Record Your Own Review

We’re very lucky on the NosillaCast because so many people contribute fantastic reviews or record their Dumb Questions. I often get questions on the best way to record, how long the reviews should be and the best way to get the recording to me. These quick instructions will tell you everything you need to know.

How Long Should it Be?

I find that people like guest recordings in the 3-5 minute range so try to stay under that limit (it’s not easy to do that short)

How to Record

Hardware to Record:

  • Use any USB microphone hooked to your computer (don’t use the microphone jack though)
  • If you don’t have a USB mic, you can even use the internal mic, do a test recording and ask yourself if you’d like to listen to it
  • Important bit – make sure you wear headphones so you don’t get feedback into your computer from the speaker
  • Use your iPhone – it makes an m4a file that is quite good actually

Software to Record:

  • The Open Source Audacity from is cross-platform and free, so what’s not to like? It’s a little clunky looking but it works perfectly on the Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • If you have a Mac, Garageband works quite well and it’s already installed on your Mac anyway
  • One more point – if you have a choice, make sure it’s a 16bit AIFF (32bit won’t import to iTunes)

Format for Recording

The best format is an uncompressed format (AIFF or WAV) because when I get it, I’ll be adding it to my own recording and then compressing it. If you send it as an MP3, it will be compressed twice. It won’t be horrible but why not make it the best it can be!

Garageband isn’t obvious in how to save uncompressed. If you create your recording as a podcast, you won’t be able to save it uncompressed. Hide the podcast track and then choose export, and UNcheck the compress box. That will create an AIFF file.

For Audacity you’re in luck – I create an Audacity Tutorial for Podcasting. Just stop before I teach how to compress to an mp3 and you’ll have an AIFF or WAV file.

Don’t Forget to Send the Script & Links

Remember that we have a lot of people who like to read rather than listen to the show, and there’s the deaf who can’t listen, so if you use a script (which makes it easier to stay under 5 min) be sure to send it to me. Even if you don’t use a script, if you can give some bullet points that’s good too. And don’t make me go hunting you down to get the links to the products you’ve reviewed, send them the first time! Oh – and don’t forget to plug your own work, if you’ve got a blog or a podcast of your own, or you just want people to follow you on Twitter, send me that too!

How to Send it to Me

If you keep your recording down to the 3-5 minute limit, you can probably email it to me. If your email provider won’t tolerate that large of a file, here’s some other options (and there are many more):

  • Put it in Dropbox or OneDrive or some other cloud sharing service and email me the shared link
  • YouSendIt – free account at to send files up to 100MB

Where to Send It

Send your reviews, Dumb Questions, comments to

#289 Automator, Zumocast, iStopMotion, Shai

No PivotTable Charts in Excel 2011, Kirschen Seah gives us her Add Prefix String Automator action at Zumocast from vs. AirVideo for video watching on the iPad. Accessible Mind Sweeper from Programar a ciegas at iStopMotion review from including Bastian Wolfe’s hysterical video and my 1 second stop motion movie. In Chit Chat Across the Pond performing artist Shai Yammanee of joins us to talk about the tools he uses in photography, video and audio recording.

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How To Disable Java in Chrome

Quick tutorial on how to disable java on Google’s Chrome browser for the Mac.

Open Preferences


In the menu bar, select Chrome and pull down to Preferences.

Under the Hood


In Preferences select Show Advanced Settings…

Content Settings


Scroll down to Privacy and click Content Settings…

Scroll Down to see Plug-ins


Click Disable individual plug-ins…

Disable Java


Click the Disable link under Java


* Note: Craig Reynolds pointed out that in the future you can get to the plugins page faster by simply typing in the URL bar:


How to Record Two People on Skype Video

This tutorial solves a tricky problem – how to broadcast two video sources into a live streaming broadcast system. The example used here is you and a partner on Skype video. Requirements to be met:
– Video and audio of both of you to be streamed
– No lag (no more than you normally get through Skype) between the two of you so you can have a normal, fluid conversation

While your audience will see you and your partner’s voice and video, and you will be able to see real time both of your video streams, your partner will,be able to hear you, but they will not be able to see you.

Tools You’ll Need

A Mac on your end with a video source for yourself (iSight or other webcam)
A willing partner with a Mac, PC or Linux machine on the other end, along with a webcam
Skype (free) from on both ends
A good broadband connection between the two of you
Camtwist software (free) from
Audio Hijack Pro ($32) from some other tool that will pass audio from an app to a virtual audio source)
Ustream account to broadcast the video at (or this would also work in Stickam)
Soundflower (free) from

I’ll not explain how to install each of these, the links above will take you to the various websites to learn how to download and install the applications.

High Level Explanation


You’re going to use Camtwist to capture a portion of your desktop. In that portion you’ll be displaying the video of your partner from Skype. the other half of that screen area will look blank to you, but in Camtwist you’ll also display picture in picture from your webcam. Camtwist will then be the video source that gets plugged into Ustream. Likewise you’ll use Audio Hijack Pro to combine your voice and your partners voice from Skype into a single audio source to pipe into Ustream.

We’ll start by setting up Camtwist to record the screen and PIP, then we’ll set up Audio Hijack Pro to capture and launch Skype. Then we’ll go into Ustream and set the audio device to AHP and the video source to Camtwist.

Camtwist – Set Up Picture in Picture


Launch Camtwist
1 – Under Video Sources, double-click Webcam
2 – at the bottom click on PIP (for Picture in Picture)
3 – You should see PIP Webcam under Effects in Use now

Note that Camtwist will be in control of your camera as soon as you turn on PIP.

Camtwist – Set Up Desktop Capturer


1 – Under Video Sources, double-click Desktop
2 – You should see Desktop under Effects in Use now
3 – Uncheck Full Screen, which will make the Select Capture Area button available to you

We’ll adjust the capture area of the desktop later. Note that you can use a secondary monitor for the screen capture if you like by changing This Screen to a different monitor.

Audio Hijack Pro Setup


We need to pipe all sound through to Soundflower (2ch).
1 – Add Skype in the left column by clicking the plus sign at the bottom left
2 – click the Effects Tab
3 – click Effects, and choose auxiliary Device Output


Set Auxiliary Device Output to Soundflower (2ch)


This will bring up a window where you can choose the Device output, select Soundflower (2ch). Leave the Source pulldown alone. Close that popup window, and then click Hijack in the upper left (with Skype still selected).

the last step will actually launch Skype.



Connect to your partner into an audio only chat, and tell them to click the Video button. You will not be able to click yours because Camtwist "owns" your camera for the Picture in Picture. This means that they will be able to hear you but not see you.

Ustream Setup


You’re almost there! Now go into Ustream to your video channel and click Broadcast now. Accept the Flash request. Under Video Source choose Camtwist, and for Video choose Soundflower (2ch).

Now comes the fiddly part. Go back to Camtwist and click on Desktop under Adjust Settings and click on Select Capture Area. This will give you a rectangle that you can resize and move. Move your partner’s video screen from Skype into one half of that capture area, and resize the capture area and their video until it looks good. Don’t click Done on the capture area yet.

Now click on PIP under adjust effects, and slide the little black box around until it’s in the Capture Area too. There’s a slider at the top of that window that allows you to increase the size of your video until it matches their size. This takes a few minutes to get it just right but it’s doable as you can see above.

Double check that when you each talk you see the VU Meter above moving for both of you. Got it all set? Click Start Broadcast and you’re done!

#249 Awesome Bar, Ubuntu Packages, Kupfer, Logitech Lap Desk, CarMD, Faking Motion Blur

Dual monitor with iTunes problem solved, the Awesome Bar in Firefox explained, Sara Jane from Ireland says hello, and I explain how I allowed my mom to hear the audio from Murder by Death using Audio Hijack Pro. I continue on my Ubuntu adventures inspired by a whole host of characters, the Matt gives us another great review, this time of Kupfer from A review of the Logitech Lap Desk N315 by me, followed by a testimonial about ScreenSteps by Kirschen. Next up is a review of CarMD from by Steve. Honda Bob sends along a message explaining his view of the recent recalls by Toyota. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart teaches us how to fake motion blur using Photoshop Elements; see the video at

Listen to the Podcast Once (59 min)
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#205 Four Year Anniversary “Best Of” and Giveaway Show

In this 4 year anniversary show, Steve gives us a “best of” show while I just get to give away software and photos! Steve pokes fun at me, recognizes the fans, and helps us laugh at Bart’s hiccups.  I think you’ll enjoy it!


Listen to the Podcast Once (1hr 3 min)
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Garageband ’09 Get Rid of Reverb

for some reason GarageBand ’09 has reverb on the voices by default in Podcasts – This quick lesson shows you how to turn it off. There’s a lot more wrong with GarageBand ’09 for podcasting – the metronome is on, it doesn’t show the timer, instead it shows beats per minute, and number of beats, all kinds of annoying things are set wrong for podcasting. I recommend using Will P’s fantastic AppleScript he calls New Podcast. If you use this application script to launch GarageBand all those annoyances will be shut off by default. You can find this and other scripts for free download at
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How to Make an Encrypted Sparse Disk Image

In episode #195 of the NosillaCast Podcast over at Bart suggested I create my offsite backup by keeping a backup drive to work, and bringing in my laptop once a week and doing it there. Then he further suggested that I make an encrypted sparse image to back up to so no one but me could ever open it. These instructions show exactly how to do that.

Plug in the External Drive

You can see my external drive on the Desktop called The External Dart

Launch Disk Utility

Navigate to Applications –> Utilities and launch Disk Utility. When it comes up, click on New Image.

Set up the Disk Image

1) Choose your external hard drive
2) Name the disk image – this is the file name you’ll see on your hard drive
3) Name the volume – when you open the image, a new "disk" will show in the finder with this name
4) Choose your volume size. The sparse image will only be as big as the sum of what you put in it, so use the pulldown to select the size of your external drive
5) Leave the format at Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
6) Choose 128-bit AES Encryption unless you’re the CIA in which case you want 256-bit
7) Leave the default to single partition – Apple Partition Map
8) Set the Image Format to sparse disk image
9) Click Create

Enter a Password

You need to give the encryption a password and as always make it complicated so you can’t possibly remember what it is. If you remember the password in your keychain, that will make it very easy to open this image for your weekly backups but it will also make you lazy and help you forget the password, and remember that the only time you’ll need this image at all is if your laptop hard drive dies or your house goes up in smoke burning it up – so you will not be able to get to the keychain if you forget it! I would suggest not remembering it in the keychain for that very reason.

Mount Your Image

Looking at your external drive in the sidebar, you should see the image name followed by .sparseimage. Double click the sparse image.

Enter Your Password

You’ll now be prompted for that super secret really hard password you entered earlier. Resist the temptation to tell it to remember password in your keychain! I promise you’ll be glad you took my advice. Just click OK and move along.

Verify Your Image

You’ll now see your volume in the left sidebar and it will act just like a regular drive. When you’re all done, eject the volume, then eject the hard drive and throw it in a drawer till next week’s backup!

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