Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-28

  • In All bleeding stops eventually. #
  • In Ballroom G getting ready to listen to Bryan talk about Mental Patients. #
  • @livescribe can you make your pen record audio if you don't have paper to start and stop the recording? #
  • In Stethoscopy for Dummies. In his school you can't wear a steth until you pass a test on it. #
  • In Pedi ALS with some guy named Greyson. #
  • Well almost at the end of a long day. Getting ready to go down to the lobby and do the live show with Kelly. #
  • 6 EMS professionals died in Texas last year. All in helicopter crashes. #
  • Citizen award went to a 8 year old who saved his sisters life using the abdominal thrust that he learned from an AMR medic. #
  • Educator of the year Joe Hamilton from San Jac. #
  • Volunteer provider of the year is Deer Park VFD. #
  • At An Eagle, a Legal Beagle, and an Aggie. #
  • Appearantly Santa comes to the 4 seasons. I'm going to Chuy's again. #
  • The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. Just saying. http://bit.ly/glfKmX #
  • Word of the day: Nolite Vexare Texam #
  • Happy thanksgiving to all my friends. And a special thank you to my EMS sisters and brothers who are working today. #
  • @richardtallent what shortcuts do you want? Xcode's keyboard shortcuts are pretty configurable. in reply to richardtallent #
  • @richardtallent You can change the Line stuff for sure in prefs->keybindings. Not sure about pg-up/dn. in reply to richardtallent #
  • @richardtallent Used to be able to dnld binding sets to make it like other editors as well. in reply to richardtallent #
  • Think I'm going to get one of these to put in my Range Bag. Individual Patrol Officer Kit (IPOK) http://bit.ly/hzaECU #
  • [EMSNewbie] Ep 25 Live from Texas EMS Conference 2010 – http://bit.ly/eEpFa3 #EMS #
  • Some studying done. Ep 25 finally up. New #emsnewbie logo applied to the site. #
  • Replaced my Safeseal on my steth. Scary thing is most people don't even have disposable covers. When did you last clean your stethoscope? #
  • Tips for interviewing for residency. Or I assume med school in general. Top10 tips for residency interviews http://t.co/RvZ0iKg #
  • I favorited a YouTube video — tdc top10 tips for residency interviews http://youtu.be/T7m-kVzvA4s?a #
  • Clinical paperwork printed, collated, and organized. Off for some food before hospital pajamas and off to Conroe. #
  • 36 degrees. In scrubs. Forgot jacket. Shivering. #
  • It is a sad day when you realize 12pt font looks too small. #Imaybegettingold #
  • If you thought acid was more corrosive than base, check this out. — Coke Cans in Acid and Base http://t.co/OtwwvGk #
  • I favorited a YouTube video — Frog Poison – Periodic Table of Videos http://youtu.be/bqSeQuH_Tc4?a #
  • Getting ready to record an episode of newbie in a skirt. I mean a very manly kilt. #
  • Episode recorded. Now off to the RenFair #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-21

  • [EMSNewbie] Texas EMS Conference, Baby! – http://bit.ly/bmHRxN #EMS #
  • I've spent all morning messing with website configuration stuff. #
  • FDA: companies must fix issues with heart devices – Health News http://t.co/ICEDHLG via @townhallcom #
  • Looks like it may be a firearms week. Need to renew my CHL and may have a chance on Wednesday. Then home defense course Saturday. #
  • Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds – CNN.com http://bit.ly/aCm0nj #
  • OK Ron, write a report and then you can go buy ding dongs. #
  • @bwebster And Ding Dongs. Don't forget the ding dongs. in reply to bwebster #
  • I told someone today that once I get in ModelMayhem I can't get out. Been there 3 hours. Must go to bed. #
  • We just covered Waived Consent last week. Widow: CPR machine used on husband without family consent http://bit.ly/bgHpqk #
  • Someone just introduced me to this tonight. Cool. The internet movie firearms database http://bit.ly/arFWdf #
  • A weird condition where pupils accommodate but don't react. A sign of syphilis. Light-Near Dissociation http://bit.ly/c2DNmN #
  • [EMSNewbie] Ep 24 – Crics and Foley Catheters – http://bit.ly/bhYbvD #EMS #
  • Better Podcasts: Things That Matter http://su.pr/9n3ZOX #
  • [Reactuate] Better Podcasts: Things That Matter http://bit.ly/aSaut0 #
  • Better Podcasts: Audio Quality Matters http://bit.ly/dmxoht #
  • Too many things competing for my attention. #
  • Better Podcasts: Design Quality Matters http://su.pr/1KWimG #
  • @nickcalder OK. Been real busy with EMS stuff. Doing an EMS podcast now too. in reply to nickcalder #
  • Here's the schedule for EMS Newbie for the Texas EMS Conference…. http://fb.me/FBju5E4q #
  • Barak my rifle has a new accessory and a new home. Also color coded the 3 types of XD mags we have. Packed for tomorow at range. #
  • I have also about decided that trauma shears – even crappy cheap ones – are the best cutting tool ever. #
  • Told a buddy that I'd arranged a wardrobe for guns and my wife's jewelry's in there."Jewelry and guns, you are starting your own pawn shop." #
  • Better Podcasts: Site Organization Matters http://su.pr/3sLe1Q #
  • Just bought the stuff to make my life more fun. #
  • I can feel the extra fun seeping into my head and it burns. #
  • Recommend a good flashlight. Not huge, something "tactical". #
  • I wish there were descriptions of what the conference lectures were actually about. #
  • Gonna have to decide whether to go to Kelly's Redesigning EMS and argue, or Wes' Legal lecture. May be an arm wrestle at the meetup. #
  • On location podcasting gear packed. #
  • Isn't it suppose to be cold this morning? Packed up and heading for Austin. #
  • In Austin at conv center to register. #

