Podcatching – Goliath is the winner

Until very recently I was using “Doppler” as my podcatching client. It allowed me a degree of control in managing my subscriptions that I simply cannot get with iTunes. However, I was finding more and more problems – even with the older podcasts – as they focused on ensuring that the RSS tags were iTunes compatible and not necessarily other podcatcher compatible.

Also, I was finding some content available exclusively on iTunes which had me using its podcatching features anyway for those select offerings. For example I’m currently in the middle of a GREAT astrophysics lecture series from Berkeley that is available as part of many educational institutions’ efforts to make such content generally available.

Add to that the fact that the creator of Doppler has been really dragging his feet on updating the podcatcher and I had to reluctantly transfer all of my feeds to iTunes and find some new ways to manage my content.

iTunes doesn’t offer a feed-by-feed way of discarding unplayed podcasts (for instance, if I haven’t listened to a “Clark Howard” podcast in a month, then I’m just not going to listen to it) and there is no really good mechanism for marking a podcast as “done with” – you can do this in Doppler by simply assigning a rating to the podcast and it will automatically remove all with that rating if you have set that podcast up to be managed in that way.

In iTunes the only feedback mechanism I have is to run the podcast to the end so that the play count goes above zero. Then I have an “Obsolete podcast” Smartlist that picks these up. Periodically I go to that Smartlist and delete everything in it. I *know* I can have iTunes automatically delete all played podcasts but sometimes I do not want this to happen right away.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my iTunes podcatching experience so far. It’s sort of like when I finally joined the mainstream and installed Windows 95 after being a die-hard OS/2 user for so many years. I can finally do everything everybody else can do, the price being that I have to give up some of my prized features that just don’t seem to be in demand by the mainstream.

If you are interested, here is my current podcast list in OPML format: OPML File as of September 20, 2007. If you want to know how to import/export OPML files from iTunes, click here.

Below is a list of my current podcasts in order of preference. I enjoy ALL of these, of course, otherwise I wouldn’t download them. But some are more relevant, informative or fun than others.

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
Astronomy Cast
Astro 10P: Introduction to General Astronomy – Fall 2006
TEDTalks (video)
Slashdot Review – SDR News
CBC Radio: Quirks & Quarks Complete Show
Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine
IT Conversations
Cato Daily Podcast
Cato Weekly Video
Science @ NASA Feature Stories Podcast
Humanist Network News
Mr. Deity
Career Opportunities
The Finer Points – Aviation Podcast
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Video and Audio Podcasts
The Economist
The Clark Howard Show
Clark Howard’s Scam Alerts
Clark Howard’s Call Of The Week
Battlestar Galactica Podcast
Astronomy Magazine Podcast
David Allen Company Updates
David Allen Company Podcast
43 Folders
Pilotcast – Aviation Podcast for Pilots, by Pilots
Slacker Astronomy podcast
Slacker Astronomy Video Podcast
The Skeptic Tank
Astronomy a Go Go!
SETI: Science and Skepticism: Are We Alone?
Cato Institute Event Podcast
Gmail Podcast
The Ellen DeGeneres Show in a minute
IdoNotes (and sleep)

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