Calling All Podcasters

As a fledgling industry, Podcasting initially 001 The Podcast Report  What Is BlogWorld  Where Does Podcasting Fit In  BlogWorld  New Media Expo Bloghad its own annual Expo.

Both inspirational and uplifting, it was great to be part of the community as the podcasting pioneers gathered each year to learn, teach and party, There was such optimism as the medium matured and barriers were broken down.

The democratisation of broadcasting. Transmitters? We didn’t need no stinking transmitters…

The final year of the Podcast and New Media Expo, (or whatever it was called at the fourth name change), saw the Expo transplanted to Las Vegas and many agreed, it had lost its way a bit.

We didn’t know it then, but that was to be the final separate Podcast Expo.

Following that final year, the Podcast and New Media Expo was bought out by BlogWorld.

Since the take over by BlogWorld, there has been a lot of disquiet and discontent in the Podcasting world.

The BlogWorld organisers have tried their best to integrate the Podcasting community into BlogWorld, but even they would agree, have never quite pulled it off. Despite the best of intentions, it’s always seemed that the Podcasters played second fiddle to the Bloggers. Unintentional I know, but that’s just how its always come across.

Whether it’s due to the prominence of the name ‘BlogWorld’, or the fact that the Podcast tracks have never really been visible, or that the Podcast tracks have always been the last sessions to be publicised, BlogWorld has never really jelled with the Podcast community. Heck, we even called Podcasting “Digital Broadcasting” one year, no wonder it was invisible to Podcasters (and I take the blame for that!).

Despite many initiatives, some of which I’ve been personally involved with, the BlogWorld experience has never matched the previous experience Podcasters had with their own Expo.

However, I think this is all about to change.

Take a listen to the new Podcast Report linked below which gives a good indication of a sea change at BlogWorld. There are some significant and potentially ground breaking changes happening over the next few months leading up to a major announcement at BlogWorld NYC in June.

Firstly, Cliff Ravenscraft has grasped the mantle of pulling the Podcast track together for the next event in New York. Cliff is a passionate Podcaster with his own clear views on Podcasting and many contacts in the industry. After observing from a distance the effort Cliff was putting into the event, I tweeted some Kudos to Cliff and his efforts. Cliff reached out and we had a long Skype discussion on Podcast history, some of the mistakes of the past and what needs to happen moving forward.

It was obvious from our discussions, Cliff has a handle on what is needed and he’s making it happen.

Following on from our discussion, I took a listen to the Podcast Report where Cliff is in discussion with Rick Calvert, CEO & Co-Founder of BlogWorld & New Media Expo. In the podcast Rick pre-announces a hugely significant change – BlogWorld is re-branding and giving equal importance to Bloggers, Podcasters and Web TV producers.

BlogWorld will no longer be BlogWorld after the next event.

We don’t know what the name will be, but it is being renamed and the new name will be announced at the New York event in June. It will reflect the new focus on serving the Blogger, Podcaster and Web TV producer communities, all in equal measure and with equal importance.

This is huge, and not just because of the change in name.

It’s something I’ve advocated for years but never thought would come to fruition due to the huge brand awareness that BlogWorld has gathered in the years it has been in operation. If they are taking the important (and some would say somewhat risky) step of changing the name, I feel confident that we’ll see them follow through with the change in focus of the event.

In some respects, they have to make the change. The scene has changed considerably since BlogWorld was formed, and in reality, they probably should have made the change much sooner. Regardless of past history, they are now making the change and seem committed to restructuring the event and supporting infrastructure.

I really would recommend taking a listen to the new Podcast Report podcast below:

001 – Podcast Report

I’m excited to see what Cliff can do with the Podcast track and what Rick and the team have in store moving forward.

Looks like they might just turn it around.

Interview with Tim Bourquin

Probably not of note unless you’re interested in the business side of Podcasting, or want to know more about how ScreenCastsOnline came into being, but Tim Bourquin (one of the “Podcast Brothers”) has just published an interview we did during last week.

Tim has started up a new website for those interested in creating and developing membership websites or podcasts and asked me to participate based on my experience with ScreenCastsOnline.

What’s interesting is that there’s also a transcription of the interview as well as the audio and a slide set. It’s really strange seeing the (in some places inaccurate) transcript of my spoken words, although it sounds OK when you listen to it!

I don’t think I said anything too controversial, so please go ahead and check it out if you’d like.

Interview with Tim Bourquin

Things vs OmniFocus…

As you’re probably aware, I’ve done screencasts on both OmniFocus and Things, the two “front runners” for task management on the Mac.

I started using OmniFocus initially, following on from using the GTD scripts developed for use with OmniOutliner, the original inspiration for OmniFocus. I was aware of Things when it was launched after OmniFocus, but I held off until certain features were made available. Once those features were there, I started using Things and have been more than happy to use it ever since.

So now the two questions I get asked more than anything are, which do I recommend and which do I use.

