Archive for the 'OPML' 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! 🙂

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 🙂
stay tuned! Stay SUBSCRIBED! 🙂

Goodbye Yahoo! Podcasts, we hardly knew ye!

yahoo! podcasts closingAccording to their site, the Yahoo! Podcasts site is due to close at the end of October. It was funny to see the news spread from a post to my Twitter account, on to Marshall over at Read/Write Web, then out to the rest of the blogosphere and TechMeme. 🙂

I’m sure this has a lot to do with the various culling and belt-tightening going on at Yahoo! recently since they started shuffling things around. Who knows, maybe they’re saving up money to buy Facebook? ;p

When their podcast site launched, I was well in the middle of coding podcast.com and was a bit perturbed by the Yahoo! splash in the pool, especially as I knew they had some great people there who could do a lot to threaten what it was I was trying to achieve. They had a nice site which read RSS feeds, but how many people were behind it? WHO was curating it?

Let’s not forget that back in the early days of Yahoo! their site was a selection of quality website links curated by human beings. All placed in to very easy to navigate categories proving some of the earliest taxonomy on the web. Nice and organised!

I like taxonomy PLUS folksonomy. Now THAT’s delicious 😉

I get so sad when I see people who produce podcasts only linking to their iTunes ‘phobos’ link. This is NOT an RSS feed. Dave Winer also pointed this out recently. Also, you’ll notice that iTunes do NOT let you grab an RSS from a podcast in their system. They even make it impossible to copy and paste the rss feed url when you do eventually find out how to expose it.

I have a solution.

podcast.com LogoSome of you may not know this, but I coded every single line of PHP, JavaScript, Flash Actionscript, Apache configs, etc, etc, myself. 😉 I work from home in London engineering the site and system, while the business end of the company resides in Boston under the command of the excellent Scott Beatty. It’s a GREAT team and works a LOT better than some might imagine.

It’s quite a task to undertake, but the basic principle of podcast.com is very simple: Help people find podcasts, then give them easy tools to build their own directories and playlists of their favourites, to share.

Readers of my blogs may know about my passion for OPML and RSS over the years (if you look between the slew of image posts appear from various other mobile and virtual publishing tools I have built in my spare time (‘spare?’ *chortle!)) and that is at the very heart of the system at podcast.com

I’ve said it before: it’s “OPML plus RSS to the Power of users” – Which kind of translates to “User generated multimedia content libraries curated by people using machines” – Heh. Maybe I’ll work on that. But hopefully you get the gist 😉

Having the opportunity to build the architecture and system for the generic term domain name for podcasts was a hugely attractive prospect for me. It still is. I left the BBC to sit and do it.

Two years or so down the line and we are about to throw open the doors to the beta, so the news of Yahoo! Podcasts closing could not have come at a better time, to be perfectly honest with you 😉

3535 feeds have been put in 654 folders
from a total of 17282 feeds

The collection of podcast rss feeds on our site has been steadily growing and keeping track of the vast amount of great multimedia content there is out there. The site makes it a snap to sample an episode and download or subscribe to the whole kaboodle.

For a long time now, the site has been ‘curated’ by myself and the boys in Boston using some tools which enable us to build directories really easily. These tools are about to get in to your hands. You will also see how we are leveraging the power of the generic term domain to provide very easy to remenber urls for your podcasts and collection of podcasts for the consumer or business and brand.

Think about it: BRANDX.podcast.com

Our brand (podcast.com) does not dilute your brand (X) – in fact it helps it! I’d guess that if someone saw that url, they would expect to find a podcast about Brand X!

Correct! 🙂

I really need to record a podcast about all this, as I have lot to say on the matter. There are so many opportunities out there! Expect a heap of widgets and gizmos for your websites and blogs soon!

Adios Yodellers! 🙂

Treedia Powers Motorola and Podcast.com Partnership

Well, finally after a few months preparation, along with the rest of the development of podcast.com I can talk about the exciting news that podcast.com, powered by the system we call the Treedia Feed Management Platform is to be partnering with Motorola on delivering podcasts to their forthcoming smartphones, including the the MOTO Z8 ‘MotoRizr’.

We will be providing Motorola with a managed set of podcast directory folders which their applications can access and navigate the structure of through the use of OPML managed by the Treedia system. The current structure of the system and soon, more information will be available at motorola.podcast.com

The Treedia system’s name derives from the simple idea that any media can be distributed via RSS feeds held together by OPML directory folder structures which were easy to grow and manipulate.

It’s a tree of media. Treedia!

Through the use of very simple OPML files utilizing the ‘include’ type attribute, the Motorola application can drill down and list the podcasts on the device.

Soon, I will be providing a more thorough explanation of just how simple if is for anyone to create a way to navigate this data and also the power of networking available to social media networks, given easy tools to manage the data in a way we all understand already as computer users – folders. Of any ‘depth’.

And let’s not forget that RSS feeds and the like don’t have to ‘simply’ deliver podcasts. Audio or video. They could just as easily deliver updates on a multitude of things. Leveraging the awesome opportunity available to us thanks to OPML inclusion, we can begin to connect and share our appreciation of and presentation of our media in ways we haven’t even though of yet.

But they will all be connected by a ‘semantic path’ and also by the ‘curator’ of the folders and directories and their FOAF file, for example. Not only that, but each user will be able to share their playlists of what they are listening to at the time in a variety of formats, including RSS, XSPF and M3U.

Through these playlist formats and the OPML data available for each user (and each folder), it makes it easy for us to create simple widget user interfaces for just about any connected media platform there is. Simple and easy.

