Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

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Failed Attempt to Use Utterli to Broadcast Audio of Conference Presentations

Utterli is a webservice that allows you to ring a local number on your mobile phone and broadcast what you say over the phone to your website. It works very easily.

Can you use it to broadcast conference presentations? So far, it appears probably not. Here is a report on my experiments so far.


1. Report on Poor Result Today

2. The Technique DOES Work for Interviews

3. Using uStream to broadcast live

Steve collis dogs on whiteboard

(I got carried away drawing dogs and pasting them everywhere on one of the IWBs on display heh heh!! The poor guy trying to demonstrate its abilities! You can see his notes interfered with by my dog drawings)

1. Report on Poor Result Today


Now, at the ACEC 2008 Conference in Canberra earlier today my Deputy Principal Craig Linfoot presented his observations about digital virtual classrooms, from his research trip to exemplar schools in the USA, UK and Finland. Then he and I gave some quick tours of our digital infrastructures - websites such as http://hsconline.nsw.edu.au and http://beyondborders.edu.au, and http://pete.nbcs.nsw.edu.au

It occurred to me 10 minutes into the presentation that I could perhaps record the audio directly to the internet using the mobile blogging service Utterli. My friend Lucy Barrow had tried this earlier in the day, although I hadn't seen the results (actually I can't find them now - Lucy, how did it go for you, can you comment?).

So... I rang the Utterli number on my mobile phone. The resulting audio, here, is very poor (no fault of Utterli's of course):

Mobile post sent by happysteve using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

I was sitting about 4 metres from Craig, who was presenting, and a similar distance from the audio speakers. The sound was clear and loud from the speakers.

My mobile phone was using a Bluetooth ear piece - perhaps this was not a good idea, because as you can hear from the recording the sound was barely picked up.

About 10 minutes in, I took the ear piece with me and put it on the lectern as I presented, and when I finished I left it there for Craig.

This improved the quality, but it is still not nearly good enough to be a viable way of recording and transmitting presentations. I suppose that mobile phones are designed for people speaking directly in the microphone, and indeed are designed to exclude ambient noise.

I'll keep experimenting.

Apologies to everyone who visited this post earlier on and tried to listen - it must have been disappointing.

A worthy experiment, to be sure, and I'll leave the audio here for you to see the results.

2. The Technique DOES Work for Interviews


On the other hand, you can definitely use a mobile phone with Utterli to record an interview. I tried this here: /2008/08/impromptu-inter.html . In this case no Bluetooth ear piece, just me holding the mobile in between me and the victim, ahem, I mean interviewee. I wonder if this would have been clearer if I had used the Bluetooth earpiece like an interviewer's microphone that is passed backward and forward.

Lucy Barrow has used Utterli to record interviews quite a few times - see here: http://lucybarrow.edublogs.org/

3. Using uStream to broadcast live


This works an absolute treat! Get a free account at ustream.com, click "Broadcast Now", and bang! You're transmitting video and audio to the net! uStream can automatically send a message over the text messaging system "Twitter.Com" so people will know you're broadcasting. They can text chat with each other and to you, too.

This worked fine today... after I remembered to press "Start Broadcast", which was unfortunately 10 minutes before the end.

You can have uStream keep a recording for future access too. I'm going to start using uStream more and more.

So why muck about with Utterli if uStream works so well? Ah just that Utterli is embedded directly into your own website, which is not the case for uStream broadcasts and recording, Also, to broadcast with uStream I believe you need a computer/laptop, but Utterli works on any phone or mobile phone.