Producing Participatory Media
Class 2 - July 3


  • Audio Blogging
  • Embedded Flash Players
  • RSS Revisited
  • Podcasting
  • Pod-Safe Music
  • Video Blogging
  • Basic Video Production

  • Audio Blogging

    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.


  • NPR: Audio Blogs: Online Diarists Sound Off
  • Idle Words: An Audioblogging Manifesto (text) or Audioblogging Manifesto (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.)

    Production Tools:

  • Audacity and LAME
  • 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..
  • Jeremy Allaire: How does Audio Blogger work? Description of a Flash based Audio Blogging production tool.
  • PhoneBlogz phone based audio blogging service
  • brainwagon >> HOWTO: Produce Your Own AudioBlog

  • Embedded Flash Players

    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.

    The Easy Musicplayer For Flash (EMFF) is a good general purpose Flash player.

    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.

    Here is an example:    
    <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="" width="110" height="34">
     <param name="movie" value="" />
     <param name="quality" value="high" />
    Using a plugin

    When audio blogging, it might be easier to use a plugin. For WordPress there is a nice one: Audio Player Wordpress plugin

    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.)	

    After you have uploaded those files, you can visit your plugins panel on the WordPress administration screen to activate it. On our group blog, this is located here:

    After it is activated you can change it's options through WordPress

    Following that, you can use the following tag to put an audio file within a blog post:
    Here it is working on our blog: Audio Plugin Test

    A good list of other Flash players is available here: Click to hear the MP3 (playlist)

    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="" 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:


    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.
  • The RSS Enclosure Exposure
  • Wikipedia: Podcasting
  • New Media Musings: Podcasting as citizens media
  • Podcating 101 video (goofy but informative)

  • Podcasting with (Insert your blogging software here)

  • PodPress
  • Podcasting << WordPress Codex
  • Loudblog (Can integrate with several other blogging softwares)

  • Podcast aggregators

  • Juice (formerly iPodder, I think) cross platform (Mac, Windows and Linux (soon)), open source.
  • Podcatchers software listings per platform
  • iTunes

  • iTunes Links

    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: feed:
    To put a link that goes directly to iTunes we would copy and change the link to be: itpc://

    Apple has a page that describes many more things regarding podcasting, including their additions to RSS here: Apple - iTunes - iTunes Store - Podcasts - Technical Specification

    Portable Devices for Podcasts

    Basically any device that can play MP3s and be synched with a computer fits the bill. Whether or not the software or aggregators make it easy is another story.

  • iPod
  • Creative MP3 Players
  • Sony's PSP
  • Microsoft's Zune
  • and many more..

  • Get some podcasts:

  • Last 100 Podcasts
  • -- Podcast Directory
  • On The Media
  • Of course, iTunes has a built-in directory as well

  • Podcast Genres

    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.

    Many experiments have turned into full fledge genres. Take for example alternative museum tours and just plain normal couples talking along with the normal tech news. -- Podcasts by Genre


  • Podcasting News

  • Pod Safe Music

    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.

  • Podcasting Music - Legal Implications
  • Creative Commons
  • Podsafe Music Network
  • Magnatune
  • ccMixter
  • Internet Archive: Open Source Audio

  • Extra Credit

    MAKE: Blog: HOW TO make Enhanced Podcasts (images, links and more with audio) - Specifically for use with iTunes/iPod.

    Video Blogging
    aka: vogging, vlogging, vodcasting, video podcasting and so on..

    Just like audio blogging is the posting of audio to your blog, video blogging is the posting of video.

    From: (now something different but still interesting..)

