All 7 entries tagged Web 2
December 20, 2006
Update on Equipment and Links to Training Videos
The use of podcasting / audio equipment for educational and other communication purposes looks set to grow as the technical barriers are overcome with simpler more effective, less fiddly products.
Below I round up a couple of the latest products on the market which can link straight into your computer with a USB connection without the need for much equipment. You will need some sort of microphone stand for a stand alone mike and of course some shielded cable to reduce potential interference.
As the equipment gets simpler more people are likely to start doing thier own audio recording. Most of us just want to get going rather than turn into equipment junkies circumnavigating large amounts of technical information.
The Rode Podcaster site below is also offering a service of publishing your podcasts on the web if you are one of their clients.
The growth of USB connected podcasting equipment
For very basic equipment to get started, what seems to be a very popular product is the Beyerdynamic MMX-1 headset. By ‘headset’ I mean integrated headphones with a microphone. I have just ordered one of these (Xmas 2006) and there seems to be a wait. I need a headset to complete a course I’m taking on ‘innovations in educational technology’.
The fact that I need them for a course is indicative of the way things are going. I will now be asking my students to consider making podcasts. These may be discussions about particular directors or reviews of films.
I’ve owned a set of hi-fi Beyer headphones in the past and I loved the quality. They were over £40-00 at the end of the 1970s (a lot then). The MMX-1s are ordered via the internet – with packaging about £65-00. RRP in shops is a lot more. Loigitech make cheaper ones but inevitably quality will be compromised. ‘Good value’ isn’t always the cheapest!
I’m certainly expecting pretty decent quality although the microphone isn’t going to be great at this kind of price. What makes this particular headset very special is the fact that it has a
USB connection. This means that it can plug straight into the USB ports on my computer.
Something that will be interesting to experiment with is linking three or 4 of these to a computer via a powered USB Hub. In theory at least it should be possible to hold a conversation, interview or record a play very cheaply. Whilst the sound quality is unlikely to be great it is a good way of starting to familiarise yourself with the technology. clearly there would need to be plenty of post production editing but for educational purposes this new type of equipment maximises what individual or mainstream institutions will already have.
Rode is an Australian electronics firm with a good range of microphones and a good reputation. Making a move from the headset to a proper microphone plus a set of headphones which eliminate outside sound is the next big step.
Rode have just introduced a microphone aimed specifically at podcasters. In the UK it appears to be retailing at around £150 on the internet. This is another piece of equipment which has a USB connection straight into your computer. This avoids having microphone preamps and things like that. Another advantage is that it has an high quality (XLR) socket on the side of the microphone body to which you can attach your headphones.
As you can see from the images above you can get going with a very straightforward set of equipment. Listening to the Rode broadcast on their marketing site with a professional broadcaster using the microphone shows that this mike delivers very good quality sound. (Listened to on my computer through a set of Sennheiser £30-00 headphones for iPods).
As an aside one shouldn’t get too hung up about superlative quality. The whole point of iPods is that they are listened to in mobile situations quite frequently and the MP3 file format is a compressed sound so is by its very nature of limited quality. A good voice microphone should nevertheless impart a warm natural quality to the voice. Institutions such as the BBC Radio 3 renowned for their quality will be using very expensive Neumann microphones for example, but aiming for the highest possible sound quality isn’t the point here. It should be natural, comfortable to listen to, and distortion free otherwise people won’t bother listening.
A quick scan of the blogs on podcasting it isn’t registering much yet however it looks set to become very popular.
Here is a link to the Rode posdcaster marketing. There is a well known Australian broadcaster giving some sound advice (gerrit) on how to use microphones effectively. This is well worth watching and listening to even if you decide not to go for this product.
Choosing microphones requires a little time to think about what sort of applications you want it for. It you are going to want to recors a range of different activities in a wide rangfe internal an external conditions you will probably end up with a collection of them.
Here is a link to Sound on Sound Magazine guide to microphones.
Here is link to the Audio Technica guide to microphones which gives you some useful ideas.
Here is a link to a microphone terms glossary from MixGuides keep it open when you are browsing through products with lots of teccie terms.
