Podcasts

Doesn’t everyone hate the commute to work?

Well I have found my new favorite way to pass the time:  Podcasts.

Now when I first heard about Podcasts many years ago, I though of books on tape that some business guy loaded on his 2 Gb iPod and walked around with between subway stops in the city.  Well with most cars now equipped with USB ports and most cellphones having lots of memory my misconceptions are a thing of the past.  I can now listen to pre-recorded audio shows/programs while I drive to work on my radio or while I sit on a bus/train commute using my cell phone.

I drive a Mini Cooper S Clubman with the GPS entertainment system.  For listening in my car I just download the Podcast MP3’s and save them on a USB stick that I connect to the built-in jack.  As long as I don’t change the order of the songs on the USB stick it will automatically resume playing the Podcast where I turned off the car last.

My wife drives a Jeep Liberty with the Cassette/CD radio that has no USB input.  In order to get podcasts required some trickery.  First of was some sort of input.  Back when we had working iPods I purchased an aftermarket iPod dock that allowed me to connect in place of a satellite radio add-on.  Currently we have a Pioneer GPS that connects to the built-in speakers and allows USB or SD as an MP3 source.  If I had to do it again I would purchase a “A2DP to FM” adapter which allows almost all cellphones to use Bluetooth to send music to a radio station which the factory radio can pickup.

With the GPS in the Jeep Liberty it would restart the Podcasts from the beginning every time the vehicle was started.  This wouldn’t be a big deal if the Podcasts were the 2-5 minute length of a typical song but to fast forward 50 minutes into a Podcast can take a long time.  This is also a safety issue if you have to press or hold fast forward on the GPS for 10 minutes while driving (if that’s even legal).  So the hero app of this blog is a program called MP3DirectCut which lets you split an MP3 file into manageable chunks (5 minutes is my preference).

Most websites with Podcasts have a link to the direct MP3 (usually hover over the “listen now” link).  You can right-click on this link and save it to your USB drive.  This is how I started to listen to podcasts and seemed to be the easiest.  Since then I have started to use Microsoft Zune to automatically download the Podcasts so I don’t have to check on each individual website.  I am not going to cover using a phone (either iPhone or otherwise) as they have unique options to download podcasts directly or even play live though the internet while driving.  If you have a device with internet access through, you should defiantly do some research (here is a head start: BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Phone 7).

Here are the Podcasts I listen to regularly…
Engadget Classic
Engadget Mobile
Engadget HD
Entertainment 2.0
Missing Remote
The Digital Lifestyle
The Custom Integrator Show
The Digital Lifestyle Mobile
Pocket Lint

Nick Dorak

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