Great listener question

We received this feedback from listener Randy Lovegreen, and I thought I'd take a moment and post the question and the feedback I sent Randy directly. Hey Guys, I have been listening to the show for quite a while now and I really enjoy it. I was just wondering how you guys monetize the podcast? It must take a ton of time to prep, record and edit the show each week. Surely it would be helpful if you could make a few bones in the process? If nothing else it could feed the gear habit... I listen to quite a few podcasts, and many of them have actual sponsors. However, several simply become Amazon.com affiliates and put a link on their page. Then, if folks shop at Amazon, as long as they click through your page you get a small piece of the deal. I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and would be happy to click through your site to do so if it would support the show. It's not that I love commercials, but I realize how much time and effort goes into a weekly production. I figure if it's worth your time, you will keep making shows. You keep making shows, I keep enjoying shows. See? Keep up the good work! Thanks, Randy Lovegreen Bakersfield, CA
Randy, I wanted to take a few minutes and answer this letter directly. First off, thank you so much for the kind words. It's great to know after all these years, we're still reaching people and still resonating with at least a few. The regular Q&A feedback is awesome, and it's one of the favorite things James and I really enjoy about doing the show. But getting email that is less about the bikes and not about the show's content - just an opportunity to talk - is something I know I especially enjoy. So thank you for taking the time.
As for how we monetize it, the short - well, the ONLY - answer is... we don't. It's always been a labor of love, and a way to enjoy our love of bikes; it's become something of a hobby in its own right. But that's not to say we don't want to. We definitely have looked into it, and we've taken a purposely conservative approach to trying to make it happen. Personally, I don't mind an interstitial commercial or two in the 'casts I listen to, as long as they're topical and make sense for me - as an audience member - to hear them. I suppose a good example is the TWiT network; all their commercials are pretty well targeted to the audience and make sense in the context of the various shows. Kevin Smith has "The Fleshlight" as a sponsor on his 'casts; again it probably makes sense for the target audience.
If/when we do commercials, we'll take a similar, very targeted approach. We'll try to always ensure the motorsport or motorcycle enthusiast is the targeted audience of any commercials we do, even if we're selling time for some sort of ancillary product or service. We will not be pimping the Fleshlight
We've toyed with ideas of a donation link, affiliate links, KickStarter projects, subscriptions, etc... We haven't made any firm decisions yet, but do rest assured one of the things James and I both want to do is to keep the show going. We want to branch out on some of the things we discuss/cover, and to try to get even more community involvement. We do need to do something to get at least some offset money coming in at some point; neither of us expects to quit our day jobs and podcast full time, but it sure would be great to recoup a little and have some money available for gear reviews, events, swag, etc.
Stay tuned... things are happening.
Again, I just wanted to take the time to respond, and to thank you for taking an interest. Obviously this isn't the kind of thing we'll get into too much during show feedback discussion Thanks again! -- Chris

Happy Easter

Unfortunately we won't be able to get a show out this week. I hope that those of you who observe the Easter holiday were able to spend it with your families as we did. We'll talk to you next week.

We have archive RSS feeds available!

You asked and we have provided. You can now easily find past episodes on the site or in an RSS feed using the provided Archive categories and the links to the archive RSS feeds. Just below the "Contact" section on the site are links to the archived episodes grouped by year. Clicking on any of the archive links will direct your browser to display the RSS feed for the group of episodes. Depending on your podcatcher and browser, you may see links or options right on the page to subscribe without having to take any further steps. In most cases, however, you'll likely need to copy the URL from the address bar in the browser and paste it into your podcatcher. Most podcatchers and RSS readers will require similar enough steps. Below you will find instructions for subscribing to the feed in iTunes. If you have any problems or questions, get hold of anyone at The Pace Podcast by sending email to Feedback @ The Pace Podcast. We'll do whatever we can to help. iTunes subscription:

Locate the list of archive links below the "Contact" section on the main site. The archives are listed by calendar year.

Right click on the link for the desired archive year and select "Copy Link Location" (note: some browsers may word this differently - "Copy shortcut", "Copy link address", etc.))

Start iTunes and ensure you are in the Podcast section. Click on the Advanced menu.

Click on the Advanced menu, then select Subscribe To Podcast.

