The New Transistor Radio


An important step in the evolution of Internet "radio" is the emergence of podcasting. Doc Searls explains:

The key virtue of traditional radio is its immediacy: the fact that it's live. They key virtue of this new breed of radio is that it's Net-native. That is, it's archived in a way that can be listened to at the convenience of the listener, and (this is key) that it can be linked to by others, and enclosed in an RSS feed.

It's because of that last feature that Adam [Curry] could create iPodder, which automatically routes a podcast to an iPod (it's what Adam calls "an iPod filling station"). Note, as I said Sunday, that this does not need to be limited to iPods. iPodder is just one implementation that addresses the device that has become the modern equivalent of the transistor radio (the first truly personal portable radios, which not coincidentally made rock & roll happen in the 50s and 60s).

Engadget explains how to create and receive podcasts here. The Slashdot crowd weighs in here.

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  1. Winer: So many technologists, me included, love the music of the Dead. I think they may have left a legacy for technologists that’s as important as the legacy they left in music.

    True, so true. I note that the ‘enclosure’ tag is missing a few things. Perhaps they’re answered elsewhere in the RSS spec, but: keywords, codecs, number/quality/length of audio/video track(s), aspect ratio, b&w/color/other, live action/animation/puppets, performers/crew, summary, timeline, rating, scenes of brief fleeting nudity by body doubles, etc. etc. etc.

    I’m going to jump to the forefront of iPodcasting and hit the speaker circuit. I’ll start at BloggerCon.

  2. “Podcasting” – dumb name for downloading.

  3. Not just downloading. Downloading automatically to portable devices.

  4. I suppose if it’s automatic downloads of porn you could call it broadcasting.

  5. What I think is far more interesting is the possibility of a bluetooth-enabled iPod (or other mp3 player). The Register has discussed this once in a while- the idea is that any iPod could be a walking radio station for other bluetooth aware devices. You could sit on a subway and have access to any number of different streams.

    Found the article:

    4. Rendez-Pod

    We’ve saved the best until last. Let’s assume that Apple’s 2003 notebooks will come with Bluetooth built-in. (It’ll be criminal neglect if they don’t).

    Apple has a great technology in Rendezvous, and Steve Jobs personally demonstrated cross-playing (but not exchanging) MP3s between Macs earlier this year. Adding Bluetooth and Rendezvous to the iPod would require a software stack and drivers for this operating system , and that might fail the test we set ourselves in this exercise, of only spending incremental R&D on a project. But Ibex, as the only software company to have a stack that supports the RTXC DSP might fit the bill. Bluetooth chips are now below $5. And think what you’d have then.

    It would greatly annoy the RIAA, which would argue that it’s a portable Napster. But not all MP3s are illegal: fair use still exists, and this music sharing appliance could have fairly dramatic social effects.

    So what could you do with a Bluetooth-capable iPod?

    You could get promiscuous with strangers: you could pair and exchange a song on the same short bus ride.

    You could create short, ad hoc personal broadcasts, to anyone else with a Bluetooth iPod.

    You could have a “what am I listening to?” menu option and share your choice with anyone within discoverable range.

    Do it, Steve.

    What is it?An iPod with built-in Bluetooth and Rendezvous
    Pros: Revolutionary. Adds little to bill of materials.
    Cons: The Wrath of Hilary Rosen

  6. The real power of the wi-fi and wi-max revolution comes when you realize that it allows for n-way “transistor radios,” with an unlimited number of channels. Huge bandwidth, and one device, on which a radio broadcast, your home music archive,, or your wife are simply points on a peer to peer network.

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