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How to Podcast

Talknowledgy debuted as a radio show on CKDJ 107.9 in Ottawa in September of 2010. At that time, podcasting was still kind of a new concept to Ted Raymond, my co-host at the time, and I. It was a neat idea to us but we weren’t sure who would listen, how we would get people to listen, where we would post it, and how much time we could devote to that (as we were college students at the time in what is the busiest term of Algonquin College‘s Radio Broadcasting program). Along the way we learned a few things, and I hope this checklist below will give you a starting point if you’d like to create your own podcast someday.

Pick a topic: First things first, what is the topic of your podcast? Is this a topic you’re interested in? Is it a topic that is broad enough that you can find listeners? How will you prove to people you are an expert in this topic?

Find a co-host or co-hosts: You could do a solo show or podcast, but it’s certainly more lively with one or two other people. It also helps if you have others to fall back on in case one of you is unavailable to do one show.

Line up the equipment: Good quality microphones is very important. Great content can be utterly ruined by bad or inconsistent audio quality. Everyone should be using the same microphone, and it should be in a quiet room with a lack of echo. Phone quality is acceptable in small bursts but a co-host should not be permanently on the phone. It gets hard to listen to!

Editing: Having good editing equipment is even more important. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get! A copy of Adobe Audition is what you need! ProTools, Audacity, and other software will perform a similar function but in my opinion Audition is the easiest to use and does the job quite adequately – nearly every single Talknowledgy podcast was edited down through Audition! (One or two were edited using a radio news software called ‘Burli’ – not recommended for large-scale editing jobs and not cost efficient if all you need is the editing audio capability).

Length: Determining how long your podcast is important, especially if you want to syndicate this content by turning it into a radio show. If it’s purely for the internet, it can be as long as you want it to be and – in my opinion – it should be as long as it has to be. When Talknowledgy was on CKDJ, CKCU, and CFRA, the show was constrained by the ‘show clock’ – it had to be a certain length and couldn’t be longer or shorter. Now that it’s solely a podcast, we get to talk about every story we have lined up for the week! There are advantages to both models.

Schedule: When will your content go out? It can be easier or harder to get play throughs depending when it is released. We settled on Saturday morning because it was easiest from a recording standpoint and because we had a good number of clicks. By contrast, Friday night did not work for us at all. Your mileage may vary.

Get a podcast host, get a website: This will set you back a few bucks, but both are necessary. Find a podcast host that has a good billing structure based on your needs, looks presentable, gives you an RSS feed, makes it easy to embed audio, and helps spread the word about your podcast effectively. As for a website, WordPress is one avenue if your budget is tight or you aren’t all that web savvy!

Eventually you’ll want to look at things like budget, a content strategy to bring in more traffic to your website, a division of work among your partners, a promotion strategy, and many other things…but if you have the above figured out, you’re ready to start!

Good luck! Post a link to your podcast site in the comments – would love to check them out and chat with you about podcasting!

-PG

 

Who Were The Web’s Best April Fools Yesterday?

April Fools pranks have become a tradition online. Here were some of the best ones…

Alberta and Saskatchewan to merge? – Via CTV News

Mashable gets bought out by Conan O’Brien

The creator of Minecraft is coming up with a new sci-fi adventure game called ‘Mars Effect‘…let’s hope he gets the ending right!

Blizzard has a few as always…one for Starcraft fans, one for everybody, and one for fans of Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games…

Reddit introduces Reddit Timeline.

Here’s one that went awry over at Forbes. Not the only joke played on Mitt Romney yesterday.

Block your ads with cats! (Now a real thing!)

Order your 500,000+ DVD set…the Youtube DVD collection.

Google was on fire yesterday, showing off a mode that lets you use two mice with their Chrome browser.

And finally, Google revolutionizes mobile smartphone keyboards.

 

What were your favourites? Leave a comment below!

-PG

P.S. Don’t forget, our next show is at 5 PM on Saturday on CFRA Ottawa. That’s no April Fool’s joke!

