Category Archives: Technology

How to Start a Podcast

Hey 3.5 readers.  Alas, my podcasting career was short lived, but I was so surprised that I was able to figure out how to get a podcast recorded and posted, that I’ll share the info with you:

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#1 – What Is Your Podcast About?

That’s really up to you, but I’ve listened to good podcasts and lousy ones.  The good ones have a theme, a point, a structure.  If it’s just you and your musings, make it clear that’s what the listener will get.  If it’s about your love of ancient paintings of toucan beaks, be clear about that too.

You may not have professional experience, but you’ve listened to enough radio to wing it.  My biggest pet peeve is podcasts where there are multiple hosts and they giggle and laugh and tell inside jokes and then someone says something like, “Should we tell the audience what that means?” and the response is “No, tee hee hee.  Well, sorry, but eff you dummies.  You came to entertain me, so either do it or shut off the recorder and have your own private conversation.  Don’t make your audience feel like an unwanted third wheel.

I keep wondering if I was too hard on myself.  My voice sucks, there’s no way around it.  I sort of hope that with more practice I could at least work on diction, pronunciation, pacing, timing, getting rid of stuttering, stammering, lost train of thought and so on.

So practice does make perfect but at the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  While the little errors should be removed from your book, I just don’t think it is possible for even the most professional talker to get through a broadcast without an “Uhh” or an “umm.”  It’s when they come every five seconds then it becomes a problem.

#2 – Get a Mic

I’m no expert here, but I know at least enough to tell you that the mic built into your laptop will not do.  You’ll need an actual mic to connect to your computer.  What’s the best one?  You’ll have to search around for that information.  Best for me was what I was able to afford and until you’re raking in the big bucks, you might want to stick with that too.  Don’t shell out your life savings on a fancy microphone, record one podcast, decide it sucks and you’re done.  That will just lead to embarrassment in a few decades when you tell your grandkids the story of that dusty old microphone in the corner with cobwebs all over it.

#3 – Train on the Software

I used Garageband for Mac, though I hear Audacity is preferred for PC.  My advice will be geared toward Garageband as I never used Audacity.

I am a complete novice, but here are some things I was able to pick up that got me from, “I could never do this” to “this is hypothetically possible.

  • “When I click record the recording picks up me hitting buttons on my computer and breathing.”

Yup.  You’re not an idiot.  That happens.  Just keep talking.  Record what you want to say.  Your recording will look like a big long running graph of your voice.  Find the parts where you hit buttons, breathed too hard, burped, farted or whatever.  I’m not sure what the marker that you move around the screen is called so I’ll just call it, “the marker.”  Put the marker between what you want to keep and what you want to delete.  Press Command + T at the same time and voila!  Snippy snippy!  Just like taking a pair of scissors to a piece of tape.  (That’s how people edited sound back in the day, millennials.)

  • “How do I string sounds together?”

You should have a cool intro, maybe some music, some kind of lead in, maybe a prerecorded interview or some soundbites you want to play.  You’ll have to study it more than I am able to explain here, but the short version is Garageband allows you to load up all your sounds, then drag and drop them next to where you want them to be in your recording.

  • “How do I fade out music?”

Yes, you’ll want awesome music but you don’t want it to end abruptly and then start speaking.  But you don’t want it blaring over your voice either.  You want it to build up and then start going down so the listener’s ears transition from the song to the words coming out of your cake hole.  I hate to be lazy, but I’m lazy.  I’ll confirm it is possible and it is just a matter of bringing up a line that goes over the voice of your music, plotting out points where you want the music to decline, then recording your voice and dragging underneath where the music fades out.

I don’t know how Howard Stern does it when he’s talking live.  I assume Fred has a fader button.

#4 – YouTube Videos

I literally obtained my limited podcasting knowledge by watching YouTube videos.  There’s a YouTube video about how to do almost anything.  I was utterly confounded by Garageband until I found a good video that told me how to use it.

#5 – How Do I Get My Fabulous Podcast Onto iTunes?

Ah, iTunes.  It’s the place to be for podcasts.  But you can’t just start there.  Steve Jobs didn’t get super rich by offering free hosting space, you know.

