Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

Close encounters of the Guardian podcast kind

dsc_0339Someone mentioned to me about Guardian’s Close Encounter podcast series. I subscribed today and pretty much listened to the whole thing this morning and part of the afternoon. Funny enough I didn’t even have breakfast, just a some pre-packed breadsticks from last nights dinner (somebody will know what I mean, when they read this).

The podcast series is quite amazing, which is surprising because the guardian tech podcast isn’t exactly great) But I found refreshing to hear such adult talk, after the warnings at the start of each podcast. The content is certainly #nsfw (not safe for work), but I was playing it out loud in my flat. Like when I was at Futurefest earlier in the year, I certainly felt like I was listening to something so very honest, human and authentic.

Some of the topics might shock some but there’s nothing wrong with getting out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

Great work by the Guardian and I look forward to the next season. Certainly another jewel in podcasting as a medium not turning your back on.

Dyslexia, creativity and diversity

The advert that caused controversy, asking for dyslexic people

I am a subscriber to the codpast which is a excellent podcast about dyslexia and dyspraixa. Almost every episode is great and I started going through the back catalogue a while ago. There are some suprises like how I kind of warmed to Peter Stringfellow (I never thought I ever would).

But the most recent one really got me rewinding once I finished in the shower (I tend to listen to podcasts in the morning while getting ready for work)

Creativity is often seen as the preserve of artists, musicians and writers, but Chris Arnold, founder of ad agency The Garage, sees creativity as an essential aptitude needed to make it in the world of business.

With dyslexia and creativity tightly linked, Chris put his money where his mouth is and courted controversy when he posted a job ad stating, ‘Only dyslexics need apply’!

 

I wish there was a transcript but its such a great listen…

What do I make of the advert? Well the word “Should” makes all the difference in my mind. If they said they would “only” accept dyslexic people that would be rightly breaking equality law. The law which is setup to help.

 

Podcast’s 3rd era?

Myself and Chris were walking back from Sunday roast dinner, and we got talking about Podcasting. The current media darling is a thing called Serial.

I have always maintained that podcasting is different from radio and part of the confusion (as such) is radio shows using podcast distribution to deliver content. Most of the professional stuff is radio shows using podcasting distribution, which is a real shame. I remember my cry out for more British podcasts even.

…there were not enough amateur British Podcasts. I know theres the BBC podcasts and the Guardian podcasts which both have got a lot of success in this area but theres nothing like TwiT or Revision3’s series of video podcasts

Now of course that was 4 years ago and things have shifted. Chris pointed out the raff of amateur to professional media on youtube. But the big question remained…  what is the difference between a podcast and radio show?

Well I struggled to remember the arguments about podcasting when the BBC first did its podcast trial, to replay back at Chris. The verge video reminded me exactly what the point I should have made more clearly.

Its not about production, its about depth! I eluded to it but never actually said depth. With Radio you need to be broad, with podcasts you can be so niche it hurts.

Talking of niche audiences and podcasting, we launched the Lovegrumps podcast this weekend. Lovegrumps is like Techgrumps but about love, sex and relationships. Audio  only and wondering if audioboo, mixcloud or soundcloud might be better places to put the podcast?

If this is the 3rd era of podcasting, then its certainly time to evolve… Expect intro music and other production stuff next time.

Oh by the way, the verge are wrong. Perceptive Radio is clearly the future of radio… Just imagine what could be done with Perceptive Podcasts!

Official Perceptive Radio photo

LoveGrumps?

geeky and sexy logo...

You may have heard or subscribed to Techgrumps in the past, and we are thinking about bringing that back. However there’s an appetite to do a version of techgrumps for love, sex and relationships.

Think geeks talk sexy crossed with Techgrumps with discussion and ranting. I think the pick up artist will be the main theme of this first podcast.

To kick it off, we are recording this Sunday evening/night maybe on Hangouts. If you are interested in taking part, get in touch with me or tommorris on twitter.

Geek and Geekhag Podcast 13 – Race and interracial stereotypes

Me and Sarah did a podcast last night about some comments on her blog recently.The post was about race and interracial stereotypes and centres around a piece in the guardian over a year ago (march 2005). Now someones called werdz has decided to write a comment and get back at Sarahs comments on the original guardian article. Sarah felt it best to reply by a podcast.

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ASCII vs Binary

Ben Metcalfe writes in response to Brad Templeton's post.

