Good Update On Zune, Microsft Plans, & New Media Opportunities

Zune.small Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott have a great Windows Weekly interview with Rob Greenlee from Microsoft. 

They cover the latest in Microsoft Zune news, update folks on the state of podcasting, and outline a lot of opportunities in new media like download, streaming, live video, etc.

If you have a Windows PC you should take a moment and download the latest Zune client.  I have it running on all my PCs (XP, Vista, Win7beta) and I find it to be a great content player.


Don't Forget Print Content In The New Media World

This afternoon I was trying to find a potential project to do with my two boys this weekend, and ran into an article that I had bookmarked in MAKE:12 but forgot to blog about.

The article was by Kevin Kelly and it was entitled "Book Yourself: Innovative options enable you to publish your own text and pictures."  It is a great DIY how-to on publishing your own book either by doing batch printing or print on demand.

If you are interested in batch printing (~250+ copies) check out:

And if you are looking for a print on demand publishing model, then you should check out:

The article also mentioned the option of ebook publishing using the site PayLoadz.com. They provide a service to sell downloadable items such as: ebooks, software, music, movies, digital art, manuals, articles, certificates, forms, files, etc.

The most interesting thing about the article was that Kevin did a little test where he wanted to make $1.50 a purchase no matter what medium or method.  He sold them on Amazon for $9 (using B&W batch printing), then on Lulu for $27 (color print on demand), and then as a $2 PDF version on PayLoadz.com.  In the end he sold 10x the number via digital than print, but still made the same amount per transaction.  Neat!


Mobile Streaming Media Player Coming Soon - Slacker Digital Player

There is a new mobile device coming out that lets users listen to streaming media while not connected to a network.  The device is called the Slacker Digital Player and Walt Mossberg @ WSJ.com recently did a review.  There are also some recent pictures posted to Gizmodo.

I think the device would be ideal for distributing traditional podcast material using a 'station' format based on topics or music.  An indie music channel seems like a natural.  Maybe a technology talk & news channel would be another logical topic cluster.


FIT Halloween Special - Some Thoughts On The Audio Editing Experience

The AztecMedia.net's TechNewsRadio show is part of the great FriendsInTech (FIT) group.  We have been doing special Christmas and Halloween productions since 2005.

The latest one is called "It's the Great Server Chuck and Kreg" and it was posted on 10/24/07.  It is family safe and only about 12 minutes long.

This year I volunteered to be part of the post production and helped with the mix down of scenes into the final version with Kevin Devin.

I learned some great lessons:

  1. Work with the best people possible. The FIT team is giving, helpful, encouraging, insightful, and very talented. It makes the project very enjoyable and you'll have fun doing it.
  2. I did all my editing of my parts (the outside scenes) in Audacity.  I didn't have any major problems or issues other than at times the scenes mix downs were very complicated with 24+ individual segments.  I ended up in situations like this to do 3 intermediate mixes with each one having ~8 individual segments.
  3. Having a vast special effects (SFX) library of audio is very helpful. Using sites like freesound is good, but some of the royalty free material other FIT members had was very impressive.
  4. When recording lines in a remote situation take at least three takes for each line.
  5. It really helps if you can do your remote lines recording with another person saying the other lines around your lines.
  6. Use a wiki to develop the first drafts of the script, but then migrate to a script writing tool for final production.
  7. Scripts file names and titles within the document should have version numbers or clear dates on them so you know what you have is the most current one.
  8. Tools like BIAS SoundSoap2 for cleaning up audio are pretty important if someone makes their recordings in a noisy environment.
  9. All the spoken word parts of a production should be processed with the same RMS settings.  We also ended up running them in bulk through The Conversations Network's Levelator.
  10. Using MP2 files for distribution during post production is very efficient and doesn't diminish quality.

New Media News Update - Podcast.com, Elgato, Amazon MP3, Gmail, Bias, Sound Ideas, Magazine

There seems to be a lot of stuff going on, so I thought I'd do a quick list of things I'm tracking:

  1. Treedia Labs has started a beta of Podcast.com.
  2. Quick review at Gizmodo on the Elgato Turbo.264 Hardware H.264 Encoder.
  3. Amazon MP3 has DRM free music for purchase.
  4. Lifehacker on Gmail Mobile 1.5.
  5. Bias has released Peak Pro XT audio production suite which includes SoundSoap Pro and Master Perfection Suite.
  6. Sound Ideas has released a new version of their Podcasting Production Toolkit 2 with over 500 audio elements, music, and sound effects.
  7. The October 2007 edition of Blogger & Podcaster magazine is out.

I think #1 is important because if the domain becomes a popular user site then it will be a great site to promote material.

I am interested in #2 because it could save time in post production for any video podcasts.

#3 is cool because I hate DRM solutions for most of new media.

I think #4 should be tracked to see what effect the new version has on consumption of new media products as they move from the web to email.  What does your content look like from RSS reader to a forwarded email that ends up on Gmail mobile?  Could you make it better?

I added #5 because not everyone is happy with Audacity.  Here is an option that might fit your style better.

The pointer to #6 is because you might want some new sounds in your library.

And you should check out #7 because it is full of great information.


PNME 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Slides

The Podcast & New Media Expo (PNME) 2007 slides from the "Getting Started With Audacity" session have been posted. 

Some notes:

  • These slides are a PDF output from Apple's Keynote. 
  • There is a QuickTime movie version of the presentation that will be posted soon but it will not have the audio recorded during the presentation sync'd in.  The movie version has all the screen casts used during the presentation.
  • The audio for the presentation is still under the control of PNME. If you were a conference attendee then you should get a link to the audio as part of your conference fee. Ultimately the audio for all the sessions will get posted over the next 8-9 months to Gigavox Media's Podcast Academy channel.
  • Sometime in the future, complete screen casts of each topic will be produced and posted.
  • More information on the PNME Forums and previous AztecMedia.net post.

Feedback, comments, suggestions, etc. appreciated: sholden@aztecmedia.net.


New Media Expo 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Session

I will be at the New Media Expo 2007 this weekend (Sept. 27-30).  I am giving a presentation on 'Getting Started With Audacity' in the Podcaster 101 track:

Session 8 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Ballroom B
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2007
http://www.newmediaexpo.com/saturday2007.htm#Audacity

If folks are bringing their laptops to the session, then it is highly recommend that the come with Audacity pre-loaded ... http://audacity.sourceforge.net. I also have upload some demo audio files in zip format that I will be using if folks are interested in working hands-on with the same material: http://www.newmediaexpo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1634.

If you'd like to meet-up at the Expo please drop me an email or post a message to me on Twitter.


New Blog & Podcast Magazine Published

The latest digital online version of Blogger And Podcaster magazine has been released. There is a lot of good articles, opinion pieces, and reviews worth checking out.

They have an interesting ad on page 6 for USA Today's "Introducing Blogger & Podcaster Guide".  Getting listed will cost $295 per week in the print addition and $195 per week for the online addition.  If you order before 9/30/07 there is a combo deal of $195 per week.