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Who here uses a podcatcher? In fact, who here uses an RSS/ATOM feed reader? Anyway. If you don’t know what podcasting is, then, basically put, it’s when someone creates and uploads a series of audio files and also maintains a web feed (that part is usually handled automatically by the podcast backend software/service) that points to where these files are available online. People can usually either download or listen to the files using their browser (plug-in or flash) by visiting the site, but the main thing that makes podcasting ‘podcasting’ is the ability to use an application or web service to subscribe to the web feed that will then give the option to automatically notify of and download any newly published audio files.

So, what’s kind of stuff is available for people to subscribe to? Anything you can fit in an audio file really. There are many directory sites online to browse through for interesting stuff. Here’s a list of my current podcast subscriptions;

No, I don’t listen to them all regularly, but I’ll download a one or two shows of a particular feed if I’m in the mood. Dance Department features a 30 min mix each week from the likes of (*picks out interesting names in backwards order from the feed*) Richie Hawton, Gabriel Ananda, Tiesto, Sven Vath, Miss Kittin, Ricardo Villalobos, Tocadisco, Trentemoller and many more, a section from the head of Beatport featuring the weeks most downloaded track from their service, and more house/techno goodness. The Drum&BassArena Podcast features mixes from Hype and other such DnB scene DJs, and I’ve also been enjoying ‘s RobotMix and ‘s re:automation shows. (Oi, , where’s the feed for Distorted Circuitry? :p)

What podcatcher software do I use? After much testing, I decided on Ziepod. It looks like this. I would have loved to have gone with an open source solution, but I tried them all and they sucked even more. Sure, Ziepod has an annoying unchangeable window skin, but it separates information regarding feed entries in a mail client stylee three-pane window and distinguishes between to download, downloaded and played tracks clearly. I’m not even going to start on about iTunes, although it’s the most well known and used app when it comes to podcasting. Winamp has an in-built system, but doesn’t seem to want to display feeds properly and doesn’t import or export OPML files (subscribed feeds in XML format). Juice lists all available and downloaded in one long window in order of publication date and seems to doesn’t seem to cache each feeds RSS entry, wasting time having to download it each time a new profile is selected. jpodder – Java, was slow, and annoying GUI, and slow. doppler didn’t quite get it’s window layout quite right. And etc. Turns out the news feed client Newzie which Ziepod is based upon is a rather nifty app in it’s own right and has an intuitive system for displaying feeds, although it uses the Internet Explorer engine to render HTML in-client and won’t let you set it to open web links in Firefox. Thoughts anyone? What do those who bother use?

P.S. Distorted Circuitry now has an RSS feed!

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