Just found the WordPress plug-in WP-iPodCatter which creates iTunes ready RSS feeds from a WordPress blog. This became necessary as I dabbled with posting my first enhanced podcast file, and noticed that WordPress never put the *.m4a file in as an enclosure. It turns out, WP is pretty limited on what it seeks for enclosures (mp3 only).

But iPodCatter does more as it enables all the other iTunes specific fields that make your feeds ready for the Big Store.

There was one needed trick, as our webserver was not configured for the proper MIME type. Failing to get the command write via WebMin, I was able just to add it directly to the .htaccess file in my WP directory (some hosted sites will not take new MIME types this way) by adding:

This is part of a new piece of NMC where we will be using a blog to publish the latest news from the Second Life project that launched last week– the NMC Campus Observer. Pieces are still being added, and other 2.0-ish things are pending, but to get my hands dirty, I created an enhanced podcast using the mp3 provided by our guest musician, Johnny99 Gumshoe, whose avatar performed “live” lasy week for us in Second Life, using the audio streaming features built into the sim– check out Johnny99 Gumshoe Rocks Out NMC Campus Opening.

Nmc-Johnny99-02

The enhanced podcast was bonehead easy using GarageBand– just plopped in the mp3 to a music track, and dropped images to the podcast track, and sent it to iTunes, which creates the m4a file. It might have taken 10 minutes total. The direct link is:

http://www.nmc.org/sl/audio/johnny99.m4a

We were not pleased with the use of TeamSpeak for running the audio for presentation and communication (having to hold a key to talk is awkward) and there was a lot of noise and artifacts (people leaving their mikes open, some dropouts).

Since Johnny’s music streamed in nicely as a live music stream, we have been looking at some tools that provide MP3 streaming directly from a PC- such as ShoutCast, icecast, and SimpleCast. But I was very excited when I found NiceCast for Mac OSX, where you can stream audio from any application (e.g. iTunes) or audio device (input/output/both). It essentially allows you to be your own internet radio station. It has a lovely interface, some of the best documentation I have seen (as opposed to an unformatted text file as most of the PC apps have), and some interesting capability to create a set of effects and filters via a graphical interface. I was able yesterday to easily stream music from my own iTunes to Phil Long over at MIT.

The downside is you cannot have too many streams going since each one takes a chunk of your bandwidth, so we will be researching some of the services that host the streams. NiceCast is slick as you can then use a third party server to do the actually streaming to listeners, and NiceCast provides the stream from a Mac to that server.

At least that is how I think it works. I just keep learning it, making it up as I go.

The post "Better Podcast Feeds with iPodCatter Plug-in" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2006/04/better-podcast-feeds-with-ipodcatter-plug-in/) on April 27, 2006.

4 Comments

  • Podpress ( http://www.mightyseek.com/podpress/ ) is also a very nice WP plugin for creating itunes feeds automagically.

  • A —

    I’ve been using this plugin for a while and all of a sudden it stopped working correctly and borked my feed. I had to go back in and make some adjustments. It wasn’t putting comments between my categories. So, I could either just use one category for something with a podcast ot find a work around. I ended up using its option of manually adding categories. That seemd to work. On the other side of this, why doesn’t WP just work for podcasting? It is starting to drive me crazy!

  • D'Arcy Norman darcynorman.net

    I use Podpress as well – sounds like a similar plugin, with the addition of in-browser players, and the ability to track play counts for each file…

  • You are right, Joe, I had used PodPress on another site. It’s hard to keep all of this stuff organized, so that’s why I love gettig checked by comments ;-)

    I’m new to it Cole, so thanks for the heads up. It was not clear what the category field was supposed to do in the editing screen.

    It would be nice to see something comparable to Taragana’s mp3 plugin for video content (though of course it is not tied into del.icio.us), maybe to put a little player icon and link out:
    http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/taraganas-delicious-mp3-player-wordpress-plugin/

    I like his statement, “Like most of my WordPress plugins this is a zero-configuration plugin. It is so simple even your GrandMother can use it. Just activate it and forget. It simply works.”

    I cannot speak for WordPress and their enclosure support– it may be a matter of time, or unclarity as to what folks might want as enclosures or not (like images, PDFs…)??