How do you want to listen?

Check with Clintcast.com frequently to stay abreast of the latest news and offers from Clintcast. If you prefer to hear the podcasts away from your computer. Here are some alternative ways you can enjoy your 'daily dose' of Clint!

A Little Background

If all this new podcast stuff is like a foreign language to you, let's take a moment to give a brief explanation about what these podcast things are and how they work. You will quickly see that they can be the most convenient method for you to enjoy audio/video content at any time in any place. A podcast is simply a digital recording. It is usually audio only, but it can be enhanced with images and/or video as well, and it is stored on a web server somewhere in the vastness of the Internet. It is usually an audio file formatted in MP3 format, just like a song file you might download from an Internet music service, but it can come in other formats too, depending on the contents, however, it is important to note that not all portable devices can play these additional formats. As opposed to digital recordings which must stream from the originating server to your computer (live, on-the-fly, you listen/watch as it comes in) similar to a radio station, podcasts are files where the whole show is contained in one file which you can download and play at any time you like - similar to a song on a CD/Tape/8-track/etc. What makes the podcast system a giant-leap better than its predecessors is the way these digital files are paired with a web link called a feed.

Think of a podcast feed as similar to a magazine subscription. It is a listing of a group of these digital podcast files that are related in some way (like episodes of a television show or issues of a magazine) and contains descriptions of each episode, a link to the actual digital file's web location (URL) and other descriptive info about the specific podcasts it refers to. Just like the way you can subscribe to a magazine or setup your VCR/DVR to record a certain show on TV, you can subscribe to a podcast feed. Special software on your computer will then handle 'checking in' on that feed routinely and let you know if there are any new podcast episodes available from that source, sort of like having a little companion robot that scours the television guide looking for your favorite shows. Better still, these software programs (commonly known as podcatchers) will usually, by default, automatically download the new podcast files for you... so you can listen to the podcast as soon as your ready to push 'play'. These podcatching programs will usually organize/consolidate the podcast files for you in one place on your computer so you can easily search through the episodes at your leisure, even if you are disconnect from the Internet, and listen to them on your computer when you want to.

With the coming of portable devices like iPods, smartphones, PDAs and other MP3 players, we gained the ability to transfer these downloaded podcast files onto our mobile devices and listen to them at our leisure, away from our computers. Different devices download these podcast files in slightly different ways. However, most make this operation fairly simple and pain-free using 'synchronization' techniques such that you can simply plug in your device to your computer (usually over a USB cable) and 'synchronize' your device with the library of files on your computer. When it is done, you simply 'eject and go', taking your new podcasts with you out the door, ready to listen to when you want.

So what do you need to get started?
Some sites, such as Clintcast.com provide a 'player' on their sites which allows you to hear the podcast right then and there, on-the-fly. Where you go next, depends on how you would like to hear the podcasts on your own at a later time (and possibly away from your computer). In most all of these cases, the first step is to have podcatcher software installed on your computer (you may also see these called aggregators, because they aggregate podcasts, blogs, news feeds, etc into one place). There are lots of choices out there that work on different computer platforms and at free/low costs. Perhaps the most popular one on the planet is Apple's iTunes software (available for Macs and Windows), not surprisingly since iPods make up the lion's share of the portable media player market. For its ease of use, overall quality and free price, this is the choice we recommend, but you are obviously free to look for other options if you choose. Sites like podcatchermatrix.org can help in narrowing down additional features and compatibility. Depending on the mobile devices you may own, iTunes currently may not be an option for you. Chances are if you are using mobile device other than an iPod/iPhone, that device likely came with software compatible/specific for that device which you should likely try first. If you have not installed alternative podcatching software, be sure to do so before proceeding.

Getting Started: iTunes

Installing iTunes

For those of you using iPods, if you have not installed Apple's iTunes software on your computer as part of your iPod/iPhone setup process, you will need to download and install the iTunes software first. There is lots of helpful documentation/tutorials for this at the Apple website if you need help with this step. Once you have the software installed, you can then follow steps below to put the software to use, gathering podcasts for you and potentially loading them onto your mobile devices.

Subscribing

Click the icon below to subscribe to Clintcast directly on iTunes (iTunes will open separately from this web site).

Subscribe to Clintcast on iTunesicon

Once there, click the Subscribe button next to the Clintcast graphic to have your iTunes software automatically subscribe to Clintcast and then download the latest episode (and future episodes) to your computer.

