Thursday, July 17, 2008

Podcasting basics - terminology

Definitions of some of the terms used when discussing podcasting

Podcast – an audio program or audio file or video file available for download from the Internet via a RSS feed with MP3 audio enclosures.
Making an MP3 file available online without the RSS feed is not podcasting.

RSS – an abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. It is an XML format for syndicating web content. An RSS feed describes content such as a newsfeed, a blog post or a podcast and allows it to be collected by an aggregator. RSS 2.0 is currently the de facto feed format used for podcasting.

MP3 – an audio file encoded using the MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) format. MP3 is the most common format for audio files on the Internet.

Newsfeed – a collection of news stories made available on the Internet in a standard format – usually RSS 2.0. Newsfeeds can be used to publish information about podcasts. Subscribers to podcast newsfeeds use the information provided to find new shows and download them.

Aggregator – software that collects and displays RSS feeds. Aggregators can also be called newsreaders. Some aggregators retrieve and display podcasts.

ATOM – a web feed format that offers an alternative to RSS.

Blog – a weblog

Enclosure – a technique for linking to multimedia files within a RSS 2.0 newsfeed

Stream – the ability to play an audio file over the Internet without waiting for the file to download

XML – eXtensible Markup Language – the scripting language used for RSS. XML allows the creation of custom vocabularies for describing data.

WAV – a standard for storing uncompressed sound files. The large size of WAV files makes it impractical to use these files on the Internet, especially for podcasts.

LAME – acronym for Lame ain’t an MP3 encoder. LAME is an open source program MP3 encoder used for turning WAV or AUD files into MP3s. LAME is required for saving files recorded or edited in Audacity into MP3s and can be downloaded from the Audacity website.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Web Contact Forms

Websites hosted by Vicnet can include a web form on their contact page for people to fill in to contact the society. In the section re free web hosting on the Vicnet site there is a section on forms and formmail - Web Design: Forms and

To use this function copy the code provided on the page into the section of the html page where you want the web form to appear. In the 'which address should the feedback be sent to' section add the email address to be used.

If the society does not have an email account with Vicnet, it is necessary to contact Vicnet either by using their web form or by email requesting that the email address to be used is added to the Vicnet list of accepted email recipients.

Some internet security packages block the usage of forms for sending messages - Vicnet provides information suggesting how to overcome this problem. It may be useful to include a link to this information on your web page to help people encountering such problems.