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June 29, 2005

So What Is Podcasting?

Podcasting is a new phenomena. The term comes from the concatenation of two words: iPod and broadcasting. Unlike traditional broadcasts, which require the listener tune in at the exact time a program is broadcast, podcasting allows the listener to download a program from the internet when convenient and listen to it on his/her iPod whenever and where ever the listener chooses. Of course the listener could just listen to the program from their computer too.

Everyone has heard all of the rage about downloading music from the internet. This is the same idea. But it's not just limited to music. People all over the world are starting their own programs, their own “broadcasts” or podcasts, and sharing them legally with anyone in the world with a computer who wants to listen. Major corporations are even doing podcasts: Disney, NPR, ESPN, ABC News, BBC News, sports, arts & entertainment, news, family, technology, public radio, talk radio, morning shows--it's all there. The list is huge!

So why would a school consider using this new podcasting technology? I can think of several reasons:

Yes, you heard the magic word--iPod. With iTunes, which is available for free on Windows and Mac, you can actually download Mabry Middle School's podcasts from the iTunes store (for free) and put them on your iPod. (Directions will be posted to a link that will go here.) Listen at the gym, in the car, while you're jogging...whenever is convenient for you. You can even subscribe to the Mabry Podcasts, and many others if you choose, and have them automatically delivered to you through iTunes. So the school's latest podcasts are available to you with no effort required on your part. And, I'm pleased to tell you that we are presently the 3rd school in the entire world to do this for you! (I was very disappointed we weren't the first!)

And how much does all of this cost? Well, again, it's free. Now, I don't want everyone to think we will be podcasting 24/7 at Mabry. We can't. We're learning this new technology, and you are too. But in time, as we all begin to learn how to do this, I anticipate our having a slowly growing collection of podcasts throughout the year.

Podcasting will not replace our traditional means of communication. This is just another way we hope to increase the communication between the school and our community.

Posted by Tim Tyson at 03:23 PM

June 27, 2005

Everything You Need to Know About Enhanced Podcasts

What Is an Enhanced Podcast?
Enhanced podcasts have the following features and requirements not found in a regular podcast:

How Do I Play an Enhanced Podcast?
The simplest way to experience an enhanced podcast is to drag the purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right (on the main Podcast Central window) into the main window in iTunes. You must have iTunes 4.9! Once our podcast feed is on the iTunes store, simply clicking on the purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right will take you to all of our podcasts. You will no longer need to drag the picture into iTunes or even have iTunes running. (You will have to have it installed on your machine.)

The first podcast will immediately start downloading. You will see a small orange circle spinning next to the name of the podcast. When it has finished downloading, simply double click on it to play it. (You can also click on it once and then click on the large iTunes play button at the top.) To download additional podcasts, click on the word "Get" by the grayed-out name. The podcast will then immediately start to download. Double click on it to play it.

Where Are the "Chapters" in the Extended Podcast?
Extended podcasts have chapters, much like a DVD, that allow the listener to immediately navigate to any section of the podcast desired. The chapters icon only appears when you begin listening to an enhanced podcast that actually has chapters! You can see where the chapters icon is located in the picture below.

Itunes Chapters

When you click on it while listening to our first enhanced podcast, this is what happens (Click on this thumbnail to enlarge it.):

Itunes Chapters2

By clicking on any of these seven chapters, iTunes will jump directly to that section of the podcast.

How Do I Make the Cover Art Change?
If you do not see the cover art changing, follow these simple steps:

Below is a picture of the cover art section of the iTunes window. Did you know you can increase or decrease the size of this window? See if you can figure out how.

Itunes Cover Art

How Do I Make iTunes play a Movie?
Presently none of our podcasts contain movie files. Those that do simply play the movie in the cover art window when you play them! Podcasts that are actually movie files have a tiny movie icon on the right hand side of their name.

Posted by Tim Tyson at 10:29 PM

June 26, 2005

Did You Know...

Did you know that if you click on the large purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right, your computer will automatically launch iTunes 4.9 (if you have it installed on your computer) and take you to our school's podcasts. You will then be able to subscribe to MabryOnline's Podcast Central in the iTunes store by simply clicking on the "subscribe" button!

You can also just double click on a single podcast to hear it if you would prefer not to subscribe to all of our podcasts. However, if you subscribe, then as we post new podcasts, they will automatically download themselves to your computer and iPod when you launch iTunes! Talk about easy!!

If you don't have iTunes installed on your Windows or Mac computer, you can get it for free from this link.

Posted by Tim Tyson at 03:42 PM

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