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The GeekWithin

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Podcasting: New or Newly Improved?

The podcasting revolution has facinated me. I have been involved with web technologies since its wonderful inception in the early 90's and I have noticed a trend. Those of us we have been around the block get to see the technology many months before it hits the publics view. Usually the big shift is based on the involvement of a company that wishes to capitalize on the technology.

Enter podcasting.

Just by looking at the word it is easy to see what its origins are... who hasn't heard of the iPod? But is the technology that new? Nope. If you look closely you will find that podcasting is really just the combination of two existing technologies, MP3 and RSS, wrapped up in a great marketing campaign.

A quick read of this history of MP3 page informs you that this awesome standard of digital audio has been around since 1992. Of course its wide spread use wasn't until 1998 with a wide distribution of encoders and decoders. Did you know that the first music album distributed via MP3 was issued in 1999?!?

As for RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a technique that evolved from many different sources but was moved forward, at least initially, the most by Netscape. What was the goal? To publish news and other tidbits that could be easily updated and "pushed" out to subscribers. This isn't much different than what it has become, but with many more options and lots of confusion. It appears those in the RSS arena don't always play well with others.

This brings us to podcasting itself. By taking a proven digital audio format and creating an RSS feed that can be queried by individuals who have or want to download it. Don't get me wrong... this is an fantastic use of technology. Who wouldn't want to know if there is a new version of an MP3 available?

The big question on my mind is this: is it a fad or will it become commonplace, like HTML? Time will tell.

Web RSS (Syndication) History
Podcasting: Evolution or Revolution?
History of RSS
What is RSS?


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