What the hell is a Podcast?

Podcasts are audio (and, increasingly, video) files that live on the Web, but can ride piggyback on something called an RSS feed. Think of RSS feeds as pipelines from the 'Net to your computer.

When you "subscribe" to a podcast, you're not spending any money. It simply means you're signing up to receive the regularly-updated (and free!) content that's stored on a podcast's RSS feed.

When you put a subscription link -- the address of a podcast's RSS feed -- into a specific "podcatcher" program designed to read such feeds, the program basically pings the RSS feed on a regular basis and asks it, "Hey! You got anything new for me?" If the RSS feed has been updated with new content (such as a new podcast episode), the feed replies, "Why yes! There's a new episode available! Please download it!"

The podcatcher dutifully downloads the new audio/video, and saves it on your PC. You, then, can listen to it on the computer, or put it on an MP3 player ... or burn it to a CD. The file is now yours, and you can play it anytime you want!

There are several fantastic podcatcher programs out there. Here's a handful. (Click the product name to visit its download website.)

If you want to more about podcasting, check out this webpage for more easy-to-understand explanations.

(thanks to the sexy and talented Chris Hutchins, from whose page I borrowed this wonderful explanation. Check out his Podcast Novel, "7th Son")


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