Friday, February 20, 2009

Will there be a version of WildVoice Studio for Windows Vista?

We’re often asked “why doesn’t WildVoice Studio run on Windows Vista”?

The truth is that Microsoft made extensive changes between XP and Vista for how some sound processing is handled by Windows. Unfortunately, some of the coolest features of WildVoice Studio (recording your voice while playing a background track, playing multiple sound effects into a single recording, etc.) do not work on Vista. We designed WildVoice Studio specifically for these features, so WildVoice Studio requires much more work than a simple patch to be Vista compatible.

We started building this site and the software in the summer of 2005 and got it working pretty well by the end of 2006. We were never a big company. We never had venture capital or "other peoples' money" to spend. We were three guys who quit our day jobs with a dream of building an easy to use podcast creation and publishing system that would run as an online community. Needless to say, we're still not a big company. We've spent more of our own money building the software, building the site, and keeping this site running than I'd like to admit. So far, we still provide the software and site for free, and honestly, our advertising revenue has been insignificant.

It has been a thrill for me to see people post shows to the site, especially shows created with WildVoice Studio. But the truth is that the site never developed a large enough audience to sustain a business or even to sustain a vibrant on-line community. (There’s been lots of lessons learned which I’ll someday write up and post someday.)

After a glorious year and a half of building a dream, real life caught up with us. This was real life in the form of mortgage payments and orthodontist’s bills. So, about two years ago we had to all find real jobs again (real meaning a job with a salary). We had every intention of spending our nights and weekends updating the site and software and keeping WildVoice growing, but the realities of new careers, and personal and family challenges over the past two years, has made it almost impossible to do the type of engineering improvements and support work that WildVoice Studio and the site require.

So, here we are. It is 2009 and we aren’t ready for Vista, and we aren’t ready for IE 8, and I suspect we won’t be ready for the next version of Firefox. Should we roll up our sleeves and do an update for Vista and a site update? Realistically, a large market never developed for the type of casual podcaster that we envisioned would use our tools and site. I think the youtube video phenomenon captured the imaginations of our would-be podcasters and left us and our audio-centric peers with a small niche audience. So, by any logical decision process, there would be no return on our investment of doing the Vista updates. It would just be long nights and weekends away from our families after long days and weeks of working and commuting to our day jobs.

Do we still want to do the updates? Yes, we talk about it, and think about it and feel that we have unfinished business to complete. Have we committed ourselves to do the work? No, we haven’t committed ourselves to do the work.

So, I’d like to thank you our loyal users who continued to post shows on WildVoice.com and use our tools. Thank you for your persistence working around our bugs and site quirks. And, thank you for keeping that old XP machine running so you could still run WildVoice Studio.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How can I get WildVoice Studio?

WildVoice Studio is still available. You can check out the original WildVoice.com site or download it from the links below.


WildVoice Studio makes it easy and fun
to record podcasts and other audio.





1. Record your show in clips, mixing in music and sound effects as you talk.
2. Edit your clips, cutting out the parts you don’t like.
3. WildVoice Studio merges your clips. Publish the finished show on WildVoice.com (right from WildVoice Studio!) or any other site that supports audio files.

System Requirements:


  • Windows XP is required. WildVoice Studio does not run on Vista or Windows 7.
  • 1 microphone (even a cheap one will do)
  • WildVoice Studio Setup will install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, if it's not already installed.


(links updated 12/4/2009)
WildVoice Podcast Studio at a Glance (410 KB, PDF)


WildVoice Podcast Studio User's Guide (2 MB, PDF)


WildVoice Podcast Studio Installer (25 MB, Windows EXE)






Thursday, February 12, 2009

How the world changed

While we were building WildVoice, the world changed, and podcasting became a less viable opportunity.

Do-it-yourself multimedia publishing sites became common, and a few, like YouTube, came to dominate the market. Ubiquitous webcams, video capable cell phone cameras, and even new devices like The Flip camcorder made do-it-yourself video production practical. Video sharing sites took off in popularity, fueled by viral videos and often illegally posted copyrighted material. Video publishing sites quickly leapfrogged audio sites like WildVoice.com.

Even while the Internet was being conquered by YouTube, dedicated audio podcasting sites were dealt another blow. Podcasting simply became an attribute of blogging platforms. For example, the WordPress blogging platform, with the correct plug-ins, could easily be used to create and host a podcast enabled blog.

Finally, Apple’s iTunes store became the de facto podcast directory on the Internet. Most listeners looking for podcasts went to iTunes to find them. iTunes gave users access to thousands of podcasts, but it also presented a curtain that hid the underlying podcast hosting sites from listeners. This meant that any podcasting site looking to generate revenue through visual web advertising would have fewer eyeballs coming to their site. Users would find and download their podcasts through iTunes and they would rarely click through to find the underlying hosting site and see its advertising.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The vision for WildVoice® Studio and WildVoice.com

We set out to create WildVoice® Studio and WildVoice.com with the simple goals of creating easy to use tools and seamless hosting to allow anyone to create and publish podcasts.

