So the long-planned and consistently procrastinated SEB Podcast is going to happen this Saturday thanks to the very responsible ***Dave who’s been pestering me that we should actually do what we said we would do. This will be our first attempt and I fully expect it to be… interesting. Yeah, interesting is a good, positive sounding word. I just hope it’s interesting for the right reasons.
Here’s the thing: As most of you who follow both SEB and ***Dave Does the Blog already know, outside of him being a theist and me an atheist, we have more in common than not. My concern is that we’re going to ask each other questions about topical items and we’re going to agree with each other so much that the entire podcast will be similar to this:
Me: I think Pat Robertson is stone-cold crazy.
***Dave: I agree completely. And I think the Teabaggers are a wee bit deluded.
Me: I totally agree.
Which is going to make for a fairly boring podcast. So I’m opening this up for you guys to participate. Got a topic you’d like to hear us pontificate on? A question burning a hole in your brain? A query you’re curious if we can help you with? Leave it in the comments or alternatively drop me an email or drop ***Dave an email if you prefer. Topics can be anything you want – politics, religion, technology, pop culture – and we’ll do our damnedest to talk about them in an amusing manner.
Yes, I know I’ve made this plea previously only to have it go nowhere, but we’re really going to do it this time barring the world coming to an end. Remember, this is our first try at this and neither one of us has done it before. Which, if nothing else, should add an air of unintentional comedy to the proceedings.
I got up early on Saturday to attend the Podcamp Michigan event I mentioned previously and was pleasantly surprised to have my daughter come along for the ride. She’s not an early riser at all so I didn’t think she’d be too keen on getting up at 7AM on a Saturday when she could be sleeping in, but she dragged herself out of bed, got a quick shower, and then the two of us were off into the early morning sun.
We ended up only attending the first half of the day because most of the topics were for people who already knew what the hell they were doing podcasting-wise and were looking to take it to the next level. The first speaker, for example, talked about how good photography could really help a podcast or even just plain old blogging. The next fellow talked about how we all have a Personal Brand and why cultivating that brand was important. The third person talked about how the most important thing you need for your podcast wasn’t the hardware, but content, content, content.
All of that was interesting enough, but I already knew most of it. I don’t use a lot of photographs on SEB, but I try to make sure I use good ones for the sidebar and the occasional entry. I’m aware that I have a personal brand and it’s thoroughly tied to SEB now, for better or for worse. As for content, while I’m not entirely sure what I’ll podcast about, it’s not like I haven’t had seven years of experience finding something to shoot my mouth off about on the blog so I’m not too worried that I’ll come up with something half-way interesting to podcast about. Which isn’t to say that the talks weren’t informative and interesting, but that they were aimed at folks who had already figured the other stuff out.
What I needed to know was all the basic stuff about doing it with regards to: What’s a good headset that won’t set me back an arm and a leg? Should I even use a headset? Should I host it myself—and thusly drive up my monthly bandwidth usage—or is there a fantastic and inexpensive service provider out there that I should look into? Do I just use Audacity and do it solo, say 20 minutes of me spouting off on something, or would it be more interesting to try and get someone else to jabber at and use something like TalkShoe so I could have folks call in? Would Skypecasting be better? All of that sort of general this-is-how-you-should-get-started crap is what I needed to know. That didn’t look like it was going to be talked about much so we called it a day once lunch time hit.
But before we left I managed to sit down with another Les—that would be Les Zaldor of Zaldor’s World—who’s already been podcasting for some time now. I also got to meet BLUEeyedBanshee who has been an off-and-on SEB regular from way back. I’ve “known” both of them for years and it was pretty cool to finally get a chance to see them in person. We didn’t have a lot of time, they had to rush off to grab some lunch and get back for the second half of the day, but we got a few minutes to chat. Les showed me a wicked cool digital audio recorder he carries with him that looks like a small version of the sort of mic you’d expect to see on a talk show host’s desk and he used it to have me record a promo for his podcast. The kind of thing radio stations are always getting famous musicians to do except I’m not as famous or as well rehearsed as they are. Fortunately I remembered to bring my camera with me so the historic meeting could be immortalized in a pic:
As you can clearly see I am nowhere near as scary in real life as I seem to be on my blog. Les doesn’t look at all concerned for his well being and I have a big friendly smile on my face. I’m a nice guy. Really!
