Gabcast moblogging – Blogging audio files from a mobile phone:
Since discovering the OdioGo text-to-speech blog application, I’d been wondering about bypassing the computer and blogging directly from a telephone.
At this week’s OzNZ Educators Flashmeeting, Joe Dale mentioned that he was using gabcast for “moblogging”– blogging from a mobile phone. To hear Joe speak, activate the meeting replay, scroll to his name on the time line, and then click on Joe’s comment at a point 1 hour 16 minutes and 19 seconds into the Flashmeeting.
Joe asked if anyone present had used gabcast. I had not heard of this application before, so decided to investigate while having a few days off.
My first step:
After the OzNZ Educators meeting closed, I registered a free account at http://www.gabcast.com/index.php . I activated the account by replying to the confirmation email sent to me.
Creating a channel:
After logging in to my gabcast account, I created a channel and assigned it a password. Because the password is required to be numeric, I used one that was easy to remember on my phone’s alpha-numeric keypad. I named the channel after a previous blog update: “@#$% (expletive deleted) technology!”
The phone numbers used to access the gabcast voice recorder are listed at the gabcast homepage. There are two Australian options – Sydney and Perth – I chose the Sydney number. It is listed with the Australian country prefix “61” so I ignored this and instead dialled “02 90 37 19 38”.
Recording a message:
Gabcast’s voice machine greeted me with a request for my channel number, followed by my channel password. I wasn’t ready for this, so had to redial after memorizing them. My first update is fairly vague – I was focused on using the application instead of providing quality content. In addition, I find that I’m awkward when it comes to recording my voice. I guess it will take me a while to get used to hearing my own speech re-played.
The message was updated to form “episode 1” in my new gabcast channel. Exciting stuff!
Embedding episodes in my blog:
I decided that gabcast could prove useful for providing mobile-phone audio-blog updates remote from computer access. The gabcast homepage advised that audio updates could indeed be posted to a blog, so I chose my WordPress blog to try it out.
I logged in to cafechat.wordpress.com, accessed “My Dashboard” and added a “Text” widget. My gabcast channel gave me an option to “add episode to your website” which provided the embed code. I copied the gabcast code and pasted it into the WordPress widget. The first gabcast episode appeared in the widget after a few minutes.
Blogging to gabcast:
My second gabcast recording is almost as vacuous as the first; however, it soon appeared automatically as a new blog posting in WordPress – success!
Playing the audio files:
Accessing the blog with my mobile phone browser, I downloaded the audio file (in MP3 format) to my memory card and listened to it from there. This step is not necessary when using the computer and the files will play directly from the browser.
Other gabcast features:
Gabcast can be used to embed a voice greeting in a website, as well as using it for conference recording. I think that I’ll just stick with voice moblogging for now.
Of course, mobile blogging is not entirely disconnected from the computer. The account requires setting up and maintaining online, likewise, blog posts need to be configured after updating. However, gabcast provides a handy way to reach an audience from out in the field.