An overview of how audio began to be implemented on this site.
Several people in the congregation use the Visor Deluxe PDA from Handspring, so I am familiar with it. Though that model is no longer available, there are other models that use the same "springboard" expansion modules, which are capable of digitally recording sound WAVs.
I decided to use the Total Recall digital voice recorder module. Set at medium quality, it records for over an hour, which is long enough for recording sermons. Newer recorders have since been introduced with more memory, but they may not support an external lapel mike.
The features that were important to me were:
1. Sufficient sound quality of Sound WAVs.
2. Support of an external microphone (a clip on mike that was in stock at Radio Shack).
3. Easy transfer of the the sound WAVs to my PC.
(In 2009 we have started using an Olympus Digital Voice Recorder with 50 times the storage for 25% the price...)
I had problems editing the captured sound WAVs using freeware downloaded from ZDNet and C/Net Download.com, so I bought a package. All the freeware I tried edits only 16 bit files, and I have 8 bit.
I went to Comp-USA and spoke with a salesperson who suggested "Audio Cleaning Lab" from Magix as a relatively inexpensive and simple package. It allows me to chop off the beginning and end of the file, optimize for speech and save with compression. I know that there are many other features of this package, but these were the functions I needed to prepare for the internet.
FYI - I tried saving with formats other than WAV, but the WAV file seemed to work the best and is easily played with windows media player.
(With the new recorder in 2009 we are using 16bit mono WMA files that take about 4MB for 30 minutes of recording.)
First, I made the files play in the background of the sermon outline page. The background process automatically starts playing the sound after the page opens. However I decided on a different approach as the page loads very slowly. Also, because it is streaming in the background, there is no way to back up and replay a section.
At this point, I have put speakers on the Sermon Outlines pages with audio. The speakers hyperlink to a new window. The file can then be saved to disk or opened from the current location, which allows streaming.
(In 2009 we are embedding the media player into the display page, which entails less linking.)
I think that this process is the best implementation as it allows the sermon outline to load quickly and remain on the screen while Windows Media Player (or some other player) streams the file.