Posts Tagged 'OPML'

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! 🙂


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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