MP3Blogs and Playing Sound From Inside Your Site

Here’s an intro to the wacky world of MP3 Blogs and info on how YOU can have one-click audio played from right inside your blog or website. Woo hoo! Want to tell people about a cool podcast? Or a nifty song? You can make it easy for them to listen with this tool described below.

So it’s been a pretty busy day so far for me, but not as busy as these folks! The coolest thing I’ve found online today has been this awesome 1975 musical performance titled “Postal Workers Canceling Stamps At The University Of Ghana Post Office.” Give the little play button a click and check it out as you read the rest of this post!

Postal Workers Canceling Stamps At The University Of Ghana Post Office

Isn’t that awesome! I found it via on one of many MP3 Blogs now available online, this one called Aurgasm. The post for this song itself, with comments etc. is here.

Other MP3 Blogs I’ve found (via my awesome brother Tom) include The Hype Machine and but there are lots and lots online. contains 607 items tagged “mp3blog,” though at least some of them are probably directories of mp3blogs. The most popular items in that tag space are here and include The Hype Machine, Aurgasm (so my brother knows what’s hot) as well as sites like 3Hive (looks very cool) and

These sites are on less that fully solid legal ground, but they are pretty darned cool if you ask me. Standard practices include posting links after every song to buy the album from the artist, a message on the sidebar urging you to pay for music at least some of the time and a note to anyone who owns copyrights on any of the music posted saying “just let me know if you want me to take your song down and down it will come – no problem.”

Snip… out goes the discussion of competing theories of intellectual property rights.

Anyway! So you might be wondering, “how do these sites put little play buttons that enable me to play these files without leaving the page?” Like these:

Rhythm’N’Brass by The Special Guests
Via 3Hive

Galaxies, by Laura Veirs (very beautiful song!)


I don’t even have these songs on my server! And you can listen to them without leaving my site – wow!

How did I do it? Hours of painful toil! No, it wasn’t that hard actually. I just viewed the source code of the Aurgasm buttons, copied and pasted them into my blog post here, and changed the URL of the song being pointed at. Wow! It’s all made possible via Fabricio Zuardi and Andre Cardozo’s awesome open source XSPF Web Music Player. To learn more about this rad tool, check out this page and this page, both on the open source community site Sourceforge.

You don’t need to know about that stuff though just to use the tool. I am going to try to figure out how to make a bookmarklet for this code, but I don’t have time right now. But you can copy and paste the code from my site, replace the parts here with the mp3 filename you want to play and the title, and paste it into your own site.

It’s taking me too long to make the code appear as code in this blog post, so just go up to your browser’s View menu and “view source code” for this page. I’ll surround the code you want with asterisks and you can copy and paste it into your own blog posts or site.

Just look at the letters and symbols right around the file URL real close before you paste over them. You can do this! It’s not really very hard. Feedback: My brother just emailed and reminded me that it would be a good idea to include a direct link to the file that this tool streams, so folks can download it too.

Does this have you totally pumped up or what? (I’m stoked.) Well here’s something else to listen to, my Net Squared coworker Britt Bravo explaining how volunteers can plug in to the Net Squared community. Maybe your enthusiasm will spill over and you’ll go profile a non-profit group or two.

Britt Bravo on how you can help Net Squared (6 mins)

While you listen, here’s Britt’s blogs at NetSquared and at her Big Vision Career and Project Consulting.

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , ,

Tagging Bookmarklets – Not Just for Technorati Anymore

Full text search doesn’t always bring back the most relevant results available; just because a word in used on a page doesn’t mean that’s really what the page is about. Hence the practice of tagging texts with subject level metadata. There are many ways you can search for blog posts and other items that have been given a certain tag. The best known is via a Technorati Tag Search. Perhaps because this is the most well known option, people often refer to the tags at the end of their posts as Technorati Tags. On one level they may be that, but on another important level that is inaccurate.

