Blogging


This Vishu, ‘The Great Indian Mutiny’ blog (www.mutiny.in) moved to a new server based in India. We also have a new look. Our wordpress hosted site, the one you are one now, will remain for reference purposes.

Please have a look at our new look and let us know what you think.

I have written about the dark side of the internet and also about people abusing complete strangers on the internet. Since then I have understood the problem better. I delete racist/rude/abusive/misrepresentative comments/trackbacks and I don’t care if that person cries censorship. At first I felt guilty, but now I don’t.

And today I discovered that it wasn’t just me who was mulling over this problem. In fact I was happy to discover that there is actually a Bloggers Code of Conduct that is being deliberated. 🙂 In fact there is this blog dedicated to blogging. Anyone can participate in the discussion.

I think a code of conduct is badly needed. Its not only about commentators. There are bloggers who write nasty/abusive stuff too. A written Code like this should rein in those who insist that its okay to be uncivil, in the name of free speech.

Cross-posted

Shame

I know many don’t understand when I keep raising this issue. Why is it so important?

It’s important to me because thousands of my countrymen have died for those lines. It’s our nations boundaries. Please respect it.

I can understand if foreigners can’t accept it but what about Indians?

Look at the cover of this book, Reintegrating India with the World Economy,  by T. N. Srinivasan and Suresh D. Tendulkar.

Well done guys, give it way. I guess it’s just rocks and sand for you.

Vote BJP 

The BJP seems to be stuck. Atleast ideologically it seems so. Who are they for? Hindus? All Indians? Upper castes? OBC? SC? What are their objectives? What are their aims? Why should I vote for them?

Will the real BJP please stand up?

Lalji Tandon, a senior BJP leader, thought he had an answer to help his party out of its misery. He decided to make a video CD about his party intended to do in Uttar Pradesh. A CD, which can even put Modi studios of Gujarat to shame.

CNN-IBN which got hold of the CD has decided not to broadcast its contents because it could lead to communal violence.

More here on rediff.com (make sure you read the comments there, plenty on fireworks!).

David Pescovitz of boingboing is wondering if the lady in the painting is about to hammer the gentleman’s head. He saw this painting hanging on the wall of an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, CA, US.

What do you think?

Indian art

Is this a famous painting? Isn’t it strange for a restaurant?

There are some readers/listeners of my personal blog asking me about how to start audio blogging (or music blogging) and podcasting. Like a reader suggested, I am putting it as a blog post here.

Starting an audio blog/music blog is fairly simple. All you need is a mic, a good recording software and a blog (assuming that you have a regular blog already).

Buy a good mic:

I use Shure PG 58 microphone (costs about Rs. 2000) and its a basic one, but pretty good. I heard Shure SM 58 is a very good microphone and I suggested it to some people. All of them gave me good reports on that mic. There is a common misconception that a good microphone would help you make sound good even if you have an average quality voice. Good microphones wouldn’t do that trick. When you use a good mic, it will clearly capture all the problems with your voice. If you breathe heavily, or have slightest roughness in your voice, or if you go very slightly off-pitch, it will capture it all. A good mic will give you crystal clear sound output and the advantage of having such a quality mic is that it will help you find the errors in your voice or singing so that you can correct it over time.

Now you need a recording software:

The software which I am using is Cool Edit Pro. I’m using an an older version of CEP. Later Adobe Corporation bought it and released it in the name of Adobe Audition. Adobe Audition 2.0 has so many professional studio features and it is available for a price of $349.00 from the Adobe website (Very expensive though).

There is another software, which is a freeware called Audacity and you can download it for free from here. but it does not support multi-track recordings. According to the people who have used it, Audacity does not allow you to play one track while recording in the other. But Cool Edit Pro (or Adobe Audition) lets you do that. But Audacity can be a good tool for podcasters to record their podcast in an inexpensive way.

In CEP (or AA) you can play a minus track (Karaoke track) or a background music in one track and can record your vocals in another track. If you want to add another instrument, you can add it in a separate track as well. There are multiple tracks available, so that you can add so many tracks with instruments, vocals, backing vocals etc.

For example, take the song ‘Padiyiranguvaan’ which I posted in my personal blog a few days back. I first imported the MP3 of Tampura sound in the first track, recorded the main vocals in the second and added the backing vocals (low-pitch and high-pitch) in 3rd and fourth tracks. So there are 4 tracks in total for this one song. Then I added some echo and reverb to the vocals and then saved the mixed down track as MP3 (you can also save it in WAV format).

Other recording softwares are:

  • Sony ACID XMC – From Sony
  • Flexi Music – There is a comparatively cheap-in-price software built by a company in Coimbatore, India.
  • Nuendo – Many of the professionals in the music industry use this one.

Checkout the hardware requirements of these softwares (RAM, HDD requirements) before you install and run these.

For those who do not have their own web space:When you are done with recording and mixing, it is time to upload the music file (in MP3 format) to your blog. Since Blogger doesn’t allow me to upload audio files, I use a third-party tool to do it. I have an account in Hipcast and it has the following features:

  • Compression options: Hipcast provides 3 compression options. 1) Dial-up users, 2) Slow broadband users and 3) Fast broadband users.
  • You can publish the audio you uploaded to your blog as a blog post.
  • You can choose to display a download link for each song. (not the original file, but a new one created on the basis of compression level you choose).

But Hipcast comes at an annual fee of $49.97 Per Year. (They have other plans at the cost of $4.95/mo and $9.95/mo etc). They support most major blog softwares, including MovableType, Blogware, Typepad, WordPress, Blogger, pMachine, LiveJournal etc.

PodbazaarIf you are a podcaster, I suggest that you use Podbazaar. It is a wonderful platform to showcase your podcast before the world. Signing up for an account in Podbazaar is absolutely FREE. I have two of my podcasts hosted there and Podbazaar is providing a wonderful service.

Major features of Podbazaar are:

  • Audio podcasting service
  • Video casting
  • You can embed the audiocast or videocast in your blog or website with a set of code that is available with each episode for copy/paste
  • Download link for each episode
  • It is FREE!

Musicians can start podcasting to interact with their listeners. You can give a brief introduction to each song (Say why you like it, talk about the memories/incidents that connects you with that particular song, information of the song like composer, lyricist, singer etc. You can go on and on and your listeners would enjoy it more).

Another free podcasting service is Odeo.

For those who do not have webspace of their own:
If you have uploaded your MP3 files in your own web space and want just a player to stream the audio, you can use Podcast Pickle. Instructions are there in their website.

To create a playlist of your songs:

Flash MP3 player from YukeBox – I prefer this one since they have better ways of arranging the files online.

Flash MP3 player from Jeroenwijering – This will need you to be a little techno savy since you have to edit their XML files and add the code for each song. The first one (Yukebox) is what I prefer.

I guess that is all we need. Go ahead and create your own audio/music blog and reach a world-wide audience!!!

Audio India – See a list of audio/music bloggers from India here.

Disclaimer I am not promoting any specific products or companies for monetary benefits. The references to the services in this post are totally based on my personal experiences.

Cross posted here

Cricket CrazyI have always wondered why we don’t have a more active national league for cricket. I would pay more to see Kerala play Tamil Nadu in any sport event than see India play cricket.

What better time to launch a league? Indian cricket team has been humiliated at the world cup. A national cricket league in the Twenty20 format would be a great hit. Perhaps like NBA in the US and national football leagues in Europe.

Subhash Chandra seems to spotted the opportunity.

I wish him all the best.

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