Podcasts and good old RSS

Once I started seriously listening to podcasts, I quickly reached the point where there are more podcasts, (entire shows, not just episodes,) than I can possibly keep up with. I’m left with the choice between staying subscribed to podcasts where I want to listen to only some of the episodes, or unsubscribing and knowing that I’m missing some gems.

…and then I remember this is all just RSS.

In my podcast player, (which is Overcast,) I now keep only the shows that are my dedicated favorites; shows that I generally listen to every episode. I moved all the other podcasts into my RSS reader, (which is Reeder.) I even added a bunch of shows which I had completely given up hope of being able to even follow them looking for gems.

This had two huge benefits:

First, it improved my podcast listening experience: Not keeping all of those podcast shows subscribed in my podcast player, means less downloading and less skipping. I don’t like having to wait, so I have everything set to pre-download, and removing a lot of podcasts makes a big difference. But even more important, there’s now much less distraction. When I’m in the mood, (or the time, or the place,) to listen to podcasts, I tend to continue listening by default. I’m more likely to listen “just a bit farther” to see if this episode is going to be good, whereas if I had read the summary I might have skipped it altogether. So my podcast listening experience winds up having far more great episodes because it’s just the shows I love.

Second, it actually leads to me finding more gems: When I open my RSS reader, (as I do every day,) I’m in “skimming mode.” I’m looking for things to queue for later reading. (Pocket and Instapaper for the win.) There’s very little effort for me to skim the episode descriptions, and when I find one that looks good I add it to my podcast player. This does require me to switch apps, search, and then add a specific episode. But this small effort helps ensure that the episode is likely to be one I would really like to listen to.

There’s one detail that is a slight snag: How do you find a podcast’s feed URL? We’re all so used to searching in our podcast player apps, but you need the actual podcast feed URL to add it to your RSS reader. You’ll discover that none of the podcast player apps, and none of the directories, (Stitcher, Google, Apple, etc.,) make it easy to find the shows’ underlying podcast URL. The easiest way to do it is to use the handy search on James Cridland’s, Podnews.net (no relation/benefit to me.) It pulls the show’s information from the directories, and explains all the details about that show’s configuration including a handy RSS link icon that has the URL.

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There’s nothing small about the world

(Part 69 of 74 in My Journey)

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/06/theres-nothing-small-about-the-world/

Now I realize I was not giving up anything of any use to anyone. The news never really added to my knowledge in any meaningful way. It just added a steady stream of limited and unsubstantiated viewpoints on select issues to my head, which is already full of limited and unsubstantiated viewpoints. The news doesn’t inform you about what’s happening in the world. The news only informs you of what’s on the news.

~ David Cain

One of the first steps I ever took in turning my life around was to get a handle on my information “diet.” In the beginning, there was TV. I was horribly mistaken in thinking that it was possible to obtain any useful news from TV. (There’s plenty of entertainment on TV if you’re willing to guzzle advertising with it.) Early on, perhaps around ~1993, I realized you could use RSS (and it’s many descendent flavors) to watch [as in, “notice when things are published”, not “mindlessly stare at”] information sources of my choosing.

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A fight for survival! An RSS revival!

https://www.macstories.net/linked/the-rss-revival/

While millions of people may be happy getting their news from Facebook or an aggregator like Apple News (which I also use, occasionally, for more mainstream headlines), the resiliency of RSS makes me happy. There was a time when I thought all my news could come from social feeds and timelines; today, I’m more comfortable knowing that I – not a questionable and morally corrupt algorithm – fully control hundreds of sources I read each day.

~ Federico Viticci

Hear! Hear!

Ok, but how do you use this?

The SUPER easy way is to go to http://feedbin.com/. There you can tell it what sites you want to follow, and FeedBin will “consume” the RSS feeds. It dove-tails them together into a linear stream of short snippettes and excerpts. You skim along only seeing things from sites you wanted to follow.

Some site annoys you repeatedly?
…just remove that feed.

See something you like?
…click through and you’re taking to the original item on the actual site. THIS is why all sites provide RSS feeds. Huge sites, (like the BBC’s,) provide various feeds you can choose from; just international news for example.

Take five minutes to figure this out — you can thank me later.

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Does free work?

If you don’t understand what all the hubbub is about Google Reader, RSS, free services… here are three bits to get you thinking:

The Customer Is the Product

https://medium.com/future-tech-future-market/7b1a7ddb6ffe

What if someone invented a service where, instead of having to check all your important blogs, instead of having to check Twitter and Tumblr a million times a day, you could get all the updates in one place? Great idea!

~ Ryan Holiday

http://www.marco.org/2013/03/19/free-works

Free is so prevalent in our industry not because everyone’s irresponsible, but because it works. … In other industries, this is called predatory pricing, and many forms of it are illegal because they’re so destructive to healthy businesses and the welfare of an economy. But the tech industry is far less regulated, younger, and faster-moving than most industries. We celebrate our ability to do things that are illegal or economically infeasible in other markets with productive-sounding words like “disruption”.

~ Marco Arment

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