Over the Rainbow and A Wonderful (Digital) World

This morning before we started a big department-wide meeting at work, this song was being played, and it drove me nuts. I love this version of “Over the Rainbow” and I knew I had heard it in a film or on a TV show, but I couldn’t remember where.


Thankfully, searches in iTunes and through Google reminded me fairly quickly that this had been used in LOST. I remembered how much I liked it, and listened to it again a couple of times.

So it was kind of eerie to read in the YouTube comments on this video tonight that it had been played at the end of the memorial service for Tim Russert earlier today. I hadn’t thought of this song for several months.

It’s also sad to discover a musician I really like and find out his name, only to realize he died 11 years ago at the age of 38. His name was unpronounceable: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I guess that’s why his nickname was IZ. So while I can explore some of his music, but unfortunately there won’t be any more of it.

My, how things have changed in a generation…or actually just since about 2002. Formerly if you thought of a song you didn’t own and wanted to hear it, you called in a request on your local radio station, or had to drive to a music store and buy a full CD.

Now we can buy a single track for 99 cents on iTunes and hear it immediately…and some songs are available for free on YouTube.

So I think to myself: what a wonderful (digital) world.

Podcasting 105: WordPress.com is My Podcast Server (and Yours)

Note: This post is part of the Podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG). SMUG provides free, hands-on training in applied social media, so enroll today.

Once you have recorded your audio files using Audacity, and added ID3 Tags in iTunes, your next steps in becoming a podcaster are to find a server to which you can upload your files, and to create an RSS feed that you can post to the iTunes store and to other podcast directories.

Fortunately, you can do both of these things in wordpress.com for just $20 a year by purchasing the 5GB space upgrade for your wordpress.com blog. But for SMUG students I have developed a way that you can experiment with developing your own podcast, and create your own podcast feed, absolutely FREE.

I have set up a separate blog called the SMUG Podcast Blog and have paid the $20 fee that enables me to upload mp3 files. But I have more space now than I could possibly use, so for anyone who is enrolled as a SMUG student, I will add you as an author for that blog, and will create a category you can use for your podcast posts and to set up your RSS feed. The steps to get started are in your homework assignment for this course.

Homework Assignments:

  1. If you haven’t started your WordPress.com blog yet, do it now. You will need a WordPress.com account to be added as an author for the SMUG Podcasts blog.
  2. When you have your WordPress.com account, send me the e-mail address you used to create the account. I need that to find you on WordPress.com and add you as an author.
  3. Tell me what you would like as a name for your podcast. Mine is Chancellor Conversations. Whatever you decide, we’ll create a category on the SMUG podcast blog.

In Podcasting 106 and 107 I will show you how to set up your podcast feed and create a post.  And if anyone wants to volunteer to be the “guinea pig” for those courses, please send me a message and we can use your podcast for a class demonstration.

Chancellor Conversations

That’s the name of the new podcast I’m creating as part of developing the podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG).

Here’s the first episode. Which makes it web audio, not really a podcast yet. A podcast is a series of audio or video files to which you can subscribe. Within a couple of days this will be a full-fledged podcast, but for now, give this episode a listen. It’s a starting point…like the chubby guy in the “before and after” diet photos. Hopefully you’ll hear improvement that’s as dramatic as what you see here:

As we work through the podcasting curriculum, you’ll see that I use Audacity, iTunes and WordPress.com for recording, tagging and hosting podcasts. These are by no means the only ways to get these jobs done, but I’m using them to show SMUG students at least one free or ridiculously inexpensive method, and so that we have a common frame of reference.

Once our students know there’s one free and easy way to podcast, they can experiment with alternatives and perhaps upgrade some elements of the basic SMUG podcast plan to improve their presentation or delivery.

I would welcome any other suggestions for hardware or software products or hosting services that might be alternatives to the ones I’m using. If you have microphone recommendations, for example, those would be helpful. Please offer your suggestions in the comments. And maybe after we’re done working through the podcasting curriculum together, we can develop a set of options with three or four tiers of recommendations at varying price levels.

So please share your reactions and suggestions for improvement in the comments on these podcasting posts.