A lot of people already use Audacity for sound recording and/or for editing of podcasts. So any new release, especially one with some new features for podcasters is likely to be a big deal. The new version is still considered to be very early and too crash happy to be really used, it’s intended more as a technology preview of new features including:
- Various changes to make editing easier and the UI friendlier
- FTP upload of files directly from within Audacity
Sadly though, there’s still no way to set the genre to “podcast” in the ID3v2 data from within Audacity when you are exporting your MP3 files. Thus most podcasters will still end up using iTunes or some other program to set the type, etc. and that invalidates the idea of doing FTP directly from Audacity. It’s just not a one stop shop.
So that brings us to podcasting tools like EasyPodcast. You pick the MP3 file, it applies tags to the MP3 as well as a logo, it creates the RSS, it uploads both the RSS and the MP3 file.
Personally, I think this is a great idea, sort of. I don’t need the RSS generation, that’s being handled for me by Blogger and FeedBurner but I can see a whole host of little utilites that could all be hooked together for you to progress through to prevent errors and streamline the process. Right now I record with Audacity, then edit (also with Audacity), use iTunes to apply ID3v2 tags to the resulting MP3 file, gather the times of various events in my show, create a Blogger entry to go with the show, upload my show via FTP, and finally post my new Blogger entry to my weblog and the show is done. In the background FeedBurner notices the new weblog entry and updates the RSS feed it is providing to anyone interested in the show. Seven steps plus an automated one. I’ll bet others have even more.
Software to take you through all of that could be cool. Especially if you have multiple people having to upload things or several people working on the same show. But do I want a special tool for podcasters that includes a dozen different podcasting steps and I select and order only the ones I want (not just the three that the EasyPodcast guy thought I needed) or would I be better off with a tool that was all about creating the workflow?
But then that thought leads to the Automator software that ships with Mac OS X. Because, I mean, it’s all about the workflow. They just realize that a simple linear workflow is not that complicated a thing and with steps that can be written by anybody we can have simple ones (rename this MP3 file) to highly sophisticated ones (scan the file for dead air and isolated “um” and “uh” noises and strip them from the file). Then I can mix those into any workflow I can come up with. Perhaps even one that includes show prep or post show activities. Why doesn’t a simple workflow tool like that exist, doing one in Java that would work on any major OS would be fairly trivial and tools like the Java Plugin Framework should make it pretty easy? Good question.