I downloaded and installed iPodder from iPodder.org over the weekend. IPodder worked well; it was very easy to install and configure new feeds to be downloaded to my laptop. It also seemed to work just fine through the
firewall at my place of work, which is somewhat unusual for many internet-based applications, which are often blocked or can’t negotiate the authentication at the firewall. I can’t say for certain that it worked because due to circumstances beyond my control (having to do with a bat flying around the inside of my house) I didn’t have time to check the contents of the downloads folders before I left for work this morning, but the timestamp on the audio-blog from today leads me to believe that it as retreived from work and not from home. I’ll check with more thoroughness tomorrow.
I did have a few minor concerns with the iPodder application, however. You cannot use the UI to set the location of the downloads folder, like you can in many Windows apps. I could alter the location of the install, but couldn’t change the location of the data/download directory. It’s been so long since I’ve operated a Mac (OS 7.1, anyone?) that I don’t remember if that platform typically allowed for user-definable application directories. I also don’t know if iPodder was developed for the Mac OS moreso than the Windows OS (Windows, Mac, Linux, and PocketPC versions are all available at the download page), but have the imporession that Mac might have been the first version – maybe because the iPod is an Apple platform.
My other issue is that the taskbar icon only gives you options to Exit or Check your feeds and doesn’t give you the option to show the configuration window. If you open the shortcut to the application again you get another instance of the app.
These both seem to be pretty minimal changes – I may try to pick up enough Python and brush up on my rather shaky Java enough to patch these “problems”. If I’m wise, however, I’ll realize that there’s no chance I’ll actually get to this, so I’ll post a comment somewhere to let the development team know about this feedback, and they can decide to implement changes or not. More likely I’ll convince myself that
I’ll get to it and end up not doing anything about it at all.
In order to get iPodder to work with my Lyra, I used Jake Luddington’s guide to using iPodder with Windows Media Player. Thanks to Robert Scoble for the link. It works pretty well, heavily leveraging some of the automation available in WMP to monitor iPodder’s downloads folder and create an autoplaylist of the recent contents of that folder that can then be synced with your MP3 player with considerable ease. The only drawback to this process for me is that I often put several hours of my current audio book on my Lyra, and if I want to listen to one of the audio-blogs I have to navigate to it through the Lyra’s semi-convenient hardware UI. That, however, is a limitation of my Lyra and my usage of it, and in no way lessens the usefulness of
Jake’s guide or method.
My last irritation with this experience was the content of the intro to iPodder audio-blog entry that gets downloaded by default when you install iPodder and sync the first time. Adam Curry introduces the platform, and his post is so heavily iPod slanted that it left a bad taste in my mouth for hours after listening. Or maybe that was the lukewarm coffee.
Whew! Long post tonight!
Until next time….