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Podcatching Debunked

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… Inspired by a perfectly reasonable question put to me by Al Howell: “So I was on this a Podcast site and clicked on the link for the audio, but instead I got a bunch of XML code. What up with that?”

As I explained in my very first blog post on the subject, you don’t actually need an iPod to enjoy Podcasting; rather, the equation works out like so:

Podcasting = netcast audio + RSS syndication.

Podcasting guru Adam Curry and software vendors like iPodderX are all over this “subscription model” — that is, that you need a Podcatching client to subscribe to your favourite Podcasts and have them automatically imported into your iTunes software, so that from there you can either:

A) upload them to your iPod;
B) burn them onto a CD for the car;
C) god forbid, listen to them right on your computer!

For me, there are two problems with this: First, since joining the Podcast revolution my library of MP3 files has more than doubled in size, filled with hour-long talk and music shows that I’ll only need to listen to once. All these shows are archived on the Podcasters’ sites, so to have local copies on my computer as well seems like unnecessary duplication and a waste of my valuable hard drive space.

Second, and what nobody’s telling you, is that Podcatching software doesn’t really work. The free open source and multi-platform iPodder couldn’t reliably launch or run on my Mac, and the version 3.0 of iPodderX is so bloated with unnecessary features that it’s bewildering even to an alleged “power user” like me.

I think the real innovation in Podcasting is merely the idea that anyone can produce audio content for mass distribution. Supposedly Apple is to include a Podcast directory in their next version of iTunes. Until then, Podcatching will be as much a gimmick as a convenience, and I’ll get my Podcasts directly from the web.

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About acurrie

  • Temple Stark

    Yep – sounds good. I just right-click at people’s sites and download the ones I want. When I use the software it downloads all those that I haven’t downloaded. That includes 100s and 100s of MBs of files.

    However, I am in the middle of a little RSS experiment of my own. I will report back.