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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Thomas Jefferson Hour- Listen the the president himself speak in a podcast!

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence, but did you know he religiously kept five daily diaries, was deep in debt most of his life and used to read Greek literature in it's original language?

It's all true and you can learn more from a podcast I've been enjoying for some time now and it all originates from a most unexpected place, North Dakota. The podcast features nationally known Jefferson scholar Clay Jenkinson in his role of the famous president.

Get ready to be fascinated
(source: The TJ Hour)
That's right, Mr. Jenkinson actually portrays the late president and provides opinions, thoughts, facts and points of view as if he really was the president brought to life. He's guided through each show by David Swenson, a genial and knowledgeable host who often supports the president on his views, but sometimes challenges them. For instance, Thomas Jefferson vehemently opposed slavery, yet owned dozens of them all his life and even fathered a child by one of them. In most shows, Mr. Jenkinson reverts to his normal persona and discusses not just Jefferson, but his other specialties: president John Adams, Lewis and Clark, North Dakota and a host of other interesting topics.

The historical duo aren't shy about taking on current events either. The national debt, foreign relations, political controversies are all fair game and up for a fascinating conversation with the president as he provides his unique view of things and how he would have handled the issue in his day.

The show is on National Public Radio, but is also offered in a podcast that eliminates most breaks and provides the audio in a pure form so you can get to the good stuff without waiting.

So, why should you wait any longer, either? Go to the podcast's website to hear it for yourself.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 100th post!

This is my 100th post for this blog and I couldn't be happier. The reaction from all over the world has been amazing and I'm now read in something like 53 countries and growing!

Not only that, but I fixed the mile-high big blue header problem all by myself (to my wife: see honey- I can fix things!) .

Happy 100th post birthday to MST and most of all, thanks to all of you reading this and making this blog a success!

- Head Monkey

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The new look has bugs and I'm working on it!

You'll notice a new look to the blog as I work to update it. I'll address the massive blue header thing in the next day or so as I figure it out.

Sometimes tech isn't a smooth and error-free thing. My new design is proof of that.

Thanks for your paitence.

-Head Monkey

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Listen up! Record custom voices on your Garmin GPS

In my day job I am forever going to odd addresses or unfamiliar places. As a photojournalist, this is the normal course of events for me day after day. Often, I need to get to breaking news story locations as soon as possible. After all, the competition can't get there first, right?

So, it should come as no suprise that I rely on GPS navigation for nearly all of the addresses I'm sent to by the powers that be. Specifically, I use a Garmin GPS. This isn't an endorsement of the Garmin, per se- it works just fine, but the people at Garmin now have added something interesting to the Garmin lineup that makes this pedestrian appliance just a little bit more interesting.

Instead of using the the built-in voices that come standard (personally, I like the British lady one) Garmin allows you the opportunity to record your own custom voice commands with a website download called Garmin Voice Studio. Simply download the free software on the Garmin website (found here) and you will soon be speaking into a microphone recording your voice or anyone else's as you listen and repeat a long list of commands given to you by the software as it runs ("turn point two miles, turn right", etc." ).  And, all of this is free of cost.

You could put your mom's voice in here,
but that's just plain creepy.
(source: Garmin)
If you'd like to hear some samples of how others have recorded their voices and just what it sounds like, go to The Mike O'Mearea Show podcast website. The podcast is not only hilarious, but the boys in the cast have recorded their voices for their Garmins and have put them up for sale to their fans with samples that will show you just how they really sound (the samples were recorded in a car as a Garmin was being used as a GPS).

BTW, if you want to add a snarky comment or two, you can do that too. Just add a couple of additional words to a few of the directions (i.e., "hey, bubblehead! you're lost! Recalculating...").

After the voice is recorded to your satisfaction, follow the simple instructions to download the recorded files into the Garmin. So, from this point on, you can now listen to the wife as she corrects all of your wrong turns.

Is that too much like real life? Maybe you should record the kids instead.