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Did Apple Computer Invent the Podcast?

Here's an email correspondence I'm having with a Friend of the C-Realm. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps I should feel enormous gratitude to Steve Jobs and Apple Computer. I welcome any additional information that might expand my understanding of the situation.

As I see it, an .mp3 player is a device that lets me share digital media, e.g. episodes of the C-Realm Podcast. I can connect such a device to my computer and give someone a heaping helping of podcasty goodness and receive from her any digital treasures she has collected over the course of her adventures. If someone hands me an iPod, I can't put any new media on it without erasing everything that's already there. To my way of thinking, an iPod is an .mp3 player that has been deliberately broken by the manufacturer to prevent sharing. Sure, someone can download episodes of my show to their iPod through iTunes, but that's useless here on the third-world side of the digital divide where bandwidth is precious. Why do those bits have to go through the Apple's web nexus when they could simply travel down a few inches of ethernet cable?

Here's the email exchange:

Apple Enthusiast: Had it not been for Steve Job's uncompromising vision, there would not have been an iPod.

Had it not been for the iPod, there would not be the notion of podcasting.

Had there not been podcasting, there would not have been a C-Realm Podcast.

Any thought to doing a look at Steve Jobs and why Apple 'just works'?


KMO: We've been over this territory. I don't want to be a pain or a bore, but I don't like Apple computer. I won't buy their products, and if I never hear the word "iTunes" again, it will be too soon.

AE: Sorry. Did not mean to touch a nerve.

I'm actually a bit surprised, but your experience and opinion is your own and I respect it.

There is a metaphysical aspect to Jobs. He spent some time in India and I think he gained something there that was immensely powerful -- the famed Jobs Reality Distortion Field.

More to the point of the C-Realm, I was just musing that there was, at the very onset of the personal systems revolution a sort of share-ware economy that survived until Gates wrote his famous letter. Gates was about the money -- Caplitalist Greed and Jobs was about something else. I think there are connections to be made to C-Realm themes, but maybe not.

I'll leave it at there is an irony in your distain for the entity that created the infrastructure that enables you to excel. Bit like byting the hand that enables you.


KMO: I don't see it that way.

I just reviewed the history of RSS on Wikipedia, and I don't believe that Apple Computer owns the origin of web syndication. It seems as though it was a vision that many people had been pursuing for a long time, and in terms of the actual birthplace of the particular standard that finally won out, Netscape has as big a claim as Apple Computer. Apple successfully marketed a deliberately disfunctional external hard drive which they called an iPod. I don't dispute the marketing genius at Apple, but it was a
journalist who coined the term 'podcast.' Apple tried to assert ownership of the term, and they were handed their hat in court. Were it not for Apple's advertising Juggernaut, I might be doing the C-Realm Netcast rather than the C-Realm Podcast, but Apple Computer did not invent the .mp3, the web, or external hard drives, nor are they the exclusive inventors of RSS. I think you give them enitrely too much credit.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
tirikitetoker
Aug. 27th, 2011 06:59 am (UTC)
I have a few points of clarification for your discussion.
First of all, it is possible to add an already downloaded podcast file to your iPod from your computer.
http://shenweb.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-import-podcasts-into-itunes.html

Secondly iTunes don't funnel the data. They just tell you where the RSS feed is. Some listeners' current problem is due to the fact that last time I updated iTunes with your RSS feed you seemed to be moving to libsyn and so that's the feed I told them. As podcast administrator you might want to let them know the new c-realm.com based feed, which is definitely the most reliable way forward. I would update them myself but I'm on the road with only occasional internet access through my phone (yes, an iPhone).

BTW I also don't like Apple computers but I do like my iPhone. I don't use iTunes for podcasts but instead use a $2 app called Podcaster which is great. Whatever the merits of Apple and their connection to podcasting, a lot of your listeners probably do use iDevices and many aren't as tech-savvy as me. I hope someone can update iTunes with your new RSS feed soon, and you don't change it again, so you won't hear this kind of complaint any more.
kmo
Aug. 27th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Shen
Hi, Shen. Thank you for the additional information. I don't understand the techniques you linked to. Would that information allow me to hook someone else's iPod to my PC to transfer files onto it without deleting their existing archive? As I understand it, any particular iPod can only sync with one computer as a source of new files, and if you hook it up to any other computer then you have the choice of wiping the existing library and starting fresh or backing out.

