Archive for the 'Podcasting' Tag

Gervais, Podcast

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

So what’s more significant – that “podcast” has been declared 2005 Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, or that Ricky Gervais has started podcasting?

“Podcast” is certainly my word of the year, since it has kept me in food and cigarettes, but I still have to explain it to anyone foolish enough to ask.

However, for the wider world of podcasting, at least from a UK perspective, having Ricky Gervais podcasting is going to attract a lot more attention (with any luck, anyway). I’ve yet to listen to his show, so I’ll check it out later. I’ve heard mixed reports.

I look forward to the day when I don’t have to explain podcasting. But my mother understands it. Sort of.

Podcast Expo ’05 Unravelled

Friday, November 25th, 2005

I know I’ve written about my time at the Podcast Expo, who I met, etc, but haven’t really written about the conference itself and now it’s almost two weeks since it started. I’ve been wanting to write about it for some time but have had trouble reaching conclusions. I wondered whether this was because I didn’t go as a podcaster and maybe that gives me a different perspective, but yesterday it occurred to me that if I wrote about it anyway I might make more sense of it all.

First of all, when the conference was conceived last year it was about portable media in general (hence the title Portable Media Expo). Show organiser Tim Bourquin thought podcasting would have a place there, but wasn’t sure how big podcasting would become. Understandable really, since I don’t think anyone would have believed how much podcasting has grown since iTunes 4.9. And so you had this hybrid conference of maverick podcasters on the one hand and big corps and business types on the other. Take the first two consecutive keynotes of Jason Calacanis (Weblogs, Inc) and Leo Laporte – you had Jason talking about monetising podcasts, the “long-tail” and all this speak and Leo talking about doing a great show, building listenership and being creative. Both agreed that content was king and that was about it.

A similar story the next day with Angel Gambino from MTV UK and Doug Kaye from IT Conversations. Angel spoke mostly about providing made-for-mobile MTV content created for 18 – 24 year olds to mobile phones and Doug Kaye was, of course, talking about all the free content available from IT Conversations, public radio, etc and the spirit of podcasting itself. In contrast to Doug’s enthusiasm and vision thing it was mentioned that Angel firstly seemed neither tuned into podcasts nor appeared to believe in the content her network was pumping down the retinas of that narrow age group. The contrast of these two colliding worlds was striking and this was repeated throughout the two days.

It actually seemed at times that the best fun and some of the most informative stuff was to be had on the sidelines. People I met and spoke to at the various gatherings (not the big names) constantly surprised me with their involvement in podcasting or purpose for being at the show. These were not just podcasters, but developers, educationalists and small businesses. Lots of creativity yet to come.

Music was another hot topic that sparked many a heated debate about the use of podsafe music, whether short clips of music or film can be utilised under “fair use” and what the future might hold there. Some people raved about the Podsafe Music Network, others hated it. So again, some people claimed to have some if not all the answers, others disagree and you get the feeling this will all come out in the wash. One thing I think everyone enjoyed was the Podsafe Music Concert organized by CC Chapman and Craig Patchett. I missed Chance and only caught Brother Love, but that was cool and a great way to kick off the event.

In addition to the Expo itself, a whole other world seemed to be happening within the gravitational pull of PodShow Inc. Adam Curry still hasn’t said much about their “unaudition” on the Daily Source Code, but he did say lots in an interview with Madge Weinstein on Yeast Radio 263, recorded at the show. In essence, PodShow are to open up their delivery network to anyone who wants to use it and listeners are going to vote for podcasts so those podcasters can quit their day jobs and do podcasting full time, as with the existing PodSquad. But PodShow isn’t the only organisation to watch. Doug Kaye’s IT Conversations has plenty of interesting things in store, including the Podcast Academy.

One thing I was curious to discover (but found elusive) at the show were the problems that podcasters were facing that could be solved with technology. In that, yes, a lot of the aspects of podcasting could be easier, and by easier I mean more integrated, but to do that you need to provide the whole deal – that’s quite difficult, expensive and probably not to everyone’s tastes. Yahoo seems to be doing something in that direction and there was much talk (but no detail) of Apple trademarking iPodcast but nobody knows what this is or when it might appear. I can’t help but think that an iLife app that creates podcasts, feeds, etc isn’t going to hit the mark with everybody, or even anybody who isn’t a beginner. Apple apps tend to be tied into .Mac, which has very limited bandwidth along with other issues, and of course this could be limited to Mac users with .Mac accounts.

