Category Archives: Tools

Tools, software and hardware, that Michael W. Dean digs that you may dig also.

Computer Mastering Michael W. Dean’s 1983 Magnum Opus, “The Solstice Suite”

MWD-garth-Waynes-World

Solstice1

importing-solstice

Download MP3 of Michael’s 1983 one-hour piece, The Solstice Suite, HERE.

Unlike DJ or Neema, I did not go to “J-School” (journalism school) for college. However, at Jamestown Community College (JCC) in Western New York State, I did take “Communication” classes, which basically taught you to be an intern at a local radio station. And maybe if you were lucky as an intern, you’d eventually get to be on the air. I took a different route to radio. But in my last semester of college, the second part of my second year of the two years I attended, I recorded a one-hour piece of music as an independent study in Communication. I composed and recorded the music, and wrote a paper explaining the process. I got an A. I also got Fs that semester in my other four classes (in English, History, Math and Phys-Ed), because I spent every day that semester skipping all my classes to lock myself in a room and compose and record that one piece of music that got me the A.

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How to Do Encrypted, Off-The-Record Instant Messenger With Pidgin

Feens-RFC-2549

Written by Michael W. Dean, Freedom Feen. Most screenshots by Aida_Aida. Tech testing and proofreading by Link Porterfield/QPG, amifreetogo, feendaveoh, Adam Witthauer and Skippy.

The Freedom Feens recently wrote and published an extensive and kick-ass tutorial on setting up encrypted e-mail, here. However, e-mail isn’t always the best tool, especially if you’re going back and forth in a conversational manner. But there is a way to set up encrypted instant messenger, OTR (off-the-record) Pidgin. OTR Pidgin is more instant than e-mail, better for back-and-forth conversations, keeps no record and leaves no trace. It provides actual Plausible deniability (to borrow a phrase from the CIA). I don’t use OTR Pidgin for everyone, only like eight people I trust and know really well, but it’s even better than PGP mail because there is no record, the only record of the conversation is in the heads of both people involved.

A lot of serious hard-core white-hat hacker computer security experts don’t even use e-mail, EVER. They use OTR Pidgin for all Internet communications.

With e-mail and a public key, if someone can get your passphrase, they can read any saved e-mails. But with the OTR Pidgin, NOTHING IS SAVED. Again: The only record is IN THE BRAINS of the two people talking. And it’s even better if you’re using it over a VPN or Tor.

The OTR plugin was created by Cypherpunks. More on them and OTR is here. I showed this tutorial to Cypherpunk Ian Goldberg, who invented the OTR Pidgin plugin. He made a few suggestions for changes, and I made those changes. He added: “If you use OTR and also something like Tor, you can break the link between the username and your physical identity, but *only* if you _always_ use Tor with that IM account, even when creating it….If you need to break the link between the username and your identity, you need to use an anonymous communications network such as Tor in addition to OTR (they’re designed to work well together!).”

Setting up OTR Pidgin is a lot of steps, but each step is simple. The problem with getting more people to use encryption is there’s no way to do it that’s as easy as picking up a phone or using Skype (both of which are uber NOT secure). And so far, the really easy ways of doing encryption (like Hushmail) are not secure. The problem is human stupidity and State evil. Most people say “I have nothing to hide”, and governments don’t want people using encryption. In a real LibPar (without governments, and with all “power” removed from idiots and returned to each honest, smart person), encryption would be in all Internet programs by default.

Instead we get shit like Facebook, where if you’re one of their marks users, they add a chat bar EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT one. And if you set it to go away, it randomly comes back from time to time like a stalker ex. They WANT you chatting on their un-secure chat program, and they’re a company that will give any information to any law enforcement entity without a warrant. I recently left Facebook, and if you’re interested in security, you should too. You should also use Internet security programs like PGP e-mail and OTR Pidgin, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE. Because these days, not matter how “legal” or “ethical” your conversations, intentions and actions are, governments around the world (as well as some individuals, and almost all corporations) will try to use what you say against you. The repercussions of this can run the gamut from being spammed to being imprisoned….even if you think you’re not breaking any laws. We’re in a post-Patriot Act world, where doing things that one branch of the government tells you to do (like having a stockpile of food) can get you targeted as a suspect by another part of the government.

