Monday, September 27, 2010

Surviving in a world of zombies: using podcast clients

This is the third article in my series "Surviving in a world of zombies" - you can get part one here and part two here.  Today, I am going to touch upon yet another immensely useful computer based tool: a podcast client.

First, let me remind you what a podcast is.  A podcast is some kind of video or audio recording, often of a show, which is made available for download.  A podcast, also called a webcast, is sometimes streamed live at a specific moment in time, and subsequently made available for download.

The option most people use is to simply either sit in front of their computer when the show is aired, or they go to the website and watch a recorded show.  All of which is fine if you only watch a couple of shows each day.  But what if you want to check out 20 shows each day, and only download the ones which might be of interest to you?  And how are you going to keep track of new shows?  Some of them are weekly or daily shows, but some like Sibel Edmonds' "Boiling Frogs" do not have a regular schedule.

The solution to all that is a good podcast client.

I personally use and recommend gPodder, a free multi-system podcast client which runs on GUN/Linux, BSD, Nokia Maemo-based Internet Tablets, Mac OSX and even, yes, Windoze (is anybody reading my blog *still* using this?).  You can download it here.

gPodder is so easy to use and so intuitive that I am not going to explain anything about its use.  If you have read my previous two articles about how to survive in a word of zombies you know the principle: you look for a show you like, find the rss file or page which refers to "podcast" press control-L ("add new subscription via URL) and that's it.  Just click on "preferences" to tell gPodder how often to check for new shows (my choice is every 360 minutes) and gPodder will automatically keep track of any new shows for you.  When it finds something new, it will pop open a window for you and offer to either download the show, or mark is as "old" meaning "ignore henceforth".

Just like with an RSS reader, you can import and export an OPML file (basically, your subscription list).  Mine is so short, I will simply post it here:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<opml version="2.0">
            gPodder subscriptions
            Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:12:06 -0400
        <outline text="Interviews of foreign policy experts, writers and activists." title="Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Crossing The Line: Life in Occupied Palestine" title="Crossing The Line: Life in Occupied Palestine" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 850 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S." title="Democracy Now! Audio" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Rewiring the American Regime" title="Electric Politics Podcast" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Each Thursday we talk about Free Libre and Open Source Software with the people who are writing it. Part of the TWiT Netcast Network." title="FLOSS Weekly" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Free Speech Radio News daily half-hour newscast" title="FSRN - Free Speech Radio News - Newscast" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Chris Cook" title="Gorilla Radio" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="&quot;Guns &amp; Butter&quot; investigates the relationships among capitalism, militarism and politics. Maintaining a radical perspective in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, &quot;Guns &amp; Butter: The Economics of Politics&quot; reports on who wins and who loses when the economic resources of civil society are diverted toward global corporatization, war, and the furtherance of a national security state.Produced and hosted by Bonnie Faulkner.E-mail Bonnie at" title="Guns and Butter [KPFA 94.1 FM, Berkeley CA -]" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Grassroots Non-Corporate Coverage of News and Events in the Palestine-Israel conflict." title="IMEMC Audio" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Open source talk with a serious attitude" title="Linux Outlaws" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Radio Project Front Page Podcast Sun, 26 Sep 2010 23:01:05 PDT" title="Radio Project Front Page Podcast" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Open-publishing and aggregated audio content from across the global Indymedia network." title="" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="" title="Sibel Edmonds' Boiling Frogs" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Venezuela News, Views, and Analysis" title="Venezuela Analysis Audio Podcast" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>
        <outline text="Dedicated to exposing the official lie of September 11th, 2001" title="Visibility 9-11" type="rss" xmlUrl=""/>

This is a mix of various podcast I like to keep an eye on.  If you want, you can simply copy the file above, paste it into any text editor (Notepad for Windoze users) and save it under any name (Saker-podcastlist.opml is fine) and then import it into gPodder. I would like to single out a couple of subscriptions from this short list:

Bonnie Faulkner's "Guns and Butter":  This weekly show is simply the best show in the USA, bar none.  It is based in California, on the Pacifica radio network's KPFK radio station.  The best of the best, I think.

George Kenny's "Electric Politics":  George is a terrific guy and he invites very interesting guest, sometimes on non-political yet most interesting topics.  Always a joy to listen to him.

Radio Project Front Page Podcast.  This is basically a subscription to whatever shows up on this page:  A huge collection of non-corporate radio news.

Visibility 9/11: the longest-running podcast for 9-11 Truth.  This Australian show will keep you updated about news of the 9/11 Turth movement and plenty of good interviews.

gPodder can download both audio and video podcasts so, for example, you can download DemocracyNow! in either format, depending on whether you want to listen to it in your car or watch at home in front of your computer.

Lastly, the gPodder can synchronize the shows on your computer with whatever ogg or mp3 player you have.  My personal recommendation is to avoid iPods and all the other Mac toys and get something solid, more versatile and of better quality.   I use an excellent Cowon iAudio 7 and a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet (which is really a telephone size GNU/Linux computer).  I am also very happy with my Nokia 5230 "Nuron" cellphone which I also use as my music player (and GPS).

Bottom line: a good podcast client like gPodder makes it easy to fetch plenty of excellent shows off the Internet which you can then listen to when driving, shopping, or working.

There is really no excuse to continue to expose yourself to the garbage heaped on you by the corporate media.

The Saker