Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Audioblogging - the Saga Continues

Herewith an all written text summary of some of the available audioblogging tools from Webhead Elderbob Brannan!

Hang on cause this may get confusing. Audioblogger is free. All you have to do is set up an account. You may post a 5 minute post from a telephone, either land line or cell. If I remember correctly (I haven't used it in a while), you can ONLY post from a phone, and if, at the end of a 5 minute post you want to say more, then you make a separate 5 minute post...and these two post cannot be combined, but will show up on your blogger post on the same date in the order you submitted them. Now you can then open your blogger account, right click on the audio post, get the URL and move it around, but you cannot edit it and then repost it. Also, it can only be used (technically, OK, I wont tell if you copy that URL and put it somewhere else, but I think Audioblogger will be upset since they are owned by the same google folks that own Blogger), on a Blogger blog.

Audioblogger is owned by a company named ListenLab.com. They also own Audblog. Audblog is a similar program that offers both a one time free trial version (a three minute post...wooopeee) or a paid account ( A paid account is 12 Four minute posts per month for only
$3.00(AmDollars) per month, and if you need more Four minute posts, they are purchaseable at 12 for $3.00 per month - as long as you are willing to pay
the $3.00 per month, your 12 posts will be renewed each month, meaning only 12 per-month unless you purchase more. There is no roll=over of unused
posts), and it also allows you to post to a number of different kinds of
blogs (Type Pad, Moveable Type, Live Journal, Dead Journal and of course,
Blogger). In order to use Audblog, you must already have an account on one
of the accepted blogs, or you can have the audiopost sent back to you via
email to do with what you wish (Remember that neither Audioblogger or
Audblog will allow you to upload posts, so you are fairly limited in where
you can legally post them). I didn't think Audblog looked very reliable, so
I did not use them, so I do not know whether there is a way to edit your
audio post on line (keep in mind that that kind of editing would be a bit of
a difficult issue to negotiate for an off server network).

Finally, the one that I have stuck with all this time and am most pleased
with is Audioblog (not audioblogger or audblog - one could get confused here pretty quick. I use the $5.00 per month paid
account. That allows me 1 GB of streaming audio bandwidth per month, and I
can record my posts in up to 60 minute increments. Now this gets real
complex. We are no longer talking about numbers of posts, but instead,
about how often each of those posts are listened to. This means that if you
a one minute post on your blog, it could be listened to over 5,000 times
without engaging in additional fees. This is really not a bad cost. First,
unless you have an extremely well read blog, then you aren't going to listen
to these post that much, and even if you need more, you can by a second, or
third, or even 4th Gig for only $1.95 more per month, and that fee is only
charged on those months when your streaming exceeds the original GB.
Bandwidth is reconfigured each month on the anniversary date of your
account. In other words, each month you start over with 1Gig of Bandwidth.
Confused yet? I know I am. I think this all means that you need to think
in advance about how you are going to use these post on your blog. If you
are going only going to use a few post over a long period of time, then this
may not be the best solution for you. For me, it means I can post long
interviews or make playlist of several interviews or even post up to one
hour of class time recording from another software (I have never tried to
post an Alado or Learning Times, but I if you can save the audio in WAV or MP3 to your hard drive, you can edit it and upload it from your own PC or laptop). Another item on Audioblog that I like is that it will broadcast in MP3. I don't believe either of the other two audio programs will do that. The reason this is good, is that now you have an audio post that can be
Podcast or streamed via Streaming Audio or even Internet Radio. I am not
sure that is important to you at this point, but I think in the immediate
future it is going to be more and more important. Essentially, it means
that after one semester of classes, you could load all of your audio posts
in MP3s and put them in a folder and download the entire thing to an IPOD.
Now, all the audios from your class are not only in the possession of the
student who will be listening, but you are now free from everything except
the original price of the bandwidth. Instead of listening to your post from
the Audioblog server, the student is now listening to your post from their
own hard drive on the IPOD. Another significant piece of the Audioblog
architecture that the other two do not yet offer is video. This is the only
device that I know of that allows both audio and video posting to blogs.
Again, the streaming bandwidth allocation is what makes it so attractive.
Those big bandwidth-eating-files of video that used to exist on your server
are now on the Audioblog server and you are paying a ridiculously low fee in
comparison to a website to host them. I am also under the impression that I
can make calls via SKYPE and save the calls as MP3 and upload those into
Audioblog. I haven't tried that yet, but as soon as the San Antonio TESOL
conference is over, I will be attempting that.

I get nothing for advertising for Audioblog, but you can tell from my post that I think it is the most advanced and useful of the devices listed. I think if offers many more options, but I am also not sure that you really want or need that many options. Keep in mind too, that Audioblog, does not yet have a professional version but it appears to be in the works. I think great things will eventually come from this group and am glad to be in on the ground floor. One last note: Audioblog has always been good about asking it's users what kind of design changes are needed. I believe that it would not have embraced audioblogging and videoblogging had it not been from such input from users. I think this makes the product much more user friendly.

