The recent crash of my laptop hard drive has provided an excellent opportunity to tryout the free software program PodNova. PodNova is both a free web 2.0 service and a free client application that works with iTunes and several other podcatching software programs. As a web 2.0 service, it provides a method for not only subscribing to podcasts but also sharing those subscriptions via a RSS feed and an OPML file via a web-based interface.
My reasons for using PodNova include:
- I want a way to manage my podcast subscriptions in just one place, and have multiple computers (both my laptop and my desktop) subscribe to the same podcasts. (I currently do this manually. Sort of…. not very thoroughly, since this is time consuming.)
- I want a way to share a dynamic list of the podcast feeds to which I am currently subscribed and listening.
- I want a way to restore my podcast subscriptions to my local iTunes software installation in the event my hard drive crashes or I switch the computer I am using with my iPod.
All of the above needs are addressed well by PodNova. (PodNova is a free and cross-platform, btw.) I currently am subscribed to 35 different podcast feeds. Through my free PodNova account, anyone can view (as an RSS feed) the newest episode for each podcast to which I am subscribed or download an OPML file including all of my podcast subscriptions. The first link above is essentially a dynamic “feed river” of the latest podcast episodes to which I am subscribed. If you are not familiar with OPML, according to WikiPedia:
OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is an XML format for outlines. Originally developed by Radio UserLand as a native file format for an outliner application, it has since been adopted for other uses, the most common being to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators.
If you use the free Bloglines RSS aggregator, as I do, it can export and import OPML files also. You can download the OPML file for the 218 blogs currently in my Bloglines account (no I don’t regularly read ALL of these!) and import them into your own Bloglines account (or other OPML compliant aggregator) if desired.
The link above for my podcast subscription OPML file will download as a file with a .xml extension. In order to import it into the PodNova client application, you will need to change the extension of the downloaded file to .opml. If you want to use PodNova with iTunes, you will no longer use the “subscribe with iTunes” links in the iTunes music store or on websites. Instead, you’ll want to either search for the podcast to which you want to subscribe in the PodNova web-based directory, or copy and paste the subscription feed (RSS or XML link) into PodNova: either the web-based interface or your client application. These are the basic steps I followed to start using PodNova to manage my podcast subscriptions instead of using iTunes by itself on a single computer:
- Register for a free account on the PodNova website.
- Use the PodNova podcast directory to search for and subscribe to podcasts of interest, and/or copy and paste RSS/XML feeds and subscribe to them with PodNova. If PodNova is not currently tracking that feed, after you subscribe to it you can “force an update” of the feed by clicking on it and choosing FORCE UPDATE.
- Download the PodNova client application for your operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux,) install it, and enter your PodNova website userid/password. In the PodNova preferences, specify the Player application (if any) that you want to use. This can include iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, XMMS, or BMPPlayer.
- In the subscriptions tab of PodNova, click on individual podcast feeds and select additional episodes (besides the most recent which is selected by default) that you want to download and listen to later.
- With the subscriptions tab selected, click the refresh/check for new podcasts button to download the podcasts you have subscribed to and selected.
A couple final things to note / be aware of:
- Your subscribed podcasts will NOT show up under the PODCASTS category in iTunes or on your iPod. Instead, PodNova creates a new playlist for each podcast to which you are subscribed and puts each episode you’ve downloaded in it.
- When you want to delete an entire podcast feed or particular episodes from a feed, use the CLEAN UP tab in PodNova. That way you can both delete it from both PodNova and from your iTunes Music Library simultaneously.
- Like most podcatching programs, neither PodNova nor iTunes supports the OGG Vorbis format championed by Miguel Guhlin and others. It would be nice if PodNova could at least support OGG Vorbis with its browser-based player, but alas it appears it does not.
Give PodNova a try. The price is right (free) and there are multiple benefits / payoffs not available if you’re just subscribing on one computer via iTunes or another podcatcher. You don’t have to give up on using iTunes if you have other audio files (as I do) that you’ve purchased from the iTunes Music Store and want to keep synced to your iPod. PodNova does provide a much more robust way to subscribe and share your subscription info with other computers you’re using or with other people who may be interested in your subscriptions. As far as I know, iTunes does not support OPML export/import at all. At least not yet! 🙂
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On this day..
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- Share the Joy of Pi Day Today - 2013
- Your Next Textbook Will be a Palantir - 2012
- Public Education isn't a war - 2011
- Ripping Personally Owned DVDs for iPhone or iPod Viewing: Legal and Technical Perspectives - 2010
- Why We Need Pi - 2009
- Digital Dialog: Join the conversation! - 2007
- Filters and student decision-making - 2006
- Apple Digital Schools - 2006
- Writely goes to Google - 2006