Podcasting Hacks
Tips and Tools for Blogging Out Loud
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2005
Pages: 464

Podcasting does for Internet audio listeners what TiVo does for television viewers--it puts you in charge of when you enjoy a program. Podcasting is a web-based broadcast medium that sends audio content (most commonly in the MP3 format) directly to an iPod or other digital audio player. You subscribe to audio feeds, receive new files automatically, and listen to them at your convenience.

As you can imagine, podcasting is taking the "blogsphere" by storm. A podcast is a professional-quality Internet radio broadcast, and like blogging and HTML before it, this revolutionary new way of publishing to the Internet has become the new outlet for personal expression.

If you've got Internet access and a copy of Podcasting Hacks, you can find out just how easy it is to listen to and create your own Internet audio programs. With Podcasting Hacks, Jack Herrington, a software engineer with 20 years of experience developing applications using a diverse set of languages and tools, delivers the ultimate how-to of podcasting for anyone looking to get the most out of this hot new medium.

Since August 2004 (the month that iPodder.com editor Adam Curry considers the start of podcasting), audio blogging has exploded. Podcasts cover every conceivable topic, including sex, relationships, technology, religion, home brewing, recreational drugs, rock 'n roll, food, entertainment, politics, and much more. There were podcasts from the Democratic National Convention in Fall 2004, and some programs on Air America and NPR are also podcasts.

Podcasting Hacks offers expert tips and tools for blogging out loud--for transmitting (and receiving) audio content worldwide with ease. This groundbreaking volume covers both entry-level and advanced topics perfect for aspiring and experienced podcasters. Herrington shows you how to get started, create quality sound, use the right software, develop a great show, distribute a podcast, and build an audience. More advanced topics include audio editing, podcasting on the go, and even videocasting.

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An excellent collection of tips, tricks, and explanations about making, publishing, and enjoying podcasts.

By Jack Hodgson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Podcasting Hacks:

Jack Herrington's "Podcasting Hacks" is an excellent collection of tips, tricks, and explanations about making, publishing, and enjoying podcasts.

Although the book is primarily aimed at people who are creating podcasts, it also contains some info on the tools and techniques for finding and listening to them.

The O'Reilly "Hacks" books are structured as a series of specific projects, "hacks", that you can implement, but most every hack also includes a valuable explanation of the technology or expertise it uses.

The hacks in this book fall into both technical and non-tech categories. There's plenty on microphones, mixers and mp3 files. But also a lot on interviewing, blogging and getting publicity for your 'cast.

The book's first Chapter is the only one specifically for podcast listeners. It talks about sites and directories for finding the podcasts that are of interest to you. It also describes systems for downloading them, and the software for listening. Although the chapter contains much good info, it seems a bit out of place to me, in a book which is mostly of interest to people already looking to produce podcasts.

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are "Starting Out", "Quality Sound", and "Formats". They dive into the gear and technology of recording and producing your podcasts.

Chapter 5 "Interviewing", and 7 "Publicity", tell about how to collect valuable and useful content, and how to get the word out to your potential audience.

Chapter 6 "Blogging" covers how to use a blog to publicize and distribute your podcast. It covers the most popular blogging systems like Movable Type, WordPress, Drupal and others. It covers using an existing blog, or setting up a new one. Also creating and managing the all-important RSS feed for your podcast. It also talks about internet hosting services which specialize in providing online storage and bandwidth for podcasts, which, because they are larger-sized files, can be a burden on traditional hosting arrangements.

Chapters 8 & 9, "Basic Editing" and "Advanced Audio", expand upon the post-production and audio tech material already covered. And Chapter 10 "On the Go" talks about recording podcasts out in the field.

"Podcasting Hacks" was first published in 2005, before the boom in video on the net, so it is short on info for video-podcasters. Though much of the discussion on interviewing, distribution, publicity, and hosting are directly applicable to video 'casts. Chapter 10 "Videoblogging" touches briefly on what was then an infant medium.

All in all, "Podcasting Hacks" a very useful and informative book, for both new and experienced podcasters.

[This review originally written for the NH Seacoast Macintosh User Group, and first published at www.techpopuli.net (http://www.seacoastmac.org/) ] (http://www.techpopuli.net)


Noobs or Vets -- This Book Has Something for You!

