Podcasting

What is Podcast Video?

A growing trend online is podcast video. While podcasting was originally only
for audio files, more people are beginning to send video, especially with
broadband connections more accessible. To podcast video, content distributors
enclose it in a web syndication file that users can download and view when they
want. Users subscribe to the different files, checking them for updates
regularly, and download the new offers when they become available. Each file is
often referred to as an episode, and may be part of a video blog, or vlog.

Podcast video, and other types of podcasting are thus part of the blogging
revolution. Individuals and groups around the world, with a small investment in
equipment and time, can become content producers. Because it is so simple to use
and cheap to set up, many people are getting involved. They can podcast video
around the world, becoming producers and directors for any small niche they
want to exploit.

Many of these podcasters have small audiences that download their podcast
video, but larger groups are getting involved. News organizations and websites
that serve massive audiences are discovering that podcasting and podcast video
can distribute their content to millions of people easily. These groups have
found that podcasting video is yet another way to distribute their news and
information. Since podcasting is so easy to use, it's likely that even more
people will start using podcast video.

The Podcast for This American Life

The podcast for This American Life allows listeners to download the the shows
and listen to them at their discretion. The This American Life team contracts
with a site called audible.com to distribute the shows to listeners who want to
hear them. Despite calling their offering a podcast, however, it is not, at
least in the normal sense of the word. A podcast refers to an online setup with
an RSS feed that is regularily updated, can be subscribed to, and provides links
to sound or video files that can be downloaded and watched by the subscriber.
Audible.com and This American Life do not offer that. Instead, the show's team
allows audible.com to receive money for allowing listeners to download the
sound files to the computer from audible.com's web site. The only RSS file
involved is one specific to the user which allows that user access to the shows
they are interested in. Even odder than charging for a supposed podcast, the
sound files downloaded are tied to the specific user who downloads them. Unlike
the vast majority of podcasts, which allow the files to be distributed and
redistributed as the end user wishes, without placing limitations on such, the
This American Life podcast restricts the file to a single user.

The podcast for This American Life misses the point of what a podcast is
intended to be, the free distribution of information. The This American Life
team is exploiting the term podcasting, and the credibility and hipness that is
associated with the term in order to boost their own popularity.

On the other hand, the podcast for This American Life may be where the rest of
the industry is headed. Although the technology was first adopted by
independent media groups that enjoyed it because of the low cost of
distribution and the close possible ties to end users, that may change when
podcasting becomes a wider phenomenon. If podcasting is adopted by more
mainstream, corporate entities, the face of podcasting is likely to change to
one where a profit plan is required. Audible.com's plan of forcing users to
subscribe and pay for the feeds they want may be the way the corporate world
decides to latch on to and use podcasting. The advantage of podcasting, direct
distribution of the media files to the user's home computer quickly and easily,
is not lost if the system moves to one revolving around profit.

Regretfully, the podcast for This American Life is probably an example of what
podcasting will be in a few years. As much as locked media files that restrict
distribution may be repugnant to many of the free information activists that
curently dominate podcasting, there is little to stop those who want to use the
system to make a profit from doing so.

What is a Podcast Feed?

A podcast feed is a way of sharing files over the internet. It involves the use
of a small, machine readable file that is regularily updated to reflect changes
in the files available for downloading. The internet addresses of these files
are embedded into the feed file and can be automatically downloaded when
wished. At this time, podcasting tends to refer to the use of feeds to share
only media files. Podcasting originally occured as a way to share audio mp3
files, and has only recently begun incorporating video into podcasts. However,
the technology that allows the files to be shared is not limited to such media
files and there is not reason that other files may be shared via podcast in the
future.

Today, however, a podcast feed tends to refer to the use of a feed to share
media files. Most podcasts are done with audio files, and the individual files
that are created and shared are called episodes. These audio files may contain
a variety of things; there are music, comedy, news, technology, even podcasts
about wine. Podcasting, because of the low entry cost, especially for audio
podcasting allows nearly anyone who believes they have something to say to
broadcast it over the internet. Even more established groups have found that
audio podcasting works well. Some radio stations podcast portions of their
content, sharing it over the internet to allow listeners who missed a specific
show to catch up on it later. NPR now does this with its news breaks, and the
NPR show "This American Life" offers a podcast of its shows to subscribers who
pay a small fee.

One of the newer innovations in podcast feeds is the vlog, or videoblog. These
blogs usually contain a feed that distributes a video, rather than an audio
file to feed subscribers. Although that would not have been feasible a few
years ago, growing numbers of broadband internet subscribers has meant that
most users are able to download large files, even video files, relatively
quickly. These video podcasts have been readily accepted by mainstream news
organizations. They have found that podcasting portions of their content is a
way to share their tape and reach a wider audience. The BBC currently does this
with parts of its news content. Pieces of the news show that is played over the
airwaves is taken and placed online, along with a link to the content placed
inside the RSS feed. Those who subscribe to the BBC feed can download the news
clip and watch in from the comfort of their home computer.

