Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Article: Mobile podcasts

Podcasts. Maybe you know what they are, it's a technology becoming more popular every day. A Podcast is simply an audio show posted on the Internet for people to download. It's usually mainly talk, with some music, and you use an application that can read feeds of podcasts you subscribe to, and every time a new episode of your subscribed feeds gets released, the program downloads them automatically, and if you have a mobile mp3 player, it can upload to it. There are currently several thousand podcasts available, on all possible subjects, ranging from a one person amateur show down in a basement, to professional productions.

The most popular application to find and download podcasts is iTunes. It's easy to use, and virtually all the podcasts are easily available in the podcasts tab. You can search for and subscribe to the podcasts you want, and get the latest episodes delivered to you automatically. If you have an iPod or one of the iTunes phones, it can upload the files directly so you can listen to the podcasts on the road. If you have a smart phone and you can upload MP3 files to it, then you can do it manually since almost all podcasts are available in MP3 format. The shows dealing with mobile technologies is what we'll cover right now, including some of the most popular ones, so here are my favorite podcasts.

One show that has been going on for a while is This Week in Tech. It's from Leo Laporte and is a weekly chat between him and guests about technology. It's been in the top 20 for a long time and is a very professional show, up to date on topics they cover.

Another popular show is the Engadget weekly podcast. They cover gadgets, including cell phones and all things mobile, and is one of the best places to get news on the latest gadgets to be released.

A somewhat different podcast, but still about technology, is IT Conversations. This podcast features the popular technology conferences, and broadcast the keynotes from various speakers from these conferences. They publish a few of them every week, and you can get a whole conference over a period of 6 months.

NerdTV is one podcast that is done by an actual TV station, PBS. It's also a video podcast, since it's a TV show, but it's also available as a MP3 download. The show features one guest per show, usually people who have been in the technology industry for a long time.

A specific topic, security, is covered in great depth in the Security Now! podcast, also from Leo Laporte. It's another of my favorite shows, and provides real information on how to secure yourself, both wirelessly and on the Internet.

There's also a new service aimed to provide a network of podcasts directly to phones, so you don't have to transfer them, called Mobile Podcast Network. This is a software program you can download from their web site, and run on your phone. From the program, you connect to their directory of podcasts and can stream or download any podcast directly to the phone. You can also add more podcasts to the directory.

Lastly, there are some podcasts dedicated to mobile devices, but they are less known than the ones above. These include the N-Gage arena podcast, the Grassnet Tech Talk and the TPN Mobile Media show. And one I actually found interesting was episode 8 of Josh in Japan which is just about cell phones in Japan. All these podcasts are available on iTunes, or you can subscribe using your favorite RSS application from their web sites.

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