A Brief Gee-Whiz Post

As I may have mentioned before, my mp3 project has a bit of an oral history dimension to it, since may of the people involved in developing the technology are still alive and happy to talk about their part in it. I’ve done a couple of these interviews by telephone now, as I’ve been travelling so much I can’t imagine doing much more. But the technology of the telephone interview has been troubling for me. Last summer, I tried out Skype and found it glitchy (and learned that it didn’t play nicely with Airport networks). So I bought a box that allowed me to basically plug the audio out of my phone into my computer and record from that. Except that the sound was terrible — perhaps because we also use our phone line for DSL and the filter doesn’t get quite everything.

So this week, I decided to try Skype again and was very pleasantly surprised. I picked up a USB headset, downloaded Skype, turned on Audio Hijack Pro (an incredibly useful piece of software, as are some of their other titles), made a test call to Carrie and then made a 2-hour phone call to Germany for an interview. I think it cost me $2. And the recording sounds good — but kind of cringeworthy — as I appear to be speaking too loudly (to compensate for the fact that my ears are both covered by headphones, no doubt). Oops.

Anyway, this development should be useful for all sorts of stuff in the coming summer months. And yesterday’s interview was absolutely fantastic.

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