In the future, podcast feeds may be used for a number of purposes besides
simply sharing media files. Some analysts predict that the feed system could
also be used to share software updates, or any of a myriad of other file types.
For now, however, podcasting is dominated by small audio and video files.

Why There Are Free Podcasts

Podcasting, unlike other media forms, almost never has charges for services,
and the vast majority of feed producers distribute free podcasts. This puts at
odds with, say, online radio stations, news sites that offer media to
subscribers, or the online music industry general. Even though podcasting has
very direct correlations with industries like news and music that have strong
business models, podcasting differs. Podcasting does not really have a business
model, and hardly anyone is podcasting in order to profit from it. There are
some businesses and news sites that podcast, but they do it as a way to
supplement their companies and to gain technological geek credibility, not to
make money. This is an odd thing, but explainable in light of what podcasting
is.

The free podcast problem is not diffi cult, and podcasting differs in several
key ways from other media areas. First, podcasting involves the physical
transfer of a file from the host to the users computer. An online radio station
does not do this; all that they provide to their listeners is a streaming sound
file that cannot be saved without difficulty and work. If someone did manage to
do so, the station would have strong grounds for suing them since they were
never given the rights to keep and store the files. By podcasting the complete
file to the users computer, express permission is granted the user to copy and
use as they wish. Second, the podcasts are, for the most part, made by
individuals who have low costs involved in creating and distributing the files,
as opposed to a news broadcast or song by a music company. These individuals
have little reason to charge for their work since there is little cost to them
to do so. Because the files are distributed in a way allows their copying and
does not control the media, and since podcasting is a very low cost media
outlet, feed producers have little reason or ability to charge for their work.

A Podcast Client

A podcast client is the software used to access and download podcasts. Podcast
clients are also known as media aggregators, programs designed to automatically
access an online file, or feed, and download the audio or video file associated
with it. Hundreds of these programs exist, with names like IpodderX, Juice,
Nimiq, and PodSpider. These podcast clients are easy to find, and because there
are so many available for free, it is easy to find one that suits an individuals
needs and style. These programs run on the users computer, periodically
downloading a small RSS file from sites that it has been told to monitor. The
file tells the program about an audio or video file stored on the server, and
the podcast client then downloads that file for the user to view or listen to.

The podcast client thus allows the user to view information on a wide range of
topics from their computer, without even using a web browser. Just like blogs
let people find writers they enjoyed for any niche topic they were interested
in, podcasts let people do them same for audio and video. Its as if a thousands
of radio and television channels were created to serve every possible interest,
and more were made every day. Using the podcast client to access and download
the files makes it as easy to keep up with the sites one likes as it is to
publish the feed.

Using a Podcast Directory

A podcast directory is a listing of syndication feeds that link to a podcast.
They are often organized by category and topic, and allow the user to find a
feed that podcasts about almost anything. Just as search engines help people
find sites with the information they need, a podcast directory presents a
searchable list of podcasts users can subscribe to. Users may even be able to
play the available feed episodes from within the site.

Unlike most search engines, though, a podcast directory rarely searches out and
finds content on its own, automatically. All the feeds are either contributed by
users who want people to find their podcast, or added by the staff. Nearly
anyone can set up a podcast, but gaining visitors can be difficult, and so
podcasters can submit their feeds to the directory to gain readers.

Since its so easy to make a podcast, a podcast directory often uses ways to
separate the very good feeds from the ones people do not enjoy as much. A
directory may have a ranking system, feature certain special feeds on the front
page, or even allow visitors to comment with their thoughts on a feed.

Visitors to a podcast directory can thus add their own podcasts, search for
feeds on topics or regions that interest them, and even comment on those they
like or dislike.

Using a Directory of Podcast Videos

While some video feeds can be found by visiting the site that hosts them, many
more are easier found by visiting a directory of podcast videos. These podcast
video directories maintain listings of podcasts that have been submitted to
them. They may sort the list according to region, category, and popularity,
helping visitors find exactly the type of feed they are looking for. Tech video
podcasts can be found, with regular episodes about technology news. Some video
feeds are experimental podcasts, created by designers interested in showcasing
their work and trying out new forms of editing and storytelling. There are some
feeds that recreate talk and comedy shows, with interviews every episode.

A directory of podcast videos can help anyone find new and interesting podcasts
to subscribe to, and it can also help podcasters advertise their feeds. Rather
than relying on word of mouth advertising and people stumbling onto the feed, a
directory makes it easier for listeners to find the feed. Directories play the
role that early search engines did, maintaining a list of a relatively small
group of net addresses that otherwise would not be found.

