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Podcasting looks for critical mass audience

Associated Press

One of the creators of Podcasting is going to invest to encourage more people to get into the business.

Adam Curry announced the launch of BoKu Communications and its first Web site, Podshow.com, “to bring together the elements necessary to create a marketplace.”

The former MTV VJ is the most prominent creator of Podcasts, which are audio programs distributed over the Internet for listening on PCs, iPods or MP3 players.

He said the effort is necessary because “even the top Podcasts really don’t have enough critical mass to sustain an advertising model.”

Curry added that BoKu plans to help “bootstrap” some program creators. “We’ve figured out how to get a number of people … who will be able to create (programming), and in turn will be able to create new shows.” He expects to announce some of the talent this week.

“We will be making investments in a number of shows and Podcasters so people won’t be stuck in irons, not making enough to quit even half the day job,” Curry said on his own show at DailySourceCode.com.

PodShow.com is similar to Weblogs Inc., a network of some 75 niche-interest blogs operated by Jason Calacanis. He supplies software for production, promotion and marketing, and shares advertising revenues with writers.

“We did a lot of work talking to people on Madison Avenue and big brands, companies which are interested in basically finding their audience,” Curry said.

PodShow.com offers a directory of more than 4,000 podcasts already in production, and advice and tools for producing programs.

Messaging hits quarter of phone users

A quarter of American adults who have cell phones have used the devices’ text-messaging features within the past month, a new study finds.

Usage correlates with age: 63 percent of cell phone users ages 18-27 have used text messaging compared with 31 percent for ages 28-39 and 7 percent for those over 60.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project also found that 28 percent of people who text message have received unsolicited commercial messages that way.

Hitachi displays robot on wheels

Hitachi’s robot on wheels avoids obstacles, responds to simple voice commands and reads the weather forecast.

But it is very much a work in progress: Reporters invited to a demonstration were warned not to touch the two prototypes for safety’s sake. They also were asked not to use a camera flash at certain angles or to cross a white line on the floor.

The 150-pound, 51-inch-tall robots, nicknamed Pal and Chum, are equipped with digital cameras and radar sensors, allowing them to avoid obstacles with a reaction time of one-tenth of a second.

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