A Podcast (a play on the words "broadcast" and "iPod") is very much like a blog. You subscribe to a feed using a news aggregator which then periodically checks the feed and downloads new articles as they are posted. A Podcast works similarly: You subscribe to a feed using a Podcast aggregator which will download new audio files and add them to your iPod or other portable music player.

How does it work? The feed is nothing more than a regular RSS 2.0 feed. Each <item> with a Podcast contains an enclosure using the <enclosure/> tag. Aggregators are then free to download (or not) this file and add it to your playlist and music player. The concept of radio shows distributed in audio files is not new, but the word "podcasting" connotes the integration of the concept with RSS for easy, automatic syndication.

Adam Curry (http://live.curry.com/), the former MTV vj and radio personality, now hosts the Daily Source Code, his Podcast where he talks mostly about Podcasting and music. He, along with Dave Winer, has been the major promotor of this distribution channel.

New Podcasts are added to a directory (http://audio.weblogs.com/), and existing Podcasts can be found on the iPodder website (http://www.ipodder.org/). With the release of iTunes 4.9, Apple has not only integrated iTunes into their popular jukebox software, but has also created an entire section of their iTunes Music Store to help users find and subscribe to podcasts. As of writing (2005/06/29), all podcasts available are free, but Apple has plans to release exclusive paid content. If podcasting has the potential to become mainstream, this release will be the one to do it.

Podcast aggregators

  • Major platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
    • iPodder is the original Podcasting software. (http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/)
    • iTunes 4.9 added podcasting support.
    • Jäger Aggregates both news and Podcast feeds. Very small interface. (http://jaeger.blogmatrix.com/)

  • Windows only
    • Nimiq includes an integrated OPML browser. (http://www.nimiq.nl/)
    • Doppler allows per-feed customization (http://www.dopplerradio.net/)

  • Mac OS X only
    • iPodderX supports multiple enclosure types. (http://ipodderx.com/)
    • PlayPod (http://www.iggsoftware.com/playpod/)
    • Pod2Go (http://www.kainjow.com/pod2go/)
    • PoddumFeeder (http://www.ifthensoft.com/poddumfeeder.html)

Source: http://www.ipodder.org

Podcast is, quite frankly, the most annoying fucking buzzword in the history of the universe. Much like warblogging, new media and other trendy terms deliberately applied so that people can think their pathetic blogs about their sex lives and cookie-cutter anti-Bush opinions mean something to the world, Podcast has all the simple elements of an annoying buzzword:

  1. Current fad or craze: Pod, Blogging
  2. Something extraneous that somehow differentiates it from all the other buzzwords about this fad or craze: cast, war

The worst part about these stupid, annoying buzzwords is that they get spread around by disreputable technology journals and subsequently get hyped to absolutely insane levels by the media (who spin what is, in essence, a bunch of sad, pale lonely geeks sitting in front of Winamp and Sound Recorder, playing their own personal selection of Manowar songs and fluffing their lines in between) until they become something which is a "lifestyle". This is the key for the new buzzwords, they all focus around "lifestyles". Integrating blogging into your lifestyle. Integrating iPod into your lifestyle. Integrating TiVO into your lifestyle. And now, integrating Podcasting into your lifestyle. Please, Lord, make it stop.

The crux of the matter is that "podcast", "warblog" and other sanctimoniously wanky terms are just used by self-important arseholes who want to make their tastes in music or political views relevant, but unlike the rest of the world are unable to do such simple things as sign up to AudioScrobbler or post on a forum in order to do so. Instead, they make up words for their shite ramblings, so they can feel important and possibly get a mention in Wikipedia into the bargain. Then the media pick up on it, and we get these stupid freaking terms shoved down our throats to the point where Linda fucking Lovelace would have to stop because the 12 inch cock of stupid neologisms coined by Internet sadacts is choking her to death.

I feel like I'm repeating myself here, so maybe I should go onto something else. I've already said about this whole set of new buzzwords being nothing but a bunch of cleverly (but unsubtly) disguised ego trips...how about this obsession with lifestyles all of a sudden? You know, when the iPod first came out, everyone was going on about how it fit into their lifestyle.

It's a fucking MP3 player. All that is different about it is that it is made by Apple. That is it. It fits into your lifestyle in exactly the same way as the MiniDisc player, the CD player, the boombox, the Walkman or indeed just humming a tune as you walk down the street. I've just bought an iPod, and I wasn't really aware at the time that what I was actually buying was a whole new lifestyle, I just thought I was buying an music player so I could listen to my depressing wanky Indie music while at college coding pisspoor Assembler programs. Jesus wept, what a shock.

But once again, the tech press jumped on the bandwagon like a bunch of hobos jumping onto a luxury boxcar. And they started foaming at the mouth about how iPod would revolutionise everything because of the new lifestyle it would create. And when Podcasting came around, they practically all had a mass orgasm. "It'll revolutionise media!" they said. "It'll change peoples' lifestyles!" they said (there's that word again). "Power to the people!" cried Slashdot, masturbating with sheer orgasmic glee over another pointless unnovation involving Apple in some poorly-defined, only partly applicable way. All of these people followed the trend like the coke-snorting trend-following sheepigs that they are, utterly oblivious to the fact that they got fucking owned.

Podcasting does not mean anything. It isn't the people's broadcasting, it isn't a revolution in worldwide media, it isn't going to unseat ClearChannel, the BBC or indeed anyone EVER, in precisely the same way that blogs aren't going to be putting the New York Times to death any time soon either. The reason for this is quite elegantly simple: nobody cares except the hordes of Nathan Barley-esque new media fuckwits who helped promote the term in the first place. In precisely the same way as the "idiots" in the Nathan Barley TV show considered the pisspoor website trashbat.co.ck a "new lifestyle", the press and Slashdot and god knows how many Internet sheeple contentedly baa about the New World Order brought about by Podcasting and Warblogging, without considering that 99% of people who bought an iPod did so so they could listen to their Christina Aguilera MP3s of dubious legitimacy on the train, and not so they could sing the Internationale and stage a worldwide media revolution.

So please, I beg of you: stop with the talk of Podcasting. It's a stupid idea, with a stupid premise, that people have been doing for years in the form of the sort of kiddie radio stations I was doing at age 10 with a copy of Windows Sound Recorder and a cheap microphone, but only now has come to prominence through its loose association to a well known brand name. Far from aiding the overthrow of "Big Media", all you're doing is creating a new craze for "Big Media" to profit off. Not to mention, all the talk of it is really really annoying.


Marriage is your solace; marriage is your death
Cancer's gonna kill you; you feed it with your breath

Kids are what you're here for; kids will let you down
Rocks fill up the sandy soil creating dry hard ground

You lived to grow the plants; now plants will live on you
If God could invent irony, He'd create world peace, too

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Waiting for their time to bloom, or blow up as ordained
Not so much on schedule, but one day just the same

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