By Warren Kelly

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Podcasting Hacks:

This is one of those books that aren't meant to be read cover to cover. Skim through it, though, because otherwise you might miss out on some great tips -- especially if you think you know it all about podcasting.

The book starts out with some great basic information --how to listen to podcasts. I think a lot of people forget this part -- they hear about podcasting, listen to a couple (usually Adam Curry), and jump right in. And you can tell, because their podcasts sound like it. You have to read before you can write, and you have to listen before you can podcast. Then you get some basic tips about your first show, and sounding professional. These first two sections should be read by everyone, especially those getting ready to start their first podcast.

After recording your first podcast, listen to it critically. Then take a look at the table of contents of this book, and find out what you can do to make it better. Chapter 3 tells how to set up a home studio (with little expense) and control noise. Chapter 4 talks about something that I hadn't even thought of -- establishing a format for your show. I spent a lot of time in college at the campus radio station (9-10 AM weekdays, 10-11 Friday nights), so I am familliar with formatting, so I did it almost subconsciously with my own podcast. It does make things go a lot smoother when you're recording -- you don't have to sit thinking "What's next?" all the time.

Chapter 7 is another one that everyone should read -- Publicity. You podcast to be heard, so you should know what to do to be heard. I thought I had my bases covered here, but I got a few other ideas that I'm getting ready to try out on my own podcast.

The book is full of good advice for podcasters of all levels. They actually went out and talked to podcasters and technology folks to get some great ideas. That's the real benefit of this book -- they talked to these people so you don't have to spend a lot of time researching. They've tested out the microphones and mixers. And they're willing to tell you when an inespensive solution works as well (if not better) than spending a lot of money on better equipment. I'd love to have a Pro Tools setup for my podcast, but until I get a lot more money saved up (or someone decides to donate), I'll be using the headset microphone and Audacity to do my own podcast. But this book has shown me a lot of things that can improve my podcast now, and has given me a few things to shoot for later.

(originally posted at Blogcritics.org)


Podcasters, Please buy this book.

By dpeach

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Podcasting Hacks:

Podcasting is audio Internet. Everything the web is for text, podcasting is for audio. This new book from O'Reilly explains that it can be wonderful entertainment as a hobby, or can be used as a form of commercial broadcasting. No iPod or MP3 player required.

How do you do it? Read this book. O'Reilly and Jack Herrington have put together a wonderful book on the subject. Not just them, they also pulled from 20 contributors to make this book what it is. Their skills range from accomplished podcasters to speech and broadcasting coaches.

Like all the "Hacks" books from O'Reilly, there is plenty of technical information such as what type of microphone to buy--complete with very detailed information to get the right mic for the right type of podcast. But there is also information that won't clog your thinking with too many numbers. For example there is a whole section of hacks dealing with content for your podcast. Depending on which type of audience you are seeking, you will find information as to how you should structure your show.

Being a new podcast listener, I was very curious as to what might be between the covers of this book. After reading it, I feel compelled to recommend this book to some of the podcast shows I have heard. This should be required reading.

Hacks range from beginner to expert in their difficulty. This book only includes 2 "expert" level hacks. This should have been rethought on O'Reilly's part. Command line encoding of your files using LAME is considered an intermediate level hack as is constructing your own sound studio in the back yard--even includes a nice diagram of how theirs was constructed. The only 2 expert level hacks were "Record Telephone Interviews" and "Build a Teleprompter." It is unclear to me as to how constructing a back yard recording studio for multiple thousands of dollars is easier than recording a phone conversation or building a teleprompter costing less than $20.

When discussing different software solutions, very little is said about the Linux platform. At one point the book talks about how to do something in Mozilla Firefox (the browser) and explains how it is done in Windows and Mac, but does not mention that the same feature is handled the same way in Linux.

As with all other O'Reilly books that I have read recently, it includes a free 45 day online edition of the book. This is tremendously helpful when searching the text, or if you want to cut and paste some of the code snippets to avoid typing.

A very well done book. As with any of the books in the Hacks series, this was not necesarily designed to be read cover to cover. Browse around and find the answers to what you need. As long as your needs revolve around podcasting and how to make yours better, you will likely find the answer in Podcasting Hacks from O'Reilly.

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