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$430 ElectroVoice RE-20 Microphone Sound for $17

So, check out this short MP3 that I recorded talking about my new very expensive microphone, recorded on the same microphone. (If you’d rather hear it as an uncompressed WAV file, it’s not very big and is here.) I posted the file on Facebook and e-mailed it to some radio producers, podcasters and recording engineers I know. I said:

AUDIOPHILE INPUT PLEASE: Please check out this 20-second MP3. What do you think of the sound of this RE-20 microphone? I bought the mic, but it’s a “try before you buy” deal and I have two weeks to return it for a refund. It was expensive, and I might keep it, but need your opinions, especially compared to the ribbon and condenser mics I usually use on the Feens.

The opinions I got back were all great, and several engineers spoke glowingly of the sound and recommended that I keep it. The ElectroVoice RE-20 Dynamic Microphone is the holy grail mic of talk radio, has been since the 60s, and is in the booth of a high percentage of all professional radio studios in the world.

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How to Set Up Your Own Streaming Server with BUTT (live proof-of-concept episode)

Michael W. Dean does a proof-of-concept live cast with callers using the Feens streaming server and a freeware utility called BUTT (Broadcast Using This Tool.)

How to Set Up Your Own Streaming Server with BUTT (live proof-of-concept episode), article and audio HERE.

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On the length of RSS feeds

My friend in Prague, Václav Navrátil, wrote to me:

Hi Michael,

that is very difficult to say. RSS was designated as a way for syndication of content (I don’t know if you remember the big disputes few years back if RSS Feed should contain Full article or just the Lead paragraph), but Podcast RSS in fact Atom is the main way of publishing of the podcast and I think it should include all the episodes.

Some podcasts need to be ordered from the oldest to the newest (books), some from the newest to the oldest (Freedom Feeens) and some just need to publish last three episodes (weather forecast).

To support my argument, imagine a user which finds your podcast on some Podcast catalog, iTunes for example… The user has no chance easily (few clicks on their device) get the rest of the podcast to their device and to the podcast playing software. It is an inconvenience so big that it will discourage most of the users from listening to the older episodes.

RSS was designate to bring people on your site to consume the content there. Podcasts are consumed elsewhere. The feeds should reflect that. And it doesn’t bring any significant extra cost.

You are an experienced podcaster and I’m only a theorist which might be missing some important part of the riddle but this is how I see it.

V.

P. S.: I don’t want to start any pod beef over pod feed. ;-)

—–

I replied toVáclav:
My choice is based on the opinion of my friend Evo Terra, who wrote the book “Podcasting for Dummies.” He knows more about Podcasting than anyone I know.

One issue is that some podcatchers will not download and process an RSS feed that is over 250 k. The Feens one is currently 237 k, if I included all episodes, it would be about a meg.

I’ll ask Evo if that limit has changed with time, and what his current opinion of it is. My feeling is that if someone wants all the episodes, they can grab them fairly easily from FreedomFeens.cz.

MWD

—–

I wrote Evo and asked him:

Hey Evo,
I know you used to recommend that a pod feed only contain like ten episodes. Has that change with time and advances in throughput and memory capacity?
Also, I know it used to be that some podcatchers would not download and process an RSS feed that was over 250 k, is that still the case, and if so, which podcatchers?
Thank you!
MWD
—–
Evo wrote back:
Technically, there is no length restrictions described in the RSS 2.0 spec document.
512K is the max file that Feedburner can handle, so there’s a practical limit. And some catchers may have an issue with very large files, but iTunes seems to be OK with it.
I haven’t had an active personal podcast for the last couple of years, Michael. But when I did, I kept the feed to 20 episodes and always included full show notes.

E.

