Thursday, September 14, 2006

More iGripes

When you play podcasts via the Podcast menu on the iPod, it will play the single podcast you've selected, then jump back to the main menu. I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea. Most of my podcasts are less than 5 minutes long, and when I'm in the mood to listen to people talking instead of to music, it's for more than 5 mintues. Having to dig out the iPod, navigate back to the podcasts and find the next one while on a crowded subway, walking in the rain, washing dishes, cleaning the apartment, or at the gym, (or, I would imagine, driving), is highly inconvenient.

There was a simple workaround: Make a Smart Playlist in iTunes with all your podcasts ("Podcast is true"), perhaps eliminating some that you don't want to listen to in this manner ("Name does not contain ____" or "Album does not contain ____"), and you've got a playlist that the iPod treats just like any other, playing it through, shuffling it, whatever. When you sync, iTunes still knows you've listened to a podcast and updates it accordingly. (It's a Smart Playlist as opposed to a manual one, so that newly downloaded 'casts are added automatically.)

For those of you with older iPods, this trick will still work. Apparently, though, Tuesday's software update "fixed" it. My iPod now treats a podcast as a standalone track no matter where I source it from. So after two minutes of Bill Maher or thirty seconds of The Onion Radio News, I have to go find the next one, instead of it just playing automatically.

Why would they do this? And do any of you geeks out there know of a new workaround, or something in the settings I might be missing?

(Also, when is Blogger going to let me in to the Beta so I can start tagging posts and those of you who don't care about this can just start skipping anything marked "geek?")

Update: The old playlist apparently works if the iPod is not set to Shuffle. Not really what I want, since listening to many NPR podcasts in a row can get really tedious really fast, but it's something. Any track I select from the playlist with the iPod set to shuffle (either songs or albums) comes up as "1 of 1" and throws me back to the main menu when it's done. It's a puzzlement!

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