06 July 2005

Podcast Talk: iTunes

When I got my mp3 player, I tried a few free podcast aggregators before settling on iPodder. It is the best option that I have found so far, but there are several things about it that are inconvenient. That's why I was happy to hear that iTunes was adding a podcast directory. I don't use iTunes a lot, but it is my first stop when I want a song quickly without navigating some weird peer-to-peer software. I was expecting the podcast directory to give me the same instant gratification.

Unfortunately, iTunes isn't fully stocked yet. I couldn't find all the shows that I listen to regularly. Out of 20 podcasts, I was only able to find 12. I suppose that is OK, but I expected more from an outfit like Apple. Those who said that Apple would probably focus on the corporate guys who are jumping into the podcast game may be right. The front page of the directory is filled with shows produced by ABC News, Disney, and professional radio stations across the country. I probably would have thought that was neat before I discovered shows like Croncast, which is recorded in a family's basement. Now I can't shake the feeling that the big guys are taking the candy from the little kid who was amusing himself in the back of the school bus.

What iTunes lacks in selection, it makes up for with a great interface. The interface is pretty and informative. The songs are not downloaded to a mysterious folder deep with the nether regions of my computer. There is plenty of information available for each episode such as date, time, and info on what the episode is about. I hate it when I have more than one episode and can't tell which one is the newest, so I like to have as much info as possible.

All in all, I think that iTunes is a great podcast aggregator -- if you have an iPod. After spending all that time fiddling with it, I couldn't figure out how to use iTunes to download the shows to my non-iPod. That makes me especially grateful that iTunes saves the shows to an easily found folder. Transfering the shows one-by-one from the My Music folder isn't much worse than navigating Windows Media Player 10, a program I dislike a little more each time I use it. Perhaps if I am a good girl, ABM will bring me an iPod for Christmas! Then my podcast experience would be complete because I could bookmark my shows instead of trying to listen to them in one sitting.

Laundry awaits, so I'll write about Odeo next week.
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