 

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Make Your Own Liberty Radio Station for $250

Anarcho-capitalist radio

Guest blog post by Cash Newmann

I’ve seen a lot of posts on FM micro-transmitter systems, but they’re all lacking in this detail or that. For instance, a lot will say “make sure you’re using a low-pass filter”, but then don’t say how, or where to set it up in your gear chain, or specifically what adapters you need. I made this post to fill a void. This post includes details of ALL parts needed, links on where to order them, and how to set them up and configure them, as well as a lot of related information based on experience.

how to set up a radio station SCHEMATIC (not to scale) THAT SHOWS HOW TO SET IT ALL UP (click to enlarge)

DISCLAIMER:

I’ve experimented with the transmitters below, so this is from first-hand experience. But I did it on a boat, 200 miles from shore, in international waters. I do not own any of this gear, I sold it to some church folk at a gun show after I was done testing it. And I am not currently transmitting from my house or anywhere else. I’m just passing on information, in a theoretical capacity, for educational purposes only. Nothing here is legal advice, I am not a lawyer. I take no responsibility for anything you do or anything that happens as a result of doing anything listed below. ALL OF THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT DO ANYTHING SHOWN HERE.

First question: WE HAVE THE INTERNET. WHO NEEDS RADIO?

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How to take phone calls on a live Internet or radio show

Screaming Into Phone

Neema Vedadi and I do the Freedom Feens Live show. It streams live over the Internet, is on Ku-band free-to-air satellite radio throughout North America, and is on a couple of FM stations in New Hampshire. We have been doing a non-live podcast weekly for a year, but added the live show last week. It’s Sunday from 5-7 PM East Coast Time, and you can listen live, HERE.

Neema and I talk to each other and also wire into the New Hampshire servers with the program Mumble. Info on how to use and configure Mumble is HERE. We also record the show for our archives via Mumble. Mumble has a red button on it to bring up the recording interface:

Recording In Mumble

Mumble puts the WAV files of the recording in your MyDocuments folder by default.

I talked to a friend who works at a radio station that has people call in. He told me the model number of the rack mount unit they use for callers. I looked it up, the units start at 900 dollars, and quickly go up in price from there.

Neema and I came up with a last ditch effort, and it WORKED. It not only worked, but worked well. Here’s a short MP3 if you wanna listen to our test. It’s Neema and I talking via Mumble, with my wife calling in on her cell phone from another room, and the whole thing was recorded by Mumble’s record feature.

Here’s how we did it: We got a Skype-To-Go phone number (a paid Skype number, 18 dollars for three months). A Skype-To-Go number is an actual ten-digit phone number that people can call in to from a cell phone or land line, but you receive it on your computer with Skype. You can even get a custom number in any state and almost any country for no extra charge, if you can find a number that’s not taken for the area code you want. I couldn’t find one that spells anything, so I simply got one in my area code that’s easy to remember.

I set up Skype on a second computer (not the one we’re using Mumble on, we tried that and it didn’t work). I used a small inexpensive netbook that doesn’t have a whole lot of processing power and it worked fine. I plugged both computers into my mixer. The Mumble computer connects via USB, and the Skype netbook connects via audio outputs. We use Skype with audio only, no video, for better bandwidth and audio quality.

Here are closeups of how I hooked the Skype computer up to the mixer (click image to enlarge):

skype to mixer setup

Here’s a pulled-back photo showing my mixer settings:

skype podcast mixer settings

One thing that’s hard to see is the buttons above the bottom right master volumes. The “2 Track To Mix” button is off (not pressed in). The “2 Track to Control Room” and “Mix Track to Control Room” are both on (pressed in).

IMPORTANT: If you don’t have an output on your mixer called “Control Room Out” (Or “Ctrl Room Out”), make sure that wherever you plug that plug is a LINE output, not a speaker or headphone output. Otherwise, at best, you’ll get horrible audio. And at worst, you’ll fry your Skype computer’s sound card.

