As I have previously mentioned, I’ve become a podcast addict. To me, listening to a podcast is equivalent to attending an expert panel discussion at an industry conference, except the conference is in my car. I’m sure you could find four or five awesome podcasts dedicated to any interest you have (e.g. Home Brewing, Accounting, or Buddhism). Like any addict, I need my fix daily. This is where I run into problems. Experts spend their valuable free time producing these podcasts and often release them weekly, but sometimes skip a week, or multiple weeks. So, my morning ritual is to ask: “Dude, I wonder if any new podcasts are available?”
What’s that? I should just use iTunes? Maybe you’re right, but I’ve never liked the podcast subscription feature in iTunes. I have to go through the pain of attaching my iPhone to my PC, refreshing all my subscriptions, and synching to iTunes. Wait... did it just delete six unheard episodes? Dang! Maybe I have an irrational fear of the synch, but their UI just doesn’t seem to meet my needs.
The iPhone is perfectly capable of downloading podcasts on its own (PC-free), but you have to check each podcast manually, every day. Bummer, dude. Checking things repeatedly is never fun, I prefer getting notified. So I’ve looked around and found a few options:
Subscribe via RSS
Most podcasts have a website containing a link to the RSS feed for their show. You can subscribe using your favorite RSS reader (aka Google Reader). Now you can group all your subscriptions into a folder and have one place to check every day. The drawback is that you’re still stuck with checking a website then going somewhere else to manually download shows. Weak, dude.
iPhone App #1 - Podcast Push
I was initially stoked after finding this app. It allows you to enter your podcast subscriptions and promises to pop up a “Push Notification” alerting you when new podcasts are available. You can quickly tap the link and be downloading in seconds. Sadly, this app does not consistently notify, and for some podcasts it completely fails to notify. Seriously dude? Great idea though!
iPhone App #2 - Podcaster
This full featured app is my current fave. After adding your subscriptions you can check them all for new shows with one swift tap. You can even schedule it to check for new episodes at certain times of the day and download the automatically. It does some things better than the iTunes app, such as displaying show details so you can decide if it’s worth a listen. Some things aren’t as polished, like podcast searching. But, at 99 cents, I’d say it’s a sweet deal.
Do you also suffer from podcast addiction syndrome? How do you deal with this? Android users: are their better tools on the Droid? I’d appreciate any suggestions.