Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh dear, oh dear. I tried, I really did. I became so bewildered that in the end I had to ask my son, who came, with much eye-rolling and with loud, heavy sighs, to see what stupidity I was up to.
It started with the introduction. Words like :
regular streaming audio or video
MP3 file format
compressed format for audio files
directing [can't read my own wtiting] service
pull the RSS feed

are designed to strike terror, as well as incomprehension, into my heart, but I know that the exercises are usually fairly straightforward, and you don't have to know anything about what you're doing. How wrong I was! I started trying to follow the techtorial, but didn't get very far (ther was nothing saying "Free download" when you went to iTunes). After scouring the whole page several times, I asked my son for his advice, and he said I didn't need to do that anyway, because he already had iTunes installed. I can only assume it was a different edition of it, as every instruction they gave seemed to be different (top right instead of bottom left, iTunes store instead of music store, etc.) , but my son helped me through that. (The fact that I have thereby reinforced his considered opinion that I am a complete halfwit not worthy to be left in charge of a wind-up toy, let alone a computer, is obviously my problem, not yours). I was left alone to ponder how I would know "when the podcast appeared in my music library", and in the end, after trying a number of things, I clicked "downloads", which seemed to get me to the next page all right.
Anyway, then I tried to listen to some podcasts. I couldn't see anything that seemed to be related to libraries or books, so I tried Food again. The first one turned out not to be about food at all: he was talking about someone who'd recently died of cancer. So then I tried some of the others, but there seemed to be no instructions on how to hear the podcasts. I kept choosing things and clicking away with enthusiasm, but without audible results.One of them (Podcastalley) was fairly typical. I chose a podcast and followed the instructions to copy the address. The next page (to download a podcast aggregator, which seemed to be what they wanted me to do) was next, and I got as far as How to use podcast downloader. I thought success was within my grasp! Until I saw instruction 1: Select the "podcast" in toolbar. I'm afraid I was stumped. I know that the toolbar is one of those lines of icons and things along the top, but I couldn't see anything sayding "the podcast". In fact, I'm not even sure there was a toolbar.
So I gave up, and went back to the exercises, to see whether I could salvage anything from the whole sorry business. But I saw that the next instruction was "Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Blogline account." Now, I think that a Blogline account was something we did a while ago, so perhaps if I go thrugh the old exercises I could fiind out what it was - but what is an RSS feed? I'm sure that's never come up before. I'm afraid you often assume rather more knowledge than I've got. (And while I'm in this state of shame and degradation, I may as well ask what "browser" and "server" mean. I hoped that would eventually become obvious the more they were used, as when learning a foreign language, but alas! no).
I was workng all this week, as it turned out, so I couldn't get to Birkenhead until today (Friday), when Kathy wasn't there. I may be able to come over one day next week.

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