Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Podfade, More Opera 9, Space Podcasts!

Podfade? Not me!

Our colleagues in podcasting, the Smelly Monkeys, are facing a problem that podcasters have if they don't release episodes in a regular fashion--the audience fades away. They address this issue amusingly in their Episode 50, which came out on Sept.1, quite a long while after the previous episode, July 30. (In case you don't remember who the Monkeys of Smell are, check out Teach with Tech Episode 9, and visit their site--http://smellymonkeys.blogspot.com/)

This brings up the issue of podfade--podcasts being abandoned, or seemingly being abandoned. Wired made a big deal of this in a recent article--(http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70171-0.html?tw=wn_index_1). Of course, this is to be expected to some extent--how many web pages were abandoned after the initial surge of excitement about the WWW? As a podcaster, you do have some control over the appearance of podfade--here's a good article on the subject: http://webfeedcentral.com/2006/02/20/avoiding-podfade/. Basically, the advice is what I call the "Peanuts Rule" or if you prefer something more modern, "The Calvin and Hobbes" Rule. The rule is basically to avoid time-sensitive references in your podcasts. The reason, one reason anyway, that the two comics I mention don't seem dated today, as they appear in the newspapers in reruns, is because of that. Charlie Brown never referenced the Vietnam War, and Calvin never pretended to be invading Iraq (the first time).

The most obvious rule though, is the "Nike Rule"--Just do it. Get off your butt and make another episode! This is especially challenging, I know, if you're a K-12 teacher or professor, as you have lots of other things to do. But if you want to keep whatever audience you have, and to make it grow, you have to make sure people know the podcast is a going concern, and worth investing time in, which means keeping to a schedule.

Which means sometimes it may be better to delay episodes, too. This Friday, i plan to record another episode with Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, about easy ways to integrate technology into the curriculum, and I know I'll be very excited to share it all with you immediately--but I will probably put off releasing it until near the end of the month, to keep the program on a roughly monthly schedule.

More Opera 9 News

"Letters, we get letters..." I love listener mail, especially when it includes useful technology tips! A "Teach with Tech" listener, Troy Hicks, writes:

"I just wanted to touch base with you about your Teach with Tech podcast. I have been listening for a few months and I appreciate how you discuss new technologies and contextualize them in K-12 and higher ed applications.

Just a quick comment on your Opera segment from last month. I have been an Opera user for a few years (yes, I paid for it a long time ago, before Opera 9, because I thought it was that good). Besides all the great tips that you gave (I didn’t even realize the one about the trashcan), you might also want to think about telling your faculty and students that there are some handy mouse features that you can use on a PC or Mac (if you have a 2 button mouse).

* Want more info about a word or phrase on a page that you are viewing? Highlight it, then right click and select one of the many search features.
* Want to email someone, but you aren’t using Opera as your email client? Right click on the email address, copy it, and paste it in your email client.
* Want to navigate web pages faster? Use Mouse gestures: http://www.opera.com/products/desktop/mouse/
* Got a URL that you have copied or a word that you want to copy from somewhere and search using Opera? Right click in the address box or search box and choose “paste and go” to effectively paste and hit enter at the same time.

There are more mouse tools that I am sure are out there that I don’t even know, but these — along with the tips you offered — make my browsing life much easier." Thanks, Troy! Check out his blog at http://hickstro.org/

I welcome more listener contributions! Or just emails of praise!

Space Podcast

A cool new resource, especially for elementary science, from the NASA site:
http://spaceplace.jpl.nasa.gov/en/educators/podcast/

Isn't that the bummer about Pluto, by the way?

Chris