Thoughts on Bloggercon: Tools

I listened to most of one bloggercon podcast today: the Tools session. Good stuff there on how-tos. Making how-tos.

Screencasting: I’ve been thinking of making some how-to screen casts myself. I’ll check out the tool mentioned for movie capture. But I’ve heard good things about Snapz Pro, too. Was other tool Windows only? Aaah, just looked it up. Yes. CamStudio is a Windows tool. Snapz Pro is MacOS.

Complainware: I’ve done complainware. I was having a devil of a time last fall with TimeCache. Experienced some data loss. Which is highly frustrating when it comes to hours worked and time billed. When that kinda data just goes away, big gushes of adrenaline kick in. Big gushes of This is Awful, truly awful. Gushes of heated language. Very snippy angry emails were sent (by me). The developer wrote back, saying, I’m trying to help. After which, I calmed down a bit. I decided that the best way to describe my data loss bug (which was a real bug, by the way) was to do an audio recording of me, in front of my computer, reproducing the problem and describing exactly what I was doing. That way I could go step by step through what was going wrong. That way, I could have my voice heard, so I could be a real person, and say, “Hi, Dennis, this is Susan. I’m taking a deep breath and trying again.” It was a way to both describe the problem and to create a bridge after that one snippy email I sent. I recorded it, imported to audacity, saved as MP3, and emailed that to the developer. Who was able to reproduce the problem from my steps, find the problem and fix it.
So complainware or freedbacking (or whatever you call it) works.

Podcast Tools: Also, there was discussion of podcast tools. Doug Kaye brought up the topic of MiniDiscs, especially Sony ones with the Automatic Gain Control. I’ve got a HighMD one, too early for all the souped-up stuff. But it seems that Sony is wising up with its latest models. The Sound Professionals is selling a closeout version that’s touted to be Mac and Windows compatible. (Sony MZ-M100 digital HiMD recorder) One more week to go. These will allow for recordings to be transferred digitally as WAV files.

What Oade (who custom-install a modified pre-amp into the Marantz PMD 660s) has to say about this model:

Self Record Uploading to PC
Upon transferring Hi-MD recordings to Sonic Stage software on your PC, you have an option to store these files as .wav files. This allows easy access to the .wav files with popular audio editing and signal processing applications.

Self Record Uploading to MAC
Upon transferring Hi-MD recordings (PCM Linear Only) to the Hi-MD WAV Importer software, these files can be stored on a MAC as .WAV files. This allows easy access to the .wav files with popular audio editing and signal processing applications. Note: Only Hi-MD PCM self-recordings made on MZ-M100 and MZ-M10 models can be imported using the Hi-MD WAV Importer software.

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