Everything’s Gonna Be Alright — 3D Quarantine Explorations

abdz. – Have you given up on being inspired? Everything’s Gonna Be Alright — 3D Quarantine Explorations

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright — 3D Quarantine Explorations

Everything's Gonna Be Alright — 3D Quarantine Explorations

abduzeedo05.03.21

Carlos Antón Varó shared a beautiful 3D project last year in the beginning of the shelter in place. Carlos described the motivation saying that “In these hard quarantines, it’s mentally healing doing what you really feel inside as a creative.”  He added “It’s like a forced introspection period when we have all the time to face our doubts and demons. A time to look forward to the future with an optimistic mind and never forget about everything we love from life.” — I completely agree with everything Carlos said and I know we are still struggling with the pandemic, hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. 

Image may contain: birthday cake, cake and candleImage may contain: birthday cake, cake and candle

For more information make sure to check out Carlos on

https://abduzeedo.com/everythings-gonna-be-alright-3d-quarantine-explorations

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Polyglot Assembly – assembly code that runs on multiple architectures

Hacker News Polyglot Assembly – assembly code that runs on multiple architectures

vojtechkral vojtěchkrál.github.io

Writing assembly code that runs on multiple architectures.

A few years back, while I worked as a Solaris engineer at Oracle, I posted an april fools joke to one of our internal mailing lists. Do you remember Solaris? Pepperidge farm remembers. Unfortunatelly Solaris 12 was never released (not as such, anyway) and many of the devs were laid off shortly afterwards, but that’s a different story… The april fools e-mail read as follows:

Hi all, can I please get a codereview for my new Hello World program?  The purpose of the program is to output a greeting.  As the code is very short, I'm inlining it at the end of this email.  The code has been tested on sparc and x86.  Only 64 bit arch is supported - please compile with cc -m64.  cstyle reports no issues. Thanks!  Vojtech $ cat hello.c const float main[] = { -5.0076923e-29, -6.02841476e-21, 1.75860328e-33, -4.3672462e-34, -2.03652633e-33, 3.00046579e-32, -6.99961556e-33, -4.36343733e-34, -253599.734, 1.87611745e-33, -4.36724253e-34, -2.03652633e-33, 2.62426763e-32, -4.36343733e-34, -253599.859, -1.05886372e-37, -2.84236475e-29, -4.2805483e-28, -7.27646377e-27, -3.28364893e-28, -7.3422524e-38, -8.52233404e-38, -7.19531561e-38, -2.84236445e-29, -6.02842122e-21, 2.3509887e-38, -7.3422524e-38, -8.52233404e-38, -6.02842122e-21, 2.3509887e-38, -7.3422524e-38, -8.52233404e-38, 1.69276854e-42, 1.58918456e-40, -7.11823707e-31, 3.30286048e-42, 1.26058568e-39, 6.72382769e-36, 5.90304592e+22, 2.02799612e-19, 1.17234334e+27, 9.30333261e-40, 1.7976867e-38, 0.0  };  

I expect main() not being a function and instead being an array of numbers won’t be news to many people, this has been done before. (If you’ve never seen this before, have a look at that blogpost, it’s pretty good!)

The focus of this post instead is this line:

The code has been tested on sparc and x86.

Any code that a Solaris dev looked to push to the core repository had to be rigorously tested on both architectures targeted by Solaris: x86 and SPARC. And this code doesn’t really look like it could run on multiple architectures, right? … But it does. And it does that with a trick I call a polyglot assembly code. Maybe that’s a little too pompous a name for a silly joke, but I didn’t know what else to call it…

Linux, x86-64 & ARM

I recently decided to revive the idea and, since both Solaris and SPARC are fairly obscure nowadays, to port the code over to Linux on x86-64 and ARM.

Here’s the new code:

#include <stdint.h> const uint64_t _start[] __attribute__((section(".text"))) = { 0xe3a00001909032eb, 0xe3a0200ce28f1014, 0xef000000e3a07004, 0xe3a07001e3a00000, 0x6c6c6548ef000000, 0x0a214d5241202c6f, 0x18ec834800000000, 0x4800000045058b48, 0xa20fc03148240489, 0x0c24548908245c89, 0x142444c710244c89, 0x01c0c74800000a21, 0x0001c7c748000000, 0x480124748d480000, 0x050f00000015c2c7, 0x480000003cc0c748, 0x6c654820050fff31, 0x00000000202c6f6c,  };  

It’s still just a Hello, World! program.

To build it, I recommend gcc -static -nostdlib. I found out the special section attribute is necessary for gcc to put the code in the right section.

You can also get pre built binaries here.

Please keep in mind that the resulting binaries are still platform-specific. The polyglot trick’s purpose is to make it possible to build for x86-64 and ARM from the same source file. While the executable code inside the ELF file is the same bit by bit for both platforms, the ELF header and section layout is somewhat different and unfortunatelly there seems to be no way around this (at minimum, the kernel checks the ELF architecture byte and won’t load the program unless it matches).

So anyway, how does it work?

diagram

The basic idea is pretty simple: The code starts with a magical snippet that gets interpreted by both architectures and basically performs a conditional jump based on which architecture is runing the code.

Architecture #1 decodes this bit as a an effective no-op instruction (in my example it’s actually an ALU instruction whose output is ignored) and simply continues to the area marked blue in the diagram. Arch-#1-specific code is stored there.

Architecture #2 decodes the initial part as a jump and proceeds to jump over to the yellow area where the code for arch #2 follows.

How do you come up with the magical architecture-selecting prolog?

It turns out x86 is actually a pretty good choice for arch #2, because it has a short near-jump instruction, just 2 bytes. Together with 2 NOPs (1 byte each) this makes up the length of one regular (non-Thumb) ARM instruction.

The three x86 instructions, a JMP and two NOPs, can be arbitrarily reordered and also the jump distance can be adjusted, and as I found out this is enough degrees of freedom to find a valid nop-like ARM instruction.

Searching the instruction space

The original Solaris code was a result of basically just hokus-pokus. In the Linux rewrite I tried to come up with a somewhat more automated way of finding the right combo. There’s a hackish python script and a Makefile rule that generate a big plaintext list of all NOP/NOP/2-byte JMP permutations along with their ARM representations.

From the list it’s apparent that the JMP, NOP, NOP ordering yields a safe ARM addsls instruction most of the time, at least as long as the jump distance is small enough for the addsls to not touch the sp or pc registers…

In my case I only need to JMP 52 bytes ahead. This results in addsls r3, r0, r11, ror #5 on ARM, which is a perfectly harmless instruction. Maybe a bit too complex (a conditional add with a bit rotation), but harmless.

In summary, the magical bytes that make an x86 CPU jump ahead and an ARM CPU continue are:

eb 32 90 90  

The code

The source code for this mini-project can be found on my github.

