Saturday, August 20, 2005

Podcast #4 is in the can

I think you'll enjoy the latest show. It's ready to go now. Head over to the GT Sports Blog Podcast site to listen - link here to listen to show #4.............

In case you are new to the podcasting thing, let me give you a quick lesson.

1. A Podcast is just an audio file that you put a link to on a website. You DON'T have to have an IPOD or any music player to hear it. You can listen right from your PC.

2. What makes a "podcast" a little more unique is the use of RSS or "Really Simple Syndication". What is RSS you ask? Based on a new survey only about 10% of web users are even aware of RSS, so I'll give you a quick lesson. What RSS allows you to do is "subscribe" to a website, blog, news site, a common search, or a bunch of other stuff. You either use a downloadable program as a "News Reader" or you use one of the many websites that have a built-in news reader in the browser. I do the latter, and I highly recommend Go to Bloglines, sign up for a free account and have fun. You can subscribe to thousands of news feeds from your favorite sites (including this one). Then it will keep track of all the latest "posts" for you. You just go to Bloglines and read them when you have a chance. The cool part is aggregating tons of sites into one. It's like a MyYahoo home page on steroids. In fact, Yahoo recently added functionality to add an RSS feed to your MyYahoo home page. They realize the power. Google recently added the ability to "subscribe" to any google search you might use a lot. It will track the results and keep them for you.......... By the way, the link to the GT Sports Blog RSS feed can be found in the upper right box..................... Now, the News Readers are not audio players and what they will do is track text posts and news stories..........

3. Ok, where does the audio Podcast fit in? Well, in effect, the Podcast blog is nothing more a regular blog with links to audio files. So what some smart folks did was figure out how to use RSS to create a "subscription" format and tie it in with your favorite audio player. So basically new shows just show up on your audio player when one is posted on the web. Steve Jobs at Apple embraced this recently by adding podcast subscription support in ITunes. Remember, you don't have to have an IPOD to run ITunes. It's free - just download it for your PC. The other popular program for subscribing to podcasts is IPODDER.

4. What is the little red "XML" button? That is the actual "news feed" link. What happens is that the site is "re-created" in a different format that the newsreaders understand. So if you click that little XML link it will take you to a funky looking version of this page. It is that URL that you actually copy and paste into your newsreader. In the case of a podcast, paste that URL into ITunes to subscribe for the audio.

5. It's actually better to "subscribe" to podcasts than it is to go to a site and just listen to the file. Why? Well, it's a bit easier on servers, and it also helps better track subscriber stats. That way I know more about how many people are listening.

6. I actually have two different RSS feeds. Both can be found in the upper right box.................The first is the feed for this site and just picks up the text and news stories from The other feed is for the GT Sports Blog Podcast site, at .................... Remember the news feed URL is different from the site URL.

Have I made this extremely more complicated than it is? Sorry - did the best I could. Here is a great resource for more information: