Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

Video podcasting has changed the way I get information

Video podcasting has changed the way I get information

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I'm hooked on video podcasting. I must admit that when I heard of audio podcasting for the first time it seemed cool, but it's not something which caused me to change my lifestyle. But last week at TechEd when the Podcast crew was running around filming various TechEd happenings I decided to give it a try. I was even more motivated when they started filming me for videos; now I was my own test subject. <g> (see my last blog entry for links to my videos - scroll to the bottom)

Based on some recommendations, I installed iPodder and added the TechEd Podcast RSS feed. (If you want to do this yourself, see the instructions here). iPodder is a good aggregator and will go out and fetch all of these videos and download them for you in the background. You can then launch the videos straight from iPodder, or use the WMP playlist that gets auto-generated for you. iPodder still leaves a bit to be desired, though, and I hope it will be updated soon (or if I ever find spare time I'll end up writing my own aggregator customized for my workstyle). Here is my iPodder wish list:

  • Allow me to sort by clicking on the grid column headers. I'll go so far as to say that this is "expected behavior" nowadays since so many applications support it. It would be nice to sort based on video release date, size (to figure out which videos you want to clean out quickly), and other columns.
  • Either integrate more tightly with Windows Media Player, or bring media playing capabilities right into iPodder. Here's why: If you start subscribing to video podcasts you'll quickly find the need to clean up videos when you're done watching them unless you have some insanely huge hard drive (the Channel9.msdn.com feed I'm subscribed to has TONS of great content and quickly filled up with about 3.5GB of videos!). Currently the cleanup is a two-step process; you watch a video in Windows Media Player, then you go to iPodder's "Cleanup" tab and select the videos you want to delete. This is "ok", but it would be nicer to have a UI within Windows Media Player that allowed me to delete videos as I watched them, keep track of which videos I've watched and which ones I haven't, etc.
  • Integrate with Windows Media Encoder to allow me to automatically convert videos I receive into a lower fidelity to save disk space. It would be even better if I could specify this on a stream-by-stream basis; in the future I can imagine having a sports reel podcast feed which should be in hi-fidelity, but for my technical interview feeds I can live with a lower quality most of the time.

I have some other new features I'd love to see but those are the big ones for now. Now I've got to get back to watching my 3.5GB of Channel9 videos... :-)