Archive for Media

Audiobooks, Another Great Way to Enjoy Books

I have heard about Audiobooks, from Leo Laporte and services like Audible but, never put any thought into listening to audiobooks but, I recently tried a free trial of Audible and have enjoyed every minute of listening to my audio book. When I got my book I started to read it while I walked to classes and it is just great. I actually tried to spend more time walking so I can hear more of my audio book. When I listened I felt like  I got all the information out of it because I could hear it. Now, that I listened to my first audio book, I plan to go back and listen to more books because I get the information more easily and really enjoy the experience. I also can carry several books on my iPod and carry them wherever I go. The only downside is that every book is not able to heard as an audio book somewhat restricting your choices but there are still thousands of books in a variety of genres to listen to and enjoy!

How to Build Your Own Podcast Studio

Podcasting is a great way to broadcast your voice over the internet and recording a podcasting is not to hard to do. However it does take some work and some money to buy a few things to get started. I thought it would be useful to give a list of items that you need to begin recording your own podcast.

1. Computer

This computer can be a Mac, a Windows computer or even a Linux machine. All it really needs is a microphone input, or a USB port. If it is just you, can just record directly into Audacity or Garageband to record your show. If you need to record multiple people you can do it either in person through a Mixer or over Skype. I will show you how to record over Skype.

2. Recording Software

Recording can be done using a mixer and other hardware solutions but they tend to be very expensive while software can be relatively cheap.  The one we used to use for the Weekly Spin was Call Graph, it currently only works on Windows and it only records in Mono but it is free and gets the job done. Currently, we use Wiretap Studio which is a Mac program and usually costs $69 but, I got it as a part of the MacHeist Bundle. It is a much more robust recorder with a wide ray of features and most importantly it records in stereo. I have also used, Ecamm’s Call Recorder which is less expensive at $15 but, it is not as powerful as Wiretap.

3. Microphone

For a Microphone, I recommend that you use USB because the audio is digital from the start, while if you use the standard 3.5 mm connector, it has to convert to digital in the computer which results in lower quality audio. I recommend the Logitech USB Microphone because it records very high quality and is only $20! Although many people prefer to have a headset, headphones and microphone in one.

4. Editing Software

I used to edit the show in Audacity, but, I realized that Garageband is more powerful for editing and since I already have a Mac I might as well use it. However, Audacity is still a good editing option.

That is all your really need to start recording and producing podcasts except for a web server and website to post the final product.

Media Center

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to put together a full Media center solution that will be 100% cable free and will let you access all your web content online on your big TV and be without cable. I will jsut get into it

TV:

LG – 47″ Class / 1080p / 240Hz / LCD-LED HDTV: $1,800

If you need to save some money then you could find a cheaper TV instead of this one. This is a very nice TV and I really like the 4 HDMI inputs!

Computer:

Base Mac Mini: $600

You could, if you want to save money you could buy a used or old Mac Mini or any other computer although, this solution is designed for a Mac. You could also use your old computer as a Media center like I do on my desk and save money here!

Software:

Firefox: FREE

VLC Media Player: FREE

Flash Player: FREE

Miro Podcatcher:FREE

iTunes: FREE

Game Console: (Optional)

Nintento Wii: $250

I mentioned in a previous post about why I love the Wii and it is a great machine to add some more entertainment to the media center! this is not necessary.

Accessories:

Display Adapter: Mini Display to VGA: $30

VGA to HDMI Cable: $10


Total: $2,690 (Plus applicable taxes and fees)

For less than $2,700 you can have a full media center with everything you need. The great part of this system is that you don’t need to subscribe to cable or aything and you can just buy the content you want and other free web content like video podcasts as you need it! This is much betteer than having to pay a small fortune monthly for extra content you don’t want or care about. As I said you could modify this to make it more expensive or less to meet your needs but, this a good all around system that you can use. In fact, I left a sound system out of my solution but, if you want to you can add this. I hope to use a similar plan in my future home!



Kindle App for iPhone, The Future of Reading

As I mentioned in my previous article, books are too expensive and inefficient. However, Amazon has solved that problem with their Kindle ebook readers but why pay for another piece of hardware if you have a iPhone or iPod. and there is a free app for reading ebooks called Kindle and is made by Amazon as well and let’s you buy as well as read electronic books and makes reading anywhere simple.

Reading on the Kindle is so easy you just tap either side of the page to go forward or back in the book. You can even change the font size to create your optimal reading environment. You can also download books off Amazon’s mobile book store and then sync them wirelessly to your device. I have been reading iCon: The Second Coming of Steve Jobs on my iPod Touch and it is the best reading experience of my life.

I reccommend all iPhone and iPod Touch users since it is a free application and books are usually around $10 and let’s you take your books anywhere in your pocket!

Future of the Music Industry

The music industry as we know it is in shambles and the way it currently operates is no longer viable or logical anymore. In the next ten years or less, the entire industry will operate under a totally different model and will be much better for the artists and the listeners. This new model is as follows, first there are no record labels music will be produced directly by the artists and their own crews although they may rent studio space for recording so the quality remains the equivolent with what is on the rest of the market. The music will then  be distributed over digital music stores only, no more CDs and records at the same prices as they are now and all tracks will be DRM free. But, since they don’t have to pay the record label more of the money will be given to the artists. The artists may also adopt the free download model, like Nine Inch Nails, or the donate what you think the albulm is worth model like RadioHead.  This would, I think provide more money to the artists because they don’t have to all that money to the record labels. I think this new model will be much more efficent than the current music industry and would make it more fair to listeners and artists.

