I have a list of Apps the I keep an eye on, watching for updates or polish that will make me switch. I actually have a small Twitter List to follow some of them.
Anyways, an update to Instacast came down the tubes recently and it fInally plays nice with CastRoller feeds. There was some weird error that would never show episodes. In dealing with these things we see, all to often, some small error in a feed or in the aggregator software that messes things up pretty bad. It’s also usually fairly hard to track down.
Well, things are fixed now so I have a few things to share. Some general notes about moving from my current “old school” CastRoller -> iTunes -> iPhone Music App having to sync all the time to CastRoller -> Instacast. Yes, even with wireless sync it’s still a bit of a pain. Easier but, I have to have my Mac to get episodes, they have to be on the same network while it syncs, etc. Being able to just get stuff on the phone is awesome, especially when I travel.
I’ve talked about Instacast here before and they’ve done some great work in making the app better. Most of my concerns from before have been addressed. These notes are new based on more experience using the app both before this last update by importing my OPML from CastRoller and now using it by subscribing to my CastRoller feeds (My Collection, Starred Items, Shared and a couple channels).
Before when I filled the app with the actual direct feeds I noticed that the app is great for people who listen to a small number of podcasts. I’d say twenty or so is easily manageable. Not the 89 like I’m currently subscribed to. And that’s just my main collection, I have a few other channels I casually keep up with. When you give it that many feeds updating them alone is cumbersome. Trying to get everything sorted out so it’s easy to use is also a chore. Like you’d likely want the shows that release shows more often up near the top, say Tech News Today, a new show everyday is a nicer to have at the top of the list. Add a bunch of shows after that and you have to start moving things. Yeah you can have it sort based on new stuff but I personally don’t like things moving on me. This wasn’t the deal breaker. Long refresh times were.
Truthfully other then that the app is damn near perfect for me. My love for the features is CastRoller we’re the only real conflict to living in a world oblivious to waiting 20 minutes to update all my shows!
So after the updating moving back to the app with CastRoller I noticed that I REALLY liked having my content on my computer as well as my phone and using Seamless to jump back and forth. At home I could jump form my phone to my computer and push to all my AirPlay devices in the house (which there are many) so as I worked around the house my podcasts came with me. No headphones needed! From the phone you can only play to one device, not a downside for most but something I miss. I wonder if they can use their new iCloud features to build a desktop app, or some weird integration with iTunes to allow playback on a computer and get AirPlay in the mix too!
Take 5 changed how I listen at work great deal. On both the desktop and the phone, I constantly pause playback and never get back to it. If they can build that functionality into the app I’d be one happy podcast listener. Also now being able to star episodes and get them on my phone in no time flat is the best. I hated having to subscribe to a show just to try it out.
Don’t know how things will fall out and how I’ll continue to manage things going forward. Probably switch back and forth a lot anyways, seams that’s my history!