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Better Podcasts: Site Organization Matters

Another aspect of design is being able to find what you are looking for in a site. Yes it needs to look good, but it also needs to accomplish your business goals.

What’s the One Thing?


Speaking of business goals, ask yourself “What is the 1 thing I want people to do when they come to my site?”

Now look at your site.

Does that one thing catch your eye immediately and is easy to figure out? Ask someone who isn’t familiar with your site to do the same. Or ask them to do the thing you want them to do and watch to see how hard it is to do. How many clicks does it take?

For instance my #1 goal is to get people to subscribe to my email list. On P&M the sign up sheet appears from the bottom of every blog page, and it is a big yellow banner on the right side of the page. It can be accomplished by going to the site, typing in 2 fields and hitting return.

The primary goal of EMS Newbie is to get them to subscribe in iTunes. When you go to the site there is one button – again above the fold so you always see it – to click and they are in iTunes.

As an aside, but relevant, you need an easy to remember and type URL to subscribe to your podcast. You will have to say it during your podcast and then the user will have to remember it till they are at the computer and they type it in. I do this using a redirect for both of my domains, so you can just type “domain.com/iTunes” into a browser and you go strait to the iTunes page to subscribe.

Where Am I?

There is an incredibly well done audio podcast that I listen to that does something really strange. When you got the URL with the name of the show, you get a page with 3 other podcasts on it. Huh? Where am I?

Your domain name should only point to your one podcast. If you have more than on, maybe in a network, they should go to the networks’ domain. Don’t confuse people. Links to sister podcasts is fine, just don’t take me to something that confuses me.

Oh and if you are going to steal a design element from Apple for your web page, you got to keep up with their changes in interface. Otherwise you look dated.

Good Show Notes

To me the number one reason people go to a podcast’s website is to get links talked about in the podcast. Those should be in the show notes.

These should include any website mentioned in the podcast. Keep a piece of paper next to you while you are recording and jot down things you mention while recording. (Don’t type it in, people get annoyed when you type while the other guy is talking)

You should have a link to every guest or panel member on the show. Maybe multiple links. Often people will connect with a particular person on the show and want to follow up with them. But they may not catch that info during the show, they expect it in the show notes.

There needs to be a good overview of what you covered as well. It needs to be keyword rich so search engines pick it up and will send people looking for that kind of information to your show.

I know a number of shows that have one line of description and a text only list of people on the show. That will drive someone nuts.

Listener questions and mentions. Everyone loves their name in print. If you answer a listener question give them a little blog love. Also those questions text is good fodder for the search engines when people ask similar questions to google.

Yes doing this level of show notes is sometimes a pain. It takes a while and is tedious. Create a template of the post with the parts that don’t change. Use the pre-show notes as a starting point for what is in the show notes. Transcribe your written notes into the blog post.

Show notes can also go into the lyrics field of the MP3. Links in there don’t do much good, but aren’t bad to put in there. This gives someone trying to decide if you are the episode they want to listen to, so give them good information.

