26 November 2006

Have A Blast With iTunes podcasts

I've heard of podcasting some time ago and even though it sounded like the greatest thing invented since the sliced bread, I never gave it a try. Until recently...

It started with NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams videos. Lately I do feel behind with current events. I used to stay up until 11 p.m. to watch Eyewitness News on Channel 7, with Kaity Tong and Ernie Anastos, Storm Field, etc. but lately between my Wife and my Kid, I don't have the time to watch TV. So watching news video seemed like the next best thing. Once I subscribe to the free service, the videos get downloaded to my hard drive and I can watch it at my leisure, no Internet access required. Then I ventured further and lo and behold, there's a whole world of interesting stuff out there. I am a junkie for tech news. I visit MacMinute and CNet News almost everyday. I would love to watch video shows about computer stuff but haven't found one. Even if I find the site, the process of going to some site, click on some link to watch the video, then maybe do some Ctrl click to save the video for offline viewing... too much work. Not to mention the delay of buffering the video, lest the video sputters on and off. The process with audio podcasts via iTunes Store is so much simpler. Browse the available podcasts, with attractive icons and descriptions, subscribe, then at certain time the podcasts are downloaded to iTunes on the computer. Plug in an iPod and sync then the files are ready for listening. Very minimal barrier to entry.

I already enjoyed listening to This Week In Tech (TWIT), some Mac podcasts, and part of a MacObserver Geek Gab episode. I like to listen to the news while driving, but after a while the news would repeat. With podcasts, I can easily fill a one-hour drive with stories about the dismal Zune premiere, Vista availability, Core Duo, etc. One minor problem is that the podcasts must be listened in one sitting. Once it's paused, I don't know how to fast forward to the place where I last listened. What I've done so far is to re-listen to the interrupted podcasts on the computer, where I can move the slider to various points in the file to find out where I paused the podcast.

I went on a shopping spree and subscribed to podcasts about Learning Mandarin, vocabulary words, and comedy (The Onion and Comedy Central), but only listened to the techie stuff. So far, the podcasts haven't max out my 10-GB iPod's hard drive, but I'm afraid it will soon. There's so much free and interesting podcasts out there.

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