A Cast By Any Other Name...

According to Wired News's Listening Post blog, Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to Podcast Ready claiming that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" infringe on Apple's trademarks, and that they cause confusion among consumers. If Apple is claiming that the term "Podcast Ready" infringes their iPod trademark, then they're claiming ownership of the word podcast. Needless to say this could precipitate a crisis in the *cast community. Truth is, I've never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion. In the past couple of days two people have told me that they can't listen to my shows because they "don't own an iPod." I have to explain constantly that podcasts can be listened to on computers, phones, MP3 players, and CDs, as well as iPods, but because of the name the confusion persists. And now Apple is threatening people who use the word.

Welcome Dell and Visa!

Now you really can think of as a podcast network. We welcome our first network-wide advertisers, Visa and Dell, this week. You'll hear Visa ads in all the podcasts for the month of September. Dell's commercials will begin running in this WEEK in TECH, Security Now, and Inside the Net. Both ad campaigns are tests. It's taking a little while for advertisers to get comfortable with podcasts, and, frankly, I want to make sure you all are comfortable with the advertising. Please give me your feedback about the commercials in the comments here or on the respective shows. Perhaps you're wondering why we're taking advertising. As you may know, I had hoped to build TWiT on donations alone, but as generous as you've been that's just not possible. Your donations pay for our expenses, like hosting, bandwidth, rental, and equipment, but aren't sufficient to pay the podcasters themselves. All the work put into building these shows over the past year has been volunteer. None of us can keep doing that much longer. Advertising will let us pay the podcasters, and help grow into a better network of shows.

MacBreak Weekly Launches

The first of three new podcasts scheduled to launch this month on has arrived. MacBreak Weekly is an audio-only roundtable of well-known Mac journalists covering the week's biggest Apple stories. We hope to offer it weekly. Our pilot episode features David Pogue, Amber MacArthur, Chris Breen, Alex Lindsay and yours truly. You can subscribe to it on iTunes or add to your RSS or Podcast client. The show is in AAC format only. We hope to offer enhanced AAC as soon as we can staff up.

June Numbers once again set record numbers across the board last month. Here are the June numbers for the most listened to episode in the month - downloads continue for several months but these reflect four weeks of downloading.

ShowDownloads per episode
Security Now103,034
Inside The Net59,074
FLOSS Weekly50,796
Futures In Biotech28,302
Daily Giz Wiz19,383 (or 100,000/week)

Welcome to the new site!

After many months of hard work by Arktyp and Lullabot (and Shooby who fixed all the entries by hand) the new look is up and running. Check out the video on the making of the design at Arktyp. And the incredibly talented Ted Serbinski has written about the Drupal side of the design on his blog. We're running on the fast, powerful, and flexible open source Drupal content management system. I chose Drupal to run the original TWiT site and I've always been happy with it. Considering the amount of traffic we've experienced in the first couple of days since our re-launch, I'm convinced Drupal was the perfect choice going forward. This site is running on the new Drupal 4.7. It's a significant update. Our design takes advantage of many new features in 4.7 like the CCK and the Views modules (although most of it is just stock Drupal). Thanks to Drupal the site will be able to grow as TWiT grows. In the next month or so I'll turn on the Drupal forums module and we'll be able to move our online discussion forums back onto the site. I've decided to keep Lullabot on to add additional features. We have lots of exciting plans. This new design is all about improving functionality for our listeners. The old design was essentially a vertical blog with old shows scrolling down and off as new shows were published. Jeff MacArthur at Arktyp was tasked with finding a way to make sense out of the disparate TWiT shows. His Information Architecture design is the core of the new site. He gave each show its own page and episode guide, so it's easier to find the shows you want. The simplified front page is designed to help new visitors understand what they're seeing. And thanks to Amber MacArthur for her brilliant suggestion of the Huh? button. I'm convinced that every site should have one of these for people who just can't figure out what's going on. Every audio program now has a built-in Flash player -- thanks to Mike Hogue and Ted Serbinski for getting that working at the last minute -- so you can listen to any show right away (we're planning to upgrade it soon with a player incorporating Innertoob functionality so you can annotate the podcast as you listen). We're also working with Podzinger to build in audio search, so you can find anything in any of our podcasts and jump right to that clip. I've commissioned all new album art based on the great character illustrations by Nitrozac and Snaggy of The Joy of Tech web comic. Graphic designer Lori LeBeau-Walsh is working on those and they should sppear soon. The new art will help unify the site graphically. And, of course, we've kept Dorothy Yamamoto's inspired little TWiT in a variety of guises including the nifty flash animation in the upper left corner by Arktyp's Tony Schibono. My news and blog postings will appear here, on the bottom half of the front page. New shows will appear first up top, then as other shows nudge them aside they'll scroll down the right column. The right column will always list the latest episode of all the shows. To see a listing of all episodes of any particular show, click the show's name to the left. I hope you like the new design and I welcome your feedback and suggestions in the comments below. And I'd like to extend a special thanks to the TWiT donors whose financial support make this network and the site redesign possible. We've come an awfully long way on your generosity - you deserve the real credit.

