I’ve been listening to Adam Curry’s [about] audio show, Source Code. I get the show as MP3s through an RSS feed with enclosures. There’s not a lot of enclosure feeds available, but they’re rapidly increasing.
I’ve been following the enclosures work closely. Now you can subscribe to RSS feeds to get news updates, but instead of just getting text, there’s an attachment. With the right RSS Aggregator, you can have it download automatically the attachment and save it to your hard drive. It’s an obvious evolutionary step in RSS subscription. I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get going.
Adam’s doing a lot to push the technology forward. The Radio Userland aggregator was one of the first (if not the first) to support enclosures. There was an article a few months ago about having bittorrent feeds as RSS enclosures and then BitTorrent would automatically fire up and download the payload from the torrent file. This will be the eventual progression.
Right now, Adam’s focused on the iPod. He started off creating some Apple scripts which automatically copy the incoming enclosures into his iPod. It’s a great idea. Overnight, let the RSS aggregator download the mp3 files which then fire up the applescript to sync the mp3 files into his iPod for listening on morning commutes, etc. From talking about this, he had an informal challenge to others to do the same and improve on the idea. There’s lots of idea copying and improving going on, which should be happening. There’s now an official site, iPodder.org. It’s very rudimentary at this point and is Java based on Windows. Give it some RSS enclosure URLs and it downloads all the attachments. I don’t think it automatically adds them into iTunes yet. I have to manually add them, but that’s not so bad. I’ve listened to about a week’s worth of his shows so far. I don’t have an ipod yet, but I’m working on it.
I’m looking to find mp3 versions of the Howard Stern show. They took it off the air in Toronto and I can’t listen anymore. I can’t pickup the Buffalo station that broadcasts it and I know there’s someone creating Stern mp3s each day. Once I can get those on a daily basis for my listening laughter I’ll be set.
I think the next step in the progression will be a slight improvement on the current work. Instead of attaching the MP3 enclosures directly to the RSS feed, it would be more economically and bandwidth cheaper to attach a .torrent file to the MP3. This would drastically drop the load on the server and bandwidth charges. Curry states he’s got about 100 people downloading his feed, so right now I don’t think there’s enough critical mass to feed the show with torrents. Once he reaches a certain number of users, he could probably then switch over.
Which makes me think even further down the road. What happens if the broadcasting industry starts towards that kind of a model. There will have to be dedicated torrent seeders on all the time if you want to ensure 24-7 availability. If nobody is seeding, then nobody else can download. Perhaps this will be a future industry. Torrent seeding hosting facilities.This may be something for hosting companies to branch into in the future.