Archive for the 'iTunes' Category

New York Times Podcasts OPML (freed from iTunes!)

So I woke up this morning and saw from a ‘tweet’ from @Davewiner that the New York Times had blogged in their ‘Open Source’ blog a couple of months ago about their RSS feeds and published a few links to full OPML lists/directories of all the feeds to the various sections on the New York Times site.

New York Times Homepage - showing podcast linkBut what’s missing there?
Yes, you got it : Podcasts!

So I spent a few minutes digging (a lot) around their home page looking for the Podcasts section. Finally found the link to ‘Podcasts’ way down on the right hand side, after a few ‘folds’ (see image)

They have a good list there of 15 podcasts with links which say ‘subscribe’. But wait. That’s not a link to an RSS feed! It’s those apple.com ‘phobos’ links which when clicked will attempt to launch iTunes, if you have it installed. (Dave mentioned this on Scripting News a while ago too)

When I got iTunes open from one of their links I could see that there’s actually 23 NYT podcasts listed. Audio and video. Cool! Trouble is, that iTunes makes it VERY hard to find the RSS feed they’re using to list podcasts.

You’ll find the RSS feed url if you click on the small ‘i’ after after you have subscribed to it in iTunes. But you can’t copy/paste the url text! Argh!

I’ll point out here that the NYT does link, way up high on their page, to their Video section. I see lots of rss feed buttons on there too. Nice! Or so I thought. Alas, the feeds only point to the embedded Flash video page and do not contain a link to the video enclosure, so I could download and watch on a portable device. They run pre-roll ads on those videos on the site, which I don’t mind so much personally, if they’re under 20 seconds.

Now, iTunes has the ability to export my podcast subscriptions as OPML. Marvellous! πŸ™‚

So, I cleared out the list of podcasts in my iTunes (I don’t use it as my podcast downloader btw) and went to the NYT page in iTunes and clicked all 23 ‘subscribe’ buttons. I also stopped all the automatic downloads of episodes which kicked in after subscribed (though I think I can turn that off).

Then, by going to File > Export in iTunes I can choose an OPML format and save a neat little bit of data with all the RSS url information I need to be able to consume the great content they produce on a device other than an iPod.

It’s worth pointing out here that despite the iPod’s huge popularity, there are more portable MP3-capable mobile phones in people’s pockets in the world, than there are iPods. Most of those are made by Nokia, then Motorola, if I remember correctly. These devices (phones) have been internet capable for quite some time! And now plently of these are coming with 802.11 wifi capability too.

I was then able to use a system I’m working on for podcast.com to upload and import that OPML file to my podcast folders managed by my podcast.com (beta) account.at http://my.podcast.com/kosso/

Bingo! After using the folder manager to drag and drop feeds around to order them and make a separate folder for the video podcasts (which are actual MPEG4 downloadable versions! woot!) I now have a neat little place to find all the New York Times podcasts. You can find it here : http://podcast.com/folder/15083/ (The video only folder also has its own url : http://podcast.com/folder/15107 ) As you click a feed on the list, it will load in the central area of the site and provide a link to the RSS feed url and let you listen to the last 5 episodes of each feed on the page.

Also, you’ll see below the folder a small blue ‘OPML icon’ this is a link to the OPML generated by that folder, so you can use that to import in to a podcatcher which supports OPML (with ‘includes’).

There’s no reason why you couldn’t use all that OPML data to build *your own* version of iTunes. For the web OR the desktop OR your MOBILE device!!!

In fact – that’s exactly what we’re working on over at podcast.com πŸ™‚
stay tuned! Stay SUBSCRIBED! πŸ™‚

New Apple iPod Shuffle is NOT a podcast player?

UPDATE : ‘Fixed’ Thanks to Diego! – but why not read on anyway. Then see the solution. And it’s a doozy. Nopodast Shuffle

OK. So I get a brand new iPod Shuffle out from its box, to use as a demo device to demonstrate podcast subscription etc. from the podcast.com site, as well as other sources of feeds. First I let it charge all night.

Then, once fully charged, I hooked it up to a brand new machine, with a brand new copy of the latest iTunes installed. When I hooked up the Shuffle, it said it needed a firmware update, which I did. Fine.

