The On-Screen Scientist Speaks!

I recently decided it might be a good idea to start a podcast. I figured I would just read and record my blog posts. Most of them are timeless—well, as good one time as another—so the fact that a podcast was based on a blog post from a month or two ago wouldn’t make much difference except for the small number of people that had already read the post. The idea was that I might expand my readership into a bigger “listenership.” I don’t subscribe to any podcasts and seldom listen to episodes, but I guess some people do, maybe a lot of them. In any case there can’t be as many podcasts as there are blogs.

I still haven’t decided if I will do it, but I did record one of the earlier, shorter posts just to see how it might be done. You can skip to the last paragraph if you’d just like a link to the recording. I am not happy with it, primarily, I’m afraid, because I don’t like the sound of my own voice, as recorded. Maybe that would be a little better if I hadn’t been getting a cold. Also, I’ve noticed a tendency to slur my words. Do I do that all the time? Probably. It could be a Texas thing. I believe President Bush does it too. Anyway, there have been places where I did that and then went back to record the paragraph again. Total blunders—mispronunciations or saying a word different from the one that was written—have occurred also. So I’ve had a chance to hear some paragraphs recorded multiple times, and I’ve noticed that I emphasize different words in different readings. The meaning doesn’t change much from the emphasis usually, but it is subtly different, and since I clearly don’t have a fixed idea for which emphasis is better, does it make sense to record one rather than just leaving it as text on the screen? Probably not.

There is also the issue of whether to use good old-fashioned mp3 format or new-and-improved m4a (AAC). If I use Apple’s iWeb software to set up a podcast, then I get the Apple-favored m4a. This is probably the wave of the future, and anyone that has iTunes can presumably play it, but what about those PC users that don’t? I haven’t been able to get an answer to this, but I don’t like the idea of having two audio files for each recorded post. I have done it for this first experiment though. The superiority of the AAC file seems clear: it sounds better, and it’s substantially smaller. Having played them both again, I realize that I dislike my voice less in AAC.

Podcasting would be very time-consuming. The recording I made is less than six minutes long, but I hate to think how long it took me to get to a place I could quit, even then with some parts in it I really didn’t like the sound of. That would probably improve in time, but most of the posts are longer, some a lot longer.

Anyway, if you’d like to hear Dangerous Experiments, click m4a or mp3 for the format of your choice. And, if you think I should be encouraged to do more, please send me an email. I’d also appreciate feedback on the audio format issue. Email address is in the upper right section of the page.

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