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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 7

December 9, 2008 - Dave Hecei
Blogging, which is what I'm doing right now, is as popular as ever. A Blog is just a website that is updated regularly with information. Creating a Blog is a simple process; you just need a place to put it. Google, Yahoo, and others have free and pay services available. For those who want to go beyond just text and photos there is Podcasting, sometimes called Netcasting.

Podcasting can be thought of as an Internet radio show. New Macs come with all the software you need to start Podcasting, especially if you also get a MobileMe account. The iLife 08 suite that comes with every new Mac includes Garage Band, a personal recording studio and music creation program, and iWeb, a very easy to use program for creating your own web site. The only thing missing is a way to record your voice.

The iMac and the Mac notebooks, the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, all have a built-in microphone and web cam that can be used for recording podcasts. There are some good podcasts out there that are made this way. For anyone looking for a better way to record speech you need an external microphone.

There is one microphone that is highly recommended by many active podcasters, the Blue Microphone USB SnowBall. Since not all Macs have audio inputs, USB is an ideal way to input sound. Since the analog sound is being converted to digital data in the microphone itself, the audio has less noise, like hiss and hum.

The Snowball is super easy to use, there is no software to install because it is a universal USB input device, the software to use it is built-in in OS X and Windows XP/Vista. There is a socket in the base of the Snowball to connect it to a small stand and there is even a more professional shock mout stand available, which isolates the microphone from any accidental bumps or movements.

The Snowball is priced around $100. The shock mount stand is around $50. Using the Blue Microphone Snowball, your Podcasts will have a much more professional sound.


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