December 16, 2006
Links for Podcasting Equipment and Associated Advice
Please note that this site takes no responsbility for any of the advice given on any of the blogs which are connected here. It is strongly suggested that you use all normal caution when proceeding with advice from any one blog and double check.
There is a similar warning with equipment. In independent research I have read that the latest Marantz digital recorder is very good. I am aware that the educational users from one large well established leading intitution were going to upgrade their current recorders to Marantz ones although they cost twice as much as the ones currently being used.
My understanding is that the quality of recording and ease of use makes them far more productive and the build quality makes them far more rugged and reliable in the field. This would suggest that educational institutions or media companies would do well to use the Marantz straight away as it is likely to save money over the longer term. (I have just discovered a very detailed review of the Marantz).
At the time of writing (December 2006) this is appears to be the benchmark recorder to measure other ones against including Marantz’s own more expensive ones.There are a number of blogs below which review this machine and compare it with alternatives. Any final analysis needs to consider how often the machines will be used and under what conditions being wieghed agaianst the available budget.
For individuals there are a range of MP3 players out there which can do recording. If you are on a limited personal budget one of these may be the most sensible place to start. this is not least because it is worth you gaining experience before committing yourself to a big outlay.
The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ is usually a good rule of thumb. I usually find with most products that the mid market level is the bst place to start. You usually get very disatisfied with the limitations of the cheapest equipment whilst the most expensive often has little used bells and whistles on which may be useful for full-time professionals but for the average user provides little benefit for the extra cost. when it comes to practical media equipment build quality and reliability are worth more than extra tweaks.
The equipment sites and blogs were collected at the beginning of December. As web 2 is very dynamic this is by no means a comprehensive list but provides you with a portal into the world of podcasting. Now enjoy yourselves :-)
Various Equipment Sites and Blogs
Please note there is no order of priority here it was just how I followed up the searches adding links along the way. Some are blogs and some are equipment suppliers.
Robert Toole’s comment below alerted me to this supplier: Solid State Sound. This is a useful supplier as the items are annoted in a non-tech comprehensible way with clear advice where one item might be more appropriate than another. The link takes you to the edible looking Nagra Recorder. More budget ones are in the sidebar. (Please note this comment should not be taken as a recommendation of either product or supplier).
Podcast Audio Equipment « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s
Podcasting Equipment Collected
Creating a Podcast > Equipment
Home: K&M – König & Meyer GmbH & Co.KG
Microphone Stands: K&M – König & Meyer GmbH & Co.KG
Podcast Bunker.com – We only list the very best podcasts
MIXERS / POWERED MIXERS – UB SERIES MIXERS – EURORACK UB802 : Ultra Low-Noise Design 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with Premium Mic Preamplifiers
Podcasting Equipment – PodcastBlaster.com
It’s time to listen to the internet | PodcastVoices.com
Podcasting Equipment – drupal
Portable Recording Equipment for Your Audio Podcast « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Bloghttp://jdfrey.wordpress.com/2006/12/05/podcasting-offers-new-avenue-for-reaching-students-alumni/
Podcasting Offers New Avenue for Reaching Students, Alumni « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Bloghttp://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=757&ParentId=114
Roland U.S. – R-09: WAVE/MP3 Recorder
Successful Podcasting in Education at the University Level « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Bloghttp://www.thewhyandhowofpodcasting.com/
thewhyandhowofpodcasting.com – information on thewhyandhowofpodcasting.com
MediaWiki – MediaWiki
John Bristowe’s Weblog : The Podcasting Equipment Has Arrived…
Ed-Tech Insider: Podcasting equipment roundup
December 12, 2006
At the time of writing the biggest developing cultural / social phenomenon on the Web is the rapid growth of the Virtual environment Second Life. It was initially launched in 2003 around the time other web2 applications were beginning to revitalise the web after the dot.com crash of 2000. Until a few months ago its growth has been steady but not really spectacular. Already over one million people have signed up to become members and it is suggested that its economy is growing faster than many real countries.