If anything, the technology problems relate mostly to a) how to cope with increased bandwidth (see the shutdown of and b) the problems with making a podcast pay, if only for itself, or whether to even go down that route. There are some ideas out there such as Audible’s WordCast, currently in a closed beta. This uses Audible’s file format, complete with DRM, with ways to measure audiences, sell content, deliver ads, etc. Most people I spoke to didn’t seem particularly impressed by this because the feeling was that it breaks all the existing things that makes podcasting so cool, accessible and open to all, something which PodShow at least seems to understand (not that everyone was all that hot on PodShow, as you can imagine).

Overall there was a great buzz at the show, it felt like something fresh, new and big was going on, but there was a lot of uncertainty about the future – not necessarily bad, quite exciting really, but there is so much we simply don’t yet know.

And that’s the conclusion: Podcasting has arrived and is here to stay, but everything else is still up in the air. The next year should be really interesting, I think the best is yet to come. 😀

After the Expo

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

I had a great time at the Expo, met lots of people including some of the big names in podcasting. Far too many to mention, in fact, but for some shameless name dropping how about Adam Curry, Madge Weinstein, Dawn and Drew (and Moongirl), CC Chapman, Adam Christianson, Paul Figgiani, Swoopy, Soccergirl, Eric Rice, Michael Geoghagen, Brother Love, Michael Butler, oh the list goes on and on!

It wasn’t just podcasters and Madge’s stylists at the Expo, I seemed to bump into journalists, listeners, business-types and other developers. I also did lunch with Podcast Maker developers Andy and Jin from Potion Factory – thanks to them for making that happen!

Anyway, there are tons of photo from the Expo on Flickr, check ’em out here.

Podcast Expo

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

The other day I mentioned that I’ll be attending the Portable Media Expo and Podcast Conference (aka Podcast Expo) this week. I’ll arrive in Ontario on Thursday evening, will be attending some of the sessions, meeting people and briefly reacquainting myself with something called “sunshine” (enough about the weather already! – Ed.).

On Saturday I’ll be doing a quick demo of Feeder during Paul Figgiani’s “Podcasting and Advanced Post Production on the Macintosh Platform” session (6A). For the demo I’ll be showing a development build of Feeder 1.3 – due out next month – and this will be the first time these new features will see the light of day – not unlike the developer. 😀

Paul, who does audio production for IT Conversations in addition to The.Point Podcast, will also be presenting a session, “Audio Gear for Any Budget” for IT Conversations’ The Podcast Academy Live the day before the Expo begins. If you are attending the Expo and arrive in Ontario the day before, you’ll find a day filled with compelling sessions from some extremely well-known and respected presenters at that event – check it out.

I’ll try to blog as I go along, but I expect to be insanely busy, so that might have to come afterwards. Also it’s unlikely I’ll be answering emails on Thursday or Sunday / Monday, because I’ll be in transit and time zones are funky.

iTunes RSS Specification Update

Monday, November 7th, 2005

There has been some discussion on Apple’s Syndication Dev mailing list lately about an update to the iTunes RSS specification, available in the mailing list archives and FAQ.

The specification includes some new tags, changes to the namespace location and clarification on other items, and while it still needs some improvement it’s another step in the right direction and a much bigger one than the last time. It also includes useful information on iTunes submission timescales, missing image problems and tips on how to get your podcast featured on the iTunes Music Store.

All this sounds great, but I wouldn’t have known about the updated spec to ask to see it, had I not heard Madge Weinstein ranting about it in an excerpt from her show played on the Daily Source Code. We’d been promised a look at this new spec on the mailing lists, and this spec, dated October 20th, didn’t appear until requested. Anyway, thanks Madge!

The spec has not yet officially replaced the one dated 7/7/2005 but the functionality is live in iTunes and Sam Ruby has updated FeedValidator accordingly, which is great because FeedValidator practically runs Feeder’s support “department”. The changes are hardly major or screaming urgent; Feeder will be updated in due course.