After looking through a directory of podcast videos and finding a feed that is
appealing, it can be subscribed to by using a podcast client. A podcast client
is a computer program that checks the RSS file that stores the information
about the feed and downloads the video files that the video podcast links to.
The file can then be watched by the user on their computer whenever and as many
times as they wish.

Many music podcasts are available online, distributed by podcasters who want to
share their collection with the world. Some of these are distributed by
independent musicians, groups or individuals who enjoy creating and sharing
their music but have a small fanbase. For them, a podcast means closer contact
with their listeners, and the blog that usually accompanies a podcast often
allows for the comments and opinions of the listeners to be shared with the
musicians. The listeners often appreciate this close contact, and some become
resentful when their favorite groups gain widespread popularity. Musicians may
find that the music podcast they share is a way to build a following and gain
an audience that is loyal to them. Since many of the musicians who podcast do
so as independent artists who lack the sound the music industry is looking for
or simply haven't been noticed yet, a music podcast may build a following that
attracts attention to them and gives them an entry point into the music
industry.

For others, a music podcast may be the chance to become a dj, and the episodes
they share will contain mixes of different songs, highlighting obscure yet
accomplished artists and taking their listeners on a tour every episode. These
amateurs podcast merely because they enjoy the activity, as most independent
podcasters do. Yet another type of music podcast, however, involves the online
radio station. While some radio stations have taken the leap to the internet by
offering streaming connections to their current playlist, others have accepted
the podcast as a way of sharing their music. Such a style is very similar to
the amateur dj, but brings a level of professionalism that is not found with
the amateur podcasters.

A music podcast may also be a way to sample works by more well known artists
before purchasing. Some musicians and groups will podcast their new music, or
portions of the new pieces, in order to peak interest in the songs before
release. Fans get to listen to the music and find out what they might like
before purchasing the whole album. A possibility, however, is that music
podcasts become subscription based, and musicians begin charging for access to
the feed. The online sale of music has proved its popularity, with Apple's
iTunes reaching its one billionth paid download recently. A music group could
conceivably offer a feed to its fans that they could pay for, and regularily
update it with new songs that would be downloaded directly to the fan's
computers Although this distribution model is not yet in place, it seems to fit
with the over all trend. Already, some nonmusic groups have agreed to podcast
their files, on the condition that a paid subscription is bought.

The Howard Stern Podcast Problem

Because podcasting is such a new, exciting, cutting edge phenomena, many people
are eager to get connected, and hence the Howard Stern podcast. Everyone wants
to be part of the next big thing, but not everyone is suited or ready to do so.
The Howard Stern Podcast was created and shown on iTunes, the Apple company's
music store. However, the podcast was never updated, and the only clip ever
provided didn't even include Howard Stern. This has brought a lot of flack down
on Howard Stern, as well as Sirius Radio, which broadcasts Stern. Many of these
people would have preferred to hear Stern when they wanted to, as a podcast,
and were disappointed that the feed was not being used.

The Howard Stern podcast is probably an example of some of the problems that
can arise with podcasting. Its new, and very hyped, so everyone wants to be a
part of it. However, the podcast is designed to be free. RSS feeds are designed
to easily distribute files, that can then be redistributed and shared by the
users who download them. It would be close to impossible for a podcaster to
charge for their content. Either the podcaster would have a small circle of
people who enjoy the feed, and very few who would want to pay for it, or be
very popular, as Stern is, and have the problem of paying customers possibly
redistributing the content so others won't need to pay.

The History of the iPod Podcast

What is now called a podcast traces its orgins to the first ipod podcasts, the
creation of distributed mp3 files that could be downloaded and played on
Apple's music player, the iPod. When the iPod came out, and users discovered
what a wonderful thing it was for holding music, some people had the idea of
loading things that weren't necessarily songs. Some of the people that got
their hands on the iPod took the route of reverse engineering the iPod and
loading on different firmware, or operating system, but others had the idea of
sharing small sound files that could be played on the iPod. The technology for
distributing the files already existed, with RSS feeds. RSS feeds were a means
of generating machine readable files that could share information between a
server and a user. Many blogs already used them to keep readers up to date with
the latest posts, but some hopeful podcasters had the idea of enclosing links to
sound files within the RSS feed and downloading the file to the computer.

With the change in RSS feeds, ipod podcast took off, and podcasting became a
popular way to share files. Users saw podcasting as a way to become radio
hosts, or dj's, and a variety of podcasts began popping up. Software was
written to automatically check the RSS feeds, extract the links to the podcast
episodes, and download the files. These programs became known as podcast
clients.

By this time, podcasting had moved beyond the ipod, and they were not simply
making an ipod podcast anymore. Some people had figured out how to use even the
PlayStation Portable gaming console as a podcast player. It was more difficult
that downloading podcasts to the ipod, since the PSP used a different format
for it's files, but PSP podcasts began popping up. In addition, podcasting made
inroads to the wider audience of people without iPods, who simply saw podcasting
as an extremely convenient way to receive news, music, and entertainment over
the internet.