The C file quoted above effectively contains the following two code paths for x86-64 and ARM, respectively:

x86: # create a hello message on the stack sub $24, %rsp movq msg(%rip), %rax mov %rax, (%rsp) xor %rax, %rax cpuid mov %ebx, 8(%rsp) mov %edx, 12(%rsp) mov %ecx, 16(%rsp) movl $0x0a21, 20(%rsp) # write syscall mov $1, %rax mov $1, %rdi lea 1(%rsp), %rsi mov $21, %rdx syscall # exit syscall mov $60, %rax xor %rdi, %rdi syscall msg: .ascii " Hello, " .int 0x0  
arm: # write syscall mov %r0, $1 adr %r1, msg mov %r2, $len mov %r7, $4 swi $0 # exit syscall mov %r0, $0 mov %r7, $1 swi $0 msg: .ascii "Hello, ARM!\n" .equ len, . - msg .int 0x0  

I decided to automate the whole process of generating the C file and the binaries for x86-64 and ARM. There’s a big Makefile that goes through the arduous process of first generating ARM code from the source ARM asm file, dumping the compiled ARM, feeding that to a Python script with a template of the x86 + compiled ARM code, compiling that, generating the C source from that, and finally compiling the C source for both x86 and ARM.

Running the Makefile requires having an arm cross-compiling gcc installed along with a matching gdb.

Practical applications

There are none 🙂

At least as far as I know. As stated earlier, the resulting binary is still platform-specific, Which means the trick can’t be used to make multi-platform ELFs 😐

In theory it could be used to create a multi-platform shellcode, but I find it unlikely that it would actually be useful in practice.

Multi-platform kernels maybe? But then again boot procedures differ quite a lot between architectures, so again it’s probably not very practical…

So yeah, it’s really just a joke done for fun and to perhaps learn something new…

https://vojtechkral.github.io/blag/polyglot-assembly/

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How to Create a Star Wars Tatooine Poster in Photoshop

Envato Tuts+ Design & Illustration How to Create a Star Wars Tatooine Poster in Photoshop

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Today, we will be learning how to create a Star Wars Tatooine travel poster in Photoshop using simple photo compositing techniques! The many Tatooine appearances in Star Wars and The Mandalorian make it the perfect desert vacation spot, as well as the perfect subject for some Mandalorian Photoshop fan art. Part of the Mandalorian series does take place on Tatooine after all, so its vast sandy hills deserve to be featured!

What You’ll Learn in This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial 

  • How to create a Tatooine background
  • How to create a Star Wars Tatooine sunset
  • How to create a Tatooine desert landscape
  • How to create a color grade with Tatooine appearances
  • How to create a Mandalorian-inspired Photoshop poster
  • How many suns does Tatooine have?

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You’ll Need

To complete this project, you will need the following resources:

Find more resources on Envato Elements!

1. How to Create a Tatooine Planet Landscape

Step 1

First, we are going to make a new canvas that is 2285 by 3386 pixels.

The ratio is more important than the size, so if you’d like it to be larger or smaller, feel free! Just keep the same ratio.  

Step 2

Next, we are going to drag and drop our base landscape onto the canvas. This landscape contains our first sun and the start of our sky!  

tatooine landscapetatooine landscapetatooine landscape

Step 3

Now, let’s do some quick color correction using Image > Adjustments > Hue/SaturationSet the Hue to -4 and the Saturation to +27. This will punch up the colors and bring more red into our sky. 

I always recommend using Smart Objects, so you can come back later and make adjustments as needed. You can create a Smart Object by right-clicking > Convert to Smart Object.

color adjustments color adjustments color adjustments

Step 4

Let’s prep the sky by adding a layer mask to the desert and feathering out the top harsh edge using a soft large round Brush. 

mask out skymask out skymask out sky

Step 5

Now, we can bring in more sand dunes by dropping in a second desert landscape. 

Extract the sky using your preferred method! I like using the Object Selection tool to create an initial selection and mask, and then refining that mask using Refine Edge.

If possible, try to align the two landscapes so that it looks as if the hills of sand are somewhat connected. 

add second landscapeadd second landscapeadd second landscape

Step 6

Now, some color correction to match the two landscapes! First, a Brightness/Contrast adjustment set to Brightness -127 and Contrast 46.

brightness contrast adjustment brightness contrast adjustment brightness contrast adjustment

Step 7

Next, a clipped black to white Gradient Map adjustment layer set to 22% Opacity.

gradient color adjustment gradient color adjustment gradient color adjustment

Step 8

And lastly, a clipped Selective Color adjustment layer affecting the Reds, Yellows, and Blacks. 

hue saturation hue saturation hue saturation

Step 9

We are going to drag, drop, and extract one more desert landscape onto the canvas. As these dunes are closest to the front of the image, they should be the largest. 

third desert landscape third desert landscape third desert landscape

Step 10

We are going to color correct the final set of dunes using Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast again, setting the Contrast to 65. 

We can Group our final sandy hills together, naming the group “Sand.”

final landscape adjustments final landscape adjustments final landscape adjustments

2. How to Create a Tatooine Sunset

Step 1

Our first step to making a Tatooine sunset is to elongate our sky! 

We are going to do this by duplicating our first desert landscape, the image containing the sun, bringing it below all other layers and out of the “Sand Group” and then enlarging it significantly. 

Place it so that it looks like a natural continuation of the existing sky by paying attention to the clouds and texture of the original sky. 

place sky place sky place sky

Step 2

Now, add a quick Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur set to a Blur of 24 px.

blur sky blur sky blur sky

Step 3

And then a Hue/Saturation setting of Hue -7 and Saturation +33.

color adjust sky  color adjust sky  color adjust sky

Step 4

But how many suns does Tatooine have? Two, of course! To get the iconic double Tatooine suns, we are going to use the sun from our third desert landscape.

Using the Elliptical Marquee tool, create a circle selection around the sun, and then add a Layer Mask to mask everything but the sun out. 

Tatooine sunsetTatooine sunsetTatooine sunset

Step  5

Set the sun’s layer to Lighten, and then using Brightness/Contrast make any final adjustments. You can do things like making the sun brighter or removing any leftover background. 

tatooine second sun adjustments  tatooine second sun adjustments  tatooine second sun adjustments

Step 6

To finish off the Tatooine suns, let’s drop in a lens flare and set it to Screen. No Star Wars Photoshop fan art is complete without some classic sci-fi lens flares! 

add lens flare add lens flare add lens flare

Step 7

Now, let’s create a circle selection around the lens flare using the Elliptical Marquee Tool with a Feather of 20 px.

Add a Layer Mask to mask the lens flare. 

mask lens flare mask lens flare mask lens flare

Step 8

Finish up by applying a Brightness/Contrast of -150 Brightness and 100 Contrast to the lens flare.

You can also set the lens flare to around 50% Opacity for a subtler look!

adjust opacity and contrast  adjust opacity and contrast  adjust opacity and contrast

Step 9

Duplicate your new lens flare and add it to the second sun! 