The secret of these searchable tags is the rel=”tag” part of the code. The rest of the code in a blog tag is just a link to a Technorati tag search for the tag you are applying to your post. You don’t have to link to Technorati in order for your post to appear in a Technorati Tag Search! If you are pinging Technorati (should be automatic, I use Feedburner) and if your site is easily index-able – then Technorati is going to find anything you link with rel=”tag” in it and it should include that in its tag search results. Except Technorati indexing is kinda wack – as in it isn’t 99% reliable.

Nonetheless, it is good to tag your blog posts. People will find your posts and site that way. Here are two bookmarklets below that you can drag and drop onto your browser’s toolbar to create tag code for your posts. The first is for traditional “Technorati Tags” and will create links to Technorati Tag searches for your tags. The second bookmarklet may as well be called a “Tag Central Tag Creator” as it will create links to a search for your tag in Tag Central. Both will get your tags indexed in Technorati!

The pros and cons of using Tag Central? Pros: it pulls in results from a greater number of tag supporting platforms, including, a social calendering service wherein events get tagged. Tag Central brings in all of the same sources as a Technorati Tag Search – and more. Tag Central also makes the RSS feeds for your tag in each platform very easy to subscribe to. The down sides? Tag Central is slow and ugly. But it’s still the best way to search the tagspace.

If the use of these bookmarklets is unclear to you, my friend Beth Kanter has made a video screencast about how they work.

These bookmarklets could easily be tweaked to link to any tag search for your tags: Icerocket,, Blinklist – anything! And no matter who your tags link to, Technorati should index them just because there’s a rel=”tag” in the link code.

If you want to tweak these bookmarklets, just drag them into a text editor, fiddle away, then put in a blog post or web site and they will be draggable just like these ones.

Here they are!

Update: see also this page for a more refined TagCentral bookmarklet.


And for this post…
TagCentral Tags: , , , , , ,

Interview with Peter Brown of

I am totally in love with Peter Brown’s service. With one click you can monitor any RSS feed and receive an IM whenever it changes. I use this all the time. Last week I wrote about different ways that can be used. Peter has been very nice about responding to my queries and even took the time to do the following IM interview with me this afternoon.

 how do you describe when you first tell people about it?

Depending on the person I am talking to, I usually say something like: It lets you see the Internet as it happens. Whenever something of interest is updated, you get a message telling you about the update.

I also often describe how we have such a static view of the internet, even though its this living breathing thing. lets people see the internet evolve in a way

I’m sure different people use it in many different ways – what are some of your favorite examples?

there are a bunch of people using it to get notified of when and where xbox 360’s are on sale … They get a messaging saying: XBOX 360, on sale at this store for this much RIGHT NOW

other people monitor craigslist and ebay. A lot of news stuff. some comment threads on blogs

we just added a new feature that actually lists the top ten most monitored feeds


click a link to add it to your list

do you mind if I ask what sorts of things you use it for?

I use it to test if its working!

me too, and lately it’s been great!

No, I monitor most of the RSS feeds I used to read in NewsWire or ROJO

I find that I would forget to visit the news reader or be too busy and miss stuff that I actually care about.

so for me its replaced my old readers … but I may be extreme

was that your motivation for creating the service?

originally actually it was annoyed that i had to constantly check back with sites of interest to see what’d been happening. I found myself sometimes going back to my newsreader 10 times a day. Lacking anything that allowed that to push to me, I created

really it was when I got into blogging. I wanted the ability to respond immediately to new stories on high traffic blogs because … i thought it would help the traffic of my own blog, which it definitely did. also, to be able to follow important comment threads.

well I think it’s fantastic.


can you tell us how it works?

it turned out to be more complicated than I originally had thought … On one end there is software that tries to detect changes in feeds by comparing the current feed with the last one every few minutes.

on the other end is software that can communicate with all the IM network protocols

the really tough part has been first inconsistent use of the Atom and RSS protocols and second strange quirks in the way all the IM networks operate

it seems that you’ve really improved how well it works lately.  What sorts of ongoing problems remain unsolved?

