It's funny how in some circles I inhabit, "podcasts" and their offshoots are talked about incessantly, and in other circles, people are like, "What is this 'podcast' you speak of incessantly."
If you're in the latter group, don't be embarrassed, you're in the majority. I'll preface this story with a quick orientation to the whole thing. (If you're in the former group of podcast freaks, you can skip down to "Podcasts to Check Out.")
A podcast (iPod + broadcast) is a self-published audio file, like a mini-radio show. It's saved as an MP3 file, put on a web server and wrapped in simple web code so that people can "subscribe" to it with free software that automatically downloads new editions to their computer and their MP3 player, such as an iPod.
Most often podcasts are created by average Joes, not radio personalities or anything. The author publishes his thoughts by speaking into a microphone attached to their computer and recording it as a digital file, instead of typing it and posting it to their blog or regular web site (or <ahem> sending it in a newsletter).
What's made podcasting so hot is the distribution model. While there are numerous podcast directory web sites (such as http://www.podcast.net), the driving force here is Apple's iTunes. You can submit your podcast to Apple at no cost for inclusion in the Podcasts section of iTunes, their free MP3 player/organizer/iPod gateway software.
iTunes v6 for Macintosh or Windows (free download)
Anyone with iTunes can browse, search, and listen to all the podcasts iTunes knows about. Just click the Music Store category on the left panel, then click on the Podcasts link in the "Inside the Music Store" section at the upper left. Once the Podcasts page loads you'll see links for browsing, searching for, and subscribing to podcasts.
Note that you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts, you can play them right in iTunes if you want. Also note that there is other software you can use to download, organize and listen to your podcasts, as mentioned above. Just enter "podcast" in a search engine and you'll be flooded with information.
Podcasts to Check Out
Anything out there in podcastland for designers? Why yes, Virginia. Here's a starter set of ones I've found worthwhile along with their web sites. To add one of these to your subscription list, look for the relevant "Subscribe" button on the web page, or just search for their names in iTunes' Podcast section.
CreativeCOW (Communities Of the World)
also (more details)
(Wide-ranging discussions, tips, interviews with developers of design software)
Media Artist Secrets
also (more details)
(Marketing, dealing with clients, budgets … the business of design)
(This amazing podcast of audio tutorials for design software includes Quicktime tutorials that show up in iTunes "Album Art" corner and synch to the audio.)
(Presented by Scott Kelby's NAPP crew. No dedicated web page, but just search for Photoshop Radio in iTunes' Podcasts section or in podcasts.net. They have a companion blog with the links they mention during the show, as well as stand-alone MP3 files of each podcast:)
(Great typography-related content, live feeds from type conferences.)
AIGA Design Conference 2005
(Tons of podcasts from the presenters at the conference. Not available in iTunes for some reason.)
Inspired? To get started making your own podcasts, here's the book I'm looking at:
Secrets of Podcasting, by Bart Farkas