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February 22, 2005

The Dummies* Guide to Podcasting

After being constantly harassed to explain podcasting to friends and others I'd figured I could write a post explaining the concept and include instructions and links to everything to get started. Therefore, here is my Dummies Guide To Podcasting.

A Podcast or Blogcast is an audio file which is most likely in talk show format and has a RSS Feed that you can subscribe to with a podcast-aware new aggregator.

"Podcasts differ from traditional internet audio in two important ways. In the past, listeners have had to either tune in to web radio on a schedule, or they have had to actively download individual files from webpages. Podcasts are more flexible and much easier to get. They can be listened to at any time because a copy is on the listener's computer or portable music player, and they are automatically delivered to subscribers, so no active downloading is required." - Wikipedia.

You don't necessarily have to subscribe to Podcasts to listen to them as most podcasters make it easy for you to download the podcasts from their web sites. However subscribing does make it easier as you'll always get the latest edition delivered right to your computer and your Portable Digital Music Player.

Yes, I said, "Portable Digital Music Player" and not "iPod." Despite Podcast's name you don't specifically need an iPod as any MP3 player will work. Apple, Creative, iRiver, RCA,Rio, Samsung, and others offer models in almost every price range.

To subscribe to Podcasts you will need to have a podcast-aware news aggregator that can read RSS 2.0 feeds with enclosures. The aggregator will automatically deliver the audio files from your subscribed feeds to your music library and your Portable Digital Music Player. There are many aggregators that can do this.

For Windows, I personally recommend Doppler Radio. On OS X, you can try any one of these, and for Linux, jPodder.

Once you have selected, downloaded, and installed the aggregator you should check it's settings to make sure it is properly set up to save your downloaded podcasts to a folder location you approve and also import them to your preferred media player (iTunes, Windows Media Player, MusicMatch, WinAMP, etc) that you use to sync your MP3 collection on your computer with your Portable Digital Music Player.

If you are using Doppler Radio there are a few somewhat hidden settings you might wish to use. Open the "Options" under "Tools" in the menu. Then click on the "Default feed settings" tab and the "Tags" tab. Enter "Podcast" for Genre. This will change the genre on all downloaded podcasts to "Podcast" making sorting and creating play lists for your Podcasts much easier. You can also adjust other tags such as the Album and Artist and use smart tags to replace the default values.

If you're using Apple iTunes and an iPod be sure to click on the "File Types" and "Edit" each of all the various types to "Add to Apple iTunes" and "Convert to .M4B format." With the M4B format it converts the podcast to audio book format which allows you to pause the podcast at any point, play something else, and automatically resume at the point you paused at, at a later time. A very cool and useful feature!

Take a few moments to browse the other "Default feed settings" as some might appeal to you. But I should warn you to avoid enabling the "Space Savers" "...by size on disk" or "number of files in folder!"

Now that you configured the aggregator you can begin subscribing to podcasts. Subscribing works differently in most aggregators so you should refer to the documentation but most work by either clicking on the feed, dragging the feed to the aggregator, or copying and pasting the feed's link into an add feed form within the aggregator.

PodcastAlley.com and iPodder.org catalog all available podcasts and provide a direct link to each podcast's RSS Feed so you can easily subscribe to the shows that interest you.

Some of the podcast I listen to are:
2600: Off The Hook and Off The Wall RSS 2.0 Feed
Bag and Baggage Podcast RSS 2.0 Feed
Chris Pirillo Show RSS 2.0 Feed
Corante EventLab RSS 2.0 Feed
Engadget Podcast RSS 2.0 Feed
Gillmor Gang RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: O'Reilly Media Emerging Technology Conference RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Larry's World RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Law and IT RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Security RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Sound Policy RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: True Voice RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Tech Nation RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Web 2.0 RSS 2.0 Feed
IT Conversations: Web Talk RSS 2.0 Feed
Leo Laporte's KFI Airchecks RSS 2.0 Feed
Laporte Report Audio Edition RSS 2.0 Feed
MAKE Magazine Podcast RSS 2.0 Feed
Open Source Sex Ed RSS 2.0 Feed
This Week In Tech RSS 2.0 Feed
WGBH Morning Stories RSS 2.0 Feed

*I wouldn't dare call any of my friends dummies. I'm using the term to describe this dumbed down guide. wink.gif

Posted in Computing & Tech News , Podcasts & iPods , Software & Downloads by usrbingeek at 2005-02-22 19:46 ET (GMT-5) | 0 Comments | Permalink



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