My condenser microphone is going into channel 2 via XLR. The Skype computer’s audio out is going into channel 7 via a 1/8″ mono male jack with an adapter to a short 1/4″ mono male cable. Control Room Out is going back into the audio input of the Skype computer via a short 1/4″ mono male cable connected to a 1/8″ mono male jack. I’m listening to everything on headphones.

Here’s a sort of blurry photo of the whole setup:

three computers for live internet netcasting

The full-size laptop on the far left is running Mumble. The smaller netbook laptop to the right of that is running Skype. The mixer is just below the netbook. The large desktop computer on the far right is not connected to the mixer and is not doing any audio function, it’s on for Internet research during the show. (You could do this whole setup without the third computer if you didn’t need to do Internet research live.)

Neema, the other host on the podcast, is in a different state, using one computer to connect to me and New Hampshire via Mumble.

The people calling in only need a phone, not a computer. Though they could also call in via free Skype anywhere in the world, without a phone and without it costing them anything.

I have to accept the call via Skype when the person calls in, and disconnect when they’re done, using the mouse on the Netbook.

Please also see my related post, Mumble for encrypted Skype-like conversations. Also, read this article on how we do our uber-high-fidelity Wednesday non-live double-ender podcasts.
–Michael W. Dean

 

 

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Mumble for encrypted Skype-like conversations

I’ve recently discovered a program called “Mumble” that’s great for chatting with friends. It’s like Skype, but more secure (according to everything I’ve read), and has much higher audio quality than Skype. It was invented by computer gamers so they can talk in groups while gaming across the miles.

Neema and I use Mumble for doing our live call-in radio show, since we’re in different states, and the satellite transmitter/streaming system is in a third state.

Download Mumble, HERE. (Click on the blue thing that says “Mumble Client”, not the red thing that says “SOFTWARE UPDATE REQUIRED”). Pick your operating system.

Install Mumble. Plug your microphone/headset into the computer, then go through the audio setup wizard.

Then open up Configure/Settings, and change things to these settings:

best mumble audio and network settings

mumble setup for best audio, 2

mumble setup for best audio, 3

The only thing I’d recommend maybe doing differently is in the first screenshot, under Compression, where I have a Quality setting of 91 kb/sec….That’s because I live in Wyoming and my DSL is not the fastest. If you live in a big city with really fast DSL, set it all the way over to the right. If you have DSL that’s even slower than in Wyoming, set it a little lower than 91 kb/sec.

When click Server/Connect, you’ll get a list of servers, by country. Pick an empty server in your country (you can tell it’s empty if there are no numbers under “Users”). When you log on a server, you may get a a notification that says “this server certificate has expired, do you want to connect anyway?” Go ahead and connect.

You can log in and jump on to an empty server to test it out with a friend, but if the person who owns the server comes on, be polite and leave. What I did is set up my own server by clicking on the green “create a mumble server” link on the main Mumble page. It’s 4 dollars a month for up to ten users at a time (great for people who work in teams across the miles), and you can password protect it.

You can even record from within Mumble. Mumble has a red button on it to bring up the recording interface:

Recording In Mumble

Mumble puts the WAV files of the recording in your MyDocuments folder by default.

Please read my related article, How to take phone calls on a live Internet or radio show.

Enjoy!

–Michael W. Dean

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Changing the Tube on an ART MP USB Tube Preamp

(Watch full screen at 720 P for best audio for the before and after tests.) Changing the Tube on the inexpensive ART MP USB Tube Preamp gives a MUCH better sound. But it’s hard to figure out how to open the case, and it’s easy to damage things while doing so. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it, easily and without breaking anything. Also included here are audio comparisons of before and after replacing the tube.

