Archive for March 2006

Tostal Podcasts

March 29, 2006

This week's podcasting on An tImeall has a strong flavour of Tostal na GaeilgeImeall #105 went up on Monday, and features the music of Aran islands' singer Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola who gave a concert on Friday night.  Later in the week I'll have a competition to win a copy of Lasairfhiona's latest CD.

Imeall #106 features an interview with Na Gaeil Oga about their campaign for an Irish language interface on mobile phones, including predictive text.  If you wish to support the campaign, text the word gaeilge to 53033.


Thank You FeedDemon

March 29, 2006

It was all getting to be a bit much there lately. Hundreds of feeds. Browsing blogs in Bloglines. Downloading podcasts in Juice (but not getting to see anything else in those feeds). I want it all in one place: browsable, readable, aggregated, clippable, synchronised, online, offline, portable.

Many years ago I had a similar difficulties looking for well-designed tools to do a job.  On that occasion I found the answers in HomeSite (HTML editor)and TopStyle (CSS).  So I was delighted to discover last year that my search for the perfect feed-reader had led me to another cool tool developed by Nick Bradbury: FeedDemon.

Nick seems to have a knack for developing useful software products, which tend to get bought out later by other companies. Feeddemon is no exception. It's owned by the online aggregator Newsgator, and they and Nick have just released FeedDemon 2.0.

I'm not fully sold on Newsgator online.  In fact, several months of trying it had the efffect of turning me off online aggregators almost completely.  While I was using Newsgator, Bloglines improved it's usability but – while I still think there's a need for a good online aggregator – I'm not sure either of these tools has got it right yet.

I'm going to give Newsgator another chance, though.  FeedDemon 2.0 has just been released, and at first glance it looks as if it is better integrated with its online sister service Newsgator.  I'll let you know.

The main point I wanted to make however is this: I'm less conerned about syncing my online and offline feed reading since I put FeedDemon on the laptop.  If I'm online it simply updates all my feeds in a minute – and I can read them at my convenience later – whether I'm online or offline.

Better still – it handles feed enclosures sensibly.  I want to browse my podcast subscriptions like any other feed, but for most of them I want the enclosed podcasts downloaded automatically (that's the point – isn't it?).  Even so, there are some podcasts I want to decide to download based what I read in the shownotes.  FeedDemon 1.5 let's me choose which behaviour I want for which podcast.

Demo-ing RSS, aggregation and podcasting to people at Tostal na Gaeilge last weekend, FeedDemon was the ideal way to show how it all works.  Here's a feed: blog, news, whatever!  It doesn't matter.  Here's the original site in a web browser – and here's the syndicated version in FeedDemon.  Here's an aggregation of two feeds from two different sites on one page in FeedDemon.  OK – now see the paperclip icon in this feed item?  That's a Podcast!  Now see – it's already downloading!

This stuff is simple, really simple.  And people get it straight away when they see it implemented in simple straightforward tools.  I've just installed v2.0 – so I'll wait to see how I get on with that before I blog anymore about it.  But I just wanted to say, thanks Nick! 🙂

Liveblogging Tóstal na Gaeilge

March 24, 2006

24032006(009).jpgTóstal na Gaeilge is a bi-annual conference organised by the Irish language umbrella body Comhdháil Náisúnta na Gaeilge.  I’m here to talk about podcasting but I hope to take part in as many of the other sessions as I can.

This morning I gave a presentation to secondary school transition year students about social networking tools.  They told me about Bebo.  I talked about Flickr and tagging.  During the course of the presentation I set up a blog at  I’m liveblogging on that site, and I’m hoping to get others involved also, as well as encouraging use of the tostal06 tag.

I’m also podcasting on that site (feed), beginning with the audio from this morning’s presentation.

We’re in the Corrib Great Southern Hotel in Galway if you want to drop in!

Tóstal na Gaeilge

March 24, 2006

Táim ag triall ar Ghaillimh ar maidin inniu.  Heading to Galway for Tóstal na Gaeilge, the bi-annual Irish language conference.  This year’s theme is “An Chéad Ghlúin Eile” (“The Next Generation”).