That will finish up our Star Wars Tatooine sunset.

add second tatooine sunset add second tatooine sunset add second tatooine sunset

3. How to Create a Tatooine Desert Color Grade

Now, let’s finish our Tatooine planet with a desert-inspired color grade.

We will be punishing up the reds and oranges as well as adding some contrast using just four Color Lookup layers. 

Step 1

First, add a Color Lookup layer set to Crisp Warm and an Opacity of 16%. 

Crisp Warm Crisp Warm Crisp Warm

Step 2

Second, a Color Lookup layer set to Edgy Amber and an Opacity of 15%.

Edgy Amber Edgy Amber Edgy Amber

Step 3

Third, a Color Lookup layer set to Fuji 2393 and an Opacity of 22%.

Fuji 2393 Fuji 2393 Fuji 2393

Step 4

And finally, a Color Lookup layer set to Late Sunset and an Opacity of 26%.

Group all of your color lookup layers together, naming that group “CG” or “Color Grade.”

Late Sunset Late Sunset Late Sunset

4. How to Create a Travel Tatooine Poster

Next, let’s turn this Tatooine desert landscape into a proper Tatooine poster!

Step 1

Let’s add a border using the Rectangle Tool, placing it above the « Color Grade » group. Set the Inner Fill to None and the Stroke to a light cream #fff2dc color, with a thickness of around 150 px.

add poster borderadd poster borderadd poster border

Step 2

Now, let’s add “Tatooine,” nice and large, to the top of the poster using the Type Tool and the font Fonseca Rounded. 

Add a “Sponsored by” message towards the bottom of the poster in a significantly smaller size. For the text, I am also using the same cream #f6e5ce color that was used for the border. 

Tatooine poster Tatooine poster Tatooine poster

Step 3

Next, add “Visit” directly above “Tatooine“ and a fun slogan directly below it using the Pathways font.  

I went with the slogan “We probably have water sometimes!” and also slightly tilted the “Visit” using the Move Tool. 

Group all of the text layers together, naming the group “Text.”

Tatooine poster slogan Tatooine poster slogan Tatooine poster slogan

Step 4

Now, we can add a Drop Shadow Layer Style to the whole group. 

Set the Drop Shadow to a Blend Mode: Multiply, a burnt orange #7d3419 color, a 50% Opacity, a 124 Angle, and a Distance of 12.

drop shadowdrop shadowdrop shadow

Step 5

Lastly, add a small Star Wars-inspired icon right above the “sponsored by” message. Fill the icon with the same cream #f6e5ce color as the text and border. 

add star wars icon add star wars icon add star wars icon

5. How to Add a Paper Texture to a Poster

Let’s finish this Star Wars Photoshop fan art up by adding two different paper textures! 

Step 1

First, a texture with subtle folds and wrinkles, to help give a touch of depth to the poster. Set the texture to Multiply and 76% Opacity. 

wrinkled paper texturewrinkled paper texturewrinkled paper texture

Step 2

And finally, add a paper-like texture to add some smaller details and give the poster a withered or vintage vibe. We will be setting that texture to Multiply with an Opacity of around 45%.

paper texturepaper texturepaper texture

We Are Done!

And that’s all there is to creating a Star Wars Tatooine background in Photoshop! But don’t stop here—you can make any of the countless iconic Star Wars backgrounds in Photoshop! Or even make some amazing Mandalorian Photoshop fan art, as part of the Mandalorian series does take place on Tatooine, with your new Tatooine sunset creating skills.

tatooine poster tatooine poster tatooine poster

Looking to learn even more? Check out some more tutorials below: 

https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-create-a-star-wars-tatooine-poster-in-photoshop–cms-36852

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Mon outil est meilleur que le tien

Carrefour éducation – Veille techno-pédagogique Mon outil est meilleur que le tien

Au-delà de l’opinion de vos amis et collègues, voici certaines pistes pour faire un choix d’outils selon VOTRE réalité.

1- Disponibilité dans votre milieu

Pour des raisons de sécurité, de budget ou d’uniformité, certains outils ne sont pas disponibles dans certains milieux. Il est donc bon, avant de vous lancer, de vérifier quels sont les outils déjà disponibles (ou autorisés) dans votre milieu. 

Si vous aviez en tête des outils qui ne sont pas disponibles, vous pouvez alors comparer leurs fonctions avec celles d’autres outils semblables qui, eux, sont disponibles. Il est fort possible que vous réussissiez à trouver un équivalent, même s’il vous faudra peut-être user de créativité et faire le deuil de certaines fonctions qui semblaient intéressantes. 

D’ailleurs, il ne faut jamais oublier que c’est l’intention pédagogique qui compte, pas le bouton de plus que contient une application! En cas de doute, demandez conseil à vos conseillers pédagogiques disciplinaires et TIC pour de possibles alternatives.

2- Équité numérique

Pour qu’il soit utile pédagogiquement, vous devez d’abord vous assurer qu’un outil sera disponible pour vos élèves. Certains outils, bien qu’intéressants et populaires, ne fonctionnent qu’avec certains appareils. Par exemple, certains doivent être installés sur un ordinateur et ne fonctionnent pas sur un appareil mobile. D’autres ne sont accessibles que sur certains appareils de certaines compagnies. Il est donc important de valider quels sont les appareils utilisés par vos élèves pour vous assurer que l’utilisation de l’outil sera optimale pour tous.

3- Budget

Certains outils sont gratuits, alors que d’autres exigent un achat ou un abonnement. Plusieurs offrent un essai gratuit de 14 ou 30 jours… mais par la suite, il faut payer. Avant de se lancer, il est bon de visiter la section Prix/Pricing de l’outil. Même si la version gratuite est suffisante pour le moment, prenez le temps de vérifier quelles sont les options payantes. Avec une utilisation continue, les options payantes peuvent devenir intéressantes et il pourra être pertinent de se les procurer. Savoir quelles sont les limites et quels seront les coûts si vous voulez pousser l’utilisation à un niveau supérieur peut vous aider à faire un choix dès le départ. 

(NDLR : N’oubliez pas aussi qu’on dit souvent que si c’est gratuit, c’est que c’est vous le produit! On peut aussi regarder les options offertes du côté des logiciels libres, souvent véritablement gratuits à obtenir, mais qui peuvent demander un entretien technique.)

4- Valeurs et préférences personnelles

Au-delà des choix d’équité numérique, de budget et de choix institutionnel, il y a des valeurs personnelles. Souhaitez-vous encourager les entreprises d’ici plutôt que les entreprises d’ailleurs? Souhaitez-vous utiliser des outils libres de droits plutôt que ceux d’entreprises privées? 

Chaque outil a ses forces et ses faiblesses. Néanmoins, une grande part des choix technologiques que nous faisons est justifiée de nos valeurs et de nos préférences personnelles. Et, c’est correct ainsi! Parfois le choix est simplement émotif : c’est l’outil que l’on connaît et qu’on utilise depuis plusieurs années. Il fonctionne bien et répond aux besoins… alors pourquoi changer! 

