iPod/iTunes ain’t perfect for podcasts

5 03 2007

I began listening to a a speech this morning by Dave Winer. He started talking about how no current media device was great for managing podcasts. I’m only 6 mins in so I’m not sure what else he’s going to cover but I’ve been meaning to write about the problems with the iTunes/iPod platform for this application for awhile.

Maybe Dave or Apple can make use of this feedback!

If you’re in a hurry, I’ll save you the details, here’s the summary: The iPod/iTunes is only an adequate device for managing podcasts. (Though it’s pretty damn good for managing your music collection!)

Now, on to the details:

  • If I’m midway through playing a podcast when I sync the iPod the currently playing podcast is deleted
    • This is the worst issue IMO and I consider this a defect
  • Podcasts are mixed in amongst the music
    • I don’t want to see them when I am browsing my music collection!
    • And I definitely don’t want it to artifically increase the stats about how many albums/artists etc I have in my collection
  • There are two menus I have to navigate when viewing/listening to my podcasts
    • Videos->Video Podcasts and just regular Podcasts
    • They should be all under one menu
      • Or Podcasts->Audio and Podcasts->Video
  • The RSS recommended by iTunes is shonky, proprietary and harder to implement than it should be
  • Bittorrent-supplied files aren’t recognized by iTunes
  • It would be nice if iTunes gave you the option to normalize a podcast (automatically?), perhaps with something like the Levelator

I’d love to see all these problems addressed…or iTunes/iPod opened up so I can fix ’em. 😉

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3 responses

6 03 2007
Jiggy

Not sure about your other issues, but:

If I’m midway through playing a podcast when I sync
the iPod the currently playing podcast is deleted

* This is the worst issue IMO and I consider
this a defect

I don’t seem to have this problem, but I have turned off the option to automatically delete podcasts. Go to iTunes preferences, Podcasts tab and change “Keep” to “All episodes” (the default _may_ be “All unplayed episodes” but I can’t remember).

This means you need to manually delete podcasts that you have finished with, which might be a big deal if you have a lot of podcasts. Doesn’t bother me too much because I’m not a big podcast listener…

8 03 2007
trentini

Thanks for the tip Jiggy, that’s a valid workaround. Unfortunately I subscribe to a number of podcasts and deleting them *after* I listen to them is damn useful (and an obvious) feature. I still maintain it’s a defect. 🙂

14 03 2007
Jiggy

Actually, even my workaround has some problems. I ran into the same problem you did – I was halfway through a Dr. Karl podcast when I did a sync, and lo and behold the podcast disappeared from my Podcasts menu on the iPod after the sync. Strangely, the podcast was still in iTunes though!

Then I noticed that if I scroll through the “Artists” list on the iPod, and select “ABC Science Online”, the podcast is listed there. So yeah, there’s definitely some quirky things going on there.

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