Friday, May 12, 2006

Podcasting and the MacBook Pro

After looking at the theory of pods and pedagogy I went back to implementation. Apple Australia sent me the manual and software which should have been with the iPod they loaned me. This would have made things much easier. They also loaned me one of their new 17 inch MacBook Pro laptops with the new dual core Intel processor. This is pre-loaded with the iTunes audio subscription software and Garage Band audio editing software (which has been enhanced to do podcasts).

The MacBook is a very attractive looking desktop replacement machine. It is too large to be a practical carry-around computer. But it did fit in my briefcase (alongside my own laptop) there are smaller models in the range. While elegantly designed, the Apple is not without flaws: at one stage I couldn't stop a process running and had to press Control-Command-Power (the Apple equivalent of Windows CNTL-ALT-DEL).

But this is a minor quibble and the purpose of the exercise was podcasting. With the iTunes software preloaded, it is just a matter of entering the URL of a podcast feed. The available audio is then listed. You can manually select which to transfer to the iPod or have it done automatically.

One problem is that it is not obvious you can use iTunes with non-Apple audio. You have to know to look under the "advanced" pull down menu of iTunes to enter a URL. This all works fine when you know how, but Apple seem to be encouraging you to stay within the contents of their own iTunes store and not go looking for outside content.

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