Il faut rester ouvert aux différentes options. Personnellement, je suis toujours curieuse de découvrir un nouvel outil de visioconférence, de questionnaire ou d’enregistrement audio. J’écoute, je compare et je fais des choix (parfois même des deuils). Je ne peux pas utiliser tous les outils. J’aime savoir qu’ils existent et les explorer. Je me suis approprié plusieurs outils avec lesquels je suis à l’aise et efficace, mais non, mon outil n’est pas meilleur que le tien. C’est simplement celui que j’ai choisi et qui répond à mon besoin.

Alors, quel est VOTRE outil numérique préféré? 

Emerging L&D Tech: Top Tools For Immersive Learning

eLearning Industry Emerging L&D Tech: Top Tools For Immersive Learning

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that immerses the learner in an alternate environment, providing a sense of presence within that environment. Participants can learn, apply, and reinforce skills and knowledge using experiential interactivity. VR delivers an immersive learning event and increases knowledge transfer using “real-world” experience without the risk. In other words, a well-designed VR experience makes the learner feel as if they’re somewhere else while remaining aware they’re still in a safe place. This gives the learner the freedom to practice, to fail, to re-try, and to reflect on their learning experience. Let’s take a look at the different types of emerging technologies, including VR, that are used specifically to support immersive learning programs.

eBook Release: The Future of Work Guide: Why More Organizations Are Discovering The Benefits Of Immersive Learning

The Future of Work Guide: Why More Organizations Are Discovering The Benefits Of Immersive Learning
Discover how to super-charge your learning programs with cutting-edge technology and tap into the benefits of immersive learning!

Virtual Reality

There has been a steep rise in adoption of VR at the consumer level driven mainly by gaming and simulations. As a result of the demand, vendors have invested in developing more cost-effective headsets, device management systems, content distribution platforms, etc., all of which is a benefit to businesses. In fact, tech vendors are deeply invested in the success of organizations.

VR Benefits

While there are many different types of VR experiences with varying degrees of complexity, there are some common overall benefits of VR learning:

  • Reduced expenses associated with travel
  • Employees spend less time away from their jobs
  • Lowered costs associated with securing training space and equipment
  • Reduced risk for dangerous tasks
  • Provides robust learning analytics
  • Effective for training both soft skills and task-oriented skills
  • Learning is self-directed and asynchronous
  • Creates more effective role playing and business simulations
  • Supports scenario-based learning and storytelling
  • Drives retention by providing emotional impact

A quick word on headset technology

The type of VR experience you select will affect the type of headset you will be required to purchase. There are many different manufacturers and types of headsets, with developments occurring daily within the industry. Also, there are many different ways to host content and to manage devices. For example, having the ability to manage, monitor, and update headsets remotely can be extremely efficient, rather than having to send a technician to various locations for updates and maintenance. These are some of the costs associated with headsets, and your learning partner will be able to help you navigate the best option for your learning requirements.

Want to know the key differences between 3DOF and 6DOF headset tech? Download the eBook The Future Of Work Guide: Why More Organizations Are Discovering The Benefits Of Immersive Learning for more insider info!

Business Simulations

Supporting leaders can include helping them gain insight and empathy into the needs of those under their leadership. Business simulations are experiential learning programs specifically designed for leadership development and management training. They drive learning objectives that can include teaching key interactions and changing behavior to demonstrate competencies deemed essential for maximizing leadership strategies.

Much like how video games are addictive and stimulating, simulations support learning by driving engagement and maintaining the curiosity and interest of learners. Simulations are immersive experiences, which can allow participants to better understand alternative points of view and to see the world through another person’s eyes.

Think of the many RPG (role playing games) that are incredibly popular. In them, players lose themselves inside the experience, take on new personalities, and engage for hours at a time. Developing business simulations with the same level of engagement and entertainment is super-charged by emerging technologies like virtual reality. Learners are immersed in realistic simulations that stimulate their imagination, their memory, and most of all, their desire to learn.

Key learning objectives may include:

  • Identifying unconscious bias
  • Developing empathy
  • Understanding alternative points of view

Gamification

We play games on our phones, tablets, and computers. As a result, many people find gaming engaging and fun. For example, consider the investment of time and energy required to take on the responsibilities of a role-playing game or the tedious tasks of farm simulation. Some games appear to be more like real-life work than actual work! Yet players are drawn to the work, enjoy the learning curve, and get fulfillment from achieving their tasks. The same game logic can be applied to skills training and team-building activities.

Gamification can be as simple as using a leaderboard for course-level assessments or as complex as leveraging 3D virtual environments with social collaboration. Assigning points, awarding badges, and providing a leaderboard with accomplishments and incentives, all contribute to maintaining a learner’s attention and focus. While it makes learning fun, gamification can have other impacts on learning:

  • Driving engagement and motivation
  • Improving team collaboration and communication skills
  • Encouraging long-term retention

360 Video

Also known as Immersive Videos or Spherical Videos, 360 videos deliver a view in every direction, recorded at the same time. They are filmed using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. This video is not virtual reality, but immersive imagery. The result is a simulation that feels realistic and grounds learners in an environment of your choosing. For example, you can place learners inside a simulated business environment like a retail store, hotel lobby, or hospital waiting room. This level of precision and attention to detail can provide opportunities to help learners train in their actual job environments. This is an ideal choice for onboarding and helping new employees acclimatize to their new job setting.

On top of the learning advantages of using 360 video, this technology can also be more cost-effective than constructing 3D environments. After all, 360 video is more or less a picture, rather than what might be expected from a sophisticated video game landscape, and the level of realism can be increased by involving filmed live actors and recorded sounds to fully flesh out the feel of an authentic work environment.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) overlays concepts onto the real world. For example, a print poster can be designed to include a QR code that, when scanned by a personal smartphone or internet-enabled device, can generate interactive content or call up timely information. Organizations can take advantage of mobile technology already abundant in the workplace. The odds are extremely high that their employees are carrying around a smart device in their pockets. They’re already digital pros and understand how to navigate, search, pinch to zoom, you name it.

Augmented reality is most successful when needing to bring vital information to a unique moment or location. This can include data visualization, engineering models, mechanical guides, and even surgical procedures. AR leverages existing mobile technology to provide access to learning when and where learners need it. Better than simple, printed job aids, it’s incredibly engaging and more fun and relevant to learners. Consider the benefit of being able to provide just-in-time learning in order to support employees in their everyday tasks.
By using their own devices, learners can:

  • Engage with on-the-job, just-in-time learning
  • Use existing technology, like their smartphones, which reduces costs
  • Interact with objects in ways normally considered impossible in the real world

Want To Learn More About The Top Tools For Immersive Learning?

