Tips for Podcast Easy Listening

Hey all! Sorry I didn't get around to posting this in the second half of last week as planned. See, there was a holiday thing, and then another, and then there was this woman. Don't get the wrong idea, she and my wife are very close. (Okay, REALLY don't get the wrong idea now. :)

She's a great woman, let me tell you. I'd drop anything for her, and that hasn't changed in 10 (plus now) years. All this writing/blogging/stuff I do? She's totally into it. In fact, she encourages it. (Probably so I'll leave her alone.) There really isn't much I do that she doesn't support.

No, we aren't a perfect match or anything. We're a little competitive with one another. Don't ever ask one of us who loves the other more. She'll say I'm better at showing and saying it, and I'll say she's better at simply doing it.

Also, she's a dessert person and I favor a second helping. Plus there's the civil war we had over oaked wine. She loves a heavy oaking, while I tend to like to drink my wine, not chew on it.

Still, I'd say we do a fine job of living and loving together. And we keep the knife fights to a minimum.

Anyway, wedding anniversaries are always special, but I had to make the big 10 something we'd remember. That devoured my blogging (and anything, really) time. Mia culpas all around.

As for what I promised, last week I recommended a couple of writing podcasts for your listening pleasure. I also promised some quick tips for listening, as I found out it can be somewhat cumbersome if you simply want to listen to several in a sitting (or working). Useful for the short casts (which I favor). So here goes:

1) Download iTunes

A lot of folks responded to my last post lamenting their less-than-awesome Internet speeds. Pocasts are typically very minimal in terms of size--a one hour cast is somewhere around 25 mb. For the sake of comparison, the song Rolling in the Deep by Adele is 7.7 mb. Still, if your Information Superhighway is congested there are some ways to avoid the inevitable forehead bruises induced by buffering-face-desk episodes.

The first thing to do is download iTunes. Virtually every significant podcast is available through the iTunes store. Better still, they're all F.R.E.E. Better, better still you can search for what you're looking for.

Once you click on the 'PODCAST' tab in the store it'll take you to the podcast storefront. There's a little empty box in the upper righthand corner. Type "writing" (for instance) in that little box and watch every writing related podcast pop up. Easy peasy.

Once you find your cast, click the subscribe option and iTunes will keep it in a list of your favorite podcasts. Here's the 411 on listening to podcasts in iTunes.

How is all of this going to help with your slow Internet connections? You see, iTunes doesn't just download all eleven billion Cat Tips podcasts at once. It let's you pick and choose when and what you want to listen to. 

So here's the solution: Before you go to bed, select the podcasts you want to listen to on the morrow, click "GET" and let the Web fairies do their magic while you slumber. Now you can play Farmville and listen at the same time.

2) Create a Playlist

So you've gotten iTunes installed on your death machine (AKA computer of choice), now what? Start listening of course! Problem: iTunes doesn't jump to the next podcast in the list once one has finished. Meaning you have to get back to your machine and click play again. 

Yes, you have to actually click stuff to keep 'em coming. Not a big deal if you're listening to hour-long podcasts, but many of my faves are less than 20 minutes. And if I'm cleaning, exercising or whatnot I don't want to stop and go find the next one.

Seriously, did George Orwell design this thing for future people who can replicate themselves or are the living supposed to use it? And yes, future me would totally create a replica just to sit in front of the computer and click play. It's maddening! Anyway, there's a workaround. Create a playlist.

Here's a detailed walkthrough. Basically, you make it like you would any music playlists. You give it a clever name, like "EJ's Anti-Roadrage Mix" or "Podcasts" then start dragging and dropping podcasts into the list. Simple. 

If you're listening on an iPod, etc. make sure your podcast playlist is set to sync or you're going to be running to Billy Joel again and not Car Talk. 

3) You Want to Listen on Shuffle 
(i.e. You Aren't a Boring Fun-Eating Troll)

Trolls!!! Told you.
You've loaded down your podcast playlist with enough podcasts to get you through the impending apocalypse. Good job! What, you don't want to listen to 400 consecutive episodes of green energy tips? 

George Orwell rears his ugly head again! Podcasts in iTunes are automatically set to 'skip' in shuffle mode. Speaking of Orwellian, can we reanimate Steve Jobs already? He'd get this worked out ...

Thankfully, we won't need to wait on science--or zombies--to get around this. In your created podcast playlist:

  • Highlight the podcasts you'd like to be included in the shuffling. 
  • Right click on your mouse-pointer-thingy.
  • You'll see the options list pop out. Now click "Get Info". 
  • Another pop out box! *confetti* Click the "Options" tab. 
  • Under "Options" make sure the box next to "Skip when shuffling" is checked and that the drop down list next to that says "NO"

Now you're golden! Click play and the voices in your head will have some company.

What say you? Have any great tips for podcast listening? Do you use something other than the direct site or iTunes? If you checked out any of my previous recs, did you enjoy them? Why/Why not? 

Also, a warning: My next post is going to be a serious discussion. (I know, dad's got another lecture, right?) Been reading a lot about Internet thievery and plagiarism, and I think it's a growing concern for authors. Both as would-be criminals and victims. 

Until then, via con a story on your mind and a song in your heart.



  1. Happy 10 year! (We celebrate our 10 this Aug! Crazy stuff) The secret is keeping the knife fights to a minimum, don't you think? Definitely my first thought for marital advice ;)

    Great podcast stuff. And I'll be stoked to read about the thievery--it's one thing I'm not too aware of. :D

  2. Congratulations on ten years! I'd pick my wife over all else any day. And I think she encourages my blogging for the same reason. Hmmm....

    1. I agree, Alex. There must be some kind of hidden writer-spouse network out there where they share tips on keeping us occupied. :)

  3. Ha! Thanks for making podcast tips funny :) Sounds like you and your wife have different enough opinions to keep things interesting~ I'm the same way with my hubby. He's wrong about a lot of things (like mayonnaise), but he puts up with my insistence on playing close attention to previews whenever we rent movies. I stinking love previews, and he thinks they're a waste of time.

    1. I like a good preview, too, Jess. I don't live and die by them, but recommendations and a good teaser can really sell me on something. While we definitely aren't an, "opposites attracts" couple, we have are own ideas for sure. :)

  4. Happy Anniversary E.J. and may you enjoy many more.

    1. Thank you sweet lady! :) We definitely plan on celebrating a few more decades together.

  5. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary! I think my husband encourages me to write and blog so he can play his video games in peace. :) We celebrated our anniversary yesterday too. Great tips and trolls!

  6. Happy Anniversary!

    Of course, in telling us not to get the wrong idea, that'll get our minds going in that direction...

  7. Fantastic points on downloading podcasts.

    Happy Anniversary!!


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