Get the ART MP USB Tube pre-amp

Get the Tung-sol replacement tube

Microphone: The Nady RSM-4 is apparently discontinued, but the Nady RSM-5 is very similar sonically and not much more expensive

SETTINGS

Here are the settings I use on the Pre-Amp, left to right on the front panel. These are a good place to start, but different mics will require different settings:

GAIN knob: 36 db
Buttons:
Gain: in
Impedance: out
Filter: in
Phantom: out (for ribbon mics and dynamic mics. Should be In for Condenser mics. Condenser mics will also require much lower gain settings)
Limit: in
Phase: out
OUTPUT knob: 1 db

In addition, I did a little bit of sound fluffing on both the before and after samples, same on both of them. It looks like a lot, but it’s subtle. The sound before doing this sounds largely the same, but I can tell the difference, and this is what I do always on my podcasting audio anyway. I take the sound recorded out of the pre-amp (recorded via USB into my computer on SoundForge), and bring it into Sony Vegas. I add a little bit of EQ:

EQ in Vegas for Ribbon Mic

And a tiny bit of Track Noise Gate:

Track Noise Gate in Sony Vegas for ribbon mic

and a tiny bit of Track Compression:

track compression in sony Vegas for nady ribbon mic

Then I render it out, bring it back into SoundForge, and normalize:

Before normalizing in SoundForge

Normalizing in SoundForge

After normalizing in SoundForge

That’s how I’m getting amazing podcast audio these days. Enjoy!

If you’re recording singing instead of talking, use the “music” setting for normalizing in SoundForge instead of the “Speech” setting.

Video and tutorial is by Michael W. Dean of FREEDOM FEENS Podcast – Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi’s fun ‘n’ feisty weekly chat about Constitutional, libertarian, voluntaryist, minarchist and anarchist issues, abuse of authority by police, the War on Drugs, self-defense, States’ Rights, Natural Rights, Austrian Economics, DIY art, low-budget filmmaking, digital recording, activism, punk rock, hip-hop and more.
http://www.freedomfeens.com/

Now with streaming audio for mobile:
http://www.freedomfeens.com/streaming-audio/

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Mic Shootout Nady RSM4, Rode NT1A, MXL Silicon Valve, Zoom H2

Michael W. Dean of the Freedom Feens does a Microphone Shootout Nady RSM4, Rode NT1A, MXL Silicon Valve, Zoom H2, comparing ribbon microphones in a side-by-side test with condenser microphones and a Zoom H2, using male and female voices.

Note: there is a VERY very slight “ringing” sound in a few spots, it’s not in the original audio, it’s an artifact of YouTube’s compression.

With the Nady, in this test I didn’t add any EQ. Check out this podcast where I added a tiny bit of treble on the mixer. It’s literally the best-sounding podcast episode I’ve ever heard:

http://www.freedomfeens.com/2012/02/26/michael-deans-search-engine-optimization-guide-part-8/

FREEDOM FEENS Podcast – Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi’s fun ‘n’ feisty weekly chat about Constitutional, libertarian, voluntaryist, minarchist and anarchist issues, abuse of authority by police, the War on Drugs, self-defense, States’ Rights, Natural Rights, Austrian Economics, DIY art, low-budget filmmaking, digital recording, activism, punk rock, hip-hop and more.
http://www.freedomfeens.com/

Now with streaming audio for mobile:
http://www.freedomfeens.com/streaming-audio/

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FLAC helps editing across the miles

FLAC is a freeware audio codec that allows you to make the file size of a WAV much smaller with NO loss of quality. This makes it easier to send huge files over the Internet to collaborate, outsource, or Feensource editing.

When Neema Vedadi and I edit our Freedom Feens podcast, it presents unique challenges. We live in different states, but we produce a podcast that sounds excellent, and sounds like we’re in the same room. We record as a double-ender podcast, each recording our end only, then sewing them together and editing more. I used to do all the editing, but Neema has started helping.

The problem is, we send each other WAV files, not MP3 files, to preserve quality as we edit, and WAV files are huge. See, every time you make an MP3 of an MP3, or edit and save an MP3, it sounds worse and worse each time. So we do all the editing as uncompressed WAV files, and only output to MP3 once, when we’re done. That helps preserve the stunning and stellar Feens quality that is part of what sets us apart from other, lesser casts. (The other thing that sets us apart is our brilliance and humor.)

More on how we record Freedom Feens is here.

