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Filtering by Category: Software

We've Reached "Peak Messaging"

John Federico

As the quintessential early adopter and a propoent of creative disruption, I never thought I’d find myself saying this: when it comes to messaging, I’m old school.

Sure, email has it’s problems, but it works. The same goes for SMS. Both are ubiquitous - it doesn’t matter what mail client you have or what phone you use, it just works. For everyone.

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Loopback from Rogue Amoeba

John Federico

I've wanted to go "all-usb" with my podcast setup for years but was always held back by the fact that there was no such thing as a "software channel strip" that would work with applications like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom.

At one point, I went so far as to hack one together using a combination ofSoundflower (with Soundflower Bed) and GarageBand.

Soundflower is the audio routing software while Soundflower Bed is the configuration tool.

It worked, but the CPU on my 11-inch MacBook Air would max out, making the video capture almost unusable.

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It's not Me. It's You. (updated)

John Federico

There's a bug in one of the blogging platforms I use which has been consistently appearing during regular use. (Not this one, BTW.)

It's a minor bug, but it's appearance has become annoying and tedious. I continually remind myself that the service is free, and that I shouldn't complain.

Yesterday however, I figured I should take a moment to notify them about it as it could be helpful for them to know.

The response (from offshore) is below:

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Shooting 720p Video using an iPhone 4S

John Federico

The combination of the new backside illuminated camera sensor and A5 processor in the iPhone 4S makes for a powerful, high-quality consumer video device that shoots full-HD.

But what if you own a device with only 16 GB of storage? That 1080p video will eat that up fast.

If you want to shoot at 720p, which is still very high quality, grab the latest version of FiLMiC Pro from the app store.

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New iOS Podcasting Workflow

John Federico

Since I began podcasting in 2006, I've been using a variety of methods to record audio, both in the studio and remotely.

I use Macs exclusively and my experiments have included full simultaneous multi-track recording in Garageband using a Firewire mixer, to simply using a conference phone and a pocket recorder to capture phone interviews.

I finally settled upon Audio HiJack Pro for both local and remote recording as the software enables me to capture both sides of a Skype conversation in a single audio file.

This setup worked great for years with only minor hiccups. Finally, a few weeks ago, I had some weirdness occur in this setup and I lost an entire 90-minute episode.

For whatever reason, the Skype connection dropped. We immediately reconnected and everything sounded fine during recording. However, when I played the file back, the audio coming from the studio mics from that point forward was completely garbled. (My caller sounded fine, which was even more strange.)

Sure, we had a good conversation - in fact, it would have been a great episode -  but I wasted everyone's time by not having a better solution for monitoring the audio.

Fixing It

To say that I have a few gadgets in my studio would be a gross understatement so I decided to take stock of my gear and pull together a simple, reliable method for capturing local and remote audio.

Here's the result.

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When Passions Collide: Peavey Ampkit Link for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

John Federico

I used to play bass and guitar in New York Area rock bands during the eighties and early nineties. While that's not much of a shock, the clothes we used to wear would be. You know the era: lots of hair, spandex, and ripped t-shirts. There are pictures somewhere, which my wife threatens to reveal if I ever get her really mad at me...

I LOVED playing music. It was one of the great passions in my life before my wife and I began sharing an apartment. That was over 16 years ago and I haven't picked up an instrument since. Not because my wife wasn't appreciative - in fact, she's encouraged me to continue to play over the years.

It's difficult to practice, however, when you're surrounded by neighbors in an apartment building. Even after we moved into our house in 1999, it just wasn't appropriate. Practicing an instrument can be a wholly singular experience, separating you from your family for hours at a time, and the noise can be distracting to other people in the house - especially to a sleeping baby.

This week, I went to our local Guitar Center and bought myself a new electric guitar. What was my inspiration?

My iPhone. 

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How to Accept Meeting Requests on the iPhone

John Federico

Lots of folks rely on their mobile devices to help manage their schedule throughout the day. You're probably one of them. I know that I couldn't manage without my iPhone, MacBook and iPad.

