Tips on Using Alternate Devices and Software
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Some folks may want to use an alternate to iTunes, as well as utilize the various other hand-held devices that should work with our Podcast service. Below are some tips/info that may be of help to you.
Concerning alternate hand-held devices, Brother Keith Boyd has done some comparisons that should help you:
There are three major brands:
- Zune (Microsoft)
- Sandisk (Sansa)
- Creative Labs
- The Zune is a direct competing product with the Apple players. Same price points as Apple. So it's not cheaper than iPods. Same price. Comes in 4,8,16GB flash players and 80 and 120GB hard drive models. Pricing is lock-step with the Apple players, except the new iPod Touch which is more expensive. Like Apple, you can't drag and drop files directly onto the player. You download the Zune software and sync your Zune with that software -- like iTunes. I chose this product over the Apple as a matter of preference. It sounds (a lot) better than the Apple players and on the 80/120GB models the video is better than the classic hard drive Apple Players. The Zune software is very easy to use. To subscribe to a podcast with Zune you copy and paste the urls into the "subscribe to podcast" option in the software so it's not quite as automated as iTunes. Once that's done it's automatic. It also has Wi-Fi built in so you can do a wireless sync if you have that at home. I do. My take is anybody that picks out the Zune knows what they want and why so if someone asks about this product versus iPod and they are not a technical person and they want utmost simplicity then I would recommend the iPod to them since you've already got the links for iTunes automated for them. Cost will be the same.
- Sandisk makes the best value for the money. I've found a 2GB model from Amazon for $29 that uses AAA and supports playlists. This is a great and very useful player. The downside is that you have to use another app to get the podcasts (Juice, for example) and then use Windows Media player to create the playlists. You can sync directly from Windows Media Player. I'm learning more and more about this process. Not bad at all, Media Player works well once you "point" it to the directories where you've downloaded the Podcasts. I also found the Sansa Fuze 4GB (about $50) and Sansa Fuze 8GB (about $90) to be a great value and it has a great interface --very very easy to use and an excellent build quality. The Fuze also has a micro SD slot so you could add another 4GB for less than $10. Apple and Zune don't have that option. Also the Sansa Clip is an excellent choice for a rechargeable player -- $29 on Amazon - $45 in the stores. These players sound great, as well. I try and keep a couple of each on hand. Amazon has excellent prices on these players and it looks like the prices are beginning to drop. Best value by far.
- The Creative Labs players come with software to manage the player. The current version will link (sort of) to iTunes for podcasts. They include an application called Zencast and that is a very nice application. You copy and paste the urls into Zencast and it will be automated from there. It will sync directly to the player once you've set that up. I like these players. They are very inexpensive compared to iPods and Zune. Almost half as much. A great choice for most folks that at least can copy and paste the url into the Zencast app.
Concerning alternate Podcast software for your computer; there are others out there, but Juice seems to be one that works with our feeds. Juice (formerly known as iPodder) is an open-source client software that will do most things you would need from iTunes. Juice works with various MP3 players. Below are some links to alternate software that you can use.
We will being adding to this page as we get more info.