Today, while the iPod podcast type still exists, fewer people subscribe to
podcasts as a way of gaining portable media files they can listen to anywhere.
Although that is still an attractive part of podcasting, it seems to be
eclipsed by the ease with which podcasting has become a content delivery
system. Now, podcasting has become tied up with the rising number of audio and
video blogs, where blogging is done not by post, but through media files
uploaded to the blog. These blogs, and podcasting in general, take advantage of
the shrinking cost of broadband internet connections, and the rising number of
people with high speed access to offer a picture of the internet rich with
multimedia files.

Podcast Yahoo, a Podcast Directory

Podcast Yahoo, is an example of a very full featured podcast directory. Yahoo's
beta offering presents podcasts from many professional organizations including
NPR, Slate Magazine, and others. They also organize their listing by
categories, offer a list of the most popular series and episodes currently
available, and let users search through the entire database. Yahoo's site is
professionally done, and likely has people permanently assigned to work on it,
and so it differs from many of the other podcasting directories available. Many
directories are little more than listings of amateur podcasters, but Yahoo's
site brings out a number of feeds done by mainstream organization, raising the
level of quality available.

For anyone who wants to find a podcast, Yahoo is certainly a good choice. They
have a slick, well done site that is easy to use. Yahoo even includes software
at the site so that podcasts can be listened to from within the web browser.
After logging in, Yahoo allows users to subscribe to feeds they enjoy, letting
them be notified when new episodes are available. Yahoo even has a detailed
walkthrough to help visitors create and begin publishing their own podcast.

Podcast Yahoo clearly demonstrates the ability of a corporate group to create a
well made site. While it's very unlikely that Yahoo or a company like it would
have been able to come up with podcasting, once they know what to do, they can
do it well.

Podcast Software

There are many podcast software programs available to use. Many of them are
even free. Because of the decentralized, geek adopted nature of podcasting, a
wide variety of programs are available, from large programs with a big
footprint that do many different jobs to tiny little software packages that do
the bare minimum. A package is available for podcast subscribers of almost any
type, and more are being created everyday.

While some podcast software is designed for home user computers, much of it is
designed to be used online. There are many packages created so that feed
subscribers can view the podcasts they enjoy from within a web browser. These
software packages contain both the feed reader like the home user software
does, but usually also incorporate a way to view or listen to the podcasts
online from inside the browser. Much of this software is used at the podcast
directories that maintain listings of podcast feeds.

Another type of online podcast software is the category of feed creators. PHP
scripting is usually used to create the RSS file that tells the feed readers
where to download the podcasts from. The scripting can either create a hard
copy of the RSS file and write it to the server disk when the feed is updated,
or it can make it virtually. When the RSS file is generated virtually, it
doesn't actually exist on the host's server. Instead, the address of the PHP
script is distributed as the address of the feed. When the script is accessed,
it generates the file by looking at the recent posts at the site and sends the
results to the feed subscriber.

Podcast RSS Feeds

A Podcast RSS feed is what allows the entire system to function. To begin at
the beginning, a podcast is a regular distribution of audio or visual files,
called episodes, to a users podcast client. The people who use a podcast are
called subscribers, and the podcast client is what allows them to subscribe to
a feed. The podcast client is a program that connects to the internet, looking
for a specific file the user has subscribed to, or told it to look for. That
file is an RSS feed, a machine readable piece of coding that sends information
back to the podcast client. RSS feeds can be used to distribute many kinds of
information, and were originally used for blogging and distributing blog posts
to subscribers. As time went on, however, a few people had the idea of
enclosing information about media files within the RSS feed so that software
could be written to find that information and download the files described.

The Podcast RSS feeds became a hit, and podcast clients were quickly written to
allow people to use the new encoding. Podcasting became a means of quickly and
cheaply sharing episodes with subscribers. Rather than requiring subscribers to
visit the site that hosted the files everytime they wanted to know if a new
episode was released, users could rely on the podcast client to do the work for
them, keeping track of numerous podcast rss feeds that interested them and
downloading the files to be viewed when they wished.

Podcast RSS feeds are now used to distribute a number of different types of
podcasts. Some producers use it as way to share a comedy or news program that
they produce, others podcast in order to share music files they create, and
some podcast to share video files they have created and to showcase their work.
Podcasting all ows the producers to become radio or television stars without the
large investment in time and money that wuld be required to do that. Because
podcasting has such a low entry cost, requiring little more than a server and a
domain to host the site and a way to record the media, thousands of people who
otherwise would not have a chance to work in a media environment have a chance
to do so through their podcast rss feeds.

