Here's an easy way to create audio podcasts and integrate them with the Exc-el site.
Rats… I've typed this all already, but the interweb went all slow and the last attempt was lost in a barrage of "timed out" messages. That will teach me to click "Store draft" now and again… Checked the server and everything there was running OK, so don't know the reason. There are over 70 people browsing the site right now, by the way and another one updating it.
Anyway, the current issues that have been getting in the way of Exc-el podcasting:
- The file sizes have been too large for some talkative people. See, for example:
- We haven't been able to supply an RSS feed (
web feed) for a podcast stored on Exc-el. All we have been able to do is create links to individual files. That sounds like technobabble, but it's the key that enables people with
iTunes (or other podcast catchers such as
Juice ) to subscribe to their chosen podcast. This is just like subscribing to a magazine, except instead of a new edition arriving through your letterbox, it gets detected by the podcast catcher when it's published, which downloads it to your PC and then – if you want – automatically downloads it onto your iPod or other mp3 player. This is the powerful thing about podcasting, because it becomes like on-demand radio.
I've been trying to find a work-around. Today tried OdeoStudio. This plugs the gap well. Features include:
- a very easy-to-use on-line system for recording your podcast directly, or for uploading it as an MP3
- a web-based interface, meaning it is available to anyone with a PC and internet access (a mic and speakers help, too..don't know if it will work with a school PC – a test is needed – any volunteers?)
- it's a free service, including storage of your uploaded podcast files
- automatic generation of an RSS URL which can be popped straight into your feed catcher (in iTunes, use Advanced / Subscribe to Podcast and paste it in the URL box)
- a neat feature which provides you with an on-screen player to use in your blog (you just cut and paste the HTML, I'll put a demo below). This means people can still conveniently read the text around it. (I need to click Play twice, not sure why…)
<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=7,0,0,0" width="476" height="80" align="middle"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value="http://odeo.com/flash/audio_player_fullsize.swf?ver=1.03" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> <param name="flashvars" value="audio_id=1152071&audio_duration=35.067&valid_sample_rate=true&external_url=http://media.odeo.com//files/2/0/7/362207.mp3" /><embed src="http://odeo.com/flash/audio_player_fullsize.swf?ver=1.03" width="476" height="80" allowScriptAccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" flashvars="audio_id=1152071&audio_duration=35.067&valid_sample_rate=true&external_url=http://media.odeo.com//files/2/0/7/362207.mp3" wmode="transparent" /></embed></object>
Some other stuff you can do:
- tag each audio recording (like
Flickr for photos, or
del.icio.us for bookmarks) to help others find your recordings (e.g.
http://www.odeo.com/tag/exc-el would find all recordings tagged with "Exc-el")
- provide a link (various sizes/colours) to your Odeo Podcast page, where people can comment on your podcasts, example below (and you can get emailed when anyone leaves a comment):
<a href="http://odeo.com/channel/101740/view"><img src="http://odeo.com/img/badge-channel-black-big.gif" border="0" width="80" height="50" alt="My Odeo Podcast" /></a>
You can also post a podcast by phone, if you don't mind dialling the US. You create the podcast file, they give you a phone number to dial and a magic number to key in when the phone's answered – and that's it. You can do that one for homework.
An upload limit on individual files of 50MB, and a recording time limit of one hour. That should be fine for mp3 files, though. And an hour is just right for a school period. Most podcasts aren't that long, anyway. Why don't you try it and see what you think? It's worth a look.