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Podcasts of interest to Tamil Diaspora
Podcasting - FAQsource: http://www.podcastdirectory.com/help/
"Podcasting is the automatic distribution of mp3s via RSS/XML files."
That's a good enough definition to start. Techno-fanatics can say "but it is other things, but it is this, or that, and you don't need that" but we all know those type of people really need help so let's ignore the extremes and start with the basics.
Ok, so let's break that down into 3 distinct parts:
Listeners of podcasts use a wide variety of podcast software to download their favorite podcasts automatically (i.e. even when they are asleep) from podcaster's websites. One of the more popular podcast programs is Apple's iTunes--
and let's dispense a few myths while we are here.
1) You don't need an ipod to listen to podcasts, or to use Apple's free iTunes,
2) You don't need a Macintosh to use iTunes, and
3) it's a free download.
Because of the immense user base and technical support, if you are just getting started with podcasts, we STRONGY recommend using iTunes to get a 'flavor' of what can be done and then consider some other software solutions if you want to do some more advanced work.
Basically, these types of programs 'ask' the podcasters dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times a day 'Do you have a new show ready yet?' If their computer says 'No' (via the RSS/XML file which we will discuss in a minute) than your podcast progam says 'Ok, but I'll be back later to check again.' This goes on hundreds of thousands of times a day--little requests between computers that do not even require your attention. It just happens, until their computer comes back and says "Why yes, we do have a new podcast show ready. Here you go".
Your computer downloads the program (again, without you looking) and the next time you get back to your computer from lunch, a nap, or a boring meeting with the boss, there is the new MP3 ready for you to listen.
Mp3 files are digital recordings, compressed down into relatively small files (approximately 1 megabyte per minute of audio). I mean, honestly, you probably know what an mp3 is. But what podcasters do is create an mp3 with their own voice, content, music, sounds, whatever, and then release it to the general public. If you are an aspiring podcaster, I'd recommend any number of MP3 creation programs (Amadeus for the Mac, Garageband for the Mac, and a bunch of others for the windows world).
However, if you think you are just going to 'rip' your CDs into mp3s and play popular music on your podcast, let me warn you now, the record companies will find you, and they will kill you. Well, maybe not kill you, but you will have a pack of uptight lawyers on you very, very quickly.
...via RSS/XML files...
This is really the "key" to a podcast. It's the file that the automatic podcast software (iTunes) looks for each day. At first glance, an RSS file is really scary. It has all sorts of tags (far more than an HTML web page) and some make no sense. But let me tell you a secret--it's easy. Just cut and paste from an XML file of some other podcaster and place in your own details. You can create an RSS/XML file in minutes using a Text Editor or Microsoft Word. It doesn't really take that much.
Can I be a podcaster without an XML? Ummm...no. Ok, just no. I mean, you can put mp3s on your website, but you are REALLY missing the boat if you don't have the RSS/XML file behind it. In fact, many in the podcasting community refuse to call anyone without an RSS/XML a podcaster. You are just a guy who put up an MP3 on a website, and that's not that cool anymore.
Podcasts available of interest for Tamil Diaspora