PodCasting is Hard

PodCasting is hard… not the recording part, however. I’ve been recording myself on cassette tapes since I was 4, long enough to forget how to spell cassette and being forced to utilize my Firefox Dictionary.com shortcut as brain backup. I’ve been messing with homeade & mouth-made foley my entire life, and put those Larvell Jones wannabe skills to work during college for all kinds of sound effects. I’ve mixed loops into music for a TV commercial professionally. I know how to record audio on the computer.

No, what I’m talking about is publishing your podcast; allowing the world to hear your mp3 in whatever it is they use to play mp3s. This stuff should take 1 click, Jeff Bezos’ coke-binge-patent be damned.

Say you decide to forego bungie jumping with a fist-sized fishhook in your mouth with the slack wrapped around ye wrist and attempt instead at getting your PodCast into iTunes. Aye, now there is a valiant endeavor worthy of any geek worth his salt. :: loads gun ::

First, you’re existing blog software won’t work. LiveJournal? Nope. Blogger? Nadda. MoveableType? Perl ate your baby. Acknowledging that PodCasting is newer than new, as if you knew, you must proceed to force the technology that has already proven itself a fantastic voice for the masses, allowing them to spread and share ideas together in an online community (blogs if the sarcasm went so far over your head to crash into the mars rover… sorry rover-dude!) … must now be tweaked to go in a different direction merely for the sake of a fileformat. In this case MP3 because changing iTunes preferences JUST to republish to AAC is a time consuming process. Besides, I like Germans. …and please don’t tell me Germans had a hand in creating AAC too, the road was long and hard enough just getting here. The last thing I need at this juncture is a fork in the road. :: pops in clip ::

There happens to be a blog hack website which even offers a copyrighted name, SmartCast. It’s called FeedBurner, and the common theme it shares with the rest of Web 2.0 sites is the utter lack of, “Here’s what the f*** I do and why you should give a s***.” To hades with the pleasantries! This is the social networking revolution, and all of those sites know that 90% of their users are going there because their tech-friends already told them about it, thus negating the basic need for explainging exactly what your site does and why I should care. Yes, we’ve transcended to an internet plane which Jakob Neilsen was the avatar for. Hallowed are Ori! :: pulls back slide ::

Funny thing about MoveableType, is that every version is a surprise. Like Cracker Jack. Only the prize is free blogging software EVERYTIME with slightly different, unexpected functionality and instead of being packaged with a jolly, ghost-pale blue-clothed sailor it’s the vice Uncle Fester had as a kid, all yellow with a 3 letter name, “ZIP”. While her majesty went on a windowed safari in Safari (What are these “tabs” you speak of?) through the wild world of PodCasting tutorials that assume you juiced up on THC & JD, with such mantra’s as:

“Repeat after me… you have the capability… not to drool… in public.”

“Wow man… cool… I can do that… you know, man… I can do that!”

…I was off to solve it a programmers way; via a plug-in! Past experience has defiled the metaphor, somehow metamorphosed “helpful add-on tool” into “monkey wrench”, but, leave it to parse-mesiter-Perl to parse a cute, harmless little monkey into a :: 10 octaves lower :: MONKEY WRENCH OF DOOM!!! MUAHAHAH!!!!!!!

Apparently the Enclosures plugin was DOA. No logging of errors, and my RSS 2 file hadn’t even heard of any, “En-clow sur” before. First time for everything… but not today. *click* *click* *train sound* file deleted. :: slide locks into place, bullet enters chamber ::

So, I dressed up like Eminem, donned my num-chucks, and head to the forum jungle. Quite strange things in the world of forums… such as forums. They’re weird. People use them. They physically go places to utilize smilies and block tags vs. having content pushed to them. Perhaps the effort makes it more worthwhile? The common consensus was, “Use Blogger, Use FeedBurner, Use iTunes”. So, Blogger bloggy weblog setup. Feeling a little randy, so setup an account for FeedBurner too. Still not sure what it does, but it’s just a gateway drug, and I’m here for the adrenochrome. Frustrated by my progress, I scoured the cabinents and found some Blue Agave distilled into a urine colored substance, that tasted even worse. The pain was strong, but Utilarianism shall prevail… with a little help from my hombres.

Blogger post? Check. FeedBurner SmartCast? Check.

…iTunes fails to see “episodes”.

Try MoveableType entry, and register it into FeedBurner.

…iTunes fails to see “episodes”.

