iPodder 1.1 for Windows Manual

Author: Lisa Williams
Organisation:iPodder "Lemon Edition" Team
Version: 1.4
Date: 2004/11/23

Table of Contents

1   The Basics of iPodder

1.1   What is iPodder? What is a podcast?

iPodder helps you find, subscribe to, and download fresh audio onto your iPod. Podcasts are audio distributed in MP3 format using RSS technology. Podcast content can be everything from great homebrewed radio shows, music, and increasingly, shows from public and commercial radio that stations are making available for you to listen to how you want to and when you want to on your computer or portable media player.

iPodder was created by the iPodder development team:

  • Concept by Adam Curry and Dave Winer
  • Erik de Jonge (dev)
  • Andrew Grumet (dev/gui)
  • Martijn Venrooy (design/gui)
  • Perica Zivkovic (dev)
  • Garth T Kidd (dev)
  • David Janes (dev)
  • PJ Cabrera (dev)
  • Helio Chissini de Castro (dev)

Many team members have weblogs. You can find updates about the team and links to some of their sites by visiting http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/team/index.php

1.2   Where can I download new versions of the software?

You can download the newest versions of iPodder at the iPodder project page on Sourceforge: http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/index.php

2   Installation

2.1   Download iPodder

Download iPodder[version number].exe from http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/index.php.

2.2   Install iPodder

2.2.1   Start installation

Click on the iPodder.exe icon. A Setup Wizard will launch. The first screen of the Setup Wizard will tell you to close other programs before installing iPodder.

2.2.2   Agree to the iPodder GNU GPL license

The next screen will show you the iPodder license (GNU GPL). Click "I Agree."

2.2.3   Choose where you want to install iPodder

On the next screen, choose which folder you want iPodder setup to install iPodder in.

2.2.4   Desktop Icons and launch iPodder when you start your computer

The next screen will ask you if you want to add a Desktop shortcut icon, and whether you would like iPodder to launch automatically when you turn on your computer (the checkbox says "Add to Startup Group." Both are checked by default. If you don't want one or both of these options, uncheck the boxes.

2.2.5   Install iPodder

Press "Install." You will see a dialog box with a window showing the files that iPodder is installing on your hard drive, and a status bar showing the progress of the installation.

2.2.6   Last steps to install iPodder

At the end of the installation, you will be presented with a screen that has two checkboxes -- one which will ask if you want to see the README file (always a good idea) and another checkbox that will ask if you want to launch iPodder right away. Click it if you want to launch iPodder.

3   First Time iPodder

Launch iPodder. You will be looking at the Status window (see 4.1). It will be mostly empty except for one podcast feed entitled Adam Curry: iPodder Test Channel. You can click on "Check for New Podcasts" in the lower right of the Status Window to download a "test" audio file from the iPodder test channel.

3.1   Finding podcasts to subscribe to

To subscribe to a few podcasts, click the"Select Feeds from the Podcast Directory" button. You will be able to browse a directory of podcasts. Click on the folders until you see a podcast that looks interesting to you. Click on the name of the podcast, and then click the "Add selected feed button" at the bottom left of the dialog box. If you'd like to add a few more feeds, go ahead. If not, click Close.

3.2   Downloading new podcasts

Once you've selected one or more podcasts and added them to the Subscriptions window, click "Check for New Podcasts." iPodder will scan your subscriptions and download the most recent podcasts from the feeds you selected. While it downloads, you'll see status information in the Status window (for more info on all the things tha the Status bars tell you, see 4.1.8).

3.3   Getting podcasts onto your iPod

For podcasts to get onto your iPod, you must let iTunes know what folder you are downloading the podcasts (which are mainly in mp3 format) to. Open iTunes. Click File>Add Folder to Library. If you don't know which folder iPodder is storing the downloaded podcasts, in, click the Preferences tab in iPodder. You will see a dialog box showing the folder iPodder is downloading podcasts to. (For more information about setting your iPodder preferences, see 4.3). Sync your iPod, and you're done! Bo-oo-iing!

3.4   Podcasts are everywhere

Remember that not all podcasts are in the podcast directory. The podcast community is growing very rapidly, and no one directory or search engine currently has it all. You can also find podcasts at www.podcaster.net and at www.feedster.tv, as well as by simply using a search engine. For information on how to add any podcast from anywhere to your iPodder subscriptions, see 4.1.2.

4   iPodder Features, Step by Step

4.1   The Status Tab

The Status Tab is the first iPodder screen you see when you launch the application, and it is where you will spend most of your time. The status window shows which shows you are subscribed to, allows you to add or delete shows from the list, and allows you to launch a check to see if any of the shows you are subscribed to have new episodes. Here is a screenshot of the Status Tab:


The Status Tab

4.1.1   Add a feed Manually

At the top of the Status window, you'll see an address bar preceded by the phrase "Add feed manually." If you know the address of the RSS feed of a show you would like to subscribe to, you can type or cut and paste it into this window. Press the Add button to the right of the address bar, and the show will be added to the list.

