June 30th, 2017 by Michael Sauers

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June 5th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Patents Attack 2On this week’s episode of This American Life:

Two years ago, we did a program about a mysterious business in Texas that threatens companies with lawsuits for violating its patents. But the world of patent lawsuits is so secretive, there were basic questions we could not answer. Now we can. And we get a glimpse why people say our patent system may be discouraging, not encouraging, innovation.
Listen @ ThisAmericanLife.org.

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September 15th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

Where to start on this one considering I do both of these things pretty much weekly, if not more often.

When it comes to screencasting at the Commission we use our GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar account to record both training videos and our weekly NCompass Live webinars. Granted the GoTo products aren’t free, or even cheap for that matter but considering the amount of work we do with them they’re worth every penny. I have used free services such as Jing in the past but I just don’t have any need for them any more.

Then, after any session we record, whether it be NCompass Live or another live session of training or a presentation, I use a number of programs to turn those recordings into our NCompass Live Podcast., the latest episode of which I’ll be working on after I’m done writing this. The process is somewhat detailed but on a minimal level, here’s what’s involved:

  • GoToWebinar records the video and audio from the session or I transfer the video from our HD video camera to disk using Windows Live Movie Maker.
  • Using VLC I create an audio-only WAV file from the video file.
  • I then run the audio file through Levelator to get the audio levels as consistent as possible.
  • I then take the revised audio file into Audacity to add opening and closing music and narration, and edit out any obvious and significant audio problems.
  • When that’s done I export the resulting audio file as an MP3 using the LAME encoder.
  • I then use ListGarden to generate the RSS file for the podcast


It sounds like a lot but after a few months of doing this every week it gets much easier.

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July 16th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

audiopodcasticonThing #38 in the Nebraska Learns 2.0 program is about marketing. We’re asked to talk about some 2.0 tech that we are or could be using to market our library. Well, I’m the producer of the NCompass Podcast and yesterday I posted the 62nd episode and decided to see just how much content we’ve published and I was amazed. (Technically it’s the 88th episode but we launched in January 2009 and started over with the episode numbers.)

ncompassLiveMedIn total our podcast feed (RSS / iTunes) has 4.92GB of available data totaling 3.4 days of content. About 25 hours of that content is just from this year alone! How do we produce so much content?

imageStep one, record everything! We’ve got a cordless mic and we connect it to many of our presenters. We also have a weekly online show names NCompass Live and that’s automatically recorded by the GoToWebinar software. (That’s pretty much a guaranteed hour worth of content right there.) The GoToWebinar content is actually a video file which I convert to a .wav audio file using our video editing software. Presentation recorded directly to audio are recorded with the free Audacity software.

Levelator-2.0-screenNext I run the raw audio file through Levelator to even out the audio and make sure all the voices are generally the same volume. I then pull the audio into Audacity and do some very basic editing, usually just trimming the beginning and end of the file of extraneous material.

Audacity-logo-r_50pctI then add opening and closing music and the opening and closing narration recorded at my desk by yours truly. The result then gets exported to an .mp3 file by Audacity. I then make sure the metadata is correct on the mp3 file and dump it to our Web server. 

listgardenlogo48I write a blog post linking to all the relevant information and downloadable files along with an embedded player for those that don’t want to download the file before playing it. Lastly I use ListGarden to add that episode to the RSS file also stored on our server for those that subscribe to the Podcast directly. (iTunes usually automatically picks up the new episode within the day.)

Overall, excluding the actual recording of the content in the first place, producing an episode take me about 20-30 minutes a week. Sometimes I get behind but I’m doing my best to keep up with all the content we’re generating. 

So, that’s just one way the Nebraska Library Commission is using 2.0 technologies to market what we do: the NCompass Podcast.

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May 12th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Trainer Michael Sauers applies the super-search strategies he is known for to the latest generation of Web tools. Blogs, RSS, Flickr, podcasting, mashups, the read/write Web, Google, visual search engines, folksonomies, Firefox Search Plugins, Del.icio.us, and more. Irreverent and fun, this presentation will expose you to some of the more recent tools that make the most of the Web 2.0 environment: from improving basic search skills and evaluating search results to making the best use of search engines, both common and cutting-edge. Sauers will also show you how best to organize your resources for quick access at the reference desk.

Play audio:

Play video:

Download (MP3)
Subscribe to the NCompass Podcast (Audio RSS)
Searching 2.0 links

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May 7th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

RSS Podcast I just had the pleasure of participating in the 46th episode of the T is for Training podcast. Feel free to give a listen. 

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February 24th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

3784049371_e940fb8792_m I’m currently doing a monthly online session for the Nebraska Library Commission’s NCompass Live series titled “Tech Talk with Michael.” In each session I’ve interviewed another librarian that’s doing something technologically interesting or innovative in their library. So far I’ve done interviews with the library in New York that’s circulating GPS devices, a two libraries here in Nebraska, one with a photo printing Kiosk, and another that’s using OpenDNS to filter their Net connection.

I’m looking for more folks to interview. Each interview lasts about 30 minutes and includes time for questions from the audience. The show is recorded and archived for later viewing online and for listening via the Commission’s podcast. If you’d like an opportunity to show off what’ you’re library’s doing, just drop me a line and we’ll get something scheduled.

Photo CC-BY-NC-SA MyDigitalSLR

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August 26th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

image About two weeks ago I was interviewed by Sarah Long, the Director of the North Suburban Library System in Chicago, for her Longshots podcast. Mostly we talk about library blogging and how to tell if your blog is successful. You can listen to it and other episodes on the Library Beat web site.

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June 18th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

I’m a bit behind on my podcast listening so sorry for the delay in posting this. The first 45-ish minutes of This Week in Tech episode #144 covers the following topics and is definitely worth a listen.

The episode is listenable and downloadable from the TWiT site.

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July 20th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

Last night I again participated in Uncontrolled Vocabulary and loved every minute of it. Cindi, another regular participant has written a great post about UV that talks about what’s in it for me? Go read it, listen to an episode or two, then set aside the time next Thursday night.

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