Thursday, November 24, 2005

Automatically syncing my podcasts to an mp3 player

While looking for a way to automatically synchronize my Zen Micro I stumbled onto the following article by Pete Kay. After reading his post and watching the step-by-step guide I had a good feeling that this solution would be very solid. Following his steps, I implemented it and have been using it now for over a week.

I can officially say that I have reached my goal of setting up a situation where I grab my portable mp3 player on my way out the door in the morning and all my podcasts/music/content have been synced on it for me to listen to on the way to/from or at work.

Once thing I would like to re-stress is how to keep your playlist clean as you sync. Using the following will allow files to be automatically removed from your mp3 device. Using Juice (formally know as iPodder), you can set the clean up on a subscription basis. Do this by selecting a subscription and going to its properties. There should be a Cleanup tab. Check the “Automatically delete episodes more than” and then set a days value.

A good example of how I use this is with the podcast subscription. This podcast is a daily. So I have the clean up process to remove anything that is a day old. So when I sync my playlist will only contain that days woot podcast. This keeps my podcast clean and refresh and removes any manual task of removing any podcasts.

The way I have it set up is that eventually all podcast that get synced will be removed at some point in time. All my subscriptions in Juice are setup to automatically delete. I see no real value in saving past podcasts. Until there is a way to maybe search them quickly to find information you are looking for it seems almost worthless to keep old podcasts around. I actually ran into this situation this past week. I heard something on a TWiT podcast and a couple days later I wanted to revisit the segment of interest. I manually seeked through the podcast once again but never found what I was looking for. So to me once I have listened to it I have no real motivation to either listen to it again or save it for future reference.

Heck, there is so much great content out there to listen to everyday why would I want to listen to something a second time.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Zen of 20/15 Vision

I took the leap and finally made the purchase of the Creative’s Zen Micro. I really haven’t had much time to play with it. I recently under went the LASIK vision correction procedure this past Thursday so I really have limited myself to any screen time.

First, the LASIK procedure is incredible! I setup a free consolation this past Tuesday just to see if I was eligible and to also find out more about what can be done for my terrible vision. Well, next thing you know I was fully informed and they offered me an appointment for Thursday to have the procedure done. I was blown away at the rapid pace thing were progressing but I was so sick of glasses and contact lens vision correction. So I setup the Thursday appointment and next thing you know I was on the table looking up at the laser. The procedure took a max of 4 minutes and immediately after sitting up I noticed a whole new world. Although my eyes were very sore I instantly could see things clearly around the room. SHOCKING!! Best thing I have ever done for myself. Well, 3rd maybe considering I am married with two beautiful kids - That I now can see with 20/15. The only downside to the whole experience is having to think about all those years I prolonged the agony of putting up with prescription lenses.

Secondly, the Zen has been pretty pain free thus far. I think the main use I will get out of it is for listening to some podcasts. The fun part for me is figuring out just how best to utilize it. The big benefit of the Zen is that it is fully compatible with Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription. I have tested this out and actually had instant success playing a subscription piece of music on it. The downside so far is that the Yahoo! Music jukebox doesn’t do anything fantasy like auto syncing with your device. Everything has to be done manually after downloading content to your PC. My goal is to be able to grab my Zen in the morning on the way out the door, plug it into my car and get the morning’s Woot and tech news while driving to work.

Friday, November 04, 2005

My search engine of the week

I stumbled upon the following search engine by Inquisitor last night. This is a pretty cool concept that neatly uses AJAX and pushes Google’s Suggest just a bit further. At this point I am kind of sick of the AJAX hype but making web applications act more like fat client applications is a good thing.

The results shown in the dropdown box lags a bit but it is in beta.