The podcasting wars

Yes, it’s true. George Bush is now podcasting. His first podcast, “Making the world safe for making a profit” is now on Democrats were quick to respond, with Barbara Boxer’s podcast speech, “It’s time to knock out Dubya”, being a particular hit in liberal circles. Progressives and radicals, many of whom have been podcasting for months, released their own podcasts decrying the commercialization and politicization of podcasting. However this has unfortunately degenerated into sectarian squabbling over minute doctrinal details, not that this is a big surprise in leftie circles, huh.

However, in an unsettling development, Slashdot is reporting that a skilled underground hacker known only as NeoN Fr0g has cracked the mp3 format used by podcasters, and has found a way to insert search and destroy code into mp3s instructing them to hunt down via the Net any mp3s it deems offensive and delete them. The code has leaked out, so now podcasts across the political spectrum are destroying other podcasts whose opinion it doesn’t agree with.

But it gets worse. We’ve been hearing that NeoN Fr0g’s code has been tweaked by other, more sinister forces, so instead of deleting the target podcast, the audio is changed. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan angrily denounced such actions yesterday, saying whoever programmed a podcast to change Dubya’s “profit” podcast to the Saul Williams remix of the Not In Our Name Pledge of Resistance will be tracked down like the mangy dog they are,  that the original podcast was back online, website security had been upped, and let the bastards try to get in now.

Three hours late, the podcast was changed to David Peel’s “Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker”, an obscure 60’s protest song to be sure, but one that seemed apt nonetheless. Rumors that McClellan went into a screaming rage and had to be tranquilized are probably untrue.

It seemed to be a day for lunacy.

PS This just in from Podcasting News

Radio Broadcasting Association Buys Podcasting

In a surprise move, the Broadcasting Organization of the Greater United States has purchased the rights to the technology underlying podcasting for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, two of the pioneers of podcasting, Dave Winter & Alan Curry, have agreed to join the organization with the title of podcasting evangelists.

The Broadcasting Organization’s move may prove to be controversial, because it involves forking one of the basic podcasting standards.

“The Organization did a focus group on podcasting and found out that RSS was just too complicated for people to figure out,” noted Winter. Winter’s solution was to come up with a new XML-based format, Really Really Simple Syndication, or RRSS. “I call it arse,” jokes Winter, “because an arse can figure it out!”

RRSS is a simplified derivitive of of RSS 0.92. “RDF is back in, but we’ve figured out a way to make it easy!” notes Winter. “That should make the RDF folks happy.”

RRSS is already generating its share of controversy, though. According to Mark Puritan, one of the gurus behind a competing syndication format, “When Winter announced RRSS, I was completely open-minded about it. Unfortunately, RRSS is a mish-mash of a spec, and the mother of all forks for content syndication. This is one format I’m not diving into!”

Winter responded to the criticism, “He called me a mother forker! How can you have a dialog with somebody like that?”


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