Paste the URL into the popup box and hit Enter. That's about it. You're downloading episodes. You may need to manually select older episodes from the list, but they should all appear as available for the selected year.

No show for Feb 19th

Hey guys, Chris here. I'm suffering from NVS: no voice syndrome. It comes from having the worst cold in recorded human history. Ok, it's probably not quite THAT bad, but between my not feeling great and James' traveling this past week, we opted to not rush in a show knowing we would deliver a rushed, sub-par offering. Look for a new show with new content next week, including more feedback (keep it coming!), and a segment from Joanne Donn, The Gear Chic. Thanks for your patience. Chris & James

It’s contest time again!

We were recently honored with a guest appearance by motorcyclist, author and riding safety expert David Hough. After a great discussion (and an open invitation to return), Mr. Hough gave us a couple of signed copies of his book Proficient Motorcycling to give away to the listeners. This book, updated with new content in the book and on disc, is among the best known and most well regarded on the subject of safe and quality operation of a motorcycle. So, how can you score one of these signed copies of Proficient Motorcycling? Well, one of two ways. First, we're looking for a newer rider to tell us your story of how you got started in motorcycling, some mistakes you might have made, some problems you might have encountered, and of course help and guidance you have received since starting out. Everyone has a beginning story, and we want to hear yours, now, as it's happening. Second, we'd like to hear the same kind of stuff from 'seasoned' riders. Tell us about how your riding and outlook, and your "toolbox of skills" have matured over the years and miles. Talk to us about how something you see happen now that you just deal with, might have been a ride stopper or bigger problem in your younger, greener years. The best story - as judged by James and Chris - from each category will win a signed book. "Best" can be the most engaging narrative, it could be an example of the toughest learning curve, it could mean the most experience in the shortest time, or anything else. There's no real hard definition for this. Just tell us your stories, share with the community and let's all learn something. The contest will run for a little over two weeks, ending on April 16, 2011. You can email your entry to feedback@thepacepodcast.com with "contest" in the subject line. Also, if you would prefer to send us an audio file that we can include in a future episode, you can send an MP3 as an attachment to the same email. Our voicemail is limited to three minutes, but if you think you can tell your story in that time, then by all means, call 484-748-0042. We look forward to hearing from you!

Organizing my Mac

Hey guys, Chris here. For the time being, my personal & work-from-home laptop is also my main recording and post-production computer for the podcast. Since this is my do-everything system, my desktop and my application dock get pretty crowded and busy. This computer is a 2nd(?) generation MacBook with an intel processor running Mac OS/X 10.6, aka "Snow Leopard". Being a Mac, you have to think differently about organizing your apps than you might if you were using a Windows system; there is no Start menu/button. Rather than continue crowding my dock with audio and video production app icons, I decided I would actually take them all out of the dock and move them to a fly-out menu on the ride side of the dock, using the alias metaphor. The folders and fly-outs on the right side of the dock are a fairly recent addition to Mac OS/X (I believe) and it becomes a very powerful mechanism for grouping and organizing.
Quick note: Application icons in Mac OS/X are actually representative of the application folder on disc, and are generally not alias or shortcut icons. Because of this, you want to be very careful about just dragging application icons around. You might end up dragging hundreds of megs of application files to a different location, and you run the risk of making the application no longer run. The good news is, most of the time if you do accidentally move an app icon to a location other than the Applications folder, you haven't really broken anything. Dragging it back is a non-issue.
So, without further ado... adeau... adieu... without further delay, here are the steps and the results of those efforts.

Step 1 - Navigate to your Applications folder (hit Shift-Apple-A)

Step 2 - create a new folder to hold your alias icons. I called mine "AV Processing". Any name will suffice; make it descriptive.

Step 3 - Create alias icons for your apps. Single click the app and press Apple-L to create the alias. This is akin to a "shortcut" in Windows.

Step 4 - I like to remove the word "alias" from the end of the new alias icon's caption. The small arrow on the icon indicates it's an alias. Edit the name of the alias icon to your choosing.

Step 5 - Drag the new alias icon into your new folder. Repeat this for each application you want to include in the fly-out folder on the dock.

Step 6 - When you've added all the alias icons you wish to the folder, then drag the folder to the right side of the dock. Be sure that the folder lands on the dock, and to the right of the control zone of the dock.

