Blog readers will notice that the ‘Listen to the Podcast’ section of the sidebar has been revamped, and I’d like to take a moment and briefly explain what this new podcast interface does. With the CrowdAbout widget I just installed, you can skip to selected areas of a podcast. Check it out and see! You will notice that the most recent episode is loaded into the player and that there are several markers labeled with more information about that section of the podcast, including links to more information about that artist or interview guest.
If you click one of the markers and choose ‘play from this post’, the track will load (sorry, it still has to load) and start playing from that point. Also, if you click the paper clip icon after you have selected a specific point to play, you can get a link which will automatically start playing the episode, or click the envelope button to e-mail a link to this specific point to somebody.
But that’s not all! You can also make your own comments on the podcast tracks. Just click the plus sign at a point where you’d like to add some information and start typing! Even though you see a log-in box at the top of the interface, you don’t have to log in to comment. You can create an account if you like, but it is not necessary.
You can also make audio comments if you have a microphone hooked up to your computer and video comments if you have a video camera. Use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the interface to select a different episode.
I am going through old episodes and putting markers on all of the sections (beginnings of interviews, beginnings of songs, etc.), and I will be slowly working on an index that will allow you to cross-reference what, say, Lawrence Hurst, Jeff Turner, Michael Hovnanian, and Francois Rabbath all think about a particular topic.
This kind of technology is extremely cool, and it is an example of how podcasting offers features that really aren’t possible in other forms of media. Where else can you comment and add your own video and audio to a pre-existing program, with that commentary appearing alongside the audio program. It’s like having an always accessible commentary track running alongside the main program, with additional video and audio plus comments and links to all the original material.
Please take a moment and click around, adding any additional observations or comments you like to some episodes. Some of these episodes take a while to load, and while I’ll do what I can to work on speeding this up, some of this latency might just be where things are at in terms of Internet speed at the moment. This latency will continue to get shorter over time, and this sort of interactivity will therefore become even more useful as time goes by. For now, it may take a bit of time to actually load the file, but that time will only get shorter over time, not longer.