Download the eBook The Future Of Work Guide: Why More Organizations Are Discovering The Benefits Of Immersive Learning for tips and L&D strategies to launch an immersive learning program for your remote workforce.

https://elearningindustry.com/emerging-ld-tech-tools-for-immersive-learning

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Survey Confirms Popularity of JavaScript, Python, C/C++, While C# Overtakes PHP

SlashdotSlashdotSearch Slashdot Survey Confirms Popularity of JavaScript, Python, C/C++, While C# Overtakes PHP

Analyst firm SlashData surveyed over 19,000 respondents from 155 countries for its « State of the Developer Nation » survey — and now estimates that there’s 24.3 million active developers worldwide.

TechRadar reports: The report pegs JavaScript as the most popular language that, together with variants including TypeScript and CoffeeScript, is used by almost 14 million developers around the world. Based on SlashData’s observations over the past several years, more than 4.5 million JavaScript developers have joined the ranks between Q4 2017 and Q1 2021. This is the highest growth in terms of absolute numbers across all programming languages…

Next up is Python with just over 10 million users, followed by Java with 9.4 million, and C/C++ with 7.3 million. The report notes that Python added 1.6 million new developers in the past year, recording a growth rate of 20%.

From ZDNet: SlashData estimates the next three largest developer communities are using C/C++ (7.3 million), Microsoft’s C# (6.5 million), and PHP (6.3 million). Other large groups of developers are fans of Kotlin, Swift, Go, Ruby, Objective C, Rust and Lua…

SlashData, however, notes that Rust and Lua were the two fastest growing programming language communities in the past 12 months, albeit from a lower base than Python.


And Visual Studio magazine couldn’t resist emphasizing that C# « has ticked up a notch in popularity, overtaking PHP for No. 5 on that ranking… » « C# lost three places in the rankings of language communities between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, but it regained its lead over PHP in the past six months after adding half a million developers, » the report states… « C# is traditionally popular within the desktop developer community, but it’s also the most broadly used language among AR/VR and game developers, largely due to the widespread adoption of the Unity game engine in these areas… » It was a different story one year ago, when the 18th edition of the report said: « C# lost about 1M developers during 2019… [I]t seems to be losing its edge in desktop development — possibly due to the emergence of cross-platform tools based on web technologies. »

The language might see more desktop development inroads as new initiatives from Microsoft such as Blazor Desktop (one of those « cross-platform tools based on web technologies ») and .NET MAUI provide a wide array of desktop approaches.

https://developers.slashdot.org/story/21/05/02/1724248/survey-confirms-popularity-of-javascript-python-cc-while-c-overtakes-php?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed

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30 Days of Shapes — Illustration

abdz. – Have you given up on being inspired? 30 Days of Shapes — Illustration

30 Days of Shapes — Illustration

30 Days of Shapes — Illustration

abduzeedo04.30.21

Maximilian Bolduan shared this illustration and graphic design project is paying homage to Isabella Conticello’s #ageoaday challenge. Maximilian really admires her work and her skill to design a big variation of different layouts and compositions. If nothing else you REALLY should check out her work. While designing layouts he got a feeling for the balance and weight of objects and the right composition. But when presented with the opportunity to design « anything » you want, with a certain toolset, it makes it very daunting just to start with anything at all. “I liked this project for being able to create a new layout for 30 consecutive days (With there being room for additional imagery over time)” — Maximilian Bouldan.

For more information about Maximilian make sure to check out:

https://abduzeedo.com/30-days-shapes-illustration

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Learning Record Store (LRS) Guide: Basics You Need to Know

eLearning Learning Learning Record Store (LRS) Guide: Basics You Need to Know

eLearning has become a popular and convenient modern-day training tool. There is an urgent need to seek effective ways to collect data about learner performance and utilize it to enhance eLearning experiences for both educators and learners. This data will not only improve eLearning experiences, but also serve as a good reference point for organizations when making critical decisions.

Enter, a Learning Record Store. In this blog, we’ll go over its’ basic definition, its’ history, pros and cons of an LRS, and how it differentiates from a Learning Management System (LMS). We’ll also cover more applicable knowledge, such as how to choose the right LRS for your organization, what pricing looks like, and how Knowledge Anywhere is incorporating more LRS features into our LMS.

What is a Learning Record Store (LRS)?

A LRS (Learning Record System) is a storage system that functions as a depository for learning records collected from connected systems where eLearning is conducted. An LRS is the focal point of your eLearning ecosystem and brings together data from your learning systems and applications. It is responsible for receiving, storing, and providing access to all eLearning records.

An LRS is an integral element in the process flow for utilizing the Experience API (xAPI) standard by ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning). The Experience API is also popularly referred to as project Tin Can, or Tin Can API, and is an Open-source eLearning stipulation developed after SCORM and AICC. The LRS is uniquely designed to help systems store and retrieve xAPI statements and other forms of xAPI metadata from other systems.

Lately, it’s become a trendy topic in the eLearning sphere. Just make sure you know if a system really has or needs an LRS before buying into it, as many confuse the function of an LRS with an LMS.

History

The LRS was first adopted in the eLearning sector in 2011 seeking to transform eLearning specifications. Before 2011, SCORM was the eLearning software specification for interoperability since 2001.

However, the specification could not keep up with the technological advancements and needed an update. What followed was extensive research and developments that led to Experience API and the LRS concept.

An Overview of the LRS: Pros

In plain English, xAPI-enabled learning activities generate data in the form of “statements” or eLearning records in the format of “Actor verb Object” or “I did this.” The statements are then sent via HTTPS or HTTP to an LRS. The primary function of the LRS is to receive, store and retrieve data generated from Experience API statements. An LRS can be incorporated within a traditional Learning Management System (LMS) or can stand-alone. LRSs can transmit learner data to other systems, including other LRS servers, mobile devices, sensor-enabled devices, and LMSs. Systems that send statements to an LRS are referred to as Activity Providers or learning record providers. Examples of Activity providers include (but not limited to):

  • Mobile apps
  • VR/AR simulators
  • LMSs
  • Videos
  • Games
  • Articles, webpages, or entire websites
  • An eLearning course

LRSs offer you unique abilities to create detailed eLearning analytics. This is because you can capture any data on any learning experience regardless of where and in what format it takes place. Traditional eLearning specifications, such as SCORM, can only store single data points, such as a completed study or the final score of a test.

The LRS, on the other hand, records a statement structure that gives you multiple data points to report against. You can pull reports on multiple combinations of “Actor,” “verb,” and “object.” By gathering data about all learning experiences, you can accurately evaluate the impact of your organization’s training resources to determine which tools and methods are most effective.

However, an LRS strictly designed to the xAPI specification may not feature a built-in reporting capability. Therefore, you may have to provide a way of accessing the LRS data and create a system for data reporting.

LMS vs. LRS

Take note not to confuse the Learning Management System and the Learning Record Store. The features of an LRS make it sound like it does the same things as an LMS. Your LRS will likely replace and exceed the reporting and analytics capability of your LMS. However, there are still many other functions of the LMS that are not featured in an LRS. As such, LRS is not a replacement for your LMS and vice versa.

