On the length of RSS feeds


My friend in Prague, Václav Navrátil, wrote to me:

Hi Michael,

that is very difficult to say. RSS was designated as a way for syndication of content (I don’t know if you remember the big disputes few years back if RSS Feed should contain Full article or just the Lead paragraph), but Podcast RSS in fact Atom is the main way of publishing of the podcast and I think it should include all the episodes.

Some podcasts need to be ordered from the oldest to the newest (books), some from the newest to the oldest (Freedom Feeens) and some just need to publish last three episodes (weather forecast).

To support my argument, imagine a user which finds your podcast on some Podcast catalog, iTunes for example… The user has no chance easily (few clicks on their device) get the rest of the podcast to their device and to the podcast playing software. It is an inconvenience so big that it will discourage most of the users from listening to the older episodes.

RSS was designate to bring people on your site to consume the content there. Podcasts are consumed elsewhere. The feeds should reflect that. And it doesn’t bring any significant extra cost.

You are an experienced podcaster and I’m only a theorist which might be missing some important part of the riddle but this is how I see it.


P. S.: I don’t want to start any pod beef over pod feed. 😉


I replied toVáclav:
My choice is based on the opinion of my friend Evo Terra, who wrote the book “Podcasting for Dummies.” He knows more about Podcasting than anyone I know.

One issue is that some podcatchers will not download and process an RSS feed that is over 250 k. The Feens one is currently 237 k, if I included all episodes, it would be about a meg.

I’ll ask Evo if that limit has changed with time, and what his current opinion of it is. My feeling is that if someone wants all the episodes, they can grab them fairly easily from FreedomFeens.cz.



I wrote Evo and asked him:

Hey Evo,
I know you used to recommend that a pod feed only contain like ten episodes. Has that change with time and advances in throughput and memory capacity?
Also, I know it used to be that some podcatchers would not download and process an RSS feed that was over 250 k, is that still the case, and if so, which podcatchers?
Thank you!
Evo wrote back:
Technically, there is no length restrictions described in the RSS 2.0 spec document.
512K is the max file that Feedburner can handle, so there’s a practical limit. And some catchers may have an issue with very large files, but iTunes seems to be OK with it.
I haven’t had an active personal podcast for the last couple of years, Michael. But when I did, I kept the feed to 20 episodes and always included full show notes.



Make Your Own Liberty Radio Station for $250


(This is the old post. Left for historical reference only. AMany of the links have changed., go here for new post: https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=716 )

Guest blog post by Cash Newmann

I’ve seen a lot of posts on FM micro-transmitter systems, but they’re all lacking in this detail or that. For instance, a lot will say “make sure you’re using a low-pass filter”, but then don’t say how, or where to set it up in your gear chain, or specifically what adapters you need. I made this post to fill a void. This post includes details of ALL parts needed, links on where to order them, and how to set them up and configure them, as well as a lot of related information based on experience.

how to set up a radio station SCHEMATIC (not to scale) THAT SHOWS HOW TO SET IT ALL UP (click to enlarge)


I’ve experimented with the transmitters below, so this is from first-hand experience. But I did it on a boat, 200 miles from shore, in international waters. I do not own any of this gear, I sold it to some church folk at a gun show after I was done testing it. And I am not currently transmitting from my house or anywhere else. I’m just passing on information, in a theoretical capacity, for educational purposes only. Nothing here is legal advice, I am not a lawyer. I take no responsibility for anything you do or anything that happens as a result of doing anything listed below. ALL OF THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT DO ANYTHING SHOWN HERE.


Continue reading “Make Your Own Liberty Radio Station for $250”

How to take phone calls on a live Internet or radio show


Screaming Into Phone

Neema Vedadi and I do the Freedom Feens Live show. It streams live over the Internet, is on Ku-band free-to-air satellite radio throughout North America, and is on a couple of FM stations in New Hampshire. We have been doing a non-live podcast weekly for a year, but added the live show last week. It’s Sunday from 5-7 PM East Coast Time, and you can listen live, HERE.

