No foolin’

The 2009 iMac, resurrected (however temporarily) for service as a podcasting tool.

The 2009 iMac, resurrected (however temporarily) for service as a podcasting tool.

Consider this your shelter from the storm that is April Fool’s Day.

Here at Mad Dog Media we do the perpetual tee hee, 24/7 and 365. As George Carlin noted on “Carlin at Carnegie Hall”:

“I am a professional comedian. As opposed to the kind you see at work all day long.”

To be honest, it’s been something of a pro-am week here at Ye Olde Gagge Factorie. I had professional obligations to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, and despite being sidetracked by the death of one of my favorite authors I managed to, as we say out here in the West, “Git ‘er done.” It was not unlike shitting a full case of broken whiskey bottles.

During rest intervals I reacquainted myself with the ins and outs of podcasting. This was strictly amateur hour.

Longtime victims of the blog may recall that I’ve dabbled in audio a time or two, but it’s been a couple years since my last episode of Radio Free Dogpatch. I even pulled the link off the site. It felt like driving past the same shuttered storefront every day.

GarageBand '11, v6.0.5, had a dedicated "Podcast" option. The "improved" version, not so much.

GarageBand ’11, v6.0.5, had a dedicated “Podcast” option. The “improved” version, not so much.

I started out recording with Felt Tip’s Sound Studio, an application I got for free, I think, maybe with a hardware purchase from Other World Computing. Then I tried Audacity, another gratis bit of software, and finally moved over to Apple’s GarageBand, which I considered the least user-friendly of the three. But it comes with every Mac, so there you have it. And there was a dedicated “Podcast” selection in the startup menu, plus you could pull jingles and other sound effects out of the library it shared with iMovie.

Well, that’s all history. If anything GarageBand is even less user- and podcast-friendly than it was before. And I’m a couple years dumberer. So, yeah, there was a little bit of the wailing, the gnashing of teeth and the rending of the garments as we became reacquainted. It was like running into the smartypants kid from high school, the one you hated, and finding out that he had landed a job providing a service you needed.

Once I got back up to speed with recording myself as a solo act, I studied up on adding additional voices (and no, not the ones in my head).

The fun part was learning how to record a Skype call and import the audio into GarageBand. Any old scribbler has spent a fair amount of time recording phone interviews, but a painstaking transcription traditionally followed and the quotes gleaned thereby were worked into what we used to call “a story,” or “copy,” as in, “O’Grady, where the fuck is my copy? News editor has a two-inch hole on D42 and the slot man is drunk again.” Journalism 101, right there in the tar pits, next to the brontosaurus.

Here at the FutureFair a modern Bozo (or Bozoette) wants to add the actual audio from that chat to a podcast. It’s a breeze, thanks to the brainiacs at Ecamm. Their Call Recorder records both sides of the Skype call directly to your Mac, and a widget lets you split the recording into individual tracks. Another widget converts those files into mp3 and you drag them sumbitches into GarageBand for editing. It’s easier than slipping a fabricated quote past a drunk slot man.

Anyway, my man Hal Walter and I did a short test drive yesterday. The wheels didn’t fall off, and nothing exploded, so our next attempt will be an actual podcast. No foolin’. Don’t touch that dial.


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14 Responses to “No foolin’”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    It should be fun to listen to. Can you use Garageband to produce background music? I used the previous version of it to produce some back ground 12 bar blues progressions. I haven’t tried the new one since I bought this newer iMac, and they became apps instead of launching from the dock.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, GarageBand is very much a music-centric deal in this latest iteration. Indeed, the word “podcast” appears nowhere on the GB page. Doing a podcast with the sumbitch is not unlike using Adobe InDesign to take field notes.

      The musically inclined should find plenty to like about it. There are about a jillion “loops” you can use to make your own music. I used to simply poach jingles from the iMovie library to use as background for a podcast; now, I guess it’s either get more elaborate in GB or use some other free-music service.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I just tried the new GarageBand, after I downloaded the app. It seems totally different to me. It wouldn’t open my existing projects. Back to the drawing board and starting from the beginning I guess.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hah. Welcome to my world. I guess we can look on the bright side: Having to completely relearn how to use an app should help us stave off the Goofy in our Golden Years, no?

        There’s a GarageBand for iOS, too. Just in case you really feel like driving yourself loopy.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G: Hate to say it, but you lost me on the tech stuff right after I fell over laughing at the “It was not unlike shitting a full case of broken whiskey (with an “e”) bottles”. Then I thought: “How would he know??!!” 🙂

    Reminded of the “good old days” when I downed whole eggs (including the shells) after a brewski or two.

    But alas, it was the picture of the “console” that drew my attention. I fully expected to see Walter Cronkite in the background.

    Can’t wait to hear the podcasts! And I won’t touch that dial!

  3. Steve O Says:

    If you ever feel technologically challenged, just remember, it happens to the best:

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:


      My favorite April Fool gone wrong dates back to my days at the Gazette Telegraph in Bibleburg. Someone had the idea of hanging pickles from a tree across the street and photographing reporter Don Branning, wearing a planter’s hat and (I think) smoking a pipe, while inspecting the booming El Paso County pickle crop.

      It went out on the AP wire and the Greeley Tribune, which really should have known better, ran it on the farm page.

    • Steve O Says:

      So, who wants to test ride the Google autonomous car on April 1st?

  4. Larry T. Says:

    I couldn’t resist this, after our friend let me pose in this cool little car at the dealership where he works for a quick photo
    Actually had a few going WTF? 🙂

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