Below I have summarised some of the key points to come out of an interview with Philip Rosedale the founder of Second Life with Oliver Rosedale from .Net magazine. (very old world having a paper based product :-) ). If you go to the other article on Second Life you will find links to several stories by BBC reporters on it.
Currently (December 2006) about 10,000 people per day are joining Second life
In September it grew at a rate of 38%
About $500,000 (real money) is spent everyday
Current rate of exchange real dolloars to Linden dollars (the local currency) $1 – $250.
Inspiration behind the project: Neil Stephenson’s book Snow Crash
Rosedale: the combination of 3D graphics and broadband were the two things that seemed absolutely necessary to make the whole thing work
Rosedale on the differences between Second Life and other virtual world models:
...there’s no levels, no scores and, most importantly, the content in second life is user created (my emphasis)...Linden Lab just sells and maintains land – all objects are created by people inside the virtual world.
Herein lies the fundamental difference between Second Life and environments sucha as World of Warcraft. Second Life is about creating a country not a game.
The difference is that there are many more possibilities to explore. It can be entirely escapist or it is possible to test out products and developments as some businesses are already. Another difference is that people who are ‘stuck’ in the real world can create their own entrepreneurial opportunities in Second Life.
In this latter sense it can be seen culturally as the recreation of a frontier zone. It has shades of a revitalisation of the cowboy frontier ethic for the 21st century.
Perhaps it is part of the liberal free-trading culture which has been the root of American financial success (as well as some of its poverty some would say).
Web 1 or Web 2
This application seems to blur the differences between Web 1 and Web 2. As Rosedale is arguing that Linden Labs purpose is to create a country they have provided an enormously interactive social environment which is a major attraction. another major attraction which gives it a Web 2 feel is that its future development is primarily based upon what users decide to make and to do.
Users keep the intellectual property rights on articles they make within the environment:
bq. People are using the scripting language to build something like a watch that your avatar wears, and when you zoom in on it, its telling the right time and maybe has an alarm on it(Rosedale interviewed .Net Jan 2007 p36).
Clearly this makes it an extraordinarily interactive and highly dynamic environment which is laregly contingent upon how the users decide to use it unlike the gaming virtual environments which often have regular and predictable features built into the software.
There is is even crime in Second Life however there is some serious thinkng going on from Linden Lab. Issues of control are community based informed by books such as the well known The Death and Life of Great American cities by Jane Jacobs. There are many experiments going on about how to govern.
One thing is currently missing that is present in the real world. That is the potential for monopoly contorl of commodities. there’s no cost of goods and there’s no manufacturing and distribution costs says Rosedale.
For Rosedale the most important feature of Second life is that it is _inherently social. When you navigate the web normally you are alone. although Second life is a website you are rarely alone in your ventures. Arguably this puts paid to those a few years ago who thought that the web would kill off sociality. It seems to be moving sociality into different space which is rather a different thing.
December 10, 2006
This page is simply to alert you to links podcasts etc relating to the unfurling and sometimes surprising world of New Media Technologies.
This page is especially relevant to OCR A level media students doing the new media technologies unit.
The links will also be useful to many students who are involved with cultural studies, new media courses, business studies or even (perhaps especially) good old-fashioned economics.
Web places to go
In the sidebar of this blog there is a regular feed provided from Click On-Line the BBC News 24 team which deals with New Media tecnologies.
Also on the site is a podcast feed from the Ecnomist including its annual review of what the coming year might bring. There are several interviews about the internet and new technologies here. Follow the hyperlink for the latest stories and / or if you want to get the feed on your own computer.
BBC Digital world. The Web page is here.
It is certainly the case that for at least the last couple of years TV company executives have been getting increasingly worried. Their audiences have been gradually drifting and although advertising revenues are still quite healthy “where audiences go advertising will follow” and audiences are historically the great enigma of media of companies whatever the technology involved. The financial shennanigens surrounding an attempted take-over of ITV by NTL and Richard Branson was blocked by a surprise stockmarket move by Murdoch the Younger using SKY as the vehicle. This all happened in December 2006 and is a harbinger of shake-ups to come. The following week Michael Grade comes to ITV as it’s new chief executive.
