TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Unlocking Podcast Producer v2

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Podcasting

Unlocking Podcast Producer v2

by Michele (Mike) Hjörleifsson

Part One: What is Podcast Producer?

A podcast by any other name like vidcast, screencast, audiocast, doc-cast, and so on is still a podcast; well, at least for the context of this series of articles and from Snow Leopard server's point of view. Podcast producer, simply put, does for podcast production and distribution what the bread maker has done for homemakers around the globe— simplified the tedium so the cook can focus on the content. This series of articles introduces you to Podcast Producer, its history, potential uses, and strengths, and includes some practical use scenarios and how-to's.

Processing podcasts for consumption can be a tedious process from the initial content creation to the transcoding for desktop, iPod, iPhone, audio only, HD and transcribed formats. Delivery is no small task either, posting to blogs, creating RSS/Atom, sending to a digital archive, posting to iTunes, posting to a website or Sharepoint site and so on more tedium. As you can see in the following figure there are a lot of wheels that need to turn to grind that wheat into usable flour.


Podcast Producer version 1 is part of Leopard server. Like XGrid and WebObjects, it is an under-discussed, under-promoted useful (and cool) piece of technology. Using Podcast Producer in Leopard Server, administrators work with the content producers to create a recipe, called a workflow, which is a bundle of XML files, associated media and resources that determine the processing of the content, the notification facilities to be used, archival (if necessary) and distribution to a wiki/blog, QuickTime Streaming or iTunes. Once created, the same workflow provides an automated engine to process and distribute content into a podcast. How wonderful— a collection of software and services that do what computers were originally designed to do: remove repetitive tedious tasks. Well, maybe not so wonderful. As anyone who deployed Podcast Producer version 1 will tell you, it takes a bit of knowledge of Kerberos, Xgrid and XML to get the service humming. But, once in place it is a wonderful toolbox. The most tedious part of the getting your Podcast Producer infrastructure going is editing the XML files that outline your recipe (the processes and dependencies applied to your content). Though, not much fun but there is a bright light on the horizon. Snow Leopard has a new version of Podcast Producer with some awesome tools and capabilities. Let's explore.

Podcast Producer version 2 is also a free service provided in Snow Leopard server and it has seen some significant enhancements. First, there is an assistant to establish the required configuration of the underlying services like Xgrid (and NFS to facilitate shared resources), Kerberos and the Podcast Producer service itself. Not to be left behind is the new Podcast Composer, my personal favorite. This Automator-like tool provides a graphical, intuitive way to create your podcast recipe. No more of those pesky XML files, at least not yet. But wait, there's more! (A little tribute to the late Billy Mays). The client software called Podcast Capture (which is included, you guessed it, free of charge, on every Snow Leopard client machine) can now perform simultaneous capture of screen and video with an iChat Theatre look and feel—polished and professional. There is an official web capture client to allow non-OS X users to become content producers as well (there was an unsupported web interface to the previous version that came, went, then came back). Newly baked into Podcast Producer are some integration bits with Final Cut Server, which provide things like approval and review workflows and the power of Final Cut Server's new metadata processing and automated tasks. Last, but certainly not least, (especially to the MacTech community) is the ability to call out to command line tools of your choosing so you can reach out and extend Podcast Producer to limitless potential scenarios. Included under the hood is a set of great command line tools to do some of the basics and more advanced functions like calling and creating Quartz Composer animations. Oh wait, did I mention that QuickTime Streaming server also got an overhaul? Although this is not directly related to Podcast Producer, I must tell you about the ability to produce a podcast that you can then stream to your iPhone, yes STREAM, not sync to your iPhone.

So what can we use this cool set of tools for? Ahh, glad you asked. First there are the traditional podcasts, like recording educational lectures at K-12 schools and universities for students, the general public, or both (there are hundreds of these for free download on iTunesU). That was a pretty obvious example but let's take a deeper look.

Problem: The economy is tight, you need to get corporate messaging and training out to your ten, hundred or thousand remote locations or retail presences.

Solution: Produce a podcast with your existing video conferencing gear (more on this later), a Mac or PC and send it to Podcast Producer for distribution to Apple TV units hooked to television at your remote locations.

Problem: You need to provide regulatory, mandated continuing education to your legal, medical or financial industry employees.

Solution: Develop a workflow that provides random codes as a watermark in your podcasts to ensure staff members actually watched the entire podcast.

Problem: You have a new national product launch and you need to get your field sales folks trained on the features, messaging and look-and-feel of the new gear.

Solution: Develop a workflow that encodes your podcast for streaming to their iPod Touch or iPhone devices and send them an email notification when it is ready.

Problem: You need to increase readership or web presence for your magazine newspaper, television or radio station.

Solution: Add deeper look podcasts that takes a corresponding article, episode or segment to the next level with multimedia.

