Category Archives: software

Update your software versions for free

File HippoThis site could become one of my favorites. Everyone knows that software changes constantly. If everyone were like Firefox and checked for new versions every time it started, we wouldn’t need sites like File Hippo. When you open the site, you download a 100k applet that will scan your computer for the installed software. Then it provides a list of all of the available updates, plus a list of available Beta versions as well. You simply download the updates you want and you’re done. This site is a huge time saver.

Podcasting 101: Posting your Podcast

Now that you have recorded your podcast, it is time to post it so everyone can listen and/or download it.

There are several choices when you are posting your podcast. Do you want to host the file on your hosting provider or do you want to put the files somewhere else. I’ll start with putting them in the same place as your blog. You simply create a directory/folder on your FTP server (you should have a tool to do this already, I use FileZilla). Then you FTP the files to that folder. When you create your blog post about the podcast you will need a link to the file, in order for Feedburner to recognize the location of the media file. If you are using WordPress, there is a great plugin called Podpress. Once you have this installed, it adds an on line player and several other features that make it easy to add podcasts. I use this plugin and you can see what it looks like on these 2 posts.

You’ll notice a couple of features. One is that you can color code the player to match the colors of your web site. Two, it gives the user the choice of playing it online or downloading it and listen on their PC.

You can also have your podcasts hosted on another provider. The choice among podcasters for this is Libsyn. They have several packages available. The big benefit, is that they charge you for storage space and not the bandwidth when your podcasts are downloaded.

When you have everything loaded up, it’s time to tell the world. Similar to pinging search engines about a new blog post, you would do the same thing with your podcasts. Obviously the most popular podcast site is iTunes. In order to get your podcast on their directory you will need an iTunes account. For this you will need a credit card, even if you never plan on buying anything from their store. Once you have your account, you load up iTunes, go to the Store, select Podcasts from the upper left box, then submit a Podcast from the lower left box. From there you follow the prompts of where you feed is and what your podcast is about etc. When you submit a podcast the first time, it will take 24-48 hours to get a response back with your podcast account number. You can take that number and put it into the form on Podpress, or you can save the link for future reference. There are a few ways of adding a button to your site that allows people to subscribe to your podcast. The first way is to use that link that was sent to you and attach it to a button. There are, however, some watch-outs to be aware of when using this method. If you have a podcast that comes out more frequently than once a week, you will want to use the methods below to link to your iTunes button. Sometimes it can take days before iTunes will update your podcasts on their store. So I recommend you use one of the following methods to attach to the iTunes button on your site. (assuming your are using Feedburner). You can use either the itpc://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name] or pcast://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name].

There are several podcast specific directories you should use to list your podcasts.

  • Odeo.com – directory and podcast service
  • Yahoo – has a podcast search and tag-based index
  • Podcasting News’ Podcast Directory is the largest user-built directory of podcasts.
  • Podcast Alley, one of the most popular podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory.
  • Digital Podcast
  • iPodder.org is a large podcast directory.

  • PodcastPickle Â
  • PodcastDirectory.com
  • A Podcast Directory is available at Podcast.net.
  • iPodderX

There are several other methods to marketing your podcast. You can watch Chris Penn’s excellent presentation at Podcamp Toronto here.

Daylight Savings Time

Microsoft released a patch for Windows to update the dates for Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Windows for North America in 2007. Previously we “sprung forward” on the first Sunday in April and “fell back” on the last Sunday in October. Daylight Savings Time changes to March 11 and November 4 in 2007. The reason behind this extension is to reduce the amount of electricity used. This impacts everyone running Windows. Most of us have the automatic updates turned on. However, many don’t realize that the automatic updates are only for the critical security and bug patches. There are also optional software and Office upgrades on the Windows Update Site. You must go to the site and manually download the optional updates, as the daylight savings time patch is one of those updates.

UPDATE Links: Microsoft’s Preparing for DST changes in 2007.

Microsoft Windows Patches for DST changes.

 RIM Blackberry Patches for DST changes.

 DSTpatch.com with more DST patches.

Podcasting 100

 This is the first in a series of posts to explain how to start podcasting 101. This is the pre-post about the things you need to do before you start podcasting. I recently attended Podcamp Toronto. This was a fantastic event where 300 people got together to share their knowledge and experience about podcasting.

