I’m in between iTunes libraries right now as I’ve just upgraded systems. Since my music and playlists don’t change much, it’s not a big problem to not sync except to keep up with podcasts. So instead of going through the hassle of re-syncing to the new library imported from my last install, I tried out Podcast Ready’s myPodder software.
This software was the talk of the last Podcast Expo as Podcast Ready had been served legal notice from Apple’s lawyers for the name (they get twitchy when you put “pod” in your name or anything that sounds like “iPod”). I’m not sure where that case is at the moment, but the software is still downloadable from Podcast Ready’s website and they did an update while I’ve been using it.
Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like this software. First, it is a great idea, hosting the podcatching software right on the player itself (hello, Zune product manager?!) . It is also written in Java so the software supports Windows, MacOS, Pocket PC and Linux. Supporting the iPod as they do must have been a feat of reverse engineering and it shows in the implementation because it doesn’t quite work all the time.
Sure, it syncs under Windows XP automatically on a reliable basis but it’s hit or miss under Windows Vista (no surprise there). On the Mac, it has never automatically synced but works fine when you dig into the “mypodder” folder and double click the application. But the most troubling part is that the podcasts don’t always show up on the iPod although they appear to be downloaded to it. Since the podcasts are not a part of the iPod menu, all of them show up on a special playlist, which is cool, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to delete a podcast after you have listened to them (yes, I did use the delete function in myPodder but the podcasts are still playable on the playlist).
Other more minor annoyances are the loss of images and show notes, no saving of the position you are at in the podcast if you listen to something else and a weird bug that doesn’t properly indicate the duration of the podcast. It also seems to not like having 20-odd podcasts to keep track of for some reason. So I like the option of having this available but it’s not yet ready for prime time, at least with the iPod.
What it is probably is better suited for are those über cheap stick mp3 players that you see around for $20-50. Add myPodder and lock to an account for your podcast, for example, and pre-load with content that keeps on giving every time the user connects the player to a computer. I just might do this with my podcast and see how they sell…