Recent Projects

While it has been quiet here, I have been actively putting out content in different venues. Some are very targeted and therefore don’t really fit here at My Thought Spot. However, I wanted to share some of the projects here as a way of informing and inviting you to join in any that seem appropriate.

Deaf Ministry
First we have been busy with the deaf ministry here in Argentina. You can read about our ministry and get updates at I will be posting a new prayer letter there in a couple of days. We have started our second round of sign language classes at the church. That is going well. I am also taking a sign language class at the local deaf club which gives me many contacts with the community.

Missionary Talks
Missionary Talks is going well. While I have not had a lot of interviews lately, I have been very encouraged by the feedback I get from some of the recordings. The most recent interview was with a family who is currently raising their support. God used a Missionary Talks interview to teach them of a ministry where they could be involved.

If you are on Facebook you can join the Missionary Talks page by clicking the “Like” button at the top. You will be informed of all future episode releases right in your Facebook news feed. I also post short clips from interviews that are interesting, but don’t seem to fit with the rest of the show. Consider the Facebook page to be like the bonus features on a DVD.

I use my @DavidPeach account on Twitter to share ministry related news. That would be our personal ministry, or information about Missionary Talks.

Missionary Geek
I started a new website a few weeks ago intended to share news and information from the technology world that would be of interest to missionaries. It is called Missionary Geek. Missionary Geek also has a Facebook page that you can join. I look forward to sharing things through the website itself as well as news and information links via @MissionaryGeek on Twitter.

Discover Spanish With Us
While our Spanish vocabulary site, Discover Spanish With Us, has been sporadic since we left Mexico, I have been trying to keep it updated recently. It is a website where my wife and I type up an occasional new word that we learn. We tell how it is used. These are usually not normal words. The purpose of the website is not to teach a person how to speak Spanish, but how to use certain words (as we understand them) that may not be as common. The secondary purpose is that people would leave comments and tell us how we might be wrong on the usage, which then helps us become better speakers of the language.

Info Barrel
I have been writing articles at Info Barrel that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. I mentioned this in a previous post. I was planning to give a weekly update with a list of all of my articles that I wrote. However I probably will just highlight certain ones on occasion. My articles range from beekeeping to podcasting. There are also articles on riding bikes and taking pictures.

On top of all this, I am getting my running back under control. I have had a pretty miserable year since September of last year. I was plagued with different injuries dating back to October, 2008. Everything seems to be back in order and I am bringing my mileage up again. I am almost back to running as much per week as I was when I was in my best running shape.

Thanks for checking out the projects I have going. Join me in the different communities if they are appropriate for you.

Interview Recording on Zoom H4

Looking for a way to record Skype calls into a hardware recorder I came across this post by Dave Jackson. In his video he talks about the ability to record a call to his Zoom H4 recorder. He uses a mixer; therefore, I had to adapt his instructions to work without a mixer since I opted to leave mine at home for this trip. While his setup gives more flexibility on sound volumes, mine seems to work perfectly fine. If my setup doesn’t quite give you perfect volumes you can adjust each track separately in your sound editing program (as long as you aren’t over driving the inputs). This will record each side of the phone call into separate audio tracks so you can make easy adjustments later.

I have been recording my Skype calls in Linux using a python script called Skype Call Recorder (there are other recorders for Windows and Mac). Skype Call Recorder has worked mostly well, but occasionally it does not record my half of the conversation. Because of that I have (almost) always recorded my side into a separate recorder as a precaution. Except that one time…and therefore I have half of an interview with a missionary. That is, his half, but none of mine. I can probably go back and recreate my half of the recording, but I have never had the energy to do so.

How to do it with the H4
Diagram of where to plug in the different inputsI can record my half of the conversation by plugging my studio mic into the H4, then use my USB headset to talk into Skype. However, to get both sides of the conversation I had to do a little thinking. It is the same as Dave describes in his post except I do not have a mixer to adjust my audio going to Skype. This also means I will have a cable or two going into different places. To adjust my sounds without a mixer I can use my volume settings on the computer or within Skype.

To get both sides of the conversation into the Zoom H4 you need to set the recorder to Stereo Mode and use the INPUT 1/INPUT 2 on the H4 (not the input called MIC in the menus). If you use 4-Track mode it will pick up all your room noise with the built in mics along with the phone call. I need to use 2 mics to make the call. The first mic is my studio mic and it goes to the recorder into INPUT 1. The mic I use to send sound through Skype is a USB mic which goes to the computer. My USB mic is part of a USB headset. You could do this with a stand alone USB mic since you won’t be using the headphones from the USB headset, only the mic.

