The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 May 2006

Adventures in iTunes (2)

I've started snagging podcasts via iTunes.

What motivated this, actually, was a statement from Lileks to the effect that he'd maxed out his bandwidth, and I wondered, "Hmmm. If I don't download it from the site myself, but get it through iTunes, maybe that will help."

Which, as the discerning reader has already discerned, it won't.

Still, it's a handy way to get the podcasts (except Lileks, who apparently has maxed out his bandwidth) without juggling a bunch of bookmarks, which means more to me than you'd think.

Posted at 7:21 PM to Fileophile


You were the second-to-last person I would have pegged for podcast listening.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 7:53 PM on 12 May 2006

Why is it cool to denigrate podcasts among certain people in the blogosphere? It feels a bit like the contempt the dinomedia express for blogs... Hmm...

Anyway, there are rumors that OS 10.5 (Leopard) will include BitTorrent software built into the OS. This will supposedly enable easier distributed downloading. Perhaps Lileks would benefit from this.

I'll bet his podcast is popular enough that he could seed it on BitTorrent and relieve some of the pressure on his bandwidth account. That, or sign with an unlimited bandwidth service.

Posted by: Dan at 10:34 PM on 12 May 2006

I didn't hear anyone badmouthing podcasts. (Though I'm sure I will if I ever do one.)

Actually, the appeal of the format to me is perfectly obvious: I love radio, and I hate radio stations.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:41 PM on 12 May 2006

I love podcasts. Although it's pretty safe to say that Lileks is one that I'll never listen to.

Posted by: Erica at 11:24 PM on 12 May 2006

He's an acquired taste, and not everyone is likely to acquire it. (I think of him as Garrison Keillor on speed, which really doesn't sound all that appealing when you think about it.)

Posted by: CGHill at 11:49 PM on 12 May 2006

Pshaw...the Dustbury podcast would be an instant hit.

Do you listen to podcasts while driving? Or at work?

Speaking of radio, what do you think of the satellite radio systems? I've loved it to pieces when I had it in a rental, but I can't force myself to pull the trigger on buying it for myself.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 11:00 AM on 13 May 2006

I'm still using the factory stereo, so I haven't tried any of this neat stuff in the car. I have been picking up a couple of podcasts at work.

Satellite radio makes a pretty good case for itself, but this is mostly due to broadcast radio doing so badly.

One thing local radio could do well — local weather — isn't happening here in the Okay City; they've largely outsourced their coverage to the TV stations. And few things in life are quite as uninformative as listening to a TV show on the radio; one might as well just turn on the TV and hang a blanket over the screen.

And I admit that while I have no plans for a podcast of my own, I've already picked out the theme music.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:24 AM on 13 May 2006

One must note (if one is me) that the term "podcast" refers to an audio enclosure in an RSS feed. The podcast feed itself must remain HTTP. If everyone agrees on a URL scheme for bittorrent, then in theory, there's no reason why a podcast's enclosure can't use a URL for bittorrent or FTP or anything else, as long as the receiving machine knows how to resolve that URL.

(iTunes's Podcast area will let you subscribe to any RSS feed - it just objects if none of the items have any enclosures that it can play.)

At one point shortly after iTunes 4.9 was released, the iTunes Music Store did cache and serve podcasts, but "saving bandwidth" turned out to be the only small benefit, and I don't think they do it anymore unless there's some reason for them to ask to provide it.

I like the idea of podcasts, but I don't have much of a commute. Listening to a podcast means I can't read or write while it's playing, and I rarely have the 30-45 minutes that most podcasters seem to take for their episodes. I'll listen to a few on the iPod when I head to the city and back, but that's about it.

Posted by: Matt at 12:27 PM on 13 May 2006

My commute — 10.6 miles each way — runs about 17 minutes, weather permitting.

Thirty minutes seems to be pretty common for podcasters. Then again, I sampled something called "Trance on Tuesdays," which runs something like two hours and twenty minutes, and while I generally like this stuff in small doses, 2:20 is not my idea of a small dose.

The shortest one I'm getting is The Onion's radio news feed, which usually checks in around 55 seconds.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:50 PM on 13 May 2006