The answer, I recommend both but I currently use Things!

Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, but for me, Things has the right combination of power and flexibility and allows me to task manage without getting in the way.

OmniFocus is a GTD powerhouse and in the right hands, with some investment of time and effort, it can become an incredibly powerful  tool.

If your serious about task management and want to get a good feel of the differences between OmniFocus and Things from a users point of view, I’d recommend having a listen to two of my podcasting buddies from the MacRoundtable (David Sparks and Katie Floyd) on the most recent edition of their podcast – Mac Power Users.  

In Episode MPU 013 – Task Management Smackdown – they compare notes on both applications. 

Just one caveat though, David is a GTD ninja and has lovingly melded OmniFocus to integrate fully with business and personal needs. He’s obviously an OmniFocus power user and you really need to listen to the podcast in the context of his vast experience of OmniFocus, it will certainly give you some things to think about but don’t expect to reach Davids level of expertise overnght. Katie is probably more like the rest of us (no offence David!) and uses Things on a daily basis to manage tasks. 

The level to which David has been able to use OmniFocus probably says a lot about its depth and power, but you do need to put the effort and discipline in to get the most out of it. Things is much simpler and easier to get a rapid return on your efforts. That’s not to say Things is not powerful. I use it for organising my daily tasks, my scheduled tasks and my projects. I also use it to capture tasks directly from my email system. 

One correction in the podcast is that there is a way of grouping tasks and projects together in Things to give you the 10,000 foot view, and thats “Areas of Responsibility”. Check out my screencasts for more information.

I should say though that you need to read the comments on the show notes too, there is some useful info contained within the notes too.


Don’t push me…

I was invited to take part in this weeks live recording of “This Week in Media” hosted by Daisy Whitney late yesterday afternoon. It was my third time, even though my first outing never got published due to technical difficulties – at least I hope that’s what it was :-)

Anyhow, Daisy mentioned in her invite that the show would be based at the Twit cottage and for any Mac based participants, to fire up their video for Skype to be included in the live video feed,


Never done a live video feed into a podcast before!

This blog post is the result of my trying to rig up a simple video feed using my existing kit.

First off, the machine I use for Skype is the main Mac Pro. It has a USB audio interface from my Mixer and a separate Mix Minus input into the audio line in. It’s set up this way for when I’m recording the MacRoundtable. I’ve no webcam, but seeing as I had a couple of Camcorders kicking around, I thought it would be trivial to set one of them up as a web cam.


45 minutes later, I realised that I should have bought a new USB or FW webcam but it was too late to sort that out.

Backup plan, set up the MacBook Air and use the built in video camera on that.

OK, swapped over the USB interface and the audio line in to the MacBook Air – fine worked a treat!

OK, so now I want to use a wired ethernet connection for the MBA rather than wireless.

D’oh! The MBA uses a USB Ethernet adapter and with only having a single USB on the MBA……

So disconnect the USB hub from the Mac Pro and connected the MBA ethernet adapter and the USB audio interface into the USB hub. Fine!

But the USB hub on the Mac Pro had the Mac Pro keyboard plugged in, so my keyboard is not working.

Connect the keyboard to the USB port on the Dell monitor, but that is plugged into the other Mac Pro.

So by now I’m a little bit miffed as you might imagine.

The bottom line is I really need to acquire and configure a decent web cam onto the main Mac Pro. But without giving too much ammunition to the MacBook Air haters, it really would have been so much simpler with just a second USB port on the MacBook Air, it really would!

Update: I threw out a Twitter request last night for good web cam suggestions and the top 5 appear to be:

Quickcam Pro 9000
Quickcam Vision Pro
Blue EyeBall
eCamms BT-1
Logitech QuickCam Communicate MP

I’ll ignore @PatMahons suggestion of getting a 24″ LED Apple Cinema display for the built in iSight camera and stereo speakers. Pat, you should know me better than that to even seed such an idea :-)

As an aside, I can’t seem to put the whole MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro decision point out of my head but the whole debarcle last night has really made me reconsider seriously. I’ll still need a webcam for the Mac Pro though.

Update: Following on from the comments, I thought I’d better revisit the camcorder setup before parting with any cash. Looks like it was easier than I thought “Well would you believe it….”

Me and Chuck….

Just a quick shout out to say that I recorded a podcast with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices yesterday and it’s now available to download.

To quote the show notes:

Don McAllister of ScreenCastsOnline is back to update us on what is and isn’t going on in Europe from the Mac perspective, why it isn’t always different than anywhere else, and the state of online video on both sides of the pond. Don also confesses how, following Apple’s new Mac announcements, he went from buying a Mac mini to a Mac Pro in the space of about thirty minutes, discusses what’s new in the ScreenCastsOnline world (including being recognized by Apple), and delivers his thoughts on iLife ‘09.

Always a pleasure to chat with Chuck. You can check out the podcast here