We formed Equicast Media in the summer of 2005 and by the spring of 2006 we were online with a beta version of the WildVoice.com podcasting site and a beta version of WildVoice Studio.

Most popular audio tools for home computers are fairly complex. They are often modeled as multitrack editing applications that excel and letting users carefully layer and edit recordings. These require a great deal of skill and time, but can produce professional sounding results.

We took a different approach for WildVoice Studio. Our goal for WildVoice Studio was to create a Windows application to lets users easily create podcasts. WildVoice Studio captures the spontaneity of a live radio talk show. It presents a sound effects panel, a panel for playing prerecorded audio (like music or interviews), and the ability to record live audio while inserting sound effects or overlaying prerecorded tracks. It also lets you record clips that can then be merged into a single recording. Most importantly, WildVoice Studio includes one-click publishing to free hosting at WildVoice.com. During the publishing process from WildVoice Studio, an MP3 file is created, tagged, and posted to a user’s site on WildVoice.com.

WildVoice.com provides free podcast hosting and easy to use publishing features. Users simply post their audio files, create show notes or a blog-like posting, include a picture and the site does the rest. RSS feeds are automatically generated by the site and there are no special technical skills required to create and publish a podcast. The site also includes a simple web based audio recorder for users who do not have access to WildVoice Studio. Other features let users include a Adobe Flash based audio player to play their podcast in other sites like MySpace or blogs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A brief history of podcasting

In the spring of 2005, podcasting was beginning to get attention in the press and growing in popularity on the Internet. Podcasting lets ordinary people create their own Internet “radio” shows that can be download and listened to at any time. Unlike earlier Internet radio trends, podcasting provided a model for shows to be created, published to the web, and the listened to at any time in the future. Podcasting removed the need to listen to the live stream that Internet radio typically required.

Podcasting was a new medium that allowed anyone to publish audio programming to the Internet. The buzz regarding podcasting was that like blogging before it, podcasting would a massively popular way for ordinary people to share do-it-yourself media on the Web.

A common question for most people interested in podcasting was “how do I do it myself?”. There was no shortage of answers to that question. Unfortunately, most of the answers at the time followed a complex pattern like:

  • download and install Audacity (Audacity is an excellent open source audio editing application)

  • get a microphone for your computer (and sometimes a mixer or USB sound card)

  • record your audio program using Audacity

  • use Audacity to edit your audio program and mix in music and sound effects

  • download and install LAME (Lame is an open source audio compression library)

  • use Audacity and LAME to compress your audio into an MP3 file

  • use your media player application to edit the ID3 tags of your MP3 file (or download one of many ID3 tag editing programs)

  • sign up for a web hosting account that provides storage and posting capabilities (later, blog packages like WordPress were enhanced to directly support podcasts)
  • Create an RSS file (Early on, this step required that you used a text editor program and created a complex data file in a format known as XML. Later, many tools were available that would create this file for you.)

  • download and install an FTP program (FTP is a common application protocol used to transfer files on the Internet).

  • use the FTP program to copy your MP3 file and your RSS file to your web host

  • register the URL for your RSS file at a podcast directory site
These steps were great fun for technical folks who love to explore any new technologies on the Internet, but for most people they made podcasting impractical, if not impossible.

We thought podcasting was a great idea and an exciting new medium. However, when we looked at the daunting steps required for people to create and publish a podcast, it was clear to us that there had to be a better way.

In the 1990s, when web publishing was new, it was very difficult for individuals to create and publish web sites or web pages. Tools like FrontPage, PageMill, and Dreamweaver were created to make it easy for people to create and publish content without needing to know or understand the inner workings of HTML and Internet protocols. Hosted services, especially blogs, provided easy to use content management and publishing systems for ordinary web users.

When we set out to create WildVoice® Studio and WildVoice.com, it was our expectation that the podcasting would follow a similar trend. We firmly believed that once the right tools and hosting services were available to allow people to easily create and publish podcasts, podcasting would become as popular as blogging.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Testing with hotlinkfiles

Download

This post is a test using hotlinkfiles to host the MP3 file for the podcast. It is also hosting the Flash player and the WildVoice Studio download.

The flash player is from 1PixelOut

You can download WildVoice Studio

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What is podcasting?

If you're new to podcasting, take a look at this great video produced by the folks at Common Craft.

Testing with Microsoft Skydrive

Download

This post is using Microsoft Skydrive for hosting the MP3, Flash SWF, and the WildVoice Studio EXE.

The flash player is from 1PixelOut

Download WildVoice Studio