December 30, 2004

Record a Mobile Podcasts Ver. 1.0

This is a technical explination of the specific mobile podcasting gear I'm using as of late December 2004. This doc covers the audio recording process with this specific gear. I don't go into the Internet sharing part of podcasting. I'll leave most of that to another document.

The Gear

Microphone, unpowered Labtec AM-222
Headphones, earbuds (included with Yepp YP-T5V)
Mini-Disc Player/Recorder, portable Sony MZ-R50
MP3 Player/Recorder Samsung Yepp YP-T5V
Direct Connect USB adapter (included with Yepp YP-T5V)
1/8"; Stereo to 1/32"; Stereo audio cable (included with Yepp YP-T5V)
One AAA Battery  

A bit of Technical Explination

There are four essential parts to any audio recording process. The microphone, the pre amp, the recording device, and the audio monitoring device. In this example the Labatec is our microphone, the Sony Mini-Disc is our pre amp, the Samsung Yepp is our recording device, and the headphones are our audio monitoring device. Most audio recording devices built to work with external mics have a built in pre amp. The Samsung Yepp, our recording device, doesnít have a pre amplified mic input so we need to provide one.

Why am I using a Mini-Disc recorder AND a Samsung Yepp together?

The biggest reason is that the Samsung Yepp can record straight to MP3 at 128 kbps. This removes several time consuming steps. I could record high quality audio on the Sony Mini-Disc recorder, but to put this audio on the Internet I would need to digitize the analog audio in real time. Iíd end up with a large uncompressed audio file, such as a WAV or AIFF. In other words if the podcast I made was thirty minutes long I would have to spend about another hour rerecording it to a computer hard drive and encoding/duplicating/compressing the master audio file to a MP3. There is software that can record straight to MP3 but the encoding process requires a lot of CPU cycles and RAM. If your computer canít provide this power errors can occur in your MP3 file resulting in skips or software crashes.

Unfortunatly the Samsung Yepp only has a 1/32" line in. The signal required for this device to record is approximatly -20 dBu. Most inexpensive microphones can not provide this power. Thus the microphone must be amplified BEFORE it's signal is connected to a line input. This is where the Mini-Disc comes in. It has a mic input that can amplffy an unpowered mic and a line out that ballences the signal further so it can provide the signal the Samsung Yepp needs. This process is also know as a mic level to line level converstion.

Part 1: Recording Levels

1) Connect the Microphone into the Mic input on the Mini-Disc
2) Plug the 1/8" jack into the Line Output of the Mini-Disc
3) Plug the 1/32" jack on the other end of the 1/8Ē into the ENC Input on the Samsung Yepp
4) Connect the 1/8" jack on the headphones into the heaphone input of the Mini-Disc
5) Put the headphones on :) Duh?
6) Press pause then push record on the Mini-Disc untill the words Ďmanual recordí appear
7) Speak into the mic ex. "Mic checka' 1, 2, 3"
8) Push the Forward button or the Back button to change the microphone input levels. Notice the change on horizontal bar and the difference in the vertical input levels.

Once youíve found a good spot for you levels your ready to record with the Yepp. The goal of setting proper audio levels is to get the highest signal level without distorting the sound of the recording. Because you canít be in pause record mode on the Samsung Yepp while setting levels on the Mini-disc acting as external preamp you need to do several test recordings to get it just right.

Part 2: Recording straight to MP3

1) Turn on the Mic (a lot of mics donít have on/off switches)
2) Put on your headphones
3) Press pause then push record on the Mini-Disc untill the words 'manual record' appear
4) Press the record button on the Samsung Yepp
5) Wait until the time countdown on the Samsung Yepp starts. When it does your recording. If for somereason it doesnít move in the first second or so, say somthing into the mic like. "Welcome" :)
6) Speak all that you have to say
7) When your done click the record button on the Samsung Yepp
8) Press play on the Samsung Yepp to listen to what you just recorded. Make sure that you can hear yourself well and that the recording appears loud enough.

