The Obligatory iOS Podcasting Setup Post

Yesterday, I recorded a great conversation that I’ve been looking forward to and wanted to share how I use a phone and tablet to record the podcast.

After finally working up the courage to record and edit my voice in conversation with others, I think anyone can start a podcast with very little equipment. Fancy microphones, expensive mixers, etc. are not really necessary and in fact many people are just using their phones and a platform like Anchor.

Equipment

I knew I didn’t want to buy extraneous and bulky equipment. I wanted minimal and portable, like the two devices I use. Even more so because I’d like to do in-person recording sessions in the future, like my episode with Hudy.

The only investment I made was in Røde’s SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s pretty fantastic if you have an iPhone with a Lightning port.

The kit comes consists of a small dongle and two lapel microphones. I haven’t used it yet, but I also bought one mic extension cable. This will probably come in handy for socially distant conversations.

The dongle has three audio jacks; two for the microphones and one for headphones. By using Røde’s Reporter app, I can also split the two mics into different channels and monitor the audio with headphones. This means when I import the audio into Ferrite on my iPad, I can edit the channels separately.

Recording

For my last two sessions, I’ve recorded remotely in my downstairs room. I haven’t needed to fiddle with acoustics at all, and my audio (despite my elongated pauses, ummm’s, and pronunciations) sounds pretty good to me.

But this means I’ve had to rely on my guests to record their end. There are ways around this. I didn’t have good luck using a Discord voice channel, and the chat bot Craig + Ennuicastr for a first test run. But when I can get this set up properly, it will simplify things greatly for other remote participants.

Theoretically, I’ll be able to invite guests into a private Discord (which could be web-based and without downloading an app) and they can use some earbuds and talk like a normal phone call.

On my end, I use my phone with the dongle to record my audio and take a FaceTime or Zoom call on my tablet. I use one AirPod connected to the iPad/call and one wired headphone plugged into the dongle to monitor my side’s audio.

Editing

One thing I didn’t think I would enjoy so much was the actual audio editing process. But Ferrite by Wooji Juice makes things pretty intuitive with a combination of touch or a stylus like the Pencil and keyboard shortcuts. There are many resources out there for people interested in editing on a tablet (or a phone) using Ferrite.

Posting

While I’m not sure my method of hosting and posting will be sustainable if and when listenership increases, right now I upload the compressed .mp3 files into my WordPress media library and use Blubrry’s plugin and Category Podcasting option. I only want iTunes to scrape the Podcasts category for the RSS feed while ignoring everything else on Among the Stones. If you have a dedicated site to for your podcast, you wouldn’t need this particular capability and any other podcasting plugin would work.

I used Graphic to make some quick artwork.

That’s it! I’ll be editing yesterday’s conversation tomorrow and hopefully getting it out on Monday.

“We Have Nothing to Give You But Your Own Freedom”

I thought the quarantine would allow me to read more books than I have. Old habits of only starting longer books, or becoming distracted by articles or tweets, die hard.

But having Deleted Twitter™ (once again) and consciously making time to read every night before bed, I finished Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed yesterday.

And I loved it.

A good friend of mine gave me his copy when I was last in California two years ago and it’s been with me since, yet sitting. On a recent FaceTime call, where we inevitably discuss all that’s interesting to us in a hodge-podge of rapid-fire questions, quips, and segues of politics, culture, history, etc., he mentioned he had reread it. I vaguely knew the premise;

170 years after a group of anarchists settled a capitalistic planet’s moon after a successful revolution and absolutely no interplanetary contact, one comes back.

As usual, whenever I make time for fiction, the stories that draw me in occasionally have more profound thoughts than some dense book of theory or history.

What do social relations look like in a planet where there is no government, no currency, no prisons, no law? Where everyone consciously chooses what to do but with the awareness of themselves as part of one social organism, scrappily making a life out of a planet with very little natural resources?

Le Guin’s imagination and the big ideas in the book were much more interesting to me than how she wrote them. The book oscillates between the Shevek’s (the protagonist and Anarres’ most brilliant physicist) life on his native Anarres and after he lands on Urras.

