Podcasting

Another case of converging technologies, in this case a development that has pedagogical relevance everywhere that sound is an important medium. The essence is the relatively easy wherewithal to create and distribute content in mp3 format, with the additional step of wrapping that content in RSS, so that feed subscribers have notification (or even automatic download to docked mp3 players).

It's an understatement to say that we're in the early phases of a potential revolution in teaching-learning, since the term "podcasting" only appeared as a word about a month ago, and every day brings new developments. We need to be thinking about how to facilitate experimentation with and support for this emergent technology.

24 October 2004
I've been hearing/reading the word for a couple of weeks, and having no iPod figured that it didn't have a lot to do with me. That might not be true... because it's really an RSS thing more than an iPod-specific thing. It seems to be a sort of do-it-yourself distributable Radio, and the combination of Audacity and the wherewithal provided by Windows looks like it will enable me to assemble audio streams for UNIV203... to be served from ...well, that may be the problem. Could be that they could be on the bloggery server, maybe... Clearly, I need to understand this all a bit better, but I'm beginning to see some interesting possibilities.

Several things have pushed this along a good bit in the last hour or so, starting (surprise surprise...) with a bit of del.icio.us serendipity, via a pointer to podcasting 101:

from http://www.publicradio.org/columns/futuretense/

October 15, 2004
Podcasting as the next big thing

Listen to the Future Tense Interview | How to Listen

Podcasting might be the hottest new thing on the Internet.

A podcast is a talk or music radio show that's sent directly to an iPod or other digital music player through your computer. It's a new take on the growing technology called RSS that pushes text-based Web content to computers. But with podcasting, a listener subscribes to audio feeds. Think of it as Tivo for radio.

Podcasting derives its name from the popular iPod player. So far, it seems to be an outlet mostly for unpolished-sounding bloggers and pirate radio enthusiasts.

But mainstream broadcasters, like news station KOMO in Seattle and Boston public radio station WGBH, are beginning to offer podcasts, and observers see great commercial potential in podcasting.

Guest: Technology industry veteran, blogging pioneer and podcaster Dave Winer

Podcasting links:

iPodder: Podcasting software
Podcasters.org: Podcast feeds, resources
Podcast.net: List of Podcast feeds

Names to keep in mind: onetime MTV person Adam Curry [and his Daily Source Code] and Dave Winer [invented RSS? ...and see Dave Winer's RSS 2.0 Political FAQ ]

The Gillmor Gang October 22, 2004 --an HOUR-LONG show that's really worth your time to download the mp3 and listen to it... with Adam Curry and Dave Winer and several Firesign Theater people... amazing.

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From podcasters.org

Windows setups seem to be easier than Macintosh-based ones. People on the Podcasters mailing list suggest using the 10$ Total Recorder which comes with its own virtual audio device that lets you capture program streams (eg from Winamp), other people use the default Windows audio input mixer that lets you do the same thing. You can watch a video of a podcast recording session by Mark T. VandeWettering of Brainwagon, which explains in detail how to use Audacity and the basic Windows tools to record a podcast.

It'll be interesting to look back on items like These blog-based homemade radio shows are the biggest thing most people haven't heard of yet By SUSAN CARPENTER Los Angeles Times Posted on Mon, Oct. 18, 2004

...and here's the answer to what's my Mackie mixer for?

iPodder "a media aggregator which automatically downloads podcasts to your computer or portable device based on a RSS feed, leaving you 'one-click-away' from latest media feeds."

Receiving a podcast on a PC

How Podcasting Will Save Radio (Posted October 5, 2004) by Tod Maffin

Wired News story, 8 October

Doc Searls on Why podcasting isn't radio

See, radio is live. Podcasting isn't. And the fact that it isn't has an importance that goes beyond the luxury of listening at a time of one's own choosing. See, radio on the Net is highly regulated. And as long as podcasting isn't characterized as radio, it has a better chance of staying clear of that regulation.

prescient comment

by Jean, 6 October What the word processor did for the written word and the digital camera for the photo/moving image, the podcast concept will (finally) do for the spoken word and music. Integration of these three constitutes a paradigm shift in communication and publishing.