This article starts to examine how the underlying features of the media world are changing. It appears that new models of media are increasingly being driven from below by start-up companies chasing advertising revenue. how are more established companies and their business models coping with the new threats and opportunities? This is a dynamic world and we will be continually updating this and its associated pages in response to this rapidly changing environment.
For the most up-to date stories as they appear go to the Click section in the sidebar of this blog. Click is the BBC programme which is part of News 24 that deals with new media technologies.
The underlying problems for ITV in particular is the phenomenol success of Web 2. Sites such as “My Space” and “U-Tube” barely existed 2 years ago. A few months ago “U-Tube” was sold to Google for about £1 billion. Not bad going for a company with only 67 employees which had only been going for a couple of years.
Other new Web 2 companies are making tremendous strides and will soon become part of everyday conversation. “Digg” is a Social News site which is very successful in America and this model might well come to challenge conventional British News Broadcasters in due course.
But what is going to appeal to the watchers of soap operas the most is the creation of new social worlds of which the market leader is undoubtedly Second Life. _Second Life- is a virtual world in 3D which allwos participants to literally engage in another life. There is even a lot of real money involved. $1 buys $250 of the virtual currencies. Expect the exchange rate to be be more challenging in a couple of years time. We will look at this phenomenon in another article. suffice it to say that the Financial Times weekend sent a reporter in to investigate in November and the news agency Reuters already has offices in this world!
2007: Will TV experience that “Music Moment”?
The Economist “World in 2007” is blatantly asking this question. It defines “music moment” as:
the realisation that a core audience (the 18-34-year-old male) has moved online, possibly fo good. The rise of YouuTube and an army of other free video-hosting services has created a phenomenon of short, user-created videos. (My emphasis)
A New Distribution Model
The Economist article points out that the model for distribution is a viral one -please see the piece on Viral Advertising for more on this. The spread of these programmes is via e.mail and blogs not through the very expensive billboard advertisments and prime-time TV slots:
...most worryingly for the networks, they are not accompanied by 30-second advertisiong spots, or any other advertising at all. This is Television but not as we have known it. (My emphasis)
The YouTube Audience
Audience is what media is fundamentally about and YouTube has got it in spades! The Economist estimates the following figures which are extraordinary:
Today YouTube streams more than 100m videos a day, which gives it an audience nearly as big as America’s largest TV networks.
It is this dramatically growing audience which has come seemingly out of nowhere which is giving conventional TV companies a headache. This phenomenon is very much of the ‘home-brewed’ kind. much of the content is low quality but then the people making most of it are teenagers who are just learning about life technology and everything.
The fact is that it is a cultural phenomenon which has cought the teenage imagination just as Rock music did for the sixties generation. It is a generation representing themselves to a generation:
The video diaries of Lonelygir15, done with a $150 webcam, attracted an audience of millions drawn to the authenticity of a home-schooled teenager baring her soul (which made it all the more ironic when she actually turned out to be a promotional project for some aspiring film-makers). (My emphasis)
Another case of a YouTube marketing success was the indie band OK Go
which gained them a star turn at the MTV music awards show. The marketers and advertisers are the ones behind which is ‘keeping TV programmers off the sills of thier skyscrpers’:
...each year advertisers collectively pay more and more for a smaller and smaller audience
Chris Anderson suggests that if anyone can link google style advertising to the content that people choose to watch:
...then the house of cards that is the economics of the broadcast TV industry will come crashing down…where the viewers go the advertisers will eventually follow. and the viewers are moving to the web at a pace that will become impossible to ignore.
Anderson’s seems like a very solid appraisal of the enormous shifts taht are taking place in the media world. whilst predicting that actual pace of change isn’t a game worth getting into the fundamental issue that people are increasingly migrating to the web for their media content whatever that may be is opening up a very different media future for everybody. It isw a future which has been built on ever more effective telecommunications systems.
