While at Gnomedex this past weekend, there were numerous mentions of “PodCasting”. I had heard of this briefly in the last couple of weeks, but had not looked into it yet. There seems to be a lot of buzz around this simple but interesting concept. Basically, it’s an application of audio enclosures within an RSS feed. A special aggregator automatically downloads the audio files (perhaps overnight) and pushes them to the MP3 device.
A lot of people are now publishing internet talk shows and other content in this way and it seems to be gaining a ton of momentum. I’ve been following DotNetRocks (a .Net developers’ talk show) by burning MP3s to CD and listening in the car. Now they have PodCast feeds as well.
I don’t have an iPod (yet), so I’m using my Tapwave Zodiac instead, syncing the MP3 content to the main memory and an expansion card. Not quite as cool or automatic as an iPod, but I’ve already got the Zodiac! How about a new phrase: “ZodCasting”?
Some links for further reading:
I finally got around to upgrading this site from MovableType 2.66 to 3.11 (the latest). I wanted to upgrade just to get the latest plugins and to explore the new capabilities. Plus it gave me an excuse to back up my site which I’ve done only sporadically.
With improved handling for comments, I might turn them back on. In fact, a day after upgrading, I got my first comment spam, but it was easily deleted from my approval queue before it hit the site.
For a while now I’ve been using Textile when writing weblog entries. Textile — the “Humane Web Text Generator” — lets you use simple markup tags in your text rather than trying to write HTML by hand. For longer articles, I tend to write them in straight HTML in my editor, running them through Tidy if needed prior to posting.
This past week I switched over to Markdown which I’ve found to be an excellent replacement. Based on the ideas of Textile and other methods, Markdown’s goal is to present text that is perfectly readable as-is and looks even better when converted to HTML. Think of it like plain-text e-mail and you’ll get the idea. See the Markdown site for more details of the usage which is quite simple.
Markdown is available for MovableType and other platforms and will work with SmartyPants if installed. It’s a simple Perl module that also be run from the command-line, so you can do your own “preview” prior to posting. (Having the standalone module is also helpful if you ever want to migrate your weblog entries to straight HTML format.)
Today palmOne announced the Tungsten T5 which is the latest in the handheld (i.e. non-Treo) family or PDAs. It's kind of a sad day — the first product release since I left.
This should be a nice product with full 320×480 display (no slider like the T3) and a total of 256MB of storage — 160 MB flash drive and about 55MB of usable RAM. The flash drive is being touted as a way to store and carry your files with you, kind of like a USB keychain drive. Compared to comparable PDA devices, that's a good chunk of on-device storage. Compared to today's iPod, though, it's not a huge amount if you're planning to carry a lot of music with you.
Oddly, the device is announced today but won't be available until November 3rd. That's a shift from the old Palm standard which was to avoid pre-announcing any products.
No detailed reviews yet, but announcements on Palminfocenter and MyPalmLife.
The Gnomedex conference continues today…
- The Future of Online Content started well including
discussions about the lack of individual blogging voices
from big publishers (like NYTimes). Jason Calacanis gave
some good insight behind Weblogs Inc; he mentioned being
prepared for lawsuits which led to an interesting discussion
(including apparently a cease-and-desist order from palmOne,
probably about the Treo 650 pictures on Engadget.com).
This panel could use more focus – kind of wandered all over
the place with a lot of strong personalities.
- Wil Wheaton gave a great talk after lunch. The talk was
primarily reading from his books. At first I thought it
would be disappointing, but he really brought the stories
out, beyond what you would get by just reading. Afterwards
he was selling and autographing copies of his books and
I was able to get both of them. When Wil saw I was from
Yahoo, he was very excited to thank me/Yahoo for putting
out the Unix/Linux version of Messenger — cool.
- The Future of Online Advertising was an interesting
discussion covering various forms of advertising, whether/how
ads should be included in RSS, etc. Dave Taylor put together
a summary of related links in: Make Money from your Web Site
Gokul Rajaram from Google had a really good point that
advertising models work well only when it has benefits
for all three parties: users, publisher, and advertisers.