Why CES is Becoming Irrelevant

In a year where attendance is expected to once again set a record, you really have to wonder why people are turning out to the Consumer Electronics Show.

Oh sure, 45 years of history is a hard thing to just shake off, and CES has been the first to show off some amazing gadgets for decades now. They even spawned other events like E3, and allowed attendees a sneak peek at the world of tomorrow.

But if the world’s largest tech company isn’t there (though apparently they won’t be missed), and it’s the last year for one of the companies most synonymous with consumer electronics, what will draw people in next year? There still will be tons of booths and gadgets to show off, as there are this year. But even still, have you looked at this year’s offerings? Windows versions of a preexisting Apple product? More tablets? Internet-connected appliances? Thinner TVs? It seems less like the world of tomorrow and more like shinier versions of gadgets we already have.

It’s a good thing most of these companies are showing off, as opposed to releasing, these products in January. As this CNET article points out, it’s not exactly a hot time for consumer spending since we just got through the Christmas season. But even still, are people even looking for new things to buy right now especially in a tough economy? Why not dazzle them with your new lineup in the summer, like…well, E3?

Besides, if you announce your shiny new device during CES then you have to share the spotlight. Sure, you’ve got untold thousands of journalists and spectators present to try it out for themselves. But you could simply pull a Nikon and announce your new camera ahead of time and pick up a lot of traction via social media and news websites instead of having your story get lost among the other CES coverage.

I’m not arguing CES is without purpose, but I think in the age we live in it’s a tradition that had its time and as Microsoft goes, perhaps so should the rest of the companies making the trek down to Las Vegas.

-PG

EDIT: It should be noted I’m not saying there are no reasons to attend this year’s Consumer Electronics Show but I think it’s a bit light on ‘show stopping’ new gadgets and, with Microsoft gone next year, they’re going to have to try even harder to make the trip down worthwhile in 2013.

Phil’s Take: The Top Tech Stories of 2011

We touched on this a bit during our last show, but for this week’s blog post I want to break down what I felt were the top 5 tech stories this year and offer some predictions for next year.

5. Google Enters Social Media

While it hasn’t set the world on fire yet, don’t dismiss the launch of Google+ out of hand yet. The other movers and shakers (Facebook in particular) have been forced to make changes because they’re worried what a new entry could do to the social media marketplace. Google has made small updates slowly and for now it’s as much a learning experience for Google as it is for the users. Watch for them to push the mobile apps more heavily next year, and with any luck they’ll be added to Hootsuite in 2012.

4. Googarola

On the surface, it seems like a typical everyday business deal. In reality, Google’s purchase of Motorola has major implications for all of the other Android smart phone makers. Some have said they’re looking more carefully at developing their own platforms and many speculated it could give rise to yet another smart phone operating system. Android became very popular because companies like Samsung could load it on their devices for free, its easy to tinker with and create apps for, and it’s updated constantly so it stays on the cutting edge. However, arguably the most attractive feature for HTC, Samsung, and many other device makers was the fact they didn’t actually have to compete with Google. Not so anymore. They aren’t likely to fully jump ship especially since the only mobile operating system manufacturer who doesn’t make their own phones is Microsoft (who has a close partnership with Nokia, and Windows Phone 7 still has some catching up to do). Watch for the rise of a fifth (and possibly sixth) operating system to join the race. Who knows, one of them could even be made by…

3. HP

It’s been a tough year for the former biggest technology company in the world. Their most recent entry into the tablet market tanked and shortly thereafter they gutted Palm, effectively ending their presence in the smart phone market. And while we’re talking about downsizing, the world’s largest maker of personal computers almost got out of the personal computer business in 2011. They’re now in the midst of a multi-year rebuild with a new CEO at the helm, and while 2011 was bleak Meg Whitman is warning 2012 could be worse. They haven’t talked publicly about the future of WebOS recently, but many tech analysts have called for them to offer it up as open source, like Google does with Android, and make money off of advertising. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what happens to them in 2012, but in the meantime we’ll be keeping an eye on the company who passed them up to become the world’s biggest tech company…

2. Apple

It was a relatively quiet year product wise for Cupertino, with the most spectacular product announcement being Siri (which was out in 2010, but Apple then bought the developer and touted it as a new feature when they released the iPhone 4s). Of course the death of Steve Jobs captured the attention of Apple fans around the world and lead to vigils at their stores, but behind the scenes it raised questions of where the company will go next and if they can maintain their number two spot in the smart phone market without the man who helped them achieve that ‘cult brand’ status. I would expect no big surprises next year but their market share in the phone and tablet market will likely continue to slide. Still, it’ll be nothing compared to…

1. Research in Motion

What a difference a year makes. Research in Motion began the year with a stock valued north of $59. In January, they were neck and neck with Google and Apple in the global smartphone race, each taking about 25%. They were touting upcoming improvements to Blackberry OS, their new tablet that was on its way, and things were looking up. Fast forward to today…massive layoffs, a crippling service outage, delays to their new Blackberry 10 operating system and to upgrades for the Playbook, the Playbook itself is seeing sales even weaker than forecasts, their market share is rapidly shrinking, and their stock has slumped to the $14 range. The company is considered a sinking ship, and there have been calls all year for the two CEOs to step down. 2011 will mark the first time there’s a year over year decrease in their phone sales, and it could mean as many as 4 million less phones sold when compared to 2010. It seems even their strengths became weaknesses this year. There were repeated calls by many world governments to hand over confidential user data which was so secure, they weren’t able to monitor it without RIM’s cooperation.

For those holding out hope on a comeback, remember recent statements by the company that phones based on their new operating system are still nearly a year away. That’s a long time. And based on everything that’s happened to them this year, they may not have that much time to right themselves and set the smartphone world ablaze once again. The real question is: who will snap up the Blackberry faithful during that time?

 

If you have a different top 5 stories or want to offer your feedback, leave a comment below. Have a Happy New Year, and remember our next show is January 7th on 580 CFRA!

Gift Suggestions For The Techie In Your Life

If there’s a tech lover on your list, or you’ve got a significant other who doesn’t know much about this stuff, here’s the blog post for you!

For The Gamer

Gamers are notoriously fickle creatures and like to categorize themselves by the types of games they play, the location, and (most importantly) the device. Be absolutely certain that the recipient has the necessary equipment to use your gift and they should be a happy camper, but if they can’t use it then make sure they don’t open it or you could void the return policy (for example, software). That’s my generic, standard, former retail employee advice. But you’re here for gift suggestions!

If they’re someone who has an iPod Touch or iPhone, consider an iTunes gift card. If they do a lot of gaming on the go, or have lots of spare time and a passing interest in gaming, the small and typically budget-priced titles on the Apple App Store should hold their attention, and worse come to worse if they can’t find anything they like the money doesn’t expire and can be used for music as well. However, if you don’t like the gift card option and you know exactly what they want, you can actually gift specific apps as well.

If they’re more of a PC gamer, this is something you can do on Steam. (Steam is a free-to-use digital distribution service…basically, a store from which you can buy and gift video games while interacting with friends). Just remember with both of these, you can’t re-gift software you’ve already used. You may be asking yourself what the advantage is over simply buying it from a store. Essentially: pricing, availability, and the lack of waiting in a line.

The key thing to remember is there are a lot of titles out there and it can be easy to get sucked into buying something that isn’t very good or is not a good fit for the person on your list. A good place to start before you begin your shopping is Metacritic. They aggregate review scores on games (along with music, movies, and television shows) so you can see what people are saying before you buy and judge for yourself. And if it’s a young kid, keep in mind what he may want may not be what you want him playing!