You need another site to host your podcast and generate an RSS feed for you.  You might be able to do it on your own website, but don’t look to me to tell you how, for my name is not Bookshelf Q. Einstein.

Soundcloud and Podbean will both allow you a small amount of free space where you can upload your podcast file.  However, if you decide that you’re going to be a regular podcaster, you’ll need to dole out some cash to get more hosting space.  Your choice of site.  I went with Soundcloud because it looks hipper to me.

There may be completely free sites but I’m not smart enough to know about them.

Once you’ve got a site to host your podcast, you can log on to iTunes podcast connect and link up your RSS feed.  iTunes will review your podcast and assuming they don’t have any problems with it, it will appear in iTunes podcasts once they approve it.  I don’t know how long it will take them to approve.  I don’t work for Apple, so stop bugging me, nerd.

#6 – Is There Anything I Should Be Worried About?

Lots, probably.  Just off the top of my head, don’t hijack copyrighted material.  You might like a popular song, but you can’t just lift it and make it your intro, for example.  Just as there are stock photo sites for blogs, there are stock sounds/songs sites for podcasts.  Also, you might think you’re a nobody and no one’s listening but even so, nobodies can be sued for slander and defamation, so mind your p’s and q’s, buster.

Conclusions

Done well, it can probably be a great marketing tool and if you get enough subscribers, you might be able to sell some advertising in order to fund your nerdy empire.  My fear is that it isn’t something you roll out of bed being able to do and even if you master the tech, you, sigh, still have to be someone that people want to listen to and provide a show that people will want to listen to.

Thus, for me, the fear is I don’t want to do it until I’m able to provide something that doesn’t make me sound like a dope.  I’ve listened to podcasts that sound like they came from people who half-assed it and I was left with the impression that they are dopes.  Remember, people are less likely to buy your book, read your blog, partake of your content if you come across as a dope, so if you’re going to do it, do it well.

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My Snapchat Stock Went Up and Now I’m a Genius

Hey 3.5 readers.  My Snapchat stock went down two seconds after I bought it so I assumed I was an idiot.  Then the next day it went up a little bit so now I’m a genius again.

I must admit I have concerns about the company’s long term prospects.  I really feel like they’ve got to branch out beyond the funny camera filters if they’re going to maintain such an enormous valuation.

Anyway, as a 0.000000000000000000000000001% owner of this fine company, allow me to ask you to check out the wonderful Snapchat app.  You can make yourself look like a puppy or a kitty and you can send inappropriate photos of yourself doing inappropriate things to unsavory characters and the photos just go poof, though apparently sneaky people can find a way around that so it’s not entirely foolproof but hey, if you can find a better app that can allow you to send inappropriate photos, then use it.

Wait.  Don’t use it.  Use Snapchat and make my stock go up.  Forget about sending inappropriate photos.  It’s a bad idea.  Just use the puppy and kitty filters instead.  You’ve always wanted to be a puppy.  Now you can.

Come on.  Make me rich, people.

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A Thought on Campaign Funding, the Internet and Technology

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Hello. I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, noted ugly rights advocate, champion yeti fighter, proponent for a cure for Lightning Infused Toaster Paper Toilet Death (we must find the cure in our lifetime) and the owner of a website owned by 3.5 readers.

Blah blah blah, you know my spiel about not getting political.

But here’s a thought I wonder if everyone couldn’t consider.  And I’ll say up front, I’m not sure how it could be carried out.

It just seems like it is becoming too much that people are able to cut a check to a candidate for huge amounts of money and then say with a straight face that this transaction doesn’t mean the candidate’s loyalty hasn’t been bought or that the donator is doing it solely on ideology and not expecting some kind of quid pro quo.

The problem has always been that the money has always been needed.  You don’t take it, your opponent will, your opponent can then buy a lot of TV ads and attack you 24/7.

But look at the tech today.

First, it is easier to collect small donations from the little guy.  Few people have the attention span to remember to write a check, address an envelope and mail it to the campaign of their choice.

However, if the laptop is already on your lap, burning your genitals while you’re watching Scandal Thursday nights on ABC, it doesn’t take much effort to send your candidate whatever you are willing to part with.