Functions of an LRS:

The major difference between the two is that an LRS is designed to receive, track, and store xAPI statements.

Functions of an LMS:

On the flip side, LMS manages all your company’s learning needs, tracking and reporting statements through its native reporting features. You can also forward data from an LMS also allows you to your LRS server if you need to.

  • Manage course content
  • Manage users
  • Schedule events
  • Send reports
  • Use Certifications
  • Deliver course content

Choosing the Right LRS for Your Organization

Choosing an LRS to track the effectiveness of your learning programs (and learners’ performance) is a critical step. You need to consider some key factors to help you choose and implement the right LRS system. Here are a few factors you should consider to help you choose a suitable LRS system for your organization.

Functionality: Whereas most LRS systems have the same basic functionality (storing and retrieving xAPI statements), they are customized for interfacing with various external systems and often have built-in reporting, analytics, and visualization functions that may vary in features. If you choose a system not optimized for your organization, you may end up wasting your company’s money and time for learners and administrators.

Durability: Another important factor when choosing an LRS system is durability. This is the question of whether the system will keep up with the market so it remains available and consistent with periodic upgrades and maintenances. This is critical so as to account for evolutionary changes in the IT environment in which LRS operates. You should also consider whether the system will easily incorporate revisions to the xAPI in the future.

Scalability: As with learning platforms, LRSs should be chosen with consideration for scalability and extensibility and how they will fit your organization’s overall architecture. To determine an LRS system’s extensibility, consider focusing on systems’ modularity and how you can customize the LRS services to meet the learners’ changing needs. When thinking about scalability, evaluate your organization’s growth patterns and projections to determine whether or not an LRS meets the potential volume demands (due to growth) for your organization.

Business System Integration: According to Brandon-Hall’s 2011 survey, enterprise integration is the most critical requirement for businesses seeking to migrate to a new LMS. But this applies to LRSs as well, more so in terms of the ability of the xAPI to correlate learning behavior data (captured in an LRS) with work performance data (captured in non-learning systems).

Other essential factors to consider include:

  • LRS conformance testing
  • Security and reliability
  • Level of expertise required, among others.

LRS Cost and Pricing Models

Different LRS vendors have different pricing models depending on a wide range of factors, and it may be difficult to compare prices between vendors. Have a look at these basic categories of pricing models to help you make an informed decision.

  • Seat-based model: This model uses the number of learners/employees in your organization or the maximum possible number of users who will ever write statements to the LRS. Usually, there are tiers – for instance, up to 10,000 users, up to 20,000 users. However, this model may run into problems with extranet users (other users besides the employees).
  • Analyst based model:This model is a slight variation of the seat-based model. The difference is that it uses the number of people who need to analyze or maintain the system’s data rather than the number of learners who may send statements to it. This system is priced according to the number of users in each tier. Each tier often at least includes system administrators and owners and is differentiated by permissions/privileges.
  • Usage-based pricing models: This pricing model is based on the number of xAPI statements sent to the LRS per month. It is particularly useful when you anticipate LRS usage surges due to seasonal cycles, new product releases, and such. In case your company minimally uses an LRS system except in specific short periods, it is more economical to pay per use for the time used than paying for a tier of seats.
  • Capability-based: In this model, the pricing is based on system capability rather than usage or seats. For example, this model’s base-level product can be a simple/pure LRS without any analytics. The mid-level tier can integrate reports and external business intelligence. The highest tier can entail features like sign-on and interactive, real-time analytics. The capability pricing model can also be used together with any of the pricing models mentioned above.

How Knowledge Anywhere Can Help

At Knowledge Anywhere, it is our job to help you achieve your training goals faster. Ours is an innovative alternative to the traditional Learning Management System. It’s a superior training platform that allows you to seamlessly manage, organize and assign your online or in-person training all under one roof.

While we do not have a full LRS, Knowledge Anywhere has made conscious steps to integrate LRS capabilities into our LMS platform. With this in mind, we’ve been working on supporting the storage of data in an LRS, which will in-turn open up other integration and analytics opportunities.

For any information about eLearning, whether it be about a Learning Record Store, Learning Management System, SCORM Conversion tool, Learning Content Distribution System, Custom Course Development, or Virtual Reality Training, contact us today!

https://www.knowledgeanywhere.com/resources/article-detail/learning-record-store-lrs-guide-basics-you-need-to-know

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How To Start A Successful Podcast (Step By Step Guide)

eLearning Learning How To Start A Successful Podcast (Step By Step Guide)

A step by step guide to help you start a successful podcast to build your audience, and share your passion and expertise with the world

If you’re looking to showcase your expertise or build your professional profile, starting a podcast can be an effective means.

While podcasts have been around for almost two decades, in the past five years they’ve truly hit their stride.

That’s partly due to emerging software that has made the process easier, but also because of a growing audience’s insatiable appetite for exciting, innovative, and informative content.

As of March 2021, there were 1.9 million podcasts circulating on the internet via platforms like Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and more, with 47 million episodes available. This shows just how popular podcasting is.

Meanwhile, statistics indicate podcast listenership has more than doubled since 2016, with 77.9 million people in the US alone listening to a podcast at least once a week.

But how can you capitalize on this trend and start your own? Well, let’s walk through the process of how to start a podcast.

Contents

The benefits of podcasting

Podcasting is a great way to build your audience and expertise, allowing you to be seen online and become more searchable.

Depending on the guests you bring in, it also allows you to build networks and become more referable.

In the interim, podcasting ensures you are seen on new and fresh platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or SoundClound.

On a more personal level, podcasting allows you to forge a deeper connection with your audience as you become part of their day.

Perhaps the best thing about podcasts is that your audience can tune in at their leisure – whether that’s driving to work, in the evening, or while they’re completing otherwise mundane tasks.

So, let’s get started…

Related: How To Make Money Podcasting

Podcast planning

Pick a topic

Chances are you already have a topic for your podcast in mind, but it’s important to consider your potential audience as part of the planning process.

Ask yourself, who will this type of content appeal to, and why? This will help you shape the format of your podcast and may also help you attract sponsors.

The topic you select should be related to something you are passionate about, have insight into, or are looking to understand more about.

This means topics can be based on anything – from your hobbies, to your business sector, to your professional expertise, and more.

The role of the host

As the podcast host, your role is to share other people’s stories or educate your market, but you might also opt to include a co-host as well.

If that’s the case then great, but you will need to ensure you are on the same page when it comes to the direction each podcast will take, and that may require planning.

Meanwhile, as the host, you have a couple of hats to wear. Obviously, the first is to lead the conversation and this requires planning in order to create a flow to go from one destination to another as part of an episode that connects with your audience.

In addition to leading the conversation in each episode, the podcast host is also the face of the podcast and the person people are looking out for on iTunes or Spotify.

Choose a name

Selecting the right name for your podcast may take time. The title should be short, recognizable and align with your brand and the topics you’re likely to cover.

Ultimately this name is what people will subscribe to and follow on the podcast listening platform of their choice.