WAV files are about ten megs per minute (ten times the size of an MP3). So they can take a long time to send back and forth for editing a 90-minute cast. We record the podcast in four 25-minute chunks, send each other files to mix and pre-edit, then edit. We do it in sections, and using FLAC makes it quicker and easier to send the files across the miles via FTP.

USING FLAC:

Grab the small FLAC utility:

For Windows. For other operating systems.

It converts WAVs to FLAC, and FLAC to WAV. Works quickly, with absolutely no audio loss, and the FLACs are about half the file size of the WAVs.

Install it, then use “FLAC Frontend” to do your encoding/decoding.

I converted a 16-bit 44.1 Hz stereo WAV of a full 51-minute Freedom Feens episode to a FLAC. It was one of the older ones, before we went to 90 minutes. The WAV file was 519 megs. The resulting FLAC file size was 293 megs. Conversion took two minutes.

I converted that FLAC back to a 16-bit 44.1 Hz stereo WAV, file size returned to 519 megs, audio quality was EXACTLY the same as the original. No loss whatsoever. Converting back took about 30 seconds.

The settings I use are in the image below. Set your FLAC Front end settings like this, and set the folder you’re using. Drag your WAV file in and drop.

To convert from WAV to FLAC, click “Encode.” (Bottom right button.)

To convert FLAC to WAV, click “Decode.” (Above the “Encode” button.)

Simple as that.

If you want to test a FLAC file for audio quality, they will play in VLC video player.

–Michael W. Dean

More info on FLAC.

p.s. If any audio editors want to volunteer to help feensource our editing, let us know in a comment below.

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Getting better sound out of a Zoom H2 (or any recording device or microphone)

zoom recorder padding for better audio

The Zoom H2 handy recorder is an amazing recording device. As are the other Zoom devices that have come out, the Zoom H4, Zoom H4n, the Zoom Q3HD. All are what I call (and coined the phrase for, in 2008) the “Studio on a stick.” I use a Zoom H2 on a gooseneck stand to get amazing quality sound on my Freedom Feens podcast.

But the Zoom’s recording quality is only as good as the sound in the room. If you’re recording in a room with a lot of bare walls you’re still going to get echoy sound. That’s why I came up with the idea of a quick and cheap sound baffle that slips over the end of the Zoom, and cuts out almost all ambient sound, recording only the person talking directly in front of it.

Construction is easy, and under a dollar. Simply cut some egg crate foam into a rectangle about one foot by six inches, then tie over the Zoom using shoelace material. Here’s how it attaches on the back:

It helps if you have someone else to put their finger on the knot before you pull it tight.

Here’s how easily it slips off:

For even more acoustic isolation, you can jam another wedge of egg crate foam into the top:

You could use this same technique on any recording device or microphone.

–Michael W. Dean

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VaporSmiths Electronic Cigarettes YouTube Video Review Contest

ecigs from heaven

I’ve been helping design the new blog for VaporSmiths electronic cigarettes. (Who sponsor the Freedom Feens podcast.) They’re having a great video contest. Check it out and win cool stuff, here:

 

VaporSmiths Electronic Cigarettes YouTube Video Review Contest

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Don’t Let PayPal Freeze Your Funds

frozen funds

PayPal, as useful as it is, has a nasty habit of freezing funds of people who seek donations for a worthy project but don’t have a government permission slip to do so. There have been several high-profile examples lately of PayPal freezing the donations of everything from buying toys for sick kids to protecting the U.S. Constitution from abuse by police, just because those people didn’t have a 501(c)(3) official tax-free status from the IRS. I’m assuming this is the government’s fault, but PayPal is complicit too.

One of several big issues I have with this, and why I feel PayPal is complicit, is that the PayPal user agreement says nothing about this PayPal rule. I couldn’t find anything about it on the PayPal site in ten minutes of clicking on likely links. And the “setup button page” says nothing about “you must be a licensed 501(c)(3) to use this feature.”