Part 3: Downloading the MP3 off of the Samsund Yepp

1) Connect the small USB adapter or USB cable to the Samsung Yepp and your computer
2) Make sure the Samsung Yepp is on
3) Use your Finder on the Mac or the Explorer on Windows to look on the USB drive you just mounted. (Modern operating systems should make it very easy to mount a USB drive like the Samsung Yepp. Consult you operating systems website if you have problems. Searching is a good idea too)
4) Find the MP3 file you just made. Itís name is not discriptive but based on when you recorded it. Try listening to the MP3s you find to determine which one to copy.
5) Drag and drop or cut and paste the MP3 you just made to your computers hard drive.
6) Rename the MP3 you just copied to your hard drive to a name that describes the content of the audio. Here is the naming convention I use:
website abriviation_show abriviation[yearmonthday].MP3
ex. AA_3URLs_20041204.MP3

At this point you need to get your MP3 onto a web server. This can be done with ftp and a few other ways. Here are a few links about how to do that. A good ftp client I use for the Mac is called Transmit. FineFTP is a cool ftp client for the PC thatís also free. It's an extension of the free mozilla based web browser Firefox.

Posted by act at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

Bill Moyers is my kind of Journalist

Doc Searls provides a link to Jim Thompson's blog. Jim's post "Quote of the Day" is by Bill Moyers. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country, or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

As I searched for "the source" of this quote, the link on Jim Thompson's blog provides nothing (thanks Yahoo), I found this article by Bill Moyers called "Journalism Under fire".

Aparently it's based on a "speech, given by Bill Moyers at a Society of Professional Journalists conference on Sept. 11, 2004."

Here is the entry & quote Jim Thompson has:

While bloggers aren't the be-all/end-all of journalism (note the small 'j'), this does help explain the impending death of corporate/big-J Journalism:

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee. We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people.

You don't get rewarded in commercial broadcasting for trying to tell the truth about the institutions of power in this country, I think my peers in commercial television are talented and devoted journalists, but they've chosen to work in a corporate mainstream that trims their talent to fit the corporate nature of American life. And you do not get rewarded for telling the hard truths about America in a profit-seeking environment.

We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country, or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia. -- Bill Moyers

Did you know that Bill Moyers was Deputy Director of the Peace Corps? How cool is that! Very!

Posted by act at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2004

Podcasting Tutorial & Intro

Here is a copy of the Podcasting Tutorial & Intro I wrote over at my Digital Divide Network Blog. More tutorials on the way!

What is this new Podcasting stuff?

From In short, podcasting involves the recording of internet radio or similar internet audio programs. These recordings are then made available for download to your iPod or other portable digital audio device. You can listen to the podcast internet radio program while you are away from your computer or at a different time than the original program was broadcast.

Podcasting, right now, is a new twist on internet radio. It uses existing Internet standards, freely available audio recording software and hardware, and a new type of software to automate the process of downloading and storing your audio files. This allows you to listen to your audio when and where ever you want.

Podcasting isn't limited to sharing and receiving audio files. You can share the video files you make too. Theoretically you could share all kinds of multimedia files, no matter the file format. (ex. MP3, MOV, OGG, WMV, etc.)

Tip: You don't have to have an MP3 player or iPod to listen to or make podcasts. :) You can listen to them right on your computer.

Right now a lot of Podcasts are talk radio style. Some music is being included in the Podcasts, but this has complicated legal ramifications. I'm am not a lawyer but I suggest you make ALL of the parts of your Podcast show. This way you own it and can do what ever you want to with it.

Tip: This is a good site to check out if you are concerned about the copyright of your work. Plus check out the definition of Intellectual Property here

There are two parts to any kind of communication, sharing and receiving. Before you can share something you need to make it. Here are a few excellent Podcast creation tutorials.

How to podcast with your Mac

How to podcast for FREE

How to podcast with Windows with free software

Find the free audio recording and editing software Audacity here. It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux

Tip: Making a Podcast is no different than recording other audio on a computer. What makes Podcasting truly unique and amazing is HOW you share it.


The sharing part of Podcasting uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
Here is a good definition of the RSS protocol.

