Just in the last few weeks, I've stumbled on a new thing called Podcasting. What is Podcasting? Well, in short, it's a movement of techies, who make home-brew or commercial audio content for listening to on iPods (or other MP3 players) in MP3 format.
Taken a step further, Podcasting displays an RSS selection of these home-brewed audio �shows� like an RSS aggregator would � so you listen to audio entries rather than reading them, as is the case with textual weblog entries. Podcasting makes use of an 'enclosures' feature present in RSS 2.0 to achieve this. For current news on what's happening in the Podcasting world, check out iPodder.org.
I believe the new applications being developed for Podcasting go one step further, but letting you copy updated audio feeds to an MP3 player of your choice (I think Pod of Podcasting probably comes from the name iPod).
I've not yet explored any Podcasting applications like iPodder just yet, though I have tried adding some RSS feeds to NetNewsWire 2.0 beta, and it seems to work reasonably well, as v2.0 of NNW has the Safari webkit built in (which lets me grab or play MP3 files quite easily).
One of the best resources of Podcasts is IT Conversations, which Michael Ashby turned me onto about a month ago, for an interview with Ben and Mena Trott of SixApart. Since then, I've discovered many interesting Podcasts of interviews, discussions and presentations, including Steve Wozinak at Gnomedex 4.0 (Part 1 and Part 2), The Gilmor Gang at Gnomedex, talking about Podcasting, an interview with Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome and founder of Gnomedex, an interview with Craig Newmark of Craiglist, and many others. Go have a peek at IT Conversations to see the full listing.
iPodder.org lists available shows for download which is a nice place to start.
For music Podcasts, check out MixOfTheWeek, which puts together an hour of downloadable MP3 of electronica and other music mixes each week.
Another useful resource: Podcasts.org
Wired's Podcasts: New Twist on Net Audio is another good read.
Podcasts: Substance Matters
One interesting observation about Podcasts are, they vary greatly in quality of production and content. I've listened to a few that have been plain boring or misdirected so that I was deterred from continuing. I suppose after hearing IT Conversations' excellent quality Podcasts, my expectations are pretty high.
Another problem are length of shows. I have the feeling a shorter length might be better, unless the topic or discussion is very interesting. If it's just someone rambling on for an hour off the top of their heads, I won't last (unless they are quite interesting). I'd much rather hear variation during the program, or at least good, well organized discussion, if it's topical.
How I Enjoy Podcasts
I'm generally listening to these Podcasts here at the office, while working. It's a nice way to take a break from music, or radio, as I can start and stop as needed (if the phone rings, or when I need to discuss something with a colleague.
However, I'm more excited about the 256MB SD card for my Tungsten E, on which I can carry Podcasts around for mobile listening. I may even burn a CD with favorite Podcasts, for playing on my RioVolt SP250 CD-MP3 player.
I'm contemplating a private Podcast for friends and family, since I've always had a love for audio, talk, music and discussion, but I'll have to think about this. I might consider generating a Podcast that resembles the old mix tapes I used to make, but with a bit more discussion about what's happening here, interviews, etc.
For my far-flung family and many international friends, it could be fun to produce a monthly 1 hour Podcast with talking, interviews with local friends, new music and so forth. I wouldn't want to do more than one per month, because so much is going on here � it would need to be easily created, without tons of technical fiddling, and I'm not quite sure how to do that yet. It's something to experiment with this winter.
Anyway, those are some tidbits and thoughts about Podcasting. It seemed an interesting topic, something other readers here might have interest in. If you know of, or run across some good quality Podcasts, please feel free to leave a comment.