Paypal Make Button Page

PayPal recently froze a whopping 40,000 dollars gathered by patriot sheriff Richard Mack for a Constitutional Sheriffs Conference.

I realized long ago that PayPal does this, and here are my workarounds. (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, am not giving legal or tax advice, merely stating what I personally do.)

1.I would NEVER keep an amount of money anywhere NEAR 40,000 dollars in my PayPal account. First, it would be a quality problem if I ever got that much in donations. I’ve never even seen that much money at one time in my life, from donations or from working. But I never keep more than 200 dollars in my PayPal account. I either spend it through PayPal on expenses with people who take PayPal (like my web host, which I often pay a year in advance) or cash it out to my bank account and get cash. Spending it through PayPal does not incur a fee. Cashing it out does incur a small fee, but I feel it’s worth it for the safety of not having it socked away somewhere that it could be frozen.

2. I do not have PayPal links that say “Donate.” I either use a “subscribe” link like I have here, with the explanation that subscribing is really a contribution and does not grant additional access, or I use the PayPal donate link code, but substitute the “Donate” button for the old style “PayPal” button (shown below, feel free to grab and host on your site, please do not hotlink from my site).

In both cases, I add this text in bold, to make it clear I am not a non-profit entity under US law:

Make a donation (donations are NOT tax-deductible, but they might just make you feel really really good)

I believe these two methods to be good due diligence against the heartache of having your funds seized.

–Michael W. Dean

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Putting Your Podcast on YouTube

Podcast On YouTube

I’ve tried putting a podcast episode on YouTube before. I figured, “It can’t hurt, and it might get more listeners who stumble across it on there based on keywords.” I’ve seen it done before, and thought “How hard can it be?”

Our Freedom Feens podcast is audio only. You can’t put an audio-only file on YouTube. It has to be a video file. And it can’t be a blank audio-only video file. It has to be a video file with at least a still image throughout the whole thing.

I tried doing this once, using our podcast logo as the image, and Adobe Premiere as the editor. I’ve edited a feature-length high-def movie on Premiere, I’m a pretty decent editor, and a very computer-savvy guy. I’m the guy my computer-smart friends call when they have a computer problem.

So I figured I could do this in my sleep: pull a WAV file of a podcast episode into the Premiere timeline, drag in our logo, stretch it to the length of the audio, set the In and Out points, and render. I tried it a dozen times with a dozen output settings and every time it crashed about halfway through. It was like voodoo.

Tonight I thought of trying something else, using a MUCH simpler program, Windows Live Movie Maker.

Adobe Premiere suite costs thousands of dollars, is incredibly complex, and is used to edit a lot of what you see on TV, Windows Movie Maker comes installed free on every computer running Windows, is so simple a retarded monkey could use it, and it is made for editing video slideshows for your grandma.

To open Movie Maker, type Windows Live Movie Maker Into your RUN bar:

type Windows Live Movie Maker in your Start Bar

^type Windows Live Movie Maker in your Start Bar

Open the Movie Maker program.

Windows Live Movie Maker

^Windows Live Movie Maker

Click on “Home” near the top left of the program.

Click on “Add Videos and Photos”, and add your still image
.
Click “Add Music” to add your audio (it doesn’t have to be music, ours is talking. It just has to be an audio file.)

Click on “Project” near the middle top of the program, pick Widescreen or Standard. (I picked Standard.)

Click “Fit to Music.” (Important.)

Go to the little down arrow above “Audio Mix” and click it. Click “Save Project As.” Save your movie as what your want your YouTube video to be named.

Go to the little down arrow above “Audio Mix” and click it. Click “Save Movie” and then “Windows Phone Small.” Click “Save” on the box that pops up.

Your movie will render, quickly. It took about ten minutes to render my 106-minute podcast “movie.” The file size was 148 megs, and the audio quality was pretty stunning. Very little loss.

Upload this file to YouTube. Be sure to tag with good, pertinent keywords, and provide a link to your podcast site.

Enjoy!

Michael W. Dean,
Freedom Feens podcast

Check out my final result, here:

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