To assist, here are some tips:

  •         Keep it short.
  •         Search for any possible competition or names that might be confused with your podcast.
  •         Don’t make it obscure (it should be easy to search and readily recognisable).
  •         Consider how it would look as a graphic in your podcast artwork.
  •         Try to come up with something that aligns with your business, your brand and the topics you are likely to discuss.

Show format

When it comes to podcasting, there are different types of formats, and depending on your topic, some styles might suit better than others.

Podcast styles include:

  •         Interview podcasts: These podcasts feature a single host who interviews individuals within a particular industry or as part of a topic theme.
  •         Scripted non-fiction: Typically, these are serial-style podcasts that have a single theme for a full season.
  •         News recap: A format that summarizes the news within a specific industry.
  •         Educational podcasts: Scripted non-fiction that focuses on teaching their audience.
  •         Scripted fiction: These podcasts are similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced.

Planning your podcast tips

Planning and preparation is key to success and connecting to your audience.

Define your podcast purpose and goals – Who is your audience, what are their interests, which topics are likely to appeal to them, and what length will your podcast likely be (15 mins, 30-45 mins, an hour)?

Don’t forget to be crystal clear on your personal goals for your podcast. Ask yourself, is the aim of your podcast to:

  •         Generate leads for a business.
  •         Be recognized as a leader in an industry.
  •         Share an important message.
  •         Have fun.
  •         Tell Stories.
  •         Educate.

Make a copy of our Podcast Planning board to help you with your planning process

Preparation

Create Cover Art

Like a logo, your podcast cover art is a differentiator between you and other content. Your cover art should reflect the tone, feel, and brand of your podcast, and be readily recognizable as this is the artwork that listeners will identify your podcast with.

You can have a graphic designer create your cover art. Alternatively, you can utilize tools such as Canva, or outsource your cover art to a freelancer on a service like Fiverr or Upwork.

Get a professional Intro

A professional introduction isn’t a necessity but is worth considering.

Comprising a voice-over and music, it introduces the podcast and its theme. Again, this acts as a readily recognizable feature of your podcast and should reflect the tone and topics of your production.

A voice-over introduction also helps shift listeners into the right mindset for your podcast while identifying to new audience members what your show is all about.

If you have sponsors, the introduction is a great way of highlighting that sponsorship by including who the podcast is brought to listeners by.

There are some great services available for podcast intro voiceovers, including affordable options like Fiverr, Upwork etc.

Choose Intro Music

Diving straight into your podcast is a little bit jarring, which is why most podcasts feature introductory music.

If you are considering using music, ensure it isn’t licensed and can be utilized for the purposes of a podcast.

You could have theme music specifically created for your podcast or opt for an existing tune. Importantly, this theme music should also fit with the tone and content of your podcast.

Setting up your recording space

Obsessing over sound quality should never prevent you from actually launching your show and getting episodes out there.

Content and consistency are definitely more important than your actual audio. However, that’s not to say the sound of your show isn’t important – far from it.

As your podcast grows and matures you will start to strive for a more professional sound, and that’s where your home recording studio becomes pretty important. It’s not all about what mic you use or the set-up of your recording studio.

Sound proofing, or sound treatment?

Firstly, it’s worth clarifying something that many podcasters tend to get confused over.

There’s a big difference between sound ‘proofing’ and sound ‘treatment’.

To ‘soundproof’ a room means you are isolating it from any unwanted external noise elsewhere in the building.

There’s a misconception that by putting up some foam acoustic tiles on a wall that you’re ‘soundproofing’ the room. But that isn’t going to have any impact on noise bleeding through from outside.

To ‘sound treat’ a room means you are going to improve the way sound sounds within that room. So why might you want to do that?

Acoustics and reverb

Buying a top of the range microphone is all well and good, but if you’re recording your show down a well or in a cave, it’s still going to sound bad.

Excessive reverb or echo on your voice can make your show sound amateurish. A room with a lot of hard and bare surfaces will have your voice bouncing around like a pinball machine.

On the other hand, a room with a lot of soft and furnished surfaces will prevent that from happening. Think of the way your voice sounds in the bathroom, compared to in the bedroom.

Finding the best sounding room or area in your house is a great starting point if it isn’t possible to create a dedicated podcasting space. For most people, improvisation is key…

Improvising

There are numerous reasons why you might not be able to dedicate an entire room to becoming a podcast studio. Whether you share the house with your family or flatmates, or you simply don’t have the space, a permanent setup isn’t an option for everyone.

So what are the alternative options?

  1.   Use a pre-existing area – This might simply be the best sounding (softest furnished) room in your house, or it might be a walk-in wardrobe full of hanging clothes
  2.   Localised treatment – Instead of worrying about the sound of the room, create a small ‘studio’ around yourself and your mic. This might be anything from popping your mic into a cat bed, to draping a doona over a clothes rack

Whatever setup you put together though, just make sure it’s comfortable enough to actually record a full podcast episode with!

Semi-Permanent Setups

If you’ve got a bit more room in your house, you can set up a recording studio that can still be used for other non-audio-related purposes.

You can buy or make sound-treated baffling boards or partitions on stands. These can be set up to form a mini ‘dead room’ around your recording area, and can be tidied away afterward – though you’ll still need a reasonable amount of room to store them.

Another option is to use acoustic blankets or curtains which can be hung on rails or hooks.

External/Internal Noise Considerations

Are any of the walls of the room external or joined to your neighbor’s house? Does your neighbor tend to play the drums, watch the television at a high volume, or have a dog that never stops barking?

If the bulk of unwanted noise comes from outside, then you might get away with blocking up the window. But if the building has paper thin walls that bleed sound, then you’d probably be better off just recording in your car, or even outside.

Get a microphone

A quality microphone is a bit of a podcasting necessity but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. The most important factors to look for include usability, sound quality, and suitability.

For example, if you’re likely to be recording on the run, a dual lapel mic might be best. If you’re always in your studio, a bigger model might be better.

It also pays to consider what you will be using your microphone with. For example, if you’re recording via smartphone or tablet, a 3.5mm input will be best.

If you’re using a computer, then a simple plug-n-play USB input will fit the bill. And if you’re super serious about podcasting, you might wish to consider an XLR microphone that requires additional hardware in the form of an audio interface or mixer to connect to your computer.

The biggest tip is to do your research on what microphone might work best within your budget, and keep in mind that you can always upgrade your equipment should your podcast prove an outstanding success.

Podcast Guests

You may or may not wish to have guests on your podcast.

If you do, the role of the guest is to bring knowledge, some expertise or to have a following that they bring with them to expand your podcast reach.

When considering potential guests for your podcast, assess the following:

  •         Look for fit first – to ensure their ideas and expertise suit your audience and are interesting to your listeners
  •         Following – Do they have a following? Are they considered experts in their field and will they bring new listeners to the table to expand your podcast’s reach?
  •         Make it easy – It’s important to make it easy for guests throughout the podcasting process. So that means making it easy for them to turn up (through tools like booking calendars)

You should also ensure they are comfortable by providing topics and information about what to expect.

