Category Archives: Podcast

Seth Godin presentation at Google – he’s coming to Ann Arbor May 22 2007

Seth Godin is coming to Ann Arbor on May 22 – see the Connect Ann Arbor blog for details. Here’s a video of a presentation he gave to Google last year which has almost a quarter of a million page views.

Worth noting is that the talk is closed captioned – so you can look at it and listen to it even with the sound turned down low and still make out what he’s saying.

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New Assistive Media site is up

There’s a newly relaunched Assistive Media site up. We took all the data from the old site and pushed it into Movable Type, and then reconstructed most of the look and feel of the old one with all the benefits of having simple content management.

Assistive Media provides audio recordings for the visually impaired, delivered over the net to listeners around the world. It’s been running since 1996, with hundreds of hours of readings online. Everything is read by people, not by computerized voices, so it’s pleasant to listen to. I just got done listening to a reading of Adam Gopnik’s “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli”, part of the collection of The New Yorker recordings online.

Assistive Media update

I have been going through my blog categories in anticipation of Discardia and am reminded that I haven’t written recently about Assistive Media. I’ll try to fix that now.

Assistive Media is a non-profit that provides high quality spoken word recordings to the visually impaired and to those who love listening to good reading. It has a library of a few hundred titles of short fiction and non-fiction from sources like Harpers and the New Yorker, all copyright cleared.

There is also an Assistive Media podcast available in which a title is picked out every week or so for listening. You can subscribe to it on the podcast page or in iTunes.

We are looking forward next semester to getting help from a student at the U of Michigan School of Information to expand out the database we use to produce the web sites and to streamline some of the production efforts, so that the whole thing runs a bit better.

Like many non-profits, this is the time of year we look for individual contributions to help keep the enterprise going for the coming year. Most of the support we have is from foundations, and it’s enough to pay the hosting bills and to pay for student audio editing time. We have an ambition to greatly expand the number of volunteer reading hours, and that will take some resources.

Take a listen – it’s free of charge and there’s some really good stuff there. A sample is a recording of Jeffrey Steingarten’s “Salt Chic” as printed in Vogue in 2002 – put it on to listen next time you’re cooking dinner.

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The Michigan Daily Podcast

The Michigan Daily has been printing a campus newspaper at the University of Michigan for 115 years. They have recently started a podcast edition, which is about six minutes of top stories from the paper read aloud plus highlights of other stories also in the paper. It’s nicely done, and for this Michigan alum who is just a few hundred feet too far away from campus to pick up a free edition of the paper it’s a very handy quick summary.

Now what we need is an Arbor Update podcast. (There’s no reason to believe that the Snooze would ever do one in this decade.)

Here’s a sample edition: the December 13, 2005 Michigan Daily Podcast.

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Kojo Nnamdi show from WAMU now podcasting

Kojo Nnamdi has a magazine-format show on WAMU in Washington DC which is regularly a very interesting commentary on goings on in the DC area. He’s now podcasting two parts of this show: a Tech Tuesday segment which focuses on technology, and a DC Politics Hour.

WAMU also has a live audio simulcast on the net.

Thanks to alert reader Debbie Sobeloff for the tip.

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Podcasts drive supply for bandwidth hosting – can demand for bandwidth at home keep up?

There’s recent Netcraft story, Podcasts help drive demand for high-volume hosting, that notes

As podcasts and video blogs consume disk space and bandwidth, will these large media files reside with major web hosting providers, niche startups spawned by the Blogosphere, or perhaps Yahoo or Google? As Internet traffic shifts from text and images to video and audio, old hosting business models are being reworked and new ones imagined in anticipation of huge growth for user-generated data.

Indeed, there are huge pricing pressures going on, with a low end of 1.5 terabytes/mo for $14.95/mo of server space. If you take as your unit of measurement the 21 megabyte, hour long podcast of KCRW’s Good Food that I listen to every week, that’s roughly 150,000 weekly listeners that you can support for that level of bandwidth, or a low $1 CPM to reach them. That’s pretty good.

What then will be the limiting factor for the growth of user-generated data? It’s probably the quality of the broadband connections that home users have for listening in, and in some case for uploading files. The latest news from Andy King’s essential Bandwidth Report for November 2005 shows 63.8% of US home web users with broadband, and 12.8 broadband subscriber lines per 100 inhabitants. (This is just ahead of Singapore, and about half that of South Korea’s 24.9 lines/100.) Read the report for the whole analysis – the projection is 70%+ broadband by early next year.

If you don’t have a broadband connection at home, you’re probably not listening to podcasts. How much you do listen if you do have broadband depends on time available in the day for computer or iPod listening – for me, there’s enough programming to fill a couple of one-hour slots, but I don’t have a commute to go through that’s long enough. Has anyone figured out how many podcast-hours per day are being consumed? Of course you download more than you listen to in most cases.

If you do have broadband at home and the means or the desire to do your own podcast, you might not have enough bandwidth to regularly upload very much – lots of “broadband” accounts are capped at 384k upstream, or only 6x as fast as a modem. Workable (an hour’s show will take 10 minute to upload) if you have a hosting provider, but you’re never going to serve those files from your home servers.

Interesting statistics that I haven’t seen are estimates from podcast hosting providers of how fast their subscriber’s connection speeds are, and how that is changing over time.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jorn at Robot Wisdom for fixing my first math mistake – 1 hr is 21 mb, not 2.1 mb. That takes the numbers from the originally reported $0.1 CPM to $1 CPM – still not too bad.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to the commenter who pointed out an upload/download confusion – hopefully more clear now.

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