How to be a Podcaster

  1. Record yourself talking about something, anything. Most computing platforms have some way to record your voice.
  2. Publish the MP3 — or other audio file format — somewhere.
  3. Create an RSS file with an enclosure element and put that somewhere on the internet.

You don’t need special services. You don’t need Apple or iTunes but their directory is a great way to get the word out about your podcast. You don’t need a website just for your podcast. If you have a weblog that publishes an RSS feed, you can use that!

Here’s an example podcast. I recorded this with an iOS App called Ferrite, saved it to Google Drive, then copied it to a location on my own server.

If I’ve done everything right you should be able to subscribe to my RSS feed on this site and play it in your favorite podcast player, assuming it supports standard podcasting methods.

Here it is. Enjoy.

The bottom line is this: It’s really EASY to be a podcaster.

Accidental Tech Podcast 255

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.I love me some ATP. The guys consistently teach me something and I really love it when John and Marco get into their rants about the Mac Pro. If you’re not subscribed go subscribe now.

The guys have introduced a new feature to the podcast recently called Ask ATP. I really loved episode 255’s Ask ATP. They got three really interesting questions and I couldn’t resist talking about them a bit. Please listen to the episode for their answers. I’m going to give mine for two and talk a bit about the third one.

Question #1: What if you had to use iOS?

I love this question. With iOS 11 Apple focused a great deal of effort on iPad specific features, but it’s no macOS.

So, what would I need to use iOS as a daily driver? Assuming Xcode existed I’d like a version of iOS that can pair with a full size keyboard, mouse, and display. That’s right, I’d need a mouse. I’ve heard talk of a MacBook-like device running iOS. That would be pretty incredible.

The mythical iBook could be fine for developing iOS Apps, but what about Mac Apps? I suppose they could generate code for a Mac from an iOS version of Xcode but it sure would make testing difficult. I also use VM’s as a part of my day job. Those would go away and that’s fine for an iOS only development platform. I’d probably try it.

Question #2: What if you had to use Windows?

This one is easy for me. In the late 80’s I started my development career writing DOS applications in Microsoft BASIC (not GW BASIC.) In the early 90’s I started learning C and the Windows API — later moving to C++ — and spent the next 25-plus years developing native Windows applications.

I’d be fine moving back to Windows. I think it’s a great operating system. I prefer MacOS these days but I could go back to Windows quite easily. Heck, I still use it in a VM for some backend services work at Agrian.

Question #3: What if you didn’t have advertisers?

This question, in a way, was kind of a bummer. It’s clear the guys do this as a business. That is not a bad thing, at all. A fellas got to make a living but it would definitely stink to see it disappear or go to a subscription model. Not that subscriptions are bad because they’re not. I just have a bit of subscription fatigue so I’d have decide if it were worth subscribing to. Yeah, I’d most likely subscribe.

Some Favorite Podcasts

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.I thought I’d share some podcasts I’ve been listening to over 2016. Enjoy.

Release Notes: “Release Notes is a weekly podcast about the business of Mac and iOS indie software development. We discuss inspiration, design, trends, and tools — everything but the code. The show is hosted by Charles Perry, owner of Metakite Software, and Joe Cieplinski, Creative Director of Bombing Brain Interactive.”

Charles and Joe are very down to earth. I just finished episode #189: The Tyranny of the Timeclock and I found it very refreshing to hear someone present good reason for their Mac purchasing decisions. Charles laid out a great reason for deciding to go with an older model 15in. MacBook Pro. So well reasoned. Like I said, down to earth. It’s a great listen.

Supertop Podcast: “In episode 11 of the Supertop Podcast we follow up on the Castro 2.2 launch and explore options for increasing Supertop’s revenue.”

Oisín and Pádraig tell it like it is. They don’t sugar coat what’s going on with Super Top, their products, and revenue. While they don’t give exact numbers they do give you enough information to understand how difficult it is to be an Indie developer. On occasion they’ve depressed me so much I’ve had to skip the remainder of the podcast but I managed to hang in there for this episode and I’m glad I did.

Super Top creates high quality, usable, functional, and highly polished software. The very definition of software craftsmanship.

Trumpcast – This started in the run up to the election. If, like me, you don’t care for Trump this podcast is for you. Jacob Weisberg is your host and does a great job covering this wreck of a man. Oh, and the guy that reads Trump tweets as Trump is amazing. It’s worth listening just for that.

Up and Vanished: “‘Up and Vanished’ is an investigative podcast that explores the unsolved disappearance of Georgia beauty queen and high school teacher, Tara Grinstead, an 11-year-old cold case that is the largest case in georgia’s history.”

It’s a definite mystery. I hope they figure it out.

Some Oldies but Goodies

  • The Talkshow – John Gruber’s Podcast. Really long episodes but always worth a listen.
  • Core Intuition – Manton Reese and Daniel Jalkut talk about Indie Development.
  • Accidental Tech Podcast – John Siracusa, Marco Arment, and Casey Liss. Another Mac and iOS discussion show.
  • The Big Web Show – Jeffrey Zeldman, web design legend, is your host and web design is the topic.

Big Co Podcasting

This morning I was listening to Recode Media’s show with Jacob Weinberg of Slate. I was listening mainly because I agree with Mr. Weinberg when he says “I think this guy’s a menace and a danger to democracy”, but that’s not what I’m going to write about.