The one piece of my workflow that's been bugging me ever since I stopped using Microsoft Exchange and migrated over to Google Apps (Gmail, Google Calendar) is the ability to manage my calendar on my iPhone.

Sure, I can create events on my calendar and even invite people to those events. However, when someone accepts one of those meeting requests, I'm not explicitly notified via email or on my iPhone - I have to check the calendar to see if someone has accepted. It's not ideal, but I can live with it.

The flip side to that equation is what's been driving me nuts: accepting meeting requests on my iPhone. If you're not using Exchange, meeting requests show up as an attachment, usually with the name "meeting.ics", indicating that it's an iCalendar file.

Tapping the icon results in...nothing. I can't open it in the iPhone Calendar app. I have to quickly respond to this person with a message like "Confirmed" just to make sure that we lock down the time and date of the meeting, then officially accept the request and put it on my calendar when I get back to my Mac.

Given that the iCalendar format is a standard used by Apple within iCal on the Mac and on the iPhone, it seems ridiculous to me that I'm unable to respond to meeting requests.

A quick Google search proves that I'm not alone. The last time I performed this search I found a mention of an app buried at the end of a forum thread that was released that very day to solve this problem.

It's called Calendar Happy and yes, it makes me very happy. ;)

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Aggregated Media Beats One-Off Titles in the iPad App Store

John Federico

In thinking about content for the iPad (books, magazines, movies, etc.) my instincts and experience tell me that having a unique product in the App Store should drive more sales than an app that aggregates premium content. That's because I believe the value of keyword search is greater than the value of aggregation  - it becomes difficult to effectively list all the aggregated content on the app's sales page and harder for consumers to find that content.

Apparently, I was wrong.

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Adobe is Running Scared from Evolving Standards

John Federico

Buy this from SpreadshirtLike the iPhone and iPod Touch that came before it, the iPad runs the same slimmed-down version of Mac OS X complete with it's multi-touch controls, icons and menu bar.

The iPad also shares with its forebears a lack of support for Adobe's Flash. Flash is an application runtime environment (a nerdy way of saying "software that lets other software work") that competes with the native applications on the iPhone, so it would make business sense that Apple might exclude it from the native capabilities of the "iPlatform".

More likely however, is the fact that Flash is buggy, crashes often and can suck up CPU cycles like crazy.

Case in point: now that I'm running Google Chrome on my MacBook, I can see how often Flash crashes as the browser will remain functioning but indicate that the plug-in has crashed. These are crashes I used to blame on my browser - Safari, Firefox, Opera, Camino - all of them. Shame on me.

Given how maniacal Apple is about the user experience and stability of the iPlatform, it's a no-brainer for them to exclude Flash - competitive issues aside.

And now, with the triumvirate of the iPhone, iPod Touch and soon iPad, Adobe is getting a little uncomfortable. If there's one company that can utilize its momentum and marketing prowess to shift an industry from de facto standards to web standards, it's Apple - and in this case, that web standard is HTML5.

Apple did this for the Webkit rendering engine that now powers Safari and Mobile Safari, but also Google Chrome, Android and soon a variety of other Webkit-based browsers for mobile devices like BlackBerry. They did it for video with H.264 and soon, they'll do it for HTML5.

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Does Amazon want to be in the Hardware Business?

John Federico

I found this post at iReaderReview about the need for the next generation of the Kindle (what the author calls the "Kindle 3") to have "Killer Features" in order to compete with the new threats to the Kindle's market success.

While it's an interesting analysis, there are some key points that the author fails to address - and others that probably don't need addressing at all.

Some of the "Killer Features" cited in the post include things like a Touchscreen, support for the ePub standard and better support for PDF's. Some of the more outlandish features include Speech-to-Text Transcription for note-taking, GPS and Google Maps and Social Networking.

Whoa! Slow down, cowboy!

