Vodcast problems with the iPod

I’m fortunate enough not to have time to watch video on a 2-inch screen. However, I do watch vodcasts during breakfast instead of TV news, and wonder: if I had to ride a train to work, could I have my Clif bar and singing woodchucks too?

Step 1: Subscribe to vodcast using iTunes

Drag a feed URL into the “Podcasts” node in iTunes, or click the “ITMS” badge on the website, which lets you subscribe using the ITMS interface.

Step 2: Automatically download updates

iTunes can check for new episodes every hour. On weekdays Rocketboom publishes right around the time I wake up, and the hour interval usually doesn’t hit until I’m ready to leave. If I’m lucky, I don’t have to do anything. If I’m unlucky I have to select “Update Podcast” before I take a shower. This means I have to select “Update Podcast” so my train activity isn’t “Let’s Count the Telephone Poles”.

Step 3: Reencoding

If an episode isn’t in the right format for the iPod it needs reencoding. Since 6.0.2, iTunes has this capability. Sweet! But it doesn’t do it automatically. Doh! After I get done with my shower I need to drip on the computer and select “Convert selection for iPod”. I risk shorting my keyboard because reencoding takes a long time… and my computer sure is noisy for its speed..

Step 4: Get in my iPod!

After the reencoding’s done, you have to manually update the iPod.

572… 573… 574… and The Way It Should Be

  • Step 1: You can drag a website’s URL to iTunes. Safari detects feeds. I don’t see why iTunes can’t. Auto-detection of feeds was the future oh, about 4 years ago, and it’s certainly easier to explain to people. I realize this doesn’t support ITMS link-through, and I like how ITMS rolls things up for new viewers… couldn’t iTunes ping ITMS to accomplish the same thing?
  • Step 2: iTunes supports specific check-for-updates times for each podcast.
  • Step 3: All downloaded episodes are reencoded automatically if you have an iPod.
  • Step 3: Everyone has a faster computer so reencoding’s not a big deal.
  • Step 4: The iPod updates itself when a converted video shows up. If it’s not on the iPod what’s the point of converting it?
  1. The woodchucks are now on The PAN every Monday, which is already encoded h.264 for the iPod. They’ll still be on Bullemhead too, of course.

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