At the frequent meetings with our IT Department, our magazine staff often learns of the latest tools and terminology to gain popularity. People in IT spend a lot of time corresponding with each other, so if you want to talk the talk, they're the ones to learn from. I don't necessarily want to talk the talk, but I at least want to have some sort of clue as to what these internet and multimedia gurus are talking about with their arcane vocabulary.

In one of these meetings a few weeks ago, we met with project manager Tim Stark to learn how we might repackage some of the useful information that will be presented at our Fluid Power Expo, to be held in Cleveland November 8th and 9th. The Expo will feature nearly 20 seminar sessions covering topics such as electrohydraulic control, contamination and filtration, efficient use of pneumatics, and others. Most sessions are scheduled to be two hours long, and each will be presented by an expert in his or her respective field.

Anyway, Tim mentioned that one technique could be to record the audio portion digitally, post it to a website, and allow visitors to download the audio file in MP3 format. This is what Tim told us is similar to a Podcast. He said that like most new digital terminology, the term Podcast often is misused. He said that to be a true Podcast, visitors would subscribe to a service that automatically downloads appropriate new audio files to subscribers' computers whenever new files become available. What's more, the identities of the subscribers are kept anonymous.

Tim did a quick search for hydraulic, pneumatic, and fluid power to find out if any Podcasts on fluid power already existed. Not surprisingly, none did.

Our ultimate goal is not to create a real Podcast, but to possibly post audio and video files from seminars onto our website. This will allow people who couldn't attend the live seminars to listen in on a seminar session of their choice and maybe even follow along visually via a Power Point-type presentation.

In the meantime — and with apologies to Tim Stark — we plan on continuing to publish our monthly Podcast, otherwise known as Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazine. The difference is, this particular Podcast is printed, not an MP3, and the subscribers are not anonymous. (However, if you'd prefer to receive our slick new digital edition of H & P every month, send me an e-mail and I'll forward you a sample issue.)