers. The guy in the shop did suggest a couple of things I could do to fix the plug in the computer. But while I was there I tried to return a cable.

When I bought my mixer, a Behringer UB 1002FX, I also bought a stereo to RCA cable. When I got it home I noticed that where the two cables can be pulled apart to reach connections the insulation had split. So I took it back to the place that I got it from and showed him what had happened. When I got this cable there were none on the shelf but the guy that served me managed to find a used one out the back that he gave me a 10% discount on. So today this other guy in the shop says:

"… ahhh well we probably sold you that cable with a discount to boot"

So I guess that means that because I got it at a discount it is okay that it is faulty, which is pretty much what I said to him. He then said that even though the wires were showing the cable would work fine. So I guess that means that it is okay that it is faulty because it still works… So then I said that I thought he should take it back and give me a refund due to the fact that the product was not right and that it was not acceptable. I also said that I was actually charged about full price for it. To that he dropped the clanger:

"Well I reckon that you have had about eight bucks of advice this afternoon"

I just walked out. What a wanker. This is no way at all to treat a customer, at least one that you want to come back. I was so shocked at this reply. I will never return to that shop. I am not going to spend any more time blogging about a looser.

So the other thing that I have been doing is trying to find a better way of recording Skype. So I had this brainwave yesterday. I will have to do this in point form:

  1. Connect the speaker out on the computer to the mixer CD/TAPE in.
  2. Connect the headphones to the PHONES socket (so I can hear everything)
  3. Press the CD/TAPE TO MIX button

Without pressing the CD/TAPE TO MIX button I can hear the other person and myself by turning up the volume on the mixer for the phones. But I have to press the "TO MIX" button to record both people in the conversation.

This indeed works, by recording the audio in Audacity. Well it worked yesterday. Today for no apparent reason the other person can hear themselves like you can when you select the stereo mix button. This makes no sense at all. As far as the computer is concerned all the audio is coming from the mixer to the line in as one signal. But for some reason I am getting a stereo mix as the result. Yesterday on the other hand it worked, perfectly. I have no idea why it worked yesterday and not today.

Back to Hot Recorder. And my infected sinuses and a buggered socket on the computer and a computer that acts as it computers do. Without logic that is, so condition normal.