Sparks 2.0 has been released for Windows users — a Mac version is coming mid-April. The software is billed as “a one-stop solution” for podcasters; it offers podcast recording, sharing and listening capabilities.
The solution combines client software you install on your Mac or PC with subscription-based access to the BlogMatrix server, which can be used to distribute your own podcasts out to subscribers. The resulting podcasts can be downloaded to any iPod or Windows Media Audio-based player. BlogMatrix describes it as a “point, click, mix & produce system” that doesn’t require users to understand XML or other technology in order to publish their podcasts.
Sparks features the ability not only to create podcasts but also to listen to them — you can use the software to subscribe to other users’ podcasts, convert streaming Internet radio to podcasts, aggregate weblogs and newsfeeds, and organize media by categories like audio, blogs and news.
Sparks comes in three packages — BaseCaster, MasterCaster and BlasterCaster. Each package includes varying amounts of disk space and download quotas. The service costs from $5 per month or $50 per year to $10 per month to $100 per year depending on the level of service.
Mac system requirements will call for Mac OS X v10.3 or later. BlogMatrix indicates the Mac version is expected April 5, 2005.