What is a podcast and how can I get one?

As OliA has finally got round to podcasts (see Gobbets), I thought it might be a good idea to post on the subject. So, this first one introduces podcasting and shows how to subscribe to them.

What is a podcast?

The word “podcast” is a portmanteau combining the words “broadcast” and “iPod”. It describes a very simple concept: an audio or video file available on the Internet for you to listen to and/or watch. However, the real power of podcasting is twofold:

  1. You don't have to go out looking for them - can subscribe to any podcast's RSS feed (see here) and it will be delivered to you whenever it is updated.
  2. You can listen/watch when it suits you and not according to some radio/TV schedule (I listen to mine mostly on the train to work).

How can I get one?

All you need is a podcatcher and, as there are several of these software applications available, Juice is one I like very much and which you might want to download (there's plenty of help under support on the same site, including a downloadable PDF user guide, a support forum and a wiki). Additionally, here's a video showing How to subscribe to a podcast using Juice receiver. You can then just move the podcast file to your MP3 player or simply watch/listen on your computer.

For more on podcasting, there's a video here that explains all (from those likeable folk at Common Craft).