Naturally, users will be able to subscribe to each other’s playlists and folders. See when these change and are updated. All thanks to simple XML based technology.

I’m still wrapping up some loose ends and doing some long overdue bits of clean up on the site and documentations and tutorials, but soon we should be able to open up the doors to a limited amount of people to begin with, pretty soon!

Stay tuned! Stay subscribed! Much more exciting news to come! 🙂

Also in the news is the new next-generation RAZR-2 from Motorola.

KozCast3

Wow! There seems to be no stopping me now! I’m on a roll!

Another podcast for ye.

Today I talk about OPML PLUS RSS TO THE POWER OF USERS and what I am trying to do to make life easier. Also thoughts on the perfect podcast device and mobiles in podcasting.

DOWNLOAD PODCAST MP3 HERE

Subscribe here

OPML Reading/Listening/Viewing ‘Lists’ and ‘Trees’ = ‘Treedia’

OPML webDave on Scripting News and Mike over on Techcrunch post their views of OPML used for ‘reading lists’.

This is an important discussion and one close my heart. I commented over on Dave’s (wordpress) blog , but I thought I’d add to it over here:

Re: OPML lists and ‘trees’ – etc expect some along these lines soon:

The system developed behind podcast.com enables just that, it’s just that naturally with podcast.com we are only interested in feeds with audio or video enclosures.

So, podcast.com is a ‘client’ of this larger system which will be able to support all types of ‘types’ – all supporting OPML inclusion.

I don’t think you should call them ‘lists’ – I think ‘trees’ is more descriptive. ‘Reading trees’. People can either ‘climb’ up then to find the ‘fruit’ (content) they want, or they could wait for the most popular to drop into their lap. Also through looking through ‘leaves’ (tags) they can be sure of following the right branches, as they ‘climb’ up the tree, deep and deeper into the directory/tree. (’directree’? ;) )

OPML is the tree
FEEDS are the vines
TAGS are the leaves
ITEMS/ENCLOSURES are the fruit.

The coolest thing about OPML inclusion, is you could think of it like climbing up a tree, going along a branch, and then ‘zap’, you’re in another tree. Like magic. Painless. Rewarding. ;)

Telepordata?

Semantics. Taxonomy. Folksonomy.

Now that’s what I call a ’social media network’ ;)

I hope to be able to let some users in to try out the system in the next 4 weeks.

Then people could create something like : http://my.podcast.com/kosso , which is my ‘listening tree’/ podcast folders/ ‘tree of sound’

One reason why I think there are more OPML ‘lists’ than ‘trees’ out there is that there are too few tools out there to effectively manage an OPML file. Your apps have been the best to date (once we got the rss attributes sorted)

I mean managing OPML folders/nodes effectively, over import/export of ‘flat’ lists. So many systems eith dont ‘do’ folders or destroy them on import/export.

Also, I think we really need to evangelise the concept of ‘OPML subscription’ .
OPML files are so often used as static files to import/export bunches of feeds. It is indeed great for backup in that sense. But I believe that ‘OPML Subscription CONNECTS’ all these trees/branches out there. When one branch changes on one tree – if there is an ‘inclusion’ (think of it like a shortcut/symbolic link to a folder) then the other will be able to reflect that if one was to climb that branch.

The trees are ALIVE! So subscribe to them! Watch them grow ;) Feed them, prune them and ‘graft’ ‘cuttings’ to their branches.

We like to call it ‘treedia‘ 🙂

Clearly for this to work, we also need well defined standards to make sure the data out there is well-formed – or we’re screwed ;) but let’s not make the same mistake the web browsers did, by just displaying html if it was broken or not.

I feel like doing another podcast ;)

‘Codecasting’

Over on Scripting News, Dave Winer has been talking about the concept of ‘codecasting’ whereby instead of audio or video being sent via an RSS enclosure, a software update for the receiving app could be downloaded and installed.

This is very much like the way that all Dave’s Frontier-based applications have updated for some time, I believe.

I have been suggesting alternate uses for the RSS enclosure for some time myself. But also leveraging the very nature and characteristics of OPML and RSS too.

I think that the distributed media network model provided by an approach of ‘OPML plus RSS to the Power of Users’ – as in development at podcast.com ) could also power a software documentation system. I have also suggested this could also power the perfect forum software, but more on that in another post)

Imagine a directory where all the top level folders were software vendors. The next level would be software languages and applications.

Then the next level, drilling into the folder (via OPML inclusion) would be the language/software API itself. A list of each method/verb etc. These could even be categorised prior to this list, depending on the software it is documenting.

Each method/verb link in this OPML list would link to an RSS feed. IE: Every function available has its own RSS feed. The title of the feed is the name of the verb, the description is the description of the function being documented, with an example.

Then every RSS feed item below it is actually the user/developer generated content – the cool snippets of code – the wisdom – the experience : the BEST bits. 🙂 Look at PHP.net and see that often the most useful information on each function page is actually the list of submitted comments below the official instructions. Also see Macromedia/Adobe’s LiveDocs. Most APIs have a tree like structure which OPML lends itself to building very easily.

Touching briefly on the concept that OPML alone could power forum applications, then the depth of communication and knowledge available for future groks is incredible.

And the best thing being is that all this would be ‘WELL-FORMED’ data. It could document almost any software language ever made.

ps: I am suggesting all this to the owners of software.com – for like podcast.com, I believe that generic domains should do what they ‘have a duty to do‘. Anything else, and they are merely squatters trying to make a fast buck. (imho)

Samsung RSS Phone ;)

The Samsung SPH-M8110 


Windows Mobile app reads RSS feeds and allows OPML in and out
posted by kosso using NOKLOG : [permalink]


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.



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