Download 4 meg MP3 from Dreamhost to my comp, disinfect Dreamhost’s suck, polish, and re-upload to my Atlanta server running on Windows with 10 billion MIME types.

…iTunes fails to see “episodes”. JesterXL attacks iTunes, rolls a 4. Misses. :: raises gun to head ::

Re-save MoveableType & Blogger entries. Her majesty forum posts. Motivational Speaker’s son answers, gives recommendations + side suggestion, non-chalant not so important as to appear trivial, yet important enough to give 2 line breaks before it’s inception into post.

Remove spaces from file name.

…iTunes gets 500 error from MoveableType feed.
…iTunes successfully reads Blogger feed.

By this time, I’m completely inebriated by some 14 year-old squeezed cactus liquid and start giving lewd, suggestive looks at my larger-than-lifesize Halo 2 cut out. It must of been the dual-weilding bullet hoses, but I just started to pass out… later to find out I tripped on one of my sleeping dogs and banged my head on my desk. You should still adopt a Cactuar, though.

Anyway, at my wits end, and out of pimp juice, I get bored and change the MoveableType feed URL from rss to atom, just like the Blogger one, in FeedBurner.

…iTunes successfully reads MoveableType feed. Dreamhost attacks iTunes. Rolls 18. Hits. Dreamhost’s sub-domain falls off, and writhes violently upon the dungeon floor. :: puts pressure on trigger ::

*ding* *dong*

Email? It’s only been 1 minute since my last 4 spam messages… apparently Apple has accepted the PodCast into iTunes, and is going to approve it. So, you can get into the club, but the bouncers will gang bang you at the coat check. “Whoa… a mink! Soft…”

There have been 2 reasons blogs were successful. Easy to publish, and easy to read via aggregators. PodCasting needs to be made easier to publish. I’m not the smartest geek on the block, but f’me, that’s just ridiculous. I fail to see why the tech world has to plummet into chaos when someone chooses to publish their words as digital waves vs. digital text. Considering the rate of change, hopefully I’ll only have to wait a year. Just in case, I’m going to get more Blue Agave… and adopting a Cactuar. I hope when I actually decide to try my own hand at a PodCast vs. helping a friend, it is easier to do so.
:: unloads and disassembles glock ::
:: no disassemble number 5 ::

14 Replies to “PodCasting is Hard”

  1. garageband3 makes it pretty easy – although its an itunes feed & not more easily consumable mp3. unless thats what you want. .Mac rocks pretty hard.

  2. Eric, my iLife order with Garageband shipped like last week. Apple apparently doesn’t have instant satisfaction shopping like Macromedia does.

    Thanks for the links Brent. In comparing those services which worked, libsyn kept popping up in the URL’s.

  3. Hey it only took us 5 hours to get it working… lol

    I was the dork who wanted the file name to be all pretty when it rendered in itunes, I didn’t realize it was based on the blog entry title! Live and learn… ehem…

  4. hang on a sec… let me read that again (for the 4th time)….I’m *sure* there’s some substance within all the ranting…

    …nope. guess I was wrong.

  5. Hah!

    Ok, for brevity, the fact that I cannot utilize my existing blogging tool for PodCasting is bs.

    The fact I have to use another tool to pretty-fy my RSS feed so PodCasting tools can read it is crap.

    The fact that all of the tools I had to use together require a lot of technical knowledge is bs too.

    In all fairness this is all very new.


  6. I think one way it could have been handled was, itunes could have taken care of it. you could login, and everytime you want to add to your podcast you could just put a link to the MP3 (which of course you have to host someplace other then them) and an image file etc.. I think it’s silly you MUST have a blog to podcast.

  7. Brandy — check out the URL I gave up there.. you don’t need a blog to podcast with it. You drop your MP3s into a folder, make a text file with details about each file, then point iTunes to a PHP page that you dropped in that folder (point iTunes to it once.. it will check your feed automatically after that). It’s simple, and if you’re decent with PHP you can customize it and make it even more simple.

  8. I don’t see what difficulty you would be having with an RSS Feed. It is just a text file. And enclosures aren’t really enclosed, which sort of sucks, the name I mean – they should have just called them referenceLinks.

    You know that you can attach files to Adobe PDF files?!?! There’s a TRUE enclosure for you. And don’t believe the media-hype, there’s not really that many people listening to podcasts on portable devices.

    There is however, a large amount of bandwidth being wasted from all of those ‘subscriptions’ pulling in 20-30 meg files only to be deleted after 10-seconds of listening….

    Now where oh where did I put my rose colored glasses…….

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