Step 7 - The new folder will display in the dock bar usually using the icon from the first app found in the folder by default. The fly-out is now ready to use.

Step 8 - Click the new icon and the contents will be displayed in a clickable flyout. Settings can be tuned to alter how the icons are displayed.

The right kind of noises

Thursday night James and I and our two guests recorded a show at my house. The rig we used consisted of my Macbook for recording, my Blue Yeti for ambient sound, two Shure Sm58 and two Radio Shack dynamic mics, Yamaha mixer and XLR connections for all mics. With the understanding that there's a bit of a noise floor from the USB mic that in comparison to the regular levels was very low, I'm very pleased with the sound. Any real "noise" in the recording you'll hear are just the sounds of four people having pizza and beer and sitting around a table together talking about bikes. Sometimes Todd's or Jeff's mic was a little hot while they really got in there to make a point, but I tried to keep on the levels and keep everything leveled. I'm happy with it, and of course the content was a lot of fun, visiting with the guys was great and hey... we got to sit around BSing all evening about riding. So what could be bad about that?

Cause & effect, Affect & fix

I noticed over the last year that no matter what mic I was using I was getting an increasing amount of noise in my side of the show's recordings. Some times it's less noticeable in terms of relative noise levels and volumes, but there was a constant hiss. The commonality was using the USB interface on my Macbook. That was the common part whether I was using my pro-level M-Audio audio interface, a direct USB mic or a gaming headset. The noise was there and at times, very distracting (at least to me in post production editing). My Logitech headset is pretty cheap and low-end, so I expected it to by noisy and sloppy. My microphones, however, are both decent quality units - a Samson C01-U and a Blue Yeti. Part of the problem is that using good quality condenser microphones is a sure way to highlight and exacerbate any noise floors you have. Over the past few shows I was recording in a newly-emptied bedroom and between the condenser mic's ability to pick up room noise, echo and the omnipresent noise on the interface, I nearly trashed the whole recording for a couple of shows and went without. Ultimately, I didn't and was happy that we got the shows out, but even a guest spot that James and I did on the Rant-Fu podcast made me sound like a rank amateur with the crappy sound quality. This was all doubly frustrating as I'm not a newcomer to audio engineering; back in high school I spent some time working at a recording studio, and I was involved in the A/V at school and with the bands for which I was playing. I generally know my way around equipment. But hey... "it's just a hobby podcast, so who cares, right?" Uh... no. That mindset only carries you so far, especially since, for me, this isn't just a hobby podcast. This is something about which I'm pretty passionate and I truly love doing. So... it's time to step up my audio quality. First things first, I unpacked my used Shure SM58 dynamic mic, I found a used but good Yamaha 10-channel mixer on eBay (as well as a used and dirt-cheap Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer that's still in the shipping box) and I wired it up. I tinkered around with the settings and figured out how to set up the mixer for one and several mics and other line-level inputs. I got it all wired up so I can do Skype mix-minus recordings on the computer or, eventually, perhaps to some external digital recorder. Once I figured out that the mixer I have will do what I need, I sold my M-Audio pro interface. It's entirely overkill for our needs and for 1/5th the price of the M-Audio, the Yamaha mixer is perfect for my needs. I have several other dynamic mics for when I host guests here at the house, and frankly doing multiple mics on the M-Audio was never just as simple as it could (should?) have been. The Yamaha is much simpler and more intuitive. Plus, the extra money is nice. Now, for most of the shows, even the mixer is overkill. Most of the time, all that's necessary is the mic, the computer and me, as James and I record the shows over Skype from our respective homes. With that in mind, I also found an ART tube mic pre-amp on Amazon for crazy cheap. This will allow me an even simpler interface - nearly as simple as using the USB mics - for most of the shows, but without the increased noise of the condenser mics and USB interface. Win. And yes, Mr. Ravenscraft, I *do* record into a computer. I don't have a spare $200-$400 laying around for the Edirol. Yet! 😉 So, this is a long-winded way of saying I'm sorry about the recent crappy sound quality and starting with our first show of 2011, my end of the recordings should sound much, much better in terms of noise and general sound quality. I can't do anything about my crappy voice, other than suggest you buy ear plugs. 🙂 Happy New Year everyone, and we look forward to more great shows and community interaction in the Near Year.