Hooked on iTunes ... wierd

Sad to admit it but the iTunes app really grows on you after a while. True that it is probably the worst sync application ever created to handle media on the iPod (iTouch and iPhone included), as a podcast manager its quite good. Suffice to say that I haven't really tried that many podcast applications but I quite happy with how iTunes manages all my subscriptions and such.

Barely two months after starting, my iTunes directory has grown to a staggering 25.2GB. Here are four of my top picks for 100% free podcasts that I subscribe to (links open in new windows/tabs):

  • Vintage Tooncast - Classic public domain cartoons and movies. You can't go wrong with classic cartoons featuring Woody Woodpecker, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Scrooge McDuck. Quality isn't the greatest but highly watchable. Only annoying thing is the podcast banner firmly encoded onto each file. Subscription links here.

    Mickey Mouse in The Mad Doctor
  • Acappella-U HD - High definition podcasts of acappella groups from the US presenting original material in live video recordings. Amazing quality at the cost of really large files - averaging few hundred MB per episode (latest runs in at a staggering 828MB). Subscription details here.

    Acappella U HD

  • Dirty Jobs Video Podcast - Mike Rowe + dirty jobs + outtakes = great podcast. The behind the scenes clips are the best though and aren't seen on regular broadcasts. Subscription XML feed here.

    Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe ... eeeuuu
  • Discovery Channel Podcast - Highlights and clips from Discovery favourties including Man vs. Wild, Destroyed in seconds, How to survive and Toughest Race:Iditarod. Subscription XML feed available here.
One thing annoying about iTunes is that the majority of the iTunes store is open only to American/European customers. Users in places such as Malaysia, Singapore, etc only have a limited selection which only sells apps for iPhone and iTouch. So we miss out on some great free stuff such as free music and video downloads. That doesn't mean its impossible to get them though ... just harder and more troublesome, but in the end if you do manage to open a US account you're free to download weekly free stuff!! Here's proof as shown in my iTunes playlist.

Look! High def video content from iTunes US StoreSuddenly it seems those terabyte harddisks might come in handy because a single video episode in high-def runs over 1GB each and iTunes downloads BOTH the high-def and standard-def versions once you've selected them. Another thing is iTunes store content are DRM encoded and thus cannot be shared (especially video content). This makes them only playable on Apple devices(iPod video, iTunes and official Quicktime ONLY) of which both are inefficient processor hogs particularly on high def content. Ughs :( Luckily most podcast content is DRM free and playable on any device/program.

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