A bit of hard drive cleaning had me sifting through some of the random audio I’ve captured over the years. So if the internet allows one to cater to self-indulgent delights of sharing information others may or may not find interesting, here are just a few sounds from the past few years. Use the links at the end of each description to play the audio.
Cape Foulweather on the Oregon Coast
The Oregon coast is one of my favorite places. The power and majesty of the Pacific merge with forests that smell so fresh at numerous hiking destinations. It is always a treat to be standing on the edge of land with the waves crashing below you. I find that sound experience just breathtaking and Cape Foulweather is one of the best for this.
Baseball Foul Ball
Last year I treated a brother and myself to some tickets right behind home plate at a Seattle Mariners game. We were three rows off the field and pretty much directly behind home plate. What a lucky catch on my part to be recording a bit of game audio when a player fouled one off the screen which was probably no more than 10 feet in front of us. I love the reaction from fans around us too.
Baseball Foul Ball
Natural Bridge Caverns
The Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas make for an interesting shorter walk through some underground caverns. The rooms are quite large and you hear water dripping and running throughout much of the walk.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Crows Gone Wild
One afternoon some crows just went absolutely wild in the backyard. It was like something out of a horror movie. They kept on like what you hear in the audio here for about 30 minutes.
Crows Gone Wild
At both home and work I use several computers and have grown tired of the clutter from multiple sets of speakers filling my desk. Still, there are times when I want to hear the audio from more than one computer at a time, so don’t want to use the typical switchbox connections for switching computer audio along with keyboards and monitors.
After exploring various options, the solution that has worked well for me is The Belkin Rockstar. It is nothing fancy and primarily intended to plug multiple headphones into a single audio device. But audio being what it is, it is just as easy to use the unit to connect multiple audio sources to a single set of speakers. At just under $12 from Amazon, along with some audio cables from Deep Surplus, the entire solution cost me less than $20.
This is definitely a low-tech solution. Anyone who works with audio will recognize one of the limitations of this solution is that the more devices you connect to a simple device like the Rockstar, the lower the volume of all the devices ends up being. Audio quality does not degrade though with this setup beyond the volume level. For me the system has been working well for several months and works well even when multiple computers are producing speech at the same time.
You can connect a total of five sound sources to the Rockstar and one set of speakers. The device comes with one audio cable ending in a standard male 3.5mm (1/8″) jack hard wired into it. When used for the default purpose of connecting multiple headphones, this is the cable you would connect to the audio source you want to share. When using the Rockstar, as I am to connect multiple sound sources, whatever audio source you connect to this hard wired cable has the loudest audio in the resulting configuration. There are five 3.5mm female ports on the device. Use four for additional audio sources and one to connect speakers or headphones—whatever you want to use to listen to your computer audio.
A couple days ago I mentioned a college student’s accessible version of YouTube being used to conduct some research on web 2.0 accessibility. Here’s a quick audio demo of the web page.
I’m sure I’m definitely a Johnny-come-lately to the table when it comes to podiobooks. I know a friend of mine has been after me to experience the world for more time than I care to remember. I dabbled a bit a few months ago and then the computer I was using to gather books crashed and well, I wouldn’t be a Johnny-come-lately if I jumped right back in now would I?
The basic premise as I understand it behind the podiobooks world is this: There are loads of authors who have stories to tell that today’s mainstream publishing world just won’t publish. Based on my own experience it has little to do with the quality of the writing or nature of the books. I’m sure it is more a reflection of the homerun or nothing mentality of the publishing industry as anything else.
Some of these authors have decided to use technology to solve the problem of getting their stories out and one of the leading web sites for this is Podiobooks.com. There you can download for whatever donation you choose to make, hundreds of books in audio form, mostly read by the authors.
I won’t claim to be any sort of expert in the area. My understanding is that several of the authors have garnered book deals with publishing houses as a result of their success in this new arena. What I will say is that I’ve found another good source of reading material. My sleep might not like the result, but the reader in me has been enjoying the new discoveries I’m making in the podiobooks world. And a big thanks to the friend who persisted in telling me I’d enjoy this source of listening material.
Surfing the NFL web site in preparation for this year’s season, I noticed archived broadcasts from Super Bowl XL. The BBC version of the Steeler victory makes for interesting listening.
Memorial Day weekend finds the Seattle Center playing host to the 35th annual Northwest Folklife festival. The event, which I’ve not previously attended, is a collection of music, art, food and more with what seemed like a rather eclectic theme to me. The Seattle times obviously covered the event too.
Here’s some music we heard in a few hours of walking around on Saturday. The bagpipes were a disappointment as I think some instruments really are not meant to be played over a speaker. A steel drum band did two interesting covers, followed by some traditional folk music. Next is some Indian music recorded from McCaw Hall. This was the first time I’d been inside the hall and the acoustics were quite impressive. Unfortunately my tiny digital recorder doesn’t present things as richly as they sounded but for a small handheld the booming base of the tabla does come through well enough.
Our musical stroll finished with a short time listening to a country group from a balcony and then a collection of drummers keeping the beat going.
Apologies for not having names of artists but the music speaks for itself.
One thing that sticks in my mind from trips to London are the street musicians one hears as you walk through tube stations. The stations tend to have long halls with concrete or tile walls which makes for an acoustically rich environment. Add a little reverb in and anyone can sound good (just ask the recording industry). Here’s a sample of some tube tunes from our recent trip.