Scripting News for 2/21/2007

Podcast player 

I’m still thinking about the ideal podcast player.

The features that matter most to me are:

1. Self-contained, untethered synchronization, much the same way a Blackberry gets email.

2. Read-write, two-way, should be able to record and connect with a publishing system for automatic upload and feed production.

3. Must be a platform, that is, people other than the manufacturer can add apps.

That’s it, those are the three main features that PPs need and don’t today have, imho.

Celebrating 10 years 

I’ve now got an idea how to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Scripting News, on April 1, just 38 days from now. It came to me after I got a note from a dear friend, Tori, who lives in Texas, who I haven’t seen in (too many) years. She explained: “I was just catching up on your blog and saw the post about your surgery. Dude. I’m glad you’re ok. I got goose bumps reading about Dave Jacobs’ project. You and your friends change the world.”

Now there’s so much value in this email, for me.

First, I had no idea that Tori was reading my blog.

Second, it reminded me that Dave Jacobs is an amazing guy.

Third, it reminded me that I have amazing friends.

And fourth, and most important, it suggested that there may be people I haven’t heard from in a long time who stay current with me through this site. Which is cool, but…

I want to know how they’re doing! Too. 🙂

What’s up. Had any kids? What have you learned lately? How’s your health? The family? What are you thinking about these days. Been to any good parties? Gotten in trouble? (I hope.)

This connected up with a discussion I have been having with Sylvia, and with the Bloghers, Elisa, Jory and Lisa. I want everyone to write something, let’s create a document on the 10-year anniversary of Scripting News, about anything that occurs to you that might in any way, no matter how loosely, relate to SN, blogging, surgery, Dave, podcasting, coral reefs and sunken ships, RSS, outlines, desktop art, thank you money, my friends — whatever you think is important that might belong in a time-capsule-like document attached to this blog.

Sylvia tells me there is a name for something like this: festschrift. Of course there’s a Wikipedia page.

To me, this would be the perfect commemoration, the ideal way to party in the ScriptingNews-o-Sphere.

What do you think?

Days to April 1 

A 1-liner that computes the number of days to 4/1.

number (date (“april 1, 2007”) – ()) / (60 * 60 * 24)

BTW, I like writing long posts in the airport in the morning. 🙂

Thanks Dan! 

Photo: I was sitting in the Buena Vista bar at SFO this morning waiting for my flight and Dan Farber of ZDNet walked by. What a surprise! I invited him to join me, and we caught up.

Thanks Anil! 

I like this piece he wrote about Evan Williams, because he includes me, among Williams, Jason Calacanis and Mark Cuban, as people with “Thank you money” and therefore can say what they think, without anyone telling them they can’t.

That’s very nice company indeed. I totally respect Jason, Mark, and Ev — and I’m glad to see him put Odeo to rest so, honestly, we can get back to doing serious work on podcasting. I don’t think he had podcasting in his blood, Twitter looks much more like an Evan Williams project. There I go telling you what I think again. 🙂

Podshow isn’t right either. We don’t need a record industry-like advertising agency in the middle of PodcastLand. It’s not a good fit, although I understand why Ron Bloom, when he first looked at it, saw a combination of the record and advertising industries — that’s where he came from. Podcasting is much less rulable, it doesn’t need a central entity like the one Bloom envisioned, or Odeo, or even Apple. What it does need is what I hope to talk about on Thursday in Boston at the public radio conference.

Dave Winer bio 

Dave Winer, 51, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies.

A native New Yorker, he received a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

“The protoblogger.” – NY Times.

“Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS.”Time.

“RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer’s ‘Really Simple Syndication’ technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape’s ‘Rich Site Summary’, which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows.”Tim O’Reilly.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Dave,

    We would love to know what you think about what we’re doing at Raw Voice with our Blubrry podcast community and associated communities. We are building our business around the needs of podcasters and audiences. I believe that your input can help us either stay on, or move closer to the target. I’ll be looking forward to your speech to get some insights.

