The past year has seen some exciting developments courtesy of the Internet, mostly notably blogs and Podcasting. Sparks takes an interesting approach by tackling both of these mediums, as well as Internet radio and RSS. And while that's all fine and well, this jack-of-all-trades isn't really a master of anything.
Despite its overwhelming functionality, Sparks is fairly easy to navigate thanks to the helpful tabs that differentiate the focus areas of the program. Sparks provides a recording mode for creating your own podcasts. While this feature does work, tweaking and arranging items is frustrating since Sparks lacks a full visual display and basic editing tools. The built-in RSS reader works well, and the nice tree-style directory makes navigating feeds simple. The Internet radio tab works in a similar fashion, with a large directory of stations divided by country. The final tab acts a download manager of sorts, displaying all of your downloaded media files. Podcasts can be played from within Sparks or they can be added to your default media player.
While we applaud Sparks for being a one-stop solution, the lack of refinement and overwhelming number of options make it difficult for newbies to fully grasp its power. We like the helpful tips scattered throughout, but ultimately, we feel Sparks spreads itself a little too thin. It does many things good but nothing great.
BlogMatrix Sparks 2.0 gives you a one-stop solution for recording, sharing, and listening to Podcasts. In one package, you get a multitrack recorder and mixer designed especially for the needs of Podcasters, automatic uploading of your Podcasts to the BlogMatrix server, and a full featured Podcatcher for listening to Podcasts.
Sparks 2.0 removes the technical and financial barriers to Podcasting. Now everyone can easily share their views, thoughts, experiences, and interests, and join the emerging Podcasting community.