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Online Lesson FAQ

Mike offers his mandolin lessons online for folks around the globe (litterally!). The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding online lessons with Mike. If you would like to sign up, or have further questions, feel free to drop him a line at taterbugmusic [at] gmail [dot] com
  1. What all do I need to participate?
    • You'll need a computer (Mac or PC), a broadband connection (DSL, Cable), a web camera with a built-in microphone, an AIM or .Mac username (or Skype or SightSpeed account) and a Paypal account
  2. Which application should I use?
    • PC users should use AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and Mac users should use iChat (Apple's chat software). You can download AIM here and download iChat here. Please note, AIM "Triton" does not currently work well for lessons and should be avoided. AIM version 5.9x is the version you'll want to download. Google Chat or Skype can also be used.
  3. Can I get a free screen name for AIM or iChat?
    • AOL offers free screen names that can be used for AIM or iChat. This is only a screen name and NOT an AOL account. If you're a .Mac subscriber, you can choose to use your .Mac username.
  4. What's Mike's screen/buddy name?
    • Mikes buddy name is taterbuglessons and is an AIM account. iChat users will need to select AIM from the "Account Type" pulldown when adding Mike to your buddy list. On Skype and/or SightSpeed his username is taterbugmusic.
  5. Is my PC supported by AIM?
  6. Is my Mac supported?
  7. I'm a bit confused... where can I get a little help setting up AIM and adding buddies to my list?
  8. How do I pay mike?
    • Mike accepts payments using Paypal.
  9. What web cameras can I use?
    • Any camera that works with AIM or iChat should work but we have found the Logitech Webcam C210 works well for AIM and the iSight works very well for iChat.
  10. How can I get the best audio and video quality out of my camera?
    • Web cameras require a lot of light to look their best. Underlit images will look excessively grainy. Turn on all the lights in the room to their highest setting. It's almost impossible to have too much light (that is not a wager ;) ). Try placing the camera about one to two feet away from you and your mandolin. This should allow for a respectable audio signal without distorting the built-in mic.
  11. Could Mike eat a bowl of peanuts bigger than his head?
    • He likes to think he could...