    Rob Safuto


  2. You’ll find the latest Nokia N-Series phones running symbian series60 do alot of what the perfect podcast player/publisher needs.

    Connected. Wifi, 3G, etc. Mic. Headphones. Player. OPML support too.

    You are right – there does need to be a ‘proper’ podcast device. Two-way.

    Create the mobius loop of Navigate/Discover -> Download/Consume -> Upload/Publish -> Navigate/Discover etc.

    All this needs decent organisation and standardisation.

    It’s so easy. But while walking the floors of CES and 3GSM this year, there were very few who realise how close they are to perfection. It’s like there’s a missing link.

    Are you the missing link? lol


  3. Posted by Jim Armstrong on February 21, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Apple, Inc. could make the perfect Podcasting Prosumer device by taking the Phone out of the iPhone. Then you would have a WiFi Nano with camera and a great screen and GUI.

    Just add an eXtreme Mac microphone to an existing Nano, and away you go.


  4. Posted by Ben Combee on February 21, 2007 at 8:59 am

    I comment on how a Treo can do what Dave wants too at It’s not super well integrated, but the platform is there for someone to put all the pieces together into one really nice system.


  5. Okay, how about a much simpler,

    (Date fromString: ‘4/1/2007’) subtractDate: Date today

    it all about the tools you use for the job, isn’t it? 😉


  6. I just recorded a podcast where I talk about the perfect podcast device, along with ‘OPML plus RSS to the POWER of USERS’ and reading lists and what needs to be understood.


  7. re: “festschrift”…As Homer Simpson says, “Those Germans have a word for everything.” Thanks for adding to my “word power.”


  8. Posted by Steve Silver on February 21, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Festschrift sounds like a great idea to celebrate the big One Zero for It will be neat to be able to look back in another ten years time… Of course some of us will be hanging out by then listening to the AARP daily podcast and waxing poetically to our grown kids what it was like…


  9. Posted by Jim Posner on February 22, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Phoenix Rising…

    Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. of the Congo Nation


  10. Regarding #2 – two way synchronizing. The first way would be to produce an RSS feed and upload it to youtube/google/whomever. Much like Apple does now with podcasts. Let them aggregate your content.

    Apple would only have to go a little further to support two-way. For instance I got a little recorder for my iPod (which on the latest models allow cd quality recording). Then when I synch my iPod I get a playlist called Voice Memos in iTunes. All you would need to do is convert that playlist into the RSS feed. See example prior art:

    Of course you’d need a trendy color like orange and a catchy acronym like RSVP… and they are most likely copyrighted.


  11. downloading > streaming

    When I consider the idea of an untethered podcast player, I see that streaming is just downloading with restrictions. When you stream you can play the bits as they arrive and then they are gone. When you download you can play them now or later.

    Now imagine a Tivo that didn’t allow you to watch live TV. It makes you wait until an entire show has been recorded to disk before you can watch it. This is the way today’s podcast players work. Of course it is technically possible to listen to a podcast as it is being downloaded.. then pause playback, while it continues to download, and listen to the rest later. Podcast players should enable this functionality. A user who has this functionality would never want streaming, because he has the on-demand functionality of streaming and the total control functionality of downloading together. Only people who want to restrict the use of content would prefer streaming.

    When you visit a cybercafe, your podcst player could connect to the wireless network, update your RSS feeds, and being to download the new podcasts. You can play one of the podcasts as it downloads. Maybe you listen to the first minute while the first 30 minutes download. Then you leave the cafe and the download stops because you are out of network coverage, but you can continue to listen up to the 30 minute mark. The next time you enter network coverage, the rest of the podcast will be downloaded.

    You could think of a podcast player as a mobile on-demand content player with smart caching that facilicates use when disconnected from the network. The caching is smart because your RSS subscriptions tell the player what content to prefetch. Your subscriptions are also a concise program guide comprised of your favorites, but of course their is a much larger universe of content to choose from.


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