Mstation Book Reviews
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Sun, 29 Jan 2006

Podcasting Pocket Guide

various, Podcasting Pocket Guide, O'Reilly

Well, it is a pocket guide so we don't expect an indepth coverage of every aspect, and that's just as well because we don't get it here.

It starts off by giving us some information on what a podcast is and where and how to get them, then passes on into making them, and finishes with some recommended podcasts, most of which probably wouldn't interest Mstation readers.

One general attitude in howto books that have come out that annoys me intensely is the idea that podcasts should conform to some sort of structure or "professional" quality that has its genus firmly in the land of commercial radio -- ridiculous exhortations to have intro bits and enders and that sort of thing. The implication is that, if you don't, you won't get big audiences and, goodness!, if you don't aim at the hugest possible audience then you'd have to be some sort of commie or weirdo wouldn't you?

Seriously, podcasting is for doing exactly what you want. If you'd like a target audience of the exactly five people in the whole world that share your aesthetic, then go for it! Extend the medium and vocabulary by getting "out there". We can do this because we don't need expensive government permission to be on the airwaves and because it costs very little to produce the podcast items.

Of course, if the object of the podcaster is to make money then all this lowest common denominator stuff could be quite useful.

One thing that is left out of most of these books is also a proper explanation of how the feeds work and what it is that people actually subscribe to in terms that might be useful for people putting up their own on their own servers. What is an RSS 2.0 feed? How does it differ from an ordinary feed? How do you create one yourself?

Yes, yes, we'll plug Mstation's podcasts again as well.

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