I must be getting old, because I’d not really adequately considered how a photo iPod would be used in the intense social milieu of high school and college students. Anyway, its bascially anecdota, but its an interesting.
I happily break from my ongoing criticism of the Bush administration to draw attention to a cool iPod feature I just learned about.
If you are listening to an audio book on your iPod and you pause and listen to something else, the iPod will remember your previous position in the audio book the next time you play it and you can pick up where you left off.
What’s cool is that you can make the iPod treat any AAC encoded file as an audiobook by changing its file extention to .m4b. I don’t know of a way to do the same with .mp3s, but if worse comes to worse, you can always load the .mp3 into iTunes and then have iTunes convert it into an AAC file first.
Combine this with a smart playlist set up to only play files in a custom category once, and you could start programming your own personal radio show made up of interviews and other content found on the web.
I want to be able to set up “subscriptions” that will automatically download new audio content and que it on my iPod. I want my iPod to have playlists that will mirror these subscriptions, automatically noting the items I’ve listened to so I don’t hear them again and purging and/or archiving the files i have listened to.
Most of the pieces are in place.
1. The playcount attribute in a smartplaylist will allow me to set things up to only listen to a piece once. I’m not sure though if I have to resync for things to drop off the playlist.
2. iTunes automation should make it possible to script addition of files and creation of new smart playlists.
3. MP3 blog aggregators should simplify content capture. Unfortunately most of the stuff I want probably isn’t in MP3 format ( ie NPR ), nor is it presented in an RSS feed (though strangely searching for RSS on NPRs site brings up terms and conditions pages that mention their RSS feeds).
Solving these problems could be a fun “learn python” project for me, but the audio conversion piece is going to be kludgy, which turns me off. I’ll have to try to script Streambox VCR (which hopefully has command line options) to pull down the streaming feed and then automate (if possible) Streambox ripper to convert it. Since both of these are unsupported and hard to find software, its not exactly something I could hope to find wide adoption.
Maybe someone else has solved these problems for me. Time to start looking.
Update: It’s 2006, doesn’t this post seem quaint now?
I’d like to get things set up so I can run daily jobs to pull down periodical audio content from the web and pump it into iTunes for use on my iPod.
Unfortunately, iTunes on windows isn’t very scriptable, and far too much content is delivered in RealAudio format, which isn’t the most amenable for transfer.
I need to look into scriptable utilities for capturing and perhaps transcoding real-audio streams.