Podcasting resource: Anchor.fm

anchor.fm comes highly recommended as free-to-use-with -almost-no-limits one-stop-shop for podcasting.

It’s apparently brilliant, intuitive and powerful, and an easy way to get your podcast onto googlepodcasts, apple, Spotify etc.

It’s on the hitlist – more soon!

Thanks to Ryan for pointing it out.

Seth Godin on fear and reassurance

The way [of handling fear] that doesn’t work is reassurance. Reassurance doesn’t work because you need an infinite amount of it. Someone can give you reassurance for five minutes and then ten minutes later you go “Ooohh no no no.” So the number of times that you need to be told by someone you trust and respect that you’re going to be fine is too high to even ask for it.

For me, the alternative is generosity. That is an excellent answer to fear. That if you are doing this on behalf of someone you care about, the fear takes a backseat. So if you want to figure out how to make books, go to a charity you care about and make a book for them, because now your fear feels selfish. If you want to figure out how to make marketing work, go and market for an organisation that you believe in. If you can find a lonely person and make them unlonely, a disconnected person and make them feel connected, you can make a practice of that. And the upside is it helps you walk straighter and stand taller.

Seth Godin – on Love Your Work with David Kadavy

Podcasting resources from Buzzsprout

I just came across these excellent tutorials from Buzzsprout:

Audacity Tutorial: 17 Essential Podcast Recording & Editing Tips

Loads of stuff about settings, filters, export quality (although they recommend exporting to 256kbs, four times the quality of the 64kbs that most people recommend for mono audio for a podcast).

Podcasting 101 Guide:How to Make a Podcast

This is a good overview of getting started, including planning, equipment setup and distribution.

Driverless Crocodile Podcast Special #1: Useful things with Victoria Patience

Subscribe on Android

This special episode is a tribute to Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder’s Cool Tools. Apologies for the variable sound-quality of this podcast – see Doing to See for more information.

Victoria Patience is a Spanish-to-English translator and author’s editor who helps Latin American intergovernmental organisations, non-profits and academics reach English-speaking audiences.

Victoria lives on the outskirts of Buenos Aires with her husband, two children, two cats, three dogs, and a flock of chickens whose numbers have been dwindling since dog number three arrived. When not searching texts for stray commas or searching the floor for stray Lego, she might be found cooking or vegetable gardening with a podcast in the background.

Show notes below.

Tool 1: Hori-Hori knife

AU$ 42 from forestrytools.com.au

Wikpedia says: “The word “Hori” (ホリ) means “to dig” in Japanese and “hori-hori” is the onomatopoeia for a digging sound. The tool itself is commonly referred to as a レジャーナイフ, “leisure knife” or a 山菜ナイフ, “Sansai(=Mountain-vegetable)knife” in Japan.”

Tool 2: Wallet App by Budgetbakers

US$ 40ish / year

Tool 3: Aeropress

UKP 30 from amazon.co.uk – Image from aeropress.com

Tool 4: Aaptive workout app and JBL Endurance Sprint Bluetooth headphones

aaptive screenshot
UKP 40ish (amazon)

Doing to see

My sister and I just recorded a special episode for Driverlesscroc Podcast(‘Useful Things’), learnt a lot doing it, including:

  • That recording both ends of a skype call is a viable way to work over distance
  • The importance of triple-checking your mics after I made a schoolboy error and plugged my mic into a headphone jack. I could see that I was recording something, but it turned out to be my laptop’s built-in mic rather than my lapel mic, resulting in a voice-track that sounds like it was recorded in a bucket
  • That Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder do a really good job of keeping their Cool Tools show tight – we were trying hard to stay focused but easily racked up 40 minutes.
  • That Audacity projects are big (we hit a couple of gigabytes for all the uncompressed audio and project files).
  • That (I think) Audacity doesn’t play well with syncing to the cloud – some of the source-files for my project file somehow got corrupted and I almost lost it all – fortunately I’d made an almost-finished .wav of the whole thing so it was saveable.
  • That ‘ship the work’ sometimes means ‘finish the project’ – get it done, learn from it, move on. This project doesn’t exactly have a ‘client’, and its main audience is us – so we can say ‘not quite good enough – but finished’ with a clear conscience. I’ll post it to the podcast for completeness, and as a reference for anyone interested in the journey.

The idea that doing helps you see – that experience counts for a lot – is pretty obvious in lots of areas of life. You can’t understand being on stage, or driving a car, or playing in a sporting contest, until you’ve done them.

