Earlier this week I uploaded Blue Box Podcast #48, where Jonathan and I go beyond just talking about the news to also review the "top VoIP security news stories of 2006" and also get into our predictions for 2007. My prediction #1 will be fairly obvious for anyone who has listened to the show for a while. We also cover the typical range of VoIP security stories, talk about OpenID for caller authentication and many more things.
This was a bit frustrating of a show to post-produce. Post-production is always a somewhat lengthy process, anyway, because I want the enhanced audio that you get from a wideband codec, which means that we use Skype. However, Skype creates its own challenges with voice that will simply fade away or get garbled. It's fairly routine that we have to disconnect and reconnect a time or two within the space of the hour in which we are recording the show. (That's actually apparent in this show where Jonathan's voice is at a lower level and then suddenly is much louder. After the reconnect, he wound up with more volume.) If I could get the audio quality in a softphone without the fade outs, I'd probably drop my post-production time by a good bit.
However, this week I couldn't blame Skype. I record the show in Audacity and it appears that because I had been previously editing a file located over on a USB hard drive, Audacity started writing its files for the new episode over on that hard drive. As anyone using Audacity will know, it writes a huge number of files to disk. Basically many, many little files with small pieces of audio in them. What seems to have happened is that periodically parts of the audio didn't get written. Or the files got destroyed. Or who knows what. Perhaps I had too many other apps running on the older computer I'm using for recording and Audacity couldn't keep up with what was being sent to it. Perhaps there was too much latency going to the USB hard drive. I don't know, but the end result was that there were gaps in the audio that got worse as the show went on. Just missing pieces of audio.
Unfortunately, I discovered it after the holidays were already underway and I couldn't really reconnect with Jonathan to rerecord. And also unfortunately, I wasn't running a backup record as I have in the past.
Given that my goal is high-quality audio production, this was a rather disappointing turn of events, but in the end I did put it out there with a big caveat in the show notes.
We just recorded show #49 today and I made sure to have nothing else running on the PC, to be writing to the main hard drive and to have a backup recorder. Hopefully I'll not experience the issue again.