Don't worry, you don't have to hand code an xml file every time you want to Podcast. There are several ways to automate this too. A lot of blog software can find the MP3 you linked to on your blog and put it into the RSS for you. That's how I do it. :) Find out how bellow.

For those interested here's the low down techie details. It's all about inserting a new bit of code called an enclosure tag into the xml file. Go here to read more about this.

The enclosure tag inside the RSS 2.0 or 0.92 feed (an xml file) lets software and people know that a media file (like a MP3) is "enclosed" in this feed (just linked to really). The enclosure tag gives a URL to the file, says how big it is in kb, and what file type it is.

I use Movable Type for my blog and someone has written a plugin that AUTOMATICALLY inserts the enclosure tag in my RSS feed (xml file). When I link to a MP3 in my blog entry it puts an enclosure tag in my index.xml file. This is the beauty of templates and built on the fly html. Here is the link to the Movable Type plugin I use.


Getting your podcast shows can be done many ways. The new automatic way is part of what makes this so cool. This involves using a software client. Here is the definition of client as it relates to software and the internet.

First download the free podcast software. Here are a few of the clients available now.

iPodder - Mac OS X, Windows, Linux

iPodderX - Mac OS X

Nimiq - Windows

Bashbodder - Linux

Tip: The files sizes of Podcast can be rather large. It's a good idea to use this software on a computer that has a broadband connection. (ex. DSL, Cable Modem) A dial up Internet connection would take a LONG time. 9 Stay tuned! Some new advances in software tech might changes this very soon. Try searching on for Bit Torrent.

[ Note: Software changes rapidly. Try using to search for the software incase these links don't work. You can also goto to find more podcast clients.]

How to use Podcast Clients

The best place to learn about a specific piece of software and how to use it is always the software's website. Most good software developers make documentations and tutorials to help you. But here are some of the basic concepts of Podcast clients.

First you need to find a podcast RSS feed to subscribe to. (ex. Remember how we discussed the sharing part of Podcasting? The end result of sending a podcast is an RSS file. (Tip: A RSS file is a *type* of xml file) Here is the definition for RSS

Most of the Podcasting clients have built in directories to look for Podcast RSS feeds. But there are several good Podcasting directories on the web. These directories sort the Podcast RSS feeds by subject much like a website directory does. The best Podcast directories have the URL of the podcasters website and a description of what the show is all about. Some directories are even using rating systems so you can see what the top 10 most popular are.

Here are some of the best Podcasting directories on the web now.

When you find a link to a Podcast RSS feed you want to subscribe too (and listen to all that cool audio) you need to copy the link *not* click on it in your browser. Your browser can download the MP3 from the Podcasters site but not from the RSS feed. If the link to the Podcast RSS feed is written out as text on the html page you can always just select it and copy it. But here are some other ways to do it.

On Windows:
Right click on the link and select 'Copy Link Location'

On Macintosh:
Ctrl Click on the link and 'Copy Link Location'

Tip: A Podcast RSS feed can have allot of different files extensions. (For example: you can see xml, rss, php, etc.) A sure fire way to make sure it's a Podcast feed is to look at it. Try clicking on a link to a feed

Once you have the Podcast RSS feed link you need to paste it into your Podcast client software. Each piece of software may accept these links differently so check your software's documentation. But here is an example for iPodder for Windows.

1) Start iPodder
2) Click the text field just to the right of the text that says 'Add Feed Manually'
3) Past your Podcast RSS feed link into the text field
4) Click the 'Add' button

That's it! You've manually added a Podcast RSS feed link to iPodder. Now all you have to do is click the 'Check for new Podcasts' button.

Tutorial Vesion: Ver.1
Date Blog Entry created: 12/17/04
Date Blog Entry lasted edited: 12/26/04

Blog entries and web pages in general are living documents. They can be changed from time to time. I promise to update this one the best I can to keep it current. This technology stuff moves fast! This URL is the most up-to-date place for Podcasting info
Posted by act at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004 featured in Indy Week article

This week Fiona Morgan wrote a great article about radio and podcasting in the Durham, NC based Independent Weekly. In the rest of this entry I add some important details to the story of podcasting and my part in it.

