Sunday, 25 November 2007

Podcast Made Easy

Blog: Podcasts

As part of the rapid move towards listening to radio broadcasts when you want to instead of the old-fashioned way, the Thunder download includes some software called Podcatcher. You will find it in All Programs under Accessibles; but you can always have it put into your Start Menu for convenience.

When you run Podcatcher, you will find some podcast options already there but the chances are they are not what you really want. So here is how to grab at a podcast and make it available. Sorry to be UK-boring, but that’s where I live and you can always adapt the instructions to your own situation.

So if we want to hear the weekly podcast of the BBC program for blind listeners we open up WebbIE, press Control + W and type in “bbc in touch podcast” without the quotes. Press Enter and Cursor Down until you hear those words. Press Enter again and, at the time of writing, you will be taken to Press Control + F and type in “feed url” Without the quotes. Press Enter.

Highlight the URL which in this case is, copy it with Control + C and then open up Podcatcher in readiness to paste it in the appropriate place and add it to the podcast list. There are more than one hundred BBC podcasts as well as the In Touch one.

With Podcatcher on the screen, press the Alt Key and Right Cursor once to hear the menu item Podcasts and Cursor Down to Add Podcatcher and press Enter.

You will be asked to enter the name of the podcast, which you could call BBC In Touch, in this case. Press Enter. You will then be asked to enter the web address or URL so press control + V to paste it in and press Enter.

Be patient while the connections are made and next time you go into Podcatcher you will have your new podcast waiting for you and it will be updated each week.

When you further explore Podcatcher, you will find the menu option to remove those podcasts you don’t like. Using the Control + W routine you can type in podcast and almost any subject and you will get to what you might want. I even typed in podcast talking microwave and got several audio descriptions. The days are long gone when we are restricted to formal broadcasts. Each of us can spread our word and our ideas. Its great.

Of course, as well as listening to such podcasts on your computer or laptop, you can download them and listen at your leisure in the garden or on the train via some kind of iPod. Podcatcher is free with free Thunder and so I want to tell you about a low cost tiny device called Zen Stone. I went into the local computer chain store and asked for an iPod with no screen. I was offered the Zen Stone, just 1 GB, for the princely sum of £27.50 pence. I got it home, plugged it into the USB computer port and left it to charge for the suggested four hours.

Within My Computer, Thunder found it and I was able to download my chosen podcasts, carry the Zen Stone and headphones in my jacket pocket and listen on the train. The Zen Stone is made by Creative Labs and it feels just like a large bean with tiny switches. Its totally accessible, being made for joggers who don’t want to look at a screen. The instructions are brief and scanned perfectly for me to listen to but, honestly, there is little to learn. There seem to be lots of iPods out there and the challenge is to find the one that you can use and afford.

Well, enjoy podcasting the easy way. It just takes a little time and trouble to get into the routine.

No comments: