Use the hardware you have right now, and some free software on the Web, to make your first podcast.
If you don’t have an internal microphone in your computer, you will need to get a microphone. Microphone solutions are available for all budgets. [Hack #12] covers the basics of sound input, and [Hack #13] will help you pick out the right microphone for your budget.
Once you have the sound input device covered, the next step is to download Audacity (http://audacity.sf.net/). This is a free application that runs on Macintosh, Windows, and Linux. It can record sound from any source, including the internal microphone on your PC or Macintosh laptop.
With Audacity installed, press the big red Record button and explain what you have in mind for your podcast. The meter bars attached to the window will show you when you are talking too loudly (by hitting the far side of the meter near the 0 mark) or too softly (by registering only slightly as you talk). Click the Stop button to finish the recording. When you are finished, you will have something that looks like Figure 2-1.
Figure 2-1. A recording in Audacity
As the recording is made, your voice is shown as a waveform on the display. Each word you say appears as a little blip in the signal that goes above and below the center line. The louder the word, the taller the blip.
Figure 2-1 shows a short period of silence at ...