Open Source Creative Podcast #29 – The Making of a Podcast

A fun little meta show this week. This one’s a nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step walk-through of the process I go through each way to deliver podcasty goodness to your earballs. And I do it all with free and open source software. The following is a quick breakdown of each step in the process. You can use it to start your own show or to record episodes for airing on Hacker Public Radio.

Recording is done in my car using a Zoom H1 field recorder and a Røde lavaliere microphone. The specific lav mic that I got was designed to work with phones, but since Android phones have such horrid gain control, I got an adapter for it to work with the H1. Couldn’t be happier. (OK, so every now and again I catch myself eyeballing some of the higher-end field recorders, but the H1 really is a nice recorder, especially for the price). I record to PCM WAV at 44.1 kHz. I have the levels set so my audio barely ever peaks over -4 dB.

Editing of the show is done in Audacity. Aside from just doing clean-up cuts on the audio track, I use the Normalize and Compressor effects. I didn’t have the settings for those effects on-hand as I recorded, but I have them now. So here you go:

  • Normalize
    • Enable “Remove DC offset (center on 0.0 vertically)
    • Enable “Normalize maximum amplitude” and set it to -1.0 dB
    • Disable “Normalize stereo channels independently”
  • Compressor
    • Threshold: -16 dB
    • Noise Floor: -40 dB
    • Ratio: 5:1
    • Attack Time: 0.20 secs
    • Release Time: 1.0 secs

The intro and outro are recorded right into Audacity using a Plantronics USB headset (I don’t think they make my particular model any more. After the edit is finalized, I export the episode audio to a 128 kb/s MP3 file.

Metadata tagging is done using EasyTag. Be sure to include the cover image as part of the tag data, otherwise the image won’t show up when the MP3 is played in a modern media player.

Hosting for podcast episodes is done on Amazon S3, but you could just as easily use services like libsyn, podHoster, Blubrry, or even I personally would not recommend that you use your regular shared web hosting for these files as I’ve run into trouble in the past with flaky downloading or streaming speeds when taking that route.

Incidentally, I gather analytics on the files hosted on S3 by pulling log files using s3cmd and then parsing those logs using GoAccess to generate an HTML file with pretty graphs and tables of the data. It’s what lets me know roughly how many times an episode has been downloaded.

Distribution of the podcast is currently done on WordPress using the Blubrry PowerPress plugin. It does the job of providing an in-line player and a properly structured RSS feed. In the future, I might move to using a static site generator like Hugo or Jekyll, but not yet.

And that about covers it. Yeah, I know it’s a lot of links, but hopefully you find at least some portion of this useful. If not… there’s always next episode!

Talkatcha then.

Open Source Creative Podcast #28 – Defeating Comparisonitis

This week we have a more positive (I hope) follow-up to last week’s rant. We’re talking about comparisonitis… that feeling of “I can’t do that” when you see the incredible work of another artist or find out about another person’s level of success in a field similar to yours. I give a little hat-tip to the annual SIGGRAPH Conference and hopefully cover a few tips to help get by that comparisonitis feeling and get focused on creating our own fantastic work.

What about you? Do you ever get a sense of comparisonitis? What kinds of things do you do to beat that beast?

Open Source Creative Podcast #27 – How Not to Discuss New Releases

Missed last week, but the show is back! And boy, oh, boy… this is a ranty one. Short version: we need to change the way that we discuss the new releases of open source software tools. There’s this propensity for wanting to discuss other software or, worse, make gross generalizations about the viability of a tool based on our own limited experiences and uses cases. It’s not entirely specific to the open source community, but we do see it a lot… I daresay more than in other circles.

So yeah… this is a rant about that, and perhaps a solution (or at least a suggestion) or two about how to avoid doing it.

Open Source Creative Podcast #26 – How to Make a Living as an Open Source Creative

First things first… we have a winner for the domain for the new Open Source Creative website (it was the .org TLD):

Thanks to everyone who participated. Keep an eye out here (or even better, subscribe to my newsletter) for word on when the site goes live.

Now, this week’s show is really a nuts-and-bolts kind of thing. As the title says, it’s how a person would go about making his or her living as an open source creative… a person whose primary creative software tools are open source. I still run into people who swear it can’t be done. In a way, this is my rebuttal. This episode stays largely generic, but i do make reference to the Blender Market, the open movie projects from the Blender Institute, and a very excellent (and timely) article about David Revoy, an illustrator and comic artist who uses open source tools and produces open content.

And as a program note, there’s a chance that there won’t be an episode next week. Hopefully that’s not true… I’m on a pretty good streak here. But things are what they are. In any case, the show will definitely have an episode after that. So keep your ears peeled.

