Free audiobooks via podcasts

by Michael Alderete on 4/16/2008 · 1 comment

The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a story about fledgling authors who get their start by publishing their books online, via podcast:

Take my book. It’s free. Giving away books as podcasts is new way to promote sales.

The basic idea is, the author reads their novel a chunk at a time, recording it, and publishing the recordings on a regular, sequential basis. A chapter a week is a common pattern. Interested listeners can download the recordings and listen to them on their computer, iPod, whatever. For free.

The best news is that iTunes can make receiving the periodic recordings totally automatic. Once you subscribe to the author’s podcast, the chapters will be downloaded automatically as published, and can even be automatically transferred to your iPod. Very slick.

The article has more details about the hows and whys, including references to the podcasts for several authors who got started podcasting, but are now professionally published, so it’s not just “hey, look at this cool technology” informative, it’s also got direct links to new authors and books for you to check out.

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Subscribing to Audible.com Podcasts in iTunes

by Michael Alderete on 7/12/2005

Phillip Torrone’s Audible does Podcasts – the complete guide is a nice write-up of a new feature at Audible.com that supports the automatic download of periodic audible content, such as NPR’s Fresh Air (probably the best talk radio show on today).

Audible.com’s features provide support for receiving paid content using the same process for subscribing to the free podcasts which have recently become very popular. Although his article uses the very nice iPodder application to demonstrate the features, there’s no reason why you can’t use the built-in podcasting features of iTunes 4.9, and skip the extra application.

Here are instructions and a couple of screenshots, which you can splice into Phillip’s article where he’s working with iPodder.

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Personal survey of anti-spam tools

by Michael Alderete on 1/7/2005 · 12 comments

In the three or four years I’ve been fighting unwanted e-mail messages with better tools than the Delete key I’ve tried almost a dozen different tools. This is a quick (ha!) survey of the ones I’ve used, and why I don’t (or do) still use them.

My very first anti-spam tool was something called Mailfilter. I used it for my personal e-mail on Mac OS X, wrote about it here, and almost immediately afterwards lost a non-spam message to an aggressive keyword match. That was the end of Mailfilter. I can’t even remotely recommend it, as it’s just not intelligent enough (strict, single expression matching), and had zero safety net.

My next attempt at a solution was a utility called SpamFire. Like Mailfilter, it is a “pre-filter,” which means it would run before my e-mail client, download my mail, and skim out the spam. Unlike Mailfilter, it actually saved the trapped messages, so if it made a mistake, I could recover the message. It had plenty of other differences from Mailfilter, which I wrote about previously, and which made it so useful that it became the first anti-spam tool I paid for. But in the end I switched to a different tool because SpamFire was separate from my e-mail client, and that made it cumbersome to use.

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