Media strategies and challenges

These screencasts are not reviews. They're examples of a new hybrid form -- the demonstration/interview. Back in my BYTE days, it was my privilege to receive a steady stream of visitors bearing the fruits of the tech industry. I had a front-row seat at hundreds of fascinating demos and discussions. I always wondered what it would be like to capture and share those sessions. Now I know.

If you're a viewer, think of me as a proxy. The goal is to use my knowledge and experience to steer the demonstrations in the directions you would like them to go, and to ask the kinds of questions you would be inclined to ask. If you're a presenter, think of me as a friendly adversary. My goal is to blow past your slide deck, drill down into use cases, and challenge you to show how your technology can help me -- and the viewers for whom I'm acting as a proxy -- solve real problems. [Full story at]

This week's column reflects on the evolution of my screencasting and podcasting work. It's been a great opportunity to improve my speaking skills, and to learn more than I ever imagined I'd know about A/V media formats and editing techniques. There's still one nagging technical problem, though: audio quality. Everything runs through the telephone, and my results range from acceptable to sketchy.

Long ago Doug Kaye told me that the only solution was a hybrid coupler, so the other day I ordered a Telos One. Not being a specialty audio gear kinda guy, this was a strange experience for me:

Our sale price is WAY too low to display on the internet!

For your special discounted price, email us at, or call us at 1-800-426-8434
So I write to, and Brian writes back: "Your price is mumble."

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1955!

I call Brian, leave voicemail, he calls back, and peforms the work usually assigned to Perl scripts -- that is, he collects my name, address, and credit card info.

There's a reason why we assign this work to Perl scripts. When my card was refused, I assumed it was a random security check. But no, the credit card company told me that Brian had entered my expiration date wrong. Twice. Another call to Brian, another voicemail, another callback, finally it's sorted out.

Or so I thought. Ten minutes later I receive two emails from Brian. The first is for the Telos, plus $20 shipping. The second is for two cables, $10 each, plus $44 shipping. Say what? Another call, another voicemail, another callback. I think we're squared away now. Sheesh.

Anyway, I'll report back once I've got the gadget installed. I'm not expecting miracles -- I think the quality of my phone line may be the ultimate gating factor -- but I'm hoping for some improvement.

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