Mstation Book Reviews
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Sat, 01 Oct 2005

Podcasting Hacks

Jack D. Herrington, Podcasting Hacks, O'Reilly

This will tell you pretty much all you need to know about podcasting including the basics of sound recording. As such, it is more of a manual than a hacks book, but it can still be delved into in a random way to yield all kinds of interesting information. If you're starting from scratch, then this is as good a place to go as any and reading straight through will be rewarding.

When Mstation is out about we quite often have to explain what a podcast is, even to people you'd suspect would already know. A podcast is usually an mp3 audio file which is tagged in RSS 2.00 format (which adds an enclosure tag). The original idea was that they would be played on iPods or similar but they can just be downloaded and played on anything that will handle it, an ordinary computer with a soundcard, for instance. The RSS 2.00 feed is added to a blog or auto generated with a script and the feed is subscribed to by people with "podcatchers" like iPodder or iPodderX. These programs automatically download new episodes as they become available.

The whole idea of the thing was to bring broadcasting to anyone who wanted to try it -- no government licences to worry about and no big, expensive studios to buy. Grass roots voices could be heard without the filters of corporate agendas, or government regulation (so far). None of that guarantees quality, wisdom, or fairness, but then neither does the other system. In any case, it's a big, new, and interesting world and you could easily be a part of it if you liked.

Oh, and by the way, Mstation podcasts can be found here.

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