Stickers!

I’ve just designed and ordered some Radio Free Caemlyn and Marble Operator stickers. The RFC design is a circle, the MO is a square with rounded edges.

They look like this:

I’ve got 10 of each, and can always order more if needed. The circular design is 3 inches in diameter, with the square being 3inch x 3inch.

Basically, I’m offering these to listeners of the podcasts. If you’d like some RFC and/or MO stickers, let me know! Best way of doing that is either as a reply to this post or by sending an @ reply on Twitter to either @RadioFreCaemlyn or @MarbleOperator on the Twitter machines.

I’ve already got a few requests for stickers, and will be mailing them out as soon as they arrive to me.

(psssst! Did you know that if you use flexible magnet strips you can turn these stickers into neat magnets so you can post them on any magnetic surface and move them to another location? Just thought you might want to know!)

Anyway, the stickers should be arriving next week.

Now to design t-shirts!

–Rand

Update: All of the Marble Operator stickers have been requested. I can always order more, though, so if you want some, let me know.

Clearing Out the Clutter, and Introducing a New Podcast Series

For the past month, I’ve been doing a daily podcast for Radio Free Caemlyn, called “On This Day”. It started out when I would check the Wikipedia articles for that specific day and tweet about the major historical notes and birthdays. I finally decided that was too much daily clutter on my twitter feed, so I began reading those out on a podcast recording. I’ve now noticed those are cluttering up the main Radio Free Caemlyn feed, preventing other projects, such as Friday Night Trivia, SCP and creepypasta readings, and sound collage projects from being visible.

I’ve now set up a separate podcast feed specifically for the On This Day episodes. More details on this later, but check on iTunes within the upcoming week for Radio Free Caemlyn’s On This Day, for historical notes and birthday roll call for each day.

Not yet on iTunes, but you can subscribe to the podcast using the RSS feed here, using iTunes or any podcast feed reader.

Super Awesome Fun Time With Rand

There was a show on WFMU’s Give the Drummer station called “Ken’s Last Ever Radio Extravaganza“. The show was a live experiment in audio, as each episode was a sound collage. Episodes of that show were typically two hours, and, when live, people could call in and add their own audio to the mix. It was a neat idea for a show, but it is currently on indefinite hiatus.

So I got to thinking, could I do something like this? Could I make my own sound collages? Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

I opened Adobe Audition, and started making music loops, by taking sections of songs that would work when repeated. I looped them, and set them as the main backing tracks. I then added audio samples, sound clips, repeated some in short loops. I listened to the results, and balanced the audio, to keep the music in the foreground and the clips subdued. It was an experiment. How would this sound? Would this be listenable?

I kept adding to that first project, and the initial ten-minute grew to 20-minutes then ultimately to an hour. I fine-tuned the clips, adjusting their timing and balance levels. I tried to structure the piece as a narrative, by repeating clips throughout and putting together parts of an entire clip. I exported the file and gave it a listen. There it was, my first sound collage project. I decided to upload to to Radio Free Caemlyn.

So there you have it. There are now two sound collage projects on RFC. I’ll maintain a list of them and future projects on this post.

RFC Sound Collage Projects:

SAFTWR 1: “A Step Out
SAFTWR 2: “What It Means to Be
SAFTWR 3: “Letting Go, Moving On
SAFTWR 4: “The Pressure of Noise
SAFTWR 5: “The Beginning Ends
SAFTWR 6: “Unending Madness
SAFTWR 7: “Down the Rabbit Hole
SAFTWR 8: “It’s Never Over”

Update: The sound collage project now has a name. The series will be called “Super Awesome Fun Time With Rand”, a title suggested by @Dead_Pixels_ on Twitter.

Friday Night Trivia Fusion

Earlier today, I was thinking again about my debate between whether to continue Friday Night Trivia on TalkShoe or Skype, when a voice in the back of my mind asked me, “Why can’t you use both?” I thought about this for a bit, and looked back upon the two most recent episodes, recorded on TalkShoe; I was called in to TalkShoe through Skype, as has become my usual routine, and had Katie, a co-host from Marble Operator, conferenced in to the call.

The situation I had is the future of Trivia: as far as Skype was concerned, TalkShoe was just another single participant in a conference call, meaning there were three “people” involved (Katie, TalkShoe, and myself). Katie and I, on Skype, could hear everyone on TalkShoe, and everyone on TalkShoe could hear the two of us on Skype. The only possible problem is that, as there are two different services involved, some see one text chat, and others see the other; those on Skype can only see the TalkShoe chat if they have the pro client loaded, but there’s no way for the TalkShoe participants to see the Skype chat. That minor problem aside, we’re all effectively on the same call.

There are several advantages of combining the services for Trivia recordings. First, no one has to abandon the service they prefer. If you are used to using TalkShoe, and prefer either that chat interface, that audio quality, or the joys of using a SIP client to call in, then there’s no need to change to Skype. Likewise, if you prefer the chat interface of Skype, the ease of joining a Skype conference call, or the audio quality, or don’t like using SIP clients, then there’s no need of putting up with TalkShoe.

Another advantage of combining the services is more for the actual podcast itself. With Skype, I have MP3 Skype Recorder to record episodes; it’s what I use for Marble Operator, it’s what Ian, Dave, and I use for Cultdom Commentaries. By combining the two services, I’ll have two recordings going on, though I’ll be posting the Skype local recording to the podcast feed.

