I picked up a Griffin Powermate last week on a whim. It is a usb connected solidly built alluminum control knob. You can press and turn it to trigger events. It also has a blue LED light for giving status feedback. It can work on Mac and Windows.
It comes with a number of default actions for controlling applications like iTunes, Safari etc. You can add your own and even trigger scripts with it. Griffin provides some apple script samples with the software for the powermate. These can do things like place the led into a triple flash alert mode.
I took the supplied scripts and saved them in a Scripts subfolder on my mac. Then I setup a new Control group for podcasting. You can only choose one active set per powermate at a time. Yes you can connect multiple powermates if you really want. I then found and added the applescripts for controlling skype that I found over at Mystic Coders. Next I put together triggers to toggle muting both an active skype call and the input audio level for my Mac. This way if I am on Skype with someone and they are recording I can mute for coughs, interuptions etc. I have the action also zero out then restore the input audio level as well. That solves muting my mic if I am the one doing the recording.
Setting up the Triggers
For the Trigger: Mic-Mute: Under Advanced I check to match light state for “Default” This only runs the below actions if the light is in the default state. This keeps it from running twice once we change the light state while muted.
Action: InputVolume-0: AppleScript: set volume input volume 0
Action: Skype-MuteON: AppleScript: run the skype mute script from Mystic Coders
Action: PM-LightPulse: AppleScript: run the Griffin provded script: AlertX3.scpt
For the Trigger: Mic-UnMute: Under Advanced I check to match light state for “Alert x3” This only runs the below actions if the light is in the alert state as defined in the Griffin script. This keeps it from running twice once we change the light state while unmuted.
Action: InputVolume-72: AppleScript: set volume input volume 72
Action: Skype-MuteOFF: AppleScript: run the skype unmute script from Mystic Coders
Action: Clear Light State
That does it. Now when I go to record a podcast I flip my active control set for my powermate to my Podcast set. Press the knob to mute and again to unmute. It flashes while muted to ensure I know I am muted to save me from talking for several minutes without getting it recorded.