The Local Daily Discovers Podcasting

I don’t have as much time as I’d like to indulge my inner geek (which explains my fair-to-middling Nerd Score of 77), but we are jumping out onto the Podcasting bandwagon to promote our MythArc novels. I think this is a trend that has some legs; think of it as TiVo for your ears.

The Post-Dispatch here in St. Louis picked up the meme the other day, and the reporter offered a useful glossary for the podcast novice:

Glossary of podcasting terms

* Podcasting: the process of making audio files, typically in the popular MP3 format, available on the Internet in a format that users can easily download and listen to “on demand.”

* iPodder: a popular desktop application that reads Real Simple Syndication feeds and automatically downloads text, audio and other types of Internet files from one or more Web sites simultaneously. The free program can be downloaded from www.ipodder.org. Note: Others include BlogMatrix Jager (Win/Mac/Linux) and iPodderX (Mac only).

* RSS feed: a syndication format that allows distribution of text and other types of files, in particular audio files, from Web sites.

* RSS reader: a program that reads RSS feeds, aggregating multiple files in one place for easy perusing. It can retrieve headlines from dozens of your favorite newspaper Web sites and present them without you having to visit each one of those sites.

* MP3/Digital Music Player: a portable electronic device that users can use to listen to music and other audio files.

* Weblog, or blog: a frequently updated Web site usually dedicated to a particular topic (or topics) of the author’s interest. Many blogs also have a comment feature, where readers can interact with the blog’s author.

* Videoblog, or vlog: often uses the same format as a text blog, but includes video files usually created by the blog’s author. Video blogging uses similar programs to download files to the users’ computers to watch “on demand.”

We’ll get into the vidcast bidness here this weekend. Sharon is bringing home tape of her interview on The Harvest Show, and we’ll extract some clips, convert them to QuickTime movies, and upload them to the MythArc website.

The “” tag for the RSS 2.0 spec supports video as well as audio, and I’ve discovered that some of the podcatching software displays video. There is already a software package–Mac only, bwa ha ha–called Ant, designed specifically for to watch vidcasts (or Antcasts, as the developers call it). With Sony’s new PSP (PlayStation Portable) able to display video, and the iPod just a software upgrade away from doing so, I think vidcasting will be the next step for narrowly targeted broadcasts like ours.

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