Going forward, nothing much is changing with Trivia. If you want to join on TalkShoe, then join on TalkShoe. If you want to join on Skype, then join on Skype. Either way, you’ll be on the same conference call. My preference will be to Skype, though.

Radio Free Caemlyn is on the air!

While the Skype experiment for trivia may have failed, another idea I’ve tried has succeeded, and is still ongoing: Radio Free Caemlyn is now live on the air as a 24/7 Internet radio station.

This has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started Radio Free Caemlyn as a podcast. The name of the podcast was inspired by the naming trend for pirate radio stations, that being “Radio Free [something]“. (A common misconception about RFC is that I named it after a well-known Doctor Who podcast, but that is not the case. My naming trend was all about pirate radio stations). I wanted to do some sort of 24/7 broadcast, where I would stream random content, mostly from the podcast archives, and occasionally be able to jump on the mic and talk into the darkness, into the silence, on the off-chance that someone out there might hear my words, that my words might stick with them. I liked that idea, but I had no easy, affordable way of making that happen. I played around with Shoutcast, but that was tricky to get working (and I think might be going away soon, what with the shutdown of WinAmp). Eventually I became a fan of the Phone Losers of America, and learned how Brad had his audio setup configured. However, I needed an easier way of managing a station.

A while ago I learned of a site called Mixlr. It’s a site where you can easily stream with no time limits, as far as I know. The app is simple to use, as well. So I decided to try it out.

Friday, 10 January, 2014 was the day one broadcast of Radio Free Caemlyn. Before leaving for work, I set up a playlist of material to play through the day, and started the first track. I played a mix of Phone Losers prank calls and Friday Night Trivia episodes, interspersed with random music. This broadcast continued with no problems.

The original plan was to also stream that week’s episode of Friday Night Trivia live over Mixlr, but I was finding there was some audio feedback over the Skype call from how I had my audio setup configured. I’ll have to find a better solution. However, once I had edited together the final cut of that week’s trivia episode, I broadcast that over the air, starting around midnight. My friend and co-host from Marble Operator, Erica, listened in for a while.

I then planned the first overnight broadcast for Radio Free Caemlyn, and included Boards of Canada tracks, and some episodes of Quiet, Please, a radio show from the late ’40s.

Another nice feature of Mixlr is that, if I want to jump on the air and talk, all I need do is unmute my microphone. I can also stream Skype calls. It’s quite a nice setup.

So there we go: Radio Free Caemlyn is now an online radio station in addition to being a podcast. I’m really rather excited about this.

The station will almost always be broadcasting, with a random chance, esp. in the evenings and at night, for me to be live on the air, so tune in, follow the channel, give me hearts. Listen to the shenanigans.

Friday Night Trivia: From TalkShoe to Skype

The time has finally come, I’m going to record episodes of Radio Free Caemlyn’s Friday Night Trivia exclusively on Skype. This comes soon six weeks ahead of Friday Night Trivia’s fourth anniversary.

Up until now, we’ve recorded episodes on TalkShoe, a site where you can host live calls and upload pre-recorded episodes. The site is reliable enough, but for at least a year now I’ve been wanting to move trivia off of there for several reasons, including such things as making it easier to join the show, having better audio quality on recordings, and a less problematic interface.

One notable problem with TalkShoe has always been how difficult it tends to be to join the call. Unless you call in with a phone, you have to install and configure third-party software, such as X Lite, or Blink, or Ekiga, and the configuration instructions for each of those are different and tend to be confusing to explain to a new participant. You need to know the TalkShoe SIP address (66.212.134.192), and whether or not to include “123@” before that SIP address. You need to know the show ID, which obviously differs for every call series on TalkShoe (Radio Free Caemlyn’s is 72402, Marble Operator’s is 112081, Cultdom Collective’s is 5421, Media Outsiders’ is 81865, and so on). You need to know what code to enter after that, to enter under a screen-name or as a guest. It takes a long time to explain all of this, and tends to hold up the pre-show discussions for new participants. I needed something easier, something less confusing.

Over the past year or so I’ve considered several alternatives to TalkShoe. I’ve looked at Google+ hangouts, but who uses Google+? I’ve looked at Skype, and it seems the most reasonable alternative. The call-in instructions with Skype are comparatively simple: you need only add me as a Skype contact, or search “Radio Free Caemlyn” as a Skype contact (oddly enough, there turned out to already be a Skype handle of “radiofreecaemlyn” belonging, presumably, to someone in Japan, so the precise handle to search for is “live:radiofreecaemlyn” on Skype). If you’re going to join the call on Skype, you’re already using the one bit of software you need; you don’t need to download, install, and configure some third-party software.

I would’ve made the switch to Skype a while ago, but there were several factors halting me. First, there were people like Ken who call in to TalkShoe via their cell phone. Would moving to Skype exclude them from being able to join the show? It turns out that that isn’t a problem, as Skype offers the ability to purchase a phone number that someone can call to connect to you on Skype. This means that, if anyone wants to join Trivia and they don’t want to use a computer, all they need do is call the number that I have set up for Skype. I’ll see that call and add them to the conference call. Simple as that. The only difference for people like Ken is that they’re calling a different phone number. After realizing this, I have now obtained a Skype Number, and have included it in a new bumper recording.

That was the main problem, what if people don’t use Skype? There is now the call-in number. However, Skype is ubiquitous nowadays, and is simple to configure.

The only issue I’ve noticed is that people calling in on the phone will not have a text chat to consult. This is a relatively minor issue, though.

Anyway, it’s a change to the show I’ve wanted to make for a long while and am finally doing.