Problem: You are an expert in a certain field and would like to provide "paid for content" to the public but you don't know a thing about processing media files for consumer production.

Solution: Work with an Apple Consultant to setup a Podcast Producer server to process your media and post it to a high end video management system like Status Firm's Core Nucleus, or freeware blogs with pay for content plug-ins such as Joomla or Drupal (we will explore an example with Joomla in an upcoming segment).

Problem: You are recording video testimonials about a terrible situation somewhere that may later be used in a court trial. How do you ensure the validity of the videos three, five or ten years from now so it's admissible as testimony by government standards?

Solution: Create a workflow that calls a script you created that digitally signs the video with a PKI certificate you have taken appropriate precautions to secure. (Refer to the set of articles on PKI that I authored for MacTech on how to generate these types of certificates.)

So there are six quick examples to get you thinking. The point here is that anytime you need to get information in the hands of folks that is better presented in multimedia format you will need to produce that content and deliver that content and that is where Podcast Producer comes in.

The three top features of Podcast Producer have nothing to do with the cool media processing it can do, at least not from your point of view as a technical Apple person.

Scalability: Utilizing Xgrid you can process thousands of pieces of inbound media into a plethora of formats in a predictable amount of time.

Extensibility: Podcast Composer allows you to call your own scripts, which allows you to literally do anything your powerful cerebral processor can crank out.

Interoperability: The web services provided by Podcast Producer allow you to utilize existing video conferencing gear like Tandberg's TCS content server to record content from any standards compliant video conferencing gear and ingest that media to your workflow. The web services also allow you to support non-Apple client devices to create and upload content, or even create your own web or even iPhone application to get content into Podcast Producer to slice, dice and deliver. Apple has extended Podcast Producer with the new web interface and integrated Final Cut Server allowing you to ingest content from the web and post content to Final Cut Server for processing, and approval workflows. Last but not least, interoperability allows you to take content and process it for delivery via QuickTime to your iPhone users.

So now that your head is spinning and gears are turning on all the things you would like to try out, let's get cracking. First, on your test Snow Leopard server make sure you have a standard install and created a test user account to play with. Click the servers name in Server Admin then click the Services tab. Select Podcast Producer and then click Save (see Figure 2).


This does NOT enable Podcast Producer; rather, it provides you with the settings panels to set up and then enable Podcast Producer. Click on the new Podcast Producer item on the left side of Server Admin. Then, click the Configure Podcast Producer button to get started (see Figure 3).


Accept the defaults and voila, you have a working Podcast Producer. For those of you who configured version 1 of Podcast Producer you should be basking in the ease of the new tools. Now let's go to a Snow Leopard client. Open the Applications->Utilities folder and then open Podcast Capture. Log on to your Podcast Producer server. Click Audio and then submit to one of the default workflows (see Figure 4).


Now let's take a look at the web client. Open Safari on your client machine and then connect to your server on port 8188 (i.e. http://myserver.local:8188), You can log on here and submit content to the same default workflows.

That's all there is to it. You are now up and running. I urge you to play with Podcast Composer on your server and see the plethora of options there are for creating workflows.

Next month we will explore the following: default workflows and how to secure them by setting permissions.; customizing the workflows with external scripts to really harness the power of Podcast Producer; extending Podcast Producer to provide content to Joomla. Thank you for spending the time with learning about the Podcast Producer. I hope you explore the technology and have as much fun with it as I have had.


Michele (Mike) Hjörleifsson has been programming Apple computers since the Apple ][+, and implementing network and remote access security technologies since the early '90s. He has worked with the nation's largest corporations and government institutions. Mike is currently a certified Apple trainer and independent consultant. Feel free to contact him at mhjorleifsson@me.com

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

djay Pro 1.1 - Transform your Mac into a...
djay Pro provides a complete toolkit for performing DJs. Its unique modern interface is built around a sophisticated integration with iTunes and Spotify, giving you instant access to millions of... Read more
Vivaldi 1.0.118.19 - Lightweight browser...
Vivaldi browser. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind that users are... Read more
Stacks 2.6.11 - New way to create pages...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
xScope 4.1.3 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.7 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Labels & Addresses 1.7 - Powerful la...
Labels & Addresses is a home and office tool for printing all sorts of labels, envelopes, inventory labels, and price tags. Merge-printing capability makes the program a great tool for holiday... Read more
teleport 1.2.1 - Use one mouse/keyboard...
teleport is a simple utility to let you use one single mouse and keyboard to control several of your Macs. Simply reach the edge of your screen, and your mouse teleports to your other Mac! The... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.8 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
Box Sync 4.0.6233 - Online synchronizati...
Box Sync gives you a hard-drive in the Cloud for online storage. Note: You must first sign up to use Box. What if the files you need are on your laptop -- but you're on the road with your iPhone? No... Read more
Fantastical 2.0.3 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more

