Podcasting Grab Bag, Oct. 31

I recently started writing about a new way to distribute audio content online called podcasting. Here are some more items related to this emerging field that have caught my interest.

TOP OF THIS LIST: It’s a tie:
Podcasting: Not Ready for Prime Time
(by John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine, Oct. 25) and John C. Dvorak Trashes Podcasting and IT Conversations (by Doug Kaye Blogarithms, Oct. 25).

First, Dvorak gave podcasting a hard time for poor usability. OK, I can see that. Podcasting is currently in its infancy and so it’s kind of a technical hack – not suitable for people who can’t handle anything more involved than point-and-click or plug-and-play (which is, let’s be honest, most people on the net and elsewhere). For that matter, webfeeds are still more geeky than they should be in order to be widely adopted. It’s how the techno-game goes.

Outraged by Dvorak’s review (which highlighted flaws Dvorak perceived in Kaye’s podcast IT Conversations), Kaye responded that Dvorak missed the point. He wrote:

“Podcasting isn’t about the HTML interface. It’s about the RSS feeds and the transparent (i.e., no UI) transfer of audio files directly to players. Did Dvorak use one of the many fine podcatching (receiving) utilities, even one for Windows? No.”

…Ahem… Sorry, guys, but you BOTH missed the point! When it comes to podcasting, IT’S THE CONTENT, STUPID! This new media channel allows more people to have more access to more types of audio content from more sources than ever before, on demand. That’s what matters most. We’ll hash out the technical issues as we go, but for now please don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Read the rest of this list…

  1. Podcast origin, by Adam Curry, iPodder.org, Oct. 31. He writes, “For the record, it was Dannie Gregoire who coined the term Podcasting.” Curry links to this Sept. 16 posting by Gregoire on the Yahoo Group ipodder-dev. I haven’t had time to research this more fully, but if Curry’s right about this, then the term podcasting is currently less than two months old. Amazing, since just now a quick Google search for “podcast” yielded nearly 100K results. That name sure has a lot of momentum, at least among the technophiles.
  2. New Food for IPods: Audio by Subscription, by Cyrus Rarivar, New York Times, Oct. 28. Check this feature out now and Furl it, before it slips into the NYT’s fee-based archives. It’s very basic, but a good introduction for non-techies. Too bad the headline refers to iPod, since you don’t need an iPod to make or receive podcasts.
  3. Dave Winer on the history of podcasting, Scripting News, Oct. 19.
  4. How to “receive” podcasts if you don’t use an iPod, by Howard Greenstein, Oct. 5. That’s right, you don’t need an Apple iPod to make or receive podcasts.
  5. Help for podcast pingers, by Dave Winer, iPodder.org, Oct. 19. This is rather technogeeky, but it’s important. One of the best ways to get the word out about any new podcasts you post online is to make sure they get listed in Winer’s directory audio.weblogs.com. To accomplish this, your podcast must successfully “ping” that directory. Some podcasters have been having trouble with that, so Winer offers some instructions.

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