Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Podcasting and Broadcatching

Now that I have finally got round to plugging my Qosmio into the television and hi-fi at home I am starting to run Microsoft Media Center from the so called "ten foot interface", lounging in an armchair and waving a remote rather than pecking at a keyboard.

This has meant - inevitably I think - that I have started to collect content via podcasts. As I am already a Newsgator user, I have gravitated to FeedStation as my podcast client (note that I still gather content via the mouse and keyboard driven "two foot interface" and haven't even looked at Newsgator Media Center Edition yet).

I noticed today that Newsgator/FeedDemon gives me the opportunity to publish an RSS feed of my podcast downloads here. There is only one item in it as I write as I emptied out the folder before I realised exactly what it was, but anyone who subscribes to it will be able to follow along with my peregrinations in this new publishing paradigm.

I've also been fooling around with BitTorrent (mostly to get shows from Rev3).

BitTorrent explain themselves as follows:

The BitTorrent peer-to-peer file transfer protocol was created and introduced in 2001 by BitTorrent Inc. co-founder Bram Cohen. Bram began his mission to solve a problem experienced by the online community since the birth of the Internet. While it wasn't clear it could be done, Bram wanted to enable effective swarming distribution - - transferring massive files from server to client with the efficiency of peer-to-peer - - reliably, quickly and efficiently. By 2003, BitTorrent had sparked a global revolution in file distribution on the web. Today, we are providing millions of users worldwide with a valuable platform to publish, search and download popular digital content.
It has long been clear to anyone with half a brain that the BitTorrent protocol's elegant exploitation of network effects to provide scalability was showing the way forward for digital distribution, but it wasn't until I was actually using it in anger that I realised exactly how much of a marriage made in heaven the union of RSS enclosures and BitTorrent was.

It seems that as long ago as December 2003, Steve Gillmor coined the term podcatching for the combination - though it looks as if it might have been Scott Raymond who realised that using RSS to deliver BitTorrent rather than vice versa was the bullseye. I'm starting to think along the lines of RSS being above BitTorrent in a protocol stack, though I am aware - smartalecks of the world - that RSS is delivered over HTTP.

So what I need now is a Podcast client with a built in BitTorrent client. I've opened up port 6881 on my ADSL router at home but managing multiple ports by manually configuring it on behalf of BitTorrent would be a pain in the neck so my client also needs to implement UPnP.

Where can it be? I'm amazed that there isn't one that has taken the world by storm.

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