Sixty-six people decide podcasting’s fate

Hohum, yet another survey that makes a blanket statement about podcasting off a very small sample size.

And I do mean small. Miniscule. Minute. Tiny. In essence, inconsequential.

Exactly 109 of the 300 people who are members of the Dallas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators took a survey to gauge their podcasting knowledge. It found that 61% of respondents knew what podcasting is but had yet to listen to one.

So, let’s do the math here. What is 61% of 109? About 66 people. Sixty-six people said they never listened to a podcast and now Roy Miller, the president of the Dallas chapter of IABC claims:

“This clearly shows that podcasting remains a communications tool for early adopters.”

You’re kidding me.

What is this world coming to when we sit back and draw conclusions about an industry based on what 66 people have to say? Gimme a break.

The day is coming when someone, somewhere will publish results about people’s knowledge about podcasting that are based on a sample size larger than the town of Beaverton (not this one, but this one) and isn’t stuffed with respondents who all go to church on Sunday, bowl on Tuesdays, do chair aerobics on Saturdays and think that the Internet is a new hair covering you place on your head before baking apple pies.

Podcatch your podcasts using bookmarks in your browser

Forget about iTunes. Say goodbye to PodcastAlley. Flush all those podcatchers down the virtual tube.

Kay Stoner over at has developed a cool tool. You enter the feed of your favourite podcast into text box and it creates a webpage that you can just bookmark.

How is this different from regular podcatchers?

  • There’s no fussy software to download.
  • There’s no bulky software to launch.
  • You don’t have to go to a website to search for your favourite podcasts over and over again. You just launch your browser, open your bookmarks and there they are.
  • There’s no need to login to a podcatcher to access the podcasts you like. Instead, just launch your browser.

What are the drawbacks?

  • You’d have to grab the RSS feed from somewhere to paste into this tool. It’s hard enough remember where I put my cellphone, much less a long, complicated RSS feed.
  • Can’t think of any others. Can you?

Besides my nattering negativity, this tool is neat, eh? Give ‘er a whirl. Not Kay, I mean the Podtopia tool.

Audio4Fun: Can I sound like Worf?

I came across one of the most puzzling podcasting tools. It’s voice changing software called Audio4Fun produced by a company called Avnex.

Apparently, a podcaster can have multiple conversations with himself (only Lucifer was able to do this, mind you), then use Audio4Fun to adjust the levels, pitch and frequency to go from sounding like Brittany Spears to James Earl Jones.

This would be useful if you don’t want to hire voice talent to add another voice to your podcast. Just use your own, then Audio4Fun-it.

While some will use this audio for fun, it can be used for not-so-legal purposes as well. But if CSI is any indication, no forensics scientist would ever be fooled by someone who said they interviewed George Bush for their podcast, when in fact it was their kid sister who simply read a script.

The Best Decision My Former Employer Has Ever Made

As I’m just about to turn in, I just read the first good news I’ve seen come out of Sun Microsystems in over 5-years. Scott McNealy has finally turned the reigns over to the charismatic Jonathan Schwartz.

It was the year 2001 when the small software company I had slaved at for about a year was acquired by the mighty Sun. And while I was happy to receive a paycheck every 2-weeks, the acquisition was a miserable experience.

Constant divisional name changes (at least once every 6-months), a new manager every 12-months, an ambiguous job title (Member of Engineering Team) and Vice-Presidents whose names I’ve forgotten because they changed as quickly as the weather in Calgary was the uncertainty I worked under for 3-years.

When we were acquired, we were given a whole wack of stock options. They were valued at $8 USD. By the time they vested one year later, the stock price stood at $6. When I was laid off in July 2004, the stock stood at just under $3.

And of course, they paid out annual bonuses in (you guessed it) stock options. On top of that, there were layoffs every bloody quarter. A small number of our colleagues were given a pink slip EVERY QUARTER.

And in all of this, McNealy never stepped aside. But I knew Schwartz was being groomed for something big because every few months, there was yet another email announcing another rung that Schwartz had climbed. I told a few of my colleagues in the few months before I was given my own pink slip in the form of I’m-going-to-do-nothing-but-eat-bonbons severance package (and with the grin as big as a cheshire cat) that Schwartz would be CEO very soon.

Either that or he was just biding his time before he left to launch a dot com when the timing was right. I just wish I still had that darn email with my prediction.

