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Live podcast publishing services

These are services that enable direct recording of audio content from your browser


Through its several office applications, the Zoho service is trying to gain some foothold in the highly competitive web-based office suite segment.


THIS WEEK NetSpeak discusses the features of a few live podcast-publishing services.

The process of distributing audio content with web or RSS feed is known as podcasting.

As mentioned earlier (http://www.hindu.com/biz/2005/01/31/stories/2005013100661800. htm), the technology can have multiple applications. For instance, teachers can regularly create podcast of lectures, accessible to their students automatically with a podcast client. Podcasting of conference presentations is quite common.

The widespread adoption of this service has resulted in products such as Podiobooks (audiobooks, serialised and delivered via podcast feeds- http://podiobooks.com/), radio podcasts (http://www.publicradiofan. com/podcasts.html) and religious podcasts.

Though the significance of podcasting is well recognised, the podcast creation process still eludes ordinary netizens. Currently, to generate a podcast, one has to create audio content, upload it to a web site and build an RSS feed for it. The process is a bit difficult for an unskilled netizen. He needs an easy and efficient solution. The on-line podcast creation service, Evoca (http://evoca.com/) seems to serve this purpose.

Evoca helps you to create podcasts with your browser for free. While in a normal podcast creation scenario you need an audio-creation software (like Audacity) for recording audio content, here you do not need any software. If your PC has a microphone, Evoca facilitates direct audio recording from your browser.

Thus, if you want to podcast a presentation live, Evoca offers an easy solution. Just sign up with the service and begin recording. You can start recording the content by pressing the 'Your computer microphone' button. Once recording is over, you can save it on to Evoca. While saving the audio content, you can tag it with an appropriate label and designate it public or private. The service allows you to access the public audio hosted by other members.

When you sign up with the service, it gives you a web page with the URL: http://evoca. com/your-log-in-name. Anyone visiting this web page can access your "public'' content. Besides the web URL, Evoca offers a web or podcast feed, which can be used by your clients for accessing the content made public, in their podcast client. Apart from populating content by direct recording, you can upload audio content from your machine.

Another podcast publishing service, almost similar to Evoca, is Podomatic (http://www.podomatic.com). This also allows you to record live from your browser and store it on its server as an MP3 file. It also provides an RSS feed for your recordings. When you sign up with the service, you get a web page (of the form: http://your-log-in-name. podomatic.com), from where anyone on the Net can listen/download your audio content. Podmail, the facility to send voice messages, is an additional feature of this service.

In this regard, you may also check out Gcast (http://www. gcast.com/), yet another podcast creation service. Here, you can upload your audio content in MP3 format and the service generates an RSS feed for your audio uploads automatically.

As you would already know, the Net telephony program Skype is used by netizens worldwide, for long distance conversation. Recording skype conversations is an excellent means of generating podcast content. However, as Skype does not provide any built-in mechanism for recording Skype sessions, one has to look for other tools (like Hotrecorder, discussed in the past). Recently this author stumbled on PowerGramo (http://www.powergramo. com/), yet another free tool developed for this task.

Once PowerGramo is loaded on to your machine along with Skype, it will automatically record your Skype sessions. If you do not want PowerGramo to record all Skype sessions automatically, you can alter its options. The program also lets you export the recorded conversation as Wav or Ogg file.

Zoho collaboration suite

The Zoho service (http://www.zoho.com/) hosts a wide array of collaboration applications (both free and priced). Through several office applications, it is trying to gain some foothold in the highly competitive web-based office suite segment. The free product, web-based wordprocessor ZohoWriter (http://www.zohowriter.com/), developed for creating/sharing documents on-line, is one of its kind. It has almost all the features found on similar products (like Writely).

Another office-suite component worth a mention is the ZohoSheet, an on-line worksheet package. The product allows you to create/share spreadsheets in your browser. It supports facilities such as graph creation tool and mathematical functions like LCM, sum, log, sumsq (for sum of the squares of a set of numbers) and sqrt.

In addition, you can upload an Excel file on to the Zoho's server and access it from anywhere. Zoho Polls, for instant launching of on-line opinion polls, is yet another useful product from Zoho. Its free on-line poll service enables you to float a poll application with a few mouse clicks.

Besides providing you a page for your poll, the service allows you to embed the poll on to your web site or blog. Zoho hosts several other services such as Zoho Creator and Zoho Planner. This author has not yet tried all of them. For the latest on Zoho products, check out `Zoho blogs' (http://blogs.zoho.com/).

Topicalizer

A writer would need different parameters related to his document such as number of words, number of distinct words and most frequent words. For such requirements, the on-line service Topicalizer (http://www. topicalizer.com/), developed for analysing text documents, is really useful.

The service analyses (lexical, phrasal, textual etc) the document and provides details such as number of words, paragraphs, sentences, shortest sentence and so on. It also provides a summary of the document.

To submit the document, either paste its content on to the input box or enter its URL.

J. MURALI

He can be contacted at: jmurali@gmail.com

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