This includes the development of readily affordable broadband, which can be delivered wirelessly as well and increasingly through mobile devices of various kinds. Web technologies are also advancing rapidly and the ability to have whole multimedia software packages from Google for example means that as well as TV the model of Personal computing is being challenged as well.
Just as 10 years ago hardly anybody had e.mail it has now become normal for large numbers of the population of advanced economies. In another 10 years uploding your holiday video from a beach in Greece or Bali straight onto onto a site like YouTube will replace the postcard and will be the preferred system of communication. Watching short video downloads on the web-linked panel in front of your seat on the coach to the holiday hotel will also be normal. The chances are that everybody on that coach will be watching something different! What future broadcast TV with audiences of millions on a regular basis? NO FUTURE methinks!!
What future do you think there is for TV. Well thought out comments in the comments box below please, ciao for now :-).
Some Catch-up links since this article was published
Interesting BBC TV Development following their online radio model of ‘Listen Again’: Catch-UP TV Guardian report.
TV’s changing model could be through linking Slingback technology with 3G Mobiles. See here for the latest Guardian report.
Anderson, Chris. 2006. ” The Web is a Serial Killer: and Television’s Next”. The World in 2007 Economist. London
For the web version of this article click here
November 30, 2006
Podcasting: Useful informational sources mainly from the BBC
Podcasting is becoming an increasingly important New Media Technology. Below are some useful links relating to new media including podcasting. There is another page which provides practical links to equipment and blogs about how to do it yourself. Some links are also in the sidebat to this blog in the New Media Technologies Section.
Useful Starter Links
Here is the BBC press office release announcing their recent podcasting trial.
Another foray into the world of new media from the BBC is the BBC Radio Player which allows a live online feed and older programmes to be accessed from a personal computer.
Really Simple Syndication or RSS Feeds.
BBC Pods & Blogs also introduces the concept of Citizen Media
BBC Click Online Videos. This page links to a large number of downloadable videos
What is High Definition TV (HDTV)?
Video on Demand. European opportunities & threats.
November 21, 2006
What is Podcasting?
Podcasting is yet another digital technology which has erupted on the scene and which is so hard for adults to keep up with in the ‘digital deluge’. Podcasting is only a couple of years old at the time of writing but it is rapidly developing into an important part of ‘new media’.
In essence the Podcast is the equivalent of being able to take a radio programme around on a tape and listen to it on your personal stereo (Walkman). It is in a computer file format which can be played on many different devices.
How to listen
Increasingly you will be able to play them on your car sound system, your sound system at home including portable digital radios as well as on iPod or MP3 players and also mobile phones which can store the MP3 file format. You can also play them on your laptop computer. With a set of headphones it is possible to lsiten and work on the train for example.
The iPod or MP3 player are the normal way of listening to these. These devices are becoming cheaper and more sophisticated all the time with many mobile phones having the facility to download and play MP3 sound files. The latest of these devices are able to store the content of dozens of CDs with hard drive memories larger than the average household computer of a few years ago.
The file format thus allows for what are sometimes described in media terms as place-shifting and time-shifting. Or ‘when you want it, how you want it, where you want it’ in plain English.
How do you get Podcasts?
Its all very well talking about them – and I’m writing this pretty much as I learn- but its another thing getting all the technology sorted out and wondering if it will all work together and then will it really be worth it when you’ve done all this when reading a good book in the garden might be more pleauarable.
I think the answer is yes or this article wouldn’t be here. The first thing is that you will neeed the correct software loaded onto your computer. The best software to use is “iTunes” from the Apple website. This also comes with the latest version of “Quicktime” which you will be able to download at the same time. The process is quite painless and you will end up with a couple of nice little extra icons on your desktop.
For cinema a good place to go to start the process is the Moviemail podcasts page
The site gives some explanation of podcasts and also gives you some options. You can listen to a choice of podcasts without actually keeping them or else you can follow the link which says ‘subscribe via iTunes’. This will take you to the Apple site. (It is a busy site and sometimes seems to get stuck as it did with me when writing this. Just go back later if this happens). once you are into the site followthe instructions for getting iTunes / Quicktime. You can then ‘subscribe’ to the Moviemail podcast lists. You will see a list of what is available and you can choose which ones to download. there is a button to click saying get this (or something like that I can’t check at the moment). The software gives you one of those annoying lists saying “customers who subscribed to this also ….” . Well actually it was quite useful as it took me to some useful podcasts from the Guardian and the Times / BFI London Film Festival.
