I've mentioned my problems with Podcasts in iTunes before, but here is the summary: Apparently, "a while" is less than a week. So everytime I went to sync my iPod, I would discover that I didn't have any of the latest podcasts. You always have to manually resync the iPod. The result of this is that when I go to the gym sadly, only a few times a week these days , I would spend about minutes trying to get my iPod synched with all of the podcasts that I want to listen to during my workout.
This morning I had finally had enough. Apple doesn't care about any of this. The only time they update iTunes is to add support for some new service they want to offer and not to actually add important features or fix existing bugs.
And I'm sick and tired of their Apple Updater popping up and asking me to update "Bonjour" or to try and put Safari on my computer. So today I made a serious attempt to find a solution to this podcast problem. I started by reviewing various "Podcatcher" software. The idea was to have a Podcatcher handle the actual podcast downloads and updates and then just tell iTunes that new podcasts were available. I started looking at a popular program called "Juice", but learned that it hasn't been updated in several years, and it no longer works with the latest iTunes v8.
I don't know if Apple just broke their API to prevent this kind of external podcast updating, but I really really annoyed and dismayed at the horrible quality of podcatcher software that is available. I had looked at MediaMonkey many years ago and wasn't very impressed.
But they have kept at it and have continued to improve it and add features. It is very actively still supported and being improved.
Best of all, it directly syncs with iPods just like iTunes, contains "Smart" playlists like iTunes, and contains a much better PodCatcher component. This is pretty annoying since we have had video iPods for many years now. Only audio podcasts get downloaded. For now I'm going to live with this restriction since I mostly never watch the video when I'm at the gym anyway. Tomorrow I'll be able to test and see if the latest daily news podcast gets automatically synched to my iPod while it is plugged into my computer.
Hopefully that will work. The base version of MediaMoney is free and very functional. I also found a Vista sidebar gadget that works with MM, so I was able to remove the gadget that I had for showing the current song being played in iTunes. The media keys on my G15 keyboard work fine, and even the song is displayed in the LCD although just the artist and not the song name.
I still haven't explored a lot of the MediaMonkey functionality. There is a way to share the library across the network, so in theory I could finally have a single media library on my networked drive that I could access from MediaMonkey on any computer in the house something else that iTunes failed to handle properly.
Finally I am freed from Apple and iTunes and all of their proprietary crap.