Saturday, August 22, 2009

Listening to podcasts while creating

My iPod touch is my new best friend while drawing, sewing, making jewelry, etc. We had resisted the siren calls of these little players for many years... what finally put us over the edge was that our new car has a USB connection so we could have lots of music without having to bring clunky CDs. When we went into our local Apple Store and saw that the iPod touch was exactly like an iPhone without the phone service, we couldn’t resist. (I have nothing against the iPhone, but we already have the only cell phone service with good reception where we live and it’s not AT&T.) Once you buy the iTouch, there is no monthly phone charge but you can do all the stuff... load your CDs on it, go online (with WiFi), use mapping services, and most importantly to me, download free podcasts from the iTunes store. 

You have to set up an account with iTunes, but you don’t have to buy anything, (not that there aren’t many temptations!) The navigation with the iPod is a little confusing, but to get podcasts the first time go on the iTunes store (purple button), and either do a search on the name of the podcast you want or click the little podcast button if it’s visible on the very bottom. I’m a little vague on exactly when various options appear, it seems to vary. 

You can stream many of the podcasts (listen without downloading it) but you should download at least one and keep one on the iTouch all the time. The reason is that it makes it much easier to browse for more. Once you’ve downloaded a podcast, it’s stored under the orange Music button. If you can’t see your downloaded podcasts when you click on the music button, click on More and it should appear. Once you have a podcast on there, there’s a handy little link that says Get More Episodes... the link takes you directly to related podcasts on iTunes and makes it easy to find more.

There are all sorts of categories of podcasts: News & Politics, Technology, Comedy, Arts, Games & Hobbies, and many more. What I have listened to so far are mostly NPR shows like Living on Earth (environmental topics); This American Life (fascinating stories about people); A Way with Words (fun conversations about word origins and other language topics); Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me (comedy news quiz); and Fresh Air (interviews of newsmakers, authors, musicians, etc.). Scientific American had a fun 3-part series in July about the Ice Age movies, with interviews of the company founders (lots of physicists), art directors, animators, and others involved in the production.

I've only scratched the surface, can’t wait to find more. Let me know if you have any favorite podcasts to share. One thing’s for sure... my days of attempting to listen to the lousy local daytime radio in Orlando are over! 


Diane Wright said...

Oh, yes! I'm smitten too. I never thought I'd be cheering for any thing technical...other than a Bernina.

Nellie's Needles said...

I don't have the iPod, so my listening pleasure is through my computer for which I bought cute little speakers. I'm in love with Pandora Radio. All the artists and type of music is there for me at the click of a few buttons. There are 40 hours of free listening per month per account. There were no limits on the listening time until recently. I just paid $36 per year for unlimited hours of music in my studio.