While chatting with Jeff Waugh, we worked out a great way of blogging from remote Tanzania: podcasting by telephone! Here’s how.
Even if we’re not in one of the 70% of Tanzanian villages with mobile phone coverage, we’ll still have a satellite phone. We call into a voicemail service like mBox and just start talking. It then emails us the MP3 file of the recording.
WordPress already lets you blog by email, checking a standard POP3 mailbox and turning whatever it finds there into a blog post. Email subject becomes post title, email body becomes content. But it doesn’t support attachments. Yet.
Jeff reckons it’d be easy enough to see if the email contains an MP3 file and extract it. It could then be handed to, say, the PodPress plug-in, which in turn makes sure the MP3 file is properly connected to the blog post to work as a podcast. PodPress then automatically updates your podcast listing in iTunes and other directories.
As an added bonus, WordPress can automatically send a message to Twitter when a new episode goes online.
How do we avoid spam? Well, mBox uses Caller ID to make sure the email has a subject like:
mBox Voice message from NNNNNNNNNNN to MMMMMMMMMM
We can check the email headers to ensure they’re legitimately from mBox or whoever we use. And we can use the sender’s phone number to correctly assign the author, and the receiving phone number to, well, post into different categories or whatever.
So, to run through it again… I’m standing on the ferry to Zanzibar. I make a satellite phone call to describe the magnificent view. Five minutes later, that’s a podcast. And everybody gets notified via Twitter.
Of course there’s bound to be some potential for screwing this up, but whaddyareckon?