The History of the iPod Podcast

f_01311025019_typing2-main-full.jpgWhat is now called a podcast traces its origins to the
first ipod podcasts, the creation of distributed mp3 files
that could be downloaded and played on Apple’s music
player, the iPod. When the iPod came out, and users
discovered what a wonderful thing it was for holding
music, some people had the idea of loading things that
weren’t necessarily songs. Some of the people that got
their hands on the iPod took the route of reverse
engineering the iPod and loading on different firmware,
or operating system, but others had the idea of sharing
small sound files that could be played on the iPod. The
technology for distributing the files already existed,
with RSS feeds. RSS feeds were a means of generating
machine readable files that could share information
between a server and a user. Many blogs already used
them to keep readers up to date with the latest posts, but
some hopeful podcasters had the idea of enclosing links
to sound files within the RSS feed and downloading the
file to the computer.

With the change in RSS feeds, ipod podcast took off,
and podcasting became a popular way to share files.
Users saw podcasting as a way to become radio hosts,
or dj’s, and a variety of podcasts began popping up.
Software was written to automatically check the RSS
feeds, extract the links to the podcast episodes, and
download the files. These programs became known as
podcast clients.

By this time, podcasting had moved beyond the ipod,
and they were not simply making an ipod podcast
anymore. Some people had figured out how to use even
the PlayStation Portable gaming console as a podcast
player. It was more difficult that downloading podcasts
to the ipod, since the PSP used a different format for it’s
files, but PSP podcasts began popping up. In addition,
podcasting made inroads to the wider audience of
people without iPods, who simply saw podcasting as an
extremely convenient way to receive news, music, and
entertainment over the internet.

Today, while the iPod podcast type still exists, fewer
people subscribe to podcasts as a way of gaining
portable media files they can listen to anywhere.
Although that is still an attractive part of podcasting, it
seems to be eclipsed by the ease with which podcasting
has become a content delivery system. Now, podcasting
has become tied up with the rising number of audio and
video blogs, where blogging is done not by post, but
through media files uploaded to the blog. These blogs,
and podcasting in general, take advantage of the
shrinking cost of broadband internet connections, and
the rising number of people with high speed access to
offer a picture of the internet rich with multimedia files.

Why You Should Take Part In A Writing Workshop

f_11311024963_profitonline.jpgBefore you should decide whether or not taking part in a writing workshop is right for you and your writing you should first understand just what a writing workshop is.

A workshop is an educational format where an expert shares information on a focused topic over a short period of time. Some workshops are intended to be simply informative while others involve more hands-on activities. Today there are many options for enjoying a workshop: you can attend workshops in person, view them on television or tape, or participate in an online workshop.

So now that you know what a workshop is you can see how this format can readily be adapted for writers. Writing workshops can cover the basics of writing, writing challenges, topics related to publication and careers in writing, or specific research subjects. Some of these programs are featured as part of larger events, such as conferences, while some groups or individuals offer them as one-time events. Some organizations, institutes and educational programs offer workshops to their students or members while others open those workshops to the community at large.

Why would a writer want to attend a workshop? What benefit could it be?

Join the writing community. One of the strongest benefits you can receive from attending such a gathering is getting to know other writers. Writing is a solitary profession and can be very lonely. Enjoying the company of other writers and talking about writing with people who really understand your joys and worries can be wonderfully energizing to you personally as well as your writing. You can also make contacts that may lead to support and growth of your writing or perhaps even professional advancement. You never know when the friend you make today might be in a position to recommend you to an editor or publisher down the road.

Learn something new. No matter what level your writing career there are always lessons to be learned from other writers. Sometimes there are research strategies and shortcuts or perhaps it is a method for dealing with writer’s block. You can learn market news and contacts as well as important information about reviewing contracts. Workshops are generally geared toward a specific genre or market niche and offer a wealth of specialized information depending on whether you write about crime or food.

Improve your craft. Generating new work or revising existing pieces is often a large part of attending a workshop. Sometimes you must bring something with you, create a project as part of the workshop or are inspired by the gathering itself. Sometimes talking with others or listening to the presenters causes you to suddenly rethink a stalled project or inspires a new one. Whatever the impetus there is definitely an increase in production after attending a workshop and that is the surest way to improve your word craft.

If you have not taken part in a writing workshop in the past then perhaps you might consider doing so in the near future so you can join the writing community, learn something new, and improve your craft.

Pahl Receives Bronte Prize Nomination

f_21310674074_bigstock-green-blog-2184896.jpgWriting on a small press, Nelson Pahl joined some of mainstream literature’s most famous names to become one of the five finalists for romantic fiction’s biggest award, the 2007 Bronte Prize. The accolade recognizes the best love story published in the U.S. and Canada annually.

Pahl’s Bee Balms & Burgundy, published on independent imprint Caf