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September 06, 2005

The Podcast Learning Curve Is A Sine Wave

Blawg Review #22 is up at Blawg Wisdom and it's packed with links about how hurricane Katrina affected the legal community, what's going to happen with the SCOTUS with two new Justices on the way, some great links from various practitioners, and a few notes about people starting and returning to law school. I think it's a fine Review (I'm biased) and I encourage you to check it out. That said, it's not everything I'd hoped it would be.

This was my first time hosting Blawg Review and I wanted it to be special. The theme was back-to-school so I had hoped to read or scan as many law student and law prof blogs as I could and compile more links than you could shake a stick at about the return to school. I also planned to supplement all that law schooly goodness with about 8 great podcasts featuring interviews with students returning to school. Well, I praised Gizmo a while back for giving me one-click, high-quality, phone recording. And while it's great, it has one problem that I didn't discover until way too late: The sound files it creates are not compatible with Garageband! After many attempts to convert the files into something Garageband would accept without destroying their quality, I finally found that all was well if I burned the files to CD as regular aiff files, then imported them into iTunes as mp3s, then imported those files into Garageband. Needless to say, that all takes a lot of time, none of which I was planning on when I sat down to work on the project, so my big plans had to be reduced considerably in order to make the deadline. Oh well.

And then, as I was enjoying a great hike on Labor Day, I realized that I had produced a Blawg Review on Labor Day that said almost nothing about labor. How sad. I was so focused on my big podcast plans that I just forgot. So I'm sorry about that. I know labor is pretty used to be discounted and dismissed, but I really hate being part of that.

In my final podcasting lesson for now, I also learned why Garageband is not the ideal podcast creation tool: It doesn't allow you to create "songs" longer than 999 "measures." That's apparently about 33 minutes, which is fine because I prefer podcasts that are shorter than that and I think most listeners do, to; however, it's not fine when you have a great interview that happens to be longer than that. Garageband also has other drawbacks as a podcast-creator; primarily, it doesn't have a very good way for you to save and reuse bits, such as promos or transitions or little intros or outros that you'd like to use in multiple shows. You can sort of do this with the loops, but it's pretty limited. You can also just create single files with those things and import them again for each project, but that's a pain. I wonder if Apple has any plans to create a real podcasting tool. I hope so. If not, I hope someone else will make one that has Garageband's great mixing capabilities but adds lots of nice little features just for podcasting.

Anyway, as I said here, I'll be working on publishing those interviews w/law students as soon as I can. Meanwhile, thanks to all those I've had the pleasure to interview—your podcast is coming soon!

Posted September 6, 2005 07:15 AM | voices

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