November 23rd, 2008 § § permalink
I am really curious about something. iTunes is a media player, right? QuickTime is a codec and a browser plugin for the most part, correct?
I mean, iTunes plays MP3 and other media files, I can see there being file associations to open iTunes with certain file types. I know that it’s meta-data is all stored in XML.
Can someone please explain to me why I would possibly need to reboot after updating iTunes? What kind of hooks are you installing on my computer Mr. Jobs? I don’t understand….
So when iTunes originally shipped it was a cute little media player with I would say at least 60% of the functionality it has now. That was 2001 and I remember it weighing in at around 20.1MB. It’s 2008 and it’s about 70MB. That’s quite the growth considering that the only big changes have been video playback and iPhone management.
Size doesn’t really bother me that much, it’s good software, it could be 200MB and I wouldn’t really care, I just wonder when I am forced to reboot, what else is Apple trying to force into my system.
We already know that they will stop at nothing to trick you into installing Safari for Windows, and they blackmail you into installing QuickTime, but what is it? Mobile Me support?
I am not sure, but I have to say that I am pretty much in love with my Zune lately and the Zune 3.1 software is a much more complete and interesting experience these days. I can learn about bands, who influenced them, who sounds like them, find other uses that like them and see what else they are listening to, and get a regular stream of new music that the iTunes store is too cumbersome to show you easily.
I would have balked if you had told me I would be saying this six months ago, but the truth is even with 3 Macs in my setup, I listen to the Zune device all the time and use the Zune software as my music player. Why you might ask? Zune Pass. Today I open it up and it knows me and says, "Hey dude, the new Nickelback is out and you might also like this David Cook fellow…" I pretty much get all you can eat music (even sweeter with the keep 10 addition) and I download the two albums and crank them as we re-arrange the house today. Who could ask for anything more.
November 6th, 2008 § § permalink
We all love new music and since I have been on the Zune Pass diet, which is all you can eat, I have been finding tons of it.
I thought I would share one of those jewels with you. Senses Fail is an American Pop-Punk band from Ridgewood New Jersey.
I have been listening to the albums “Life is not a waiting room” and “Still Searching” and have been totally loving them. If you are heading to the CD store, about to rock iTunes or are lucky enough to be kickin the Zune/Zune Pass, download these guys. If you would like a more mature Blink 182, this is just the ticket.
October 29th, 2008 § § permalink
The Philocast is produced in my home on a “When I get an idea” based schedule. I would do them more regularly, but I would have to force topics and they might be more boring than they probably are!
I thought for those curious about what I use, I would do a breakdown of the studio gear that I use to produce it now. I have used quite a bit of different equipment and software over the last two years, but after doing two episodes with the current setup, I am not only pleased with the aural results, but also the ease at with I can produce them. Tonight’s 18 minute episode took about 25 minutes to record, edit, upload and post. That’s not too bad.
Besides the hardware mentioned in this article, you will also need a PC, Mac or Linux based computer. Luckily podcasting is not very intensive and requires very little. Any recent off the shelf PC will do assuming it has some basic specs:
- 1Ghz+ CPU
- 1GB Ram (512mb will do but 1GB is much better)
- 10-20GB free space for storing audio
To record a podcast you need a couple things, a Microphone, some sort of audio interface, and software to capture it. There are more things in between that you can add, but those are the basics. You can record one with a simple USB headset and some free software called Audacity, or you can go whiz bang out like I do.
Microphones come in all sorts of sizes and flavors. There are headset mics, handheld mics and lavelier mics. There are dynamic mics and condensor mics. Some mics require external power, some take batteries. I use a reletively inexpensive MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount. This mic can be found for $69 @ Amazon with included link.
The Microphone requires an external power source called Phantom Power to power the mic. I have also seen this same mic available in USB to connect directly to a computer for recording and power.
Optionally, I run my mic through two pieces of hardware before I get to the interface. I say these are optional because they are definitely not as important for voice as this can be done in software, but since I use this same setup for recording vocals, I don’t bother to unplug it.
The first device after the mic is a PreSonus Tubepre Single-Channel Vacuum Tube Mic Pre . This device is used to add a little warmth and body to the signal. It can be found for $99 @ Amazon with the included link.
The next device is a Behringer MDX2600 2-Ch Expander Gate Compressor Limiter compressor/limiter. This evens out the levels of my voice and also cuts the signal out completely when I stop talking. It can be found for $105 @ Amazon with the included link.
Next is the audio interface. The interface I use is for recording music and is major overkill for podcasting. It’s the discontinued Yamaha 01x. I have another interface that’s fantastic for podcasting that I use when mobile. That’s the M-Audio Fast Track Pro 4×4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Preamps. This is a great portable interface with multiple channel audio as well as MIDI. It has phantom power for higher end mics and is very versatile. It can be found @ Amazon for $160.
Last but definitely not least, to make sure you are capturing great signal, you need a good set of headphones. I use AKG K240 Semi Open Studio Headphones, but any good closed back headphones will do. The AKG’s can be found for about $100 @ Amazon with the provided link.
While I have the full blown Logic Studio for Mac, it’s way too much for podcasting. I like to keep it simple and use Garageband. It’s a fantastic application for podcasting. It has many voice presets and free audio clips for introductions and such. Garageband is included free with OS X.
If you are on PC, unfortunately there is nothing as simple and capable as Garageband, but for free you can get Audacity and do an admirable job. Audacity is available for Mac, PC and Linux.
If you have collected your gear and are interested in tips for podcasting, check out the following sites:
I hope you have found this informative, happy Podcasting!
October 13th, 2008 § § permalink
Now you can get cool new tones for your line6 gear. Stay tuned for a podcast explaining the settings, a sample of the tone being played and of course the file to load it in your Pod with Line6 Edit. Enjoy!
This week’s tone is one I created for recording some riffage on Steve Vai’s For the Love of God from Passion and Warfare. Listen to the Podcast for some samples of it in use.
Download The Tone!
October 13th, 2008 § § permalink
Ok, apparently the Zune software is psychic. Look at my picks for today, we have Buckcherry (Metal), Avenged Sevenfold (Metal), Saving Abel (Metal), Dragon Force (Metal), System of a Down (Metal), Three Days Grace (Metal) and JOURNEY!? How did they know I loved some Journey. Wow, I gotta say, way to go Zune, you know me so well.
P.S. I really do love Journey, just don’t know quite how Zune knew….