Shoutouts: FireAnt & Odeo

This podcasting lark seems to offer so many permutations as the envelope is tested and edged forward.

I’d like to raise a couple of attributes of the present podcast culture that I think are exciting from the POV of my experience of them-- and I’m no geek as I’m still ruled by ignorance.


Everyone must have there own personal preferences when it comes to podcatcher programs. I like to have a lot of control over what I download, I want to review as much information as I can garner about what’s on offer from each Mp3 file and I want to clean up easily. So I went from Juice to iTunes and then downloaded and tried a few of the others on offer.

iTunes carried a lot of the attributes I was after but it was so cumbersome and temperamental especially with the weight of the invasive Music Store bearing down on the program --despite the easy control it offered me over my subscriptions.

But I’ve now discovered FireAnt

FireAnt is projected as a vlogging tool but it is so responsive that it captures all media -- such that you can relate to your feeds both as blogs and as an enclosure for other media -- audio and video.With FireAnt you can access the show notes, read intoductory summaries of all media on offer, play media or read text; click for optional preferences for downloading each feed...AND clean up/delete read/played media from the same desktop tool interface.

I can’t synch to my Mp3 player with FireAnt as the project is still in development even though the templates seem to be there. But then I have to use my iRiver progams for that now anyway.

Another quirk is that the downloaded feeds aren’t stored in separate folders so synching can get messy if you have a lot of media to sort through --and this media may be stored on your podcast folder with annoying file names like:


Although the ID3 tags aren’t affected by this when you read them in your players, or in FireAnt itself. However, your synch tools may read some files -- but not all -- like that. So it can be potluck sometimes as to what you are transferring.

But if you wanted to trial FireAnt -- it’s an easy business to import your iTunes feeds across and experiment.

Don’t worry too much about relating to FireAnt's directory of podcasts on the web as the site is cumbersome with an unreliable search engine geared primarily to video -- but the downloadable podcatcher is something else.

So drop the big iTunes gorilla for a spell and explore FireAnt.

The FAQs aren’t very helpful but there is a sparse Community Wiki and the Yahoo FireAnt discussion groups unfortunately seem only open to developers(but you can earsdrop).


I’ve written about the Odeo commentary option before. I also searched this forum for previous exchanges about Odeo without much success as the Yahoo search keeps timing out.

However, Odeo --which is now at two localities:
warrants a lot of attention.

Odeo has so many attributes that should enthrall podcasters -- free housing of files with one click upload being top of the list. I consider that Odeo is the very best way to begin in podcasting as the recording interface is so easy to relate to. On one site you get all you need to start podcasting for free. And you can record for up to 60 minutes at a time. All you need is a mic for your computer.

I’m sorry I myself did not start out the Odeo way -- 9 months back. My journey would have been a lot easier.

For those who already own and produce a podcast Odeo offers use of their great flash players which can be imbedded on any web site WITHOUT disrupting or influencing the site’s RSS/XML feed. You can pull any Mp3 file into any of your podcasts and by default be offered an alternative feed to the one you may already possess. (Buit of course other sites also offer that).

In fact you can do a lot with your audio on Odeo except edit it. I now produce four (and one half!) podcasts and I value the way Odeo lets me mix and match the different audio files I produce(both on my own desktop and with the Odeo Studio) and share the audio between my podcasting web sites without having to integrate the feeds.

Unfortunately the only way to relate to Odeo and get to understand its 'eccentricities' (or its 'lateral conceptualising')is to sign on and put it to work. Claiming feeds is a real hassle and I wouldn’t rely on your Odeo feed as your core RSS as it can take so long for it to update. But as a beginner’s exercise this is a great way to start.

As you know I employ the flash players on this site as its a great way to combine media and text.

However, after recording audio on Odeo it can be a pain to actually discover the page where your SAVED media is stored. This is not an easy site to navigate around -- or understand in way of DIY and FAQ -- as it’s so different in the way it does business. Someone needs to write the text -- “Odeo for Dummies” --as it's a hard learning curve in way of harnassing all the attributes.

While audio recorded on Odeo or uploaded directly as podcasts will be stored for free; when these files are downloaded (and only when they are downloaded as podcasts)to a Mp3 player, they will lead in with a short Odeo introductory promo. Thats’ no big issue really especially when your audio is a standard 128 kbps Stereo / 44kHz for free....

But if you establish your podcasting activities in partnership with Odeo -- and the “Send an audio comment “ via recordable audio is worth the sign up alone -- theres’ a lot of bells and whistles on hand that you can put to work.

I approach Odeo from Blogger (which is still my RSS feed generator and website host) and I gather that Odeo is a development in way of audioblogging. As I get to master the operations more, it does have that same sort of interface which lends itself to exploring and hacking in the way Blogger is so adapatable (and I guess I’ve set up 20 blogs on Blogger over the past three years for various reasons and campiagns). But I’m surprized that podcasting commentator’s aren’t talking about Odeo.

As I suggest, I would recommend that people also generate their feed separately -- as I do with Blogger and Feedburner-- but it is a mutually useful relationship you can get going by exploiting both platforms.

All we need now is to someone to write the compleat Odeo DIY manual in easy steps and the and the world would be a better place.

Read FireAnt's response to this review here: Talk about being responsive!It's taken from the podcasters' discussion list at Yahoo

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