But I think I am getting the hang of it from the explanations offered by administration and others in moderation. Maybe some of you are still a
little confused about too.
The thing that was the most confusing for me was, why bother with it in the first place? I mean, a podcast is just an mp3 file right? Well, not
really. Podcasting isn't just the audio files, its the mode of delivery and usage too. This might not seem particularly exciting at first, but upon
consideration you can see that there end up being lots of possibilities.
Podcasting starts off with RSS feeds. RSS, Atom, sometimes called 'news' feeds, are pretty interesting. Basically, a website, usually a blog or
anything that updates frequently, supplies the 'feed'. You get a program that can 'aggregate' feeds, such as these:
(windows -works within Outlook Express)
There are even some that are purely web based, you get a little webpage that you look at thru your web browser
News is Free
(for mozilla/firefox browsers)
(this one is an applet that you put into your own page)
So what happens is that you take one of these programs, and you set up your RSS Atom, or Podcast 'feeds'. Often this merely requires clicking on
the 'feed' symbol in a webpage. Like these
Now, when you open up your agreggator program, it'll update the feeds/subscriptions. What you generally get is a split window with one pane showing
in text your different feeds, how many new items are left unread in it, and stuff like that, and then another pane that will have a blurb of content,
usually with working clickable links to the larger content thats on the orignal webpage.
So for a blog you'd see the name of the blog, the number of entries unread, and then usually a more graphical list in the other pane (upon
clicking/selecting that blog from your list of feeds).
As you might expect, there is lots of customization in these things, and you can even have the aggregator display the full
blog entries instead
Here's a pretty typical screen shot:
are a specialized sort of syndication, they're not RSS or XML or Atom code types, but their own, as far as I understand it.
By subscribing to a podcast feed, your aggregator will open up and display the titles and other information about the podcast, the audio file. For
ATS, these will be all sorts of really intersting files with interviews and radio-show like productions. By clicking on it, you'd have your audio
program, be it Winamp
or whatever, play the sound file.
You can also (and this is where the pod part comes in), have the feed directory download into your Ipod (or, if you use a more sensible, less
expenseive but not as insanely marketed mp3 player, that one), and then listen to the podcasts/broadcasts on your own time. This way you can take ATS
The more savvy members might even like to take th podcasts, convert them to cda files, and then play them on cds while on roadtrips, or over their
home stereo system. This would, infact, allow you to have Podcast Parties, with other geeks comming over to listen to the ATS Podcasts. (Board Rules
however, still apply, so not drugging or drinking, and we will edit any swear words or fine you for large quotes)
So podcasts and rss feeds (overall these things are called Syndication) allow you to use the internet in a somewhat different, and very flexible, way.
I used to read a lot of newsgroups (an entirely differnt matter). I was able to get my newgroups downloaded into a newsgroup reader (not an
aggregator for syndication keep in mind), and then get an xml syndication feed aggregator that changed my rss feeds into newgroup format, thus
allowing me to read blogs, websites, and newsgroups in the same program. And I am sure that people who have experience with linux can see that they
can have their programs aggregate newsfeeds automatically and download to their ipods and mp3 players to have them updated and ready to go each
morning/evening. There are a lot of possiblities, and it simply depends on how much time you want to invest in it. If you just want the feeds
displayed in a simple way, you got it, if you want a more complex system that crosses formats, you can get it.
So I hope that that helps some members who aren't
to familiar with podcasting and rss technology. Here are some more sites that explain it if
that didn't help.
RSS Syndication and Aggregation
RSS 2.0 Specification