Sunday, June 12, 2005

Figuring It Out

I've known about podcasting for about 3 months, but have never gotten around to actually doing it. Whenever there is something 'new' I balk at it, for reasons that I will explain later.

I actually found podcasting to be easy. It really is, it took me all of 45 minutes to do. But when I look at the steps, I can also see how it could be considered overwhelming. So, here are the steps I took to do my first podcast.

1- The first step I took was to decide to do it. Since I blog, I thought I would start with blogger. I went to their help section, did a search for audio files, and found that it was easy.

2- So next I set up an account with audioblogger, which is actually pretty cool. You call up this number, talk, and post it. 5 seconds later, you have an audio blog. I called the number, but it was busy. I tried the next day, but it was still busy. I went back to help, found a second number, called it up, and within 30 seconds, I had an audio blog; my first.

3- Since I wanted to post the first chapter of my book, in audio, I had to next rip the tracks off of the CD (no worries, I got permission from my publisher). Since the whole chapter was not on one track, I ended up with 6 separate tracks. I didn't want users to have to listen to 6 separate files, so I needed to combine them into one.

4- Next I needed some good audio software. I'm sure there is professional stuff out there, but I like open source. A quick search later and I found Audacity, a surprisingly powerful little tool. A quick download and install later, and I was set.

5- I ran into my first problem (there are always problems) here. I could not import the audio files. I was about to throw in the towel, when I realized that I could import mp3, but could not import the windows media files. So now I needed to take my 6 tracks, and convert them to mp3.

6- A quick Google search showed me several kinds of converters, and a quick download and install later, I had 7 mp3s.

7- I uploaded the mp3, figured out how to merge all the tracks into one file, and tried to export the file as an mp3. No such luck

8- Back to audacity, found an extension, download, unzip, and I now had my chapter 1 as a single mp3.

9- I now needed this file up on a server somewhere. It's 17 mb, so my normal sources don't work. I use my account at Weber State, and 4 minutes later, I have my file connected to the internet.

10- Back to Blogger, I edit my original audio file to point to my new 17 mb file. I double check, and behold, my first podcast appears to be working.

Anyway, I've got a few thoughts about this process, and why I dreaded it, when it really was only 45 minutes of work. I'll post about that later. Right now, I think I'm due for a little nap.


Kami said...

Thank-you for this post. I have wanted to know how podcasting was accomplished but have not had the time to research it, your notes are VERY helpful. I will definitely follow your instruction on this matter.

I was just talking to Shelley yesterday (we are roommates in Hawaii - yeah) and I think that the 3 of us should lauch a podcasting project at Weber next year. My PDA project continues to be rejected for funding, so I am ready to move forward with podcasting. I already have some support for that!

Ok, now you can comment on how pathetic it is that I am posting while I am in Hawaii, don't I have anything better to do?

Matthew Buckley said...

That would be great. Podcasting is pretty cool, and not that hard. With a little bit of tricks, you can do a whole lot.