A slice of podcasting history

A few days ago I realized that it was just about a year ago that Dave Winer, Adam Curry and I met up in Amsterdam to talk about RSS, BitTorrent, timeshifted media and weblog outliners. Trying to get my head back into that time, I think I had a sense that something big was about to happen — that was the point of the meeting after all — but can’t lay claim to having hatched any specific plans.
Of course RSS enclosures had been spec’ed out years before, and Dave had been using enclosures to distribute the Christopher Lydon interviews for the better part of a year.
And I’m pretty sure that Adam had already written (or gotten someone else to write) an early iPodder client, though it wasn’t called “iPodder” yet. I seem to remember Adam telling me, within the first 60 seconds of meeting him for the first time at BloggerCon I (October, 2003), about this script he had, that automagically transferred downloaded enclosures to his iPod. I thought, “damn, that’s a great idea”.
Meanwhile, we hadn’t put the two together, because there I was at BloggerCon distributing hand-burned CDs of Lydon’s interviews to make them more accessible to people that weren’t running enclosure-enabled news aggregators. A few people even listened to them.
The funny thing is, and I’m only speaking for myself here, when we met again six months later (that is, a year ago), I still didn’t see podcasting coming. It’s funny how innovation happens and doesn’t happen. I think at the time I thought video and BitTorrent were where the action would be. Not that there isn’t a lot of action, but there’s more in podcasting because it’s so much simpler to produce and consume.
I think I *did* have a sense that getting the enclosures directly to an output device (e.g. an iPod) was an important part of the story. So I bought a network-connected DVD player and started tooling around with piping Internet archive videos to my livingroom TV set. That was in July, 2004, just before things started to cook with podcasting.
Looking back, it’s been a pretty interesting year, wouldn’t you say guys? I think it’s been a great year for RSS and, more importantly, for users.