WordCamp Nashville

Sitting here at WordCamp NashvilleWordCamp Nashville 2015 realizing that I haven’t updated this site in a while. I was in the middle of a series and got distracted. But at least I have something here.

I attended a talk on creating custom fields presented by @JoeHills. Though I’ve not build custom fields before, I have wanted to. This was great information for how to get started.

The next session I attended was on building themes more quickly by @AndyInTheWild. Good tips on how to ramp up theme-building production. Mostly I just modify themes, but I have built one theme from a basic framework. This is for Baptist International Outreach (the mission board where I spend my days).

Now I am sitting at the registration table holding down the fort during an hour where I couldn’t get excited about any of the topics. This worked out well since the lady running the table before me didn’t care about any session except the one during this hour.

Podcasting Thoughts — Introduction

Recently a listener to Missionary Talks contacted me and said that he was interested in doing a similar podcast. He asked if I had any advice for him. I do, and am glad he asked.

What you will read in the next few posts is a compilation of what I wrote to him and others who have asked similar questions.

Intro to the Intro

This is kind of an introductory post for several things I would like to talk about over a series of 3 or 4 posts. Mostly my thoughts on podcasting relates to recording an interview-type show like Missionary Talks. There have been a few other missionary interview podcasts that I know about and will probably point out through these posts.

I don’t intend to get into the nitty gritty of actually putting together a podcast website and posting episodes. Those are topics best covered by people like Dave Jackson at the School of Podcasting and Daniel J. Lewis at The Audacity to Podcast. There are several other podcasts about podcasting, but those are my two favorites. Though if you only have time for one, I would start with Daniel’s show because he has such good show-notes. You are able to skim through his archives and see the details of what he covers before you listen to a whole show.

As with any technology related topic, I recommend you listen to the most recent shows and work your way backwards instead of starting at number 1 and coming forward. There are things that have changed since Daniel and Dave started recording their podcasts. It is best to learn the current right way of doing things instead of hearing old information first that will just confuse you later.

Missionary Talks

Though I haven’t recorded a Missionary Talks interview in a couple of years, I still keep all the interviews available for anyone to listen to and enjoy. I have grand hopes of starting to record interviews again. But until then, I am pleased with the number of interviews that are available and I am glad for some of the decisions I made about the podcast early on. One of the biggest choices I made was to not date the interviews. Obviously they have a date for when they were posted to the website, but if you were to just listen to an interview, you would not know if it were recorded last week or 8 years ago.

Though listener numbers have dropped off significantly since I haven’t put up a new episode in almost 3 years, there are still over 1,000 interview downloads a month for the various episodes. When I was reading some of the stuff I previously wrote about Missionary Talks, it got me interested in going back and listening to a few episodes that I haven’t heard in years. That, in and of itself, may get me even more fired up about recording new interviews.

Interview Recording

I have done a couple of posts specifically about the topic of recording interviews. I will cover some of that material again, but I will also include links back to other posts that I’ve done that cover a particular topic in-depth. In some cases those links will take you to articles I’ve written on other sites.

Learn How to Interview

I certainly don’t have a degree in recording interviews. However, I do have my own thoughts on what makes a good interview. I encourage anyone who is planning to do an interview podcast to do some studying on the subject.

Learn how to ask questions and how to shut up. The shutting up part is hard to do, but makes an interview much better. I know you got interested in podcasting because you like listening to your own voice and you feel like you have something to share that will benefit others. But, an interview should be about the other person, not about the host.

Editing

In this series I also want to talk about editing. Not so much about how to go through the process, but more about what you will and won’t say. Or, learning to censor yourself and put aside your pet topics for the greater good. This doesn’t apply to every type of podcast. For me though, I chose to interview some missionaries because of the type of ministry they were doing—not just because I agreed with everything they did or the way they went about it. That meant I recorded some interviews with missionaries I would not feel comfortable working with on a day-to-day basis.

To do that, I chose not to pick fights where there was no need. This will need to be an intentional choice on your part.

So, there are some of the big topics I plan to cover. I have written these same types of things in emails to other podcasters who have asked me about recording an interview-style podcast. Hopefully, this will be a help to others who want to get my thoughts but may not feel comfortable asking. Also this will help me have a place that I can point to when others ask the same questions in the future. This is not because I don’t want to answer questions, but because if I can get you to read this first, then you can ask more specific questions where I can give more helpful answers.

New Raspberry Pi 2

A friend of mine asked me about the new Raspberry Pi 2 and what I thought of it. This isn’t intended to be an in-depth explanation of the differences between the old and the new models. But, in summary, I would like to buy one of the new ones for myself. It is 6X faster than the current model B+, runs all the same software and is in the same form factor. There is no reason to buy a B+ at this point unless they drop the price considerably to get rid of old stock.

