Archive for the ‘audio’ Category


In Praise of External Challenges

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

I have to say that when I saw today’s Daily Create I wasn’t thrilled.

Make an annoying 30 second pre-recorded telemarketing call.

It didn’t sound like something fun to do so I put it off for most of the day. Without Cogdog’s Seven Day Challenge for the Daily Creates, I may well have skipped this. However, since had already completed the first few challenges I figured that I should continue…

I know that editing is everything and that I went on for way too long but so do the telemarketers! I ended up enjoying this process much more than I thought that I would. Thanks CogDog for the challenge.

How I Did It

I wondered if anyone had created a real script for telemarketers to use. Indeed, existed. As I have experienced, they recommended using the callee’s name repeatedly, building a personal connection and, of course, explaining why they are so awesome.

I also found that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecomunications Commission (CRTC) listed some common telemarketing scams.

Armed with this knowledge it took just a few minutes to write an annoying telemarketing script on my iPad. I thought that I wuold try out one of the teleprompter apps I had downloaded a while back but didn’t like them at all. I found another free one (Listec Promptware Plus) that allowed me to easily see my script while recording.

I did my recording in Audacity and added a fog horn from iLife.

I uploaded my final version to Soundcloud and created a quick image using Microsoft Word clip art and cruise ship from Bret Arnett’s photostream to accompany it.

Within minutes my Soundcloud was spammed with a comment – kind of funny given the topic of telemarketing and unsolicited information!!

Impending Zombie Apocalypse

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

So DS106 weekly assignment for last week was: a group radio show which sounded interesting. I joined my Camp bunkhouse (Wäscälly Wäbbits (sic)) buddies: Mike Berta, Chanda Cowger, Ben Harwood, Kevin Murphy and Ciara Norquist, the task was:

In each group, each person is “responsible” for 5-7 excellent minutes of the radio show. If they want to work in pairs, the minutes add up (2 people = 10-14 minutes, etc.) Ideally, the final shows should then be between 25 and 50 minutes.

Mike Berta came up with the title of our show: Impending Zombie Apocalypse ala War of the Worlds, which I must say worried me a bit. A lot of DS106ers seem to be steeped in US movie culture and I am not. I am also not much of a horror fan.

I decided I would think of a few angles I could take and opened a google doc where I wrote:

I’d like to do a segment on ‘other zombies’ eg not movie or fiction including some of the following:

Thinking I could avoid the imaginative.

Mike Berta suggested: How about segments where we are reporting from our location what is happening.

This went down well with the group. We collected a bunch of links to audio, etc on the google doc and went our separate ways with the odd tweet, mail and update to the doc keeping us in sync.

I started working on a script of sorts, I focused on the music of Fela, and kept references to zombies vague, hoping that they could be interpreted metaphorically as well as literally. I tried to get in some links to ds106 but kept them vague too. This is what I came up with. Recorded in a straightforward way in GarageBand.

I got my daughter Christine to help with the recording, she was a great help as shew has a good ear for what will work and how to use voice. Recording a fictional piece (even writing one) was a bit of a stretch, I’ve recorded plenty of podcast but always non-fiction and without much attempt to build atmosphere.

It was then up to Mike Berta to put this together is some way. I had quite a busy week so didn’t pay a lot of attention, but Mike got an edit finished and it was played on DS106. As it was played at 3am here I didn’t hear it. I did download the mp3 file Zombie Free Radio DS106

I was impressed by how well all of my bunkmates contributions came out and even more impressed by how Mike had managed to weave them together into a coherent and compelling whole.

Later I listen to the whole Tuesday show which also had the Bunkhouse 2 contribution. This was surrounded by Alan Levine’s discussion, atmospheric build up and live chat with conversations with Jennifer Orr from Bunkhouse 4 and our own Mike Berta. Fascinating to see how very loose directions, make a radio show, between spatially and culturally diverse folk can come together.

Tech Tips

I was verery interested in how Alan wove together audio from iTunes, his browser, and live skype. We have done similar things over at Radio EDUtalk, but he added a killer feature, the skype folk could here iTunes in the same way as the radio broadcast. I tweeted out to cogdog and got pointed to this amazing post My Newest Rube Goldberg ds106 Broadcast Machine: Ladiocast + Nicecast – CogDogBlog, looking forward to implementing this for next sessions Radio Edutalk

A great assignment that I had more fun than I expected and has me thinking about lots of things.


Monday, July 2nd, 2012

“This is the week for your major audio storytelling collaborative project – a group radio show. This is not something you should leave for the end of the week!”

Oh how I should have heeded those words! Since I was busy attending the ISTE 2012 conference last week, I didn’t do a thing about this audio assignment until July 1. I decided that I would follow the suggestion and do something about the morning after the edu-apocalypse.

If I had more time, I would have added a movie announcer voice intro and autotuned some of the speeches. The fact that my radio show about creativity was not very creative was not lost on me!  Maybe another day…This was my first real audio assignment and I really enjoyed it. On the plus side, maybe I can use this as the introduction to my workshop on Teaching and Learning later this week!

How I Created This

It took me forever to figure out how to get the audio from a You Tube video onto my computer. After trying numerous applications that didn’t really work, I realized that there was a Firefox Add-on that would do just the trick!

I added the Easy YouTube Video Downloader Add-on to my Firefox browser. So every time I go to YouTube, the downloader button is present.

This Add-on allows you to determine one of several different file types for your download:

As long as my internet connection was good (i.e. when no one was streaming the Euro2012 soccer final!) then the download was smooth and relatively quick.

I downloaded the audio from two of the ISTE 2012 keynote presentations as well as another Ken Robinson Ted Talk about creativity. I then downloaded the theme music from a 70′s science fiction movie.

I then used Audacity to select sections of the speeches and music to piece them together into one 5 minute presentation.

A short excursion into code

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

A few posts/couple of weeks ago I installed the oEmbed HTML5 audio plugin here. This allows me to upload mp3s and other audio files, the plugin takes care of presenting the audio using the html5 audio tag with a flash fallback for browsers that do not support the type of audio: This plugin converts URLs to audio files (MP3, OGG, WAV) into HTML5 audio with Flash-based player backup
This seemed to do the trick. This morning I noticed that none of my audio was showing in FireFox. I right clicked on the space where I expected to see the player and saw the the Flash file was not loaded.

Looking at the source it seems that it is using a swf file belonging to google:

and that is Error 400 Not found.

Using Cyberduck I had a look at the plugin’s code.  Part of this check to see if the file is an MP3 and the browser FireFox. firefox does not support playing of MP3 via the audio tag so the plugin uses the google Flash file, which is of course missing.
$embed = sprintf( '<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="audioUrl=%1$s" src="" width="400" height="27" quality="best"></embed>', esc_attr($matches[0]) );
On my ‘real’ blog I usually embed audio using dewplayer so I decided to edit the plugin to use that.

I uploaded the dewplayer.swf file to the top level of my site and changed the code, I need to change the name of the var from audioUrl to mp3 and the url of the google swf to /dewplayer.swf.

If you are viewing any of my audio posts in fireFox you should hopefully be less puzzled.

Update: the plugin has been updated: WordPress › oEmbed HTML5 audio « WordPress Plugins


  • Google removed their MP3 Flash player from their website, so we include it in the plugin itself now (it’s still the same player)

Early Demos from My New Fake Band

Monday, June 25th, 2012

In a few different broadcasts over the past year, I’ve messed around with some of the various filters and effects available with the free version of Nicecast and found its dials and visual interface both a lot of fun and helpful in the makeshift studios I’ve set up in my classrooms and house.

With a new one-man-band on the horizon, an extension of a #ds106 Visual Assignment, I turned to Nicecast and recorded a live session that yielded the following tracks. Ladies and gentlemen of Camp Magic Macguffin, I give you Dactyloceras lucina!

Not generally in my “wheelhouse of sound,” I was going after a certain, heavy, atmospheric texture that seemed appropriate for my randomly generated band name and album cover. “Goth soul,” Alan Levine calls it, which GNA Garcia clarifies as “rhythmic Emo-noise,” which is what I think I managed to create.

Dactyloceras lucina – Untitled Jam 1 by Bryanjack
The stupidity that keeps us from knowing any better by Bryanjack

ChimpMonkey Recursion

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Now that we’re into audio week, it was hard to pass up the Mainstreamed Chipmunkd’ Audio Assignment 494. After hearing Jolie’s “You Can Call Me Al-vin” last night, I just had to try it myself. While I found the Genesis classic “Carpet Crawlers” mighty wonderful at any speed, I decided to up-chipmunk The Chipmunks’ recent version of LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.

I spent a bit of time working around with the settings in the djay app, by algoriddim. The interface is wonderful for mixing and playing with your recordings. Somehow, I wasn’t able to get the sound effects working last night (too tired to search the documentation), but I had lots of fun with the looping effect.

LOTS of fun.

I added a gazillion loops. Or more.

Interface for algoriddim's djay app

Interface for algoriddim’s djay app

Skate Audio Test #01 – Springville at Night

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

A rough, six-and-a-half minute, loosely narrated audio clip from my Saturday night skate session


Inspired, of course, by Rowan Peter’s DS106 skate field recording from last year.

I found this also to be an interesting twist on verbal reports commonly used in cognitive psych research.

En Espanol | Faculty Academy: La Primera Desbaratamiento

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Click here to read this post in English.

Faculty Academy es una de mis cosas favoritas del verano. Me encanta escuchar a todo las presentaciones, a los pensamientos creativos sobre las clases y proyectos. Causa revuelo en mi cabeza y me entusiasma sobre esta cosa sabemos como “aprendizaje.”

¡Es como un festival musical, pero sobre educación y tecnología! Así, un Bonnaroo tan geeky!

Faculty Academy 2012

"Faculty Academy 2010" por Flickr user orioles29

Click aquí a ver esta foto en Flickr.

Este FA, me divierto como siempre, aunque yo enfrente una pregunta unusual a lo demás de los participantes: ¿Qué hago con estos conocimientos? No soy profesora, maestra, ni persigo mis estudias para Masters o Ph.D. No soy una tecnóloga educativa, y dudo que alguien emplee una persona sin cualificados como mi. No sé donde está me sitio propio; quisáz ahora, supongo flotar sin objetivos, absorbiendo los conocimientos y discusiones, y un día sabré que debo hacer. Siempre me sentaba un poco sobre el mar en relación con mi sitio propio. Creo que ahora, puedo estar feliz como un participante y espectadora, contribuyendo cuando tengo algo a decir.

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