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Can I just say one thing?: Podcasts

This is a new series about things that are immensely irritating for no good reason.  

I am a podcast fan.  Mostly, I like podcasts on history, language, history of science and cultural trendiology stuff.  When I got my first iPhone, I was ecstatic because I could download podcasts through iTunes and every time I synched my phone, the podcast would magically refresh and I would get a brand new set of stuff to listen to.  

Then, someone at apple had the bright idea to disconnect podcasts from iTunes.  Why this decision was made is beyond me.  Usually, I’m pretty tolerant of interface and design changes.  Sure, many people bitch about how things used to be better and make themselves a pain in the ass but most users adapt within a few days to a week.  That’s how it should be.  We need to be able to adapt.  

So, I didn’t particularly like the new setup where the podcasts were separate but I was determined to adapt.  Give it a couple of weeks and I would never know the difference.

But along with separating the podcasts from iTunes, apple forced users to download a new podcast app.  It was a baaaaad app, oh best beloveds.  It really was.  Steve Jobs is going to haunt that developer for eternity.  For one thing, it didn’t sync well with the podcast downloads.  I had to go back into iTunes on multiple occasions to try to troubleshoot why a particular podcast didn’t download to the iPhone.  And then there was the weird skipping bug.  Right in the middle of the podcasts, the feed would start to skip every 10 words or so.  It was maddening.  So, I looked for a different podcast app and found one but it came with a whole new set of problems, specifically, it downloaded every episode and was difficult to maintain.  

Then the podcast app/iTunes interface was “improved!”.  Over several upgrades, it has gotten marginally better but it has never gotten back to the state of utility that it had when it was fully integrated in iTunes.  In fact, it’s weird that on the laptop, podcasts are still integrated into iTunes but on the iPhone they’re not.  They still don’t sync flawlessly like they did before and I frequently have to go into the app or iTunes and tweak the settings.  Sometimes, I will get three episodes to load, listen to them and then find that neither the app or iTunes will update the subscription any further.  I have to do manual refresh.  This happens a lot. And for some subscriptions, Fresh Air, for example, the podcast episodes never delete themselves as they’re supposed to, requiring me to manually delete many of the same podcasts over and over again.

The latest “feature” is that the podcasts update themselves on iTunes but not on the iPhone.  There’s no option to refresh the podcast on the iPhone so I have to manually delete the podcast and resubscribe to get the newest episode.  

Was this necessary?  Whose bright idea was this?  Could someone fix this please?  

Next week: Siri needs an attitude adjustment.

Add your more notable non-improvement upgrade story below.

10 Responses

  1. Apple headhunt a Microsoft developer?

    • It sure seems like it. And don’t even get me started with the way apple dumped support of the first generation iPads. They’re almost useless when it comes to reading magazines from the newsstand. There are a couple that I have subscriptions for but I can’t download anymore. Pisses me off royally.

      • I’ve heard that’s true for software (app) updates too. Rick has suggested I buy a first generation iPad but, I know for a fact that it won’t run the only app I really need (an app for managing complicated knitting patterns)

        • Yeah, there are some apps that won’t run on the first generation iPad. I swear that if I ever get another decent job, I’m replacing it and giving my current iPad to my aunt. Don’t get me wrong, it still works very well for most of my apps but when I certain company or developer chooses to move on, you’re kinda stuck. The magazine subscription really burned my oatmeal. I think if you’re collecting money on a monthly basis for a magazine, you really have an obligation to support older versions whether you like it or not. It doesn’t take THAT much effort. I had a subscription from a Canadian magazine that did that and then must have caught hell about it and kept a version for first gen iPads. But with American magazine publishers? ehhhhh, not so much. That means I have to cancel my subscription. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
          Some people are still stuck in 2008 and don’t realize we can’t all just refresh our hardware like we used to.

          • And why should we? How much work does it take to include the older versions of hardware? And the additional potential customers must be huge. It’s not like demanding expansion into other operating systems. In this case, they’re losing customers voluntarily.

        • Arggh, I just saw the perfect nightstands for my bedroom. I’ve been searching craigslist, thrift shops and garage sales for nightstands for months now and no go. But CB2 has the perfect pair and it’s only $260 for both of them. I can’t afford it and I can’t NOT afford it. I really need nightstands. I’m trying to be all Buddhist about this and not want but I can’t help it. Ok, I can help it but I don’t want to help it. I want the nightstands. But then there are so many other necessary things.
          THIS is why the economy is in the crapper. $260 used to be a little luxury and now it’s almost an insurmountable obstacle.
          Theft from an online catalog is just not happening.

          • Here’s the link: http://www.cb2.com/accent-tables/furniture/harvey-chrome-nightstand/s266674
            I like them for their simplicity. My tastes are changing. I’m moving away from Pottery Barn and towards something more modern. The thought of putting big, blocky wood nightstands next to my bed feels claustrophobic.
            But one commuter ticket on the NJ Transit line for Brook is $225/month and that’s WITH a student discount. Thank you governor Christie. Around Pittsburgh, students ride the PAT buses and trains for free.
            I hate New Jersey.
            Here’s a good pic of the nightstand in situ:

          • Cool — At first I thought it looked a little like something from a professional kitchen. But, in the photo it has a glass-topped look that I like. Without the glass!!

          • It’s light and open. And in my bedroom, which doesn’t get the best light in the world, I need something that isn’t going to absorb what little light there is. Plus, I had to keep my old cherry sleigh bed, which takes up a lot of space and is dark, so I need something simpler, shinier and not wood on each side of the bed.
            Does this make sense? Maybe I can sell my blood or something.
            The more I think about it, the more I want them.

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