Cool listening and podcasting’s third anniversary

Updated on September 25, 2006

I was in the UK at the weekend to organize a couple of things re my move there next week.

As I mentioned in FIR #173 last week, I’m returning to the UK after seven years in Amsterdam. New thinking, new ideas, new ventures. More about that later.

Things here are a bit upside down side this week, packing cases and boxes everywhere as we finalize packing for the movers later in the week. I won’t be online here much as I take care of such things.

Anyway, driving back to Amsterdam yesterday, I used the time in the car to catch up with a load of podcast listening. Geek News Central, Managing The Gray, Caribbean Free Radio, The M Show, Ritmo Latino, Across The Sound, Daily Source Code, even a couple of back episodes of FIR that I haven’t had a chance to listen to.

What made the listening experience outstanding was being able to hear the podcasts from my iPod on the car stereo system via the Griffin Roadtrip, a very cool gadget that transmits the audio to the car radio on a spare FM frequency. I picked one up at Schiphol airport on Saturday.

It works with any iPod model except the Shuttle, not only enabling you to listen to your audio but also charging your iPod.

Forget burning those podcasts to CD. Forget earbuds and cables. Forget contraptions like special cassettes (and who has a casette player in their car these days?). Unless you have a car with an in-built iPod connector, this has got to be the only way to listen to audio from your iPod when in a car.

Speaking of podcasting, the third anniversary of this medium passed at the weekend, on Saturday September 23.

According to Dave Winer, widely regarded as one of the two people who made it happen (the other being Adam Curry):

[…] Today is, in a sense, the three-year anniversary of podcasting. It wasn’t called podcasting then, but all the essential elements of what would become podcasting were in place. A regular show with a theme (Chris Lydon inteviewing people he finds interesting), a feed that has those shows as enclosures. The enclosures are in MP3 format. And a small number of aggregators that could do something interesitng with all that. A step down the road that would lead to podcasting.

When this became a juggernaut, almost exactly a year after the first Lydon feed, it desperately needed a name. Danny G came up with “podcast” and we liked it, so that was it, the decision was made, a “rough consensus” formed, and from then on we called what we were doing podcasting.

Read Dave’s complete post for more history, especially related to the role the iPod played in the naming (does this explain why Apple wants to own the name?)

I first heard of podcasting on September 30, 2004. Shel and I announced FIR on December 21, 2004 and we recorded the first episode on January 3, 2005.

What a lot of water under the bridge in so short a time.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Earl Voss

    Hi Neville,
    My 2 cents re the Griffin Roadtrip (or any other comparable device); yes, it is nice to be able to listen to music or podcasts in one’s car, but, at least as far as music is concerned, these FM-based devices do not have the bandwidth normally associated with mp3/CD players. Because they piggy-back on FM, the audio frequency bandwidth is lacking, and music will sound decidedly inferior. I liken it to listening with pillows covering the speakers. The dynamic range is nowhere near the same, either. One last item: finding an unused FM frequency, depending on your locale, can be problematic in that there always appears to be noise/static coming through. Where I live (in New Jersey, fairly close to NYC), this is an issue. I’ve tried several of these devices and have always been underwhelmed by their performance. The fidelity issue is, of course, less important for podcasts.

    Thanks!

  2. neville

    Earl, I found overall sound quality very good with the Roadtrip. A lot depends on the quality of the podcast, whether it’s stereo or mono, etc. But overall, I was very pleased with the experience.

    The only thing I would critique would be the actual connection of the Roadtrip into the car’s cigarette lighter. With the iPod connected, the overall gadget is relatively top-heavy. With some road surfaces not too good, the whole thing popped out of the connector at times due to vibration. If the gadget came with a connector on a cable, that might be better.

    Sherrilynne, thanks. News to come at the right time!

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