The Kindle is an eBook Reader - it's not a computer, an iPod, an "iTablet" or transcription device. It does its job well - better than any other device that's been brought to market before.

Sure, social networking features might be a valuable benefit for readers (and Amazon, as it reduces friction in recommending books) but these services only add to the complexity of the device and the user experience.

That said, the reason for Kindle's groundbreaking success is not specifically about the hardware. The Kindle is a success thanks to: 

  • Great hardware at a reasonable price point with all the promised benefits of an eBook reader (lots of portable content, etc.)
  • Demand fulfillment from anywhere there's a Sprint wireless connection (Sprint powers Whispernet)
  • The backing of major publishers, small publishers and even self-publishers

With all that said, why does Amazon necessarily have to or want to be in the hardware business?

Let's look at Audible.com (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon) as an analog to the Kindle eBook business.

When Audible launched, to consumers it promised a large selection of audiobooks and lower prices thanks to digital delivery. To publishers it promised to grow the market for audiobooks and protect the publishers' intellectual property using Audible's proprietary file format (".aa") and DRM .

Customers were supposed to purchase the audiobooks, download the files, then listen to them on their computer or burn them to a CD for portable use. Neither of these consumption options was very practical. Listening on your computer require that you remain in close proximity to your computer and even with a laptop, wasn't practical for the car where most audiobooks are consumed.

Burning CD's in the late 90's still took an inordinate amount of time due to write speeds of most CD-R drives and the general speed of computers.

To improve on this relatively poor consumption experience, Audible produced a great (for its time) little MP3 player called the Otis that played both MP3 and Audible's proprietary file format. (I still have mine, somewhere. It still works.)

The debut of this device coincided with the AudibleListener subscription program. In exchange for committing to a year of the program, you received a free Otis player.

Over time, Audible licensed its software to other device manufacturers so that they could enable playback of .aa files on their portable media devices. The first was the Diamond Rio. Hundreds of others followed, including the big Kahuna, Apple, whose iPods and iPhones all play the .aa format.

Where's the Otis today? In the Smithsonian. (Literally. They have one as a part of their collection.) That's to say that Audible no longer makes the Otis.

Once portable media players took off as a product category, Audible no longer needed to expend its resources on producing its own - that was one part of the ecosystem that the market assumed on its own.

Let's return to the Kindle and Amazon's eBook business.

What's to stop Amazon from giving you a free Kindle in exchange for your commitment to a one or two year subscription plan? That would be a game changer even before Barnes & Noble/Plastic Logic got a toehold in the market.

For that matter, if you're Amazon, why manufacturer the Kindle at all? Amazon wants any manufacturer to play in their eBook ecosystem. The release of the Kindle source code and the Kindle App for the iPhone both support this theory completely.

As the market for eBooks gets bigger, Amazon benefits whether or not they continue to produce a reader. I hope they continue as I love my Kindle and expect the company to innovate for years to come, but when Amazon is satisfied that another manufacturer can produce an experience as good or better than they can themselves, I could envision them divesting themselves of their hardware business altogether and focus on content and services.

I just can't quit you, iPhone.

John Federico

As I've mentioned in the past, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. I love the usability, the applications, the ease in which it connects to Gmail, Google Calendar, Exchange and even the way it feels in my hand.

But I'm intensely frustrated by the short battery life.

It sucks and I'm not the first to complain about it. The poor battery life has created something of a market opportunity for a number of companies as there numerous products that have cropped up to juice up your iPhone on-the-go like the Mophie Juice Pack, the iPWR Superpack, the Kensington Mini Battery Extender and my favorite, the FastMac iV, among others.

I didn't want to have to lug around yet another piece of kit so this past week, I decided to take drastic measures and go back to the BlackBerry, specifically a BlackBerry Bold. I bought a used one on eBay for a reasonable price and when it arrived yesterday and I opened the box, it was like reuniting with a long lost friend. That is, until I attempted to actually use it.