But we tend to forget how true this is for almost everything, and how context-specific our experience tends to be. By doing, we see.

DCPodcast howto – recording via skype

Happy to report that we’ve just recorded a special-edition first episode of the Driverlesscroc podcast and it went off without a hitch.

Recording between Jakarta and Buenos Aires meant that we couldn’t trust the VoIP connection (in fact, Skype held up really well), so we made two separate recordings.

Setup

Stu: Skype with headphones on my Android phone, with a separate wired mic (the sub $20 Boya BY-M1 – amazon) recording to Audacity. (see incredibly important note below)

V: Used a mic-and-headphones headset for both Skype in Windows 10 and Audacity to record the input from the mic.

Lessons Learned from recording

  1. Recording the introduction is the hard part – once we got into the conversation it was easy.
  2. Keeping it concise is harder than we thought. We tried to keep the conversation tight but still ran almost double the length of a normal Cool Tools episode. Mark Fraunfelder and Kevin Kelly manage the balance between going into technical detail and keeping things moving really well, and I couldn’t have seen this until I’d tried to record something similar.*
  3. Another time I might try Cube Call Recorder to record audio from skype as a backup.
  4. It was fun and worth doing for the conversation alone (a good sign?)
  5. Done is better than perfect!

Lessons learned in post production

  1. It turned out I plugged the mic into the headphone jack and recorded the whole thing with my laptop’s built in mic. It could be worse, but the proper mic makes a big difference. The noise reduction made a huge difference improving the sound.
  2. Noise reduction takes quite a while for a longer file – several minutes.
  3. Outtakes are hilarious

*See also: Doing to see

Podcasting Howto: workflow for recording and improving sound quality for a podcast using Audacity

This howto is entirely based on David Taylor‘s excellent Introduction to Audacity youtube lesson. With apologies for the boring soundcheck used in the examples.

Preamble

  1. Install Audacity and the LAME (.mp3) and and FFmpeg libraries following the instructions from the website.
  2. Have a mic of some sort ready and plugged into your computer.
  3. Have headphones ready too.
  4. If you haven’t done this for a while, re-watch David Taylor’s introduction to Audacity to refresh your memory.

Setup

  1. Plug in mic and turn it on.
  2. Open Audacity.
  3. Decide whether you want to record in stereo or mono (smaller files), using MME, with project rate set to 44100Hz.
  4. Shut door, turn off fan.
  5. Mic check – check that audio doesn’t go above -0.0db on the meter.

Recording

  1. Click record.
  2. Wait for 3 seconds to capture ambient noise.
  3. Start speaking – be spectacular.
  4. Click stop.

Post-production

.wav file of the raw audio
  1. Zoom out to see entire clip; zoom in on ambient noise section.
Noise Reduction

Noise reduction gets rid of some of the background hissing and ambient noise to clean up the sound of your recording.

  1. Select the empty three seconds, then: Effect>Noise reduction
  2. Click Get Noise Profile.
  3. Select the entire clip (manually or using Control A then Effect>Noise Reduction. Click preview. If it sounds okay, click okay. It makes a huge difference in the project file, but less of a difference in the final .mp3.
  4. Trim off the empty three seconds.
Post noise-reduction
Normalisation

Normalisation brings up the sound levels so that they’re consistent across the recording.

  1. Effect > normalise. Use -2.0 as standard.
Normalised to -2.0 decibels (i.e. made louder)
Equalisation

Equalisation can help increase or reduce key frequencies in your recording – for example by getting rid of excessive bass or treble.

  1. Effect > Equalisation. Click equaliser to show sliders. I used AM radio to reduce sibilance but bought up the treble a bit.
  2. I tried again using the voice setting but bringing down the treble too. Not sure if I can tell the difference.
Post-equalisation using AM Radio setting, with a bit more treble
Post-equalisation using voice setting, with a bit less treble
Compression

Reduces the dynamic range of the recording (the difference between the loudest and quietest parts) – it can make the audio sound better when it’s amplified.

  1. Effect > Compressor.
  2. Uncheck Make-up gain to 0DB and uncheck Compress based on Peaks.
Re-normalisation
  1. Normalise again to -2.0
Other tweaks
  1. For any too-heavy peaks or plosives, zoom in and select them, then use Effect > Amplify and reduce the gain for that section.
  2. Use silence to remove any breaths etc.

