2014 Budget Podcast Studio

Welcome to part two of my podcast equipment buying guide. This guide covers all the basics for a great sounding, mid-budget podcasting setup. I’m calling it the “Budget” podcasting studio but I promise it’s better than most podcasting setups out there. It’s probably better than a lot of the setups your favorite podcasts have. Seriously, you’d be amazed…

Earlier I wrote up a “Bare Bones” podcasting studio equipment guide. It skimped out on the mixer, had no dedicated digital audio recorder, used cheaper microphones and headphones. This system is a dramatic step up in quality and will allow your podcast to grow without making more immediate investments.

Out of the box you’ll be ready to podcast with hi-fidelity audio across four microphones and even bring in audio from extra sources like a Skype call or even one of those “morning zoo” sound machines.

There is a great iPhone app if you feel you need to go this route…  But I digress. Continue reading

2014 Podcast Equipment Guides

This idea of having my own podcast, or as I’m envisioning it, a podcast network, has me losing sleep at night. Seriously. I dream about this idea just about every night and find myself daydreaming ideas for shows and setups and when I move to including video and how I’ll setup my lights and green screen

It’s crazy. But, to your benefit, my craziness means I’ve researched the hell out of starting a podcast. In this post series I’ll break down four podcasting studio setups; Bare Bones, Budget, Premium and Professional. I won’t get into the room acoustics or types of tables and chairs but I’ve dug deep into the audio equipment side of things for this.

Click the images below to go to each podcasting setup.

I’ll be sure to let you know what I ultimately sign up for between these. Whatever setup I get will probably be a mix of each of these, though I am aiming for the “Premium” option over everything else.

To me it is a fair balance of cost vs performance. It also plans for the future without getting too aspirational. I could go cheap or I could go crazy and mimic Leo Laporte and the TWiT network!

Amazon Killed the Internet

Tonight, these sites and perhaps hundreds more died. At least temporarily.

The Internet was ablaze (almost ironically) tonight when a massive storm on the East Coast caused a power outage that affected Amazon’s “Amazon Web Servicescloud server system. AWS is what power so many sites and services these days. It’s their reliability, scalability, cost and speed that have so many startups jumping to their system.

Tonight became Survivor – Startup Edition

However, tonight highlights what happens when you rely on a single fail point. What’s the adage? “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Well tonight it was a single Amazon server location’s power outage that has many of the most popular sites offline. Amazingly, Twitter is not one of the sites shutdown.

 

Once the power is back on, or once Amazon starts shifting bandwidth and syncing servers, all of these sites will be back up and running. What’s disappointing is that even though Amazon has tons of servers all over the country, it only took one power outage to cripple their system.  Continue reading

I’m Moving Back to California

While it might be the worst kept secret, ever, I wanted to give myself time to tell each of my friends (as best I could) the news face to face before posting it here on the web. But, yes, I am moving to back to California, and quite soon. In fact, as of this writing, I have roughly 21 days left of life in Missouri before I head west to the Golden State.

Continue reading

iPad, the First Real iPhone Killer?

Today Steve Jobs and Company announced iPhone 4.0, the future operating system for their iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices (don’t like the iPhone moniker throw you off.  While the actual announcement came as much a surprise as did the huge number of sales for the first generation of the iPad (450,000 as of today), the predictions from John Gruber were spot on.

Here’s the short list.  Multi-tasking, unified inbox, custom wallpapers, better enterprise data encryption, multiple Exchange accounts, background tasking (uploading photos to Flickr, running Pandora, Skype SMS/calls etc) as well as nearly 100 other major and minor improvements.  I recommend reading this post from TUAW for all the details.

Gruber said multi-tasking and used Pandora as his example.  So did Jobs today.  Gruber also predicted a unified inbox.  Jobs showed that off today.

But what really caught my attention, and the attention of many others I’m sure, was the Skype news.  Still no Google Voice here but get this.  You will soon be able to run Skype in the background, all the time.  If someone calls your Skype number you simply slide to answer, just as you do now with regular calls to your iPhone.

Obviously we’re all seeing how cool this can be.  We’re on the same level with the possibilities here.  But what about this.  What if you are like me and love your iPhone and have an iPad 3G on the way.  What does this 4.0 update mean for me?  It means, for the first time in my iPhone life, I might dump my iPhone!

Do the math.  If you dump the iPhone for the iPad 32gb WiFi + 3G, you will make a saving of $590 in your first year, including the cost of the iPad!  The second year, and every year after that, you save $1,020!  How does this happen?  Simple.

Get the iPad 32 WiFi + 3G, pay $30/m for AT&T unlimited 3G coverage, pay $30 for unlimited Skype in/out calls within Canada/USA for a year (it’s on sale right now, 15% off), pay $30 for a Skype in/out number (it’s on sale for 50% off right now from its normal $60) and you’re done.

I made a handy chart that explains the savings.

My good friend Ryan @rzhale pointed out how cumbersome it would be to answer phone calls on an iPad.  Remember all the jokes about people carrying around iPads as a phone? Holding them up to their faces as they would an iPhone?  Well get that out of your head because the iPad allows A2DP stereo, two way bluetooth.  That means the stereo headsets with microphones, the bluetooth in-car systems, or simply bluetooth headsets you’re already using with your iPhone to do handsfree phone calls will seamlessly be integrated into the iPad.

With Skype you will have unlimited calls within the USA and Canada (not offered on AT&T at this price) and unlimited SMS for $60 a year.  That’s less than one month of access from AT&T.

Will I be giving up my iPhone once this comes to my iPad in the fall? Maybe, who knows.  But the possibility here is pretty awesome.  I can see the iPad replacing desktop office phones while you’re at work on WiFi, a nice dock and Skype interface for that.  When you head out, slide the iPad in your bag, briefcase, backpack and continue your call over 3G as you drive to lunch.  As long as you are within thirty feet of your iPad, you’re good to go.

For the travelling entrepreneur, you’ve just gained a new level of freedom.  iPad’s 4.0 operating system will allow you to make and take calls and sms while reading email, while writing a Pages or Numbers document, or updating your Twitter status.  You will no longer need your iPod, your Blackberry, your laptop.  You just need your iPad.  Lighter than your laptop, more powerful than your Blackberry or iPod and more functional than an iPhone.

Yeah I know, there are use cases where you need a laptop but for someone like my brother, sister-in-law, mother, father and grandmother, all professionals with corporate-type jobs that travel a lot, the iPad is all they need and something they’d all love to have.  Especially if it means not having to carry so many other devices on their person.

Don’t forget, airlines are even thinking about charging for carry-on luggage, not just your checked bags.  Spirit Airlines is the first to do this.  Yet another reason to decrease all that gadget bloat.

Are you excited about this prospect?  Would this get you to drop your iPhone and contract? Would this get you to get an iPad now or in the fall?

UPDATE: So how about this?  You don’t want the iPad but still want to take advantage of some sort of savings with this iPhone OS 4.0 release.  Check this out.  Did you know AT&T has a Data for the Deaf plan?  Unlimited data and SMS for $40/m.  Now, this might not be as ethical as the above option but it is certainly an option for the penny pincher who wants all the latest gadgets!

How would that break down for you?  Pretty sweet actually.  Here’s the chart.

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