A Podcasting Update

Maria Speaks Episode 22: A Podcasting Update.


Hi, I’m Maria Langer. Welcome to Episode 22 of Maria Speaks: A Podcasting Update.

I haven’t released a podcast in nearly a month and I figured I’d better put one out, just to let you all know I’m still alive and kicking. Here’s a quick update of the things I’ve been up to.

I’ve been busy, but not terribly so. I finished my QuickBooks 2006 for Macintosh book in November and got my author copy in the mail just the other day. It should be in stores within a week. If you’re looking for a book about QuickBooks for Mac, I hope you’ll look it up. I don’t think you’ll be able to look up another book on the topic — my book seems to be the only one.

I started writing my November Widget Watch piece, but got sidetracked. I’m starting to get a little bored with widgets. I hope to finish it next week and get it online as a podcast soon after that. It’ll be an enhanced podcast. Do you like those? With the screenshots and links and all?

I’ve been writing a lot of articles for Informit.com. Unfortunately, Informit doesn’t publish them as quickly as I write them. So although there are about five of them in the pipeline, I don’t expect to see the first of them for at least two weeks. Upcoming topics include Finder features, using Backup 3, and setting up an AirPort Express. I can’t remember the other topics. Heck, I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night sometimes.

In the past, I’ve released Informit articles as podcasts and enhanced podcasts. I need to know from listeners: should I keep doing this? Do you want to hear the articles as podcasts? Or am I wasting my time and your bandwidth by creating them? You can always read the Informit articles online at the Informit.com Web site. Use the search box to search for me by author name. In case your memory is as bad as mine, the name is Maria Langer.

I’m also working on an article for Mac Addict magazine. I wrote for Mac Addict a few years ago, but I’m not the kind of person who aggressively seeks out magazine work, so I didn’t get any new assignments. (I guess they weren’t interested in seeking me out, either.) I got a call from one of the editors last week, looking for someone to write a bit about Excel for a big piece they’re doing. So I’m doing it. I like writing for Mac Addict because the magazine is fun. I assume the article will be out in the February or March issue.

I’ve begun talking to one of my editors about a brand new book that I’ll probably start writing right after the holidays. It’ll be a Mac book — that’s all I can say. And it won’t be part of any series, so I get a chance to write in a more flexible, free-form style. I love writing Visual QuickStart Guides, but they tend to keep my writing skills — such as they are — all boxed up. It’s nice to let them out for exercise once in a while.

I booked a flight and hotel room for Macworld Expo in San Francisco. I’ll be appearing in the Peachpit Press booth on the Thursday of the show, so if you’re around, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello. I’ll do a presentation about Tiger. Something interesting and fun. I’m tired of talking about productivity stuff.

I started doing video inside my helicopter while I fly. I bought a camera mount that attaches to the horizontal bar between my helicopter’s two front seats. The camera mounts about 5 inches above the bar. It faces out the front of the helicopter and the view includes the top half of my control panel, the part with the interesting gauges on it. You know — airspeed, vertical speed, artificial horizon. I’ve found that on cloudy days, the view is pretty good. Not too bright out the window to make the panel too dark to see. The best video comes during takeoff or landing or while flying in interesting places, like down canyons or alongside cliffs. The idea is to take the interesting video and turn it into a video podcast, with narration, to give people an idea of what sitting in the front seat of a helicopter is like. I need to work a bit more on the mount; the vibrations are a bit too much right now. But I hope to have a short video done soon. Is that something you want to download from Maria Speaks or should I start a separate podcast? The episode would be at least 20 MB in size. Let me know what you think. Don’t be shy.

This past week, I did the first broadcast of a live radio show. I do a lot of work for the local AM radio station here in Wickenburg, KBSZ-AM, including their Web site, Webcam, podcasts of their talk shows, and, most recently, streaming audio. That’s right — you can tune into KBSZ-AM from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a fast Internet connection. There’s a guy who listens in from Italy every single morning and when they broadcast a football game, all available connections are full. If you want to try it out, visit www.kbsz-am.com and click the Streaming Audio link. Then follow the instructions on that page to connect. I recommend weekday mornings, when Pete does his live show, as well as Saturdays, when there’s a succession of live DJs spinning disks.

Anyway, my show, Classic Rock Cuts, is on every Wednesday evening at 8 PM MST. That’s 10 PM on the east coast and 7 PM on the west coast. I did the first broadcast on Wednesday and I admit I was pretty nervous. My friend Keri — Alias Miss Holley King, the Rockabilly Queen — helped me with the tough part: dealing with the broadcasting board. We only had a handful of dead air seconds and I only played a commercial over the music once. The automatic recording of the show that I’d set up on my Web server had so much background noise that it’s worthless as a podcast, so the world will be spared from it. I think I’m ready for next week, when I feature holiday tunes from classic rock artists. I’ll use an old fashioned tape recorder to record the show and, if it isn’t too painful to listen to, release it as a podcast.

I’m looking for sponsors for the show. Peachpit Press has already signed up for a full year of one-minute spots. If you’re interested in sponsoring an entire show, e-mail me at MariaSpeaks@mac.com and I’ll get the details out to you. It’s a lot cheaper than you might think.

But the big project I’m working on is the conversion of my Panther-based, WebSTAR Web server to Mac OS X Tiger Server. I bought Tiger server because I was sick of WebSTAR’s unreliable performance and I wanted to use some of the cool features that come with Tiger Server. So at the beginning of each week, I do some installation work and spend the rest of the week debugging what I’ve done. I have a lot to learn — that’s clear. But I’m really enjoying the challenge, in a weird sort of way.

You can read more of what’s going on in my life — as well as a play-by-play of my server installation, written for the geek wannabes — in Maria’s WebLog. Visit my Home page at www.aneclecticmind.com and click the Maria’s WebLog link to find it. That’s also where you can find more about NaNoWriMo, which made me hated among novelist wannabes back in October.

Right now, I’m waiting to hear from you. What do you want to hear in these podcasts? More Mac how-to stuff? Or stories about the weird things going on in my life — like what you can find in Maria’s WebLog? Or about flying helicopters in the Arizona desert and beyond? Or all of the above? Go to the Home page for this podcast at www.aneclecticmind.com/mariaspeaks/ and use the comments link to share your thoughts.

I’m a lot more likely to churn out interesting podcasts if you tell me what you think is interesting.

That’s all for now. Thanks for listening, Bye!

What do you think?