At this point you have a mic recording into the H4 and a mic going to a USB port on the computer. You now need to run the sound from the computer to the H4. I used a stereo 1/8″ to mono 1/4″ cable. I plugged the 1/8″ end of the cable into the headphone jack of the computer. The 1/4″ end goes into the INPUT 2 on the H4. This now gives you sound out of the computer and into the H4. You have both sides of the conversation going into the H4.

The only thing left is to get sound out of the H4 so that you can hear what the person you are talking to is saying. Simply plug headphones into the PHONES jack of the H4. I used earbuds so that I could have those in my ears and still allow me to wear my USB headset like normal. All the sound will be coming from the H4. You are now hearing exactly what the H4 is recording, that is, both sides of the conversation. If you don’t hear both sides, then you are not recording both sides.

Skype optionsThere are a couple of changes in the Skype settings you need to make. If you are using a USB mic to speak into Skype, you will need to set that properly in your Options | Sound Devices section of Skype. These are Linux instructions, but I am sure you have similar settings in Windows). Microphone will be the USB mic. Speakers must be the computer’s headphone jack.

Simple as that!
I hope the explanation and pictures help you get better interview recordings. You may be able to adjust these settings for other recorders. However I am not aware of any others that give you 2 mic inputs so that you can do this same setup.

Special thanks to my friend Jeff for letting me use his Zoom H4 when needed. He is just trying to make it that much harder to leave Argentina when our work here is done.

Equipment needed:

  • Computer running Skype. I have a notebook computer with only mic in and headphone out jacks. If you have other jacks on your machine you would have other possible options.
  • Zoom H4. I am using the original H4, but these instructions should work fine for the H4n.
  • USB headset. Use the mic to talk to Skype. Headphones are not used. Therefore you could use a stand alone USB mic.
  • Studio mic. To talk to the H4.
  • Headphones from PHONES plug on the H4 to ears.

Cables needed:

  • From studio mic to Zoom INPUT 1. I used a standard XLR cable, but you can go from XLR (on the mic) to 1/4″ at the recorder.
  • From headphone out on the computer to Zoom INPUT 2. I used an 1/8″ stereo to 1/4″ mono cable.

Note: I know many podcast coaches try to steer people away from USB mics. We are using the USB mic to talk with Skype, it is not what is actually being recorded. The studio mic is what is being recorded by the H4.

My personal Grammar Girl

Grammar GirlThis week I got a chance to talk with Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) on the phone. She was interviewing me for her Behind the Grammar podcast. The interview we did was for episode 18 of her show. I have been a big promoter of her podcast and her whole network since I first heard about her over 4 years ago.

I mentioned the interview on Facebook and a friend commented about her own personal “Grammar Girl” in high school. I too had my own Grammar Girl in college.

English never was one of my strong subjects (come to think of it, I don’t know that I had any except skipping classes). I guess I speak English well on a basic level, but knowing the rules and making the right choices on tests always eluded me. High school English did not go well and neither did college.

Since then I have had good friends who have helped me clean up several usage errors. Learning a foreign language has been a huge benefit too. However, before I got to the point of getting help I had to take freshman English in college. Mrs. B was my tormentor teacher.

I sat on the last row to the teacher’s left. We were in alphabetical order and Penny O sat in front of me. Mrs. B allowed us to grade each other’s quizzes. We were welcome to trade papers with anyone around us. I found a sympathetic soul in Penny, so always chose to trade papers with her. I never remember Penny ever making a mistake on her quizzes. However, she almost ran out of ink each time she had to correct mine.

The fact that she never missed a question impressed me enough to soften the blow of how much work she had to do to grade my quizzes. She would turn around with a very sympathetic look on her face as if to say “Oh, you poor boy.”

Maybe I am the reason Penny became an English teacher. Perhaps she couldn’t stand the thought that there were other people in the world like me.

Missionary Talks 76: Brad Rhoads

I think I have posted a couple of Missionary Talks episodes without updating My Thought Spot with the announcements. So while you are at the Missionary Talks website scroll down to see if there are any shows you are missing.

Brad Rhoads is a computer programmer who is using his skills as a missionary for Mission Aviation Fellowship. MAF is most known for their program of delivering missionaries and supplies to remote locations. However, Brad works in a division where they deliver Bible training into either closed countries or locations where pastors and Christians don’t have access to Bible schools.