Phil Windley on podcasting (appears in Connect Magazine, November)

Adventures in Proto-Podcasting By Christopher Breen

SmartMobs on podcasting

25 October
Chris Perillo on podcasting (30-odd minutes, with a number of voice email responses from geeks --see his blog entry)

WholeWheatRadio as an example... from Talkeetna Alaska.

But how to get to the specific bits of an mp3, if that's what one wants to do? RPXP/web

...is a web clipping service for RealPlayer, Windows Media and Quicktime audio/video streams.
If you know the URL of a stream (e.g. beginning with rtsp or mms), you can construct a human-readable URL that will clip that stream by start and stop times.
This functionality will be merged into the next open-source release of Autometa RPXP, pending improvements and feedback from users of this service.

26 October
Here's an example of a soundfile-rich site: NIH Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) created the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms to help people without scientific backgrounds understand the terms and concepts used in genetic research. Simply click on the term of interest to open a page with a wealth of information, including the term's pronunciation, audio information, images and additional links to related terms. Students, teachers and parents will find the glossary an easy-to-use, always available learning source on genetics.

27 October
How to manage mp3s? How to get at their metadata in a way that makes sense and encourages the user to augment and tag appropriately for later retrieval? The issue is ID3v2 tagging, and these are some solutions:

Tag&Rename 3.1.6 from softpointer.com ($29.95 up)
123Tag freeware

Last 100 podcasts ...sort of del.icio.us for podcasting

New York Times has a podcasting story today [datelined 28 October], under 'Technology'

New Food for IPods: Audio by Subscription
By CYRUS FARIVAR

But som ...While Internet-based recorded audio is not new, podcasting combines audio with an online subscription technology known as R.S.S., or Really Simple Syndication. To keep up with a multitude of Web sites, users can pull together their reading material, or feeds, in one place using software called an R.S.S. reader. In late August, Adam Curry, 40, a former MTV host turned entrepreneur, wrote a program allowing automatic downloads of new audio shows using R.S.S. The shows can be played on a computer or transferred to a portable MP3 player, like an iPod - hence the name.

"That's where the big 'Oh, wow!' factor comes in," Mr. Curry said by phone from his home in Belgium. "Now you just subscribe, and if at some point you don't like it, you just unsubscribe. They've had this stuff out there, but there's no way to get it regularly to make you a listener."...

"I haven't seen this much buzz around a single word since the Internet," said Carl Franklin, 37, who teaches computer programming courses in New London, Conn....

"Your potential audience is the entire world," Mr. Franklin said. "So if you have content that has specialized interests, you can pull in 100,000 listeners. You can sell targeted advertising. You can have a better relationship with your audience and have a big enough audience to justify your existence."...

KOMO in Seattle and WGBH in Boston have taken some of their regular radio shows and made them available as podcasts. Tony Kahn, 59, the producer of "Morning Stories" at WGBH, whose show is available once a week for download as a podcast, said he was amazed at the number of new listeners his show had reached and, in a way, interacted with.

"People are basically passive, and so one voice counts a lot and is deeply respected," Mr. Kahn said. "To know that there are 10,000 people who have downloaded - that, to me, is a huge number in terms of people responding and saying, 'I'm interested in this, and it means something to me.' "

But some poohpooh podcasting: John Dvorak in PC Magazine
Will this podcasting idea take off? It's essentially the newest form of push technology. While moving audio streams over the Net and onto portable devices is not a new idea, podcasting does stand a chance of becoming popular. The first thing that has to happen, though, is for the technology to be wrested from the Macheads and the James Lipton wannabes and given to the Windows-Linux community, where it will do some good. Until then, it's not ready for prime time.

31 October
iPod Killers for Christmas (Richard Menta), now 4 parts...

2 November
It seems pretty obvious, but I haven't seen anybody say it explicitly: podcasts can be "learning objects". D'Arcy Norman came close in a 27 October posting: "Im even toying around with the idea of doing a podcast on learning objects etc" And of course Bryan Alexander is never far behind and often ahead...

3 December
What Is Podcasting and Why Should You Care? (Amy Gahran, 29x 2004)