AHHHHHH!There were two things that stood out in the interview. First off Mr. Weinberg mentioned he was working with a company called Panoply, a podcasting network. That’s great, we need more podcasting networks, but something he said didn’t sit well. Mr. Weinberg said part of what Panoply was doing was “tracking and advertising”. It sounds like this is going to become a reality. While checking into Panoply I also discovered ART19. Both sound like they’re creating systems that report back to them. How much of the show you’ve listened to, did you fast forward, rewind, or skip over the ads. It looks like ART19 has a way to update ads in a podcast episode so they never go stale. If this is something they can do using open standards, more power to them. If they have to create closed systems to pull it off, that’s not good for anyone, except them of course.

Another thing Mr. Weinberg said was “Apple was the gateway to podcasting.” This simply isn’t true. Apple provides a free podcast directory service built on open standards. Apple is not a gateway to podcasting.

To make a podcast is really, really, simple. You record something, upload it, and make an RSS feed so people can subscribe and you’re done. That’s the 20,000 foot view, but that’s how you do it in a nutshell. You don’t need Apple to publish a podcast. Let me say that again. You don’t need Apple to publish a podcast. You need some shared drive space; Dropbox, Google Drive, your own web host, any number of companies can provide you cloud space to keep files and share them.

Having Apple’s Podcast Directory is super nice. They supported podcasting long before it was popular and chose to use open standards, like RSS. RSS supports namespace extensions, so Apple created their own. They used an open standard and an open extension mechanism to create their directory.

Knowing that, can you call Apple the gateway to podcasting? No. Definitely not. Anyone can create their own podcast directory using RSS feeds. In fact, others have, like iPodder. It just so happens Apple’s directory became super popular once they had a built in audience due to the popularity of the iPhone.

Having said all that. If you want to get into podcasting, go for it. You will probably want to list your podcast on a few different directories, including Apple’s, but that’s something for you to decide. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Apple is not the Gatekeeper of Podcasting

New York Times: “Late last month, Apple brought seven leading podcast professionals to the company’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., to air their case to a room full of employees, according to two people who were there. The people would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. The company made no promises, the people said, but several pressing issues for podcasters were discussed in frank terms.”

Here’s the thing, Apple did not invent Podcasting — Dave Winer and Adam Curry did — Apple just has a really good Podcast directory. Anyone could do the same thing. In fact you don’t need to be part of Apple’s Podcast Directory to have a Podcast. All you need is a place to put your audio files so people can download them. Yes, that’s it.

One other note. I know there are services to help with podcasting, and I’m not going to advise against using one, especially if you are not a technical person. Just understand you don’t need a large corporation like Apple to publish your podcast on the internet.

Also note. I’m not bagging on Apple. They can’t help it if they created something really useful and people believe they own the gateway to podcasting. It just kind of happened that way.

Premium Apps

Do you listen to Under the Radar with David Smith and Marco Arment? If you’re an iOS or Mac Developer you should consider it, it’s good.

The latest episode — Improving the App Store, Part 1 — is going to be quite controversial. I wouldn’t be surprised if Part 2 includes a bit of laughter and talk about how much mail they received.

Duct Tape, fixer of all things!I’ll admit, at first I was a bit miffed by how they couched their apps as Premium, maybe it was a bit of sour grapes on my part, but the more I listened the more I realized they were right, they do make premium apps. Once I got past that idea I was able to focus on what they were after; a Premium App Store.

The big question is this: What the heck is a Premium App Store? Well, I have some ideas, and they won’t align with what a lot of people believe is premium, but you have to find a way to separate Premium Apps from everything else.

Here are my thoughts on how to create a Premium App Category. This category would be front and center in the iOS App and Mac App Stores.

I belive a Premium App would be defined by the following traits:

  • Paid up front
  • Price starting at $9.99 and up for iOS and $19.99 and up for the Mac
  • No Ads
  • No In-App Purchase for tokens or fake money. Think Games.
  • Not a “Marketing Style” applications. Think Starbucks
  • Embraces new OS features where applicable
  • Possesses a level of fit and finish worthy of an Apple product

Some of these ideas are very subjective, others are objective. The idea of a Marketing Style application may be difficult to define as well as the Fit and Finish requirement. That’s fine. The App Stores already have this level of subjectivity and maybe there’s room for a bit more for this level of application.

I believe this small set of requirement could separate a small swath of excellent Indie and BigCo Applications from the Application Salad that exists today. Developers like David and Marco walk a fine line. They make their living writing applications in an extremely overcrowded app market. Something like a Premium App Store could make a YUGE difference in their bottom lines. Then again, it may fall on its face.

I think we’re going to find out really soon what Apple thinks. A few months back app developers received a questionnaire. That questionnaire was, as I recall, very marketing centered. I would expect the App Store to change quite a bit under Phil Schiller and I think those changes will begin as a set of marketing programs aimed at helping developers improve their “image’ in the eyes of users. I’d expect Apple to reach out to developers they believe have a strong product and offer to help them market their applications. This could be the beginning of an effort to indirectly build a Premium App Store.

That’s just a few thoughts on the matter.

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