Podcasting and iPodder

Since setting this one up, I’ve spent too much time the last few weeks reading weblogs. But the “meme of the moment” (a phrase courtesy of Dave Slusher) is “podcasting” — weblogs you can listen to. More specifically, podcasting refers to the confluence of a few technologies: first, of course, machines like the Mac, or the iPod with a microphone attached, have made it easy to record yourself (and more complicated setups allow mixing in other audio feeds, even people calling in from other machines by telephone or VOIP (internet telephony); second, new versions of RSS allow the attachment of the resulting audio files directly to a blog, in a way that external programs can easily grab; finally, new software parses these “RSS Enclosures”, downloads the audio files to your machine and even moves them over to iTunes for immediate loading onto your iPod.

This movement was spearheaded by Adam Curry, the former MTV VJ and (formerly) somewhat annoying big-haired 80s personality who became famous again (after hosting “Headbangers’ Ball”) for being prescient enough to register MTV.com before MTV itself (and, one imagines, reaping significant rewards therefrom). In fact, Adam even mentioned me on his podcast on or about 24 September!

Why is this interesting? Right now, most of the podcasts are (like most early blogs) are just a bit of navel-gazing. But eventually this becomes timeshifting for radio: once, say, NPR, catches on, I can listen to shows like Fresh Air or This American Life on my iPod, even though I live in the UK. And, like much else on the internet, of course, this opens up a new medium to amateurs. It could be a great way to make what used to be called mix tapes — music to share with your friends (if that’s legal, of course).