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9/29/2006
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Software Lets Podcast Listener Leave Audio, Video Feedback

Listeners can leave audio and video messages on virtually any blog using their microphone and Webcam.

Podcast Ready on Friday launched free software designed to allow podcast subscribers to record and leave audio or video messages on any blog, social network or Web site.

The feedCaster "widget" allows Podcast-site owners to provide a forum where listeners can leave audio and video messages using their microphone and webcam. The product is being demonstrated at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo in Ontario, Calif.

Site owners load feedCaster onto their AIM, MySpace.com, or any blog or social network page. The software automatically determines if the podcast listener who visits the site has a camera or microphone, and then prompts them through recording and posting a comment.

"We give the podcaster one line of code that enables the service," said Russell Holliman, CEO and founder, Podcast Ready. "With one click of a button, the application will ask permission to take over the microphone and the camera."

Those who record and publish the comment leave it for the next visitor to see or hear.

"Beautiful, we're in," said Mike Andrews, who produces The Pilotcast podcast geared toward airplane pilots. "We want more interactivity with our listeners, and this is the answer to our prayers."

Bruce Murray, who hosts a podcast from Canada called The ZedCast, "because Canadians say Zed," agrees.

"We're all about interaction with the audience and the more we can get people to leave audio and video comments is a lot nicer than reading e-mail comments on the air," Murray said.

The feedCaster application is simple Flash code. There are no real editing features, yet. But Holliman said they're coming.

Podcast Ready also will make available an "opt-in" feature that creates a podcast from the comments left on the site, sending them back to the person who owns the blog, social network or Web page. It will give podcasters an opportunity to collect feedback based on their site.

"With the whole Apple thing, we've made sure the terms of use with services, such as MySpace, are spelled out clearly and adhere to every point in their terms and services agreement," Holliman said.

Just more than one week ago the Houston startup received a letter from Apple late last week that said it owns the iPod trademark and has submitted an application to the U.S. Trademark Office to trademark the word "pod". The company claims use of the word when associated with mobile devices could confuse consumers.

"No one is claiming the rights to the word 'podcast,'" Holliman said. "The trademark office has already made it clear that word is on their you-can't-trademark list."

Podcast Ready also released an update to the myPodder management software. The new 1.6 beta release adds support for Apple Computer Inc. iPod, which hasn't been available until now, and any other MP3 universal mass-storage compliant players. The software is free to download

Podcast Ready maintains a directory of available podcasts, and myPodder software lets users manage their podcast lists with any Internet-enabled computer. myPodder lets Mac and Windows users find, manage and share audio and video podcasts. System requirements are Mac OS X v10.3 or later.

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