Podcasts have become audio and video versions of blogging. They are delivered by all manner of amateurs and professional organizations (usually news services) and are delivered through a multiplicity of channels. a course in miracles are audio or video “bites” that address a particular topic or provide a small segment of entertainment or information.
YouTube and MySpace are loaded with millions of podcasts. Outside the adolescent networking space, there are scores of podcast feeds that put out new “bites” on a regular basis. If you are interested in exploring this new wrinkle in the broadband universe, there are a couple of tools you’ll need to make it all work and several tools to help you find podcast feeds that might interest you.
The principal tool for subscribing to a podcast feed is a podcast or news aggregator. There are dozens of them; many are freeware. Generally a “newsfeed” is provided in either RSS or Atom format; the podcasts that are syndicated are usually uploaded to a web server for delivery. Any web server will do, and there are many services that are dedicated to hosting podcasts exclusively. An RSS or Atom feed provides a URL for subscription, and new content is downloaded whenever the aggregator reads the feed and finds it has been updated.
This is how new content from the feed is delivered to your computer automatically, or at least at the intervals your aggregator is set to check the feed. An aggregator will automatically deliver a podcast from a subscription feed that you have signed up for – generally it will be saved to your local machine and play in the default media player on your PC.
You can find a list of aggregators and where to find them at: [http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html]. Once you’ve got an aggregator in place, you can go in search of podcast services that might interest you on a regular basis. Like many computer subscription services, you might find yourself dumping a podcast on a particular day because the topic doesn’t interest you or you don’t have time. But the idea is to find a collection of regular podcast feeds that provide information on topics that interest you and to absorb that information in audio or video format.
Once you have located a website offering a podcast service, you’ll generally find a button that will make you a subscriber. Click it, and you’ll find regular downloads appearing in your aggregator, generally found on your desktop by its icon or by an RSS orange button. You can organize your podcasts into folders and either view or listen to them at will. If you are go on a subscription binge and then neglect the daily aggregate of material that’s being automatically downloaded, you’ll be piling up megabytes in a hurry if many of those podcasts are of the video variety.
As with websites, podcast directories began appearing the moment podcasts took hold as a mainstream Internet communications device. One of the oldest, largest and best organized podcast directories can be found. The site breaks out podcast feeds by category and provides folders for you to browse. podder is a commercial product – an aggregator – but its website can be highly informative. If you want to review the A-to-Z podcast material from the site, you can find it in an online article at [http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0],1697,1817856,00.asp.