Step By Step Guide to Creating A Podcast

Podcasts are great ways to inform many people as well as express your self about any topic that you want. I have started several podcasts and I want to provide the steps that you need to take to start a podcast of your own. I will focus mainly on what you need to do and not specifics for audio or video because the creatiuon process is still very similar. I want to share my knowledge because podcasts are a great media to inform others of what you know as well as a profitable buisness.


  1. Find A Topic
  2. Plan the Format or Flow of the Show
  3. Name Your Show
  4. Make a topics list (Unless time sensitive show)
  5. Create a Website (I Recommend WordPress and Podpress plugin)
  6. Make A Logo
  7. Revise Show Format
  8. Prepare to Record:

Audio:

In-Person:

Audacity

Skype:

PC: Hot Recorder

Mac: Eccam Call Recorder


Video: Camera and Microphone (Suggested)

With those steps I have created several podcasts and I think are a good workflow to creating a podcast and is what I will use in the future. I hope that anyone considering starting their own podcasts try it because all though it can be difficult and nerve racking at times, it is very rewarding and very fun!

How the Music Industry Can Save Itself

Digital music downloads have redefined the music industry and although this is much better for the consumer, the record labels are still trying to stick with their old methods that drive consumers to piracy. I believe that there are several methods the record labels need to adopt in order to save the industry and their business or record labels will become a thing of the past.

1. Abandon DRM

People have said for quite some time they want no restrictions on the music they bought legitimatly and they are just being treated like trash by the record labels. Amazon MP3 was the first to sell DRM-free Mp3s and iTunes recently went DRM free as well. People just want simple music files!

2. Let People Rip their CDs

When people bought CDs in their prime, they did not have any idea computerize media would become so prominent and why should people pay again for their music instead of just ripping, copying from disk to computer, and use them on their digital devices. The law around this has been a gray area for way too long and this needs to end because people should be allowed to copy music they legally own.

3. Let the Artist Choose the Price and Distribution Model

Several artists have chosen to distribute their music for free over the internet, and have let people try their music before they buy it and if they pay they get to choose the price. The two leaders of this movement were Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. Radiohead also, distributed MIDI files of some of their sonegs so that listeners can make their own remixes and mashups. They also created the model of picking your own price and being able to buy if first for free and then go back and pay what you want.

These three practices will save the record industry and could restore faith of the consumers. This can save a large industry that has been poorly managed for a long time.

Media Center Computers, Home Media Centers of The Future

As I have said before I believe that in the future, that people’s home media centers will all be based around a computer or computer like device like the Apple TV. This is important because instead of just being able to play media you have on physical media like tapes and DVDs you can play off your hard drive and stream media from the internet. I bleieve that in the next 20 years a computer-based home media solution will be standard. This also allows people to play media off computers in the house and stream media. It also allows users to watch and listen to podcasts on their full media center so they can have enjoy their media on the full setup in their living room.

If you want to do this now you can buy and Apple TV or hookup a computer to your TV and have it stream from other computers and from the internet. I think that is one of the best ways to reuse your computer and can help everyone enjoy their media much more.

Home Media Centers of The Future

If you were to poll the average person and ask them what their home media center currently is, chances are they will tell you they have: a TV, a VCR, a DVD player and in many cases a cable box. However, I think this will change significantly in the near future because a computer-centric system would prove to be a better replacement.

First of all, video tapes are completly obsolete and even with DVDs, I find myself now prefering to buy movies online and save the space of more disks. My thought is that this new media center could be a computer like the Mac Mini that is very power efficent but also does not take up too much space, this system will still have an optical media drive to accomodate any CDs or DVDs that you already have, but more importantly, it has a large hard drive to store all the media you want on it and also have the option to transfer the media over your home network to computers and other media centers in the house. It will run a normal computer operating system in addition to media center software so it can also be a computer in addition to a media center. It will be connected to a big screen TV so you can get a full image and a high quality image. The media center will play media off the device itself, other computers on the network as well as stream media from the Internet off sites like Hulu. This can already be accomplished by using media center software like Boxee, although they no longer offer access to Hulu but, that is one of the reasons I reccommend using a normal operating system instead of a specialized operating system like MythTV but, I think in the future there will be Media Center software that does integrate Hulu and other television streaming sites. This system would save a lot of space because you only need one small box to power your entire home media center and you can save space form having many players. This is what I plan to do when I get my own place and I do not plan on getting a cable subscription because it is no longer nessesary!

Satellite Radio- An Expensive Extention of An Outdated Technology

I already explained my distaste for radio, because it is outdated but, there is one thing that I dislike even more than radio, that is satellite radio, because very few people still listn tro terrestial radio so, why would people want to pay loads of money for satellite radio? Satellite radio offers subscribers commercial-free broadcasts that can be listened to anywhee, while terrestial radio is limited to a certain area and have numerous commercial breaks.

Although there are some benifits to satelittle radio,  there are two major fees involved with becoming a satelite radio subscriber: first, there is buying the reciever  which can be anywhere between $40 and $300, then after that there is the month subscription fee which can be anywhere from $6.99 to $18 each month, depending on how many channels you want.

I cannot understand why people would pay loads of money when they can get similar services for free!  Services like Pandora is an alternative to music radio and podcasts are alternatives for talk radio. If you are not able to access the internet, then you could just listen to bought music on your ipod. As fazr as i’m concerned, there is absolutly no point in paying for satellite radio  and because of the current economic crisis we have experienced SirusXM has filed for bankrupcy protection because people have been cutting back on frivolus spending. I do not think this will last nearly as long as radio and is just a passing trend.

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