Audio Blogging

This post is an experiment in audio-blogging (or oral blogging) using streaming audio. Click here to listen. You’ll need to download and instal the latest version of Windows Media Player (free download) to be able to listen in “streaming” format (i.e. without waiting for the entire file to download).

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

I’m listening now. Although I downloaded it, not streamed it.

This is very odd.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Bailz,

If you download and instal the latest version of Windows Media Player (Version 9), the recording should stream (as long as there are 10 people or less trying to access it at any one time). If you have an earlier version of Windows Media Player, the recording won’t stream and you’ll have to download it in full before listening to it (which isn’t too much of a problem with this particular recording because it’s fairly short, but would be very tedious with something longer). At some stage in the next week or so we’ll actually be moving across to Apple Quicktime format, which allows up to 10,000 simultaneous streams to be served, and should stream even for people with older versions of the Apple Quicktime player.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

I’m listening to the streamed version. The levels seem to be a bit low, but otherwise it’s nice and clear.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

The file automatically defaulted to Real Player on my PC (RP keeps stealing default rights from Windows) but you still sounded very persuasive – you could probably do one of those Big Kev marketing spots on Good Morning Australia Ken.

Interestingly, my cat Missy leapt up onto my desk and started smooching all over the PC when your voice came on. Not sure what this means – perhaps hitherto undiscovered talents as a cat food marketer are indicated?

BTW it’s worth pointing out that it is a 6.73MB file for those with dial-up and who are unstreamed….

Will whip out and pick up a headset mike tomorrow. As we won’t be visual I’ll be able to do my Madonna in Concert impression without critique :)

Dan
Dan
2022 years ago

Works fine for me with the broadband connection … but is the software smart enough to downsample the recording for people with 56k modems? When you download the file, it’s about 6MB, which is too much for a 56k modem to handle in 7 minutes (the length of the recording).

Actually, it’s my guess (based on the size and the length and the apparent bitrate) that you could halve the file size by recording in mono instead of stereo. Also, the bitrate that you’re using is a bit of a luxury for spoken word – you could halve that as well, making the whole file a quarter of the size. It wouldn’t sound quite as sweet (and don’t get me wrong, Ken, your dulcet tones are a delight), but it would be every bit as intelligible.

LaTrobe and Monash both use the RealAudio format for posting lectures to the web, which seems to work pretty well when the lecturer remembers to put the microphone on, and when the library gets around to putting the recordings online before the next tutorial (which is almost never).

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dan,

I normally create lecture recordings in mono at a much lower bit rate. This recording is something of an experiment in using Windows Media’s “multiple bit rate” option. Supposedly it detects what bit rate your Internet connection is currently running at, and delivers only the most appropriate stream. However, it’s possible that this feature works only when the file is loaded onto a server with Windows Media Server software running on it. That isn’t clear from the FAQs. Consequently one of the things I’m interested in finding out is whether listeners with 56K modems (and WMP Player version 9) were able to listen satisfactorily to this recording in streaming mode (or whether they were forced to wait until the whole file downloaded).

One of the reasons why I’m trying to test this is that we’re hoping to record and stream next week’s Charles Darwin Symposium Series lectures at NTU/CDU. Speakers include Kim Beazley and lots of other interesting personalities (and some dickheads like that publicity-seeking ex-ONA chappie Andrew thingamyjig) talking about issues surrounding terrorism over 2 days. It’s possible that the Apple Quicktime facility might not be quite up and running by then, so we may need to persist with Windows Media. That’s why I’m keen to assess whether we can feasibly use the multiple bit rate option (so at least listeners with broadband can listen to a higher quality soundtrack), or whether it’s safer to stick with a mono recording at a much lower bit rate. Feedback is hereby solicited.

James Russell
2022 years ago

Sounds good, Ken, though as the evil one noted, the levels are kind of low (I noticed that the last time you did an audio blog). And for bandwidth purposes, if you’re going to use WinMedia then a lower bitrate with mono sound is the way to go. As long as the words are clear, it doesn’t need to be 128kbps stereo.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

James,

The mike volume is adjusted to maximum, so I’m not sure there’s anything else I can do except rely on listeners to turn up their speaker volume.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

You were fine at mid volume on my speakers – which aren’t exactly state of the art……

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

You were fine at mid volume on my speakers – which aren’t exactly state of the art……

Dan
Dan
2022 years ago

Oh, and “oralblogging.wmv” is not necessarily the filename I’d choose … :)

bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

Ken,

yeah I know I could have streamed it using WMP9, which I’ve been using for a while now considering it’s far superior to the shit that was WMP8, but I also knew the file was coming from a university server, over my broadband connection, that I could save it and play it just as easily (probably quicker considering that IE will resolve the connection faster than WMP9), and then add it to the queue of things I was already listening to in WMP9.

It’s an interesting idea, that’s for certain. I don’t know whether i see it was the next progression of blogging though. It lacks a certain flexibility that you see in the written form. And it’s pretty hard to click on a spoken hyperlink.

I’ll record something later tonight and post it, to see how my spoken word compares to yours… ;)

Gianna
2022 years ago

coming soon…Kencam?

mark
2022 years ago

What, WinAmp2 ain’t good enough for ya, Richo?

bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

winamp2 can suck a nut dude.

nardo
2022 years ago

Ken, the mic itself might be at full volume, but you’re not getting a strong signal outta the encoder… (are you using Windows Media Encoder?)

Another option is to ‘normalise’ the sound file (to 95%) after recording, but not sure of your workflow…

– – –

regarding multiple-bit-rate files:

“Web servers do not support intelligent streaming. Multiple-bit-rate files contain a number of video streams–

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