Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Finding podcasts

I have iTunes installed on my computer at home, and it's so easy to use that I rely on it to find and listen to podcasts. But I know not all podcasts are listed with iTunes, so for this exercise I decided to try some new happy hunting grounds.


I tried:



Interface-wise, I definitely prefer Yahoo! Podcasts, which includes ratings from other listeners and some easy to follow instructions for creating your own podcast. And they get bonus points for making it so easy to listen to a podcast with just one click. (Although I was hoping The Dolphin Pod would feature dolphins talking, kinda like whale songs.)

Then again, Podcast.net is just as easy, with the added benefit of letting you see right away when the last podcast was posted (if you browse the categories on the front page); no use listening to a news podcast that was created in January of 2005!

Podcast Alley is a bit harder; you can listen to a podcast but the link for that is hard to find. It's much easier to find the "subscribe" link. Since podcasts are free, you may as well subscribe and cancel later if you hate it, I suppose. I like to listen to a snippet first, though. I often know in 5 seconds if I'm going to hate it.

Podcast.com is the only service to feature a podcast player that's not a pop-up window, and has a broad listing of programs. The podcasts started playing very quickly, and continued to play as I browsed the listings some more. The podcast played smoothly as well, and wasn't interrupted by streaming problems.

Podcast.com is still in "alpha"; right now, there's one directory of podcasts. Soon, the site promises, users will be able to create and share their own directories, so you can find listeners with similar tastes and grab podcasts from their directories.

Even if a podcast site doesn't have a built-in player, it's easy to subscribe to a podcast feed in Bloglines. Do just as you would to add any other RSS feed in Bloglines: copy the link for the RSS feed, navigate to Bloglines, and click "My Feeds." Then click "Add," directly below the "s" in Feeds. Paste the url for the RSS feed in the appropriate box and click subscribe, then answer the questions on the following page.. To listen to a feed in Bloglines, scroll to the bottom of the post and click the arrow on the blue icon. Warning: Navigating away from this post will stop the podcast.

Yahoo! Podcasts led me to The Definitive London Podcast, which is new to me and which I am quite enjoying as I type. This one might need to be added to my iTunes list so I can get it on my iPod, actually!




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