I’ve owned an iPod for about half a year and thoroughly enjoy it. For those of you who may not be hip to it, an iPod is a popular version of a handheld mp3 player. I spent several weeks converting my CDs into digital form (or mp3) on iTunes, the audio software I have set up on my computer, and was therefore able to quickly transfer songs and playlists to my iPod via an easy-to-use USB cable.
The ability to carry several thousands around with you wherever you go – walking the streets, at the gym, on a supermarket line with a screaming baby behind you and the Coupon Crusader at the check-out – is pure bliss.
It’s only been the last few months, though, that I’ve really taken the iPod experience to the next level. The keys are podcasts and iTrip.
Podcasts are free Internet-only radio broadcasts. All you need to do is to set up iPodder, also a free software download. Once you’ve selected the shows that you would like to receive, iPodder will automatically send new broadcasts to iTunes. If you already have iTunes set up, it's a fairly easy process to begin receiving podcasts.
Download iPodder: http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/index.php
Here are some of the better shows I've found... though keep in mind that dozens of new shows are debuting each month.
Adam Curry: Daily Source Code
This is the Sports Center of the podcasting world. Plus, you get some techie news and tips, 80s trivia, and some insight into ex-pat life in Europe (Curry broadcast from Holland for a while, but recently moved to England).
This is the podcast version of a Montreal weekly radio show that is absolutely the best mix of old school funk, underground hip hop, and R&B I have ever heard. It's really a jewel of a listen, and there are about 350 archived shows you can stream over the Internet.
Air America Radio: The Al Franken Show
If you lean to the left and like Franken, now you can take him wherever you go.
Very good, concise news and notes on what's going on in the blogging world. It really helped me to broaden my blogging horizons.
The $250 Million Radio Show and Podcasting from London
They're both devoted to non-RIAA music, one broadcast from a light train in Los Angeles, the other from a bus stop in London.
Real Reviews MWG Blog
Great and substantive movie reviews, including a Cinephile series that recently had in depth looks at Memento and Mulholland Drive.
Song of the Day
Self explanatory and surprisingly good.
A friend of mine claims that "Evil Genius Chronicles" is great, but I can't seem to get it to work for some reason. I also recently hooked my wife up with a show that is supposed to be very good at teaching Spanish.
The biggest overall problem I have with podcasting is that I never have enough time to listen to everything. Tough problem, eh?
This was a key holiday season yield. iTrip, a small attachment to the iPod, allows the iPod to wirelessly send a signal to any nearby radio and play mp3s through its stereo speakers. This means that not only can you take your iPod with you wherever you go, you can literally listen to your iPod all day: in the car, at work, at home, wherever.
Now, here’s the beautiful part: with iTunes, iPod, podcasts, and iTrip, you get free radio shows, from Adam Curry to WeFunk, pumping into iTunes every morning. Once you’ve quickly synched up your iPod, you can play your favorite shows (or any of your favorite several thousand songs) in your car on the way to work, at work if you like (and/or can get away with it) and all the way home as well.
It will be interesting to see if the podcasting phenomenon continues to explode (it really has only been going since the summer) and if that will have any impact on satellite radio.
But for now, I’m almost hoping to latch onto a job where I can sit back and enjoy my iPod in the heart of LA’s traffic maelstrom.
Note I: Special shout-out to Lawrence Yu for putting me on the path to Podcasting Nirvana.
Note II: I've been having problems with links lately, which is why you've been seeing some links split out from the text. I'm trying to get that straightened out, or Dumpster Busted like.