Via e-mail, I get a lot of questions about how to subscribe to the different podcasts on ZDNet. For those of you not familiar with what exactly a podcast is, don't worry. You're not alone. With so many media outlets now making MP3 versions of their programming downloadable in MP3 format and calling those downloads "podcasts" (even though many are not podcasts), it's easy to be confused. Although podcasts involve the downloading of audio, in my opinion, the fact that some audio file may be downloadable from the Web does not qualify the file as a podcast.
In order for that audio file to qualify as a podcast, there must be a way for Internet users to retrieve it automatically the way a TiVo box can be programmed to "retrieve" a television broadcast and save it for later viewing. Doing so with podcasts means you need software that can be programmed to tune into a regularly recurring podcast the way a TiVo box can be programmed to tune into Lost or Desperate Housewives. In some cases, the software keeps the retrieve audio on your PC. In others, it can automatically deposit it on an MP3 player such as an iPod. Some software -- often referred to as podcatchers -- are for "podcatching" and podcatching alone. For other software (eg: iTunes), podcatching is just one of many features. Pointing a podcatcher at regularly recurring podcast means that you to must tune it into that podcast's specific channel on the Internet, otherwise known as a "feed."
Currently, I publish four different types of podcasts. You can tune your podcatcher to each one individually. Or, starting on May 18, 2007, if you want, you can point your podcaster to one master feed that will capture all of them (here's the feed). The four podcasts or shows (and their feeds) are as follows:
- The Dan and David Show (RSS feed) - a weekly podcast where I rap with ZDNet editor-in-chief Dan Farber about the lastest happenings in the technology industry. We usually talk about where we've been in the last week, who we talked to, and share some insights based on what we've heard.
- ZDNet's MonkCast (RSS feed) - another weekly podcast where I try to get inside the head of Redmonk co-founder and principal analyst James Governor. Governor and his fellow analysts over at Redmonk are always ready to rant about something and if you're looking for different and blunt thinking when it comes to the IT business (different from the typical analyst blather we hear elsehwere), Governor will not disappoint.
- TestBed Audio interviews (from the video interviews, RSS Feed) - You probably didn't notice it, but with many of the videos we tape for Testbed (particularly the ones involving an interview), we strip the audio out and podcast it. This is for those of you that would rather listen to the audio at your convenience (eg: on the morning commute) than sit in front of your computer while we stream the video to you. Starting today (May 18, 2007), there will be a separate RSS feed just for type of audio programming.
- ZDNet's IT Matters (RSS Feed) - IT Matters is a series of audio interviews that I do, usually in response to some news or event. In the IT Matters series of interviews, you'll often hear me talking to some executive at some technology company about what they've done and why they've done it. One of my favorite all-time interview programs is NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross because of how she takes the time to dive deep. My goal for IT Matters is to make it the Fresh Air of the IT industry.
Of course, in an effort to make sure that you can get your audio content any way you want it, you don't have to subscribe to our audio in order to get it. Using the Flash-based podcast player that appears at the top of blog entries that have podcasts associated with them, you can stream the audio to your desktop or manually download the audio (click the "Get It" button).
Finally, we have other podcasts on ZDNet as well. For example, my fellow blogger Larry Dignan publishes a daily podcast he calls News to Know. To tune into that, point your podcatcher here. Not sure what the feeds are for the other ZDNet shows? You can find all the podcast feeds over at podcasts.zdnet.com. As usual, please let us know how we're doing.