The bioinformatics chat open mic
What is this?
This is an opportunity to promote your research (or any other message) on the podcast.
How does it work?
You record an audio clip and send it to me.
Once I have a few of these clips, I paste them together and release just like any other podcast episode.
What are the requirements?
There are two main rules:
- It must be relevant for the podcast audience.
- The audio quality must be decent.
For the duration, the rough guideline is 5–10 minutes, but it could be shorter or longer.
The subject doesn’t have to be bioinformatics per se—it could be in an adjacent area such as biology, statistics etc. Just be sure to include enough background so that people outside your field can understand it.
You can advertise something (e.g. an open position) as part of your message.
I envision that most submissions will be people talking about their work, but other types of messages could be appropriate too. If in doubt, contact me.
How do I record?
You record the clip yourself—at home/office/lab or in a studio if you can get one.
Be sure to introduce yourself at the beginning of your clip.
To get a good audio quality, you have to take care of two things: the environment and the microphone.
The environment needs to be quiet (no external noise) and have as little reverb (echo) as possible. Prefer a room with soft furniture and carpets. Putting some pillows and blankets in front of you (behind the microphone) also helps reduce the reverb.
As for the microphone, sometimes a built-in microphone in your smartphone or laptop can give decent results, but it’s much better to use a gaming headset or an external (e.g. USB) microphone if you have one (or ask your friends/colleagues if they do).
A few tips on using the microphone correctly:
- You should stay pretty close to the microphone—about a fist away. If you are using a built-in mic in a laptop or phone, you need to figure out where exactly the microphone is located and be close to that side.
- Say “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” into the microphone and
listen back to the recording. If you hear a tiny explosion (called a “pop”)
every time you say the P sound, you need to do one of the following things:
- If you are using an external microphone, consider getting a pop filter or a windscreen.
- If you are using a headset, adjust the microphone arm such that the microphone piece is not directly in front of your mouth but somewhat lower.
- For any type of microphone, you can position the mic so that it’s not on the path of the air leaving your mouth but is somewhat to the side of it. The mic itself still should be facing towards you, even though you’re not facing directly towards it.
- If you are using an external microphone, you need to find out which side of it you should speak into. Some mics are “front address” and some are “side address”. In addition, if your mic is side address, you need to find out which side you should be speaking into. Don’t assume—read the manual or search on the internet for the correct way to use your microphone.
- If your external microphone has different polar patterns (in which case there would be a switch somewhere on the mic’s body), it is very important to put it into the cardioid polar pattern. Some popular microphones that have adjustable polar patterns are Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball.
- If your microphone is set to record at high volume (more accurately called gain), the sound may “clip”, causing an audible distortion of your voice. If you experience this, turn down the microphone volume/gain.
If in doubt, record a short (20 seconds) audio sample and send it to me before you record your full clip. You can even record a few samples in different conditions/with different mics, and I’ll tell you which one works better.
Should I edit my clip before sending?
You don’t have to, but you may (if you know what you are doing).
If you do content edits, make sure they are not noticeable.
How do I send an audio clip/sample?
Never send audio files as e-mail attachments.
Instead, create a link using a cloud storage provider (such as Dropbox or Google Drive) and send it to email@example.com. You can also use WeTransfer, which doesn’t require creating an account.
The email body should contain the following things (which will be included in the show notes for the episode):
- Your name
- How to hyperlink your name (e.g. a personal website or a twitter profile)
- Some kind of title for your clip
- Any relevant links (to preprints, github repos etc.) If you want to link to a paywalled paper, please also provide a way for people without access to read it (an author’s link, a preprint etc.)