So, the first thing I do is add a podcast feed I already know about. iTunes adds that fine, then sets about downloading the latest episode. Coolio.

Now I have the podcast episodes download I want, I drag the podcast feed to the Shuffle icon, when it then sets about storing the downloaded podcasts onto the Shuffle. Hurrah!

When iTunes tells me that it’s safe to disconnect the iPod I do so, plug in my headphones to listen to my new fresh and lovely podcasts.

But wait!!! What’s this?? After hitting play, I see blinky lights!! Green – Orange – Green – Green for 2 seconds, which according to the little card which comes with the Shuffle means ‘No music on unit’ !!

Yes, yes I KNOW I have no music on there – I added podcasts (which iTunes correctly detected as such in the ID3 Genre tag as ‘Podcast’)

W.T.F!!! (Originally meaning – not Technorati’s ‘Where’s the Fire’ πŸ™‚ )

OK. So, I tried to go to iTunes podcast section and add a podcast from there. Same process – same result. No Podcasts!!

Then I tried to add a music track. I imported it to iTunes, then dragged it to the Shuffle. It loads fine. Then I disconnected it and hit play. Hurrah! I hear music.

Next track? The same. Next? The same. Next, next, etc. IE: The shuffle still thinks it has only one track on it even though when it is plugged into iTunes, it can clearly see all the mp3 files there on it.

So what gives, Steve?

Are they distancing themselves from Podcasts? The Shuffle is NOT detecting the ‘Podcast’ genre in the ID3 tags by the look of it.

I also note that a recent firmware update on a Nano I have here (I have a Nano, a Video iPod and a Shuffle for testing purposes – so I too can feel the pain. Heh.) Apple have removed the menu option ‘Podcasts’ from the Music menu where it used to be. Now you can only get to your podcasts on a Nano by going to Music > Genres > Podcasts – where it is reading the ID3 tag to filter out Podcasts (though not all podcasters tags their MP3 files this way, as many ID3 writing apps still do not list ‘Podcast’ as a valid ID3 genre)

Can anyone out there shed any light as to what the f*uck is going on over there in sunny California? I’m really pissed off about this as I bought my brother one of these so he could listen to podcasts. Thanks Steve.

ps: I’m reading ‘iWoz’ – Steve Wozniak’s (who more or less invented the personal computer with keyboard and screen attached) autobiography. It’s great! I’d really like to meet him one day. He thinks like I do.

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Koz Farina interviewed on the SecondCast about the blogHUD

Come and listen to the Purple Pants episode of the excellent SecondCast. [mp3] This was also broadcast live in-world for another 5 hours after the show! πŸ˜‰ I was invited on to talk about the blogHUD mainly, but we ended up covering up alot of ground. Thanks everyone!
omg! I can’t believe I didn’t post this before. I’m been mad busy before, during and since the Podcast & Portable Media Expo. Now recovering still, after another trans-atlantic, pan-american trip.

What a great time. I’ll post a full report later. But just to say thanks so much to the Libsyn guys, Dave and Marty for giving me a lift into Santa Monica. You dudes ROOL! Two of the smartest, funniest guys I have met in a long time. To Mark from CNN being a great connector of people and choosing the Italian restaurant, over the ‘bbq'(ish) πŸ˜‰

And to Scott from Apple, you rule. (Statistically speaking πŸ˜‰ ) heh. It will be good to catch up in a more sober environment πŸ˜‰ – OPML is the futuuuuureeee. πŸ˜‰

And Nokia, thanks for the N91. I have been waiting for this for a loooong time. Since April 2005, it would seem!!! πŸ˜‰ wow

How Microsoft could win the portable player game

I think this looks like a great product.

I hope it can read an RSS feed directly over that WiFi (like a PSP can)! So I can download podcasts too, over the connection (like PSP can).

As well as wifi connectivity (for download) the killer app, for me, would be the ability to record AND upload too. This could be based on something like Nokias old uploader api (which was very easy to implement in any scripting language). Or a simple/simplified ftp client.

If they (MS) offered storage too, along with their desktop client/shop/aggregator based on the account, then they would have it all wrapped up.

