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...what I'm looking at / thinking about while I should be working...

Nov
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Sep
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Recording Skype Calls

I’ve been helping Todd with his podcast for a couple months. Each episode is a recording of a radio segment that he does earlier in the morning. I record an intro and outro and piece it together. I’ve been trying to get Todd more involved in this process so he can add additional content. What we’re planning on is to record a weekly Skype call to add to the podcast. So I need a way to record Skype conversations.

Up to this point I’ve been using Audacity on Ubuntu to edit the podcast. Yesterday, I installed Skype-rec (the Howto I used was here). It seems to work well, but the only problem is that it works with OSS and not ALSA so it wouldn’t work with my Plantronics headset. 

For the second time that day I had to leave Ubuntu and boot into XP. There are a lot more choice in Skype recording software for Windows. Most offer some combination of voicemail, conversation recording and were compatible with other VoIP/IM clients. They all have a free/trial version with varying limitations. My needs in a recorder are simple: record a two person Skype conversation (10 mins max) in descent quality with each person recorded in a separate channel or file that I can import into Audacity. I chose six to try. Four of them I learned about from this Mashable article: "SKYPE TOOLBOX: 50+ Enhancements for Skype".

The six were: PowerGramo, vEmotion, Pamela, SuperTintin, AfterBeep, and PrettyMay. The only one that fit the bill exactly was vEmotion. It’s ad-supported and has a nag screen to register, but it worked well and no features are crippled in the unregistered version.  Registration is $29.95 USD. The first runner-up was PrettyMay. It’s $5 cheaper, but with only a 15 day trial, I might not have much chance to try it in practice. I’ll tolerate the ads in vEmotion for now and make my final decision once I have several podcasts completed.
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Google Earth Flight Sim

Marco wrote on this blog Friday about a flight simulator built into Google Earth. Someone left a link to documentation in the article comments.

Yesterday, I gave it a try. I hadn’t installed Google Earth for linux yet and thought it would be a good Saturday morning task. The install was great, but on running Google Earth, it brought down my entire Gnome desktop (Ubuntu FF). Oh well, the uninstall was very simple too. 

I wasn’t ready to give up just yet, so I rebooted into XP. Once in Google Earth I pressed CTRL+ALT+A (a few times, it seems if a textbox has focus, it doesn’t always work) and I had my choice of two aircraft: F16 or SR22. I’m total crap at it, but it was fun. After 10 minutes of trying to pull out of spinning dives, I was nauseated and had to stop. 

This morning, I thought I’d have another crack at getting it to work in Ubuntu. I just had to change my video driver; now I’m ready to take to the sky again. 

Aug
31st
Fri
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Jets overhead

Rehearsal for the Canadian International Air Show is underway. When we first moved to Toronto, I would get freaked out the Friday before the Labour Day weekend when jets would start screaming above our place. Then, I’d remember the air show. After 7 years, I’m pretty much used to it now, but man, is it noisy.

Aug
30th
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Aug
28th
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David Usher live in Halifax (via pleasingfalsetto)

David has put his song "The Music" on the Podsafe Music Network. I hope he’ll post more of his music on the PMN.