I sincerely appreciate all of your efforts to promote the C-Reaalm Pocast and to keep it available on iTunes. The Liberated Syndication experiment was an unmitigated disaster. Live and learn. With a stable connection, I can generally upload a C-Realm episode to PodOMatic in about 20 minutes. It takes a bit longer to upload to the internet Archive. Uploading to Libsyn could go quickly, or it could take in excess of 10 hours. I never did suss out any pattern to the enormous variation in upload times. If I was using a public connection at a coffee shop and saw that a Libsyn upload was going to take several hours, I would just terminate the upload and try again the next time I had a good connection. Even before I gave up trying to keep that feed up to date, the Libsyn C-Realm archive could lag several weeks behind PodOMatic simply because I hadn't found that magical upload window that would allow me to move files from my computer to the servers at Libsyn within the battery life of my computer (most public wifi spots in the US have removed electrical outlets from public areas to keep hobos like me from setting up camp and overstaying the value of our token purchases).

I do want to stress that I had a great experience with the HUMANS I dealt with at Libsyn. If the automated Libsyn interface worked as well as the humans at that company, I would still host the C-Realm archive there.
surferelf
Aug. 27th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
You're right, KMO. The Diamond Rio existed years before the iPod. Adam Curry will not shut up about how he and Dave Winer created the podcast, (Granted, they were using macs when they did it.) but all they really did was try to solve a problem that existed for people who were already doing it. Apple's role in this was, if anything, predatory. By building podcasting into iTunes, Apple destroyed a really exciting emerging ecosystem of podcast "networks". While at the same time, their lawyers trolled the web threatening to sue anybody that had a "pod" in their project. It changed the whole dynamic of the (genre? medium? industry?) in a matter of weeks.
kmo
Aug. 27th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
Continued
My Apple Enthusiast interlocutor later added the following points:

As always, cogent thoughts on RSS/Podcasting. Points well taken.

"Deliberately disfunctional" is one way to put it, if your expectations are that it is an external hard drive.

I think Apple thought of it as a media delivery system, one that could gain the support of the music industry while providing a function to users.

What we expect something is often colors our perception of it. I can see your POV, but don't share it.


Yes, as a digital-era equivalent of the Walkman, the iPod is an unqualified success. From the standpoint of record companies, it's a huge improvement over portable cassette players, because people who couldn't afford to pay $12 for an official release on cassette could afford blank cassettes and could make copies (that degraded with each copy of a copy) to share music with friends.

By aiming to placate the record labels Apple created a devise which sacrificed the user's ability to share legitimately FREE content (like the kind I make)in order to prevent the sharing of illicit content. That, to me, is the embedded value system of the iPod and all iDevices. They inhibit sharing and attempt to confine exchanges between human beings to the realm of commercial transactions.


peristaltor
Aug. 28th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I, too, have been more than a bit peeved that one could not simply hook an iPod or similar device together with another and swap tunes. I don't think, though, that Apple is to blame for that lack of simple functionality. I would blame the mafia-esque recording industry that would undoubtedly crush Apple like a bug should that functionality be present or in any way possible.

I found a similar dysfunction in a PC-based player I briefly owned. I agree that there's a lot of blame Jobs' behemoth should accept, but that probably isn't one of them.
tirikitetoker
Aug. 29th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Yep the problem of iPods being tied to a single computer is annoying. Jailbreaking can get around that, but again requires some level of technical competence.
dimbygone
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
YESSSS!!!!
I like your use of the term "broken" KMO. It makes me giggle with glee, as I attach the term "broken" to the term "ipod" every chance I get. Which is often, as I go on long anti-mac rants to anybody who will listen.
I was looking forward to being rich this summer and thought..."Hmmmm....maybe I'll replace my glitchy old 8GB ipod with a nice new one." Then I bought an android phone, and within a couple of days realized that it could play music. Wow. What a revelation. Just plug it in, and drop files onto it, take them off, connect with other computers, share. Just what an external hdd should do. Good bye apple. Hello freedom.

And lets get things straight. The record industry is on its last legs, and there is NO WAY they could crush apple. Macintosh is the 4th Reich, complete with ipod armbands.

F Jobs and F Apple, they represent computing fascism. And the digital revolution is all about anarchy isn't it? Let's all take a moment and wave goodbye to our intellectual property.....ahhhhh....doesn't that feel better? Wasn't it stressful worrying about who was stealing it all this time? Hiring lawyers. Clinging onto it for dear life. Don't you feel a weight off of your shoulders?
Let's create an Open Source future, shall we? Share stuff. Give. From the way things are going, money may no longer be the thing that puts food on the table.

Thanks for all that you do KMO. You are leading the way courageously.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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