The story was good, but for me, the book’s what-if scenario drew me in the most. What if there was a successful anti-capitalist social revolution? What if the victors win concessions, like almost two centuries of uninterrupted peace?

“We have nothing but our freedom. We have nothing to give you but your own freedom. We have no law but the single principle of mutual aid between individuals. We have no government but the single principle of free association. We have no states, no nations, no presidents, no premiers, no chiefs, no generals, no bosses, no bankers, no landlords, no wages, no charity, no police, no soldiers, no wars. Nor do we have much else. We are sharers, not owners. We are not prosperous. None of us is rich. None of us is powerful. If it is Anarres you want, if it is the future you seek, then I tell you that you must come to it with empty hands. You must come to it alone, and naked, as the child comes into the world, into his future, without any past, without any property, wholly dependent on other people for his life. You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” — Shevek

The end of the book was easily my favorite part. A mass demonstration, the consequences of when popular unrest meets the ruling class, a meeting and conversation with another planet’s ambassador, and a revolution inside a revolutionary state.

I sped through the last forty or so pages to catch my friend on FaceTime and discuss it. In our long-winded way, he touched on the book, the moment, and everything else that we fancied. Then he dropped another recommendation; *Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt. Another author who I’m aware of yet have never made the time for. This one is an alternative history if the Black Death had wiped out most of Europe and speculating on the last 700 years if Islam and Buddhism were the major poles of power on Earth.

I think I might just go to him for every fiction recommendation.

But first, Murray Bookchin’s The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy.

Slim Pickings in Galicia

Winter is coming.

Finding a rental was already tough in this area of Spain. Most spare home owners or people who’ve inherited something would rather sell than maintain a place well enough for a tenant be interested.

With Spanish people still reeling from a difficult quarantine, the continued teletrabajo ability for the truly lucky ones, and current second wave of coronavirus after the summer, it seems it’s even harder to find anything.

We’re taking a pause on looking to buy something for the moment. Thinking nearer future, we realize that while our current house is fantastic for the fall, spring, and summer, it was pretty uncomfortable here this winter. But our landlady is unwilling to replace the drafty window and door, or install an actual floor on the bottom level, to make the space more livable. The rent is cheap, but she’s even balked at the thought of us paying more to do these necessary improvements.

“When you two leave, I’m locking the house up and turning off the utilities. Ay, muchos gastos!

In winter, the only warm area is the kitchen/my workspace with a pellet heater. This leaves Patricia’s workshop/our living room extremely frigid. We reluctantly used an electric space heater that my folks were gracious enough to buy when they visited (also for their own self-preservation last December), but it doesn’t fix the problem.

We’ve been here before. So once again, we’re scouring idealista and milanuncios everyday.

Alberto Garzón on the Spanish Right

Tommy Greene and Eoghan Gilmartin interviewed Consumer Affairs minister and Izquierda Unida leader Alberto Garzón for Jacobin on the Spanish Right’s refusal to accept the current governmental coalition:

You have to remember that the right wing in our country does not have democratic origins. It is not like the mainstream right in France or Germany, where there is, at least in part, an anti-fascist tradition. The Spanish right hasn’t looked to isolate the extreme right, as German chancellor Angela Merkel has done. In Spain, the right-wing parties broker power-sharing agreements and govern with the extreme right [at the regional level].

They conceive of Spain as their own patrimony, in which they are the arbiters of who is truly Spanish and who is a patriot or not. Their vision of the country doesn’t allow for a party like ours [Unidas Podemos] to be in government — it’s a kind of coup d’état, in their eyes, that we are governing Spain at present. They’ve called us traitors, criminals, terrorists, assassins — they have raised the level of discursive belligerence in public life to the point whereby its polarizing consequences have seeped into and are felt in almost all sectors of Spanish society. You can see this in the ongoing campaign of harassment against deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias and equality minister Irene Montero [with members of the far-right camped outside their family home for the last three months].