The settings page is where you control the appearance and behaviour of your PodHawk website.
Changes to settings take effect only when you click one of the “Save all settings” buttons. This will also clear the cache of webpages.
Here you can choose the language for your admin pages (only English and German are available at present), and a name, slogan and description for your PodHawk site. Be careful to enter the URL of your PodHawk site correctly, and without a trailing slash, otherwise links etc on your website will not work correctly. If your PodHawk site is part of a larger site, be careful – it is the address of your PodHawk site which is needed (eg http://www.mywebsite.com/podcasts) and not the address of the main site (http://www.mywebsite.com).
PodHawk can cache your web pages and your RSS feed which makes them quicker to load. Ususally, you should choose “yes” for caching, unless you find problems with your site, when disabling caching may help you identify the problem.
For error messages, it is normally best to choose “no error messages” unless you are having problems with your site, in which case error messages may help you to find what is wrong.
Here you can choose which theme you want for your website, and which language, and the format you prefer for dates. Most of the settings in this section are self-explanatory.
Most PodHawk users want to be able to count how many times their audio and video files have been downloaded. There are settings in this section which enable you to do this. If you want to count downloads from your feed, however, you need to have a file called .htaccess in the root directory of your PodHawk site, and your Apache web server needs to have a module called mod_rewrite, and to be configured to look for and read .htaccess files. The PodHawk files which you uploaded when you set up your site contain a suitable .htaccess file, though you may not be able to find it easily with your FTP client because .htaccess is a hidden file – look for a setting that says “View hidden files”.
If iTunes is unable to download your podcasts from the RSS feed, the most common reason is that .htaccess is missing or is not being recognised. The solution is simply to disable download counting from the RSS feed.
There is more information about download counting here.
This section configures your RSS feed so that it contains all the information which iTunes needs to find and display your podcasts correctly. Take time to fill it in correctly, particularly the correct iTunes category or categories for you site, as this determines where iTunes will place your podcasts in the iTunes directory.
Comments and Anti-Spam
Your options are:
- disable comments entirely. Your users will not be able to leave comments on any of your posts.
- use the classic LoudBlog system for identifying spam. This involves you entering a question to which humans know the answer but computers don’t (eg “What is the capital city of Germany?”) A user who wants to post a comment on one of your posts has to answer this question correctly before PodHawk will accept the comment. This system is crude, and security experts don’t like it, but it is generally very effective.
- use Akismet to check comments for spam. Akismet is a sophisticated anti-spam system developed for Wordpress, though users of other blogging and podcasting systems are also able to use it. You need to register with Akismet, and obtain an API key which you enter in the text box marked Akismet API key. You may need to pay a fee to Akismet if your site is commercial. Despite what it says in the note on the right-hand side of the Settings page, you no longer have to register with Wordpress.com.
Please note that, adding a ‘comments’ section below your posts requires two things:
- you must enable commenting by choosing a commenting option on the ‘Settings’ page
- you must enable commenting for each post individually when you edit the posting on Recording Page 2.
In this section, you can set the default editor which you want to use on Recording Page 2.
You can also choose how many lines of data you want to display on a page in the Postings, Comments and Spam pages. The default is 15.
There is a radio button for switching on or off the Autosave feature on Recording page 2.
Finally, you can add details of your Amazon S3 account if you wish to use an Amazon S3 bucket to store some or all of your audio/video files. If you select the “yes” radio button, and enter your account details, a second “save” button will appear on Recording Page 2 for uploading files to Amazon.
You can choose to have PodHawk rename every audio/video file that it places in the ‘audio’ folder. You can choose a custom part of the filename (eg ‘mypodcasts’). PodHawk will then add the date of that the file was copied, followed by a unique ID. It is recommended that you select this option. It will ensure that your file names have a consistent pattern and that you cannot accidentally overwrite an existing file by uploading one with the same name.
ID3 Tag Settings
You can choose to have PodHawk write default ID3 tags on every MP3 file that you transfer from your upload to your audio folders.
You can use a Java-based programme (applet) called ZUpload to upload your podcasts. The uploader will appear on Recording Page 1 if you click the “yes” radio button at the top of this section, and also fill in details of your FTP server, user-name and password and the path from the ‘FTP root’ to your ‘upload’ directory. ‘FTP root’ means the directory to which your FTP client points when you first open a connection to your site. For instance, if your FTP client points to ‘home/mysite.com’ and your upload directory is at ‘home/mysite.com/user/htdocs/upload’, then the path from the FTP root to the upload directory is ‘/user/htdocs/upload’.
There is a button at the bottom of this section to test whether you have entered the correct FTP data. PodHawk will make a trial connection, and report back (in the right-hand column) if it cannot make the connection, or if it cannot find the upload folder at the location you have entered.
If you have a Unix/Linux server on which PHP runs as an Apache module, entering your FTP details here will enable PodHawk’s ‘FTP layer’. This allows PodHawk to run without any ‘world-writable’ directories. If you have a Windows server, or if PHP runs under CGI/FastCGI, the ‘FTP layer’ is unnecessary, and you should enter your FTP details only if you want to use the ZUpload Java applet on Recording Page 1.