The first thing I used to do when I set up a new computer was to rip out or unplug and throw away the speakers. The assorted internet bells/whistles as well as unsolicited music on web sites were annoying and distracting, and I covet peace and quiet. Computer programs tend to make a lot of jarring sounds, too. If I want that much racket, I'll serve my kids red Kool-aid and Double-Stuff Oreos and then give them Nerf guns.
With this new era of audio everything, I leave the speakers plugged in but turned off. I still haven't caved into buying an Ipod, and I'm not a big fan of podcasting, but I will listen to bits of one online now and then if the speaker and/or the subject interests me. The voice makes or breaks it for me, though, and there are authors who should not read their work because they don't have a proper speaking voice for it (I should know, I'm one of them.)
Mech Muse, one of the newest online SF/F e-zines, offers twelve hours of audio fiction to listen to online or download into your Ipod (login/registration appears to be free at the moment but the submission guidelines seem to indicate there are subscription fees involved.) Mech Muse is also looking for short stories and performers to read for them and offer authors royalties of 40% and advances up to $400.00. If you're into podcasting, definitely worth a look.
There are also audio file sites out there like American Public Media, which offers a full page of free podcasts, with a link to Audible's excerpts from Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. Other podcasts include podcasts or links to talks about business, faith, finance, kitchen help, marketing, GK's Writer's Almanac and more. I think if you're going to get into podcasting, you should listen to a variety of them to get a feel for what makes a good podcast.
If you'd like to try one of the online audio service sites, Audioblog (now called Hipcast) offers a 7-day free trial period to their service, which allows you to create videos, audios, podcasts and post them to your weblog.
The online community for podcasters, PodcastPickle.
Create, find and share podcasts over at PodOMatic.
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