Good Update On Zune, Microsft Plans, & New Media Opportunities

Zune.small Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott have a great Windows Weekly interview with Rob Greenlee from Microsoft. 

They cover the latest in Microsoft Zune news, update folks on the state of podcasting, and outline a lot of opportunities in new media like download, streaming, live video, etc.

If you have a Windows PC you should take a moment and download the latest Zune client.  I have it running on all my PCs (XP, Vista, Win7beta) and I find it to be a great content player.

Don't Forget Print Content In The New Media World

This afternoon I was trying to find a potential project to do with my two boys this weekend, and ran into an article that I had bookmarked in MAKE:12 but forgot to blog about.

The article was by Kevin Kelly and it was entitled "Book Yourself: Innovative options enable you to publish your own text and pictures."  It is a great DIY how-to on publishing your own book either by doing batch printing or print on demand.

If you are interested in batch printing (~250+ copies) check out:

And if you are looking for a print on demand publishing model, then you should check out:

The article also mentioned the option of ebook publishing using the site They provide a service to sell downloadable items such as: ebooks, software, music, movies, digital art, manuals, articles, certificates, forms, files, etc.

The most interesting thing about the article was that Kevin did a little test where he wanted to make $1.50 a purchase no matter what medium or method.  He sold them on Amazon for $9 (using B&W batch printing), then on Lulu for $27 (color print on demand), and then as a $2 PDF version on  In the end he sold 10x the number via digital than print, but still made the same amount per transaction.  Neat!

Mobile Streaming Media Player Coming Soon - Slacker Digital Player

There is a new mobile device coming out that lets users listen to streaming media while not connected to a network.  The device is called the Slacker Digital Player and Walt Mossberg @ recently did a review.  There are also some recent pictures posted to Gizmodo.

I think the device would be ideal for distributing traditional podcast material using a 'station' format based on topics or music.  An indie music channel seems like a natural.  Maybe a technology talk & news channel would be another logical topic cluster.

Two Examples Of Using New Media To Your Strengths

The first example is Minyannville Publishing & Multimedia which provides small animated clips of business and other headline news to major sites like Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, AOL Money, and Fox Business News.  The main reason is their ability to offer fresh content that brings something new and different to these big sites so that their readership remains loyal. Independent content providers have a growing amount of leverage and opportunity to let their creative talents shine in front of many with those that focus on niches becoming hot commodities. More information for those that get the WSJ via an article entitled "Portals Think Small For The Latest News: Niche Sites Offer Access To Content As Gateways Battle Traffic Slippage."

The second, is from another newspaper article, this time from the Union-Tribune with an article entitled "Background-music provider puts shoppers in the mood."  What I liked about this article was that PlayNetwork leveraged the basics of what they know with audio as a purchasing tool into a bigger business that also enables their customers to tie into new media outlets like web video, podcasts, and other multimedia services.

New Media News Update -, Elgato, Amazon MP3, Gmail, Bias, Sound Ideas, Magazine

There seems to be a lot of stuff going on, so I thought I'd do a quick list of things I'm tracking:

  1. Treedia Labs has started a beta of
  2. Quick review at Gizmodo on the Elgato Turbo.264 Hardware H.264 Encoder.
  3. Amazon MP3 has DRM free music for purchase.
  4. Lifehacker on Gmail Mobile 1.5.
  5. Bias has released Peak Pro XT audio production suite which includes SoundSoap Pro and Master Perfection Suite.
  6. Sound Ideas has released a new version of their Podcasting Production Toolkit 2 with over 500 audio elements, music, and sound effects.
  7. The October 2007 edition of Blogger & Podcaster magazine is out.

I think #1 is important because if the domain becomes a popular user site then it will be a great site to promote material.

I am interested in #2 because it could save time in post production for any video podcasts.

#3 is cool because I hate DRM solutions for most of new media.

I think #4 should be tracked to see what effect the new version has on consumption of new media products as they move from the web to email.  What does your content look like from RSS reader to a forwarded email that ends up on Gmail mobile?  Could you make it better?

I added #5 because not everyone is happy with Audacity.  Here is an option that might fit your style better.

The pointer to #6 is because you might want some new sounds in your library.

And you should check out #7 because it is full of great information. - Lego Brick Films

It is probably a good sign that you are on to something when the Wall Street Journal has a front page article published on Oct. 6, 2007 examining short Lego animation "brick films" being created and posted to sites like YouTube.

The first one they highlighted was called "Cognizance" and it is a short 3 minute story of a hit man making a key decision as a song from Coldplay plays in the background.

If you check out the link above you'll find more Lego movies on YouTube.  I also found several Star Wars ones over at Blip.TV.

RSS Troubleshooting - Feedburner, TypePad, Libysn

Since Monday (6/11) I have been troubleshooting an issue with the Jersey Boys Podcast RSS feed.  After posting the latest podcast I notice that iTunes was not picking up the file for download.  I use TypePad to host the blog/website, Feedburner to host the public RSS feed, and Libysn for the MP3s.  This is really the first major issue I've had with any of these services.

After doing some troubleshooting on Feedburner per suggestion from their help desk, I ran into a situation where now all the iTune tags went missing from all the podcasts in the feed.  This was causing players from Podtrac and Odeo to have issues also.  So, effectively I had no iTunes or podcast enclosure tags in my RSS feed.

At first it looked like there might be an issue with Libysn not returning the audio/mpeg tag to Feedburner in a timely manner, but I moved some files off Libsyn to make sure that wasn't the issue.  Neither Feedburner nor Libsyn could identify an issue on their end, and they were responsive and as helpful as possible.

So, I then did some digging on Typepad troubleshooting site, and noticed that they recommended that the feed you give out to podcast listeners be the website/rss.xml instead of website/atom.xml.  So I went into Feedburner and changed the URL, and things went back to they way you'd expect it.  The RSS feed now had iTunes and podcast enclosure tags!

So the Jersey Boys Podcast is now completely back online ... but it was a complicated troubleshooting experience that required a high level of expertise and flexibility.