My Current Stable of Raspberry Pi

Picture of the new Raspberry Pi 2I personally own a Raspberry Pi Model B (original) and a Model A+. I also bought a Model B+ and an A+ for the office.

My Model B (which I bought in the summer of 2013) is used at the house as a web, SSH and VPN server. I also use it to do Python programming. I am not much of a programmer, but when I have taken classes, I did all my homework on the Raspberry Pi through SSH. The web server that I am running with it (which is publicly accessible, but I am not wanting to promote it) is really just to do some basic PHP scripting that my son and I were testing. The VPN server is not used as much as it should be. But, basically this machine has found a permanent home and isn’t easily available for playing around with.

My Model A+ was purchased in December of 2014 and is used for play. Eventually it will be the brains behind a laser engraver that I have been working on. I have all the electronic brains built and working. What I don’t have done is the X/Y motor system. I have all the parts, I just haven’t built it yet. The A+ will power that when I finally get it done. Until then, I have enjoyed having it as an extra toy.

At the office the A+ is in service as a power monitor. It is connected to a UPS and collects info on the line voltage and when the power flickers or stays out for any length of time. I expect that it will just hang out there for a few years before it needs to be used for anything else.

The B+ was supposed to live its life as a video camera for recording and live streaming events at our training center. But, it hasn’t been working out the way I planned. So right now it is used for playing around with the Raspberry Pi camera module on whatever projects I can make up that still looks like I am doing important work.

To Buy Next

I think the Raspberry Pi B+ for the office will end up not being used in any valuable way there, so I will probably buy it off them and find a use for it at home.

I would like a Raspberry Pi 2 B. I just need to find a justifiable use for it. An RPi 2 could take the role of one of my minor servers. Then, if it does well, I may put a few other things on it. Nothing super important to start with. We have an internal instant messaging server that could easily run on a current model. Other small, relatively unimportant, services like this would be great to have running on a piece of hardware that takes almost no electricity compared to a full Linux server.

Where to Buy

MCM Electronics is the source to buy from. They are the official distributor in the US and the only place I know where you get the actual price of $35 that is always advertised. Currently they have the B+ on sale for $30.

Here is a comparison between the new and the old Model B+ (RPi2 B vs  RPi B+). At about 1:20 the speed test starts.

New Treadmill – Now I Have To Use It

Today we went and got us a new treadmill. This was something we have been saving some money to buy. The old treadmill got hit by lightening a year or so ago. It has never worked right since then. However, it would work sometimes. Just frustrating to try and use. But, how can I complain much when the unit only cost $10 at a garage sale?

Picture of the treadmillThe new treadmill is a Spirit Fitness XT685. We bought it from Used Gym Store near Hickory, NC. It took the better part of the day to get there and back, but I think for the quality of treadmill we bought and the price we paid, it was worth the trip. The lady who owns the place was very patient while we asked questions and did some research on our phones to make sure we were really getting what we were expecting. Would highly recommend a purchase from them.

I know most people don’t like running on a treadmill. I don’t know that I would prefer it over an interesting place to run. But, I have found that I am pretty bored with my neighborhood. To give me the motivation I need to do something consistently I have gotten to where I am depending more on the treadmill.

I find that if I plan a trip to the beautiful state park that is just 10 minutes down the road to do a run, I tend to never make it there. In fact, I think I have planned to run at the state park 4 times in the last few months. I never made there a single time.

As I mentioned in a recent post I have a challenge going with some folks that I work with to walk or run at least 1 mile every day for the month. The treadmill is definitely a help to that challenge during these colder weeks of the year. I am excited about having one I can depend on.

winter-storm-advisoryWe are under a severe weather alert for our area of East Tennessee. We could get several inches of snow this week. Certainly nothing like the north eastern United States has gotten over the last couple of weeks. But, this is our first potential bad weather for the year.

The main problem is that we haven’t been to all the local stores and raided them of the essential supplies. Today is the day after Valentine’s Day and I know all the candy is on sale for half price. We haven’t made it to Walmart to stock up on these needed supplies.

If East Tennessee is anything like Florida where I lived for several years, then as soon as the advisory started hitting everyone’s weather apps on their phones they rushed out and bought all the milk and bread the stores had on the shelves. Likely they forgot the important complementary items to the milk and bread such as peanut butter. But as long as they leave the candy alone until I get a chance to buy my six-month supply, then I am OK with that. November 1 is when we buy the next 6 month’s worth of candy to round out our year.

[It is nice to know that there is a Red Cross Shelter in Columbus, OH in case we need immediate help. “Pile into the van kids. We are going to drive 6 hours through a winter storm to go to the closest Red Cross shelter for help!”]

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