SoundHound + LiveLyrics is Making its De...
SoundHound Inc. has announced that SoundHound + LiveLyrics, will be one of the first third-party apps to hit the Apple Watch. With  SoundHound you'll be able to tap on your watch and have the app recognize the music you are listening to, then have... | Read more »
Adobe Joins the Apple Watch Lineup With...
A whole tidal wave of apps are headed for the Apple Watch, and Adobe has joined in with 3 new ways to enhance your creativity and collaborate with others. The watch apps pair with iPad/iPhone apps to give you total control over your Adobe projects... | Read more »
Z Steel Soldiers, Sequel to Kavcom'...
Kavcom has released Z Steel Soldiers, which continues the story of the comedic RTS originally created by the Bitmap Brothers. [Read more] | Read more »
Seene Lets You Create 3D Images With You...
Seene, by Obvious Engineering, is a 3D capture app that's meant to allow you to create visually stunning 3D images with a tap of your finger, and then share them as a 3D photo, video or gif. [Read more] | Read more »
Lost Within - Tips, Tricks, and Strategi...
Have you just downloaded Lost Within and are you in need of a guiding hand? While it’s not the toughest of games out there you might still want some helpful tips to get you started. [Read more] | Read more »
Entertain Your Pet With Your Watch With...
The Petcube Camera is a device that lets you use live video to check in on your pet, talk to them, and play with them using a laser pointer - all while you're away. And the Petcube app is coming to the Apple Watch, so you'll be able to hang out with... | Read more »
Now You Can Manage Your Line2 Calls With...
You'll be able to get your Line2 cloud phone service on the Apple Watch very soon. The watch app can send and receive messages using hands-free voice dictation, or by selecting from a list of provided responses. [Read more] | Read more »
R.B.I. Baseball 15 (Games)
R.B.I. Baseball 15 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: The legendary Major League Baseball franchise returns to the diamond. Make History. ** ALL iPOD Touch, the iPad 2 and the... | Read more »
Here's How You Can Tell if an App W...
The Apple Watch is pretty much here, and that means a whole lot of compatible apps and games are going to be updated or released onto the App Store. That's okay though, beacause Apple has quietly updated their app description pages to make things... | Read more »
Forgotten Memories : Alternate Realities...
Forgotten Memories : Alternate Realities 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: + REDUCED PRICE ONLY THE LAUNCHING WEEK + "The most exciting horror game of 2015." - AppSpy... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Intel Compute Stick: A New Mini-Computing For...
The Intel Compute Stick, a new pocket-sized computer based on a quad-core Intel Atom processor running Windows 8.1 with Bing, is available now through Intel Authorized Dealers across much of the... Read more
Heal to Launch First One-Touch House Call Doc...
Santa Monica, California based Heal, a pioneer in on-demand personal health care services — will offer the first one-touch, on-demand house call doctor app for the Apple Watch. Heal’s Watch app,... Read more
Mac Notebooks: Avoiding MagSafe Power Adapter...
Apple Support says proper usage, care, and maintenance of Your Mac notebook’s MagSafe power adapter can substantially increase the the adapter’s service life. Of course, MagSafe itself is an Apple... Read more
12″ Retina MacBook In Shootout With Air And P...
BareFeats’ rob-ART morgan has posted another comparison of the 12″ MacBook with other Mac laptops, noting that the general goodness of all Mac laptops can make which one to purchase a tough decision... Read more
FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone: Over 1.5 Mi...
FileMaker has announced that its FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone app has surpassed 1.5 million downloads from the iTunes App Store. The milestone confirms the continued popularity of the FileMaker... Read more
Sale! 13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 Best Buy has the new 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1099 – $200 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price for online orders only, in-... Read more
Minimalist MacBook Confirms Death of Steve Jo...
ReadWrite’s Adriana Lee has posted a eulogy for the “Digital Hub” concept Steve Jobs first proposed back in 2001, declaring the new 12-inch MacBook with its single, over-subscribed USB-C port to be... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $1234 w...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro in stock for $1234.99 ($65 off MSRP) including free shipping plus a free LG external DVD/CD optical drive. Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $999...
 Adorama has the 13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Service-Learning Counselor, *APPLE* Corps -...
…CONTRACT TITLE Higher Education Assistant FLSA Exempt CAMPUS SPECIFIC INFORMATION APPLE Corps (Academic Preparation Program for Law Enforcement), a partnership between Read more
*Apple* iOS Specialist - Kforce (United Stat...
Our client is seeking an Apple iOS Specialist to join their team in Quincy, Massachusetts (MA). Duties: * Responsible for configuration and distribution of desktop, Read more
*Apple* Systems Engineer - Axius Technologie...
* Must be Apple -Certified specialist and will be responsible for all hardware: device settings, images creation/deployment, security implementation * Responsible for all Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.