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# My new iPod Shuffle

So my current iPod (a 40gb 3g model) has a battery that lasts aproximately 5 minutes. Not wanting to buy a new iPod or deal with the hassle of replacing the battery I bought myself one of the new 1gb shuffles.

I can still use my 3g iPod when it's plugged into a power source, but I have a ground loop in the car I can't get rid of. It's not noticable with music, but it's very noticable with the podcasts I listen to (Mostly the Penn Jillette show and NPR.) So I decided my shuffle would be used for podcasts.

The shuffle does an excellent job at playing these podcasts, and they sound perfect in the car. I haven't had a chance to run the battery down yet, but apple claims 12 hours of battery life, so I figure that 10 should be easy to achieve, which is plenty for me.

The only problem with the shuffle? It's a second-class iPod when it comes to podcasts. First, there's no automatic syncing of the shuffle, I have to use autofill. Autofill lets you pick your entire music library or a playlist, and iTunes then picks a selection of files to load onto your shuffle. Seems like that'd be perfect, and I can just pick iTunes' Podcasts playlist, right?

Unfortunately that's not how it works. You can't pick the built-in Podcasts playlist, and a smart playlist that pulls from your Podcasts playlist doesn't actually fill your shuffle with anything. I had to find another solution.

The solution I came up with was to add all my podcasts to NetNewsWire instead. I then deleted them from iTunes, so I'm not downloading everything twice. I went into NNW's preferences, and set it to download all audio enclosures and add them to the iTunes playlist "NNW Podcasts." I can then fill my shuffle from this playlist using autofill.

That was nice, but not nice enough. I still have to manually delete podcasts after I've listened to them. Smart Playlists to the rescue.

I setup a Smart Playlist called "My Podcasts" with the following rules:

I can then fill my shuffle from this playlist. The shuffle, like all iPods, keeps track of the playcount and will update iTunes with that count when you plug it in. I can then hit "Autofill" and my shuffle will be updated with any new podcasts since my last sync, and any podcasts I've already listened to will be removed. Almost perfect.

I'd still like to have it automatically update, but I suspect I'd need to write an applescript that runs whenever I plug my shuffle in. I don't know if AppleScript has any sort of hooks or triggers for that sort of thing. I could always write a quick shell script that uses osascript I suppose.

posted at: 2006 Nov 13 18:45 UTC | category: tech | (story link)

Copyright © 2006-2008 Zach White