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Podcasting Hacks: Tips and Tools for Blogging Out Loud Paperback – 29 Aug 2005
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From the Publisher
A revolutionary new way of publishing to the Internet, podcasting is the new outlet for personal expression. With Podcasting Hacks, Jack Herrington delivers the ultimate how-to for anyone interested in creating their own Internet audio programs. The book shows you how to create quality sound, use the right software, develop a show, distribute a podcast, and build an audience. More advanced topics include audio editing, podcasting on the go, and even videocasting.
About the Author
Jack Herrington is an engineer, author and presenter who lives and works in the Bay Area. His mission is to expose his fellow engineers to new technologies. That covers a broad spectrum, from demonstrating programs that write other programs in the book Code Generation in Action. Providing techniques for building customer centered web sites in PHP Hacks. All the way writing a how-to on audio blogging called Podcasting Hacks. All of which make great holiday gifts and are available online here, and at your local bookstore. Jack also writes articles for O'Reilly, DevX and IBM Developerworks.
Jack lives with his wife, daughter and two adopted dogs. When he is not writing software, books or articles you can find him on his bike, running or in the pool training for triathlons. You can keep up with Jack's work and his writing at http://jackherrington.com.
Top customer reviews
So it was decided that a bit of background research was required, this book by O'Reilly came up quite a few times as recommended reading for people intending to start out podcasting. It did not disappoint, it starts from the very beginning by outlining what exactly is a podcast, the different audio formats how podcasts are published to the web and what's the best way to listen to and get them.
Once you've made your way through the first few chapters you begin to delve more deeply into what makes a good podcast and how to produce one. The author gets you thinking about the content of your intended podcast and talks about what is good and what is not. You then move on through simple vocal techniques to the equipment that is a must and some nice to haves and discusses is some detail about what is available and the author makes some recommendations based on their experiences. The book the moves on into more advanced vocal coaching, setting up a home studio, improving audio quality and publicising your podcast including Blogging. The book closing discussing what was then the new medium of video blogging as Youtube had begun to dominate the broadcasting-yourself scene.
Some indication of costs are given for the various pieces of equipment but a note of caution here this book was written in 2005 and alot of it is now freely available through Ebay and alike, but it does give you an idea of what things to look for and which manufacturers to look out for. It is also worth mentioning at this point that although Jack Herrington is the main author he has drawn on his contacts to help him write the book from every angle. Quite a few chapters have been written by guest authors who have a specialism in a particular area for instance there are a couple of chapters written by a well known American voice coach who has worked with alot of voice and radio artists. This helps to make this a very well rounded book on the subject.
To summarise this is an excellent book which will help guide you into the world of podcasting and I would say this is essential reading for anyone contemplating starting a podcast. Although the book was written 7 years ago and the equipment featured is fairly dated, the book still gives you all the knowledge you need to choose the right one for what you need and to purchase with confidence.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is heavy on specific information; a lot of detailed code and procedures, equipment comparisons, explanations and practical advice for both Mac and Windows users.
This book runs over the basics of podcasting and then gets right down to business: specific hacks, code, software and procedures for:
1. Finding and listening to podcasts.
2. Setting up your own inexpensive home studio with the right hardware and software.
3. Producing and editing podcast content.
4. Uploading, hosting and promoting your podcast.
Two thumbs up!
The book starts out with some great basic information --how to listen to podcasts. I think a lot of people forget this part -- they hear about podcasting, listen to a couple (usually Adam Curry), and jump right in. And you can tell, because their podcasts sound like it. You have to read before you can write, and you have to listen before you can podcast. Then you get some basic tips about your first show, and sounding professional. These first two sections should be read by everyone, especially those getting ready to start their first podcast.
After recording your first podcast, listen to it critically. Then take a look at the table of contents of this book, and find out what you can do to make it better. Chapter 3 tells how to set up a home studio (with little expense) and control noise. Chapter 4 talks about something that I hadn't even thought of -- establishing a format for your show. I spent a lot of time in college at the campus radio station (9-10 AM weekdays, 10-11 Friday nights), so I am familliar with formatting, so I did it almost subconsciously with my own podcast. It does make things go a lot smoother when you're recording -- you don't have to sit thinking "What's next?" all the time.
Chapter 7 is another one that everyone should read -- Publicity. You podcast to be heard, so you should know what to do to be heard. I thought I had my bases covered here, but I got a few other ideas that I'm getting ready to try out on my own podcast.
The book is full of good advice for podcasters of all levels. They actually went out and talked to podcasters and technology folks to get some great ideas. That's the real benefit of this book -- they talked to these people so you don't have to spend a lot of time researching. They've tested out the microphones and mixers. And they're willing to tell you when an inespensive solution works as well (if not better) than spending a lot of money on better equipment. I'd love to have a Pro Tools setup for my podcast, but until I get a lot more money saved up (or someone decides to donate), I'll be using the headset microphone and Audacity to do my own podcast. But this book has shown me a lot of things that can improve my podcast now, and has given me a few things to shoot for later.
From the title, my impression was that this book would provide several specific technically-advanced strategies to maximize efficiency and enjoyment of podcasts. The strategies covered wouldn't necessarily be comprehensive, but rather serve as additional specialized tools one could add to the toolkit. Contrary to my impression, I was pleasantly surprised at the range of topics covered. I assumed from the term "hacks" in the title that the book's focus was going to be on adapting software and hardware for easier podcasting creation and consumption. However, there was plenty of focus on soft-skills as well, like methods of hacking your voice to sound better in a recorded format, or how to hack an experience you've had into a well-told and interesting story for a podcast.
Things I Liked
The book's foreward, believe it or not, contains the most succinct and accurate description of what podcasting is -- and isn't -- that I've read anywhere. I am mistrustful when a technology is advertised as "the hot new thing that everyone is doing!" because it usually seems to be a solution in search of a problem. That the foreward took a realistic tone made me favorably anticipate what would come in the rest of the book. The other thing that set this book apart was its range of contributors. There are hacks supplied by professional newscasters, popular podcasters, technologists of all stripes, and developers of podcasting tools and applications. These wide-ranging perspectives allowed the author to cover everything from writing Perl scripts to understanding basic copyright law to setting up a home studio to marketing your podcast - all in all, having this book is like getting to pick the brains of the top people doing podcasting, and having concise written documentation upon which to refer.
Things I Liked Not So Much
A minor point, but as someone who does not use Macs, PCs AND Linux boxes on a daily basis, I really only care about stuff available for the platform I work on. But the format of the book didn't allow me to easily locate the information relevant to me. When the book discussed software and hardware options, it wasn't clear which platform a hack was for until late into the description. A small addition to the hack title, like "Mac Only", would have remedied this.
In addition, the organization of the hacks was surprising and a little frustrating at times. For example,
Hack #2 is writing a perl script to re-assemble feeds of your choosing from other sites as a customized rebroadcast. As I was reading the hack, I thought about several questions one might be expected to have, such as "What is perl?", "What do I need to utilize this script?", and "How can I tell if this script will work with my web server"? These issues weren't covered until Hack #7. In another example, chapter 3 explores how to get quality sound; , the author uses terms like "condenser microphones" and "phantom power" early on, which he doesn't really explain until later on in the chapter when he discusses the various types of microphones.
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