Monday, January 16, 2006

A Very Techie Christmas, Part the Deuce - Me and My Nano

I gave Peggy an iPod for her birthday in 2005, and immediately learned two things...

1) There is no such thing as simply "buying an iPod." iPods require tons of iShit, including better headphones, adapters for cars, adapters for stereos, cute lil' protective covers, iTune purchases, ad nauseum.

2) No matter how close you think your loved one's musical tastes are to your own, it is difficult - nearing impossible - to be a one iPod family. You'll find yourself spending a lot of time creating playlists with rules like, "all folk music except Fred's very bad sound quality Dylan bootlegs."

Thanks to rule #2, I found a sleek , black iPod Nano under the tree, courtesy of Peggy, as well as an AirPlay FM transmitter, so I can be my very own little radio station, and I've been happily Nano'ing away ever since.

One of the unforeseen benefits from buying Peg an iPod was that I started listening to podcasts over the summer, usually while out working or running errands. I quickly became addicted to Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio (poker); Twit (technology); and Planet Japan (weirdness), plus an ever-rotating cast of other podcasts. As I had mentioned earlier in fhb, I have a tendency - one of my better quirks - to go from admiring something to wanting to do it myself. I got into multimedia literally because of one book, Robyn Davidson and Rick Smolan's From Alice to Ocean: Alone Across the Outback. Alice was the first book/CD package I ever saw. Several months later, with a copy of Macromedia Director now on my Mac, I deconstructed the CD program to figure out how it had been done... and I was on my way to a 10-year career in multimedia. One of the first paying projects I did used a menu highlighting scheme that was based on the one from Alice.

"I want to do a podcast," I decided in mid-2005, but I also wanted someone to pay me for doing a podcast, so after various pitches to several current and prospective clients I found one foolish, ah that is, far-seeing enough to buy into my idea, customized for them. We're on podcast #4 as I write this, and things are going very well, thank you, although I'm still learning and changing things on almost a monthly basis.

Thanks to podcasting, I've also learned how to set up an RSS feed and write an XML file too, of little interest to the average Bear, I know, but I'm one of those people who gets nervous when he doesn't understand how things that he depends on work. On the writing side, I'm figuring out how to do audio - a la NPR radio - interview scripting, which I'm finding quite different from either the multimedia or video writing I've done previously. And that's cool too. At this stage of my career, just staying interested in what you're doing and getting to learn something new is a major accomplishment. And I have a couple of other podcasting ideas that I'm hoping to trot out in 2006. Hell, I'm already ahead of the game compared to many other podcasters. I'm making money from podcasting.

So morale of the story is, bread cast upon the waters, and all that, I guess. I started out getting Peg an iPod because of an off-hand remark she made that she was bored with FM radio (as who isn't?), and then I decided to see what all this hype about podcasting was about, and the next thing I know I have a voice talent intoning, "written and produced by Fred Bals" at the end of each monthly show. And the audience is giving good feedback and the clients are happy.

Plus, I have a Nano of my very own now, too.

1 comment:

Ignatious said...

i'm surprised by how much i love my ipod. i'm very proud of my luddite ways, you see.

i would love to get my hands on your podcast, and even more so, some recommendations. i plan on doing alot of travel and these things are godsends to me.