I did a poster presentation on podcatching yesterday at the University of Windsor's Campus Technology Day
. I liked the other presentations at the conference, but today I just wanted to post to make sure I remembered to share mine. I did some research on podcatching. That's right, not podcasting but podcatching. Subscribing to podcasts and automatically downloading new episodes of those podcasts, then getting those on to a media player. Considering all the copious talk there is out there about podcasting, there's surprisingly little help for the listeners. I've done a couple podcasts, but by and large I just listen, I was just downloading manually the episodes of podcasts I like until a few weeks ago when I started really getting in to the research for this presentation.
I was pretty happy with what Amarok can do but for my fellow podcast listeners on Macs and Windows machines, you'll just have to wait. The most-referenced names I saw were iTunes and Juice (formerly iPodder). I was disappointed in iTunes in that it considers subscribing to any podcast not in there directory to be an "advanced" option. Then there's Juice, which claims to be open-source but I can't seem to find the source for it. So my choice is clear but at the conference I tried to give as much choice as I could for an interested user so I've included all three.
What does Podcast mean?
Podcasts are just sound recordings published via a feed on a website. Usually a podcast
consists of someone talking and maybe some music. Some podcasts are done with both
video and audio
Popular formats for podcasts include:
Any existing communication that's primarily one-way and primarily audio-only fits well
into a podcast.
Podcast (the name) can be used to mean a lot of things:
- public speeches
- radio show rebroadcasts
A Podcast Feed always means the list of episodes that comes from the web server
- sometimes it's used to refer to a single episode of a series
- sometimes it refers to the entire series
- Lessons or classes
- Talks and panels from conferences
- Information that's provided by call-in services
- News and events, especially technology news
Any site can host a podcast, but serving many podcasts to many podcatchers can be complex, so several networks and directories have grown.
- Podcasting Networks provide podcasters with hosting or cross-promotion assistance. In some cases the podcasters work directly for the network. Examples include:
- Individual Podcasters record and host podcasts on their own sites.
- Occasional Podcasters. An annual conference might provide audio of their sessions but not a feed. These must be downloaded manually.
- People who don't listen to podcasts often can just listen to one episode if they want
- Some sites let you play an episode online - look for a Play button if you want to listen at your computer
- All podcasts can be downloaded one episode at a time - though not all sites make this obvious
- When you find a download link just right-click and choose “Save Link As...” to save the mp3 file
- Files that are downloaded manually or by a podcast receiver can be transferred to a media player for listening away from the computer – this is probably the most common way to listen to podcasts
Using Apple iTunes
available on Windows and Mac
- Download free of charge at http://www.apple.com/itunes/
- The instructions on the download page are for music but it handles podcasts
- You can subscribe to podcasts in iTunes using ITMS or itms:// links on the web
- You can also subscribe to any podcast with a standard feed by URL
- In iTunes there's a list of options on the left hand side which includes Podcasts. This gives access to your subscribed podcasts
- If you have an iPod then you can connect it to the computer and iTunes will put the podcasts on your iPod.
- With other media players you can just copy the podcasts from your iTunes library to your media player with a file browser or the software the media player came with.
Using Juice - Podcast Receiver
available on Windows and Mac (currently unavailable for Linux)
- Juice has been around for a while, previously under the name iPodder. Download it from http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/
- When Juice starts up it presents a simple interface with several tabs. Go to the Subscriptions tab to subscribe to podcasts with Juice.
- To subscribe to a new podcast, click the green plus button and enter the URL of the podcast. Leave the Title space empty and Juice will use the title that's included in the podcast.
- Clicking on the feed on the subscriptions tab displays a list of the available episodes in the bottom half of the window. This allows you to choose the episodes you want to download
- Getting the podcasts from your computer to your media player with Juice requires work outside of the receiver. It will download the files and play them in a media player of your choice - Winamp, Windows Media Player or iTunes - and each of those programs can put files on your device.
available on Linux (Windows and Mac versions in development)
- Amarok is available with many Linux distributions that include KDE; it is free, open source software
- There's an installation guide on their site at http://amarok.kde.org/ to help with OS specific details
Amarok is a music player first and handles podcasts as special playlists in a folder titled Podcasts. To subscribe to a new podcast, right-click the Podcasts folder in the Playlists view and choose “Add Podcast ...” Amarok will prompt for the feed URL.
- Each podcast can be configured for automatic downloading or downloading and streaming on request. Downloaded podcasts can be automatically added to a queue for transferring to your media player. The queue is processed when you attach your media player.
The presentation has a bunch of pictures and a very eye-pleasing layout, if I do say so myself. I don't feel like reproducing it all here in my blog, so here come the downloads.
I created my poster in OpenOffice Draw
. I wanted to put up the complete file but something went awry. So instead I uploaded the last draft that I have, it's pretty close to the final presentation. Click here to download.
. I'm releasing it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license
so you can reuse it without asking according to those terms.
If you just want to look at the presentation as I showed it then the PDF is easier for that. Here's the PDF I had printed to make the poster. Click here to view.