Sound simple doesn’t it. Just find a way of leaving a message on something like skype, then get it to encode your audio, upload it to the server and generate the XML.
However, the whole skype thing is a bit of a red herring – I’ve been trying to make this work on and off for a few months, and as soon as I realised Skype wasn’t the way to go, it took me two days. In this post I’m hoping to demonstrate how you can podcast straight to your blog and iTunes from anywhere in the world using your mobile phone. Just like this – http://journeytorussia.co.uk/category/podcast
There are a couple of services that I’ve found that can make this work – unfortunately whilst both of them offer a free service to get the best you’ll need to pay a little cash.
The first is called Evoka – http://www.evoca.com/ – it’s a simple service that is essentially a bit like YouTube for audio. When you create an account you get a home page evoca.com/username and helpfully an RSS feed. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a way to edit the MP3 tags, or to pull the content and RSS easily to your own domain – there’s certainly no way to edit what gets posted in the RSS feed.
The second service, and the one I’ve finally decided to use (and pay for) is called PhoneBlogz – http://www.phoneblogz.com/ – it offers a simple way to edit your MP3 tags, you can even (using the wordpress plugin) totally customise the posts that hit your blog, as well as pretty much everything in-between.
What I like most about PhoneBlogz though is that you can pretty much build everything using the free service then only pay if you want to create more than one, two minute audio recording each day. There are various levels of service – I’ve gone for the four, 15 minute messages each day package – costing a princely sum of $12.99 per month, the great thing of course is that for Russia we only need to pay this one and then drop to the free package again.
How to set up PhoneBlogz
It can be a little confusing, there’s no guide on the site and hopefully this will help. Whilst PhoneBlogz supports Drupal, WordPress, Serendipity, Blogger,Livejournal, Typepad as well as FTP uploads, this guide concentrates on WordPress.
Before you start on the below steps go to PhoneBlogz and register for a free account.
1. Download the plugins
2. Upload and install the plugins
Upload to your plugins directory – normally found at www.yoursite.com/wp-content/plugins
3. Set up the plugins in your wordpress admin backend.
Click ‘Plugins’ and activate both of them.
Note… you’ll note find the PhoneBlogz plugin options in the normal ‘setting’s section – it lives in the ‘plugins’ tab after you’ve activated it.
- PhoneBlogz settings – insert your access code and your WEBSITE password (not your account pin).
- Tick the ‘use Audio-Player’ box if you want the flash player to appear in your posts.
- Edit the posting text – this is the text that appears on your site every-time you send a recording.
I left the Audio-Player settings alone.
4. Edit the settings for posting on the PhoneBlogz configuration pages.
- Set the options for plugin posting
- Set the Audio Options – this is where you can dictate the MP3 tags etc
- Upload intro and out jingles – love this feature!
5. Set the category you want the audio to be posted to.
You’re supposed to be able to set this in the plugin – however it doesn’t work. There’s an easy way around this.
- Click on ‘settings’ in your wordpress backend
- Click on ‘writing’
- Scroll down to ‘Post via email’
- Set the Default Mail Category to your choice.
I’ve discovered that the plugin uses this setting – if all works well you’ll have all your audio recordings posted in this category
You can find out how to work out your RSS settings / feeds over at WordPress Codex.
That’s pretty much it. All I have to do now is create a new wordpress template page that will allow me to create a simple page at /podcast and includes all the posts in the category ‘Podcast’ beneath the text that currently appears there. Not being the biggest PHP head, I’m struggling with this bit at the moment – any helpful tips most appreciated!