So I was catching up on some of my space news today. Being a member of the Planetary Society gives me access to tons and tons of information about what NASA and the other space agencies and astronomers and astrophysicists and… ( well you get the idea ) are up to. The amount of information is almost overwhelming – seriously!
One of the services that I had not yet taken advantage of was their radio broadcast, and coming soon it looks like they will be doing a video broadcast as well! You have probably seen links for these sorts of things on some of the websites you have visited – they are usually referred to as “Podcasts” and were first developed for use with iPods and iTunes .
Well I certainly have nothing against Apple’s amazing products , they deserved huge kudos for just surviving against the juggernaut that Microsoft has become, but I have taken a look at iTunes and while I find it amazing well designed and full of functionality, I didn’t like two things in particular about it. The first was that it was designed ( when I was looking at it a while back, don’t know if it’s still true today ) to be used just for their iPod and more importantly ( or me that is ) it insisted on taking over complete control of all your MP3 recordings on your computer!
Now while that may not be an issue for many people, it is for me because I like to have direct access to the files and be able to add or change or manipulate or even transfer the recording to whatever type of media I chose – and it didn’t seem to let me do that…. So I don’t like, nor want to use iTunes… Which then left me in a bit of a lurch for many of the “Podcasts” that were out there ( The Planetary Society being one of them. )
I could still subscribe using RSS and I would get a note saying that a new broadcast was available for listening to and I admit that I have technology at hand to download them as well. But, most of these Podcasts weren’t available for long periods of time. I’m a busy person and on too many numerous occasions, I missed my chance to download or listen to them!
Well, I’ve just found a great little Podcast subscribing tool that anyone on any platform (Linux/Windows/Mac) will be able to use – and it’s called Juice!
The really nice thing is that you get complete control over the downloaded material and it stays in it’s original MP3 format! It also lets you choose what program you would like to use, if you decide to leave it on the computer and listen there. It’s a nice free little package with lots of flexibility. Here is how the writers of Juice describe it…
Why should I squeeze Juice?
- Juice is free
- Juice supports more than 15 languages
- Juice supports multiple media players
- Juice is free software licensed under the GPL (open source)
- Juice’s primary purpose is to manage podcasts
- Juice has a built-in directory with thousands of listed podcast feeds
- Juice has auto cleanup, authentication, centralized feed management and much more
- Juice is accessible for blind and visually impaired users (windows version only)
- Juice is fresh!
It’s obviously been out for quite a while ( which is normal – you never know what is out there till you go looking for something newer or better – or your lucky enough to read a blog like this. ) They post a pretty extensive list of companies and organizations that recommend them ( check out juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/recommendations/index.php if you want to know more about their supporters .)
It comes with a listing of numerous Podcasting sites and services to get you started as well as other advanced features and controls such as:
- Scheduling when you would like to check for and download new podcasts
- Automatically deleting listened to broadcasts after a set amount of time ( which you can turn on or off and even select the duration of time )
- Stopping any new downloads when your hard disk gets close to being full ( which you can set to whatever limit you choose )
This is a brilliant piece of software that I have only started scratching the surface on, but it works flawlessly and the options and flexibility of it already have me sold. If you are looking for something that you can used to subscribe to Podcasts with; that will give you all the flexibility you want and allow you to transfer the downloads to whatever device or media you like – then I seriously think you should take a closer look at Juice. I did and I’m extremely happy with it!