If this all sounds like too much, get someone else to do it. Hire someone in India or the Philippines, or your teenager. Another option is to get a volunteer from the audience. Since you are going to spend some time editing the audio, you could send the raw recoding to someone to write show notes. If you have a following you can probably get a volunteer to do this for you for access to stuff earlier.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for site organization, but it is the bottom of where you need to be.

Better Podcasts: Design Quality Matters

Design is about looking and sounding good. The stuff in Audio Quality Matters will help with sounding good, but I’d add a couple of comments about intros, outros and other audio widgets.

Audio Design

Your intro needs to be cool. Couple of days ago I got an email from a Dutch paramedic asking for an audio file of just the intro to EMS Newbie. I don’t take any credit for that intro, it was created by the awesome Marc Moorash my audio guy. If you want to hear just the intro without my voice over is now available on the podcast page. Another example of a cool intro is the new Ambulance Matters podcast intro made by Thaddeus Setla.

Intro doesn’t need to be too long. How long is two long? I don’t know but I know it when I hear it. Keep it tight. Move from thing to thing without dwelling too long. Listen to it over and over – your listeners will – and when you get bored with it you know that’s too long.

Tell me what I’m listening to as soon as I hit play. Both my podcasts have a one line voice over that says the podcast name, episode title and episode number at the very beginning, before the intro music even starts.

Graphic Design

You need things to look good. There are two big places this falls down with podcasts, Album Art and Site Design.

Album Art

A lot of people are listening to your podcast on a smart phone or at least an MP3 player with a video display. In those cases when they look down they see the album art of the MP3 file that is playing. On the iPhone podcasts are listed with that album art showing. Again, you need to look cool.

Get a good logo or title image. Confessions started out with a funny image drawn by a friend of mine, showing the newbie in the background carrying a bunch of stuff and the guru in the foreground. Says something about the podcast. We’ll be announcing a new logo next week at the Texas EMS Conference, which will replace it.

Images are also good. I find a good photograph of the hosts makes an excellent draw in iTunes. My Photographer and Model logo is of me and my co-host on a dark blue background. Really stands out. And for each episode we have a different piece of cover art. An image of the interviewee for the episode. Nothing like hot models to draw in the listener.

MP3 Title

Not really audio or design related, but important. Look at your podcast on the iPhone. Preferably when there are more than one episode there. Is the title you see in that list exactly the same for every episode? This happens when you include the name of your podcast at the front of each title. Change this so listeners can read the show title.

Also does it get clipped? On the photographer and model podcast the title is the kind of guest we have and their name. I discovered that if you said “Photographer Joe Blow”, the word photographer was all you saw on your iPhone. So I shortened it to “Photog”. I even had a complaint from a photographer asking me to change it because he hated photog. After explaining it he was OK with it.

Another thing that pushes the title to the right and off the screen is using the complete word “Episode”. That will push things right. Just use “Ep”.

Site Design

People are going to go to your website. When they do it should look good and be easy to use. Too many podcast websites are the redheaded stepchild of blogs.

One thing I’ve learned in 15 years as a software engineer is that engineers aren’t designers. Neither are most podcasters. Creating good design/art is a skill. For those people with it, good design comes effortlessly. For the rest of us it doesn’t come at all.

It would be cool if you could afford to go to 99Designs and have a contest to get a custom WordPress theme made by a professional designer, but that isn’t always possible. So buy some prepackaged design in the form of a theme. Generally the best cost some money, but not too much and they are worth it.

You need to look up to date. I’ve been to a few sites that look like they were written in the 1990s and haven’t changed yet. Use CSS and styles and look like you are in the 21st century.

Use your logo elements on the website. This makes sure people know they are in the right place when they get there. If the design, including colors, elements and logos, are the same on the site and in the MP3 artwork you are good.

In the next post we’re going to talk about site design from the viewpoint of organization and usability.

Better Podcasts: Audio Quality Matters

This seems obvious. The quality of your audio is the quality of your podcast. But it seems to be one of the things that people don’t pay attention to. There are a couple of things you need to do.

Use a Good Mic

I’m not going to recommend a mic here, if you really want to know email me. This is the single biggest thing you can do to record it right the first time. You can fix a lot of stuff in post, but a crappy mic is hard to overcome.

Telephones have crappy mics. I do an interview show and sometimes the guests are on phones. This is poor quality in general. When we send them our interviewee guide we tell them the order of preference for calling them, Skype, Landline, Cell Phone. This has everything to do with the microphone.