    From: Adrian Miles (now defunct)

    See: Vlog - Wikipedia

    Some Video Blogs (to get you started)

  • Steve Garfield
  • Momentshowing
  • Ryanne's Video Blog
  • Rocketboom
  • Ze Frank

  • Many more on the wiki


  • Freevlog: Tutorial
  • Vloggercon 06 - vloggercon 05 and Vloggercon 05: Conference Sessions Online
  • Video Blogging Yahoo Group
  • Ourmedia: Learning Center
  • Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive (Open Source Movies) (Create Account)
  • Yahoo Video Search
  • Have Money Will Vlog

  • Interesting

  • GeoVlogged Video Map - GeoTagged Posts, Navigate videos by map..
  • Talking-Head Video Is Boring Online (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

  • Basic Production


    QuickTime, with it's support of MPEG-4 and H.264 (now very much standards) is probably the most universal tool in use for video blog creation. Of course, most other plugin based media players are able to be used but for now we will stick with QuickTime.

    QuickTime Pro is by far the most useful tool for creating QuickTime movies but any capture/editing software that supports QuickTime should be able to do it.

    Super Simple Capture and Export

    QuickTime Pro can be used to record directly from a camera (Firewire and DV are directly supported). Choosing File: New Movie Recording brings up a recording window that you can capture directly into.

    The next step is to export the video in a manner that can be published on the web.

    File: Export: Movie to QuickTime Movie: Options: Video: Compression H.264: Bitrate 600 kbits/sec. Sound: Format: AAC Sample Rate: Recommended: Bit rate 32 kbps. Prepare for Internet Streaming: Fast Start - Compressed Header

    Following this, you should be able to publish your video on the web in the same manner you do with any other file. Upload it to a webserver and create a link to it. (As with podcasting, you should include the full path to the file: instead of just ppm_summer08/

    Here is a test file: I look young and funny

    Simply posting the link to your blog should make it available as an enclosure in your RSS feed (as long as you have WordPress or other blogging software that supports "enclosures").

    Embedding Movies

    QuickTime players can be embedded in a webpage.

    There are many advantages to doing this:
  • Precise Layout Control and better user experience (no annoying ads and branding)
  • Integration with other web based components such as Java applets, images and text
  • Simple interactivity of your own design (through JavaScript)

    The main disadvantage is that it can take a while to load video and multiple videos on one page make the page heavy and sometimes unusable for older browsers.

    To Simply Embed a QuickTime player in a page utilize the following HTML:

      <OBJECT CLASSID="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B" WIDTH="160"HEIGHT="144"
      <PARAM name="SRC" VALUE="" />
      <PARAM name="AUTOPLAY" VALUE="true" />
      <PARAM name="CONTROLLER" VALUE="false" />
      <EMBED SRC="" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="144" 
    You will notice that there are really two things going on here. The first is the "Object" tag and associated "Param" tags. These are included to support Internet Explorer and other browsers that support ActiveX controls. The second is the "Embed" tag. This is included to support browsers that utilize the standard Netscape plugin architecture. In order for your embedded player support the range of browsers available you need to include both. Also, both tags should include the same set of information. For instance, if you are going to change the height of the plugin you should change it in both the "Object" tag and in the "Embed" tag.

    There are quite a few tags that you may utilize when you use a QuickTime embedded player. A full list is available from Apple by following the For more information: QuickTime Embed Tag Attributes. Some of the more interesting ones are: AUTOPLAY, CONTROLLER and HIDDEN.
  • If I wanted to make sure the movie plays as soon as it is able, I would set the AUTOPLAY to true.

  • If I didn't want a controller to be available on the page I would set CONTROLLER to false (better make sure that AUTOPLAY is true in this case). When you have a controller you should increase the size of the movie by 17 pixels in height.

  • I could even hide the movie completely by specifing HIDDEN which is perhaps good for audio streams or ambient music. Here is an example of a movie without a controller.

  • One Gotcha with WordPress

    WordPress has some features which are there to correct HTML tags if they are entered incorrectly. Unfortunately, the WordPress feature that does this, incorrectly identifies the embed and object tags above and tries to correct them rendering the video unplayable.

    To correct this situation, I whipped up this QuickTime Embedding Plugin for WordPress. If you are using WordPress, you should download this plugin and use it.

    There is another version that has a GUI (graphical user interface) that you might want to try as well. New QuickTime Audio/Video Posting Plugin for WordPress

    For more information:
    QuickTime Embed Tag Attributes