Monday, October 1, 2007


Today was a big day at Siena; our new college president, Fr. Kevin Mullen, was inaugurated.  It was a nice ceremony, and, I got the idea that it might be a good thing to record his speech and put it on the web.

As often the case, it was much more complicated than it could have been.  We had a little digital recorder and my original idea was to put it on the lecturn and record.  The problem was, I couldn't make sure it wouldn't slide off the top, especially since no one would know what it was. So I decided to tape it and let the condenser mic work.

So I rushed over early this morning to set things up.  And just when I turned on the digital recorder, it said "Battery low."  Ugh -- especially since I expected to let this run the entire ceremony and cut out the extraneous parts.  So I had to run back to my office for a battery.  Then, on my way back, I realized I was better off with a lavalier mic taped to the podium:  better sound, less obtrusive.  So back I went.

I managed to get things set up in plenty of time, though.  So I sat through the ceremony letting things run.  But just as I was walking out, I noticed someone doing something with the mic and the mic stand.

So I ran back.  Luckily, he was just moving things and any sounds I would cut out, so we were set.  I figured I could get it up on the web in an hour.

But when I got back, work got busy.  And I had a problem:  the file wouldn't copy from the recorder to my computer.  I got an error message, and nothing I could do would work.  Finally, I opened the file in Windows Media Player and was able to Save it -- though I got an error message.

The next step was to convert it to an MP3.  And now that didn't work:  it stuck for an hour going nowhere.  This was no good.

So I got on the Internet.  One of the best things about Windows is that somewhere you can always find software to do exactly what you needed to do, and this was no exception.  The software took the Windows Media file and let me cut out the bad parts (which were just sounds of the setup anyway).  Then I was able to convert to MP3.

Then I loaded it into Audacity, sound editing software.  And it refused to edit; everything was grayed out.  Luckily, I had Camtasia -- usually for video, but this would do.  I could edit!  I cleaned up the file and was able to save it and finally get it up on the web around 4:00 pm.  Here it is.

So, it took me three hours, using five bits of software, but everything is now just fine.