If you are doing a regular show with others in other places, you need to just limit it to Skype with a good mic for the regulars.

Edit

Yes, it is much easier to just record a live event or a quick recording and throw it up on the server. But don’t give in. I was listening to one podcast and there was a 30 second exchange where the host told someone to note the time because they really were going to edit out something they had just said.

Get rid of the dead air. Another easy edit that people don’t make it to edit out long pauses. The reason I say it is easy is you can see what you need to cut. All sound editors show you a way form, and when it goes flat no one is saying anything. Just cut that out. Then go back and listen to the transition.

Don’t be afraid of the do over. Once you know you are going to edit, when something goes wrong while recording you can just stop and do it again. I had the phone ring in the middle of a recording of EMS Newbie a week or so ago. I thought I’d turned them all off, but it turns out my new printer rings. 🙂 I just said, “Hang on a minute Kelly” Hit the off button on the printer, and said “OK back up and repeat what you just said.” Or we’ve had to clear crying kids out of the room. You don’t hear that on the podcast because we edit it out.

Fix bad connections. When you have someone cut out because you’ve overloaded your bandwidth, I don’t want to listen to it as a listener. Say, “Hey you cut out there, can you repeat what you just said now that you are back?”

Not Too Many People

We all listen to This Week in Tech and they have half a dozen people on every week. It sounds and works great. They are all calling in via video over Skype. So we think our round table podcasts should be the same.

You are not Leo Laporte.

Sorry. Have you seen his setup? Do you know the kind of bandwidth he has? And almost all of his guests are professional broadcasters, with years of experience working with others.

My personal limit is 3 or 4 people. That is the most amateurs that can work together. They don’t walk over each other and there aren’t many long pauses while they figure out if they are the one who should answer. Also this give an intimacy to the listener, making them feel they are part of a private conversation.

Speaking of bandwidth, your home DSL line or cable modem can’t hand a dozen video streams. Probably less than 3 or 4 without something breaking up. Remember your pipe is getting all of the other’s streams. So if you have 5 callers there are 5 video streams coming down our pipe. Each caller is getting 1 stream to them, but you are mediating them all.

Your computer may not be able to handle everything you want it to do either. It is managing multiple video displays and recording.

If you aren’t doing a live video broadcast, don’t bother with Skype video, just do audio.

Related is streaming live while recording your podcast. I’ve thought about doing this with P&M, but haven’t yet because of the bandwidth issues. Remember that upload speeds on a cable modem are way less than download. So that video you are streaming up is having a big impact on the quality.

In the end you have to decide what is the most important channel you are going to use. UStream live? Blogradio live? Or iTunes recorded?

iTunes lets you reach literally millions of people, more than you will every have listen live. You need to optimize your podcast for that medium.

Video vs Audio Podcast

Should you do video at all? Yes it is cool, but is it how your listeners want to consume your product?

I generally think of people as listening to my podcasts while they are commuting, or exercising. Something that is time consuming, but not mind consuming. But it is also generally not something were they can look at a screen. So audio is the best.

Secondly is there an advantage to people being able to see you? If you are interviewing, or discussing stuff, it doesn’t really add anything to see you while you do it. The benefit is not worth the extra cost and effort. If you think editing audio is a pain, try video.

Hopefully these things will help improve the audio quality of your podcast. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

Better Podcasts: Things That Matter

If you didn’t already know this, I produce and host two podcasts, The Photographer And Model Podcast and Confessions of an EMS Newbie. I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and recently started listening to a bunch of new ones.

They are driving me crazy.

I’ve decided to be part of the solution instead of the problem and offer some tips that may help make them better.

If you are taking the time to create a podcast at all you believe you have something important to say. If it is important you want other people to hear it, and to keep listening.

Starting a new podcast you can easily get overwhelmed and everyone has limited resources of time, money and expertise. You start reaching your limits and start letting things – especially time consuming or difficult things – drop by the wayside. I’m going to talk about the things that matter to your listeners and will keep them coming back.

Great content is key, but I’m going to assume that. If what you are talking about has not audience or is boring to them, nothing else will matter.

I was going to do it as one long post, but it got out of hand, so now it is a multiple day multiple post series and this is the introduction.

