Wednesday, June 22, 2005


The Blogosphere Show - Simple Podcasting Systems

this is an audio post - click to play

Click above to listen. Only a single phone is needed to create a podcast. But both the speakerphone and the cell phone shown in the picture below are needed if someone at a distance needs to participate. If your phone services do not offer conferencing, this is a simple workaround; otherwise the audio will be higher quality if phone conferencing is used to make a three party call, with the third party being the audio service.. To start an audio conference with the design in the picture, I begin holding the cell phone next to my head for some initial comments, then set it on the speaker phone. The picture shows what this setup looks like.

Blog audio conference set up.

Here's the transcription of this 3 minute 17 second podcast.

"This is another podcast in the Blogosphere Show with Bob Houghton speaking. Welcome to this podcast on simple podcasting systems. This is a test of using my cell phone for automated podcasting. I'm using my cell phone as a microphone to record an audio conference using a speaker phone. When I finish recording and tap the # key on my cell phone, I have the option of replaying it, deleting it, or immediately posting it to one of my blog sites as an mp3 file. If I post it, when my blog site is opened, an icon for playing the audio file is visible and plays with a single click.

Here's what I'm doing right now. The current most simple set up I can think of is to open the cell phone and place it on its side on top of the speaker phone. The speaker phone is sitting on top of an upended standard size box of Kleenex to put the phones close to my lips. The microphone within a cell phone only records well within a very short distance. Within the speaker phone, I have the phone number I'm calling on speed dial so the tap of a single key will dial. This procedure will waste as little cell phone time as possible.

To test this equipment without interrupting someone else, find a local number that plays a tape of information, such as a movie theatre that plays a recording of its shows and showtimes. I'll dial that now.

[I put the cell phone down on the speaker phone. The phone rings, the tape answers, and I talk over pieces of the playing tape which forces the speaker phone to silence the theater recording until I stop talking.]

At the moment the speaker phone is still sitting approximately some 7 to 8 inches away from me. I'm going to pick it up now and put the cell phone next to my head. I'm putting it next to my face in the usual manner. You should now hear the voice quality improve somewhat. The free web posting service that I'm using is through a sign up with which in turn uses a service called Audioblogger.

For better recording quality, plug a headphone set with microphone into your cell phone. This allows you to experiment with positioning the speaker phone and your lips further away from the cell phone and still have decent recording quality. However, it does require you to remember to carry around a headphone set to carry this out.

This is the Blogosphere Show and Bob Houghton. Check for other broadcasts." END OF PODCAST

Assuming you have a national cell phone calling plan, the cost of such work is just in your cell phone minutes. If your podcasting is official company work, then there is no additional cost to be the "host" of a podcast. Audio quality varies greatly with the quality of the microphones and related knowledge and software. The audio quality of a recording is not as crisp as a live phone conversation because it is compressed in making it an mp3 file. The above design in the picture is further lowered in quality by using a cell phone microphone to record the sound from a speaker phone. Higher quality audio requires more professional equipment. Information on podcast setups with real microphones are not hard to find, e.g.: $100 U.S. Roadhouse design; or $200 U.S. BSW's podcast packages. See a Google search for "podcast setup" to sift more, but such approaches require much more web editing skills. Even given their five minute limit per recording, I find's cell phone arrangement for podcasting to be not only the simplest and most efficient approach, but low-cost and mobile as well.

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