Open Source Creative Podcast #25 – The Open Content Question, Part One

This week’s show is all about open content. I’ve thought about this topic a lot and I have a lot to say on the matter. I have so much to say, in fact, that I ended up needing to cut myself off a bit before I really wanted to because I’d gotten to the end of my commute. The focus of this episode is on making the business case for releasing creative work—specifically writing—under an open content license, like one of the Creative Commons variations. Basically, I’d like to see a strategy for taking what some companies in the software world (Red Hat, Canonical, SUSE) have done with building the businesses on open source software… and applying a similar strategy for creative work. I think it can be done, but I still have questions.

References in the show also include the Blender Cloud, Blender Market, and WordPress plugins and themes.

Also, I want to thank everyone who’s participated so far in the poll I posted last week regarding the domain name to where the Open Source Creative will be moving. The poll is still open, and will be until the 14th of January. So if you haven’t responded to it yet, I’d certainly appreciate it if you would. The link to the poll is right here:

And that about covers it. See you next week!

Open Source Creative Podcast #24 – 2017 Goals

Happy New Year! Short introduction this week, folks. This episode is all about goals for the coming year. What are your creative goals for the year? What do you want to get done?

Part of my goals include continuing to do creative work each day and [try to] post it on the Daily Creative group we’ve created on Facebook. If you have a Facebook account, come on by and join in. It’s a great little collection of artists that we’ve got there.

Most importantly, I also mention in the show [spoiler alert] that I’ll be moving this podcast to its own site some time this year. That site, of course, will require a domain name. Problem is, I can’t decide on which one. So I made a little survey of the possible choices I have in mind. In the show, I give a bit more detail about the thought process I’ve got behind each of the choices. In any case, if you wouldn’t mind answering this little poll for me, I’d be most appreciative.


Open Source Creative Podcast #23 – Making Time

This week’s show is all about making the time you need to produce your creative works. Well… it’s mostly about that. I get to that point by briefly talking about how I read an article on The Digital Reader about a super-cool eink device called the reMarkable. I’m extremely excited about seeing how this device fares when it comes out at the end of the summer next year (2017, if you’re reading this in the future). I’ll be talking a bit more about the reMarkable and my forays into putting Arch Linux on a Surface Pro 3 later this week on the Linux Lugcast show (you can listen or participate live this Friday evening).

Oh, and Krita 3.1 has been released, go update!

After that digression, though, my main focus this episode has been on productivity… making the time to work on your projects. I break it down thusly:

  • Figure out your personal create/consume ratio
  • Make the necessary sacrifices of consume time to make room for creating
  • Optimize that time so you’re as productive as possible in it
  • Squeeze out extra minutes in seconds where you didn’t think you had time

Of course, even though I’ve listed out the rough basis here, you should still listen to the show because I go into each bit with more detail (and digressions, of course. Wouldn’t be me otherwise, right?)

My question for you this week: what kind of things have you done to make time for creating? I’m always looking for new things to try out.

And as a small second, what do you think about these show notes? Do you prefer the list-style that I’ve used on previous shows, or is this in-line format more to your taste?

See you next week!

Open Source Creative Podcast #22 – Requesting Features

Hi there! In this episode I talk at length about another little distraction that I’ve had over the last year… a little feature request site for Blender called Right-Click Select. But, that’s just the launch point. What this episode is really about is the best way to make feature requests in an open source software community (like the Blender community). I also make a few flubs, but hey… that’s pretty much on-brand for me now, right?

Here’s a few links to things I reference in the show:

Also, thanks again to everyone who commented on the last episode. I really appreciate it. What other tips do you have for making good feature requests?

Open Source Creative Podcast #21 – Do You Have a Medium?

This week’s episode is a barrel of questions and curiosity. I spin myself in a circle when I realize that I might not actually have a single medium that I can call “home”. Is that a problem or is that a requirement of being a creative person in the modern era? Or has it always been like this and folks just get known for one of the many kinds of things that they do?

I think I have an answer to this… at least for myself. However, I’m really interested in you. Do you have a medium that you think of as your medium, or do you split your focus across more than one creative outlet? How do you keep focus? How do you maintain balance? Do you actively do any of that at all, or do you just let the chips fall where they may?

Open Source Creative Podcast #20 – Me Me Me

Short episode this week! And good thing, too, because this one is all about the stuff I’ve been up to recently. Here’s a quick run-down of the stuff I cover:

  • The Daily Creative group that got launched on Facebook as a result of my attempt to do a “Creative TriMonthalon”. As an extra bonus, here are some links to some of the work I made during that TriMonthalon:
  • Jungle Book, my little coding distraction to analyze book covers on Amazon
  • Word Pacer, another coding distraction where I wrote a little web app for visualizing the pacing of a chunk of text
  •, where I’ve been writing articles on open source and creativity
  • Book Widget, I forgot to mention this one, but this was another little coding distraction… it’s a WordPress widget that adds a book to your sidebar with links to the retailers where it’s available. I’m actually using it on this site. There’s kind of a fun story about that. Maybe I’ll talk about it a bit in the next episode.

And, most importantly, I asked what you’ve been up to in the last year or so. Let me know. Share links. It’ll be a hoot!