Audio Quality Matters
Design Quality Matters
Site Organization Matters

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-14

  • Just filled out my application for ESD1 volunteering. Again. #
  • Show notes for Ep 23 of EMSNewbie written. Audio at the editor. #
  • So what is #EMSCool New hash tag for twitter. Say something is EMS Cool, that other "normal" people might not think was so cool. #
  • Friend asked for lens suggestion for his DSLR. I've used this Tamron 28-75/2.8 for years. http://amzn.to/aak6yG #
  • Win $223 at @99designs! EMS Newbie Logo – Logo design contest http://99d.me/c/186f #
  • EMS Newbie Logo Design Contest – http://99d.me/c/186f $223 on offer at @99designs! Won't last much longer. #
  • [EMSNewbie] Ep 23 Grey Clouds and Amiodarone – http://bit.ly/aGZPaa #EMS #
  • My life just got easier because I set up Lightroom 3 to be able to badge/watermark images. No more trip to PS for that one thing. #
  • Very good overview of rhythms. Saving it for later reference. http://icio.us/h1owop #
  • XCode you did not win. I may have had to hack your corrupted project file, but I got this 5 year old code to compile. Don't now if it runs.. #
  • Narrowed the new EMS Newbie logo down. Give me your opinion: http://99designs.com/logo-design/vote-469×65 #
  • To all of you Veterans. Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country, freedoms and way of life. #
  • Just mailed off a 7 pg letter to a town we used to live in's EMS advisory council giving my opinion about some policy choices they have. #
  • EMSNewbie T-shirts ordered for the Texas EMS conference next week. #
  • Kudos to Jamie at @customink. They have a great site and great customer service. If you need shirts go there. http://www.customink.com #
  • Oh yeah. Byte swapp'n. This is going to take a while. #
  • @bwebster The part of that part we didn't write that is in the part we did. Though I'll probably be working on the part we didn't. in reply to bwebster #
  • @GnosticTemplar Yep. I used ed 9 but my son is using ed 10, which is better. in reply to GnosticTemplar #
  • Watching intubation videos on YouTube in prep for tomorrow. #
  • @MedicSBK Yeah, we mentioned in on the podcast. Dr Michael Ballin in Boston. in reply to MedicSBK #
  • Busy and early day tomorrow so I'm off to bed #
  • Arrrg morning. #
  • Not only does it look like on I kind of feels like one. #
  • Last status was suppose to be "Not only does it look like one, it feel like one too." Doing digital intubation. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07

  • Always forget something…..nothing critical. #
  • @MsWhitneyMorgan Shawna said she had a similar thing from a photog about delivering images. Guess photogs got trends too. in reply to MsWhitneyMorgan #
  • @MsWhitneyMorgan There is crazy on both sides of the camera. And it seems to come in waves. in reply to MsWhitneyMorgan #
  • [EMSNewbie] Difference Between a Level I and Level II Trauma Center – http://bit.ly/dg49bj #EMS #
  • Sleep. What's the point. I think I'm just going to give it up completely. #
  • [EMSNewbie] Ep 22 Intubation Baby – http://bit.ly/bxF5px #EMS #
  • 6.5 hrs sleep and I actually feel rested. #
  • Well starting the day running DiskWarrior and been in Step 5 for 10 minutes. Not a good thing. #
  • Diskwarrior to the rescue again. Machine working fine now. #
  • People under 18 can only ride in the bed of a pickup if it is the only vehicle owned by the household. Really? #
  • Wow write-in candidates have the majority in the Alaska senate race. #
  • Calf rejected legalizing marijuana. That's strange to me. Is Marijuana not a scheduled drug regulated by the DEA? #
  • Yep it is a Schedule I drug. So can a state just make it legal? #
  • Just did pharmacology homework for tomorrow. There are a lot of very specific drugs I don't know. #
  • Advanced Practice test taken. Not too bad, though I hope the grade I made doesn't include correct short answers. #
  • "Disaster is defined by the resources that aren't available." #
  • No gun show this weekend in Houston. I need me a gun show. #
  • Luby's for lunch. Haven't been there in years. Was OK. #
  • Its a podcasting day. Newbie at 10AM and then P&M at 12 #
  • Three new P&M episodes recorded, including another hosts only episode. One photog flaked. Newbie episode recorded as well. #
  • OK, photog called back. Shawna is returning to the house and we'll try and do another interview. #
  • There are 2 people in the ER. #
  • It is #EMScool if you get blood on you dealing with trauma. It isn't cool if you get blood on you because you couldn't occlude an IV. #

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