I am officially hooked on Podcasting!

I drove down to work this morning and listened to Adam Curry on my new MuVo and was quite entertained for most of the ride down (he's actually a great morning DJ) and then coming back I listened to most of Jerry Fiddler's talk over at IT Conversations. WOW! What a difference it made to my hour long commute! I almost didn't want to get out of the car tonight. No searching for a station, no frustration in the topics that NPR is talking about tonight and though I love her dearly, no Terri Gross. Awesome!

Now both of these audio clips are definitely something that if I was in my house I would've listened to about 10 minutes of before I found something else to do just because that's how things are. But in the car, I had these and other 'casts queued up and ready to go and was completely absorbed. The difference is astounding *and* it makes you realize that the quality of the alternative audio content is as good or better than radio content. I don't think we've realized just because we're so used to the crap radio spews out on us daily!

There is a real *business* there somewhere. It's probably the same one that Sirius and XM Radio are in now, but they're not going to know what hit them when this stuff hits main stream. I mean, wow... real interesting compelling content on my daily drive. I can't wait to drive to work tomorrow! :-) Seriously, I've been listening to the PodCasts and checking out some of the latest podcasts for a few months now, but today was the first time I tried it while driving and it's *definitely* the killer app for commuters.

The "sync and go" part of the process needs to go though. If this can happen over wireless networks that will be the missing ingredient. I'm already mocking up the app of how this would work in my head. First, a server-side application grabs the latest podcast feeds (like an audio-bloglines) and converts them into a *much* smaller format for Over The Air downloading. If it's just voice, I don't need 128kbps encoding. This could then be streamed to phones which have a Real Player, or better yet, a companion app on the handset (written in Python for Series 60 for example) would download the reduced-size file for playback. If it was done correctly, the audio file could start playing as soon as possible while the rest is cached, sort of how those online movie sites work with movies. Click and within 30 seconds you're listening to your podcast while the rest comes down in the background. I *like* the idea of caching because the end user only has to deal with latency one time.

Lots of ideas hatching now. I got it before, but I *feel* it now. It makes a big difference. My gut tells me that before this curve is over VoIP is going to play a role as well. On-Demand Audio is the killer app for commuters.


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