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Downcast is an independently developed podcast player. If you are unaware of what a podcast is the best analogy is probably serialized talk radio. They are mostly free and supported by a sponsor. Podcast players, or pod catchers, allow you to subscribe to different podcasts and automatically downloads them. (Or mark them for streaming.) Podcasting is an awesome form of entertainment and I have spent many, many hours listening to podcasts in the last few years. Downcast has been my player of choice the entire time. It does everything you could want from a podcast player. You can:
- Search for shows
- Subscribe to shows
- Set shows to automatically download or mark for streaming
- Organize your podcasts and create playlists
- Set a sleep timer
Over the years I have been tempted to try other hot, new podcast apps but none have offered a significant advantage over Dropbox so I have never switched. That is not to say Downcast is perfect. I have had issues with episodes not syncing between devices and have had to delete the app and re-import everything but the developer is always quick to respond to issues. My only real issue with Downcast is that I have never been able to seamlessly set up the app on a new device. When you buy a new iPhone, or iPad, and download Downcast there are 4 toggles for syncing. Somehow my setting to mark all new episodes for streaming gets turned off and I have hundreds of podcasts trying to download themselves to my new device. It is probably user error and you can change to mark everything for streaming pretty easily but it’s annoying.
Some podcasts to get you started:
- The Cultcast: Weekly Apple discussion with some of the guys from Cult of Mac. They aren’t always right but they are always entertaining.
- Connected: Federico Vittici, Myke Hurley, Stephen Hackett talk about Apple and technology. Smart guys, smart talk.
- Debug: Discussions on programming. It isn’t usually that technical but it is always intensely interesting.
- Serial: The popularity of Serial is the fastest growing ever. It’s a weekly show about a single story. (The first season is a true story about a man who has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend. They are trying to figure out if he really did it or not. He maintains his innocence. Very compelling.