odd-lot thoughts

Friday, November 19, 2004


Well, the best laid plans... oft gang agley, as Browning said.

After deciding I was going to go on a blogging spree, I immediately became ill, and didn't write a word until a few days ago. And that post, for the blog CT ISPI Eye, netted me about 500 words, (now more -- check out the gauge!)or 1% of my goal. Doesn't look good.

But, the good thing about being sick is that it gives me time to think. And stare into space. Or the TV. Usually, the TV is on a lot while I'm sick. But this time, instead of watching the junk on the boob tube, I got to listen to a lot of new audio content syndicated over the web. I'm talking about podcasting.

I've been watching this phenomenon grow quickly.

What is it? In a nutshell, it's creating an audio file which, via the magic of RSS, can be automatically downloaded to a computer and then installed on an iPod. That way you can time-shift audio content automatically, the same way people with Tivos can time-shift TV. Wikipedia has a good definition of podcasting as does Phil Windley.

However, you actually don't need an iPod in order to participate -- any MP3 player will play the file. I have an Otis, which is something I got when I signed up with Audible.com. I can't yet automatically sync the new content with my player, but I can still put it on Otis and listen in my car, or while brushing my teeth, or while being sick and staring into space.

From what I've seen, the major buzz about Podcasting has come from people such as:
At least, this is where I read & heard about it first.
The links above are to their blogs, not to any specific post about podcasting.

And for us instructional design folks, here's a list from Stephen Downes.

Podcasting fascinates me for two reasons:
  1. It's a cool, geeky thing that even I can understand.
  2. It's another way for me to ride that tsunami of info and content that I love to surf.
Here is an excellent overview of podcasting done by Amy Gahran. (This woman is one of the best writers I've ever had the pleasure to come across -- her posts are always insightful and wonderfully written.)

I plan on writing more about podcasting in the next few days, including details on how I got the podcasts to almost sync to my crappy little Otis player -- meaning I made it "semi-automatic" with just one manual step.