Apr 27 2009
The last couple months have seen a lot of buzz generated over a new trend
in communicating on the internet, called PodCasting.
You may have heard some geeks talking about it. The New York Times has even
article on it. But what is this internet phenom (besides a word that rhymes
Essentially, podcasting is a new way to combine RSS and MP3 files with iTunes
and a little program in the middle to bring you fresh new content every time
you sync your iPod. This new media was cooked up by none other than Userland
Frontier’s Dave Winer and former MTV
VJ and internet entrepreneur Adam Curry.
It’s not hard to podcast – basically all you need is a Mac and a mic. But this
week we’ll focus on the receiving end of the process, which some are calling “podcatching”.
(In case you’re wondering how this is FREEloader Friday… all the content
we’re about to go after is… FREE!)
For example, we do a weekly show, in MP3, and upload it to the website. Of
course you could click on a link on the website and listen to it in your browser,
or download it manually. But, we use Macs. We like our Macs to do stuff for
us. So, to really take advantage of Podcasting, get yourself one of the iPodder
clients linked below (for Mac, but also for Windows and Linux), and add in
some of the RSS feeds below for the Podcast. Then, when we publish a new show,
your iPodder Client will automatically download the MP3 and add it to your
iTunes in its own playlist, so you will have it ready in your iPod the next
morning. (If you don’t have an iPod, why not? But of course you can listen
in iTunes too!)
The iPodder clients are what does the heavy lifting here. An iPodder is an RSS
Reader that’s media-saavy. There are a lot of iPodder Clients popping
up. In fact, even though this is only about a 2-month old technology, some
of the clients are already at version 2.0. They’re evolving very quickly.
And thet’re not limited to MP3 files, by the way — it can also
get any kind of media file in the RSS embed tag: QuickTime, MPEG, even BitTorrents!
We know. You’re asking, “Wizards, now that I am interested, how do I find podcasts?”
Well, besides finding them on your favorite websites or at the other sites
in this article, there are a few websites that list popular podcasts for you
to peruse at your leisure. And soon, you’ll see podcast directories built-in
to iPodder applications, just the way RSS feed listings are built into newsreaders
(more on that in a second). You can find everything from talk to music and
everything in between.
A great place to start is iPodder.org’s original directory of podcasts at http://www.ipodder.org/directory/4/podcasts,
then head over to http://audio.weblogs.com/ where
you can check out the hundred most recent podcasts and listen to them without
having to subscribe. There’s also a growing directory at http://www.podcast.net/. Subscribe,
take a listen, and decide for yourself. Besides being a great forum for tech
talk, political talk, and rants on every subject under the sun, indie bands
have found it to be a great distribution method. Check out http:/www.indiefeed.com/.
Or perhaps, you would like to hear a tech show in Spanish http://www.informediario.com/comunicando.html,
or learn a little more about Krishna at http://www.dentonharekrishna.org/prabhupada-casts/.
Of course, this wouldn’t be Freeloader Friday without a great Shareware program
to help you find your podcasts. The Wizards are big fans of iPodderX,
which can just run in the background and bring in all your podcast subscriptions.
It’s really easy to use. Just find an RSS feed for the podcast you’d like and
copy the URL. Then open iPodderX, click the ADD button, paste in the URL, set
any custom options you would like, and off you go! If you have a broadband
connection, go to preferences, and tell iPodderX to Check for Updates automatically.
The next thing that will happen is that you will start to see playlists added
to your iTunes. The playlists will be named according to the names of the Podcasts,
and the shows will be in the playlists. Next time you sync your iPod, you’ll
have all the podcast-y goodness right there with you!
A tip from the Wizards: if you subscribe to a lot of Podcasts, you’re going
to end up with a lot of playlists and files… We create a “meta-playlist”
that is a Smart Playlist, and adds in the names of the other podcast playlists.
This lets you see all your podcast files at once.
Then, if you want to know what you can delete – shows you’ve listened to -
it’s easy to create another Smart Playlist that picks out the shows with a
playcount greater than 1.
So, where is this going to go next? No one knows. But the guys over at iPodderX
have an awesome idea. The next version of iPodderX will have the podcast directory
built into it. We were lucky enough to get a beta of it, and it’s awesome.
Since the iPodder directories are in OPML, it’s easy for them to add it in,
plus suggest recent and favorite podcasts as well.
Here’s a list of Podcasts we enjoy. Right-click or control click to copy the
URL to your iPodder client.
- The Wizards of Technology Weekly (OK, we’re a little biased here)
- Adam Curry: The Daily Source Code
(Adam’s a Mac guy, and wrote the first-ever
iPodder program in AppleScript!)
- The Inside Mac Show
“The FIRST and ONLY Macintosh Radio program available
- The Dawn and Drew Show
- Reel Reviews
- Leo Laporte’s KFI Radio Show
The Laporte Report
- Dave Winer’s Scripting News:
You name it….it is all there just waiting for you! Remember, the content
of these podcasts are at the discretion of their podcaster. They are free to
use any language and behavior they deem fun.
If you have podcasting, or podcatching questions, we’ll be happy to answer
them for you. Email us at email@example.com,
and we’ll try to answer it in the next show. If you’re interested in making
your own podcast, let Rick here at MacMerc.com know, and we can do a story
on how we produce our show, and what we’ve learned along the way.
About the Wizards of Technology:
Their website wizardsoftechnology.com,