One of the hot topics in the blog world these days is Podcasting

Podcasting is a way to automatically get MP3 files from the internet down to your portable device (doesn't have to be an iPod, or even a portable - it works just as well on a desktop). It's built on the same RSS technology that weblogs use, but instead of just passing text, it also passes MP3 files as enclosures.

In other words, with the proper application, you can subscribe to audio the same way you subscribe to blogs now. I hope you subscribe to blogs, as reading in an Aggregator is much nicer than going to the web page.

iPodder is the only one application that I know of that supports podcasting right now. There's a windows version, though it uses an impressively bad amount of memory and tends to be a bit flakey (on my system inside the corporate firewall, at least), but the price is right.

The iPodder folks also host a podcast directory, so you can find out what's available.

I've been playing around with this for a few weeks, and have a few comments.

First, the technological aspects are pretty cool. I like to listen to Car Talk, but I'm often busy on weekends when it's on. I can go to their website, navigate around to find the streaming content, and then listen, but it would be a lot cooler if an MP3 showed up on my system (or on my iRiver) automatically. This seems like a natural fit for NPR, and expect to see them move in this direction, though there could be some issues WRT local stations and revenue. NPR is, after all, still a business.

The social aspects are more interesting, but not really clear (to me at least) at this point. There's definitely the potential to make an "end run" around the FCC and the RIAA and send content directly to the people - and I like the freedom of expression that that provides. There's also the chance for the "Indies" to provide edited new music directly to portable devices - to provide an "iPod channel" to the youth. Given that connectedness of today's teens, this could be pretty big.

I've been listening to Adam Curry's "Daily Source Code" (yes, that Adam Curry), and he does a fairly entertaining show. Reality radio.

Comments (10)

  1. Eric, here is another pretty nice podcasting client that happens to be written in .NET I believe:


    It also could use a little polish, but it seems to work well.



  2. Joel Ross says:

    You can use NewsGator too. You can tell it to download enclosures automatically, then you can find tools that automatically pull Outlook attachments into a folder, so you can get the same affect. I listen to Podcasts everyday, using newsgator to pull them dow.

    And as Carl Franklin pointed out to me, while podcasting is used for MP3s today, the RSS enclosures can be used for anything – such as a way to attach power point slides to a blog post about a presentation you did.

  3. FYI, There is a MSFT podcaster (me :))… I’m actually on the official "pioneers" list as I’ve been podcasting for nearly 2 months! (I think I was the #13 podcaster in the directory).

    Pleast give a listen and let me know what you think. There’s a link from my MS blog and/or go to http://www.softwareland.org

  4. There’s also another .net-based "podcatcher" available at: http://rss.freeserverhost.com/nimiq08.zip

  5. We wrote an article on integrating podcasting into a .NET application. If anyone is interested you should take a look :


  6. Erwin says:

    Indeed, Doppler is written in .NET.

    The polishing Michael refers too will appear in release 1.1, which is almost due. Useability is the main effort. So expect things like spacesavers (clean up your downloads using rules), multi-threading (doppler 1.0 is a single thread), previews, much much faster RSS parsing, integrated OPML directory browsing, etc. etc. You won’t recognize Doppler 1.1 if you where used to 1.0. Also: cleaner interface. We don’t want to confuse the user with crypted url’s, among others. If you are interested in checking it out, drop me a line and I’ll send you the beta.


  7. Chris Lundie says:

    Apparently all of the podcast (podcatching?) clients will receive videos too. IPodder even downloads Adam Curry’s show notes as OPML files.

    Channel 9 podcasts their videos now. I wrote a little helper app (http://lundie.ca/sermonex/) to extract the audio from them, so they could automatically get on my audio-only device.

  8. Ed says:

    Nimiq is a rss enclosure ripper written in .NET. It downloads all sorts of enclosures. There is support for iTunes and media player. You can also play around with the build in opml browser. You can also listen to the audio while it is downloading by Double Clicking on the progress bar. It can use a lot of polish, as it is a first release. We just fixed a few things and made it a bit better. You can get Nimiq 0.8.5 at


    Pleas let me know what you think..


  9. rizzn says:

    I wrote another microsoft centric podcasting utility that launched this week…

    A podcasting service that totally rests in Microsoft technology: asp backend, ms sql db, and some other proprietary apps (although I must admit, the mp3 encoder is LAME, not an MS concoction).

    Check it out: http://rizzn.net

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