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2005/06/18 iPodderX (podcast reading software for Mac OS X)


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© June 2005 Tony Lawrence

Podcasting has apparently become very popular. While the name implies the use of an iPod, actually you can hear podcasts directly on your computer.

The point of this is not streaming media: the content is downloaded to your computer. You could then transfer it to an iPod or other audio device for off-line use. Podcasting is basically an RSS feed with imbedded audio content.

I am not a fan.

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As I've noted before, I can read much faster than anyone can talk. Some people absorb information better aurally, but some don't, and I'm in the latter group. The only time I prefer to listen rather than read is when a politician is being interviewed - subtle verbal clues can help determine the truth behind the actual words. For technical information, I don't want to waste time listening: I'll read it, thank you. I also don't need or want all the introductory fluff, music and sound effects that accompanies these podcasts.

But my grumpy dislike doesn't mean you wouldn't enjoy this. Tech podcasts are available from a number of websites, including The Wizards of Technology.

iPodderX is a Mac OS X podcast reader. I installed the trial version (it's $24.95 for the supported version). They include a number of preloaded feeds (including The Wizards of Technology mentioned above). I thought I'd try to listen to the show that discusses Apple's move to Intel, but I just couldn't do it - no, not any technical difficulty; iPodderX did its part. I just couldn't stand the slow pace..

Oh well, not for me, but maybe you see (or hear) things differently, or at least have more patience than I do. And even I might save something down to my iPod and listen to it while driving.


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Sat Jun 18 13:39:53 2005: 665   BigDumbDinosaur


As I've noted before, I can read much faster than anyone can talk. Some people absorb information better aurally, but some don't, and I'm in the latter group.

That describes me as well. I suppose podcasting might be useful for someone with vision problems. But, as a resource for general information, I doubt that it will be half as good as plain old reading. Besides, with printed information, if you don't fully absorb it the first time, you can always read it again, and again, and again, and...you get my point.

A trend that seems to have taken hold lately is someone conjuring up some strange way to use existing technology and then trying to push their new way as the future of whatever. The technology landscape is littered with a host of half-assed ideas that when viewed in the realm of the big picture, turned out to be of minimal value. As an old dinosaur once informed me, "New technology isn't always good technology and newer is not always better." Methinks this describes podcasting, Firewire, Blackberry, etc.



Sat Jun 18 22:25:41 2005: 667   drag


I figure this is a good thing. There is a reason why radio nowadays is getting fairly popular again even with television and the internet.

With audio information it is inherently multitasking. You can listen to it will walking, driving, mowing the lawn, fiddling around with shell scripts, etc etc. Were as reading is very fast and a superior way to get information, it is inherently single tasking.

Try listening to the radio vs reading the newspaper while driving and you'd quickly understand what podcasting's possible advantages are.

Not that I podcast or anything. Internet radio was suppose to be big for a while, and it was, but regulators killed it off pretty quick. (they changed how commercials are talled and costs associated with advertising and made internet radio several times more expensive to operate vs regular radio, or something like that).

Put for technical resources reading is superior because it's faster and it gets your undivided attention.



Sun Jun 19 04:32:14 2005: 668   BigDumbDinosaur


With audio information it is inherently multitasking. You can listen to it will walking, driving, mowing the lawn, fiddling around with shell scripts, etc etc.

I disagree. Human beings cannot multitask, no matter what the whiz kid down the hall might think. One can only focus one's attention on one task at a time, and if two or more sensory inputs are competing for equal attention, neither will be adequately serviced. If you think otherwise, you're headed for an accident caused by distraction.

I especially disagree with the suggestion of listening to audio information that you wish to absorb while driving or trimming the weeds. Your attention should be directed solely toward controlling your car, lawn mower, locomotive or whatever, not some inane drivel belching forth from a loudspeaker. For the same reason, I'm all for legislation prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving. There are way too many bozos who, while yacking on the phone, forget they are supposed to be controlling a moving vehicle. I don't even like conversing with my passengers while driving -- it's sufficiently distracting to make me feel like I don't have 100 percent control of my car.

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