Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Now that everyone but me has DSL at home, video weblogs are probably going to take off the way audio podcasts did earlier this year. (OK, so Apple's video iPod might have something to do with it, too.)

Sunday's New York Times has Amanda Congdon's name up in caps, featuring her and under the headline, TV Stardom on $20 a Day. That's a reference to both Rocketboom's being featured in Apple's video iPod introduction and its cutting a deal with TiVo... So now Amanda (and presumably Rocketboom correspondents like Steve Garfield) will reach audiences who prefer their video on a bigger screen with a remote control. That combination is something fans of TiVo have been talking about hacking together for months.

Sidebar: If you haven't seen them yet, here are Rocketboom's "about" page, and Amanda's informative intro to blogs and vlogs. Also, Steve Garfield was showing how to do this "video podcast" stuff a year before Apple got into the act.

Meanwhile, I just noticed that the Times website has started offering its own podcasts: A "come into the tent" sample is free, but most of the audio is part of the "Times Select" subscription service. "Every Monday, an audio version of one Op-Ed column will be podcast for free," the Times says, but you apparently won't have Maureen Dowd herself whispering sweet nothings into your ear -- professional announcers are recording the columns through a Times deal with

There's also evidence that the Times is "getting clueful about blogging, sort of,"as Corante's Stowe Boyd put it. See the L.A. Observer story with a Times memo on the topic, and "Carpetbagger," the Times movie- related blog, complete with bloggish features like an RSS feed and comment links.

By the way, like the rest of us, the Times still has trouble sometimes keeping up with changes in the technology scene: One of the Times's links on its podcast page, labelled "ipodder (PC)," goes to the "million-seller" (free, donations accepted) project thatDownload Juice podcast receiver started under that name and adopted a lemon as its icon last year... until a computer company with another fruit for its name apparently started telling podcast-software developers to find names less like its iPod trademark. The lemon group chose "Juice" (short for Juice Receiver).

The parenthetical "PC" in the Times is wrong, too. From the beginning, there has been a Macintosh version as well as a Windows version... and a "GNU/Linux Soon" sign. In fact, every program mentioned here is available for both Mac and Windows.

Another Mac-and-Windows podcast collector, iPodderX, is having a contest to find itself a new name. "Exaggerator" might be a good one, since it claims to be "the world's very first Media Aggregator." Thousands of us were able to collect "podcast" style media files with Radio Userland (which we use to write our blogs and aggregate RSS feeds) for a couple of years before podcasting got its name, as my pod/vlog history page explains in ridiculous detail. (Unlike the Wikipedia podcasting page, which I've also contributed to, I'm the only one responsible for mistakes on my own page -- and I'll fix any you tell me about.)

The first podcast receivers were simple scripts that dragged the media files from Radio's in-basket into iTunes, to be played or loaded on an iPod. Earlier this year,Get Fireant Apple added aggregating ability to iTunes itself, but all of these "middleman" applications are hardly obsolete. They don't have the commercial distractions of Apple's iTunes Music Store, and they are adding features left and right to compete. Fireant, on the other hand, focused on being an aggregator for video feeds before Apple got into that business.

I still love the fact that the "ANT" in its name stands for "Ant is Not TV," even if the Fireant developers' friends at Rocketboom are being seen on old-fashioned TV via TiVo now... thanks to that deal that caught the attention of the Times... which neatly puts this blog entry back where it started.

1:15:00 PM    comment []

A Little Sleuthing Unmasks Writer of Wikipedia Prank  is the headline on The New York Times' report today about a critic of Wikipedia unmasking a Nashville man who trashed the reputation of former Nashville Tennessean editor John Seigenthaler Sr.

The falsehood prompted Seigenthaler, 78,  to write a USA Today column Nov. 30 about the "Internet character assasination,"which stayed online for months, and his difficulty getting Wikipedia to set the record straight. His article added a distinguished voice to recent debates over the level of trust people should or shouldn't put in an "anyone can edit this age" encyclopedia.

The Times credited Daniel Brandt of San Antonio, operator of,  with identifying the culprit -- and said the man's  confession came only after a Times  reporter called the shipping company where he worked and "made employees nervous."
Brandt's website describes how he tracked the Internet service provider's numerical address left behind on the "history" page of the Wikipedia editing system, and includes a copy of Seigenthaler's USA Today piece.
3:31:20 AM    comment []

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