Apple iTunes has supported podcasts since v4.9 and I stopped using a separate podcatcher soon afterwards but earlier today I wanted to add a podcast subscription manually (i.e. not through the iTunes store). It turns out that’s easy enough – simply select Subscribe to Podcasts… from the Advanced menu but it took me a bit of research to find that particular option (I had been looking for an appropriate command on the File menu and eventually found this out from Apple’s essential tips for podcast lovers).
Whilst writing about iTunes, I might as well add a few more tips that I’ve discovered in recent days:
- I was playing a video podcast in Front Row and found that it only played back the audio – that’s because there is a separate Video Podcasts menu. I like Front Row and whilst its simple 6-button remote may be better than Microsoft’s complex MediaCenter offering, I find that as a result of this quest for simplicity it’s sometimes harder to find things than it should be.
- It is possible use some scripts to rate tracks in iTunes using half stars. Maybe this is not strictly necessary but whilst very few of my tracks warrant a 5-star rating, there are many that come pretty close – if 3 is average, 2 is substandard and 1 is “why do I even have this track in my collection?”, then 4 just doesn’t seem quite high enough to distinguish “good” from “very good” (especially in a library of over 7000 items).
- Whilst we can’t yet buy TV shows or movies from the UK iTunes store (I believe that’s a global issue as this content is only available in the US store), there is no reason why iTunes can’t be used to organise such content obtained using other methods and the video kind tag can be used to distinguish Movies, Music Videos and TV Shows. Unfortunately iTunes doesn’t allow this to be edited for multiple items but there is an alternative – the eclectically-named Parsley is Atomically Delicious (a GUI for AtomicParsley).
- There are some more iTunes power tips at Lifehacker and the index of iTunes articles is how I discovered that it’s possible to use a playlist to play Internet Radio in Front Row.
There are still a couple of iTunes items that I’m trying to work out:
- How to get my old (pre-iTunes native podcast support) podcast files to be recognised as podcasts (rather than sitting in my music library) – there is a script to re-add tracks as podcasts but I figure there must be a simpler way.
- How to mark a track as explicit – for example I have a copy of a recent Madonna concert and whilst I may share the views on American politics that she expresses during her performance of I Love New York (which is great song but has just about the worst lyrics I’ve heard from an artist of Madonna’s calibre in a long time), my 2-year-old son does repeat a lot of what he hears right now so I’d probably better avoid playing explicit tracks in the car. One way to do this would be to exclude explicit tracks from a playlist but the explicit/clean tags only seem to be possible on podcasts and purchased music.
If anyone knows the answer to these, please leave a comment on this post.