SEB lurker Melanie wrote in asking what the hell happened to the SEB Podcast I mentioned I was going to do. It’s still something I want to do and am learning about, but we’ve had a small problem: I broke my headset I was going to use to record it.
When we made the move to our new home I somehow lost one of the feet on my computer case and so it’s been sitting in a pathetically lopsided manned ever since. A few days ago I took my headset off and set it on top of the computer case to get up and get a drink. As I got up my knee bumped the case and knocked it over with the headset sliding off first onto the floor and the computer crashing down on top of it. I wouldn’t have thought that would be enough to do any damage, but it was. The right speaker was snapped off and dangling from its wire.
Now I need to find myself another decent headset to use for the podcast and PC gaming. The last one was a Plantronics set that seemed to work pretty well so I’m thinking of trying the GameComPro1 PC Gaming Headsetfrom Plantronics as it looks a little beefer than the set I had previously and has gotten pretty good reviews. The problem, again, is that money is tight right now so it’ll be awhile before I can pick these bad boys up.
So, yes, I do still plan on trying to do a podcast once I figure out what I’m going to do it on, who I’m going to do it with and, most importantly, have a decent headset to do it with.
I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I’ve been pondering the possibility of doing a podcast, but I haven’t a clue as to what’s actually involved. So lately I’ve been listening to a few podcasts here and there including some from Brendoman’s blog as well as sites such as WoW Insider to get an idea of what goes into them. Production values range from “three guys shooting the shit” to “lower-end talk-radio” and there doesn’t appear to be any hard and fast rules on how to go about doing it. The better ones, I’ve noticed, involve more than just one person shooting his mouth off. Usually there’s at least one other person and some of the better ones seem to involve three or more. Usually there’s a handful of topics they plan to discuss, but sometimes it’s like listening in on a phone call.
Which makes me a little more informed, but doesn’t really help me any. First I’d have to find some folks who’d be willing to shoot the shit with me in a podcast, probably using some form of VOIP over the Net. Then I’d have to figure out what the hell to talk about and considering how hard I have to think just to come up with some of my blog entries and how much thought I sometimes have to put into them before they make coherent sense, well, I’m not sure I can do that sort of thing on the fly. Of course there’s always the possibility that a podcast where I sound like a babbling idiot could become wildly popular just for the humor value.
So, some three years after I first posed the possibility in passing in a blog entry, I’m still kicking the idea around along with the possibility of maybe trying to do a video blog entry using the cheapy webcam I’ve got, but adding video to the mix doesn’t really eliminate the previously stated issues of not being boring. You guys got any good podcasts you listen to that might offer some inspiration? Let me know what they are.
Audience participation time. I’m sure more than a few of you folks out there are using USB headsets to voice chat online and I’m looking to pick one up as the quality of the audio from the collar mic I’m using now is best described as “meh.” The collar mic uses the standard microphone jack on the audio system and I’ve read that USB based mics tend to produce better sound, especially when used with a headset to help muffle output from the speakers.
My primary uses will be for voice chat while gaming though I’d like to try a podcast at some point so I’d like something that provides really good audio quality. I’ve been reading reviews here and there, but it’s hard to judge how much I need to speed for something that’ll produce decent audio and I’m hoping to be able to pick up two as Anne is voice chatting more when she plays WoW. So I’m turning to you folks to see if you have any recommendations you can pass along for me to check out. What’s good? What’s bad. What’s the best bang for the buck?