If you have an Apple Account (perhaps you have purchased music/movies on iTunes before or subscribe to MobileMe), we would be most grateful if you could add a review to our podcast page on iTunes! Simply click the Subscribe on iTunes button above to go to the Clintcast page on iTunes, scroll down to the Customer Reviews and click the "Write a Review" link to sign in and leave a review. Your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated!

Getting Started: Users of other podcatching software

Click the icon below to subscribe to Clintcast using the generic podcast feed (will open in a new window).

Subscribe via RSS feed
Depending on the podcatching/aggregator software you have installed, this link will either subscribe you to the Clintcast feed or provide a page of links to subscribe from different podcatcher options. At the very least, most podcatching software will allow you to paste in the URL link to a subscription feed. If this is the option you need to employ for your specific software, here is the link to the feed for you to copy and paste:

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Clintcast

Once you have successfully subscribed, your software should automatically download the latest episode (and future episodes) to your computer or, at least, provide options to do so. Be aware that this subscription feed only retains the latest 250 episodes, in order to keep file-size down.

Downloading files to your computer

With your subscription to the feed completed in your podcatcher software, you should now be able to successfully download the current episode (as well as previous episodes listed in the feed) and listen to it on your computer whenever you want (the software itself should automatically pull the latest available episode down to your computer).

 

Note:
Not all podcatching software has the capabilities to 'play' your downloaded MP3 files and may instead offload this task to other software on your computer. For instance, Juice is a popular podcatcher program on the Windows platform that does a nice job of managing podcast files but it does not have a built-in player and instead sends your files to iTunes or Windows Media Player for actual listening. In these cases, you may need to locate the actual MP3 files that have been downloaded to your computer so you can play them with other software or to enable syncing with your portable player device.

This can be problematic on the Windows platform as Windows Media Player (which is used by many non-iPod MP3 players for downloading/synchronizing files to the player) does not natively support directly subscribing to podcasts within the player. As such, the user must use other software (podcatching/aggregating software such as Juice or iTunes) to retrieve the files down to the computer and then setup Windows Media Player to 'monitor' that software's download directory for new files to add to the Windows Media Player Library for synchronization with media devices. Thus, if you are a Windows user, we suggest the following setup:

  1. If you have not installed Apple's iTunes software for Windows software on your computer then do so now.
  2. Windows Media Player likely is already installed on your Windows computer, but if not or it is not the latest version, then now is the time to install the latest Windows Media Player.
  3. By default, iTunes will likely be placing its iTunes Music Library (including your podcast downloads) in a subfolder under your "My Music" folder. Also by default, Windows Media Player monitors this folder for new songs/files, so it should discover any new files your iTunes software will have downloaded/subscribed to. If for some reason, Windows Media Player is finding the correct folder to look in, you can add it to the list of monitored folders:
    • First, verify where the iTunes Music Folder is on your computer. In iTunes, choose 'Preferences...' in the Edit menu. On the 'Advanced' tab of the resulting dialog box, you should see the path listed to the current iTunes Music Folder location. Note this location.
    • In the Library menu of Windows Media Player, select 'Add to Library...'
    • In the resulting dialog box, open the 'Advanced Options>>' button so you can see the list of currently monitored folders. Click the 'Add...' button to then choose an additional folder on your computer to look in - point it to your iTunes Music Folder location you noted previously. Click 'OK' to accept the new directory path, and 'OK' again to close the dialog box. Windows Media Player should now find your downloaded iTunes files.
  4. If you have completed these steps correctly, you should now be able to use iTunes for all the wonderful music management abilities it has and still use Windows Media Player to place those files onto your non-iPod portable devices.
 

Downloading files to your portable device

iPod

  1. You can listen to the downloaded episode(s) on iTunes by clicking the Podcasts item in the iTunes left sidebar under LIBRARY. Clicking the 'arrow' next to listing for Clintcast will toggle open/close the episode list so you can see all the episodes available for download. You can click the GET button to have iTunes download any of the other episodes you would like you may have missed previously (they are all free).
  2. Attach your iPod to your computer via the USB/Firewire cable/dock and wait for it to be recognized by iTunes.
  3. Synchronize your iPod to your iTunes library. This will download the new podcasts to your iPod (as well as any other songs/media that need to be synchronized). Once this is complete, you can eject your iPod, disconnect it from the computer and enjoy Clintcast on the go!

