TechBite: Podcast Heaven

steveb

By Steve Bass

Start Here: Listening to Podcasts
I’m surprised how many people aren’t taking advantage of
the Internet’s wealth of truly wonderful, enjoyable,
educating, entertaining — and free — podcasts.

So here’s a quick ditty about podcasts.

You can listen to most podcasts right on the broadcaster’s
site, say, from KCRW
[http://www.kcrw.com/podcasts/index_html], a Los
Angeles-based station.

But for me, the glory of podcasts is that because they’re
MP3 files, you can collect them a folder and play them
when you want with Windows Media Player. And you probably
know you can copy them to your MP3 player or smart phone.

Finding podcasts isn’t difficult. You can rummage around
dedicated podcasting sites:

Podcast Alley
[http://www.podcastalley.com/] and iPodder
[http://www.ipodder.org/] are two good ones.

I’ve
mentioned Juice [http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/], a
tool to find and download podcasts. Some people swear by
iTunes [http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/]. (Here’s a
quick tutorial
[http://www.scienceaudio.net/info/how_to_download_software.h
tml] to show you how to install and use Juice and iTunes.)

If you’re not happy with my recommendations (some of you
are so picky…), check the PodcatcherMatrix
[http://www.podcatchermatrix.org/] for a comparison of
dozens of podcatching tools.

Just as much fun is discovering little-known podcasts
about your hobby or guilty pleasure. I use short search
terms on Google, such as podcast magicians, podcast
“growing tomatoes,” or podcast “ocean fishing.” (I use
quotes around two or more words to tighten the search.)=20

Now onto a couple things for smart-phone users.

Podcast Heaven with Stitcher and DoubleTwist
Last week I slammed Livio Radio’s Carmen, a gizmo to
download music and podcasts and play it on your car’s
radio.

My buddy Karl Kasca (from IncreaseOnlineProfits
[http://increaseonlineprofits.com/].com) told me about
Stitcher [http://www.stitcher.com/home.php], a terrific,
and in my opinion, much better alternative. (There are two
drawbacks — aren’t there always? — which I’ll get to in
a minute.)

Stitcher is an on-demand service that streams podcasts,
radio shows, or news, to your smart phone.

Stitcher seems to have a million or two podcasts,
including lots of NPR shows, WSJ and CNN news, tons of
sports shows and tech news, New Yorker magazine news (who
knew?), and the neat-sounding, but utterly boring, Brewing
Network.

You can listen to podcasts on your PC, but the neat part
is sending them to your smart phone. Start by downloading
the Stitcher app for your phone; it works with the iPhone,
BlackBerry, Android, or Palm. (The last time I looked at
the stats, almost everyone in the world has a smart phone,
except maybe me and my wife; our TracFones are definitely
not on the list.) =20

From your PC, choose one or more podcasts and have
Stitcher stitch them together on your smart phone.

I don’t particularly like the guy doing this YouTube video
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DQ4_QwDpKBB4], it gives you
more details about what Stitcher can do. The FAQ
[http://www.stitcher.com/faqs.php#top] answers your more
inquisitive and pesky questions.

One negative is that Stitcher is ad sponsored, so you’ll
see ads on your smart phone. The other n is that some
podcasts aren’t updated nearly as often as I’d like. For
instance, Terri Gross’s Fresh Air was three days old when
I last checked.

Overall, Stitcher offers a service that’s worth trying.

On another note, Karl also said that doubleTwist
[http://www.doubletwist.com/airsync/] AirSync, a podcast
synching tool exclusively for the Android phone, is just
as impressive. Also free, it grabs podcasts through your
home Wi-Fi network. =20

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