WTF iTunes? Transfering my podcasts to Dropcast

Ok.  I'll admit it, I'm a edge case.  I have a Sheldonian (well it should be a word) particularity about how I want my podcasts delivered.  Basically I want all my audio podcasts dumped into a single, flat playlist and listed in chronological order.  I want them automatically removed from the playlist as I listen.  Is that so much to ask?  Well, for a long time it was.  I've been listening to podcasts since before iTunes even knew what they were.  I went through a bunch of clients, often resorting to perl scripts to the mp3 curation.  I forget most of the clients I tried.  The most promising was Jooce,  Juice?  I forget now.  I may have actually been back in the days when you could get away with spelling things correctly.  In any case, that love affair lasted until the second time it crashed and corrupted my podcast list.  In the end, I wrote my on perl client to grab podcasts, prepend date stamps to their names, and import them into the still nascent iTunes. 

Then one day a version of iTunes came out that had smart playlists smart enough to handle what I wanted.  Of course, it's not just one playlist to handle all the logic, but it was pretty much set-it-and-forget-it. I had found my bliss.

Of course, over the years, podcasts became more plentiful.  Some of the early ones faded, but many more high quality productions came to the fore.  I found my playlist growing faster than I could listen.  That's when I became a 2x addict.  The are theme songs that just don't sound right to me at normal speed.  Even the peppiest ditty at 1x sounds like Philip Glass on vicodin after you've been 2x'ing for a while. 

So imagine my shock and horror when I update my ipad to IOS 5 and find that apple has removed my 2x capability.  After I stormed around and spit like an angry cat for a while, it was time to find a solution.  The one I settled on is Dropcast.  It's a nice third part podcatcher with all the features I need: smart playlists, variable play speed (even on the video podcasts, maybe now I'll catch up on those too!), and wifi syncing. 

But reestablishing my podcast list was going to be a tedious task.  Fortunately there was an easy way.  Somehow in all my previous wrangling of podcast files, I'd never worked with OPML files.  This dandy file format can list all your podcasts.  Itunes can export it, and dropcast can import it.  Of course getting it from one to the other isn't obvious.  Here's how I did it. 

First, I went into iTunes and right-clicked on Podcasts, then clicked "Export."

I just saved it out to my desktop, making sure it was OPML format.  The next challenge was getting it somewhere where Dropcast could see it.  Dropcasts expects a URL pointing to it.  Here's what I did. 

 

I swung by 4shared.com, clicked select file, selected the file (duh), and uploaded it. 

 

Then I had to set up a free account.

 

 

And now I had the file in a location on the internet.  Clicking on the file took me to the info page. 

Clicking "Download Now" took me to the download page.  I'm not sure what the extra step accomplishes, but hey' it's a free account. 

There is also a 20 second wait period (again, free account).  Then the link becomes active. 

 

Now I could left-click on the link and copy its location.  I pasted into an email and sent to myself. 

Sorry, no pictures for this bit, but if you have an IOS device it should be old hat for you.  I openned the email on my iPad, and copied the web address for the file.  In Dropcast, I clicked the "+" sign to add podcasts, and then "Add Podcast Manually".  I pasted the address into the first field (Feed or OPML Address), and hit "Subscribe."

...and then me magic happened.  Every podcast I'd ever subscribed to popped into my podcast list. 

Then it was a simple matter to make a smart playlist that best fits my own particular brand of OCD. 

Hope this helps.