Despite all the time, effort, money, podcasts can be richly rewarding
Over the last five weeks on the Wednesday Pointers column, we have gone through the steps involved in creating a podcast, from choosing a good mic (do not use your built-in mic or some cheapo piece of crap) to packaging and hosting the files iTunes needs to send potential listeners your way. So far, we've learned that podcasts are more than just capturing an entertaining conversation, or at least they should be, and that there's as much of a technical effort required as a creative one.
From raw audio file to 'ready-for-air' podcast file, plus hosting
Over the next couple of weeks, our Wednesday Pointers column will continue to be devoted to writing about how to create a podcast. In previous segments, we've talked about software and hardware one uses to record the audio that is the core of every podcast, either for live group conversations, VOIP-based group audio calls, or even if you're just recording yourself. We've discussed the different types of podcasts, and how to record the content suitable for each (basically, audio-only or enhanced with images, or full-on video). This time, we offer some editing tips, how to add in music/sound effects and artwork, and then lead into hosting and publishing your work.
Capturing the magic and bringing it all together for your audio or video podcast
This should be considered part 2.5 of a short series of Pointers that concern themselves with the finer points of podcasting (we sort-of started with a Pointers about voice recording on the Mac generally, then went into the first requirements specifically for a podcast). This week, the Wednesday Pointers will focus on defining your podcast, including which of three media types you want to go for; recording tips for local, field, and remote discussions; and then some focus on editing.
An affordable, high-quality digital mic for podcasts, VOIP, more
We've been writing a lot lately about some of the aspects involved in podcasting -- see this Pointers column as an example -- as well as moving our own site example of the form, The MacNN Podcast, to Soundcloud and now (finally) iTunes for better distribution. For some of our staff that contribute to the broadcast, its meant getting a decent microphone for the first time. As a veteran podcaster, currently a regular on no less than three very different podcasts, I generally recommend the Blue Snowball USB.
A free podcast management app with purchasable upgrades
When we did our Hands On for Downcast, a few readers responded with a suggestion to also take a look at Overcast. Overcast begins as a free app with more advanced features, which can be unlocked with an in-app purchase. This review is mostly about the free version of Overcast, and we'll briefly touch on what the premium features are.
Good entry-level app that makes the basics easy and fast
It's harder to make podcasts than you might imagine. No, strike that: it's easy to make bad podcasts, to make the kind of audio that makes grown NPR and BBC radio producers sob and listeners disappear. What's harder is to make anything worth listening to, and that's chiefly a mix of your talent and your technology. The new Opinion Podcast Recorder & Editor app won't make a scrap of difference to your talent -- except that it will let you concentrate on getting better, because it sets out to make the technical side of podcasts simple. It aims to be the one place you record your podcast, edit it, and then distribute it.
Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride
Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."
Terms under 'quiet period' until September 30, Adam Carolla crowdfunded defense fund
Big name podcasts may be in the clear for the time being, as Personal Audio and Adam Carolla's Lotzi Digital recently agreed to jointly dismiss a patent lawsuit without prejudice last Friday. The filing, obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), comes after a settlement was reached between the two parties, the details of which have yet to be announced. Both companies are under a "quiet period" until September 30.
Resolutions available up to 1080p for Yosemite, iOS 8 intro
Following the "instant replay" of Monday's Worldwide Developers' keynote on the Apple website, the company has now made the presentation available in high resolution through its Apple Keynotes podcasts, and has posted a copy at up to 720p resolution on YouTube. The 1080p and 720p versions of the keynote are available through iTunes, though with a runtime of two hours and 10 minutes the file at 1080p resolution takes up more than 6GB of space. Subscribers to the HD podcast receive the event automatically.
League likely trying to control usage of team names
Major League Baseball has asked Apple to pull a number of team-based podcasts from iTunes, reports say. These include shows like Pirates Prospects, Mets Musings, It's About the Yankees Stupid, and two Twins podcasts, Talk to Contact and Gleeman and the Geek. The latter, significantly, is hosted by NBC Sports' Aaron Gleeman.
TuneIn Radio update features redesign and optimization for iOS 7
TuneIn Radio, a free radio app for iOS, lets users listen to a variety of streaming radio stations features sports, news, talk, and music programming. Listeners have access to 100,000 live radio stations and two million podcasts, concerts and shows, all of which can be streamed on an iPhone, iPad and iPod. In version 5, Tunein features a redesigned interface, optimized for iOS 7. Live college basketball games can also now be accessed, including every PAC-12 game. Also included in the update are bug fixes regarding playback and streaming errors, and issues pertaining to viewing recommendations upon swiping the Now Playing screen. TuneIn Radio is available on iTunes, and can also be accessed from the web.
Highlights show classic podcasts
Apple has announced that it has amassed more than a billion podcast subscriptions. The milestone has been reached approximately eight years after the podcast program was initially launched via iTunes. To celebrate, the company is currently highlighting many of the most popular new and classic streams.
New version adds Top Stations, fixes more bugs
Friday afternoon, Apple delivered another update to the Podcasts app for the iOS. The v1.1.2 update addresses "additional stability and performance improvements," over its predecessors and adds a few new features. A "Top stations" feature has been added, allowing users to download and play the most popular podcasts organized by topic automatically.
Podcasts said to get closer focus in iOS 6
The forthcoming release of Apple's iOS 6 mobile operating system may contain a change for podcasts that the tech giant didn't reveal at WWDC. Sources tell AllThingsD that Apple is planning to is planning to roll out a new native app with a specific focus on podcasts.
Feature to be pre-installed in tablets
RIM has announced that its BlackBerry Podcasts app will be pre-installed on the company's PlayBook tablets at launch. The utility will allow users to browse content, subscribe to favorite channels, and preview episodes before downloading. Alongside audio content, the app provides access to video podcasts in native resolutions up to 1080p.
Helps podcasters determine trends, popularity
IdeaSwarm, who make AppViz for helping developers track app sales, reviews and rankings, has expanded their line with the introduction of PodViz ($25), designed to help podcasters determine the popular reception of their podcasts by automatically downloading reviews and rankings from iTunes.
iPhone dnld. cap dying?
An arbitrary size limit on cellular app and podcast downloads could disappear with the release of the iPhone 3.0 firmware, a developer suggests. Although iPhone owners are currently able to stream audio and video podcasts without restriction, a 10MB limit exists on individual files obtained through EDGE or 3G, rendering all but the shortest podcasts inaccessible on the road. Using the iPhone 3.0 beta however, a developer says he has been able to download a 138MB Diggnation episode.
SnapMeasure 1.8 ($24) is a plugin for Adobe Illustrator that acts as an alternative measuring tool. Unlike the native measuring tool, SnapMeasure snaps with visual feedback to elements on the page and can put measurement data next to the cursor. The software also offers an alternate measure line color for better visibility and can optionally change the constrain angle and/or cursor key distance without having to open the preferences window. This release adds CS4 compatibility, measuring along a path, scale measuring, path direction arrows, and more. [Download - 1.9MB]
First Look NPR Mobile
Even if you're a regular National Public Radio (NPR) listener, there's a chance you won't catch your favorite shows during the day. Many NPR stations offer podcasts, but if you're not keen on manually hunting for files and loading them onto a media player, you can let a program like the NPR Mobile iPhone app do the work for you.
Textcast podcast creator
Bit Maki Software has released Textcast, an application that allows the transformation of text documents, webpages, or blog feeds into audio files that can be played on an iPhone or iPod. Offering customizable voices, including a default of Mac OS X Leopardís latest Alex voice, Textcast sends all spoken-word audio files to iTunes for sync purposes.
Ubercaster 1.6 update out
Pleasant Software has posted a major update to Ubercaster, its podcast production software. The app handles all stages of the production process, including note preparation, recording, editing and eventual publishing online. New to v1.6 is the implementation of Skype support, popular with podcasters for handling phone conversations through VoIP. Users can now make phone calls from within Ubercaster, eliminating the need to run separate clients.
Big Mean Folder, EasyBatch
StoryMill 3.2 ($45) provides a series of tools that help writers manage the creative process from the beginning of a story to its end. Users can track, tag and filter characters, scenes, locations and research. StoryMill also offers options for managing information including Smart Views, which allow writers to organize ideas in a project according to selected criteria. StoryMill 3.2 introduces a Project Find and Replace feature, word frequency filtering, text zooming available everywhere, and support for international date formats. [Download - 15.6MB]
BoinxTV 1.0 available
Boinx Software has launched BoinxTV 1.0, a live-production software solution for video podcasters. The software allows users to operate a TV studio from their Mac. BoinxTV can mix audio and video and record high-quality video from podcasts, sporting events, concerts and more, supporting up to three camera feeds. The interface allows a single user to choose templates and produce a live broadcast, with support for pre-recorded material, video camera inputs and microphone inputs, in a layering scheme that puts graphics and logos on top of the video feeds.
iPhone 2.2 podcasts active
Mobile podcast downloads are now functioning within the iPhone 2.2 beta firmware, reports claim. Although references to the feature were said to be present as far back as late last month, this was unconfirmed, and buttons for the new option were said to be inactive. Users of the firmware should now be able to browse podcasts much in the same as other material on the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, searching by category, with episode lists replacing track lists.
Pleasant Software has released updates to two key programs, Ubercaster and ShowMacster. The former is the company's podcasting tool, which allows users to record, edit and export tracks using only a single utility. Version 1.5 of the software introduces the Autopilot, which displays a list of topics to guide users through their podcasts; the panel can also be used to store detailed notes, in case particular pieces of information are forgotten. Ubercaster now also has an RMS normalizer, support for AU (Audio Units) plug-ins, effect presets and an automatic chapter creation function. The app costs $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.4, a 1.83GHz CPU, and 1GB of RAM.
Apple site wins .net award
The official Apple website has been been given an award by British web culture magazine .net. The site took home the "Best Redesign of the Year" title, for the new look that premiered shortly before the release of the iPhone in June. Some changed elements included a new menu bar at top, and the use of segmented "windows" on product pages, such as that for the iPhone. Apple beat out challengers such as Manchester United, the New York Times and Guardian Unlimited.