Now that I have spent a couple of weeks producing podcasts for my IST 110 class this semester I am realizing this isn’t as easy as it should be. Don’t get me wrong, the podcasting studio in GarageBand has been a quantum leap forward, but at the end of the day it still feels a hell of a lot more like a pro application than a consumer one. When I look at the podcast value chain (excuse my use of that term here), I see Apple really wanting to own the whole thing — inbound right through outbound. In my mind there are three pieces to the podcasting chain:
- Creation – the art of putting one of these things together … even though GarageBand is easy, it is still hard for normal people. Try asking a typical teacher/faculty member to get all that gear ready, hook up a mic, handle the post production, and everything in between … just not going happen. Maybe a couple of the steps, but not all of them.
- Storage and Indexing – The ability to move the raw podcast to a server to be served to the masses. This means not only getting it up to a space, but also making sure all the meta data is accurate and that it has some sort of searchable context associated with it. It is one of the reasons why I love using the blog as a vehicle for this. Each post can act as the holder of the podcast episode (if its a class, talk, whatever). iTunes U does this.
- Delivery – Once you’ve gotten through the whole creation, storage, and indexing you can now deliver these things via some sort of RSS enclosure. Again, the blog works perfectly for this as the RSS gets written for you and your audience can easily get these things using any pod catching software … again iTunes U or even just iTunes does this well.
So in my world, the last two are actually a hell of a lot easier to overcome than the first. Sort of strange that what appears to be the most technically challenging aspects of this are handled either by really easy to use open source tools (blogs) or by Apple’s new iTunes U service. Now, back to creation …
When I do a podcast for class, I record as I present in GarageBand … easy enough, but I do a ton of editing after the fact … by a ton I mean it is taking me at least 1.5 times as long to edit as it did for me to record it. I take my Keynote slides and export them to the desktop, import them into iPhoto, pull them onto the GarageBand timeline, do my mix down, share it to iTunes, upload the file, write the blog post, and link it all up … the software handles the feed for me.
It sort of dawned on me today that Apple might be missing the boat with one of its killer apps — Keynote. If Keynote had the podcast studio in it I would be done the second class ended … It would be amazing if, since my presentation is built around a set of slides, Keynote itself managed the recording and syncing of all that stuff. I could walk in, put on my mic, click a “Play and Record Keynote” button in the app itself, do my presentation, and when finished, just click publish. In our classrooms, there isn’t any time after the class to mess with stuff at the podium … the next class is on its way in and the next professor is anxiously waiting to log into the machine … if you make it all happen with a click to start and a click to publish it is a no-brainer. Value chain complete.
Anyone out there want to comment on that? Am I missing something or are we missing one of the biggest pieces to this whole podcasting from the podium revolution? I know here at Penn State we are struggling most with how to capture that event … not the publishing and sharing part … just the first step. Damn, and they just revved Keynote … maybe in iWork ’07?
Update: Could ProfCast be the answer? We shall see this weekend.