Fiona says that "big bully" radio is taking a beating by two powerful competitors: satellite radio and podcasting. Satellite radio may be competing with the big bully for dollars but podcasting (at least here at Audio is working for true democracy. Let me elaborate by addressing some key parts of her article. [This is part of the two way conversation I mention bellow. Much respect and thanks.]

Is Radio Dying?
Radio the medium isnít really dying, itís the old concept of radio that is passing. Instead of a one-way medium that ďpushes contentĒ take it or leave it, we can participate in a two-way conversation with each other. The concept of producer and consumer is disappearing. The idea of a content creator delivering you stuff to passively consume is being taken over by a global discussion that is inherently more democratic. Writing a letter to the editor is no longer enough audience participation. This is real interactivity and the embodiment of decentralized networks with billions of nodes at each human.

Impossible to Control?
I do not attempt to taunt those who want control. I am only pointing out the power of decentralized asymmetrical networks, of which I am but one tiny part. As an individual I am very controllable. There are many strings connected to me than can be pulled. But the force of many individuals spread out around the planet is beyond quick control. When horizontally organized groups, like corporations or governments, try to spread out vertically they just become too slow.

Legal and Free
Podcasting at Audio Activism is legal and free because I created my own audio and in some cases combined it with legally licensed audio. Because this media is my intellectual property I decided to retain the United States copyright and to clearly state permissions on how others can use it. This was done with the Creative Commons license called Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. There are many reasons to do this. One is to set an example of how creative people can protect themselves and their work. Another is to show that the Internet and computer technology can be used for means other than piracy. It is clear that big media companies are so afraid that they are willing to destroy creative tools in order to control creative people. We need more examples of legal creation of multimedia and software to demonstrate its cultural value.

Resistance to Corporate Manipulation
Our best immunization against the exploitation of creativity and technology are values. I value the act and product of creativity over the process of making money. This is not to suggest that all corporations or people associated with them are amoral. Only to say that beauty is more valuable to humanity than the most highly valued currency. When we decide to share our creativity with one another we provide mental nourishment that sustains our minds and propels human existence. It is not the modest act of selling our creative work for money that is bad; itís the unbalanced greed that does injustice to us all. If youíre reading this far you might be thinking how unpractical and naively idealistic these words are. But my ideas are not so new or radical. Iím only suggesting balance and restraint. Put these values into action by making something and sharing it with someone. Ask for nothing in return and hope that others to do the same.

Change Hurts but is Good for Us
Podcasting is just another example of serious growing pains for global communications in flux. Letís hope podcasters learn from the history of webcasting and use the law to protect themselves. If not weíll end up another fad. Even worse Howard Stern will start podcasting and make lots of money at it. We are all citizen journalists! Make your own media now!

Posted by act at 09:47 PM | Comments (2)

December 21, 2004

Miami Warmth and Activist Ideas

Another quick podcast. This time from the road. Sixty degrees in Miami avoiding the cold blast on the east coast. :)

MP3 3m 24s 3.2MB 128kbps

Ruby and I are in Miami, FL to celebrate her Fathers birthday. While we're here I have to get the podcast done ya know. So I'm using my Samsung Yepp & Mini-Disc as preamp combo to get the job done. After I finished the show I used her Grandmothers eMac to download the mp3 off of the Yepp, put ID3 tags on the file w/ iTunes, upload it with the Mac Terminial app and scp, write this post using the web based MovableType interface, and delete some comment spam.

Quite the portable solution. All without carrying a computer around.

* During the show I mentioned the Podcasting Introduciton & Tutorial I put over at

* I've been reading Dan Gilmore's new book from O'Reilly called "We The Media". I'm really enjoying it. Seems like a very good introduction to the future of media as being created by bloggers, internet radio, and digital video online. Quite a ballenced introduction. Fair to all sides of political issues, IMHO.