The key phrase is web presence. You could have the greatest podcast on earth, but if you don’t have a presence, then no one will be able to find it, or you for that matter. Julien Smith was one of the speakers at Podcamp Toronto. He gave a fantastic presentation on Giving Your Podcast A Google Presence. You can download the video (80 MB) here. Julien make some tremendous points about Google and podcasting. Basically, Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast. Google knows text…not audio. In order to help Google out, you need to start with a blog, or a web site. You should put the podcast notes on your site and/or get a transcript done. This will help Google when it searches you site.

Your Own Domain:

First, decide on a domain name. I could spend a post or two about how to choose a name, but Bill Sweetman gave a great presentation (40MB) about this at Podcamp. Once you have a name picked out and you have registered the domain; find yourself a good web hosting service. I reccommend this over any of the free services from Blogger, or WordPress. I have seen too many people who have lost their blogs because of some technical issue. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a Blogger blog, or WordPress blog. Both offer their software for free to put on any web hosting service you use. This blog uses WordPress software and my hosting service is 1 & 1. Neither of the steps are expensive. To register a domain costs about $10 a year and a basic web or blog hosting service can be as low as $5 a month.

RSS Feed:

Next you need to create a feed. RSS is a standard format (XML) text file that allows many other readers see your posts. Now most blogging software will create an RSS feed. However, Feedburner.com will allow you to publicize your feed and add several extra features at the click of a button. For podcasters, the most important feature to turn on is the SmartCast feature in the Optimize tab. This will automatically add the tags required to put your podcast on iTunes and add media tags when you post an mp3 file to your site.

Ping’s The Thing:

Once you have created somthing new for your site. You need to tell the world that it is there. The easiest way to do this is tell all the search engines, blog directories and podcast directories that you have created something new. Pingoat is a great service to do this. Once you have filled out your sites information you should add the site to your links group in your browser. Then all you have to do is click on the button in your browser and Pingoat will start telling all the services that you have new content.

Of course to help Google to search your site, you should have a site map. There is a WordPress addin that will create the site map and ping Google to come and search your site. You can download here.

Tags:

Tags are keywords that will help others to find your posts or podcasts. Technorati is the largest and most popular site for tag searching. You will need to “claim” you blog on their site. Once that is done, you can add some tags in the profile page to help others find your blog and podcasts. You should also tag your posts. You can see my Technorati tags below next to the green icon. Most blogging platforms support Technorati tags. For WordPress there is a plugin called Ultimate Tag Warrior. This adds an entry bar right under the posting page to add your tags. It also allows you to list related posts from your blog. This helps people to find your other posts on the same topic. Lorelle gives a great tutorial on using Tag Warrior in this post.

Community Sites:

Now the next thing is to get yourself published on some community sites. Such as mySpace, Flickr, Linkedin, Facebook, Friendster and StumbledUpon. Chris Penn from The Financial Aid Podcast gave 2 presentation on these tips and tricks. Podcast Marketing: Five tools and strategies to grow your audience TODAY (60MB) and notes. Plus, Podcast 401 – 5 steps to a bigger audience and slides.

Now you’re ready to start recording! In the next few posts I will discuss the various hardware and software required to start your first podcast. Plus, how to post it on iTunes and other services so the World can subscibe to you. As always, if you have any questions, just send me an email or leave a comment.

Bookmarks Sync

I posted about this previously, but I can’t say enough good things about 2Go’s Syncit product. This is an application that resides in your system toolbar. Every time you make a change to your favorites in your browser, it syncs with their server. Then on every computer have have their syncit tool loaded, you will have your favorites synchronized.

Now, I know there are several other products out there that do the same thing. There is Foxmarks and Bookmarks Synchronizer, which are both extensions for Firefox. There is also Googles browser sync and their toolbar favorites sync. But, if you use Firefox and home and your company has standarized on IE, then you would have to use 2 different utilities to synchronize.

2Go’s product works with all of these:

2go

IE, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and Opera.

The greatest thing about this software is that it just works. I have used it for years. The other feature it has it that it backs up your favorites and will keep deletions for 30 days in a separate folder. So when you wake up one day and find out that you accidentally erased your Favorites folder. You can go to the website and take the deletions out of the recycle bin and you’re ready to go. So if you have multiple computers, you can’t go wrong with this product.

Online Application for ToDo lists

In my ongoing quest for the Holy Grail of ToDo lists, I found a site that could just about be the right one. The site is called Stikkit. If you watch the demo you can see the amazing functionality of this software. For example. If you type lunch with Dave tomorrow at 12. It will add this appointment in your online calendar. If you say to copy Ted, Dave and Fran on the note, it will attach the note and email it to them. There are far too many features to list them all. They are on a fast track to add more features. Have a look at the screencasts for demonstrations.