Setting up the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) for email was a complete disaster. Apparently, Microsoft made some changes to Hotmail/Windows Live Mail recently that required BlackBerry customers to login and reset their accounts before they could continue to use their devices with the Microsoft services. It wasn't until late last night that I was able to set up my Gmail account via IMAP. Or so I thought.

See, BIS doesn't actually implement IMAP the way it's intended. IMAP is supposed to be a synchronous mail protocol that allows you to store your mail on the server while storing a copy of it on your client. Changes on the server are reflected on the client and vice versa. BIS retrieves your mail and delivers it to your BlackBerry and let's you read, respond to and delete mail while having those changes reflected on the server. Working with your inbox on your desktop is another story.

If you read, respond to or delete mail from your inbox using a desktop client or web browser (Gmail in my case) the changes are not reflected on the BlackBerry. Effectively, you are now managing two inboxes. I posit that Research in Motion (RIM), the company that makes the devices, doesn't want to fully implement IMAP into BIS as it could cut into sales of their BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).

Having already started down this path, I decided to continue. I remembered that BlackBerry got in bed with Yahoo a few years ago allowing Yahoo to implement fully synchronous mailboxes. I forwarded my primary email address to my ol' Yahoo Mail address and adjusted my desktop workflow accordingly. This actually worked fine - I used this setup when I had my last BlackBerry a few years ago. (Tip: it's worth every penny to sign up for Yahoo Mail Plus and get rid of the ridiculous, untargeted and highly annoying ads.)

Next, I installed Google Sync so that I could keep my Google Calendar and Google Contacts in sync with my BlackBerry. It was simple to install and sync'd properly on the first try. I did the same using Remember the Milk for BlackBerry. This was also simple to install but managing tasks using the default BlackBerry application is horrible. The interface just isn't meant to facilitate the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.

What else? Twitter, of course! I had heard about a great BlackBerry Twitter client called TweetGenius and immediately dropped $4.99 for a license. It was well worth it as any of the other clients that are available are pretty basic (though I'm judging them against Tweetie and Twitteriffic on the iPhone which probably isn't fair).

Finally, I decided to take a stroll through BlackBerry AppWorld. It's quite limited compared to the iTunes App Store but I found a few gems. Qik for BlackBerry is awesome (and doesn't require that you jailbreak your phone to use it). Viigo is a great kitchen sink type application that lets you read RSS feeds, check the weather, find local businesses and bunch of other stuff.

With that all wrapped up this morning, I went about my day. At 3:00 PM, all seemed to be fine. I had been running on the same battery charge for more than 24 hours and still had 70% left - and this was after heavy usage performing software installations, setting things up, etc.

Then, in my mind, it all came grinding to a halt. Google Sync proceeded to add duplicate entries to my BlackBerry calendar each time it sync'd. I then realized that I would have to upload or sync all my contacts to Yahoo Mail in order to have easy access to them. And finally, I discovered that the new and improved Bold browser didn't display the advance version of Google Reader. (Which was my own fault for not testing it beforehand...).

That was it. After less than 48 hours, I pulled the plug on this grand experiment.

The BlackBerry is a great device, but switching required me to change too many things in my daily workflow. I'm pretty much wedded to the Google Apps - especially Gmail - and had a difficult time giving it up for Yahoo Mail. I didn't want to deal with my calendar syncing problems nor manage my tasks in the pathetic BlackBerry Task List - I just wanted everything to work. Right now.

A relatively quick phone call to AT&T support and swap of my SIM card and I was back using my iPhone. This evening I even purchased a FastMac iV External Battery Pack.

My BlackBerry Bold will make someone else very happy when they win the upcoming eBay auction.

Buying Software for Jailbroken Hardware

John Federico

So, yeah. I jailbroke my iPhone. I did it primarily so I could use Qik and uStream and so I could add Search functionality.

A funny thing happened after I did that: I found some software that I can't live without. But therein lies a dilemma.

You: Wait - how is finding something you love a bad thing?

