Category: software

The podcast recipe

While I was waiting for the Apple announcements yesterday I discovered a pretty compelling podcast tutorial on Apple’s website. The Podcast Recipe seminar is a free online tutorial that, while painfully corny in a few spots, actually gives some nice information on microphones, mixers and the scope of Garageband’s podcasting capabilities. If you’re a beginner, it’s not a bad place to start… if you’re a more seasoned podcast creator, but haven’t used Garageband before, it showed some of its basic capabilities.

Cool free app: Jing

I’ve just been lead to a great new app called Jing… it’s a free application that makes image capturing and screen videos a snap to make. Coolest part? It’s cross platform and includes free hosting for all of your images and screencasts. Now if you need to show your mom how to do something on the computer, make a simple 5 minute video on Jing and send her the link. She can play it like any other video. No more typing out instructions! Also, since it’s cross platform there are no worries if you’re a PC owner sending to a Mac person, or vice versa. There’s even a Linux version in the works… very cool.

Check out the overview video here… it explains it better than I can in a paragraph, which is kind of the whole point of Jing, isn’t it?

New Apple podcast app

Interesting developments in the podcasting world of Apple… the next operating system – OS 10.5 Leopard – has a new application suite called Podcast Producer. Apple describes it as, “a complete, end-to-end solution for encoding, publishing, and distributing high-quality podcasts.” What is interesting is that this app is being developed for the server version of OS 10.5, not the version that runs on most Macs. The Apple Blog has more here… will Apple be moving this into a new iLife app and out of Garageband eventually? If they keep Podcast Producer with the OS X Server I probably wouldn’t recommend the cost for it, but if it ends up on Leopard for non-server Macs, it looks like it might be a nice upgrade from Garageband. No matter what, unless you’re a developer, nobody can get their hands on this until Leopard is released in October…

Ditching MS Office

A lot of people are getting tired of shelling out hundreds of dollars to Microsoft so that they can use Word, Excel and (sometimes) PowerPoint. But, most of them are loathe to do otherwise, since it seems that these programs are essential if you want to interact with others in the business world. Well, the times they are a changing. What if you could read and write all of the MS Office docs but pay… nothing.

Enter the world of open source projects OpenOffice and NeoOffice. Both of these projects (Mac and PC for the former, Mac only for the latter) offer complete compatibility, open source codes that are constantly improved, and a whole lot more… for free.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but in this case, I’ve found these open source options to be a nice alternative. If your budget for a new computer is off by a few hundred dollars because you are factoring in the purchase of the latest MS Office suite, consider going open source and replacing MS Office.

WWDC keytnote a yawner?

Maybe Apple is getting too good at building excitement… the reviews on the Steve Jobs keynote yesterday are a bit mixed. I think there were a few interesting things (the iPhone info and the fact that Apple is releasing a version of its Safari web browser in Windows) but overall it was a little flat.

With that ringing endorsement… check it out here.

iTunes revamped

Apple is launching a tweaked version of iTunes today (version 7.2)… it doesn’t appear to contain any upgrades or changes to the podcasting platform, but since it is by far the most used podcatcher out there, it’s good to know there’s some changes coming down the pike! Apple says the main feature in iTunes 7.2 is the ability to buy the new DRM-free tracks from the iTunes Music Store… that’s worth the upgrade for a lot of people! If you’re interested in seeking out those unlocked MP3s in the store, check out the how-to guide from MacUser.

Apple: Don’t Buy Audiobooks from iTunes

Ok, file this one under, “weird.” Apparently a bunch of recent audiobooks sold in the iTunes Music Store play just great in iTunes, but refuse to play on iPods. It’s come to the point that Apple has reportedly recommended that iPod owners not purchase any additional audiobooks from Apple’s own iTunes Music Store! If only Microsoft would say the same thing about not buying the Zune, then maybe we’d all sleep better…

Apparently the snafu is a result of something that Apple’s audiobook partner Audible has in these new versions. One of the books is Al Gore’s newest, The Assault on Reason. Since we know Steve Jobs is a big Al Gore fan, we know he can’t be behind the sabotage. Maybe the culprit is a pro-Obama coder over at Audible? Hmmmm… stranger things have happened

Garageband tip

For podcasters using Garageband as their recording and mixing platform, there’s a great tip from MacWorld on how to export your mixdown as an uncompressed AIFF file, rather than in AAC format. Even better, check out the first comment from (it seems) Adam of the MacCast on how to have the best of both worlds… it allows you to maintain the formatting for an enhanced AAC podcast, and also later export the same project as an AIFF for conversion into an MP3. Very cool stuff, if semi-incomprehinsibly delivered in this post!


I just prepared a screencast for a podcast client using SnapzProX, an incredible program from Ambrosia Software, the creators of the indispensible Wiretap Pro. If you’re a Mac OS X user, and you are preparing a screencast, give SnapzProX a shot. There is a free trial period with full functionality… the interface was easy to navigate (although I had trouble figuring out how start the recording… just click on the screen!), and the results are stellar.

I’m interested if there are similarly good software packages on the PC side… I’ll take a look and report here in a future post.