Friday, October 26, 2007

Adventures in Podcasting!

Well I decided last Spring that I wanted to do a tatting podcast. Here is what has happened so far, and what I have learned.

It's really all Lily Morales' fault. She came to Kansas City and brought her ipod. Our grandkids had asked for an ipod nano for Christmas, but spending $199.00 on each of the grandkids seemed a bit much, so they got generic MP3 players, dollies, and a carseat for the youngest.

Now, I had a birthday last Spring, and we got a tax refund... so * I * got an ipod. One of the good ones with video. We bought the ipod, the cables, gadgets, cases, etc. ( but I'm worth it ).

So off to learn about podcasts. I got the FREE iTunes application downloaded, bought a ripper or 3, cause it took me three tries to get one that I liked. Now, I can listen to podcasts and my movies... WOW~!

Such amazing things to learn about! No tatting podcasts though. Along the way, I had to purchase some TV and music from iTunes. Had to, honest!

Moving on to Ohio, still no tatting podcasts. Bought a webcam with mic, and a headset with mic. I also bought a book about Podcasts, Podcast Solutions - The Complete Guide to Podcasting.

Good news! The software to record audio is free, and on the disk with the book. I just had to go download the update for the software, and the plugin to convert to MP3, which is a proprietary format. But then, that was free too.

Next I needed some way to get the Tatting podcast into iTunes. Hmmmm I tried out a couple of "podcatchers" but they want to insert advertising into MY podcast. Guess that's why they are free, right? Trust me, they do make money on what's out there.

I decided on a website that does podcasts, and lets you have a store, and a blog, and lots of cool features. It was not free. So now you know what I do with the money I get for the books I sell... I spend it on doing more cool tatting things.

First customer. DISASTER! She got an error message when she tried to order one of my books, so I had a go-round with the website people over fixing the bug. It's fixed now, and tested, and everyone can buy my Celtic Black Widow Spider pattern in my store, and I even put a bookstore where you can purchase tatting books from

I did a bunch of graphics for the website, the store, the podcast. And I subscribed to a bunch of podcasts on iTunes, including one about doing podcasts. Personally I prefer listening to the literary things. The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Jabberwoky are my favorites, but I think I got Katie Verna hooked on iTunes and the poetry on there.

Ready, set, go!

I decided to record a sound clip of a little music box that Shirley G. gave me a year or two ago. So I plugged everything in, turned it on, and recorded.

UGH! Nasty! I edited out the noise, and got the help of my DH to do some audio stuff to clean it up. He showed me how to get a better recording. Better, all right. All the noise was much clearer, and the music was about the consistency of scraping nailes on a chalkboard.

So Dan suggested that what we really need is a sound board and a decent mic, or two. Looked on the internet and found a store about 30 miles or so from here where we could go look at stuff. Dan has worked on sound stuff before and he speaks a foreign language when he gets to talking about sound. Ohms, amps, mili amps, and a whole lot of math like fast for-EE-Yay and Descrete cosine transforms. Don't ask. You don't need to know.

So Dan got off work around 3 this afternoon, and since the store is only open M-F 10-6 we headed out.

"Hello, may I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like to do some podcasts."
"We have a kit for that. It's $99.00"
"let me see it."
Dan is listening patiently... tells the salesman to bring out specs, and some microphones to look at, and picks a midi thingy and two microphones, two cables, two mic stands, a pop filter. About 2.5 times my budget for doing this. But we didn't buy an expensive mic or anything... Some of them cost $1,000.00. Whew!

The salesman compliments us on our nice little sound studio. Dan tells me it will make a big difference when we get it all setup in the closet. OK, that's the best room we have for recording according to Dan, who is an Electrical Engineer by education.

So we bring it home, set it up, and find out that we have to go download the drivers for the midi thingy. Have to register it, then sign up for a newsletter, then it will let us download the driver software ( which is a beta version).


Uh, nothing. Is it connected? Is it turned on? Does it have the right buttons pushed in/out? Does the software know where to get the sound from? OK, now?

Nothing. Oh it's the INput that has to be setup to this thing. No that's right. OK, the OUTput has to be setup to this thingy too.

TaDa! It even records breathing from across the room... uh, OK. So we record my music box.
Uh Oh, mono. We wanted stereo. Have to go fiddle with preferences til we get it to do stereo.

All Righty then. Now what? OK I guess I have to finish writing my script, so I have something to record. :-)

I won't tell you how much this has all cost. No need to admit that we spent that much on toys. And the software was all FREE !!!

So if you want to know where I'll be, just go look in the closet, or at the computer writing a script.

Hah! Nope, tomorrow I'm going to go over to ZigZag corner for the lace guild meeting. Procrastination is an Artform. I'll get around to learning to procrastinate tomorrow, maybe.

Ruth - who is NOW ready to begin podcasting. I think.

Ta! Da! Ready to record