* Andy Carvin at has a voice mail number from too. Go check out his blog at the send him a audio comment by calling (206) 888-2762. (An American phone nubmer)

* I mentioned an idea I would like to collaborate on with people. A new tutorial called "Podcasting for the Citizen Journalist working for Social Justitce". I'm writting this now. Hopefully people with classical Activist organizing skills will help me merge them with what I've learned about Podcasting.

Posted by act at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Podcasting Tutorial

I just wrote a introduction to podcasting on my blog over at the Digital Divide Network website. Check it out. Bring the good power of technology to the people!

This tutorial is over at the Digital Divide Network first because I believe knowledge belongs to everyone. Sure you might find my blog in the sea of the blogosphere, but I'm most interested in what people who go to DDN would do with it. To me Podcasting has always been about more than annoying commercial style radio. Any time you increase access to media making tools, show people how to use them, and make them easier to use you increase the opportunity for real democracy. This is just one step, there is still a learning curve. A knowledge barrier still exists. But this is why I'm sharing my knowledge, to remove the barriers.

I must acknowledge that the power of technology is not available to everyone now. Some stats say that only thirty percent of the world is using the Internet. It is obvious to me that in the USA bloggers are overwhelmingly white and male. It is my sincere mission to share the knowledge that will facilitate EVERYONES individual power. No matter what your race, nationality, gender, or sexual preference is. My dream is to see new and innovative uses of Podcasting.

The very best place to learn more about Podcasting is the Wikipedia website at

BTW...the tutorial is a work in progress. If you have any suggestions on how to improve it. Please write a comment.

UPDATE 12/26/04 : I've put the entire Podcast Tutorial & Intro mentioned in this entry here on my own blog to increase the number of people who read it and use it.

Posted by act at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2004

Keep Podcasting Fun

So the title of this post says it all. Girls and boys just wana have fun! I elaborate on the first QUICK PODCAST.

MP3 2m 04s 1.9MB 128kbps

We, podcasters, need to have fun. Without the fun we are no longer "Citizen Journalist" or wacky geeks talking about what we love. When this new facet of the blogosphere gets better be more fun...not less.

Posted by act at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

Do I sound what I look like?

This is the eternal question of all radio hosts, or a wanta be like me. Now say six times real fast, "The fish was delish and it made quite a dish!"


Paul Jones just tiped me to a flash movie of Strong Bad answering an email from a "Scottish Radio Wanta be".

Strong Bad pointed out that radio anouncers, "Look absolutly nothing like they sound". Does my picture above look how I sound?

Here is the e-mail I sent Strong Bad:

Dear Strong Bad,
I enjoyed your movie at

What do you think a podcaster sounds like?

We all sound different. I think I sound like a college radio guy that was raised by Pirate radio anarchists.

IMHO, Adam Curry aka "The Podfather" sounds rather like a stoned drive time morning show dude..

Ya'll are funny!
p.s. I wonder if I sound like i look?

Posted by act at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

What are Audio Comments?

Within this blog entry I elaborate on audio comments and what's up with the feedback phone number. Call (206) 666-3541 to leave a audio comment.

Please remember that audio comments may be included in a podcast.

Blogs are a many to many communication medium that revolve around communicating with the written word. Now we have a large movement of blogs that use the spoken word in the form of electronic audio files to communicate. This is known as podcasting, audio blogging, and Internet radio. Until recently the terrestrial radio call in show was the only way to have a public few to many spoken word communication.

[The best source for the ever evolving definition of podcasting, in English, is on the website here.]

Because podcasting started out using weblog software it too strives to be a two way communication medium. Instead of people writing text about others text some people are recording audio about other peopleís audio communication.

It is becoming easier and easier to record and share your own multimedia files on the Internet with extensions like mp3, ogg, mov, aiff, wav, etc. With this ease podcasters are quickly catching up with text bloggers by developing many to many communication that makes text blogs so rich.

Enter audio comments.

Audio comments are really just audio recordings encoded in a computer file format that content relates to another persons communications. Think telephone voice mail about someoneís blog.

Right now several podcasters are taking advantage of free services at websites like that provides a "web-based unified messaging system that channels your free voicemail and fax messages directly to your e-mail."

