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January 19, 2005



I liked your bit on Memory Lane at IT Conversations. I was especially engaged by Halley's questions about the potential of different technologies for political disruption.

In reaction to your impression of wikis having deeper impact than podcasting- I am actively looking for new choices in audio to put in my mp3 player, while on the other hand, I'm not looking for wikis to use.

Listening to podcasts has quickly focused my attention on the ideas promoted by the more polished and entertaining presenters in a much more dramatic and exciting way than reading blogs and stumbling across wikipedia entries in search results. This may be because, while I enjoy reading blogs on the topics I'm interested in, I have more time to listen to audio than read. And, until podcasting, I haven't had as rich a choice about what I listen to compared to what I could read online.

I definitely take issue with the idea that podcasts are analagous to TiVo for radio. This analogy misses the big development of a massive injection of variety and choice while focusing on the smaller development of random access- the access to greater choices, in addition to random access, provided by the podcasting development for audio media, is far better than the step from streaming to random access for TV provided by TiVo!

Now, not only can I listen to any recently past show from any radio station at any time, but suddenly there are a seemingly infinite number of stations. What's more, I can find reviews (from another seemingly infinite number of sources) recommending interesting stories and often I can read a quick overview of the topics before I start listening.

Now, if I want to, I can choose to listen to a hacker talk about geeky IT stuff, a wonk talk about politics, your gang talk about both, someone's music show or whatever anyone on the net comes up with (wow), in addition to my old music mp3s and low-bitrate audiobooks from About the only thing missing for me now is some personal friends who I could tune in.

Maybe that TiVo soundbyte would fit better if TiVo owners could publish their videoblogs using their TiVo units, and if there was a wealth of other non-DRM inconvenienced media available on demand, including the content broadcast by nearly every TV station on the planet.

Anyways, I'm glossing over the technical work and research required to take advantage and efficiently enjoy of audioblogs, and clearly not every broadcast radio show is available or archived in a friendly way. Regardless, I'm refreshed by the variety of freely available content and the convenience and control over access and playback. I think that this kind of media will quickly have a more disruptive impact on the internet-enabled population as technologies become availabe to supplant streaming audio with random access audio, and techniques are developed to organize and access freely available and amateur content.

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