Smartphone

As there are literally hundreds of variations of smartphone models comprised of different operating systems, features, storage methods and such out there, it is well beyond the scope of these instructions to document downloading/syncing procedures for even the most common models (one could develop an entire web site to this task alone). In this respect, for the specifics of how to store/play podcasts on your particular smartphone, we will need to defer to your specific device's documentation/support options. We can, however, point you in some common directions that most current smartphone models support.

For instance, depending on the model, operating system and phone network, many newer smartphones may have the option of downloading podcasts for listening right over the phone connection without the need for a computer by using a 'browser' on the phone, no different than you coming to this site on your computer and simply 'playing the file'. This only works however, when you have an actual signal connection and thus will not work in areas where you do not have signal coverage. Similarly, you may be able to 'browse' to the actual RSS feed file (http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Clintcast) and download the actual mp3 file directly to your phone's storage for playback at a later time (when you may not necessarily have signal coverage). In both of these cases, it should be noted that depending on your connection speed, pulling these files 'over the air' can take a LOT of time and bandwidth as podcast files can be large (most Clintcast episodes run 10-12 megabytes). Otherwise, to follow the podcatching/syncing method described previously in this article, you will generally need to:

  1. Install/setup podcatching software (iTunes, Juice, etc) on your computer to subscribe to the podcast feed and download the latest episodes to your local computer. This is recommended anyway, so you will have the episodes organized and playable on your computer to begin with, regardless of your smartphone/portable devices.
  2. Utilize your smartphone's specific software interface(s) for copying/syncing files (audio, documents, contacts, etc) to your phone. This is usually done via a USB cable connection to the phone, though some models allow for this operation using other means, such as a bluetooth connection. Again, please check the documentation specific to your device for further information.

Blackberry

For those using Blackberry devices, RIM has recently released software, called Blackberry Media Sync, for Windows XP & Vista users (there is also a Mac 'Preview'/Beta version) that syncs most modern Blackberry models with your iTunes Library files to make transferring the podcasts onto your device fairly easy. See http://www.blackberry.com/mediasync to see if your model is supported and to download the software. It allows you to specify exactly which playlists in iTunes you wish to sync so if you only want to download/sync the podcasts, you can do so and not fill up your Blackberry with your other music files. Once you have undocked from your computer, you can access the podcasts in your 'Media' application under the songs/playlist section. We have tried it out at the office and it seems to work fine thus far.

MP3 player

Similar to smartphones, there are literally hundreds of variations of MP3 player models available, comprised of different operating systems, features, storage methods and such out there. As such, it is well beyond the scope of these instructions to document downloading/syncing procedures for even the most common models (again, one could develop an entire web site to this task alone). In this respect, for the specifics of how to store/play podcasts on your particular MP3 player, we will need to defer to your specific device's documentation/support options. We can, however, point you in some common directions that most current MP3 player models support.

As before, the basics of listening to podcasts starts with subscribing to an RSS feed subscription with special podcatching/aggregator software specific to your computer operating system and device (see sections above). Some of these programs only subscribe/download podcasts and leave the connection/sync with portable devices to other software. Others are capable of handling the whole process, depending on your device (like iTunes/iPod). The biggest point to remember is that podcasts are really nothing more than standard audio files like other songs. Depending on the format, they can have additional graphical capabilities, but most are plain old MP3 audio files, just like other songs you may have on your computer. Therefore, the software's key role is to download/organize the files from their sources on the Internet and then to copy the files (hopefully in an equally organized way) onto your device for listening on the go.

As before, you will generally need to setup the following:

  1. Install/setup podcatching software (iTunes, Juice, etc) on your computer to subscribe to the podcast feed and download the latest episodes to your local computer. This is recommended anyway, so you will have the episodes organized and playable on your computer to begin with, regardless of your smartphone/portable devices.
  2. Utilize your MP3 player's specific software interface(s) for copying/syncing files to your player. This is usually done via a USB cable connection to the device. For Mac/iPod users, this combination is typically iTunes syncing with an iPod. For many Windows and non-iPod users, this may more typically be accomplished by using iTunes/Juice to subscribe/organize the podcast files and then utilizing Windows Media Player to copy/sync the downloaded MP3 files to the MP3 player. Again, please check the documentation specific to your device for further information.

Apple, the Apple logo, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iTunes is for legal or rightholder-authorized copying only. Don't steal music.

I love listening to Clint, he is motivating, and funny, "hits the nail on the head". It is a great program all staff should listen. Thanks

-Millie McCabe