Hereís how it works in relation to my podcast. Letís say you download a mp3 of a show at AudioActivm. (Thanks a lot!) For some reason what I say makes you think. :) You have answers &/or questions about what I said and wonder how you can tell me. One option is to go to the blog entry at and write a comment. More likely you arenít at a computer when you think about this quick statement youíd like to make. So you call my audio comment number (206) 666-3541 and leave a voice mail. Then I get an email saying someone left a message. Attached to the email is a wav file of your voice mail. Then I listen to your wav file containing what you have to say. My goal at this point is to incorporate civil, relevant, and clear audio into my show. This way we have a slower but more emotionally rich form of many to many communication.

Posted by act at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2004

3URLS 12/12/04

There's a lot of Internet radio out there. Many people have been producing progressive news and culture style productions long before podcasting came arround. I discuss a few and drop my audio comment phone number on ya'll.

MP3 31m 49s 14.5MB 64kbps
OGG 31m 49s 15MB 64kbps

Call and leave a voice mail comment by calling (206) 66-3541.

Check out these internet radio sites: The A-Infos Radio Project

The Fifth HOPE (2600 hacker Con)

Links about the streaming encoder project I'm working on
encoder software

Low latency Linux Kernel
Planet CCRMA

ALSA MAudio delta44 drivers

Flavor of Linux I'm using (Fedora Core might have been a better idea :)
RedHat 8.0

Mobile Podcasts
Samsung Yepp YP-T5 (this sucker encodes MP3s from a line-in on the fly!)

Posted by act at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

Dow Chemical does not appologize for Bhopal tragety

The Yes Men called world wide attention to the 20th anniversary of the death and injuring of thousands of people in Bhopal, India by a Union Carbide pesticide factory now owned by Dow Chemical.

I just learned from the Democracy Now! tv show on my local public tv station, The People's Channel, about a major hoax.

A man identifying himself as a spokesperson for Dow chemicals named Judea Finiseterra was interviewed by BBC TV. He apologized for the Dow Chemical company and offered a huge billion dollar settlement for all victims of the Bhopal Chemical trategy. (See the BBC footage here)

Consequencely Dow Chemical stated that they indeed were not apologizing and that Jude Finiseterra was not a spokesperson for Dow. Also it has been reported that the stock price of Dow fell and lost billions of dollars of worth. even suggests that The Yes Men may have broken the law by committing "wire fraud" or even some sort of phishing scam. This, to me the non lawyer, seems unprovable. This could even be a possible attempt at discrediting The Yes Men. I wonder if anyone at owns Dow stock? Do you think there readers own Dow stock and would like to see someone punished? Who do you think is responsible for making money from a chemical company that killed thousands?

This strategic effort by The Yes Men is a proactive action against a Goliath who has not been held truly accountable for a TERRIBLE crime. This type of creative action has amazing possibilities for bringing truth and justice to the world. All without firing a shot. Truth and peace ARE the answer!

Thank you Yes Men whom ever you are.

Posted by act at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2004

Comments for the Podcasting Daddies

This is a genuine Podcasting audio comment for Adam Curry, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Larry Lessig, and Doug Kay. Big thanks to the Podcasting community and those interested in it. Straight from my heart ya'll!

MP3 25m 2s 11.4MB 64kbps

OGG 25m 2s 13.5MB 64kbps

This podcast was real hard for me to record for some reason. I've been trying to figure out just what to say without totally scripting it. For weeks i've been thinking about it, dreaming about it, and writing main points. I don't want to just rant and complain. I really want these folks to listen.

The bottom line is I'm concerned about the future of Podcasting and Internet Radio. The momentum behind it has been very strong. I figured allot of people have big dollar signs in their eyes and want to cash in quick. In return the rest of us Podcasters, who do it mainly for the FUN, would be screwed either by law suits or government regulations.

So, in these audio files are my thoughts, shout outs, and messages of respect. I finally feel part of a community in the bloggosphere! It's not a club or a scene it's a community with friendly virtual neighbors!

Ya'll Rock!

Posted by act at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)