Export to .mp3

Export as .mp3 using these settings:

  1. Export to mono for a podcast
  2. Constant Bit Rate
  3. Either 64 (common

Recording and editing with Audacity – start here

I had another go with Audacity this weekend and came across this tutorial for absolute beginners.

David Taylor‘s introduction is clear and systematic. He tells you everything you need to know to record, edit and tidy up audio in a little over fifteen minutes – fifteen minutes very well spent.

I like that it assumes no prior knowledge, covered everything you need to know with some nice details, and ignored the rest… and treats you as a beginner but not an idiot.

I’m convinced. My recent adventure went far better than my first try, and Audacity will almost certainly be my tool of choice for making the next episode – or prototype episode – of the DC podcast.

Thank you David!

P.S. There’s an reference in the video to Son of Citation Machine, which looks like a good resource…

Ordinary people. Good work.

Good to Great is all well and good, but what about Pretty Good to Very Good?

I’ve been mulling over the DC podcast and this is what I’m going to focus on: ordinary people doing good (and important) work.

Not multi-million pound-dollar businesses and organisations, but those working with tens or hundreds of thousands.

Not companies boasting world-class-execution-across-the-board, but individuals who are very-good-at-a-few-things with (if we’re honest) patches of mediocrity and plenty of room for improvement.

Not role models glimpsed as they soar through the stratosphere, but peer models who can share something that they’re good at and what’s worked for them, as well where they feel they’re falling down, and start some conversations.

The people I have in mind are a different set of elite performer – people who do work that they think is important and do it well, who buy their own stationary, wash their own dishes, and pay for their own mistakes.

Ordinary people. Like us.

DriverlessSpecodile (The DC Podcast Spec)

This is an attempt at speccing the DC podcast using questions from Seth Godin’s This is Marketing.

1. Audience: Who do I seek to serve?

What is the world view of the audience you’re seeking to reach? 

The Driverless Crocodile podcast is for people who believe that the world can be better – in big ways or small – and they have a responsibility to do or make something to make it so… and want to. It’s for people who believe that tools and ways of understanding help.

I will focus on people who want to hear and read about ideas and tools to help them make change happen (build the future), and to learn from other people who are doing similar work – people not necessarily much further along in the journey than they are.

What are they afraid of?

Probably, like me, they’re afraid of not making a positive difference, not being able to gather people to their vision, or not being able to find a sustainable funding model for the work that they do. They might be afraid of what will happen if people like them don’t take action to change our trajectory.

2. Purpose: What change do I seek to make?

What change are you seeking to make? 

I’m seeking to make more positive change happen then otherwise might be the case. I hope to do this by:

  1. Sharing a vision of the world as it is and of the possible (the Steve Jobs thing) so that people believe they can cause change (“if these people did it, I can”)
  2. Articulating values that they probably already have – to strengthen values by talking about them, justifying them and possibly challenging them.
  3. To share tools, strategies, models that people will find useful and be able to apply, equipping them to build a better future.
  4. Start conversations and connect people who share this vision and values.

What story will you tell? Is it true? 

I promise that engaging with what I make will help you… turn the idea or desire for change that you’re mulling over into something real – or eliminate it as a possibility after trying it out.

How will it change their status?

My audience might be on their way to losing some types of status (wealth, position) on their way to gaining another kind – they may come to measure their own status in terms of vision, self-respect because they can make things happen and get more done, status from people who share their worldview and aims because of their contribution.

3. Mechanism and Ecosystem: How will it work?

How will people hear about it?

  • Existing readers of DC
  • Word of mouth – me to some friends, them to their friends (if it’s worth spreading)
  • Guests telling their friends – and then onto word of mouth
  • Perhaps some will share on facebook

What happens when people use it?

They listen in their podcast app or online… I need to look into the best way to share it.

How will they tell others?

Wherever they meet and talk about things with their friends

Where’s the network effect?

Hopefully though guests recommending other guests.

Where does the money come from? Where does it go?

My money, my time, to do this. Anything else (amazon links, sponsorship) is an unlikely bonus.

What asset are you building?

An ‘evergreen’ web of writing, links and recommendations that I would have loved someone to introduce me to 15 or 20 years ago.

4. Impact: How will we know if it’s working?

Are you proud of it?

That’s a good first check.

What change do you hope to see?

See above.

Where do we go next?

If it works, and it gets easy – up the tempo, find more interesting guests.