First Horse(s) Across The Finish Line

We have our first entry in the "Fix the TWiT" contest. Thetzel has done a great job with mixing. I think it's much more listenable. The profanaties are still in it - so listener beware - but I think you'll agree that the improved mix helps quite a bit. Another entry is in from Richard Smith - I think he did a great job of cleaning up the "talking over" without eliminating any voices. The profanity is gone, too. This is much more listenable than my feeble attempt. For those of you who hated the original, try this - I think you'll agree my lousy mix was a big part of the problem. The contest is still on. I'll have listeners vote for their favorite mix after Sunday's deadline. Thanks for your help!

TWiT 57: DiVX Video

TWiT 57 Video - 640x480 DiVX (804MB)

We'll post a DiVX version of the next show as well, thanks to the generous folks at DiVX. (We'll make the next one smaller but I just had to try the high quality for this one!)

Fixin' the TWiT

A number of people (ok like hundreds of people) have complained about the audio quality of TWiT 57. I worked on it a long time, but I'm the first to say I'm no audio engineer. So I thought we'd have a little contest. Here are the raw, unedited tracks from the show. If you've got mad audio skillz please do what you can with them. I'll post the best and most interesting attempt(s) with credit to the creator. Hey, maybe I'll even hire you to edit all the TWiTs.

One groundrule: you can edit out the profanity (in fact, please do) and clean it up for clarity, but don't change the content sunstantially. In other words, no editing out a participant because you don't like him!

Here are the audio tracks (each file is about 33MB - I compressed them to MP3s to make the download managable. If you're too much of a pro to work with MP3s let me know, I'll figure out a way to get you the uncompressed WAVs):

I'll give you until next Sunday to come up with something. Email me the result (64kbps MP3 please) via YouSendIt.


TWiT 57 Delay

TWiT 57 was a pip, featuring Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Amber MacArthur, Rocketboom's Andrew Baron, Ask A Ninja's Kent Nichols, Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc, Microsoft's Robert Scoble, and a special appearance by the father of RSS and podcasting, Dave Winer.

But with all those voices it's taking me longer than usual to make a good clean show. Give me an extra 24 hours for editing. We should have both audio and video available late Monday.

Thanks for your patience - I promise it will be worth the wait.

Call for Help For Sale

I'm very pleased to announce that starting tomorrow, June 7, 2006, Call for Help fans in the US can download the show from Google Video.

Each show will cost 99¢ and eventually all 300 shows produced in Canada over the past two years will be available online. We expect to post new shows at the same time as they are aired. We will offer AVI, MP4, and PSP-compatible versions for download, free of advertisements and copy protection.

I'm thrilled that Rogers has decided to do this. I hope you'll enjoy the show!