Neema and I talk to each other and also wire into the New Hampshire servers with the program Mumble. Info on how to use and configure Mumble is HERE. We also record the show for our archives via Mumble. Mumble has a red button on it to bring up the recording interface:

Recording In Mumble

Mumble puts the WAV files of the recording in your MyDocuments folder by default.

I talked to a friend who works at a radio station that has people call in. He told me the model number of the rack mount unit they use for callers. I looked it up, the units start at 900 dollars, and quickly go up in price from there.

Neema and I came up with a last ditch effort, and it WORKED. It not only worked, but worked well. Here’s a short MP3 if you wanna listen to our test. It’s Neema and I talking via Mumble, with my wife calling in on her cell phone from another room, and the whole thing was recorded by Mumble’s record feature.

Here’s how we did it: We got a Skype-To-Go phone number (a paid Skype number, 18 dollars for three months). A Skype-To-Go number is an actual ten-digit phone number that people can call in to from a cell phone or land line, but you receive it on your computer with Skype. You can even get a custom number in any state and almost any country for no extra charge, if you can find a number that’s not taken for the area code you want. I couldn’t find one that spells anything, so I simply got one in my area code that’s easy to remember.

I set up Skype on a second computer (not the one we’re using Mumble on, we tried that and it didn’t work). I used a small inexpensive netbook that doesn’t have a whole lot of processing power and it worked fine. I plugged both computers into my mixer. The Mumble computer connects via USB, and the Skype netbook connects via audio outputs. We use Skype with audio only, no video, for better bandwidth and audio quality.

Here are closeups of how I hooked the Skype computer up to the mixer (click image to enlarge):

skype to mixer setup

Here’s a pulled-back photo showing my mixer settings:

skype podcast mixer settings

One thing that’s hard to see is the buttons above the bottom right master volumes. The “2 Track To Mix” button is off (not pressed in). The “2 Track to Control Room” and “Mix Track to Control Room” are both on (pressed in).

IMPORTANT: If you don’t have an output on your mixer called “Control Room Out” (Or “Ctrl Room Out”), make sure that wherever you plug that plug is a LINE output, not a speaker or headphone output. Otherwise, at best, you’ll get horrible audio. And at worst, you’ll fry your Skype computer’s sound card.

My condenser microphone is going into channel 2 via XLR. The Skype computer’s audio out is going into channel 7 via a 1/8″ mono male jack with an adapter to a short 1/4″ mono male cable. Control Room Out is going back into the audio input of the Skype computer via a short 1/4″ mono male cable connected to a 1/8″ mono male jack. I’m listening to everything on headphones.

Here’s a sort of blurry photo of the whole setup:

three computers for live internet netcasting

The full-size laptop on the far left is running Mumble. The smaller netbook laptop to the right of that is running Skype. The mixer is just below the netbook. The large desktop computer on the far right is not connected to the mixer and is not doing any audio function, it’s on for Internet research during the show. (You could do this whole setup without the third computer if you didn’t need to do Internet research live.)

Neema, the other host on the podcast, is in a different state, using one computer to connect to me and New Hampshire via Mumble.

The people calling in only need a phone, not a computer. Though they could also call in via free Skype anywhere in the world, without a phone and without it costing them anything.

I have to accept the call via Skype when the person calls in, and disconnect when they’re done, using the mouse on the Netbook.

Please also see my related post, Mumble for encrypted Skype-like conversations. Also, read this article on how we do our uber-high-fidelity Wednesday non-live double-ender podcasts.
–Michael W. Dean



Mumble for encrypted Skype-like conversations


I’ve recently discovered a program called “Mumble” that’s great for chatting with friends. It’s like Skype, but more secure (according to everything I’ve read), and has much higher audio quality than Skype. It was invented by computer gamers so they can talk in groups while gaming across the miles.

Neema and I use Mumble for doing our live call-in radio show, since we’re in different states, and the satellite transmitter/streaming system is in a third state.

