You have something important to say, and with podcasting, you can share it with a worldwide audience through the tools available on your Windows Vista computer. A podcast is an audio file connected to a syndication system such as real simple syndication (RSS) or extensible markup language (XML). You essentially record audio, upload it to the Internet and point your subscribers to the content. As you post new content, your subscribers will automatically get it delivered to their listening device of choice.
Attach the headset and microphone to your computer. The cord has two plugs at the end: One needs to be plugged into the headphone jack and the other into the microphone jack on your computer. Put the headset on and play a sound on the computer to test the connection. If you can hear audio through the headphones, you have things plugged in correctly.
Open your audio editing software (see Resources) and click the "Record" button. Speak into the microphone on the headset for a few seconds; then hit the "Stop" button in the software. Press "Play" to play back what you just recorded. Adjust the volume for the microphone if the recording is too loud or quiet. Right-click on the speaker icon in the Windows Vista task tray and select "Recording Devices." Double-click on the mic in the list to bring up the "Properties" window; then click on the "Levels" tab. Slide the mic volume up or down to adjust the recording level. Click "OK."
Delete the test recording, typically you can click "File." Then click "New" to start a new, blank recording. When you are prompted to save the test, select "No." Record the audio for your first podcast. Start out with a 10- or 15-minute recording. If your listeners want more, you can increase the length in future podcasts. Click "Stop" when you're done. Then click "File" and "Save" and give your first recording a name. Then click the "Save" button.
Edit the audio to remove any mistakes or extraneous noise. Consult the instructions for your audio editing software. Click "Play" to listen to your recording. Click "Pause" to stop when you notice something you want to edit. The placement indicator will line up with your location in the audio file. Click and drag to highlight the area you want to edit. To delete a cough, for example, highlight the portion of the podcast where you coughed and press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. If you make an edit that you don't like after listening to it, simply click "Edit" and "Undo" to go back to the previous state. Be sure to save the file after your final edit.
Convert the file to the MP3 format. For legal reasons, the MP3 converter isn't included with the audio editing software, but you can still convert the file to MP3 format. If you are using software such as Audacity or Goldwave (see Resources), you can use the LAME MP3 encoder as a plugin. Download the encoder (see Resources) and double-click the file to open it. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing the encoder. Once it is installed, you can click on "File" and then click "Export MP3" from your audio editing software. Save the MP3 of your podcast and add your name and information to the MP3 tag that pops up when you click to export.
Upload the MP3 to a podcast hosting service. The file needs to be available for download so that all your fans can have access to it. There are free and paid podcast hosting services available (see Resources). For example the Internet Archive offers free hosting of MP3 files with the creation of a free account. Click the "Upload" button then click the "Share" button. Point to the MP3 file you saved and click "OK." Give the file a title and add your information as the creator then click "Share." Once the new page is created for your file, click on the link next to the "Information" for the files XML, not the meta XML. Click in the address bar then press "Ctrl+A" then "Ctrl+C" on the keyboard.
Open your blog to create a new blog. Click the link to "Add Enclosure" and then click in the field for the enclosure link. Press "Ctrl+V" to paste in the link to your uploaded MP3 file. Add any text or images to your blog post; then publish it. The XML link to your MP3 is embedded in your blog post, now people can subscribe to your podcast through the RSS feed of your blog.
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