Category Archives: Audio post

Speaking up

As my friend Jerry observes in this post, we humans love to talk, to hear the sound of our own voice, sometimes even though what we are saying is just meaningless babble. I plead guilty. Can’t help it. It’s just the way I am. In fact, when I was in grade school they even had classes in elocution, which I doubt you would find in many modern curricula. And in a way, I think that’s sad, because I believe that its absence probably contributes to that almost-universal fear many people have about speaking in public.

So this morning, I think I’ll indulge myself and do an audio post.

Ideally I suppose, I’d be speaking something that I wrote, but I read something this morning that I prefer to use for this post. It was written by Nick Usborne for A List Apart back in 2003. And since I liked his post better than anything I’ve written lately, I decided to share my reading of it with you below. Listen, if you care to, or if you’d prefer just read his post for yourself and enjoy the sound of your own voice.

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An interview with Jane Baxter

Back on November 6th of 2004, I traveled back to Stone Mountain, GA, to attend a family reunion of the Baxter branch of my family (my mother’s maiden name was Baxter) where I was privileged to meet a member of the family I hadn’t met before, Jane Baxter (pictured at the left).  I described that visit in a blog post at the time.  Since then, I’ve wanted to do an interview of Jane about the business that she has started, and at long last on this past Saturday, Jane and I got together by phone to do that.  The audio blog post that you can listen to below contains the edited result of that interview. 

One of the things that Jane said in an email to me after we talked seems memorable to me, and I wanted to share it with you.  She said,

The synchronicity of meeting you via the family gathering is in line with my belief that everything in life happens for a reason.

Jane is a sincere and interesting person that I think you’ll enjoy hearing as she describes the company she is developing and the services she provides through it.  Jane gives her phone number and email address during the interview for anyone who might like to contact her, but so that it’s easier to find I want to list it here in these notes.   You can reach her at:

Roots and Branches Productions
Telephone: 615 262 9076
Email: getbax (at) mac.com

After getting the “meat” of this audio post, I went in search of music that I thought might be a fitting accompaniment to it, and I was delighted to find a couple of songs, “Angels for Each Other” and “Lovingkindness,” from an album called “Free This Love” by Cynthia Rylander Crossen.  Ms. Crossen has made these songs available under this Creative Commons License, so they are legal for use in this post.   I encourage you to check the link to the album and download the MP3 versions of these songs or of the entire album.  Here’s what Ms. Crossen says about the album:

Feel This Love was created by Cynthia Rylander Crossen for healing through song. These rounds, songs, and chants about love and connection hope to inspire, enliven, comfort, and bring a sense of peace to the listener, to heal hurts, illness, and fears. Feel This Love was produced by the Community Music Project.

I hope you enjoy listening to this audio blog post.

A podcast commemorating 9/11

Although there will be many tributes and commemorations of the events of 9/11 today, I wanted to use the occasion to get back to podcasting and to test a couple of new tools I’ve found. The first is a plugin for WordPress called podPress that makes it easier for me to add a podcast to my blog posts and the other is Hot Recorder, mentioned previously, that permits me to record Skype conversations.

Since my 82-year-old friend, Paul Moor, moved back to Berlin in 1995, he and I have kept in regular contact by email, I’ve visited him at his home for a couple of weeks in 2003, and since December of 2004, we have talked almost daily by Skype. And ever since we gained the ability to have those Skype conversations, I’ve wished I had been able to record them all, because he frequently recounts stories of the people he has known and the events he has experienced during his long life both here in the U. S. and in Germany. He is a most interesting man whom I am proud to call my friend.

As we were talking the other day, he began to reflect on a documentary he had recorded the previous evening and reviewed just before we talked. I captured his moving description of that documentary and his reactions to it, and I thought it an appropriate bit of material for a podcast paying tribute to the emotion that many of us feel on this fifth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. So I have made his comments the focus of the podcast that is attached to this post. Also included is a song by the Turtle Creek Chorale whose music I find especially moving and appropriate for this podcast.

If all goes as planned, you should be able to click on the player below and listen to the podcast.

Update: A couple of people have reported that clicking on the player below is saying “error opening file.” I’m working on a solution and will post it when I’ve resolved it.

Update #2: Here’s an alternate link that will open the file in the application on your system designed to play MP3 files. If the player doesn’t work for you, try the alternate link.

Eureka!

For a long time, at least since December of 2004, I’ve been searching for a tool that will permit me to record both sides of a Skype call. Finally, I’ve found it.

Yesterday, I downloaded and installed Hot Recorder, a simple little application that is designed to do just that, and it works like a charm. The problem had always been that when you turn on an audio recording program while in a Skype call, the person on the other end of the call would get feedback of their own voice as they were speaking. If you don’t think that inhibits the thought process, just try to keep talking sometime when your words are coming back to you with about a half-second delay. It’s almost impossible.

Though I have no idea how it does it, Hot Recorder captures both sides of the conversation and merges them into one without the feedback problem. You can save the conversation after you stop the recording in the application’s proprietary format (ELP), but the program also comes with a tool called AudioConverter that permits you to convert that proprietary format into a WAV, OGG or MP3 format.

The trial version of the program only permits recording 2 minutes of a conversation, but upon paying for it ($14.95) and registering it, those time limitations are removed. It works with Google Talk, AIM, Net2Phone, Yahoo! Messenger, FireFly and “many other VoIP applications,” and can also serve as an answering machine for your Skype installation, giving callers the chance to record their voice message, if you aren’t at your machine when they call.

This discovery is significant for me because having the ability to call someone and record the conversation greatly enhances my ability to get the raw material that I can use in podcasts. One of the things I have long wanted to do in a podcast was to interview friends and associates so that I could introduce the world to some of the interesting people I know. Up until now, I hadn’t known how to do that.

Once I had demonstrated to myself that I could record without the feedback problem, it was a no-brainer to pay the very-reasonable registration fee for this program. If you have an interest in similar capabilities, you might want to download the trial and give it a whirl.

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