I am going to keep this page pretty rough until I can make a blog post about each topic.
The entire point of a page like this is to be as simple as possible. I am going to explain this stuff as if you, kind reader, know how to use a computer to access the internet, and how to listen to audio files that are on the computer. Otherwise, I am going to assume that you have never been exposed to podcasts before. If you would like to skip this, you could check out my Blog, or even better, my Podcasts.
First off: what is a podcast?
WIKIPEDIA is pretty accurate about things like this. Basically I make these audio files in a serial format and I release them in a predictable place.
OK. How/where do I find these audio files?
One way that people get the files is with a “Podcatcher“, which is a program that reaches out to RSS feeds that the user specifies. Then the podcatcher checks it for updates, automatically downloading new updates if they are available (most have some options that you can set so that it doesn’t check unless you want it to, or on a schedule, or a few other things).
You don’t actually need a podcatcher to listen to them, but you will need to know where to go to download or listen to them. There are a handful of directories that exist to help people find content that they are interested in. Google is great – just search for “comedy podcast,” “tech podcast”, or “podcast directory” and you will find some pages that have the sort of podcast you are looking for.
What the heck is RSS?
WIKIPEDIA is right again. It is a type of file that is intended to be updated consistently, and then regularly and automatically accessed by programs (podcatchers – see above) or other services – which can then alert the user that there is another update is available. RSS can be used for any type of file – audio (like podcasts), blog posts, news, and others.
Often you can find a link to an RSS feed on websites. It is often an image of an orange square that has a dot with ‘waves’ coming out. The image can be seen on the Wikipedia entry. It will often link to a page that looks like a bunch of gibberish, but if you copy the URL of that gibberish, you can paste it into your podcatcher, and you will start getting those updates automatically.
Currently, I use the podcatcher Gpodder. Clear format, good reviews, and easy to add new Podcasts.
Also currently, I listen to these podcasts:
- Welcome to Night Vale (you will have to follow their media links, I personally suggest their Libsyn feed)
- Audio drama of a weird desert town’s community radio. Kinda Lovecraftian…But not.
- If you start listening to this, you should start at the beginning. There is a narrative arc and a bunch of self-referential jokes. Starting at the beginning will help you arrange your bloodstone circle correctly to survive the jokes.
- Episode 13 (A Story About You) is my favorite and requires very little previous knowledge.
- Escape Pod
- Science Fiction short stories. Really good.
- Episode 402 (The tale of the Golden Eagle) is one of my favorites.
- Fantasy Fiction short stories. Also good.
- Episode 327 (The Telling) is one of my favorites.
- Reasonably Sound
- This guy geeking out about sound. Not sure what else to say about it.
- A very new podcast, this only has 5 episodes.
- Know Direction
- For table top gamers. News, reviews, interviews all about the Pathfinder RPG.
- Lots of episodes are helpful for Pathfinder nerds. Not sure I would call any of them ‘favorite’.
- For some specific stuff, I listen to these specifically because I want to get better at podcasting, webhosting, and other things related to it.
To Listen a Podcast without a podcatcher: You will need:
- Some kind of Mp3 player. (most smartphones, a dedicated device, a netbook, even a desktop computer will work)
- An internet connection to directly listen to (or download) the files
- Some time to listen
The basic steps are
- Find episode (with your preferred internet method)
- Get episode (listen to it in-browser or download it for later)
- If you downloaded it for later, put it on to your listening device and enjoy
This page will include some extraordinarily simple instructions for how to listen to my podcasts, learn to play Pathfinder (and other tabletop roleplaying games), and…I don’t know, whatever I think you may want to learn to do, from the ground up.