Yes, use your iPod Shuffle for podcasts

The iPod Shuffle is not for podcasting, according to Doc Searls and Adam Curry.

Yes it is, according to Eric Rice:

The iPod Shuffle gives us the chance to be more creative. It gives people the chance to experience the idea of podcasts by virtually a zero-dollar investment.

To me, the Shuffle’s a neat toy that helps further evangelize what we, the podcasters, are doing.

I’ve already said that I’m going to invest in Shuffles as promo pieces. It’s cliche to say that there’s some outside-of-the-box thinking going on here. I should have blogged my prediction that the Shuffle was going to be shot down for the reasons it currently is. The trick, is to take what we have to work with, and make it work for us.

Think of those that give someone the gift of a pre-configured Bloglines account: cost aside, they’re giving someone a starting point. The rest is up to them.

Brilliant idea, Eric – use it as a promo piece to promote and/or evangelize your podcasts.

And probably yes, according to Russell Beattie (with some major caveats):

[…] But I want to throw some podcasts in there. Well, there’s no real way to “place” the podcasts at the beginning of the files. There is no “beginning” in the iPod Shuffle. When you turn it on, it remembers the last song you were playing (if it was set on shuffle at some point – that spot could be anywhere) which means, you can’t put audio where you want it. The solution to this is to create a playlist which will play in order, which gets rid of the cool Autofill option and still doesn’t really solve the last-played position problem. There’s no way to “reset” the playing the iPod from the beginning that I can find. So it seems that you’re going to use your iPod for music or for Podcasts, not for both.

And don’t just dismiss the idea out of hand, says Christopher Carfi:

[…] Blaming the device is only looking at half the problem. The other half of the problem is in the structure of the podcasts themselves. When a broadcaster podcaster constructs a long, monolithic podcast of, say, forty minutes or so, it is a black box. It is monolithic. The only current way around this is to create detailed “show notes” to give the listener (who is your customer, btw) some visibility into the inside of this black box. This is the core of the problem, not the device. This currently needs to be done separately from the podcast.

To dismiss the device is only looking at a small part of the issue. The onus is just as much on the creators of the content to provide clearer navigation clues into the things that they are creating.

I would agree with Christopher – detailed show notes are an essential navigation aid when navigating a podcast is currently difficult. While you might not always have your show notes to hand when you want to listen to your podcast, it makes sense for the podcaster to create them and make them readily available with the podcast.

That was firmly in our minds when Shel and I plan our weekly podcasts. That’s why we produce detailed show notes with each one, including the start time in the MP3 file when each of the discussions segments starts. That way, you know where you need to get to.

And if I do manage to get hold of a Shuffle soon, you know what I’ll be trying out on it.

3 thoughts on “Yes, use your iPod Shuffle for podcasts

  1. Triple-clicking the play button takes you to the top of the playlist. If you put your podcasts and audiobooks at the top of the list, they’ll be easy to find (switch on the back has a “play in order” position) & they’ll be left out when you’re shuffling music.
    In addition, though the shuffle has a new database format that make it incompatible with Elphpod, Anapod Explorer, etc., it lets *you* decide per-track bookmarking instead of only letting .aa and .m4b files support that. That is, once you have an iTunes alternative that’s shuffle compatible.

  2. I have been using my iPod shuffle specifically for podcasting for 3 months. If you use a playlist in iTunes of all the podcasts, you can order them and play them in that order. You can fast forward/reverse while listening, and if you stop the shuffle knows where to begin. I think its the greatest podcast listening device out there. I have a fm transmitter for my vw too.
    Its not shuffle only! This is a perfect tool for the avid podcast listener like myself. You dont even need a screen, especially while driving ( or working out, jogging etc)
    I love this shuffle!

Comments are closed.