The Study

Technical Stuff

by Craig Robertson

This website is subject to ongoing development. Don't let anyone tell you podcasting is as easy as pushing a button!

From July 2008 I implemented RSS feeds for both groups of podcasts. Listeners can subscribe in iTunes, or if they don't have iTunes it may be possible to subscribe using a web browser; for example, in Firefox (and Internet Explorer), in the feed page, you can "Subscribe" using the "Live Bookmark" option. However Safari 6 no longer supports RSS - you need an add-on - and the use of RSS seems to be less of a standard tool than it has been in recent years.

I have organized the site so that each pair of podcasts - the full interview program and a separate set of In My Study notes - is presented on a separate page, except in the RSS feed pages where they are listed in two groups. Initially I found this was necessary as the home (index) page was far too slow to load with multiple podcasts embedded. Individual podcast pages are still inclined to be slow to load. I can only offer a few tips for listening to the podcasts, based on some limited user testing:

Direct listening or Streaming
Go to an individual podcast page. There is an audio player graphic shown in the interviewee biographical notes beneath the interviewee name link. If you can see it click on the play right arrow. You may need to install Quicktime to do this, or another media player that sees the audio slider. (Click on the link to Apple and find the version of Quicktime that is appropriate to your operating system, e.g. Windows XP or Vista, Mac OSX versions). This will stream the podcast on your computer without downloading the file. Click the same button to pause it if you need a break.

If you cannot see the audio graphic just click on the interviewee name link.

Web browsers will stream the podcast in a browser window provided they are configured with a plug-in that will play m4a files.

Alternatively, if you can access the RSS feed pages, click on one of the links to a podcast.

Other software can be used to play m4a files; for example, on PCs MS Windows Media Player and PC versions of iTunes and QuickTime.

If you do want to download a podcast for listening to later either on your computer or another device such as an iPod, there are various ways to do it:

Macintosh: Using the Safari web-browser: Option-click on a link to the podcast file. Ctrl-click will also enable downloads. You can go to a Safari Downloads listing to check progress.

PC: Ctrl-click a podcast link, save to disk

Dialup connection: If you are on dial-up do not despair, you can listen to these podcasts. It is probably ill-advised to try downloading the files, depending on how slow your connection is. Try using a streaming method.

Recording note: I confess I am not the greatest sound engineer; I am an amateur working with less than professional hardware and software. I am constantly looking for ways to improve. I can only apologise that some of the recording in my podcasts is less than perfect, especially the music, not the least caused by the constraints of the current podcasting technology obliging me to reduce everything to mono sound in order to produce podcast files of a reasonable size. All the Move albums used here are beautifully recorded and presented, are highly recommended by me, and I am very grateful to find music that I love that I can include on these programs.

Podcast file formats: In 2007 I changed these podcasts from mp3 files to m4a files as I am able to achieve a much better compression of the file size - about half the mp3 version. This is more friendly for download and upload given our broadband service. This remains an issue in 2013 where using 25 - 30 Mb mp3 files would still be asking a lot. I hope the sound quality remains at least adequate to the material. m4a also allows for addition of visual material but I'm leaving that out so far. This is a site devoted to listening, not watching; the ear not the eye. However m4a may present some people with problems to do with plugins. I am using mp3 format for the smaller "In My Study notes" podcasts, but I cannot get the same file compression.

Ackowledgements: My thanks go to Joe Debono - see On a Clear Day - and Barb Moriarty in the AUSOM Mac users group for help with podcasting. Also to Bruce Skewes at West Of Moorabbin and Cheryl Grant for help with web development issues.

Back to home page

Text © Copyright Craig Robertson, 2007-2013