Branded in the 80′s is go.


By Shawn Robare




I swear to god, doing anything even sort of tech-savvy gives me one hell of a headache. I bought my first real new computer this past winter and it’s opened a lot of doors for me as far as internet content goes. I’d never had a PC with sound for instance, or any decent amount of hard drive space either (I’m so not hip), though I’ve been playing on the web with my work’s T1 connection for a while.

Anyway, one of the first things I stumbled upon while playing with my new DSL account was podcasts. I was turned on to Wil Wheaton’s blog via some link or other and saw he was doing podcasts. What’s a freaking podcast I asked the open air? So I downloaded it and realized it was just an mp3 file of him waxing intellectual. I was hooked. Sure I’ve been reading some pretty fun blogs, and adding his to the list was cool, but the podcast was great. For once, hearing inflection and sarcasm in a bolg, it was revolutionary to me (no matter how mundane it is to the mass amount of people already familiar with podcasts.)

So anyway, I wanted more and started the search for podcasts directories, which I found though it was tedious to download a bunch of stuff that I may or may not like. So my next step was iTunes, which IMHO had the most user-friendly interface for snaggin podcasts and listening to them at my leisure. Anyway, I got the bug and for some demented reason I wanted to do one of my own. I can’t explain this. I’m not outgoing, and I hate the sound of my own voice, but it just seemed like it would be a fun project to put together. So being the nerd I am I bought the "For Dummies" book on podcasting, picked up a cheap mic and started worrying about what I’d do for intro music and stuff.

The first thing I wanted to tackle was the music. I really wanted to use a bunch of 80′s cartoon and TV theme songs, out of print stuff that the ordinary music industry litigious obsessed exec wouldn’t dream of suing over, but I couldn’t get the stupid image of me in handcuffs being whipped by a member of the supreme court in a thong shouting about music rights out of my head. When I first started playing on the internet in ’97 or so the first thing I did was use a free service to put up one of the stupidest, most eye-achingly, mind-numbingly ugly simple websites dedicated to my then obsession with Yoo Hoo and how they were planning to take over the world through colorblindness. (There used to be this printed message on the bottom flap of the packaging of a 6 pack of Yoo Hoo bottles that read "Destroy All Colors", so I assumed the world domination part.) Anyway, the website was only up for a few months with like a total of 3 visitors when I got a cease and desist type e-mail from one of the Yoo Hoo beverage execs, who admittedly found the website funny. So me being sued for using copyrighted music doesn’t seem that out of place to me.

So while listening to Wil Wheaton’s ‘casts, he mentioned Apple’s Garage Band software that lets you play with samples and loops to make your own music, which sounded great to me even though I know nothing about music. Problem is, I have a PC not a Mac. So I began the search for a Window’s equivalent, and found it in Adobe Audition. I got sticker shock though and went back to the drawing board. Because I didn’t want to pump a bunch of money into this hobby that might not pan out I decided to download the free audio editing software, Audacity and I began scouring the nets in search of free samples and loops, hoping to find enough to construct at least one crappy theme intro. And I did, here, and I hated it. Mostly because it was the best I could do with what I had, but it didn’t reflect me in the least. So I broke down and bought a copy of Sony ACID XMC, and gave it another go.

I think I did something a little better, it’s the current intro music to the podcast above, but I was happy with it. So now that I had the music conquered, I figured why keep doing research and figuring out the logistics and just go ahead and record a podcast and see what you can do with the mp3 file afterwards. So last night I did just that and as of this typing I’ve gone all headache-y trying to figure out how to narrowcast my stupid podcast. I had signed up for a free ourmedia account to host the actual files already, so now I needed a place to showcase them. My next thought was iTunes. Which I’m still considering, but they wanted an RSS feed.

Without going into a sixty-page rant on why I don’t completely understand RSS and XML, I’ll just say this bummed me out. So I figured I’d need to subscribe to a free blogging service that I can use to link to the media files and that will also possibly do an automatic RSS feed for me. So I came to blogger, except blogger doesn’t generate RSS feeds. They play with atom and XML. So after goggling this problem I came across a nice site that explained how to convert your blogger feed to RSS via feedburner. It took awhile to figure out, but I thought I’d done it. Well, not so much. Turns out that the RSS just wasn’t right for iTunes, in fact it was really really wrong. So then I tried using the RSS feed from the ourmedia site where I was hosting the podcast files.

This worked and it showed up in iTunes, but is was buggy and I didn’t have clear access to changing the RSS code to make it iTunes friendly. So now I’m at libsyn.com and it appears to be the answer to all my questions while staying within a price structure that I’m comfortable with. So now it’s on to iTunes, hopefully.

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  • Miss Behavens

    Oh, I hear you about the techie details…sometimes they can make you nuts! You should also give the Podsafe Music Network a try…you have to do a bit of digging (not nearly so much as the internet archive) but there are some musical gems there…I don’t know why you had trouble at blogger…I use blogger (which annoys me for reasons OTHER than syndication) and Feedburner and I show up in iTunes just fine, I think…iTunes is slow to update, though, and doesn’t seem interested in changing the picture I uploaded three weeks ago. On a completely unrelated topic, I never forgave my mother for not buying me a Big Wheel. Or a Green machine.