Location agnostic consuming and publishing – desktop or mobile device – listening, viewing, subscribing etc. All synced up the next time the device links to the desktop. Full of real statistics, linkage and relevance.

Bingo! You’d have it all.

THEN if your reading AND writing/publishing tools support the core content and organisation XML standards for podcasts of RSS and OPML, PLUS additional support for microformats such as FOAF etc AND OTHER community APIS (though this could be done by any developer community or group of widgetwelders)

If Microsoft did this, they would win – imho

By ‘closing the content loop’ (by effectively flipping one end and connecting it to the other) – publish to receive : AND discover/navigate : subscribe , it would be like APple where things ‘seem’ to be locked in, they wuold have the opportunity to turn the whole network inside out, exposing all the data needed – all the ‘neural’ connections – all the paths, all the people and all the content.

This would ‘connect’ the owners of such devices to eachother, creating the community feel, but also prove they are not going to create a ‘walled garden’ of content – for devices that don’t know (much) about anything else.

[given that i am talking about ‘open’ podcasts here – user generated (argh) – as opposed to music/video/protected shopping/purchases with their own DRM.]

You don’t have to be able to read the ZUNESTONES to see it. Do you?
================
ps: When are Google or Yahoo! going to produce a device? They should! πŸ˜‰

pps: people who know me personally, will know that I am a huge love love and passionate user of gadgets. I have been on this crusade for a while. πŸ˜‰

Apple’s (brushed aluminium) handcuffs

Unninovate reports on one of the new ‘features’ of iTunes 7.0

Bend over everyone, Steve’s got an upgrade for you. πŸ˜‰

Are Apple rewriting your podcast MP3 ID3 tags??

On today’s Daily Source Code, Adam Curry mentions that when a podcast gets downloaded and synced through iTunes, Apple are rewriting the ID3 tags in the MP3 file – editing it and replacing some fields with info from the RSS feed.

WTF?? – Was my initial reaction. But I do wonder what people think about this, if it;s true. It’s clearly just as bad as the feed manipulation Podshow were seen to be doing.

At least poshow fixed it. I doubt Apple will.

What do YOU think?

Apple still make it impossible to copy and paste a podcast RSS feed (hidden behind the ‘i’ icon, AFTER you susbscribe using iTunes) so you can subscribe using a different reader. I suppose the only thing to do is use another podcast feed reader (podcatcher).
The KoolAid effect around the iPod is staggering. No one who owns one has any idea how the rest of the world without an iPod or iTunes is doing things. It’s like AOL’s early walled garden kidding users that there was not a world wide web out there. So many people think that to get podcasts, they need an iPod. So many people are forced into using iTunes, which is one of the worst bits of software I have ever been forced to use. I mean it.

I got an iPod to just see for myself what all the fuss is about. Sure, I too can get swept off my feet my a lovely, well-built gadget but the user experience with iTunes and the iPod has been awful. I wonder if it would be different if I didn’t know as much as I do about the alternatives and freedom available.

I’m amazed Steve Jobs didn’t announce an iPadlock at yesterday’s WWDC. Foolproof lockin for the masses.

I do love my MacBookPro though. Can’t wait for the winter. Mmmm, toasty. πŸ˜‰


Who is this ‘kosso’ anyway?

I am a 'Createc'. A creative technologist, entrepreneur/ hacker/ geek. Worked on building things on the web for over 12 years.

Used to work at BBC News interactive and created the publishing and delivery systems for video news to get distributed on huge screens in major railway stations around the country.

I left the BBC to become CTO / sole-lead architect/developer at podcast.com for three years.

I have now left them to build a start up a new system called 'Phreadz', which is a 'Social Multimedia Conversation Network', integrating everything that is 'V.I.T.A.L' to us on the web. Video, Images, Text, Audio and Links.

I built the whole thing my myself. I programmed every line of code and positioned every pixel. I'm looking forward to attracting an hiring new members of the team to help me out! :)

There are currently over 1000 happy and helpful beta testers on the system so far and one client of a white-labelled solution.



@kosso : twitter

kosso's flickr stream

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