At the blogger panel at Fall VON … Vlogger and blip.tv advocate Dina Kaplan asked bloggers to start vlogging. Its started a minor debate.

My take? Please dont.

Ive written before on what I call the reader-friendly vs. writer-friendly dichotomy. My thesis is that media make choices about where to be on that spectrum, though ideal technology reduces the compromises

Brad actually goes on to advocate podcasting as an acceptable format as it can be listened to whilst jogging, etc. I think hes correct to a degree – podcasting is certainly easier to consume than video/vlogging as it is a multitaskable medium (unlike blogging too). However its still binary – it still requires you to consume at a pace decided by the producer and its far harder to index and search through. Unless it contains a meta-wrapper, there is also no hyperlinking which is arguably one of the greatest keys to the world-wide-webs success.
Its for this reason that Ive been sceptical as to the long-term success of podcasting as an informational medium. And this scepticism certainly extends to vlogging.

My take is that ascii is great but you know what, how bland would the world be if people couldn't express themselves in any form they feel most comfitable? See Ben is taking the reciever (user) point of view and I think thats fine for a lot of people. Even myself, I blog more that I podcast or videocast because I like hyperlinking. But it would be wrong for me to expect everyone to do the same. If podcasting works for you, hey go for it. Yes think about your audience you certainly need to balance that with your own creativity. So in the end I do agree with Ben's final point.

However I think most people would agree that we need to produce work in the format thats right for the content at hand, and for the end consumer whos going to consume it. For the moment at least, I think most people still use the blogosphere more for informational use than they do entertainment and as such that needs to be considered when youre about to produce your next blog/podcast/vlog

Ideally binary searching, scanning, deconstruction would be as easy as acsii but its not at the moment. I think this is mainly a limitation of the tools and services out there. The service and tool creators blame the lack of standards. So the question is where is the microformats of the media? I would have suggested Mpeg4 could have been but its got so screwed up who knows.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number four – Mum its about the White boxes

My and Sarah's four podcasts now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

British geek and his American geekhag wife talk about geeky stuff like explaining podcasting to your mum, online identity, owning your personal online data, Blojsom for dummies, folksonomy.

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The next geekdinner will be with Paul Boag

Paul Boag

The next geekdinner will be next month on Thursday 23rd Feb and our guest for the night will be Paul Boag of the popular podcast Boagworld. The Boagworld podcast is aimed at those who are responsible for an organisation's website and would like practial advice on what they should or could be doing to improve the current site. Paul himself is a well established web designer usability/accessibility specialist and is a founder partner of Headscape which practice Webstandards when ever possible.

The venue has changed once again, this time were at the Polar Bear which is just a stone throw away from Leicester Square. The venue is larger than the one in Covent Garden, and a nicer cleaner deco. I'm also expecting the food will not run out like last time and at only 5 pound per head expect a more rounded buffet with food for vegetarians as well as meat eaters. There will also at long last be a PA system with Microphone for the guest and the Question and Answers session which follows. I'm also able to play what ever music I like at what ever level I like. So if anyones interested I can maybe put there ipod on shuffle mode and play it during the night at a low level.

As always expect a post on Geekdinner.co.uk soon and its been listed on Eventful and Upcoming.

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Syncing podcasts and videos between machines

synctoy folder pairs

Slowly I've been adopting the use of FireANT for my podcasts and vlogs (video blogs?) downloads. I'm still mainly using Azereus with the RSS plugin for its TV RSS method which has saved me a lot of time and effort downloading TV shows and the like. It was very good today, finding Lost ep5 seeding without any human interaction on my behalf.

Anyhow, I have FireANT running on both my laptop and main workstation. They both use the same OPML file from Bloglines which means they both download the same media! This is not ideal and bandwidth killing as you can imagine, specially when you get some of the larger Channel9 videos downloading. So I was looking around and found Microsoft's synctoy.

Now although this Sync toy isnt as powerful as Rsync on the unix platforms its actually quite neat and has all the modes needed for full syncing.

  • Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
  • Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
  • Subscribe: Updated files on the right are copied to the left if the file name already exists on the left.
  • Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.
  • Combine: New and updated files are copied both ways. Nothing happens to renamed and deleted files

You can also Schedule it using the standards Windows Scheduler, Preview a sync, use UNC paths, sync deep folders (perfect for backup) and tell it to move files to the recycle bin instead of deleting them.