For The Gadget Lover

You don’t have to know how to build a computer to impress the gadget lover this holiday season. Websites like Thinkgeek.com have great selections of puzzles, tools, and other stocking stuffers. Of course, if you don’t want to pay shipping or are looking to get it in within the next few days and are having trouble thinking of things they don’t already own, focus on improvements for gadgets they already have. Things like wireless mice or keyboards, a stand for their new tablet computer, a headset so they can hear what they’re doing (and no one else has to!), or a new controller for a video game console. That being said, I suggest steering away from internal computer parts since there can be compatibility issues or a lack of room to install it.

A major thing to take into consideration is that many department stores will take on large volumes of new products around this time of year, and most of them are junk. This is special holiday merchandise that only makes its way into these stores for about one full month of the year (mid December to mid January). Watch the brands you’re buying closely!

For The Rest

If the tech lover on your list is a bit of a nerd (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) they’ll likely appreciate something that shows it off like the always handy “No, I will Not Fix Your Computer” t-shirt. If your budget is a bit more in the high-end, e-readers are expected to be a hot holiday gift with Amazon’s Kindle leading the way (though chances are they’re eying a shiny tablet that offers a lot more functionality at (admittedly) a fair bit more price). Speaking of tablets, the iPad 2 along with the most recent iPod Touch and iPhone models will be very hot gifts this holiday season…tablets and smart phones are certainly a bit pricy, and signing someone up for a phone contract for Christmas is not recommended (it’s the gift that keeps on giving…you bills!), but if they haven’t joined the smart phone generation and aren’t planning on it (or are too young) the iPod Touch still makes a great gift.

Most tech fanatics try to make gift buying easy for their friends and family since technology can be tough to keep up with sometimes. But if you go out of your way and get just the right thing, they’ll appreciate the time and effort you put in.

Whatever it is you’re celebrating this time of year, I hope it’s a happy and safe one!

-PG

Are You Using Tweetdeck?

Earlier this year, Twitter bought Tweetdeck, a program for Windows and Mac that also has an Android and iPhone app. Some of you might be thinking Tweetdeck is just another Twitter client. Far from it! Here’s a few reasons why you should consider using Tweetdeck to manage your social media experience.

See It All

Tweetdeck allows you to set up several columns, side by side, that are each programmed to a different ‘feed’. For example, I can have one set to my main Twitter feed (ie. all of the people I’m following), another could be watching my “News” list, a third could be looking at my “Mentions”, and yet another could be following a specific hashtag like “#TKNonCFRA”. And I’d still have more I could program to watch the trending tweets chart, or use to keep an eye on a specific account, or so much more.

While it can be a lot to look at, it does allow you to see whatever you need to, and it’s very easy to change the workspace and adapt it to your needs.

Share It All

Using Tweetdeck, you can link up several accounts including Twitter accounts, your Facebook profile, LinkedIn, foursquare, Myspace, and Google Buzz (which isn’t going to be in service much longer, so we’ll see if Google+ is added to the mix soon). On top of that, you can add more than one of each. If you’re a social media manager responsible for multiple Twitter accounts, you can link them all up on Tweetdeck. And it’s very easy to choose which networks you’d like to send a post to.

It should be noted that there’s little reason to add your foursquare account anymore since you can’t do ‘shouts’, and while you can post to Facebook it’s harder to send content rich posts (basically, for videos and links you won’t get the fancy little preview). Still, if you’re someone who tweets a lot and only want to send SOME of those posts to Facebook/LinkedIn this is the tool for you.

Don’t Get Frustrated By It All

Twitter.com can be a bit annoying because there’s a lot of pages to load every time you want to click-through to see someone’s profile, or search for something, and it can be a drag trying to open it all in separate tabs. With Tweetdeck, it’s much more cleanly laid out and easy to find things. There’s no need to open dozens of tabs or windows to ensure you’re getting the full experience. And if six columns or four is too much for you, you can start small and work your way up. Did I mention it’s free?

If you decide to download Tweetdeck, let us know how you’re liking it so far! Leave a comment below.

-PG

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