Buy Sun stock (SUNW). Now.

Mad at Mesh

Boy, some people are made at Mesh. See Joe Clarke’s (no, not him) rant that Mesh is so behind the times.

Then, take a look at Elisa’s post about the poor representation of women on the panels. Not in terms of quality, but in terms of quantity.

But pheonix doth rise from the ashes. A gal named Kate wants to organize a BlogHer North Event. A chance to give female bloggers a voice in a testosterone crowded industry.

Count me in sister. And I’m not sure what Joe’s going to do, but I’ll report on it if I find out.

Web 2.0 conferences must be virtual

I was visiting the Mesh website to double-check some things, when I came across this post.

The unconference idea doesn’t sit well with me. I guess I’m a stickler for things being “just so.”

However, in this day and age, I really can’t understand how any conference on web 2.0 strategies is using such an antiquated approach to host an event.

Organizing conference rooms, having panels, scheduling keynotes, organizing a launch or after-party are the things your local CUPE Local does for their AGM, not individuals using emerging technologies.

I’m glad that Mesh is happening and even happier that the chaps organizing this event (see Matthew, Mark and Stuart’s take) are open to talking about, “Why do this at all?”

And, Toronto needs its own version of a hip and less formal, but kind of formal, conference on web 2.0. No talking heads, no broadcasters begging the CRTC to protect them from the bad, bad mobile content dressed like a wolf. Instead, just average folks using cool technology to get their message across.

So hence, conferences on web strategies, new media, podcasting, blogging, etc. should use its own technology to showcase how awesome it is to hold an event without dragging all the chairs and tables into a huge auditorium.

I attended the International Podcasting Expo as a speaker over the weekend. And while there were a few technical bumps when we first got started, the Expo ended off with a bang. People from all across the world attended, including Australia, New Zealand, England and of course, Canada & the United States.

The only thing I complained about was having to show up a specific day and time to deliver my speech. I mean, I’m a podcaster and if I have something to say, I say it. There’s no clock telling me to say what I want to say, so being told a time and place to appear in order to talk is a bit weird from a podcasters point of view.

But I digress.

My advice? If your conference is about emerging technology or some web 2.0 thing, do it virtually. It makes darn good sense for a conference on…well…emerging technology to use…well…emerging technology.

Libsyn confirms the number of podcast listeners

This is what I like. Statistics that are based on real stuff instead of polling a few thousand people where the sample is too narrow.

Libsyn, a company that provides inexpensive hosting for podcasts, just released a report that looked at the number of people requesting podcast feeds through their service.

Someone replied to this report on Libsyn’s blog saying that measuring by unique IPs is not accurate since many use IPs that dynamically change. This is true for me. I’m on high speed and everytime I connect to the Internet, a different IP address is assigned to me. Keeps the hackers at bay since it’s difficult to find me 😛

But despite this, with just over 45-million people accessing podcasts through Libsyn, can we still claim that only 1% of adults have actually downloaded a podcast?

Piquepaille: No interaction in podcasts? Really?

I was reading an article written by Roland Piquepaille for and I was struck by one of his comments.

“Podcasting is a one-way medium: a producer talks to consumers. There is no interaction between both except through posts on blogs. In other words, podcasting is not a collaborative medium. On the contrary, it follows the traditional one-to-many communication model. Sorry, after several years of blogging, I like to be able to start a conversation.”

Agreed, there’s no live interaction between the host and the listener (as you would find with a call-in radio show), however, even with a blog, I would argue that the interaction isn’t live either.

Frankly, as with any other non-real time media eg. TV shows, magazines, newspapers, blogs, books, movies, none of these things can be considered collaborative either. One can’t have a conversation with the author after reading a chapter in his book. Nor can we voice our distaste for a particular storyline to the actors in a TV show.

The only true live collaboration that takes place is when I pick up the phone to speak to someone or, when I have a face-to-face conversation with someone else.

The collaborative nature of podcasts comes through different means:

  1. By having a discussion forum where people can leave their comments.
  2. By having a comment line where people can phone in their feedback.
  3. By allowing comments under the blog posting for your podcasts (something this author has on his blog).
  4. By providing an email so that listeners can send their feedback.

Yes, podcasting may not be for you, but don’t blame the non-collaborative nature of the tool for your lack of interest. Otherwise, I’d recommend that you stop blogging altogether.