Thursday, October 30, 2008

Suggestion for the advanced podcast listener

Under the label Instructions, I try to compile a set of help posts, giving some guidance to listening to podcasts and more. The first four are a quick guide for the beginner:

1- listen on line
2- download audio files
3- get iTunes
4- put feeds in iTunes

The next post I made, explains about RSS. This mainly showed how you can sign-up with an RSS reader (Google reader) and start following this blog.
5- RSS readers

However, Google Reader, for me, is also a great tool to follow podcasts. I think the advance podcast listener runs into a couple of problems when working with iTunes only. I know of other people. who stopped using iTunes and aggregate their podcasts in another reader, such a Juice. For me, since I use an iPod, iTunes still has great merit and what it lacks, I compensate with Google Reader.

The greatest problem with iTunes lies in the fact it is not designed to handle a huge amount of podcast feeds. Podcasts are listed alphabetically and when the list gets long, your overview is gone. Other RSS readers, though, allow one to create folders and organize the feeds therein. This is how I use Google Reader.

In Google reader I enter all podcasts I intend to follow (and there hundreds of those), ordered in folders, according to my preferences. This is how I know there is a new podcast out. I can even listen through Google Reader, with the help of a plugin. If I decide this podcast is worth listening, I copy the feed into iTunes and download the specific episode.

In iTunes I try to maintain as few feeds as possible. Also, I change the settings thus that iTunes never downloads an episode unless I say so (the default setting is to download the newest episode). And so, through my RSS reader I get a first impression of the feeds and in iTunes I enter only those I want to listen to.

Occasionally, I enter a feed in iTunes first. In order to make sure Google Reader is always synchronized, I will frequently export my feeds in an OPML from iTunes to the RSS reader. If you right click the podcast folder 'export song list...' is the option that allows you to save an OPML on your PC. Afterwards you can import this OPML to any RSS reader.

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