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Too Many Parts April 6, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Information, Online Tools.
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coupling   A few posts ago, I noted the five steps we had to take to get podcasts from the College of Education available. When engineers create a new machine, they attempt to reduce the number of moving parts. If one wears out or breaks then the whole machine is unusable. In my first shot at figuring out podcasts, I had five moving parts: 1) the creation of the WAV file, 2) the conversion to an MP3 file, 3) the storage of the mp3, 4) the linkage of the file to a blog, and 5) the creation of the RSS feed.

There were five cars linked together on the train track and I was sure I could simplify the process. My first step was to make arrangements with our Network Manager to backup the MP3 files separately so their large file size did not slow down the back up process. The next step was to upload the MP3 directly to our web server. That cut out the need for ourmedia.com and archive.org. Next, we set up a web page with a simple file ending with an .xml extension. This page contained the codes required to send out an RSS feed. This step cut out the need for feedburner.com.

So now the process is simplified and I have even included the College Word Mark on each of the podcasts. We are almost ready to go live. The URL for the web page, a blog of sorts, is www.ed.arizona.edu/podcasts. Our Public Relations person has also arranged to have a logo created. Many colleges use their own logo and place a pair of headphones on them or a set of speakers in the background.

If you want to subscribe to the Apple iTunes version of the podcast, subscribe to the following URL: www.ed.arizona.edu/podcasts/podcasts.xml or search for UA Education Lectures. The final step is to make the service known among our colleagues. Every time a speaker is announced, I write to the organizer and offer to podcast the event. This afternoon I received word that Elliott Soloway will be visiting the college in May and speaking at a couple of events. I have already raised the issue of podcasting the talks. We have a remote control microphone and a digital voice recorder that we are not afraid to use.

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