Well, that software requires that I purchase a software license.

You: Okaaaaay. So, just buy it!

Not so fast. Think about the premise for a moment: a developer wants me to purchase his software for a phone whose manufacturer may block me from using that software at some point in the future. It's kind of like buying a car and wondering if gas stations will continue to sell the kind of gas you need to run it.

I'm supportive of software developers, especially small, innovative shops that deliver valuable tools. I think it's great that they've found a market and can make some money for their creativity and hard work but as a buyer, it can be hard to reconcile that kind of risk.

OK, so it's not a huge risk. The software only costs $9.99. (That's like, my espresso budget for a couple of days.) But it did make me think.

The software is called IntelliScreen and it's made by a company called Rock Your Phone.

From their site:

Need to know where your next meeting is? Do you have any new email? What about a quick glimpse at your SMS/Text messages or weather? Want to catch the latest news, but Safari is too slow? IntelliScreen allows you to glimpse at your critical data on your iPhone "Slide to Unlock" screen!

Features:

  • View Calendar, Email, Text Messages, News, Sports, and Weather from your iPhone "Slide To Unlock" screen
  • Taskbar Icons for Missed Email, SMS, and Phone calls
  • QuickView
  • View/Mark Read/Mark Unread/Delete your Emails and SMS from the Lock Screen
  • 2 IntelliScreens
  • Double Tap the Clock Area to goto Page 2
  • Hide IntelliScreen with a Swipe to the left on the Clock Area
  • Swipe Right to get it back
  • Customizable Alert Reminders
  • Don't forget about a missed call, unread email, unread SMS, or repeating Calendar Alerts

 

Quite simply, it rocks. It's become an indispensible tool for me. (And no, I have no ties to the company whatsoever, financial or otherwise.)

Consequently, I downloaded another one of their apps called "MyProfiles" and yes, I will buy it, too once the trial is over. It costs $4.99.

From their site:

Find yourself constantly changing the settings on your iPhone depending on what you're doing or where you are? How about getting alerted when a critical email comes in from your boss? What about being able to sleep at night without being disturbed, unless it's a call from a loved one? Wish you didn't have to keep changing the auto-lock function when you're charging at your desk? Do all of this and more with MyProfiles!

Profile your iPhone!

Adjust how your iPhone behaves based on time, location, connected devices, low battery, and more.

Features:

  • Custom alerting of email based on Subject, Sender, Sent Only to You, and Mail Accounts.
  • Custom alerting of SMS messages and missed calls based on caller phone #.
  • Modify the Vibrate Pattern so you can be quietly alerted to a specific email.
  • Repeating Alerts for Email, SMS, and Missed Calls.
  • Silence Calls via WhiteList or BlackList
  • Escalating Rings and Vibrate 1st then Ring
  • Adjust WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Push Email, Auto Lock, and 3G based on Location, Time of Day, and more.
  • Automatic rules engine to enable profiles
  • Vibrate, Sound, or Flash Alerting with Alert Quiet Time
  • Manual Override Profile by holding down the home button and pressing up and down on the Volume buttons.

When do I really have to stop and think about buying software for a jailbroken iPhone? Probably when the price hits almost $30.

pdaNet is a software application that's been around for awhile for Palm Treos, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and is now available for jailbroken iPhones. Created by a company called JuneFabrics, it enables you to connect to the AT&T 3G network using your iPhone and a Wifi enabled computer that supports the creation of "ad hoc networks." The Mac does this easily - I'm unsure about Windows and Linux.

From their site:

pdaNet has been one of the most popular software for Windows Mobile phones and Palm OS phones. It is now ported to the iPhone! The latest version turns your iPhone into a true WiFi router for your computer (MAC or PC), and allows your laptop to go online wirelessly through the 3G network on the iPhone. It also supports USB tethering for Windows users.

