A Podcast Data Entry Project

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I missed this week’s and last week’s post on PopMatters because I got a little to caught up in trying to finish another self inflicted project. For a while now the Moving Pixels podcast RSS feed has been borked thanks to what I suspect was an internal update to the backend. Part of that means that the podcast episodes no longer appear on iTunes. iTunes reads it off of the feed and if the feed says there are no episodes on it then it displays no episodes.

For quite a while now we’ve asked about it, but since Multimedia is the second smallest section of the site and the only one with a podcast, it is a rather low priority. I asked if I could just write the feed myself and the site admin’s could just drop it into the correct spot. Apparently, they were very happy to let me handle it as I am the only one with any sort of experience with this part of the podcasting process thanks to having to fix Critical Distance’s podcast feed more than once.

I spent some time last week updating the CDC podcast feed so that the episodes include descriptions. So far they are the full texts of the Show Notes pages, save the most recent one because I’d rather not display a racial slur out of context. The word in question is part of a title that on the Critical Distance page links to the post itself. HTML tags aren’t allowed in iTunes RSS feeds, which means it’s just sitting there sans context. I’ll probably update the full summaries so that a shorter description will display and the longer one when moused over.

Anyway, after this experimentation making sure I understood which part of the scripting did what to the iTunes page I got to writing the Moving Pixels feed. Instead of just getting the most recent podcasts and get it done quickly, I figured I might as well do it right, so I went back to the beginning and began hand scripting the necessary details for the feed for every single episode. There are over 130 of them. I also decided I might as well keep track who has appeared how many times on the podcast. Also, a few podcasts post weren’t labeled correctly so I have to search author pages to find the missing episode whenever I found a gap.

What I was doing used to be a $40,000 a year job, now it’s a hobby.

I got a little too wrapped up in the work on Monday. I meant to knock of a couple more, maybe a dozen or so and let it rest of the day, but I got wrapped up in the mechanical process of entering all the data, while watching Star Trek: Voyager episodes and listening to podcasts that I spent the whole day doing it and finished. There are still a few odds and ends. Three of the podcasts are missing and for the last two episodes we seemed to have changed to SoundCloud hosting instead of hosting on PopMatters itself, so there are some issues to iron out with the feed.

Additionally, because this is hand scripted it will have to be updated by hand with each new episode that comes out. Though that will take only a minute or two every two weeks. Maybe a little longer for it to be inserted and for iTunes to notice a change, but oh well.

And that’s what I’ve been up to for the last week or so.

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