In this way, podcast RSS feeds allow media publishing over the internet at a
fraction of the cost of other forms of media distribution, permitting people
with much smaller budgets to compete in some way. However, podcast rss feeds
are also attracting more established companies and groups as well, bringing
people from NPR radio stations and news organizations like CNN who use
podcasting as yet another means to distribute their product to end users.





Podcast Downloads Podcast downloads are a wonderful new online way to share files. A podcast is a way to send files from a distributor's online site directly to the subscribers computer, where they can view them whenever they wish. A podcast works by having a small file called an RSS file placed somewhere on the podcaster's web page. This RSS file is updated regularily, usually automatically with text and links to new media files available for downloading. The RSS file is then accessed by the podcast client of the subscriber's computer. A podcast client is a small program that goes online to look for the RSS files that the feed subscribers wish to view. There are many podcast clients available for every conceivable need, and most are free to download and use. The podcast download will be done when the podcast client downloads and views the file from the feed's website. After finding the links to the media files embedded in the RSS file, it will download those files and store them on the computer, allowing the user to view them whenever and as many times as they wish. The podcast files may be of many things. There are comedy shows done by people who enjoy creating and writing a regular show, but aren't able to do it as a business. Some podcasts are music mixes, an mp3 file that subscribers can play. Even some radio shows are getting into podcasting, allowing subscribers to download portions of their shows from the internet in podcast form and play them on their home computer. Podcast downloads could conceiveably be applied to any type of file. The RSS files that allow the mainly audio and video files now used in podcasting to be downloaded can be customized to enclose almost any type of file. This has led some analysts to believe that podcasting could eventually be used to distribute software updates, demonstration programs, and many other types of files, moving beyond the simple use of podcasting to share media files. All that would be neccessary would be for the users to subscribe to the feed with their podcast client. They could then stay regularily updated for nearly anything. Podcast downloads offer many different possibilities for distribution of files across the internet. Because it is a different mode of using the internet, allowing the data to come to the user rather than the user having to visit each site they enjoy, podcasting has the possibility of changing the way the internet works. Content can be given directly to the individual, easily and ever more quickly as broadband use spreads. This means that what the internet is will change drastically. The web changes from something connected to in order to be used to something that is integrated and connected with our personal life. Podcast Alley Podcast Alley is a site that catalogs podcast feeds and provides links to them. Thousands of feeds are available, from comedy shows to weekly suspense stories. There is even a podcast featuring a couple that talks about different wines every episode. Podcast Alley features the best podcasts on the front page regularly, along with a short article about the authors and their work and an interview with the creators.. In addition, the site keeps a list of the most popular feeds in a sideline, allowing visitors to quickly see what the community appreciates. A visitor to Podcast Alley can search by genre, learn how to make their own podcast, discuss things with the community in the forum, and find software related to podcasting. The sire provides a wide range of resources, as well as a large quantity (many thousands) of podcasts that listeners can browse and subscribe to. Podcast Alley is an example of a podcast directory that is well run and offers a large selection. The site also has a strong community that can help visitors find podcasts on topics that interest them or give them the information they need to set up their own podcast, and of course, add it to the directory. Anyone that is interested in finding great podcasts should take a look at Podcast Alley and the selction they have. Music Podcast RSS Feeds There are many online music podcast rss feeds to choose from online. For many of the feed producers, a podcast feed is a way to distribute non mainstream music that otherwise would not be able to reach an audience. These musicians are able to build a following and share their work from outside of a music culture that tends to keep out more niche groups. Because the music industry is oriented towards mass distribution and marketing, musicians and groups that aren't believed to command such widespread fandom are kept out of the market. Distributing some of their music by podcast rss feeds, however, lets them grow a small fanbase and attract listeners who enjoy their work. These musicians may support themselves by also selling portions of their work, or may decide to provide all of their work for free, as some do. These musicians may, after growing a fanbase who enjoys their music podcast rss feed, parlay that popularity into music contracts within the industry. By proving that they can support a passionate audience even with their own meager efforts, a company can sometimes be convinced of the music's viability on a larger stage. By proving that the musicians can support a dedicated audience and can keep producing quality work, the group or individual has a better chance of successfully getting a contract while maintaining their independent style. How to Make a Podcast A podcast is an easy way of distributing media files over the internet, and this article will tell how to make a podcast. The first thing necessary is a domain, and a host on which to store the media files for the podcast. Getting a domain is simple and easy, there are many domain registrars that can register a domain for someone for a small fee. Some of these domain registrars are GoDaddy.com, Dotster, or Network Solutions are some that provide domains. The domain registrar will, for a small fee, enter the chosen domain, provided it is not being used, into the computers that form the backbone of the internet. These computers will be told where the domain is located on the internet; what host it is that holds the domain's information. In order to give them that information, the name servers that are held by the host need to be associated with the domain. Once