Some thoughts on all this podcasting stuff. Excuse the small amount of MS Win-centricity.

- Podcasting really needs a resident, local aggregator that runs all the time in the tray or as a service so that enclosures are collected in background as well as feeds.

- An aggregator with Podcasting really ought to support BitTorrent.

- If an aggregator with Podcasting has a BitTorrent client built in, it might as well be a full BT client handling any .torrent requests from the OS, not just enclosures.

- If it's running all the time, then it will act as a BT seed all the time as well.

So which Aggregators have followed that path and done all of it? This could really help BT with implementations. I think it may be feasible to also build this as a Firefox extension where BT is running whenever the browser is open.

Now looking at a sample of podcasting feeds, very few of them are using BitTorrent. I think there are two reasons for this.

1) Everyone can read MP3, not everyone can collect BT. This means that we need a way of recommending BT but offering MP3 as an alternative in the same feed with some marker to say that the end file is the same. I'm not sure how you would code this in RSS/Atom.

2) Creating a .torrent and getting it on a BT tracker is still too hard. I imagine a tracker service with a REST/XMLRPC/SOAP API where you told it the location of a file on the public net and it created the .torrent, created the tracker entry and then returned the details for inclusion in your feed. This might also be a service that something like Feedburner could meld into your RSS feed. There'd be an HTML UI for this as well. I haven't found anything like this. If you know of one, please say. Once the service exists with the API, this could be built into blogging systems so that it happens automatically when you post a blog entry with an enclosure.

- The other alternative is that a local BT publishing tool packaged the whole .torrent creation and registration process with one of the existing public trackers.

The goal in all this is to make BT ubiquitous but also to have it fade into the background where the end user doesn't need to know any more about it than they know about http.

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[ 10-Oct-04 10:54am ]