Audio Podcasting for the idle blogger

Apart from actually reading out the various posts on here and recording what I’m saying, the only other way I can make an audio podcast of my blog ramblings is to use one of the many “audio feed” tools that are out on the web. There are quite a lot of these things suddenly appearing all over web, and if you’re not familiar with them, they take the RSS feed from your blog and play it back using an articifial voice. I’ve used Talkr on my blog before and it had a nice synthetic feminine lilt to its voice. However, I can’t seem to get on to their site anymore and fear that my audio feeds are no more.  So, what else can I use, seeing as though it’s impossible to get any peace and quiet at home to record a podcast myself? Well, according to various blog posts, reviews, and promo sites there are several, so I thought I’d test what some of them sound like, and what other things they offer (eg the ability to add your audio blog to iTunes. Let’s have a look at a few and compare what they sound like. First up….

odiogo

Offers a whole “audio” and sharing page, including a link to subscribe in iTunes (which I’ve added to my “subscribe” links on here), plus a direct mp3 stream for each post. It also creates an M3u playlist. Here’s an example or two – see what you think:

A is for Amazon (on odiogo)

Stream all articles

Audiofeed

This is the “free” version of Readspeaker, which seems to be making a big impression with allsorts of companies and organisations. It offers a HTML link to your own “audiofeed” page where there are a few sharing options, in addition to a player and direct to mp3 download for each ‘cast. There’s a really useful link to a mobile version of your page.

More soon….

By the way, I’m trying out this new social networking toolbar called “GetSocial”, to make it easier for people to bookmark these posts. So go on then, give me a whirl!!!

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Zen and the art of Myspace pimping

Neil Cocker's big chill photo

image: Big chill night view by Neil Cocker (copyright 2005) (link to Neil Cocker’s Flickr page)

I tried it once. That was all it took to put me off it forever. Everyone else was doing it, so why should I miss out? That was what I thought at the time. The whole world except me was joining in and I was the only one not doing it. I finally plucked up the courage to have ago……

I’m talking about “Pimping” my Myspace. The art of changing your profile page to make it look funky, smart, catchy, and anything else you can think of.  Back to my first time…..

…….Well, that was painless, wasn’t it? Let someone else take control and do everything for me. Never again! Not ever! Never will I do that again. What a horrible experience. It looked like something my three year old would do in Photoshop or the like. I copied the code from one of the many thousands of so-called “Myspace editors”, looked at my profile page, and then tried to decipher where my bio had gone, how people could add me, and why all my friends had vanished! Had I done it wrong, I thought. Well, the code hadn’t changed, so it must be like that. Don’t forget that nice floating advert, that pointed everyone in the direction of possible smiley/trojan hell.

I must say, I’ve yet to come across a Myspace profile that has been tastefully decorated or that’s not a navigation nightmare. Instead of “Add to friends”, it’s always “Be my fwend” or something just as wacky. Backgrounds that don’t scroll and are repeated across the page are worse – you end up not being able to see what people have taken ages to write.  I’m sure I know a few things about webpage design – I may not have made the most interesting websites – and most people know when something looks right,  so why are people allowed to to have a free rein over of pimping their space? Myspace should start introducing some guidelines about what you can and can’t do. Don’t forget, too, that Myspacers who have loads of images, videos, banners, and all the other clutter, are just slowing down the page load time. We all know that a lot of users give up afer a few seconds if a page doesn’t load for ages.

I’m quite sure it’s a lot of fun pimping your myspace. It’s not for me, though. I hate it. I’ll never do it again.

If you’re a Myspace pimper and disagree with what I’ve written, leave a comment and show me your myspace page. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but in the meantime, I’ll stick with a plain, boring, profile.

Thanks to Neil Cocker from the Big Chill Forum for use of  photo.