the domain is in place, a good host should be found. The host that is chosen should offer a large amount of both disk space and a much larger amount bandwidth. Disk space is neccessary because the site which holds the podcast will be storing large media files; audio or video files that take up a lot of space and are difficult to compress. The large bandwidth is necessary because transferring these large files many times to many different people will use up the quota quickly. A good amount of diskspace would be several GigaBytes, bandwidth should be in the tens or hundreds o f Gigabytes. Once the host is set up, it should offer you a couple of addresses called nameservers. Inputting these server addresses into the site where the domain was registered will complete the domain setup and allow the site to be found on the internet. The next step for people who want to know how to make a podcast is installing the software necessary to maintain the podcast. A small piece of coding called dircaster.php can be used to set up a basic level of podcast. Dircaster.php can be found easily by searching for it in any search engine. Once it is located, it should be edited to reflect the particulars of the domain and uploaded to the site. Dircaster.php will generate an RSS file, or feed, that tells the subscriber about the new files available for downloading. To begin podcasting, create the audio files that should be podcast, fill in the information about the file such as date, author, etc, and upload them to the same directory that contains dircaster.php. You now have a podcast, and all that is needed is to publicise the address of the file dircaster.php. To update the podcast with new information, just upload the new files. Other things to make the podcast better might be a site that contains information about the podcast, but it isn't necessary. How to Create a Podcast Podcasting is easy to get involved in for anyone who wants to create a podcast. The first thing necessary is access to a web server. The user needs to be able to upload files to the server itself, so podcasting can't be done from a simple blogging or journal site. It's probably best to register a domain and find a host for the site. Once the site has been set up and the user has access to the host server, a small program called dircaster.php should be customized for your site, and can be used to automatically generate the RSS feed that the subscribers will download. The mp3 files should be uploaded to the proper directory after all the information about the file has been attached. After they are in the directory, the address of dircaster.php, as long as it is in the same directory as the mp3 files, will generate an RSS file that will tell your subscribers where to download the latest podcasts from. To update and and a new episode, create and upload the new mp3 file to the same directory. When dircaster.php is accessed, it will recognize the new file and relay the information on to your visitors. With these steps, it is easy for anyone to create a podcast with a small expenditure of time and effort. The site is easy to set up; domains and hosting are now cheap enough almost anyone to have a small site, and the programs necessary are all easy to find and use. Finding Podcast Hosting For anyone who wants to begin creating a podcast, podcast hosting is the most important part. Before anyone can begin distributing a podcast, they need a place to store the files and keep the feed file that will tell their subscribers about the new episodes available. The first thing required is a domain name where the site will be located. Many domain registrars are available who will help one register a domain name for a small fee. Once the domain is registered, hosting is required, and again there are many different companies willing to do the hosting for a small fee. One of those is bluehost.com, but many others are available. When looking for a host, the most important thing is to make sure that a lot bandwidth and storage space is available and cheap. Since podcasting deals with large media files, a lot of disk space will be taken up storing the files and bandwidth will be eaten quickly when they are downloaded by the subscribers. After podcast hosting has been acquired, it needs to be used and the site needs to be set up. The DNS addresses of the site need to be set to the addresses that the host provides you so that the servers that underlie the internet will know where your site is. DNS addresses can be set by going to the domain registrar that was used to acquire the domain and inputting the addresses provided by the host. After that is done, it will take a few days before the master list the domain registar updates will be shared throughout the internet and all name servers know where to find your specific domain. You can then go about setting up your own podcast. Using the podcast hosting you now have, you will need to look at the disk space allocated to the site using something called and FTP browser. The host may provide one as part of their hosting plan, but if not there are many available free to choose from. Using the FTP browser, log on to the host and upload a file called dircaster.php after editing it to fit the specifics of the site. Dircaster.php is an easy to find piece of coding that generates a feed file by looking at the contents of its directory or folder. The individual episodes to be podcasted can then be uploaded to the same folder as dircaster.php for cataloging. Make sure that all the meta data, or information about the mp3 file is correct before doing so. The podcast hosting you now have will allow you to distribute a podcast. It would be best to upload more to the site, such as an index page that tells visitors about the podcast and provides the address of the file dircaster.php on your site. When they subscribe to that file, the podcast client thy use will access it and recieve information about the latest podcasts available. Finding Hip Hop Mix Podcasts Many music podcasts are available online for downloading; if one wanted to find, for instance, a hip hop mix podcast, there are a few sites available to help. The first possibility would be to go directly to a site which creates one and subscribe to it using a podcast client which automatically checks the feed for new episodes and downloads them for the user. If, however, one did not know of any hip hop mix podcast sites, or simply wanted to find new podcast sites, the best possibility would be to check a podcast directory, a list of podcasts that can be browsed. Hip hop mix podcasts could easily be found at one of these podcast directories. A podcast directory stores lists of podcasts which have been submitted to the site, and categorizes them by