Simply put, Audio Blogging is the act of putting home made audio files up on a blog.
Putting audio on your blog (instead of just on a normal web page) opens up the possibility of people
leaving comments and possibiliity of trackbacks which are the cornerstones of the loose social networks that blogs enable.
While the internet itself has done a great deal to enable everyone with the ability to publish to anyone, it hasn't been until recently that the bandwidth has been available to support rich media publishing and consumption. Blogs with their ease of use in publishing text opened the floodgates and one of the first things to come through in the new world of many-to-many media creation is audio.
In order to create an audio blog, you simply need to enable the listening of an audio file from your blog. You can utilize a myriad of plugins and embed the audio file in your HTML but generally that makes things more difficult for the users (cross-platform issues, plugins not installed and so on). Many audio bloggers simply link to an MP3 audio file which enjoys almost universal support. Of course there are a thousand ways to go about putting audio on a web page and many more players and production techniques that can be utilized. (See Embedded Flash Players below for one technique.)
Any other video or audio editor that can save a file in a compressed form (AAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, RA, WMA) including QuickTime Pro, Real Producer, QuickTime Broadcaster, FinalCut Pro, iMovie, SoundForge and on and on..
Flash due to it's seeming ubiquity has quickly become the preferred method for embedding rich media in web pages. There are several very nice Flash based MP3 players and a couple of plugins for WordPress that make including audio files easy. In the coming weeks we will learn how to build our own.
After you download it and upload the "skin" that you want to your public_html folder on the server you can use the handy code generator to create the HTML tags that you need to put in your page. You will probably need to update the paths.
To install this plugin, you need to upload the audio-player folder and the audio-player.php file to your plugins folder. This should be located in the wp-content directory of your WordPress install.
Here is the structure of files and folders related to the plugin:
/home/YOUR_NET-ID/public_html/YOUR_WORDPRESS_FOLDER/wp-content/plugins/audio-player <- This one is a folder with a bunch more files in it.
RSS - Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary
As we now know, RSS is an easy way to syndicate web based content. It is built into many content management systems (CMS) and there are an increasing number of aggregators available for subscribing and browsing through that content.
RSS has a couple of versions in general use: .91, .92 and 2.0.
All RSS version are composed of a channel <channel> with multiple <item> tags.
RSS versions less than .92 are good for standard news and website syndication (ie. text) but things get really interesting (for our purposes) with version .92
.92 allows for <enclosure> tags. Enclosures allow for the inclusion of media elements.
A Sample: <enclosure url="http://hostname.com/path/to/media.mp3" length="12216320" type="audio/mpeg" />
The length attribute is the size of the file in bytes. The type attribute is the mime type of the file.
WordPress automatically puts enclosures in RSS feeds for mime types that it knows about. If it is a mime type that WordPress doesn't know about you can manually do it by:
Create a post, use the "Advanced Editing" feature
In the "Custom Fields" add "enclosure" as a Key and in the Value text field put the URL to the file on the first line and the length (remember, in bytes) on the second line.
Term is a blend of iPod and broadcasting. Thanks to enclosures in RSS, audio blogs (or any other audio delivered via RSS) are automatically downloaded to your computer through the use of a special aggregator.
The term and concept of podcasting was originally developed by Dave Winer and Adam Curry (of MTV fame) and has quickly exploded due to the ubiquitous nature of portable digital music devices (such as the iPod) coinciding with the growth of broadband to the home.
More information, what is it and how it came about:
Payloads for RSS nice explanation of the concept behind delivering media via RSS.
Since iTunes has emerged as the top podcast aggregation software, I think it is worthwhile to note that you can construct a link directly to your feed that will subscribe the user using iTunes rather than open up in a regular feed reader.
Simply change the http:// or feed:http:// link to one that uses itpc:// instead.
For instance, the feed for our class blog is:
To put a link that goes directly to iTunes we would copy and change the link to be:
Of course, iTunes has a built-in directory as well
Podcasting is more than just a new way to distribute radio. Anyone with a little bit of skill with a computer can produce a podcast with no financial investment. This makes it a wonderful place to experiment with new ideas around networking, portable devices and more.
With the music industry coming down hard on people who use copyrighted music in non-sanctioned ways (file sharing, streaming and the like) and the fact that there exist no blanket agreements that cover podcasting with the rights clearning houses (ASCAP, BMI, Harry Fox, SoundExchange), podcasting copyrighted music is risky business.
Fortunately, efforts of organizations such as Creative Commons have made some progress. Creative Commons offers a flexible licensing system that artists can use to choose what they will allow people to do and what they won't. It is clear, written well and increasingly being used in a wide variety of mediums. We The Media has a CC license and therefore can be found in a myriad of different formats such as a free audio book along with the standard PDF downloads.