Should there be a cap?  Hypothetically, yeah, if its limited to, say, a hundred dollars per person then I’m not sure the average politician would become beholden to someone for a hundred bucks.

In other words, its never been easier to collect small donations from the general public and those donations won’t necessarily lead to an unsavory phone call demanding that a politician engage in sketchy behavior.

Second, and here’s the big one – video and/or other content has never been easier to produce, create, and share.

Seriously.  If some kid in his dorm can generate a million followers on YouTube by buying everything he needs at the local Best Buy, then surely the prospective leaders of the free world can.

Really – buy ad time? Seems like an outdated concept.  Turn on your smart phone, say something controversial about your opponent, post it, and then the media will pick it up.

OLD WAY: Buy millions of dollars worth of ads to play a commercial about how your opponent is a butt face.

NEW WAY: Turn on cell phone camera.  Say, “My opponent is a butt face.” Post. Wait for major networks to report that you called your opponent a butt face. Heck, your ardent followers will even spread your message to all their friends, informing them that you think your opponent is a butt face.

IN CONCLUSION:

  • It’s never been easier to raise a lot of money from a lot of little people who don’t have the power call you at 3 a.m. to ask you to do something to compromise your integrity because of a $20 donation they made on your site.
  • Content has never been cheaper to create or share.

AND THE BEST PART:

  • The average person who is a semi-respectable, non-douche with good ideas but hasn’t spent a lifetime being a henchman/woman for people making giant donations might, just might, be able, with a few simple, affordable pieces of tech available at Best Buy, be able to spread meaningful content about his/her ideas that goes viral and becomes as formidable as content created through enormous donations, thereby allowing better, less douchy people to rise to the top.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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iPhone earbuds go wireless; Apple Gets Rid of the Headphone Jack

Apple has deep sixed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, claiming that getting rid of the jack hole will help make the phone waterproof.

Great idea or incredible outrage?

Harmless innovation or CIA conspiracy to give us all brain cancer and/or control our minds via wireless earbuds?

Discuss.

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How to Tell If Your Website is Mobile Friendly

Greetings 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point in the last year, those fine folks at Google announced that websites that are mobile friendly would be, and I’m not quite sure how to explain this, given more consideration I guess in web hits.

There are probably nerdmeisters that can explain this better but ultimately, if you have a post about how to kick a yeti in the face and I have a post about to kick a yeti in the face and some schmuck out in Timbuktu does a web search for “How to Kick a Yeti in the Face” – your website is more likely to come up higher in said schmuck’s search results if yours is mobile friendly and mine is not.

What’s that? You want to know if your website is user friendly but you don’t know who to find out?

You are in luck, reader.

Google has a mobile friendly test.

Simply enter your URL and it well tell you if your site is mobile friendly or not.

Alas, it turns out that my fine website, bookshelfbattle.com is not considered mobile friendly at all.

If anything, it is mobile anti-social.

So I suppose at some point down the road I will take the plunge and find a new theme.

I worry about that. I feel like the baseball player that doesn’t want to change his smelly underpants in the bottom of the ninth because wearing smelly underpants has helped him win so far so why change anything?

But I suppose if hits are at stake I must do what I can to get those sweet, sweet web hits.

The last thing I need is for some OTHER jackass with a website about being a magic bookshelf caretaking yeti fighter with an alien buddy stealing MY web hits.

 

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Mitch Albom Article – Teacher Fired – Cell Phone Privacy

Hey 3.5 Readers.

If you’re like me, you’re a nerd interested in technology, so this story I found on USA TODAY stood out to me.

It is by Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, which is a great book by the way.

The synopsis:  Teacher took nude selfie for husband for Valentine’s Day.  Left it on her phone.  Left phone unattended on her desk.  Student picked up phone, went through it, found the naughty photo, took a picture of it, sent it around everywhere, teacher gets fired, eventually student gets in trouble.

Tough case, right? Yes, it is very stupid to take a naked picture of yourself and doubly stupid to leave it on your phone.  There’s no guarantee of privacy on the Internet so anything you don’t want “out there” shouldn’t be created in the first place.

