Royal RAMBLE!

As a kid, throughout middle school especially, I used to eagerly await the “then” WWF / “now” WWE Royal Rumble in January every year! – Why did I start with this?! – Doesn’t matter.. It’s the Royal “RAMBLE” anyway..

Yesterday we went to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to give a presentation to prospective Summer Intens – Thankfully, I didn’t have to speak much! – The only ‘time’ I did, I came up with a sad joke on how I am actually Marwari and have seen bits of business here and there, but that’s not how people do business in Mumbai. The audience found it funny so I guess for once my comic timing was slightly less horrible than it usually is!

In other “funny” news, someone from Iran has left a comment on my “Snake” post saying his Highest Score in Snake (on Nokia 3310) is 4296 and has even agreed to show me the TOP SCORE on Webcam if I add him on Yahoo.. And here’s that comment –

“im from IRAN.my snkae score on nokia 3310 is…….? yeha 4296.if u see my score on cam add me.my yahoo id is: mXXX_XXXX”

(ID has been changed to protect identity!) :mrgreen:

On the blogging front, I have been extremely lazy and inactive. 2 things on my To-Do list as far as TalkingTails is concerned:

  1. Write a post reviewing Lifeinlines.com – It’s a nice little site which helps you capture life’s moments and share it with your friends
  2. Aggressively push TalkingTails so that someone seconds my nomination at Poonam’s Avant Garde Bloggies AwardsRuhi, Amit, Nimmy, Ish, Dinu – You guys reading??

Oh, last but not the least, I went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Mumbai last weekend and it totally rocks!! – except that they were playing songs like Final Countdown, and a lot of stuff which wasn’t exactly.. ermm.. “Hard” Rock!

Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai
Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai

Podcasting 101

 

podcast_icon1.jpg

 

The title of this article would suggest that its being written by a veteran of 100+ podcasts.. That’s not true.. I’ve posted just one audio entry so far. This post is more about sharing how that was done and exploring if you people could give me a solution to a couple of issues I faced while doing it.

So, if you need to podcast, here is “What you need”, the basics..

1. A Microphone – I had a regular Creative Desktop Microphone that I use for Voice-chat and it seems to have served me well.

  • TIP #1: If your Mic is a very sensitive one, keep it at a distance of about 8-10 inches from your mouth. Otherwise the sound of the air you blow out while speaking would lead to noise in the sound-track. Those of you who are used to speaking on the Mic in public would know what I am talking about.

2. Sound Editing Software – Absolutely essential! Most of the better ones are stuff you would have to dish out money for. However some free versions are also available. I would suggest you to try searching for “Freeware / Shareware” on Download.com. As for me, I used Adobe Audition (Full version) – formerly Cool Edit Pro.

Check out this comprehensive list of digital audio recorders, including whether they are Free / Chargeable.

  • TIP #2: If you’re a “newbie” (like me!) / “Just exploring“, the regular Windows Sound Recorder would be fine but I found the quality of the recorded sound to be very poor. Besides, a Sound Editor enables takes / re-takes / edits until you get that “piece” which you would call a “master-piece”.. (Yeah! We all love appreciating ourselves, don’t we?)

Now, something for those of you on WordPress.com, first of all you need to figure out how to add mp3 files to your WordPress.com blog. Secondly (and unfortunately!), WordPress.com (free) users cannot upload mp3 files on their servers. So you basically have 2 options if you are a free WP user:

  1. Buy the space upgrade (which enables you to upload mp3, ogg, wma etc); or
  2. Upload the mp3 file “somewhere” on the Internet.

The question is, where would the “somewhere” be. I tried using a lot of free server / file-sharing sites like 4shared.com, esnips.com etc. They all allow you to upload mp3 files but the problem is that you cannot get a “link” to the particular mp3 file which you would need to add the file to your posts while publishing. I was lucky, I help build and maintain this spirituality site on a server on which we had purchased space.. But then this is only a stop-gap arrangement. So as of now, I am looking for a nice (free!) file share which lets me link directly to the mp3 file rather than give me an encrypted link which can “lead” me to it.

WordPress has a Sonific Widget which you can add to your sidebar(s). So you could create a Sonific Account and then add all your audio files there and link them on the widget. I could have done this, but decided against it because I liked the idea of pod-casting “on the fly” along with (and inside!) my post rather than them appearing like a random mp3 / music file on my sidebar.

There are Loads of other ideas in my head about how this medium can be used / exploited and how we could “do it better”.. But first I need to settle this “space” problem. I might go in for a Space upgrade but that would mean I’d have to shell out some “moolah”.. Am I ready for it?

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FREEDOM… TO BE!

Bloggers now threatened as much as journalists in traditional media

— according to Reporters Without Borders.

Reporters Without Borders is an organization that has been fighting for freedom of the press globally since its inception in 1985. It recently released the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 (for the sixth year in a row) which ranks countries based on certain questionnaires given out to their associates all over the world.

Surprisingly,

  • The top 14 countries are from Europe
  • The United States is not ranked very highly on this scale.. (Contrary to what most of us would think “obvious”).. it ranks # 48.
  • India is ranked 120.
  • China is ranked 163 (almost at the bottom of the table!)

According to the RWB website, this is the methodology they followed:

Reporters Without Borders compiled this index by sending a questionnaire to the 15 freedom of expression organisations throughout the world that are its partners, to its network of 130 correspondents, and to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It contained 50 questions about press freedom in their countries. The index covers 169 nations. Other countries were not included because of lack of data.

Catch the Full Report (pdf) Here.