genre, type of podcast, region, and other meta data. To find a hip hop mix podcast, visiting a podcast directory and checking under music podcasts, and then under hip hop music would find many podcasts which play that type of music. The hip hop mix podcast could then be subscribed to by inputting the feed address listed into one of the many podcast clients. The music will come in episodes, the name for each downloadable portion of a podcast. Some of these podcasts may feature independent artists, musicians trying to break into the music industry who have chosen podcasting as a way of sharing their music and gaining a following. Others may be remixes of popular songs that have been changed in some way to give a different feel to the music. Often, the artists may already be established, though, and they still see podcasting as a way to introduce themselves to a larger audience. They may grant rights to pay certain hip hip songs to a podcaster, letting them play the music as part of their mix distribution while requesting a link to a site where more information can be learned about the artists and music can be purchased. Artists that have done this include alias, edan, outerspace, RA the rugged man, roots manuva, and outer space. A large number of podcasts featuring hip hop mix podcasts are actually radio stations, however. These broadcasters have found that podcasting their shows and selections is an easy way to reach more listeners and gain a greater audience. These podcasters can reach more people easier and cheaper than they can by playing hip hop mix music over the airwaves in their local areas. Playing hip hop music over the internet is probably the way many future artists wil l do their work, and there are many ways available even now that they can do so and make a profit. For instance, some podcasts are designed to work on a payment basis. A hip hop artist who wished to share his music could charge for addition to the feed list, then issue a unique feed address to the user, allowing them to hear new pieces of hip hop music released. The hip hop music file could even be designed so it could not be copied and used by another user at a different computer, to ensure that the artist could maintain control over his work. Finding Free Podcast Videos Anyone can easily find free podcast videos online. There are numerous podcast directories online that can help you find feeds to subscribe to, or you may find a feed thats available from a site you enjoy. After looking through the directories and finding a feed you want to download, subscribe to it using one of the many free podcast clients available. The podcast client will automaticall download a small file called an RSS file, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. The RSS file tells your podcast client when there is a new file, in this case a video, to download. Depending on your client, the program will notify you or maybe even download it automatically. Once the file is on your computer, you'll be free to listen to it any time it is convenient. Soon you'll be on your way to downloading some of the free podcast videos available online. Feeds are available that publish on almost every topic, from independent news shows to experimental videos, to scientific information. Some colleges and universities even podcast their most popular lectures so that students will have a chance to watch and review from the comfort of their computer chair. The best part is that these free podcast videos, are of course, free. All of these feeds are easy to find, and the publishers, for the most part, do it simply because they enjoy it, and are glad to give it away. Finding a Podcast on PSP There are many podcasts on PSP available. Some of them simply share information on the PlayStation Portable and distribute it to people interested in portable gaming. These podcasts serve as news organizations, sharing audio or visual files talking about the PlayStation Portable and speculating about updates to the PSP. The vast majority, however, take advantage of the ability of the PlayStation Portable's ability to download and play quality videos on the gaming screen. Developers of the program PSP Video 9 first created a program that could change videos from computer types like .avi and .mpeg to the format used by the Play Station Portable. Once that was done, it was quickly possible to create podcasts for the PSP. Podcasters began creating video files, changing them to a format readable by the PlayStation Portable, and distributing them by podast feed. These podcast feeds are subscribed to by people interested in the feed, who download the episodes as they come out. After the video files are transfered to the PlayStation Portable, they can be viewed whenever the end user wishes, just like the other movies and professionally done videos available for the PSP. The PlayStation Portable has thus been changed from simply being a portable gaming platform to a piece of full featured media hardware capable of playing games, storing information, and playing videos and movies, moving toward a more complex future. Downloading Podcast News With the rise of podcasting, many individuals and organizations are finding that podcasting is a great way to distribute information, from music and comedy shows to talk shows, even podcast news. CNET is one of the groups that is distributing a news podcast. CNET, being an online technology site, naturally found a niche distributing a tech news related podcast. CNET's recent podcasts covered such topics as viruses that attack cell phones, problems with Google's software, China's web restrictions and the "Great Firewall of China", and the FTC's attack on spyware. These news items were distributed in a sound file called an mp3 file that is downloadable to a listener's computer for listening whenever they wish. While these files were available straight from CNET's site, the majority of them are shared through the use of an RSS file. An RSS file is a small piece of XML coding that is downloadable by programs designed to read it. These programs are called podcast clients, and the user can input the address of the RSS files that hold the information on the feed. The feed will contain links to the media files of the podcast, and will download the new updates automatically. More sites than CNET are finding that podcast news is an expoitable technology. The British Broadcasting Corporation podcasts some of it's programs, as well as the US radio network NPR. The NPR, because its work is created by a variety of different groups, treats podcasts differently from show to show. The NPR show "This American Life" distributes a podcast of the show through a site called audible.com, which allows feed listeners to subscribe to the feed for