But then again, this is her private phone.  No one has the right to go through any item that belongs to someone and look around through it.

Yet, I can also see the argument that she brought this phone into a school.  When she did, she brought every virtual piece of data on the phone into the school, including the nude photo.

Definitely should have had a passcode on the phone.  Who doesn’t have a passcode on their phone these days?

I can sympathize with the teacher.  Some silly thing she did in passing, something she thought only she had access to, never thought it would lead to anything.

I do think this is an issue where lawyers.have taken away common sense in the workplace.  The common sense approach would have been to give the teacher a lecture to never let this happen again or else you’re fired.

But I assume the administrators felt the safest thing (for them) would be to fire her outright.

Anyway, lessons to be learned:

  • Don’t take nude photos of yourself.  I don’t because no one wants to see that.  You shouldn’t because no matter how secure you think you are, it can always get out somehow.
  • If you’re stupid and do so anyway, don’t leave them on your device. Delete, delete, delete.
  • Keep in mind when you take your phone into a public building, you’re taking everything on it into a public building.
  • As a general rule, since your privacy can’t be guaranteed on the Internet, the best practice is to not do anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want to explain to the authorities and/or your mother later.
  • Put a passcode on your phone!
  • Don’t leave your phone unattended.  Keep it with you at all times.

 

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Tech Review – Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet

Happy Saturday, 3.5 readers.

BQB here. So I did it. Due to the exceptionally low $49.99 price, I caved and got myself this bad boy:

(*cough cough* SHAMELESS PLUG! Follow me on twitter @bookshelfbattle)

OBSERVATIONS

  • It’s cheap. Can’t go wrong for the price. Now even people without much scratch can waste as much time mindlessly streaming media as the one percent do.
  • For $50, it does have a pretty good display.  Obviously, it’s not as good as a suped up top of the line iPad but its decent for the price just the same.
  • It is good for watching Netflix and/or other movie apps.  I watched a few minutes of Brick Mansions, Paul Walker’s second to last film (RIP Paul, you are missed) and it came through crisp and clear.
  • It’s got a camera, so that means you have yet another camera in your life to take pictures of your lunch and post it on social media.
  • Obviously, it is set up so that you’ll make the most of it if you sign up for Amazon’s services like Amazon Prime.  Click on music and it’ll try to sign you up for Amazon’s music service.  Books will take you to Amazon’s infamous book service (and ask if you want to sign up for it.  Videos takes you to Prime and wants to know if you want Prime.
  • But then again, what tablet doesn’t try to sell you on the tablet company’s media? iPad wants you to buy stuff through iTunes, Android tablets want you to buy stuff through Google, etc.
  • I am debating whether or not to drop a hundred bucks on Amazon Prime.  Access to a lending library, more TV shows, free shipping all sound like they’d be nice.  Then again, it could just be Jeff Bezos’ ploy to grab me by my ankles, turn me upside down and shake all the spare change out of my pockets.
  • BUT if you don’t sign up and/or pay for any stuff, its still a great little spare tablet to have in a pinch.  I can tell you, my house is full of people who feel the constant need to borrow my computer, my tablet, my whatever device I’m working on and it doesn’t matter what I’m doing with it at the time.  I could be two seconds away from coming up with a solution for world peace or a cure for cancer and some jerkface will bellow in my ear that he needs to play Candy Crush and there goes my device.
  • So in theory, this is a good spare.  But in a day, I’ve noticed that means its a spare for me.  No one else around me wants to learn how to use an Amazon tablet so they steal all my shit and leave me to use the Amazon tab.  But at least it’s a spare someone’s using, even if it’s me, while everyone else uses my shit.
  • Please, the Yeti, stop swiping my laptop.  I’m trying to write a novel so the Mighty Potentate won’t conquer the planet.  Here, use this $50 Fire tablet instead.
  • Finally, its up to you really.  Do you need this?  Probably not. The low price is Amazon’s main selling point.  “You were never interested in Amazon’s stuff before?  Well what if we made the delivery system cheap…you know you nerds will throw your money away just for a chance to check out a new piece of tech…”

 

 

 

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