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Thoughts on the Podcast Academy

John Federico

Travel

I decided to take the train instead of fly to Boston for this event. Not only was it significantly less expensive, but given how quickly I can get to Newark Penn Station from my home, my total travel time was the same as air travel - or less - and I didn't have to arrive two hours early to make it through security, like I would have at the airport.

I traveled Business Class and it was a wonderfully pleasant experience. Northbound, I had an entire table to myself which functioned well as a desk. Coupled with the provided 120v outlet for my computer and cell phone, it was a very productive 3.5 hours. Southbound, I didn't get a table but the seats were so large and roomy that I was able to work with my 15" Powerbook on my lap with plenty of room to spare.

If only air travel were this comfortable and convenient. (Well, it is - it's called "First Class".) ;)

If you have the opportunity to ride Amtrak's high-speed Acela train, I highly recommend it.

Upon arrival, I checked into my hotel and headed to a cocktail reception at the Boston University Castle overlooking the Charles. The castle is an amazing piece of architecture dating back to the earliest days of the university. I had the opportunity to chat with my fellow instructors Jake Shapiro of PRX, Sam Levin (whose affiliations are too numerous to list), Alex Laats of PodZinger and Paul Figgiani of PodcastRigs.com (and the Conversations Network).

Later, I had an impromptu dinner with Mark McCrery of PodTrac at the hotel restaurant where we were able to catch up.

The "Curriculum"

The schedule for the day can be found here. It was a good balance of information covering "The Basics" as well as many of the legal, business and technical issues that podcasters face. I'll be interested to see how attendees evaluated the program.

Toys

Props to Timbuk2, XtremeMac, Griffin Technology and JBL for the wonderful product samples in the Instructor goodie bags at the Podcast Academy.

Timbuk2 provided an embroidered messenger bag, complete with a padded compartment for my Powerbook. I started using it immediately.

XtremeMac provided two silicone iPod cases, one for the iPod nano and the other for the iPod with Video. Appropriately, they were Celtics and Red Sox branded, respectively.

JBL provided a set of portable speakers for use with any computer or portable device. They're small enough to pack in my luggage when I travel so I can crank up some music in my hotel room. Considering how small they are, they provide surprisingly great sound.

Griffin Technology provided us with a set of EarThumps earbuds and an AirClick wireless remote control unit for any iPod with a dock connector. I'm using the EarThumps as I write this and they're great - comfortable with good bass response. The AirClick will work well in my car where I've recently added a auxiliary line-in via the CD changer, but still operate the iPod using the click-wheel.

Last, but not least, the Boston University College of Communication provided a nice water bottle with the school logo on it. I used it at the hotel fitness center this morning...

A big THANK YOU to Sam Levin for approaching his clients and arranging to have these items provided.

And of course, MUCHO thanks to Doug Kaye, Lauren Glaser and Sasha Norkin for putting on a great event. I hope the attendees found it as worthwhile an experience as I did.

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