Podcast Solutions - Complete Guide to Podcasting
Posted: 27-Feb-2006

Mac Guild Grade

Publisher: Apress


Reviewer: Mark Pickett $24.99

Podcast Solutions - Complete Guide to Podcasting
By Michael W. Geoghegan and Dan Klass
Published by - friendsofed - an Apress Company
RRP: $24.99

What the Book is About
By now you must have heard something of Podcasting. What started out as "audioblogs" has become a means by which anyone can make their opinions and ideas available for the whole world to hear. Podcast Solutions will introduce you to podcasting, briefly describe how it all works, how to start listening to them, then take you through all the steps in creating your own podcast to share with the world.

Target Audience
The book tries to aim at all level of podcasters, from the beginner who may have just heard of it, to the veteran who is looking to take their podcasts to the next level.

The first chapters describe how podcasting started, how it works, and how to find and listen to podcasts. There is a great deal of information presented to the reader in later chapters though, and the beginning to novice podcaster can become overwhelmed once into the chapters on creating a podcast. The authors do acknowledge this somewhat and have broken down some sections, like equipment, by skill level and budget.

What to Expect
The first part of the book, including a foreword by ex-MTV VJ Adam Curry, introduce the reader to the history of podcasting, what it is and why it has captured the hearts of so many people. Then you learn how podcasting works, including what an RSS feed looks like. The authors do a good job of not intimidating the reader with too much code. Finally, you are shown how to locate and subscribe to podcasts. The book takes you though this using the included iPodderX software.

The next part of the book, and this is the bulk of it, deals with creating your own podcast. There are several chapters here covering everything from planning, recording and editing your podcast, to encoding and uploading it to a server. There is also a detailed chapter on recording equipment. This is where the read must watch out for information overload. The chapters are generally laid out where the further you read the more detailed the topic gets. For example, the chapter on editing begins with an introduction to digital audio editing. Then you learn how to use silence in recording to aid in editing. If you continue, you'll learn how to add music and sound effects under your recording. By the end of the chapter you are learning how to normalize your podcast for that professional sound. Finally for the advance podcaster looking to take their podcast commercial, there is a chapter detailing ways you can make money from your podcast.

There is an included CD that contains podcast related software as well as some sample podcasts. The included software is:
  • Adobe Audition 1.5 (demo, Windows)
  • Audacity 1.2.3 (freeware, Mac & Windows)
  • Audio Hijack Pro 2.1.5 (demo, Mac)
  • CastBlaster 0.17 (beta, Windows)
  • DSP-Quattro 2.1.1 (demo, Mac)
  • Feeder 1.1.2 (demo, Mac)
  • iPodderX 3.0 (freeware, Mac)
  • iPodder Lemon 2.1 (freeware, Windows (Mac version available from their website))
  • Ozone 3.0 (demo, Mac & Windows)
  • Peak 4.14 (demo, Mac)
  • Personal Audio Recorder 3.0 (demo, Treo, Palm, Sony Clie Palm Tops)
  • Propaganda 1.0 (demo, Windows)
  • Sound Forge 8 (demo, Windows)
  • Sound Forge Audio Studio (demo, Windows)

For those readers new to podcasts, there are easy instructions on how to find podcasts you may be interested in and subscribe to them. Once subscribed, your "podcatcher" program of choice can download the podcast automatically.

The chapters on creating podcasts provide enough direction for the beginner, but also enough detail that the advanced podcaster will find them useful too. There is a very informative chapter dealing with recording equipment, other than your Mac and it's built in microphone, for when you are ready to really get serious. It even includes a "recording studio" buyer's guide for podcasters with varying budgets.

The book also includes a CD with software that you can use for podcasting. There is software for locating and subscribing to podcasts, and recording and editing podcasts. The CD really helps you get started by giving you a taste of several tools you can use to create you podcast.

Mac Guild Grade
B+ (Great)

Final Words
Podcast Solutions is very helpful whether you want to learn what the podcasting craze is about and subscribe to a few podcasts, or want to create your own podcast. For those that have been podcasting for awhile and want to take that next step to improve the quality of your podcast or start profiting from it, this book will take you there. Just be careful not to read too far until you are ready, as it can be overwhelming. One improvement the book could benefit from is a better method for separating the novice material from the more advanced details. The bottom line is that this book really does tell you everything you want to know about podcasting, and more.