Archive for the 'Podcasting' Category

Notes from the FLCITRT

I wrote my Florida Church IT Round Table notes inside the wiki for the schedule so they could be shared. However, I think it is a good idea to keep my own copy of notes like these. Since this blog is my notepad, I might as well copy them here.

Continue reading ‘Notes from the FLCITRT’

This American Life’s Mousetrap

I listen to “This American Life” more often than I used to now that I can get it on line. Recently I was pointed to a recent episode discussing some about the current financial crisis.

Their episode on “The Giant Pool of Money” back in May had a good explanation of the global issues that lead to much of the crisis (too many people with too much money and too little to do with it). On October 3rd, they ran “Another Frightening Show About The Economy“with a follow-up the next week in a replay of an old episode “A Better Mousetrap 2008.” This one is a replay of an episode from 2006, but with a couple different stories mixed in.

I just finished listening to the one from 2006 “A Better Mousetrap” and found the portion about creating a new religion to be very interesting. Anyone in ministry can immediately recognize the eye-roll inducing sentiments.

You can download the most recent episode from the podcast or the link on its page for a period of one week starting the week after it airs. After that, the only links available are for listening online or purchasing through iTunes. If you wish to download it directly in spite of these restrictions, you can use the following formula:

Start with

Then enter the episode number in place of the “365″ above.
For example, the episode from 2006 is #311 so the link will be

The Mugger’s Friend

NPR’s Morning Edition had a story that caught my attention:
A Victim Treats His Mugger Right.

Also available from StoryCorps: Julio Diaz.

Faced with a mugger, Julio also offers his coat, a meal, and love.

Takes a bit of Matthew 5:38-42 into life.

A Church Ombudsman

Do you know what an Ombudsman is? You should. It is an important role.

An ombudsman is a person who stands between two connected groups and keeps the communication flowing. They are an ambassador of sorts, but instead of functioning for the sake of one party they function for both.

In the military, an ombudsman has the responsibility of keeping the humanity of the leadership and the soldiers in mind even when it gets easy to for each to look at the other as just “the brass” or “the grunts.” It creates an amenable short circuit in an otherwise separate hierarchy. How can the average corporal’s wife demand information from a colonel without fearing repercussions without an intercessor?

This has been in my mind because of a recent episode of “The Leonard Lopate Show: Please Explain” (March 21, 2008) where they interviewed the NPR Ombudsman. I had heard an interview with the previous ombudsman a while back, but this one got me thinking about ombudsmen again.

I decided to post this while listening to Buzz Out Loud #690 (at 3min 45sec) where Molly Wood expressed a “life theory”/”one big fortune cookie” saying used as: “It is rarely the situation, it is almost always the communication.”

When a church is small a few negative voices can rip the church down, but as it gets large you have a BB vs. a Battleship situation happening. While the leadership can feel more secure knowing that the people who just tend to be disagreeable will be quickly plowed under, the same thing happens to sincere people with real concerns. In the same way, bad information gets spread around and the leadership is stressed because nobody is coming to them to get the story straight.

  • How does your church do with this type of communication?
  • Do you perceive “ombudsman” as a promising position in the church?
  • Would it be a volunteer position?
  • Do you think this is really the job of the Pastor or Elders?
  • Is this just a crazy idea?

Blogs in Plain English

I have tried to explain blogs to people in the past, but most of the people who don’t understand what they are by now are going to require something a little more straight forward.

That is why I like this video entitled: Blogs in Plain English (with pictures too).

Posting Better Video To YouTube

From Lifehacker: How to Optimize Your Videos for YouTube.

More on YouTube:
Take Care When Tagging
Use its high quality flv conversion.

Looking for Podcast/Vidcast Information

One of the ministers here has been called upon to speak about blogging at the North American Christian Convention as part of a panel. He is beginning to get concerned that he may be asked about more information than what he has on hand for the following topics:

  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • E-Newsletters

He has asked me to pull some information together. We currently have three separate podcasts being published through the church, so I know how to do it, but I want to pull together as many resources as possible.

