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18 December 2007


David Moles

Not that I don't feel your pain -- honest, it's because I feel your pain that I say this -- but after reading this my laziness in catching up with the podcasting revolution feels so much more justified.

Susan Marie Groppi

I have to assume that most people who do podcasts have an easier time of it.


I have used Audacity, and I agree it's not exactly a friendly hand-holding interface. I can solve one problem: there's something weird about the licensing that doesn't allow them to include the MP3 export libraries with the program. Installing the LAME codec appears to be the solution (and works fine for me under Windows).

Mary Anne Mohanraj

All I can say is that I went through similar pain trying to get some simple video of Kavi's first month from my Canon camera onto a DVD. I'm on a Mac. This should be easy! Doesn't everybody and their grandmother want to take baby videos with their camera and put them on a DVD???

After several hours of incompatible formats, useless downloaded programs, and missing audio tracks, I gave up in disgust. And that is why my parents have never gotten a DVD movie of their only grandchild's first month.

Mary Anne Mohanraj

Also, I love the SH podcasts. I listened to the one of you and Ben talking while I was taking a long train ride with Kavi, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It was just a little bit like being at WisCon.

Miranda Gaw

It seems natural, albeit horrible and awful, to have to go through about that many steps the first time one is doing something relatively cutting-edge with free or inexpensive tools.

Maybe next time you could:

Hang up mid-call.
Save call halves from QuickTime directly to MP3.
See if GarageBand can import them correctly

? FWIW, I record my podcasts directly into GarageBand, which works fine except that it's just a weird hard-to-use product that won't record my voice at loud enough levels... and of course someday we will look back at all these retro-tech shenanigans and laugh...


Sounds like an awful experience. :(

I have a couple of suggestions for next time, though I don't know whether these will be at all helpful:

1. Talk to the Escape Pod people (if you haven't already) and ask them for advice. I bet they have good tools for this. Though maybe not for Macs.

2. Record in smaller chunks -- maybe ten-minute segments. I know that's a pain, but I bet the process would go more smoothly.

3. Relatedly, maybe do a dry run before next time -- record a single five- or ten-minute segment (just chatting on the phone, or listening to music, or whatever) and go through the process to see if it works with a smaller file size.

...I assume you've already read Apple's page on creating a podcast with GarageBand? It sounds like the step you ran into trouble with isn't covered there, and they gloss over various important things, but figured it was worth mentioning just in case.


One other note: I just happened across a page giving instructions for using Audacity to edit podcasts. Don't know whether that's remotely helpful, but figured this too was worth mentioning just in case.


See, knowing you've got your hands full with stuff like this is why I have no qualms about taking on a heftier chunk of the fiction editing load :)

Susan Marie Groppi

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words and good ideas! Unfortunately, I don't know how much the good ideas are actually going to help--recording in smaller chunks is a good start, but I found in the first three podcast interviews that the interview itself suffers when the call is disrupted like that. It was actually really fabulous being able to have a long, single, uninterrupted conversation with Maggie. No lost trains of thought, no dropped sentences, it was nice.

Miranda's pretty much hit the problem square: I'm trying to do this on the cheap. I may look into upgrading GB in the next few months, to get rid of the artificial limit on episode length, but otherwise I'm still facing the problem of having to choose between cost and convenience, and I'm still probably going to muddle through with the low-cost low-convenience alternatives.


I forget: do you know about WireTap Studio? It kinda looks like it might be useful for your purposes. Costs $69; I gather that there's some kind of MacWorld discount available through the end of January, but I'm not sure how one goes about getting that. But even at full price, it might well be worth it just to reduce hassle.

But you may well have tried this already, I dunno.

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Susan Marie Groppi

  • Susan Marie Groppi is a historian and an editor, currently living in Berkeley, California.


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