a small fee and download the show . The NPR Hourly News show, on the other hand, shares a short 5 minute broadcast that summarizes the news for free. Since the NPR is taking a radio show and converting it into a file that is downloadable by the user, little is lost in the translation. The sound is designed to convey the entire story, and so podcast subscribers are able to treate the podcast as nothing more than TIVO for the radio. ABC's podcast of the news show Nightline, on the other hand, is simply the sound track from the television show. This has been one of the criticisms of the Nightline podcast, because by merely stripping the sound from what is designed as a television show, much information is not given to the users. Listeners have problems telling who is who because they miss the visual cues that were supposed to be there, and there is no truly easy way to convert the shows. For this reason, some news shows have been moving from audio podcasts to video ones. They can take the video information directly from the show that is broadcast, lower the visual resolution to shrink the file, and distribute it online as a podcast. Downloading a Free Podcast Its easy to find and download a free podcast. The best way to find free podcasts is probably to check a podcast directory. A podcast directory is a listing of many, sometimes thousands of different podcasts. The podcast directory will usually organize the podcasts by topic and genre, making it easy to find the type of podcast that is sought. In addition, podcast directories often allow the visitors to comment on the podcasts listed, and provide a list of the favorite podcasts on the site, making it easy for users to find the best podcasts available. These podcast directories can be used to browse through, introducing users to many different podcasts they otherwise would not have found. Once a podcast has been found that interests the user, it is necessary to download the free podcast. The vast majority of podcasts will be free, but there will be a few that may cost a small amount of money. The process to subscribe to and download the podcasts is the same in either case. First, a podcast client needs to be found and installed. There are many free podast clients available, all providing a slightly different user interface and range of options. They come with many different names, such as Podscape, or Nimiq, and searching for 'free podcast client' or something like it will turn up many possibilities. When the podcast client has been installed, inputting the feed address will allow the podcast to be downloaded. The podcast client will check the address given for a small, machine readable file called an RSS file. This file will contain information about the podcasts, perhaps some text about the individual episodes, as well as the location of the episode file. Once the podcast client has been located the file referred to in the RSS feed, it will be downloaded and stored on the users computer until the want to view it. Sometimes, of course, access to a personal computer is not available, but it is still necessary to check a certain podcast. Fortunately, many podcast directories offer built in podcast readers in the site. Not only do they often show each recent episode that is available, they may also offer a way to view or listen to those podcast episodes from within the site. By using the viewer contained within the site, it is no longer necessary to even download the podcast episodes. However, the ability to move and share the episodes after downloading is one of the wonderful things about podcasting. The files can be placed on almost and media player, ranging from iPods to the new Play Station Portable. This flexibility is one of the reasons podcasts have succeeded, despite other technologies like streaming music and video. The desire of consumers to have control over technology cannot be over estimated. Comedy Podcasts Many podcasts are available to subscribe to and watch in a variety of genres, and one of these is the comedy podcast. Every small scale wannabe writer has a chance to become a comedian through podcasting, since the low entry cost allows people to start podcasting with minimum effort and money. To find some of these comedy podcasters, check a podcast directory. A podcast directory is a listing of many, sometimes several thousands, of podcasts submitted and divided into categories. A podcast directory will probably have a large number of comedy podcasts available to subscribe to. These comedy podcasts are usually created by a small team of people who do the work in their free time, as a hobby, not as a source of income. Because it is a hobby, they're more willing to give the work away for free, for nothing more than recognition, probably in the hopes they can parlay that recognition into a more mainstream job. Some more corporate groups also put together comedy podcasts, however. The satirical comedy web site TheOnion.com puts out a regular comedy podcast, featuring readings from their fake news site. Placing a comedy podcast on the Internet has several advantages for the creators. They get to showcase their work, easily distributing their art to many people. This following is likely to be be unusually passionate, following the artist with more enthusiasm than the artist's average audience. The comedian has a chance to be more open with the audience, engaging in a sort of dialogue with them. The comedian broadcasts the files, which enter the computer of the user, already a more personal level than simply hearing the jokester on the radio or on television. Compedy podcast subscribers will often then write back to the podcaster, or leave comments on the blog which often accompanies a podcast site. This can give them a degree of input and connection with the writers of the comedy podcast that is far removed from other styles of comedy distribution. The writers and producers of a comedy podcast thus benefit from several advantages of the podcast form. It is cheap and easy to set up, and uses a distribution mechanism that is also easy to use. The way the podcast form is designed, as well, creates greater connection between the producer and the subscribers. The comedy writer has a greater ability to interact with the subscribers and to find out what they appreciate or do not. Because podcasting is so simple to get involved in, requiring only a small investment to get started, many amateur comedy writers have begun starting their own shows and distributing the feed. It is likely, because of the unique connection podcasting offers between writer and listener, that we will see at least some of these amateur comedians make the leap to the professional stage.






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