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Podcasting 101

Part 1 of a two-part guide for beginners to the wide world of podcasting.

What is podcasting, and why should you care about it? According to Wikipedia.org, the free online encyclopedia:

1. Podcasting is a way of publishing files to a website that allows users to subscribe to the site and receive new files as they are posted. Most podcasts are spoken word audio created by individuals, often on a particular theme such as technology or movies. Because new files are downloaded automatically by subscribers, podcasting allows individuals to have a self-published, syndicated radio show.

2. Users subscribe to podcasts using podcast reader software, which periodically checks for and downloads new content. It can then sync these to the user’s portable music player, hence the portmanteau of Apple’s “iPod” and “broadcasting.” However, podcasting does not require an iPod: Any digital audio player or computer with the appropriate software can play podcasts.

3. Podcasting can be thought of as an audio magazine subscription, in that a subscriber receives programs without having to get them, and can listen to them at leisure. It can also be described as the internet equivalent of timeshift-capable digital video recorders (DVRs) such as TiVo, which let users automatically record and store television programs for later viewing.

Podcasting goes mainstream

Though podcasts have existed since August, 2004, the term is only now entering the public vernacular and being noticed by those of us who are less than technology savvy. So, you might be asking yourself, if you’re a Windows PC user, what do I need to do to get involved in the game?

If you just want to view or listen to podcasts, (as opposed to creating them) there are several different options out there to choose from, and many, like Primetime Podcast Receiver, are free. Available from Primetime’s Web site >www.primetimepodcast.com

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