Enhanced Podcasting on Windows

I’ve gotten interested in creating podcasts, this all started one night early last Month.

My wife was upstairs sleeping, the whole house fan was making noises like a jet engine and I was on the phone talking with George. George was asking about podcasts and if they difficult they were to make – he’d been listening to Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte’s “Security Now” podcast and was thinking that he (and even I) had wisdom that we could impart to the world. In fact we’d chatted about this before and as I stood there watching image of the Mendocino Botanical Gardens scroll by on the television monitor across the room (driven by Apple TV) it occurred to me that what we needed to make was not just a podcast, but an “Enhanced Podcast“! Chapter markers and still images seemed just the thing to help enliven whatever it was that George and I decided to record for posterity.

Well, seven weeks later I can finally create an Enhanced Podcast on a Windows PC, albeit with a couple issues still outstanding. How I got to this point is one long frustrating quest that was actually kind of fun (this being the sort of problem that I’m pretty good at solving). How I got started on this quest was quite simple, I went to Google and entered “create enhanced podcast window xp” and … just did it again and I got 445,000 hits. In that result set there might be a reference to an actual program that runs on Windows that will allow you to create an enhanced podcast for iPod/iTunes, but if there is I could not locate it.

Long story short, it appeared you could not do what I wanted to do; Enhanced Podcasts first arived in 2005 and in May 2007 I was unable to find software that could create one on Windows. I was not encouraged when I ran across this blog entry that talked about a failed attempt to create an enhanced podcast program on the Mac. The only consistent advice I ran into during my search was “buy a real computer”, which was advice to buy a Macintosh and use the command line “chapter tool” program (link on this page somewhere) that apple released back in 2005 to create these files. Note: there ar

Audio Books

In addition to playing around with a GUI front end for SSA I’ve been adding support for adding multiple audio files to allow the creation of chaptered audio books. Basically you add a new key in each chapter (audiofile=somefile.m4b) and SSA will add it to the output file; you add the chapters (images, hrefs or whatever) and SSA will figure out the length of each audio file and set the chapter locations automatically.

081107_0156_AudioBooks1

Now, there are a couple limitations: chapter’s can only start on audio file boundaries, all of the audio files must have the same format and you can lose up to one second of audio at the end of each file (because SSA does not deal in fractions of a second – this applies to audio imported for Enhanced Podcasts as well). This feature – sparsely documented – will be in the 1.0.1b version of SSA which should be uploaded this weekend.