Download Mumble, HERE. (Click on the blue thing that says “Mumble Client”, not the red thing that says “SOFTWARE UPDATE REQUIRED”). Pick your operating system.

Install Mumble. Plug your microphone/headset into the computer, then go through the audio setup wizard.

Then open up Configure/Settings, and change things to these settings:

best mumble audio and network settings

mumble setup for best audio, 2

mumble setup for best audio, 3

The only thing I’d recommend maybe doing differently is in the first screenshot, under Compression, where I have a Quality setting of 91 kb/sec….That’s because I live in Wyoming and my DSL is not the fastest. If you live in a big city with really fast DSL, set it all the way over to the right. If you have DSL that’s even slower than in Wyoming, set it a little lower than 91 kb/sec.

When click Server/Connect, you’ll get a list of servers, by country. Pick an empty server in your country (you can tell it’s empty if there are no numbers under “Users”). When you log on a server, you may get a a notification that says “this server certificate has expired, do you want to connect anyway?” Go ahead and connect.

You can log in and jump on to an empty server to test it out with a friend, but if the person who owns the server comes on, be polite and leave. What I did is set up my own server by clicking on the green “create a mumble server” link on the main Mumble page. It’s 4 dollars a month for up to ten users at a time (great for people who work in teams across the miles), and you can password protect it.

You can even record from within Mumble. Mumble has a red button on it to bring up the recording interface:

Recording In Mumble

Mumble puts the WAV files of the recording in your MyDocuments folder by default.

Please read my related article, How to take phone calls on a live Internet or radio show.


–Michael W. Dean

Changing the Tube on an ART MP USB Tube Preamp


(Watch full screen at 720 P for best audio for the before and after tests.) Changing the Tube on the inexpensive ART MP USB Tube Preamp gives a MUCH better sound. But it’s hard to figure out how to open the case, and it’s easy to damage things while doing so. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it, easily and without breaking anything. Also included here are audio comparisons of before and after replacing the tube.

Get the ART MP USB Tube pre-amp

Get the Tung-sol replacement tube

Microphone: The Nady RSM-4 is apparently discontinued, but the Nady RSM-5 is very similar sonically and not much more expensive


Here are the settings I use on the Pre-Amp, left to right on the front panel. These are a good place to start, but different mics will require different settings:

GAIN knob: 36 db
Gain: in
Impedance: out
Filter: in
Phantom: out (for ribbon mics and dynamic mics. Should be In for Condenser mics. Condenser mics will also require much lower gain settings)
Limit: in
Phase: out
OUTPUT knob: 1 db

In addition, I did a little bit of sound fluffing on both the before and after samples, same on both of them. It looks like a lot, but it’s subtle. The sound before doing this sounds largely the same, but I can tell the difference, and this is what I do always on my podcasting audio anyway. I take the sound recorded out of the pre-amp (recorded via USB into my computer on SoundForge), and bring it into Sony Vegas. I add a little bit of EQ:

EQ in Vegas for Ribbon Mic

And a tiny bit of Track Noise Gate:

Track Noise Gate in Sony Vegas for ribbon mic

and a tiny bit of Track Compression:

track compression in sony Vegas for nady ribbon mic

Then I render it out, bring it back into SoundForge, and normalize:

Before normalizing in SoundForge

Normalizing in SoundForge

After normalizing in SoundForge

That’s how I’m getting amazing podcast audio these days. Enjoy!

If you’re recording singing instead of talking, use the “music” setting for normalizing in SoundForge instead of the “Speech” setting.

Video and tutorial is by Michael W. Dean of FREEDOM FEENS Podcast – Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi’s fun ‘n’ feisty weekly chat about Constitutional, libertarian, voluntaryist, minarchist and anarchist issues, abuse of authority by police, the War on Drugs, self-defense, States’ Rights, Natural Rights, Austrian Economics, DIY art, low-budget filmmaking, digital recording, activism, punk rock, hip-hop and more.

Now with streaming audio for mobile: