Adventures in WikiCasting: Fast, Free, and Out of Control

Having been prepared for the likelihood that I had made royal ass of myself, I’m more than a bit relieved that so far the response to WikiRadio has been positive.

James Farmer, Stephen Downes, and Scott Leslie each noted that WikiRadio was delivered by Macromedia Breeze, which is not a cheap product, and mused about how such a production could be mounted on a budget.

I just want to state that at no point in the production of the presentation did I lay hands on the Breeze interface. As I posted a couple weeks back, I captured and mixed the audio in Audacity and a few other free applications, and used wikis to create the corresponding screens. When it came time to pull it all together, I asked my colleague Michelle Chua to drop in the finished .wav sound files and take screen shots of the wiki pages for the slides.

So Breeze is not a production tool for WikiRadio. It is a delivery mechanism.

To experiment with a less structured delivery system, I aggregated all the sound files into a (single MP3 file (21:24, 19.7 MB), and mashed all my wikiscreens into a single scrolling page.

The resulting WikiRadioWikiCast can be accessed here.

Had I known I was going to present the material this way I would have built it differently — but that qualifies as a lesson learned. I could polish things up a bit, but simply don’t have the time. I’d be interested in people’s opinions: how does this experience compare with the “click, sit back and watch” experience provided by Breeze?

Total cost for production and delivery software: $0

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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6 Responses to Adventures in WikiCasting: Fast, Free, and Out of Control

  1. James Farmer says:

    It’s nice but not ‘sit back and enjoy’ in the same way. Part of me says ‘bugger them, use the free tools’ but a much stronger (and less worthwhile… why is it always that way?) bit says ‘it’s soooo much better synchd up, packed up and Breezed’.

    I figure it wouldn’t be too hard to whack this into Flash (which is pretty much what Breeze does here) which would certainly be a lot more affordable.

    It almost seems like it owuld be too easy to put something in Audacity where you could pop in graphics at set points in the audio… there MUST be something out there?

    Cheers, James

  2. Hmmm… perhaps this could be a Pachyderm template for version 2.something – definitely NOT 2.0.

  3. Hi Brian–you could probably do something Breeze-like with Netomat -it’s a wiki-like presentation tool, and lets you insert or link out to audio, among other things. You only get 2MB for free though, and it’s a bit slow to load at times, but it has potential…

  4. Steve says:

    I think the main reason the ‘scroll along’ doesn’t seem to work is that it’s hard to tell when to move along and where one ‘screen’ starts and one ‘screen’ ends. What I think might work better is having each of them be sepearate pages on a wiki itself, and then some sort of audio signal letting you know to move along to the next page. You know, like those old filmstrips of Curious George with the BEEP letting you know to flip the page. Personally, I really like having the MP3 file. You really should post it up on the podcast site. It’s exactly the sort of listening material I like for my ride home.

    I really think simply having click on along slides on a wiki along with a single MP3 file would be more than ample. I also suggest you contact the gang over at They’re trying to figure out ways to accomplish the exact same thing for their Podcast. Their currently trying to figure out how to have slides move along with their cast on an iPod photo. I get the feeling that there would be a lot of crossover here.

  5. Um… I’m dense.

    (A) You have a bunch of audio files (WAVs) and a bunch of screen cpatures (JPGs?)

    (B) You end up with (what appears to be, from the source) a SWF file.

    How did you get from A to B?

    Now I have seen Flash files where you can give it some input in an XML document and get nice output out the other end. That’s how this works: (from )

    I’m assuming that’s how this works. So, if this is the case:

    – what does the XML (or other) file look like?

    – where can I get my hands on (what appears to be) main.swf for free?

    Sorry to press on this, but I think a lot of people would be interested to know the details. Thanks.

  6. Brian says:

    Stephen, sorry if I wasn’t clear. I created the .wav files (mostly using Audacity), and took screenshots of the wiki pages. The .wav files were dropped into Breeze, and the the screenshots were plastered on top of the Breeze PowerPoint slides — Breeze then created the .swf files.

    My “free” version is just one long MP3 and one scrolling wiki page.

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