Although iTunes has a big advantage (the iTunes Store, where you can easily find radiodrama and other podcasts), the software just is a big heavyweight which uses a lot of memory and, to be honest, does not offer much possibilities to finetune the way your podcasts are managed.
We prefer however HappyFish (http://happyfish.info/blog/download.aspx?=CurrentRelease – 2,56 MB – Windows XP/Vista – freeware). This program has four panels, which you can keep open with the pushpin. At the left side you find a list with the podcasts you are subscribed to. When you click on one of these feeds, you will find a list of the available episodes in the upper right part of the screen. Underneath you will find more info on the podcast (if you have selected a feed in the left panel) or on a particular episod (if you have selected an episod in the upper right part). And at the bottom of the screen you will find a list of the files you are downloaded or have downloaded.
After installing the software you better adjust the settings via “Options / Settings”:
– Downloading: here you indicate to which folder the podcasts have toe be downloaded. You can choose a central location, where Happyfish will make subfolders for each feed. We however we prefer to choose the location of each download individually. We have made a system with “tech”, “radiodrama”, “music”, etc, each with its subfolders such as “Detective”, Science Fiction”, for the radiodrama, etc. HappyFish gives you a freedom of choice which you don’t find in iTunes, where you can only choose one central download location.
– Global Schedule: indicate how often the software has to check if there is a new episod.
– Notification: whether a certain sound has to be played when new episodes have been found.
– Updates and feedback: whether the software has to check automatically if there are updates of itself
– Proxy: in case your computer has to pass through a proxy to reach the internet
– Data storage: to indicate in which folder the data of the software itself has to be stored (the settings etc – best to be left alone)
– Other: just leave this as it is.
To add a new feed you click on the RSS-icon with the plus-sign, in the upper left corner. You get a pop-up window where you have to fill in the address of the feed. Furthermore you get several options: “Catalog enclosures on first feed check (Recommended)”. Check this option, because this will not only check the feed when closing this dialogue window, but it will also generate a list with all available episodes, without downloading them all. (This is a big disadvantage compared to other readers, who will download all the episodes at once, and make your downloadmeter rocket skyhigh!)
Please be patient while the list is retrieved. The podcast will appear afterwards in your list with feeds in the left pane, and you get a new dialogue window to finetune your settings:
– General / Feed Title: fill in the name of the feed, a name that you can choose freely. Enclosures: indicate the place where the downloaded episodes have to be saved. This is a big advantage compared to other podcast software, where all podcasts are saved on one central location, and you cannot indicate any submaps. However, if you click on the button “browse”, you should know that there is a bug in the software. When browsing, you cannot create a new submap – it only looks as if you have created one. You have to crate it in your Explorer, and afterwards you can browse in HappiFish to this folder, and select it.
– Feed Check Mode: indicate whether new episodes (new enclosures) have to be downloaded immediately, of just listed in the catalogue, for retrieval later.
– Automatic Deletion: indicate whether old items have to be saved or can be deleted. We advise not to delete old items.
– Schedule: choose a schedule – best use the same schedule you use for your other podcasts.
– ID3 tags & File Names: we advise to check the option “Change genre ID3 tag to: Match Feed”and “Rename files using item title”. That way you get clear, recognizable file names for your downloads.
All these settings you can change later, if you are not happy with the result: rightclick on the name of the feed, and choose Feed Preferences.
So you go on, adding feed after feed, till you have completed your collection. If you already had made a collection of podcastsin another program, you can transfer the whole list by importing the OPML-file via File / IMport. Later on however you will have to finetune the settings for each individual feed.
To check all feeds, to see if there are new episodes, you click on “check all feeds”. Be patient – depending on the number of feeds in your HappyFish, this check can take some while. And depending on your settings, all new episodes will be downloaded immediately or listed in the episode list. A list of the downloaded episodes you find in the bottom pane.
If you want to check one feed only, you have to rightclick on that feed, and select “Check Feed”. If you want to download one or more episodes of a feed, which are listed in the upper right pane, select the feed(s), rightclick on it and select “Get Enclosure”. And when you select an episode in the upper right panel, you will find the info on that episode in the lower right panel. Now, don’t you agree that HappyFish is a much nicer and userfriendly program than iTunes?
Well, if you follow these instructions, you will get the episodes of your favourite radiodrama podcasts on your computer. How to move them to your portable player, that will be the subject of a new chapter in this blog.