Thanks. We’ve been hard at work. One thing is that some sites will modify the way a title is worded for a particular feed entry, even though its basically the same entry … we’d like to use some kind of a checksum to detect if an entry has changed ENOUGH to warrent transmission out over IM

also we want to add support for Yahoo Messenger and we’re looking into SMS and Email components as well

any chance you’ll roll in notification of changes on sites that don’t publish feeds?

probably not. We think that the vast majority of sites worth monitoring offer feeds and those that dont — like ebay — have sites that do it for them

what sort of business model are you envisioning?  I have a secret fantasy that will be bought out by Feedburner.  Would something like that sound good to you?

Perhaps. We’re looking at a couple of different options, one of which is well suited to what feedburner does. namely charge content owners for extended services … or charge them to offer extended services just to their users who use

we envision being able to earn money on both sides … charing users for extra services — perhaps sms — and charing content owners. But we’ll NEVER advertise.

well, it certainly seems like you’re getting good reviews all over the web. sure scores high on the wow factor.  

I really appreciate the time you took to discuss the problems I had with the service last month.

I’ll be excited to follow its development.  I use it all the time now myself.

thank you and cheers for the great coverage

Technorati Tags: , , ,

News Flash? Google + AOL= $

Just for those who didn’t know: Google just plunked down another billion dollars for a chunk of AOL. It equals a 5% share in AOL, yet some people believe it will change Google. For Immediate Release has said they think there might be banner ads and preferential treatment for Time Warner AOL sites via Google because of this. I doubt it. I’m most interested in what’s going to happen to AOL’s efforts to go content-centric for their value to users. What a change that’s been from their old days of trying to lock you in to a walled garden of limited content! I am waiting to hear from my friends at the Social Software blog on Weblogs Inc. (an AOL property as of a few months ago) on this. No word yet.

The Washington Post on the Google/AOL deal.
ZDNet on Google/AOL.

There’s two angles…make up your own mind. Does this mean anything?

Posts elsewhere today

Haven’t found time yet today to post here, but I have made some posts elsewhere that readers might find of interest.

I’m thinking about writing comparative reviews of Frappr, Community Walk and Wayfaring – all services that let you create a map with narrative on top of Google Maps.

Write Up A Web2.0 Non-Profit!

I know you’re out there, you readers intrigued by new web tools and how they can be used for social change! Well my wonderful coworkers at Tech Soup’s Net 2 are looking for a hand or two in profiling some really exciting non-profit groups using tools like blogs, RSS, Drupal, etc. You’ve got half an hour to do a good deed!

According to volunteer coordinater Britt Bravo, “Writing up a nonprofit profile only takes 15-20 minutes. Just register on the Net Squared site, log in, go to the “Put Your Voice in the Mix” page, ,
click on “submit your case study” and fill out the form.”

Britt has a long list of groups that could be profiled, or you can find them yourself. You can get ahold of Britt via Don’t be shy about profiling your own group, either!

This is just one of many opportunities for folks to help leverage Web2.0 for the betterment of the world. Check out for more info on what can be done besides profile writing.

Here’s some of the most recent groups that have been profiled:

  • Earth Share Washington
    Earth Share of Washington is 66 leading environmental organizations that help to protect our environment and quality of life – locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Word of Blog
    Word of Blog is a new and free service that helps you spread the word about things you like, events you care about and worthy causes you want to support.
  • Pambazuka News
    Pambazuka News is a weekly electronic newsletter covering news, commentary, analysis and a range of other resources on human rights and development in Africa.

Here’s a link to the full list of profiled groups so far. It’s pretty inspiring!

Technorati Tags: ,

New Year’s Web2.0 in China

The China Web 2.0 Review is an interesting blog to keep up with, but one of the best ways to take a peek into the Chinese Web2.0 blogosphere is to read one of their week-in-review posts. This week’s includes links to blog posts elsewhere concerning:

  • OPML
  • Word Press hosting in Chinese
  • The best of 2005 and likely trends for 2006 in the Chinese Web2.0 space.

This is a feed I know I would like to watch more carefully!

Technorati Tags: , ,