Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Listen to it All- Not!

Several of my favourite blogs have fallen into the nasty habit of linking to audio files. On the surface this can be a good thing. But there are problems in that habit.

First, an amazing number of audio files are in Real Media (rm) format. I loathe Real Media. I loathe Real Player and I loathe everyone and everything associated with them. They simply will not play well with Firefox. Either you register with Real Media for official, approved version of their latest adware or you have to download a freeware cracked version. Neither option is especially appealing. Windows Media Files can also prove problematic for the non-Internet Explorer user. I will not change my browsing habits to suit someone who is too lazy to switch to a superior format. (If that's not flame war provocation, I don't know what is). Firefox is better than IE in so many different ways that it isn't funny (more fuel to the fire!).

Second, unlike text, audio files require sustained listening. If the good bit that you want your readers to appreciate occurs fifteen minutes into the speech, tell them that. Until I stopped doing it, I wasted untold hours of time waiting for the punchline. It never hurts to give your readers the option to cut to the chase. Better still, type out the bit that amused, offended, provoked or challenged you.

No comments: