Monday, 18 March 2013

Living without Google Reader and Listen


Since I got my Android phone, I've been using Google Listen to listen to podcasts. I really liked this solution since adding another podcast to my collection was as simple as adding it to my 'Listen subscriptions' folder in Google Reader. All from within my browser, all at the click of a button. Awesome.

Listen may not have been the best podcast player - it didn't let you speed the playback up and didn't have a sleep timer. But it was simple and worked. Pity it was discontinued last year.

Now Reader is on its way out I've had to find a new solution to consume my podcasts. And I've found it in Pocket Casts. This does allow you to speed up playback and set a sleep timer - something particularly useful since I've found podcasts distract me so much I can fall asleep very quickly. I've imported my Reader OMPL file by doing the following:
  1. Read how to export Google Reader feeds here http://lifehacker.com/5990456/google-reader-is-getting-shut-down-here-are-the-best-alternatives
  2. Now email the subscriptions.xml file to yourself
  3. Open the email on your phone and save the subscriptions.xml attachment to your phone - if you are using Gmail you might need to use something like GMail Attachment Download to save the attachment
  4. Use a file manager like ES File Explorer to move the file into the /PocketCasts/opml_import directory
  5. Go to Pocket Casts settings and select the Import & Export option, then click on the 'Import OPML file' option and let it do its stuff.
I really would like it if they had a web interface where I could add and manage subscriptions as easily as I did with Reader - hopefully they'll get there.

To get the subscribed podcasts to automatically download, I had to create a playlist, containing All Podcasts, with 'Auto Download' and 'Only on WiFi' selected.

For RSS consumption, I'm trying Feedly - so far I'm impressed by the presentation and its across all of the platforms - web, Android and IOS.

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