radio silence

Some days, you just have to accept that you’re not destined to do the things you want to do. You just have to say, "I did my best, but it’s just not going to happen."

Like this fucking podcast, for example. After spending nearly three hours working on it yesterday, only to have my machine completely eat all of it and leave me with nothing but an empty feeling and a tiny ball of rage to show for it, I sat back down today to give it another go. As a bonus, I even convinced my wife to let me take out the old iRiver and ask her some questions about dating, and then being married to a geek. It was awesome.

However, the gods had other plans, because when I imported my audio from my iRiver to my Powerbook, it was totally useless, just like it was after the Grand Slam convention. Only this time, instead of being totally blown out, it decided that it needed to skip all over the place and drop out about every three seconds. I’ve discovered that the only thing this particular iRiver is good for is hitting with a sledgehammer, then setting on fire, stomping into a ball of goo, and launching at the invading Viking army via a trebuchet. (And it’s not even very good for that, to be honest.)

This really needs to just work. I really need to be able to just sit down, take what’s in my head, and put it into a recording. It’s clear to me that if I want to do this podcast on any regular schedule, it has to be as technologically easy as it is for me to write, and I just don’t have the tools for that right now. I have to get some sort of reliable recording rig that is NOT a USB headset into fucking Garageband that crashes, and the iRiver that decides to just stop working one day. I need stuff that just works.

This is all a roundabout way of saying: I’m really frustrated, and
really upset that I’ve poured five hours of my time into this fucking
thing, and I have nothing to show for it. It’s the end of the week, I’m
hungry and cranky, and instead of trying to start all over again and
force a show out by the end of the day today, I’m going offline for
several hours, to have dinner with my wife. Thank you all for your questions and the time you spent asking them; I’ll do my very best to get the technical side of things worked out quickly, so your time will not have been wasted, as well.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Please drive safely.

59 thoughts on “radio silence”

  1. You might try picking Richard Vobes’s brain over at He seems to have figured out how to make shows run seamlessly on the technical end; he could probably help you with equipment setup. I say that because as far as I can tell, other than a high-end microphone, he doesn’t have much in the way of fancy equipment, but you’d swear you were listening to a terrestrial radio station. And he podcasts every day. You probably have access to more resources than him, too.

  2. I know nothing about podcasting, I can barley work my iPod. Sounds like you did a lot of work there, I’m sorry it didn’t work out. :( I hope you and your wife had a nice dinner. Take your time with the podcast, don’t stress it. *hugs*

  3. Looking forward to when the gods and godesses of technology (not too many godesses for some reason, but the few that are there have to fend off the other geek gods) stop punishing you for letting you fly their space ship.

  4. Wil – Not sure if you read your comments this far down, but I had to ask:
    You’ve said before that your post titles are often lyrics from songs you’re listening to when you write them, or songs that otherwise tie into what you’re writing about, or something.
    In the case of this post, is “Radio Silence” a reference to the band Harvey Danger? Sure, sure, it’s a common phrase and could just be related to the whole effed-up podcast (sorry ’bout that, by the way) but since I’m a huge HD fan I thought I’d inquire…

  5. First of all don’t record with that awful Garageband get some software that works.
    Or if you want to make it real easy, buy a Marantz PMD-660 the new ones have fixed some of the audio problems that were reported earlier. That is what I use for a backup device and it works great for when I am mobile.

  6. Wi,
    I agree with Todd on the Marantz, it is a beautiful piece of work. As far as software goes, all you need is QuickTime Pro – It records audio straight to the hard drive (with a minimal buffer), so even if it crashes (which it shoudn’t, cuz there’s not much to go wrong) you still have your audio.
    It’s easy and fun.

  7. Wil,
    I’ve never had any problems with Garageband — although I’ve not used it as much in the past as I’m going to soon. It’s seemed stable, but Audacity is also a good solution — if a bit limited. For a podcast, it should be fine. In terms of getting the audio into your machine — I’d suggest the iMic as a fairly inexpensive solution (I think it’s like $40) to plug a microphone into the system. If you don’t have one, I have an old mic from an Aiwa bookshelf system that should be able to plug right in. Which, actually, would be able to plug right into the line-in/mic port on your machine, but from what I’ve heard the iMic offeres some more control over the audio. For what I use for recording (music mostly @ — hasn’t been updated in over a year I think, but soon I’ll get back to it), I just got a presonus FireBox for recording into garageband. It seems to work fine, but I literally got it yesterday so I’m not sure. Mostly, I’d recommend garageband (or audacity — only I’m not thrilled with the audacity interface) and a decent mic rig. The iMic should be plenty for podcasting.

  8. As a fellow Mac guy and to echo what others have said – Use audacity, saves as MP3. Audacity also has auto processing features not in Garageband. I thought PowerBooks had a built in mic. Like others, I would recommend the Griffin Technologies iMic for input, but you will still need a separate mic.

  9. Wil,
    I have a PC based home studio. I use Pro Tools LE with an MBox (glorified analog to digital converting USB dongle). The price tag is reasonable (around $450 gets you the hardware and the basic but fully functional software package) and it has been rock solid for me. From there, you add a halfway decent microphone (I’d recommend a Shure SM58 $100) and you’re ready to go. ProTools is the same software you’d find in a majority of digital recording studios, and it’s a very versatile, very powerful tool. Yes, it’s a more expensive solution than a pocket tape recorder, and no, it’s not nearly as portable (although, if you have a lap top, a place to set up, and around two minutes to plug it in, it’s fine) but you’ll make a much better sounding recording. It’s a bit of a resource whore, so you wanna have plenty of RAM and HD space. As long as the program has enough power behind it, it’s pretty goddamn near invulnerable, or at least it has been on my system.
    Good luck!

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