While there has been quite a few other third party software (iPhoneModem, NetShare etc. and also the built-in OpenSSH) that tether your iPhone through a junky SOCKS proxy solution. PdaNet, on the other hand, is miles ahead! Here is a list of what PdaNet can do:

  • You will get FULL Internet access on the computer! (Instead of only applications that support Socks proxy.) In technical terms, all applications make direct TCP/IP connections to the server. Since there is no proxy involved, that also means less problems and less delays.
  • VPN connections are supported on the computer.
  • You don't need to configure anything on the computer end whenever you connect PdaNet. No proxy settings, no extra software installation, no messing with static IP assignment, no switching settings back and forth when going back to your home's WiFi router.
  • Yes it will connect at 3G speed if your phone has the coverage. Feedback from our users shows pretty fast speed even for the 2G version.
  • WiFi Router Mode supports PC, MAC, Linux or anything devices that supports ad-hoc WiFi connection. See WiFi setup instructions.
  • USB Tether Mode makes things even simpler. It allows you to with one click from the computer end. See USB setup instructions. USB mode even allows your computer to go online using the iPhone's WiFi Internet connection.
  • PdaNet runs in the background so you can still use other iPhone features when PdaNet is connected.
  • PdaNet has a built-in "insomnia" feature so you can turn off the phone when PdaNet is in the foreground and it won't drop your active connection. This will conserve battery.
  • When PdaNet is connected, you can SSH/SCP to your phone using domain "my.iPhone".

However, once again, a software update for the iPhone could render the application useless. Additionally, it's really meant for the person who occassionally wants to connect their laptop to the interwebs. If you're going to connect often, get yourself dedicated hardware and a service plan or suffer the rath of AT&T who will most certainly suspend your account for a "Terms of Service" violation.

Would you buy software for your jailbroken iPhone? Have you already? Why? Tell me in the comments.

The Strategies and Tactics of Show Prep

John Federico

Unlike Kris and Betsy, for most of us, life isn't show prep. It's actually real work.

I have some basic concepts that I consider during show prep, production and post-production.

  • I want to minimize post-production. It's a time suck and some people can really get obsessive about it (ahem...). You want to produce the best media possible, but if it's only one of many things you do every day (like me) you want to have to do as little as possible.
  • It needs to be easy to collaborate with others. I have three co-hosts and a number of guests at any given time. People need to be able contribute topics that they feel are worth discussing while learning what others may want to talk about.
  • It needs to be easy for remote participants while maintaining sound quality. Chia-Lin now lives in the Bay Area, so she no longer participates in studio. I need to accommodate her as well as any guests we may have.

With that in mind, here's an overview of the process I use to produce the On Digital Media podcast. Yes, it goes beyond just show prep, but James Andrews asked my about me gear, etc. so I decided to post it all here.

Collection

We typically record on Thursday evenings. Since it's a topical, current events-based show, we have to collect stories that have occurred throughout the week. And, since there are four of us (with the occassional guest) we need a way to collaborate on the story list.

We used to use Delicious to collect stories but since Steve and I do so much of our reading on our iPhones, bookmarking in Delicious just wasn't practical. Nowadays we star items in Google Reader. I prefer to use Shared Items in Google Reader - if it's worth sharing, chances are it's worth discussing.

That process works great for things we find in RSS feeds, but that's not convenient when we find something on a web page. For that, I've recently started using Twine. I've created a Twine called "Digital Media" where I publish interesting stories using the Twine bookmarklet. I also get the added benefit of sharing the item via Twitter.

Organization

Once we've collected a group of stories that are worth discussing, we have to organize them. For this, we use a Google Docs. Usually Steve or I will create a Google Doc and share it with the episode participants.

I usually drop a short script in at the top so I remember to introduce the show, tell people where to subscribe, introduce my co-hosts and guests and allow each of them to get in their plugs.

Headlines, slugs and sometimes entire articles are copied into the Google Doc and loosely organized by topic. On the evening of the show, I will sort the stories for improved flow and better segues.