Whatever service you eventually decide to use, keep in mind that all of this
is still leading edge technology. There are probably still a lot of kinks
and flaws in it all. However, I think we are all wise to look at a variety
of multi-media inputs to use in all our educational technology efforts. I
wish you well in your efforts and if I can be of further help with any of
them, especially Audioblog, please do not hesitate to ask....elderbob@elderbob.com

Monday, March 21, 2005

Vietnamese Music in Henley Square


viet_music
Originally uploaded by mikecogh.
Every year over the summer months the local council hosts a music program on Sunday afternoons in Henley Square by the sea. Yesterday was the final event for the season and it featured multicultural music. One of the acts featured one of my wife's ESL students. She sang as part of a Vietnamese group performing traditional pieces from Vietnamese operas. It was a disconcerting experience. Initially I felt it was a matter of the music being so different that it was too difficult for my Western ears to adjust to and make sense of. It was charming visually, and the setting by the sea in the warm autumn weather meant that the whole experience was delightful, but when I came home and listened to some Vietnamese music I found on the web, I realized that some of the music we listened to in the square was out of tune, or just poorly performed. Here you can hear a short piece of how a zither should sound, and this is an example of an enchanting longer piece.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Every Picture Tells a Story


morocco
Originally uploaded by mikecogh.
As mentioned a few posts back, my son Joti has just returned from a year of travels with a swag of magnificent photos. The country he enjoyed most was Morocco. Listen below and find out more about this curious scene.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

They Did Stop the Rain


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WOMAD is an extraordinary event. It is not just a weekend of music from around the planet, but a place and time of an underlying sentiment of peace and goodwill between all cultures. Palestinians and Israelis on stage playing music together. Vusi Mahlasela thanking Australians for their support of black Africa during the apartheid years. Africans and Australian Aborigines sharing the same stage for the sunset all stars jam Sunday night. (The ney - “the spirit of the Middle East’ joined with the digeridoo “the spirit of Australia” – to open this remarkable mélange of ‘sounds of the planet’.)

As I drove there on Friday I felt an intense feeling of anticipation, and I remembered why. To commemorate the 10th Womadelaide a few years ago Rip it Up editor, Robert Dunstan once wrote something like, “as I stood among the Moreton Bay fig trees with the sun going down listening to Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan I found myself thinking ‘I have never been happier’”. I have felt that more than once at WOMAD. And it is taken me into the depths of sadness at times too. Gazing upon a tall African man dressed in a full length blue robe playing the haunting melodies of the ancient Kora simply stirs the soul. And it can take you up or down. Yesterday I found myself crying tears of existence. Not because I was particularly happy or sad. I was just moved by it all. By the beauty. By the mistakes we’ve all made. By the fact that we’re all still here and enjoying our music together. When Richie Havens took the stage everyone there who could remember went back to Woodstock and their youth. To times so long ago when life was so exhilarating. And it still is. Many have gone and many remain. It's a very emotional experience to see people from all over the planet celebrating what we have in common, rather than focus on our differences.

The Music

There were great moments, with maybe the workshop with Michael McGoldrick from Capercaillie the hightlight. Yes, there were tears. And I realized at heart I’m a Celt. I sat looking up at the Australian trees, and it was as if a collective Celtic soul from far across the sea whence this wonderful music came was asking me ‘how did I get here’? It felt like a yearning to go home to the land of my ancestors. Vusi Mahlasela and Naziha Azzouz with the Adel Salameh Trio were the best voices of the weekend, and as I’m always a sucker for reggae, I loved Alpha Blondie and the Solar System. The only music that always makes me move. For local talent the Irish Phillipino Aboriginal family band, the Pigrams, was a lovely surprise. (Full program.)

If a WOMAD concert ever comes to your neighbourhood, go. Enjoy the sounds of the planet, and listen to the murmurs of your soul.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mobile Blogging (Moblogging): from anywhere on the planet to the Net

this is an audio post - click to play

Port Post Check

Did this earlier in the year, but just need to know if the firewall merchants have strengthened their defences. Can I post from the Port campus? If this works I might see if I can post a phone blog from here as well.

Audio Blogging by Phone to the US

Very cool. It works. I tried the audioblogger service that comes free with Blogger and it's great. Especially if you're in North America. I had to call a US number from here in Australia so there's a cost involved, but I got straight through, spoke my message, and it appeared here below seconds later! Astounding! I know hundreds of people do it every day, but this stuff still blows me away. If I was travelling in the US this would be especially useful. Now dear Blogger people, how about some international numbers for this same excellent service? One in each continent would be good for a start.

this is an audio post - click to play

Voice in Blended Learning Environments - Aiden's Class

Three minutes of comment on the pleasure of being a guest speaker for Aiden Yeh's language and culture class today.


(If you listen to the recording of this session make sure you crank up the volume when the students are speaking (it is audible), then turn it way down again when I'm talking!)