Friday, October 8, 2010

TWiST # 15: Falling into Testing and Volunteering with, Well, ME :)!!!

OK, yes, this is nerdy, but I’m excited. I figured something out looking at the NyQuist chains used for certain key functions and effects. For the past several TWiST’s we’ve created, I’ve had to battle with the volume of Matt’s part, and each time I’d level and Normalize it, and then export it out to MP3, there would be this strange “doubling” of Matt’s voice. We’ve been jokingly referring to it as his “John Lennon” impersonation (listen to “I am the Walrus” and then listen to one of the past few TWiST podcasts, and you’ll see what I mean). I could not figure out what was going on. Finally, I decided to look up the process of MP3 conversion that Audacity uses, and the MP3 conversion runs through a series of Normalization routines (it goes through and amplifies quieter passages and limits louder ones).

Having already run this for the CleanSpeech routine (several times, in fact). it just keeps adding small amounts of amplification to the lower amplitude waveforms. Net result, phase shifted audio (i.e. doubling of lower amplitude frequencies). What tipped me off was that, when I created a Mix down to an uncompressed WAV file, there was no hint of doubling. So this week’s episode will be special because it’s the first where we’ve achieved close to the sonic clarity that I’ve been after since starting with Episode 6.

So yeah, today’s TWiST is with (drum roll, please)…. ME!!! After having produced several shows and edited and formatted ten of these podcasts, you’d figure that I’d be able to roll with this easily, and the interview would be a piece of cake… and you’d be wrong (LOL!). Seriously, having been the one to massage the interviews and format them for time and flow, you’d think I’d have this down to one take. Well, it’s easier to critique other’s interviews than it is to flawlessly conduct my own, and no, mine didn’t go flawlessly, either. I answered the questions asked, and enjoyed the topics covered, but wow, remind me never to be critical of other people’s mannerisms when they speak, because I have PLENTY of my own! Matt and I talked about how I “fell into testing” and the improbable path I walked to get started in this business, as well as some of the challenges I’ve faced as a “tester of one” in my career. What’s different, and probably not likely to show up in any other TWiST interview was my involvement with Scouting and how it’s helped to foster a spirit of volunteerism with me in the testing community (I thought I’d be able to go into my joke about “helium hand syndrome” but alas, I never managed to bring it up… possibly not inspired this time around).

Anyway, since I’ll be up at Wood Badge when it officially goes live, I’ll have to give you a general link for the time being and link to the specific link for the Podcast when I get back. For those who want to check it out, here is Episode #15. (Updated: now with the official link :) ).

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Again, my thanks to STP for hosting the podcasts and storing the archive. We hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoy making them :).


DiscoveredTester said...

It was a very good Interview Mark, and I appreciated your talking about how Scouting has influenced your life as a tester. As an Eagle Scout Myself, and now an Adult Scouter, I've never quite been able to quantify my volunteerism aspects, but when I read this interview I realized, that yeah, Scouting has had a profound affect on my life, more than I often admit. So your not alone in the Scouting department, my son's a Bear this year and I'm off working with Webelos while his mother is leading the bears. Fun fun

Michael Larsen said...

It is a lot of fun, and yes, it definitely drives me to strive to do better each day where I can. People tend to volunteer for a number of reasons, but most come down to the fact that they enjoy the experience and ultimately want to leave their mark on it somewhere. I frequently turn to Forest Whitcraft's quote to remind me that (paraphrased) "100 years from now it will not matter how big my house was, how much money I had in the bank, or what kind of car I drove, but the world may be better because I was important in the life of a child."

Enjoy the time in Cub Scouts, it's the best gig in Scouting. I've said that, if I get asked to turn over the reins of being Scoutmaster to someone else (and that day will certainly come someday), my dream Scouting gig would be to be a Webelos Den Leader again :).