Following on the heels of the Xtreme Webcasting events featuring Lorenzo Gariano's ascents of The Matterhorn and Everest-next-door-neighbor Lhotse, here comes Xtreme Podcasting from Mount Everest.
As the site (complete with RSS/Podcast feed of Lorenzo's audio reports) indicates:
“Adventurer Lorenzo Gariano is part of a ten-man collaborative expedition between 7summits.com and the 7summits club from Russia, led by Alex Abramov and Harry Kikstra, to the North Face of Everest this April and May. Follow his progress through his audio blog and GPS position reports on these pages.”
Peter Scott's Centre for New Media in KMi, and in particular his technical/media team of Chris Valentine, Jon Linney, and Kevin Quick, have worked with Lorenzo on various events like this over the years. Lorenzo first came to our attention in his 'other life' as the guy who looked after the plants at the Knowledge Media Institute! We found out that he was a serious mountaineer, who was engaged in a Seven Summits quest (highest peak on each continent, of which this will be his fifth), and decided to explore the role of innovative, user-friendly consumer-ready technologies both to bring his experience live to the masses and also to help publicize his quest.
The Matterhorn climb featured the UK's first mobile cameraphone, which Lorenzo used to take pictures at safe moments during his climb, and his Lhotse climb included an audioblog segment. During the current climb, GPS positioning will enable us to track his location, and satellite phone audio reports get stored on the site and also embedded in an RSS feed for podcast enthusiasts to listen to at their convenience.
The technology behind the current event is described by Kevin Quick, in an email to me the other day, as follows:
“Basically a batch file runs on Chris [Valentine]'s computer which takes the wav and uses a command line utility to convert the wav files to mp3 – the batch file then copies the mp3 onto [our audio server machine], where the appropriate ID3 tags are added … – this includes embedding an image in the mp3 (i.e. what you will see on the photo ipod – this is a logo of the web site banner by default, but will dynamically be changed to a photo if one is added to the site associated with that particular phone call). PHP dynamically generates the RSS feed for the podcast – So the whole process from phone call to podcast is automated from beginning to end.”
Check out the site (linked below) and follow Lorenzo's adventures.