I’m looking forward to hearing some great speakers and perhaps meeting some old friends.  Agus tá “gig” beag agam féin ar “imeall” an aonaigh!  Today I’ll give a talk on blogging, podcasting, tagging, social networking and general Web 2.0 goodness as part of a seminar for secondary school transition year students from the Galway region.  I’m hoping they can tell me all about Bebo!

I’m also trying to encourage a tagmob around the event, using the tag tostal06.

Má chasann tú orm ag an deireadh seachtaine, abair hello.  Beidh sé fuirist a dhóthain mé a aithint – tá seans maith ann go mbeidh mé sáite i dteicneolaíocht de shaghas éigin – mura mbeidh ann ach péire cluasáin!  Is díol trua mé, cinnte!

The Gaelic Podcaster’s Manifesto

March 20, 2006

Back in October I wrote a letter to the Irish language weekly paper Foinse. It never got to them, because their email was down for weeks, and so was my printer! I was too busy (and stubborn) to go out of my way to get it printed and mailed, and, although they eventually gave me an alternative email address over the phone, I never saw the letter in print.

I wasn’t bothered. You see, the letter was already published. I had blogged and podcast it as soon as I wrote it. In fact, if it had been published only in Foinse, could you still read it now?

In itself this story is an illustration of how the traditional model of media is being fundamentally disrupted. Anyone – reviewer, customer, competitor – can publish anything they like and have it receive equal or greater prominence in Google or Memeorandum than the “official” message. Editors and PR professionals no longer control the conversation.* The best they can hope for is to join in.

International public relations chief Richard Edelman says the old model is dead:

This morning’s announcement by Dow Jones that it will merge its online and print divisions is further evidence of the end of a media model which used geography, time and platform as means of generating discrete revenue streams.

The story surrounding my letter to the editor is relevant to this post, but even more so is the content of the letter itself. I had cause to review it again recently for the retrospective 100th podcast of An tImeall, and it struck me that it’s actually a manifesto.

My intention was to explain that podcasting isn’t just another distribution channel for the traditional media, but rather that it is a revolution for consumers as well as for producers of media – most fundamentally so in that it removes the absolute distinction between the two.

Nobody is seriously suggesting that this means the end of professional media. Most agree that it is a huge opportunity. In my letter I’ve argued that, while podcasting is a grassroots movement which has sprung from the community, there’s only so far and so fast it can go without the production and marketing skills of professional media, not to mention their investment in technology and infrastructure. I believe that there will always be space for the independent or amateur podcaster, and that this sector will flourish in the ecosystem provided by commercial investment. Already, independent podcasters benefit from the resource provided by Adam Curry‘s Podsafe Music Network. Yahoo and others are building podcasting businesses. The most successful of these will leverage professional media expertise with user-generated content and treat their audience as a resource instead of just a market.

Here’s an example of how a content producer can leverage the network. I plan to translate the “manifesto” to English and publish it here, but I don’t know when I’ll get the time. If you speak Irish, and if you feel it’s worth translating**, feel free to do so. Consider it licensed under “Creative Commons: Attribution”. You are entitled to make a derivative work (translation) and publish it on your own blog*** provided you give credit and a link to the original. Ideally I’d like if you give me a chance to look over the translation, but that’s not even required. Just let me know via trackback or email to If I think there’s something I’d like changed I can add a comment to your post, and you can update it if you choose.


* I’m grateful to Jon Ihle of The Irish Times for helping me to understand this distinction between the old and new models of media, when we spoke last week at the Irish Blog Awards. He said: “Blogging shifts the responsibility of deciding what you read, from an editor on to you, the reader.”

** Of course, if nobody feels it’s worth translating, then we have an excellent example of how the “network” makes “editorial decisions”! 🙂

*** If you don’t have a blog to publish it on, just mail it to me, and I’ll publish it here and credit you. Better still – start a blog now and make it your first post!


March 17, 2006

The special edition 100th Podcast on An tImeall is up.  Go here to download and listen (57 MB, 1 hour), here for shownotes, here to subscribe.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig daoibh.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Gmail Targets Advertising based on “Unsupported Language”

March 15, 2006

Google won’t let An tImeall join their Adsense program because it’s in an “unsupported language“.  However Gmail obviously has no problem figuring out that the person reading this mail might might be interested in Irish lessons, (or a Scottish lairdship!)

Gmail ads target Irish Language