  •         Use readily available tools – In addition to making bookings and preparation easy, you should also make it simple for the guest to actually attend the podcast recording. For example, supply Zoom links for the interview
  •         Give them the spotlight – Be sure to allow your guests to share their knowledge and engage with the audience through a conversation between the host and the guest
  •         Encourage sharing – Podcasting is all about audience reach. So, you should encourage your guests to share your podcast. You can do this by supplying them with the recorded audio, and with easy to share artwork, social tiles and podcast links
  •         Thank your guests – Let people know where they can find the guest and then share the podcast

We have example guest releases and checklists you can use in the Ps of Podcasting.

Sponsors

You may or you may not choose to use sponsors for your podcast, or that might be something you consider when your podcast has built an audience following.

The sponsor’s role is to pay for placement. They might sponsor your show, to have a placement in the show, or sponsor an episode.

You might need to find and approach them and offer your audience profile, listening numbers, and then outline the benefits of what’s in it for them.

Alternatively, they might come to you, or they may be among your listeners.

The other way sponsors may come to you is through your posts. Their role is to pay to be heard, or pay to be mentioned.

If you’re considering a podcast sponsor, you should find someone who fits with your podcast, will work with you and who is relevant to your audience. It needs to be a win-win relationship.

Recording and editing

Now you’ve got your studio set up, your microphone on hand and your podcast planned out, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of recording.

But first, you need to turn your attention to a couple of technical matters, including whether or not you require an audio editor, which platform will host your podcast, and any other software involved.

Audio editing

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, it will need editing. The editing process stitches together things like your introductory voice-over, theme music, then the actual content of that specific podcast, whether it’s an interview style or a monologue.

This audio process also allows you to smooth out issues like filler words (so, you know, um, ah, well) and repeated words.

When it comes to audio editing there are two main options: outsourcing to an editor or DIY software.

Outsourcing your audio editing

In today’s gig economy there are plenty of companies and freelancers who specialize in audio editing. Just make sure you receive an example of their work first and you are clear on the price involved.

Audio editing software

If you’re keen to try your hand at editing yourself or are looking for a budget-friendly option, there are also a host of software solutions on offer.

For example, Alitu is software that automates the process, balancing your audio, reducing background noise, and converting your files.

Meanwhile, there’s also readily available options like Garageband (for Mac and Apple), which also happens to be free.

Launch!

With the technical side of things taken care of, you’re almost up to the exciting bit where you officially launch your podcast and upload that first episode.

But first there are a few extra items to take care of.

Choose your podcast hosting platform

Your podcast needs to be stored somewhere so that it can be accessed by listeners. Akin to website hosting, your podcast hosting platform will then connect with podcast search engines like Shopify and Apple Podcasts.

Things to look for in your podcast hosting service include storage, usability, and analytics. Many will also offer website plugins so that you can publish your podcast to your own website and the platform will take care of the podcast upload and sharing from there.

There are over 100 podcast hosting services currently available, but some of the top ones include:

Upload Your First Episode

With any luck you’ve picked a podcast hosting platform that allows uploading to be simple. The service should facilitate the quick upload of an MP3 file and it will take care of the rest.

Then you will also need to enter the episode title, description, summary, publish date, and episode number.

As a tip, it’s a great idea to create your podcast description in advance in a text document, then just copy and paste it across as part of each episode upload.

Another great tip is to launch with more than one episode available, so people can listen to a couple of your podcasts should they want to hear more.

Submit to Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Google Podcasts

After you’ve published your first episode, you can begin submitting it to the big names of the podcasting world such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The process involved is similar for each, but goes like this:

  1. Copy the RSS link of your podcast from your hosting platform (it’s a simple URL)
  2. Submit it to the podcast directories where you want your show to appear (Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts are the most popular)
  3. Once you’ve copied the RSS link for the first episode, you won’t need to do so again. Each new episode will automatically be picked up from your feed
  4. Be patient. It can take a while for that first episode to appear (up to a couple of weeks), but after that, each show should appear within a day
  5. Each time you publish an episode, the description you have entered into your hosting platform should also automatically transfer across

Spread the word

Once you’ve launched your podcast, you are going to want to tell people about it, and you can do this on the social media channels of your choice, and on your existing website.

You should also reach out to your email contact list to advise them of your podcast launch.

Don’t forget to include the link to your podcast on socials and in emails, so people can simply click and listen.

Related: How To Get Interviewed On Top Podcasts In Your Industry (Complete Guide)

Recommended steps (after starting a podcast)

Now your podcast is up and running, the attention turns to growing your audience and value adding. You also want to ensure your podcast is easy to access, easy to digest, and perhaps offers key takeaways or insights in the form of show notes.

Create a website

If you are not posting your podcast to an existing website, you may wish to create a site or set up an additional one where all the information about your podcast lives.

This site will feature information about the podcast and information about you, along with the episodes for people to listen to and perhaps even episode guides and key takeaways.

Get transcriptions

Transcribing each episode is a great way to convert the conversation within a podcast into a usable and easily accessible form.

There are a number of free options that allow you to transcribe audio into written text, but if you’re looking for a great solution that enables you to listen and edit both text and media at the same time, Descript is a solid place to start.

Bear in mind, few transcription services are 100 percent accurate, but they are getting better and better.

You will probably have to clean up any transcription a little to ensure the correct words are reflected and local spellings of things like place names are right.

Once you have this transcript, you can use it in a host of different ways, for example:

  •         Post the whole transcript along with the episode
  •         Create show notes from it
  •         Find the best quotes, and convert them to memes to promote your podcast on social media
  •         Create a blog post from the episode

Create show notes

Show notes allow people to gain information from your podcast at a glance. They reflect the key takeaways of the episode and might also then delve a little deeper into what was said so people have an action guide and steps they can take next.

You might also wish to include any links and resources mentioned in your podcast within your show notes.

Embed your episode

You should ensure your episode is available to listen to easily on your site, and that might involve embedding it as part of your show notes or within a blog post.

Embedding is simply a way of grabbing the content you want from a third-party site and then having it display in its original form on your own.

The process is also simple. Just right click on the podcast in Apple Podcast, Spotify etc, copy the embed code and then paste that where you want it as an embed code on your site.

Final tips and takeaways

Starting a podcast is a great way of showcasing your expertise and building an audience. It’s also a hugely popular form of content that people can listen to wherever they are.

If you are planning to start a podcast with a view to building following, it’s important you:

  •         Turn up regularly, so people get to know, like and trust you
  •         Remember as the host, your role is to inspire, engage and connect
  •         Don’t let perfection get in the way of starting out, you can hone the finer points as your podcast grows

Deep dive with me into each of these steps and more  in the P’s of Podcasting Course built here right on Thinkific!

https://www.thinkific.com/blog/how-to-start-a-podcast/

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