So with all this in mind, I've setup Fireant to download and for Synctoy to sync across to my laptop before it downloads on my laptop. This seems to work, because the stupid file names are at least unique across all Fireants. I've been trying to convince the people behind Fireant that the human readable podcast download names are unique enough to do the same thing, but its still a on going debate. If the human readable filenames were in place, I could then sync files to my storage card, pocketpc, mobile phone and laptop without human interaction. Using filetype filtering in synctoy, its possible to sync audio files to the phone while videos files go to the pocketpc. Hey and if Fireant used human readable filenames and Synctoy regular expressions the limits would be endless.

fireant and synctoy working together

So in summary,

Microsoft's Synctoy should be renamed Synctool and should add regular expressions to the filetype filering. I'm also hoping syncing to the PocketPC's storage card will be a option soon and there certainly should be a option to divert sync if the removeable storage card is not in place.

Fireant can keep its sync option but should give people the option to automaticly save as human readable filenames.

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Podcasts I’ve heard this week

Damm you Evil Genius, that's exactly what I was going to say on my blog…

mention three shows from IT Conversations, two I loved and one I hated. The two I loved:

One was Jason Fried of 37signals giving a talk about the lessons learned building Basecamp. I agree with a lot of the philosophy about doing things cheap, avoiding the pressures of VC money, iterating often, etc. It sounds like all the good stuff of agile development without the woowoo bits of extreme programming that make me itchy.

The other was Doc Searls who talked to Sig Solares, the guy who kept his data center in New Orleans going through the hurricane and flood. It was fascinating on a technical level and horrifying on a human one.

The one I hated was the Larry Magid interview with George Gilder. I've heard multiple podcasts with Gilder recently and he strikes me as one of those pundits that people pay attention to but I'm not exactly sure why. Even though I overlap with his opinions on many points (citizen media being a big one), I find listening to him highly annoying. Mostly, his depth of criticism seems to consist of making up goofily insulting nicknames for the things he doesn't agree with, like “fool cells.” Thank you, Deep Thought. His shallow dismissals for spurious reasons some technologies makes me nervous when I hear him high on technologies I am also high on. It makes me think that maybe I'm actually wrong, if I'm on the same side as him on that point. I heard him on the Gillmor Gang a few weeks ago and had a similar reaction to that.

I would also add that George sounded so sure of himself and ever so arrogant in the interview with Larry, and it was pretty much the same with the Gillmor Gang too. I'm off the guy and I've only heard him talk twice, maybe not the best thing to admit if I ever meet him but thats how I feel right now.

Jason from 37signals was breathtaking to hear, when I started listening I was thinking oh no not another sells type pitch. But before long I was listening hard and really taking in some of the things he was saying. Really worth the time to hear this podcast I would say.

On a related topic, I'm deeply considering building a special feed for all the recommended podcasts I hear. I was trying some new social podcasting service (cant remember the url right now) which claims to do just that but fails because it assumes all podcast feeds are attached to one person. So subscribing IT conversations really screwed things up. No I'm considering using listal.com or something else to say yes I recommend this single podcast. The idea would be that if I recommend a couple a week, it would slowly build up to a highly recommeded best of what i'm hearing type feed.
On how I do this, I've got a few thoughts. I could just setup another del.icio.us account and only post urls to rich media or I could add a special tag which I identify as this is a recommended podcast. I would then take either of the feeds and using xsl transform it into another podcast feed. I know I could use something like feedburner to do this, but I really want to just bookmark it and know it will end up in the other feed without any more human intervention. I was also considering doing a cross check with my audioscrobbler/last.fm feed to get more data.
Natrually any feed I would generate, I would also process into xhtml so it can appear on the side bar of the site. Which would be more useful than just copying my recently listened to audioscrobbler list as it does currently. It would be great if Itunes actually had a easily accessable xml based api which I could get into. Then I would be tempted to use the itunes rating system to rate podcasts.
I'm sure Steve Gillmor would also find such a API useful to get feedback on IT conversation programming. I'm currently I do go to the site and vote for some stuff, but not even 20% of what I actually listen to. If the vote system was de-coupled into itunes or my RSS aggregator I would vote on everything I heard. Its a bit like the Digg problem really. To actually digg a story you have to go to the site. There's seems to be not trackback or simple restful url I can send the data too at the moment. There's certainly a gap in the market for audioscrobbler plugins to send rating data to its self, which could actually give a little more focus on the podcasting listenership figures. I'm actually sure someones thought of this too, but I guess the differences between rating systems in windows mediaplayer, itunes and whatever else makes things difficult, but not impossible.

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