Monthly Archives: December 2014
There are good podcast managers there are not so good and then there are those that just knock it out of the park. Hows that for not hiding the lead. Yep, I am a fan of this podcatcher. I have used it for a couple of years and I did run into a problem with the app once. Found that problem was not the app fault but some dalvik cache residue from the previous version of android. So needless to say I am a fan of this nifty app. So, with that little disclaimer lets look at the app Pocket Casts
There is a company with the creatively humorous name of Shifty Jelly. They make an innovative podcast manager called Pocket Casts. What? Innovative? Yep, this app was the introduction to the standards I use for these podcast manager reviews. Which is the auto-delete after playing a file, it also allows you to create a play list that is automatically filled with new episodes. A built in podcast discovery mechanism. Then the ease of use and how intuitive it is to use.
The first time I used Pocket Casts I was thinking wow 4 dollars for this app? It had better be good. Well, they kept their money because it was easy to use and organized my podcast shows into an easy to find format. It didn’t take long after getting my shows lined up, that I found out that I was going to like this app. There was not that much in Pocket Casts that is confusing. If you find something that is not straightforward just look around a bit and you will find the solution or you can get a hold of support and they will do everything they can to help you. There are times that the response time is a little slow but that is very rare. That or you asked a very challenging question and their research is taking a while.
Pocket Casts has some unique features that a few other podcatchers are now carrying. One that I find to be a big feature that I love to use is the Chromecast integration. This is a wonderful but underused feature. There are times that I like to listen to the shows through my television because the ear buds are a little cumbersome or the wife is wanting to talk to me at random times, or both factors come into play.
Pocket casts was the first app I used that had auto refresh and download. Which for people who are new to using and consuming podcasts it helps when they are running late and needing to get out the door. The less the new listener has to worry about the better it is for the podcast community at large. Pocket Casts goes through your shows and downloads all the new ones. You can set the auto-downloads to happen when your phone is on wi-fi or anytime. Not recommended if you are on a tiered data plan, but you can do so if you choose.
There is also the ease of finding new podcasts. Pocket Casts are tied into the iTunes directory so any podcasts you might want to hear are easily found in the app search. Make it simple and the Shifty Jelly crew does that. There is one feature I have yet to see in any other app on the market that is actually needed. The reason it is needed is because everybody at one time or another has to do the dreaded resetting of the phone. That was not a disturbance in the force. It was all those people who are hearing reset the phone to factory defaults. Meaning they are loosing everything on their phone. All the pictures, all their music, all of their podcasts. If you have ever listen to a large catalog of podcasts and then had to reset your phone I feel your pain. If for any other reason you should have Pocket Casts, the feature of Auto-backup or “Sync” is a God send. This feature backs up all of your subscriptions and what the last episode you have listened. After you have logged back in your subscriptions will start downloading you are set. No more going three weeks and realizing you forgot a show. No more deleting tons of already listened to shows. It is pretty close to set it and forget it as you can be.
There are still many reviews to be made on the topic of podcatchers but now you know what I am comparing my experience against.
Oh did I mention they are easy to use?
Things Pocket Casts Does Right
- auto-delete of played episodes
- Backup of your shows
- Auto downloads
Things Pocket Casts Does wrong
- support can be a little slow to respond (Hey they can’t be perfect)
Talk about an app that has matured and improved with advancement. BeyondPod is a nice surprise. I used BeyondPod a few years ago. Not really liking it and was a little turned off with the fremium model. I wasn’t sure what I was going to lose, when the app turned off the premium features. Yet, it was free and I could listen to free just fine.
Remembering back to the cumbersome days of the earlier BeyondPod, I remember getting lost and having problems finding the podcast I was wanting to listen it. This has all been cleared up with the pull out menu that shows all of your podcasts and then they have Smart Play lists. This is a great way for people to have their play lists built every time a new episode is downloaded. This is one of the big draw backs from may of the earlier players. If you want to listen to a list you have to build it yourself each time you get a new episode. DoggCatcher does auto play lists and that is just about it, for the apps that I have reviewed at the point of this post being published.
Yet Now, The layout has been cleaned up and is fresher looking. A new user would be able to easily navigate the different categories and the fairly intuitive design will help people to not get lost and understand how to get from the album art episode page back to the homepage.
It would be nice if at the end of an episode BeyondPod would delete the file before playing next instead of just playing next. This would keep the new users from having to deal with a full device because the old episodes were still on the listening device. Many very new listeners wouldn’t think to look in the settings to change the Playlist Preference to delete and play next.
Auto-updates isn’t a deal breaker so to speak and is a gentle bit of pressure to get people to buy the upgrade. Yet this will be a listeners big grumble. They will be running behind and their shows are not updated and URGH! Screams of frustrations so If you do have a lot of shows you will want to update daily or Weekly. You want to work a download schedule into your routine.
Good things about BeyondPod
- A prefilled suggestion list – Several good podcasts and I added a new show to my lineup. (Thanks BeyondPod)
- Chromecast – great if you have the Chromecast dongle and you listen through your television.
- Easy categories to choose from and you can also create your own
- Settings-o-plenty but not overwhelming
- play Video’s as audio
- Car Mode – big buttons for using while driving.
- Set as a favorite – You will find those episodes you want to listen to again and you will be able to easily find those episodes.
Bad things about BeyondPod
- Mystery meat icons took me a while to find out that the play list icon is just that. I guess the number is what threw me.
- BeyondPod is set to automatically delete the listened too files. You will have to change the setting in ‘Playlist Preferences’
- No automatic updates
- Chromecast is Pay
- Faster speeds
- Automatic updates