That said, we don't discuss every item - sometimes we go deep into a particular topic and run out of time. Other times, it's good to have extra items since you never know when it might be interesting to segue into something else in the story list.

Keep in mind - Google Docs allows multiple simultaneous editors. That means we can edit the show notes and every participant can see them in real-time. It works beautifully.

Gear

After doing this for nearly three years, I've pretty much got the gear set up for our weekly(-ish) use without having to touch much.

Studio 1A

Studio 1A is my home office, in the attic (hence, the "A"). On my desk I have an Alesis Multimix Firewire 8, though rarely use the Firewire interface these days. I keep things simple and jack-in to my MacBook using a USB capture card running from the analog I/O ports on the mixer. (It's the USB encoder/decoder that came with my Logitech Premium Notebook Headset.

For microphones, I have a few mic stands and a variety of condenser mics: a couple of MXL 990's, a Kel-Audio HM-1, an AKF Perception 100 along with a few others. Ken needs a pop filter as he has a difficult time remembering to keep a safe distance from the mic. ;)

Headphones are available to everyone. I bought some inexpensive over-the-ear headphones at Radio Shack which are collapsible and can be transported easily. Since over-the-ear headphones can get really hot really fast, I like to use my Shure SE110's in the summer months. (I'm going to upgrade to the SE310K's soon as they have improved bass response.)

Remote Participants

For Chia-Lin and other remote participants I use Skype on my MacBook. Chia-Lin connects to the Studio using a Skype-to-Skype connection. If you have a suitable amount of bandwidth, you can't beat the sound quality of Skype. If I have other guests calling in who do not have Skype, I will call them at a number they specify using SkypeOut. The quality isn't as good as good as a Skype-to-Skype connection, but it doesn't require me to purchase a digital hybrid coupler, which can be expensive.

Recording Live

Right now we use TalkShoe for our live shows. Downloading TalkShow Pro allows me to control my chat room, mute listeners and take questions live from the audience. For this, I also use SkypeOut to call the TalkShoe phone number. There's a VOIP interface that is intended to offer better voice quality, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it.

I still record the shows locally on my Mac even though TalkShoe is recording everything on their central servers. (I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy when it come to recording: you never know when something can go wrong so it's good to have multiple recorders rolling.)

I'm expermimenting with a Shoutcast server for better live sound quality. Will post something on that soon.

Post Production

I run everything through the Levelator, edit in Fission, lay it out with music, intros and outros in GarageBand and edit ID3 metadata using iTunes. I currently publish to a Wordpress blog using PodPress, but that will change. More on my workflow here.

Any questions? Comments? Tips? Post them in the comments.

The Whispersync That Will Be

John Federico

With the introduction of the Kindle 2 and the Kindle for iPhone application came Whispersync: the ability to sync the current place in your book between devices. Amazon also introduced text-to-speech capability, allowing you to listen to your books aloud while still maintaining said place within your book. This, gentle reader, is but a temporary method to integrate text and audio.

Remember Amazon's acquisition of Audible.com?

Once Audible is fully-integrated with the Amazon Digital Services platform, I'll bet that Kindlers will be given the ability to read and listen to the same book and never have to fumble for the place where they left off.

Of course, publishers are not going to just give away two copies of the same work for which they normally charge full-price, but I envision some sort of bundle where the combined cost of the Kindle text and the Audible audio will be sold at a 25% - 50% discount vs. purchasing each of them separately.

Of course, device support will likely be limited to those that are networked and allow third-party applications. At the moment, that means the iPhone/iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android, Palm Treo, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile, etc. although it's certainly possible to accomplish this feat with a desktop application acting as an intermediary. Audible has done this for years - when you sync your portable media device to your desktop, it notes your playback position, allowing you to listen where you left off using your desktop media player.

When might we see this?

That's unclear, but it will begin the day Audible customers receive an email that says something like, "Dear Audible Customer, you'll now be getting your audiobooks through Amazon.com..."

I'd say, look for it within a year to eighteen months.