As the tv-season is on hold during the summer months, I had to switch to another type of "media" to consume during longish train/bus rides, so I picked up some podcasts again I like to listen to.
These days mobile devices are also more and more "connected" to the web and downloading music and/or podcasts to your mobile device seems so tiresomely old ... so: streaming audio for the win !
There are several really good streaming audio clients on the various mobile platforms, but heck, I found it was really frustrating to get the updates from your favourite podcast and get your device to play the darn thing.
Most annoying, especially as it was not a technical issue but an "ease of use" and "interface" issue.
Conduits Pocketplayer does a semi-decent job, but that thing is bloated and painfully slow to load as it tries to rescan your local music library AND your feeds at every move you make. (besides that, it's not free)
As always, the "If you want it done better, do it yourself!" mantra made me tinker to create a very simple and fast way to reach my favourite podcasts. no need to reinvent the weel and create a player; a small web application would do to fetch the latest mp3 url's and feed it to a player.
tadaaa!: http://m.stef.be/pod (works in every browser but it's optimised for your mobile device)
Keeping track of various RSS feeds yourself in any application is a bit a pain in the behind: you have to scan, validate and cache each feed at regular intervals which can quickly cause some major strain on your server.
This time i took the smarter route and created a connection to a system that does RSS aggregation better then anyone else in the world: Google Reader.
in Google Reader I label the podcasts i want with a tag "mobilepodcast" , then my podcatcher script simply fetches the 20 latest items of all feeds with that label.
I'll post the code for the Google Reader connection later, it's really an easy way to get a feed and you still get to process them the way you want.
Depending on your mobile device and the software your prefer, the application presents the audio files as a PLS playlist, a ASX playlist or a direct link to the mp3 file.
You can modify this by clicking the "settings" button to choose your preference.
On my mobile, I've setup Coreplayer to open .pls files automatically. It's hands down the best media player for windows mobile.
Future improvements might be to connect this with my mp3 library at home, allowing for streaming audio from the home pc, or with this collection, but we'll see about that ...
In the mean time: http://m.stef.be/pod it is.