Since a couple of weeks, iTunes version 9 has become available. If you haven't installed or upgraded to iTunes 9 my advice is to do that.
With iTunes 9 one gets a couple of advancements that make life for the podcast listener much easier. One is that it has become possible to convert regular files to podcasts, which means they will behave like podcasts (remember playback position and skip when shuffling) and will appear in the personal podcast library. Another is that the binary setting that indicated whether a podcast was new or not, has been extended with an intermediate state. If you started to listen to a podcast and have not heard it until the end, this new indicator will show such and differentiate from entirely heard files.
Here is how one converts a regular file to podcast. One selects the file (or several of them together) and gives a right-click. The option to choose is 'Get Info'. The info window of the file (or files together) will appear and here one selects the tab 'options'. Under options a pop-up that allows to set the media type - 'podcast' is one of them.
(See screenshot to the left)
The indicators new and partly listened are bullets next to the files. The bullet for new is the old familiar filled bullet. The bullet for partly listened is a bullet that is only partly filled. If neither of those appear next to the file, you have heard it until the end.
I hope iTunes will continue to be improved. I'd love to get the chance to organize my list of podcasts. In stead of getting them according to the alphabet, I'd love to be able to categorize them and store them in separate folders.
Another improvement I'd love to see is a better integration with downloads. I'd love to see which podcast files are being downloaded, or waiting to be downloaded in my podcast library. And I'd love to be able to change the order from there, as well as easily identify which files have just finished downloading.
More iTunes instructions:
Remember Playback Position,
Preferences per Podcast,
Subscribing to podcasts in iTunes,