Now the files are in your computer and can be downloded to other devices in the usual ways.
When I find more useful podcasts I will stick in links to the Podcastography (or whatever these lists are going to get called eventually).
Future usage on my courses
For the current Open Studies course on “Weimar and Nazi Cinema” I don’t expect us to be making our own podcasts but this is going to be increasingly possible as better recording equipment becomes cheaper.
If you are reading this as an A level media student I’m currently thinking
about converging podcast making into the coursework of making websites and radio. Rather than radio ‘broadcasts’ being made available for two weeks on a limited licence podcasts will be availbale on the network.
The great cultural critic Raymond Williams once described the Walkman as ‘mobile privatisation’, however this is a pessimistic view which doesn’t allow for the possibilities of being in communication in a different mental space form the physical space. This form of communication can be at any intellectual level. In reality people on tubes and trains can be remarkably private and locked into their own thoughts without any technology. one always needs to ask the question whther there is some sort of nostalgia present for a ‘golden age ’ of interpersonal communication based on ‘community’ which never quite existed in reality.
What is on the Way?
This weekend (Nov 18 / 06) The Financial Times ‘How to Spend it’ (Wish I had their problems :-) ) on the gadgets for Xmas page announced the world’s first digitally recording microphone mentioning that it will be good for podcasters. – It happens to be British – expect that some sort of device like this will be on all up-market mobile ‘phones’ (Multi communication devices might be a beter name) in about 18 months and in three years time they will be common. Anyway it’s called FlashMic
The point is that we will all reasonably soon be able to use a digital recording device in a commonly used file format and put it onto the web.
This means that there are good educational uses developing as well as the possibility of narrowscasting acoss the world.
A more reasonably priced but obviously bulkier item is the Marantz flash memory digital recorder. This means that you can record whatever on the same cards which you will be using for a digital camera. There is a customer review on there as well.
New Educational Paradigms?
From the perspective of education it is likely to be very useful in recording small group discussions in workshops and seminars. It will be useful in interviewing people and it will also be useful in recording research projects such as focus groups and semi-structured interviews.
The actual recordings can be used in a variety of different ways and for different target audiences. Already some university lecturers are making their lectures available as podcasts (Check this link). This means that peole can listen or re-listen to the lecture at their convenience. It may even mean that lectures become more infrequent to be replaced by other formes of delivery and learning techniques.
Supervisors and tutors will be able to listen to the focus group dicusssions and evaluate them, or else listen to small group discussions and give appropriate feedback. Furthermore all the small group discussions could be collected and a greater range of ideas made available to all course participants.
Furthermore all participants will be able to access and download these discussions. This will encourage a far better system of peer group assessment combined with tutor input. If the podcast recordings of say five discussion groups are uploaded to webspace the following day, a typical student formative student task would be to generate feedback upon other discussions. These could be discussed at the next workshop and also uploaded to a forum either in text or as a podcast as well.
The job of a tutor will be to give the criteria expected in an evaluative podcast for example. The criteria could include evidence of listening to all the other podcasts, synthesising and summarising the arguments and making an evaluative judgemnt about these arguments. This could be done in the more traditional text format or else delivered as a podcast. Thus there is no reason why much of the student work and tutor assessment cannot become aural.
From an educational perspective this is developing a range of skills which are much used in quality radio for example but little recognised. Much of the debate within media and cultural studies focuses upon the visual versus the written text. The rise of the podcast could have quite far reaching implications. One big advantage underlying the potential of the podcast is its flexibility. The contents are easily listened to while travelling for example at times when reading and notetaking may awkward.
Other Useful Links on Podcasting
This is a link to Warwick Podcasts where a number of interviews with academics discuss a broad range of issues. These show what can be done.
This is a link to BBC Podcasts