This is what I am looking for:

  • Tools for the initial recording: (we have CD recorders hooked up to the sound systems, but a computer with good software would be even better). What tools do you know of and/or use?
  • Editing Software: We currently use an older version SoundForge for the editing. We have also discussed Audacity, but not moved to it.
  • MP3 creation: Since the version of SoundForge we use does not export mp3 we have been using CDEX for mp3 creation. Audacity could do this, but it requires the LAME plugin. CDEX was chosen because when I started doing the podcasts I would just grab the sermon on the CD for the bookstore and extract it from there. CDEX was the first CD ripper I used back when I bought my first mp3 player (a Diamond Rio)
  • ID3 tag editing (if not included in the MP3 encoder): CDEX does limited ID3 tags for ripped CDs, but not for converted .wav files (which we sometimes use). Fixtag (which requires Java) does a good job of adding them.
  • Your Naming conventions: I am a very orderly person when it comes to cataloging data. Some of our sermon podcasts are name based upon Service-Series_Name-#-Sermon_Title while one which does not rely on sermon series is done as Service-YYYYMMDD-Sermon_Title. No blank spaces due to the fact that URLs make blank spaces look awful. I want sermons to be nicely sorted when they are all placed into a directory and ordered by name.
  • ID3 conventions: We include the preacher’s name as a comment in the tags as well as date information in addition to the sermon title and series name.
  • Podcast Posting Software: We use WordPress with The Audio Player WordPress Plugin for some podcasts while one of them is currently hand coded by the resident web dweeb (me). We used LoudBlog for 1 year, but it became a hassle. I started handcoding in order to bring in some features I had been considering, but I plan to move to something automated in the near future.
  • Feed Distribution: Our feed goes out through FeedBurner so that we have some good information on feed usage and because it makes the moving to a new posting software easier. One reason I kept up with hand coding was so that the podcast address would stay the same. We have also been posted on iTunes, but our sermon podcast is considered a resource for the church and not intended to climb the iTunes charts.

Anything else you would like to add or correct (PLEASE?). Post in the comments or follow up at any of the forums I am going to cross-post this to.

Mp3 player, camera, video, DVR

I have been checking out Mach Speed TV5 from Trio.

While I hate the current Trio I am using, this one looks more interesting.

I like the camera and DVR features built in. I also like that it has 512 internal + an SD expansion slot so I could buy 512 of Kingston flash for about $15 and get a gig or buy a few extra for more storage.

I’m not sure it has the best picture quality, but I would rather have a so-so camera with me all the time than the best camera in the world with me only on rare occasions. Even a crummy picture will bring back memories in the future.


  • No FM
  • No flash
  • No zoom
  • Uncertain about its focusing capabilities (doubtful)
  • The instructions show a picture of the screen where they spell Calendar as “Calenda” and I may be Southern, but I can still spel.

I am also interested in having a portable item with a wifi capable web browser so I can check out church security cameras while walking around the building. This is making the phone option look better, but I have already been issued a phone that is rubberized and durable since there are many opportunities for it to fall while working (Motorola i530).

Sound more “manly” in your podcast

Girl gamers often get picked on when playing online games (or so I have heard since I don’t play online games), so one company is offering voice changer software.

AV Voice Changer software is only $99.95 (hey, under 100 bucks!) so every teenage girl gamer will be getting it immediately.

However, this does look useful for podcasting. Remember Mr. humphreys on “Are You Being Served?” I have two words for you, “Men’s Wear”

Greetings, Echelon

Echelon is the name of the sophisticated system whish pays attention to everything. It watches TV, listens to readio programs, surfs the net, and taps its fingers while listening to phone calls. For all the news that the NSA has been the target over during the last few months you would think that this was something new. In fact, it was created during the Clinton Administration (aka. Carnivore [that is the system not the administration]) as a logical response to the capabilities and needs of modern intelligence gathering.

The topic usually has 2 noisy sides:

  1. Bush bad, wiretapping bad, Og not expect government listening.
  2. We need to do this and to disagree is to be a terrorist.

When I noticed that the Berkley Grok Podcast was going to talk about it I almost didn’t listen. It is an odd podcast with 2 Ph.D. level scientists acting like sophomores by joking about the abbreviation for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doing questions and answers in barely intelligible impersonations of genericized celebrity voices (Agent. Smith, Yoda, Bruce Lee, Ahnold Schwar…, and others), and doing adolescent jokes about different people in the Grokatron 3000 (formerly known as Deep Blue). I figured it would be more of the same that I hear from everyone else.

However, it was a very factually based discussion devoid of the usual political smackdown that usually controls this topic.

You can get the audio here

UPDATE: Speaking of . . . There is a nifty Government Data Gathering news story template available if you are interested.