4.1.2   The Subscriptions Window

Immediately beneath the Add Feed Manually bar, you will see a window which lists the podcasts you are subscribed to. The subscriptions window has four columns:

  • Name: Shows name of the podcast (sometimes this is a URL, sometimes a more conventional show name, like "Morning Coffee Notes")
  • State: Shows whether you are subscribed or unsubscribed from a particular podcast
  • MB: Shows how many megabytes of content you have downloaded from that source thus far (this is not the size of files that will be downloaded in the future, so don't be scared if the numbers get larger as you use iPodder)
  • Location: This is the URL of the RSS feed that is associated with the podcast

4.1.3   Select Feeds from the Podcast Directory

Immediately below the Subscriptions Window are two buttons. The button on the right opens a window which allows you to browse a directory of podcasts. You will see a number of folders containing links to podcasts. If you click on a podcast, the URL of its feed will show up in an address bar below the directory window. If you click "Add Selected Feed" immediately below the directory window, the selected feed will be added to your subscriptions, and you'll receive any podcasts that are put into that feed the next time you check your subscriptions. Here is a screenshot of how iPodder shows you the podcast directory:


Selecting Feeds from the Podcast Directory

4.1.4   Remove Selected Feed

To the left of the Select Feeds from The Podcast Directory button, you will see a button marked "Remove selected feed." If you click on a podcast in your Subscriptions Window (See 4.1.3), it will be highlighted. If you click the Remove selected feed button, the highlighted feed will be removed from your list of subscriptions.

4.1.5   Check For New Podcasts

Clicking this button will cause iPodder to scan all the subscriptions shown in your Subscriptions window and check them for new podcasts. If it finds any new podcasts, they will automatically be downloaded for you.

4.1.6   Check selected feed

If you only want to check on one of your subscribed feeds for new podcasts, you can highlight the feed in the Subscriptions window and click "Check Selected Feed.

4.1.7   Status

The Status area has two status bars. The top bar shows the progress that iPodder makes as it scans the feeds you are subscribed to to see if there are any new podcasts associated with those feeds. While you are checking your subscriptions, this bar will show you which feeds it is scanning as it runs through them.

The second status bar shows you how many enclosures (podcasts) you have downloaded. If you are currently downloading a podcast, it will show you the status of that podcast.

While you are downloading new podcasts, the top status bar will change. The bottom status bar shows you the download progress of a particular podcast, while the top status bar will show you how many podcasts total you have downloaded in this session, and how many you have left to download.

When you are done, the top status bar will be blank, and a line of text will give you the date and time of your last check. Above the lower status bar, it will tell you how many enclosures (podcasts) have been fetched (identified as new and downloaded).

4.1.8   Hide

Hides iPodder, but lets it run in the background.

4.1.9   Quit

Shuts down iPodder.

4.2   The Scheduler Tab

The Scheduler Tab allows you to set iPodder to check your subscriptions automatically. This is useful if you would like to set iPodder to check your subscriptions and download new podcasts while you are asleep or away from your computer. You do not need to set a schedule for iPodder for iPodder to work. If you don't want automatic downloads, you can simply launch iPodder and click the "Check for new podcasts" button to scan for any new podcasts that have been issued since the last time you checked.

4.2.1   Scheduler Options

To have iPodder download podcasts automatically, you must click the "Check for new podcasts automatically" checkbox at the top left of the Scheduler Window. Once you decide to enable iPodder to check for and download podcasts automatically, you have two scheduler options -- checking at particular times you specify, or checking at an interval (12 hours, 24 hours, etc).

4.2.2   Checking podcast feeds at specific times

Check the radio button on the left of the Scheduler options window if you want to specify particular times for iPodder to scan your subscriptions.

4.2.3   Checking podcast feeds at regular intervals

Check the radio button on the left of the Scheduler Options window if you want iPodder to check your subscriptions at a particular interval (12 hours, etc).

4.2.4   Apply scheduler settings

Be sure to press the Apply scheduler settings button, directly below the Scheduler Options window, once you have made your schedule selections.

4.2.5   Scheduler Information

The scheduler information window, directly below the Scheduler Options window, will tell you when iPodder last checked your subscriptions ("Latest run") and when it will next check your subscriptions ("Next run").

4.3   The Preferences Tab

The Preferences window gives you some options to control how iPodder starts up, what it does with the podcasts it downloads, and an extension to allow you to execute Windows commands after each download.

4.3.1   General Options

General options control how iPodder starts up and what it does with the podcasts it downloads.   Hide iPodder at Startup

Hides iPodder on startup, allowing it to run in the background as you work. An iPodder icon will be visible in the System Tray.   Check for new podcasts at startup

Directs iPodder to check for new podcasts when you launch iPodder.   Play downloads

iPodder will launch and play newly downloaded podcasts. Note: if this is checked, and you have iPodder set up to download podcasts at 3AM, this means you may hear Adam Curry's voice playing from your computer at 3:06 AM. You may want to uncheck this button if you use scheduling and don't want to be awoken by downloads of new podcasts at odd hours. (For more information on scheduling podcast downloads, see 4.2).   Select a folder

This allows you to tell iPodder what folder to put downloaded podcasts in.

4.3.2   Advanced Options

Advanced options allow you to tell iPodder to execute a particular Windows command after each download, and show a log of which commands it executed and the results. This window can also be used to run scripts on newly downloaded content. This feature is currently under development and may or may not work with a given script or command -- future versions of iPodder may include different options here.

4.4   The Info Tab

The Info window gives information on:

  • The version of iPodder you are using
  • The names of the iPodder team
  • Technology that iPodder is based on
  • A disclaimer and license
  • Information on how to donate to the iPodder development project

4.4.1   Karma

The iPodder development team does not currently have an iPod to use to test the iPodder software. Donating a few bucks makes Buddha say bo-oo-iiing!

4.5   The Log Tab

The Log Tab gives you a chronological list of the actions iPodder has performed. In general, the log will show you a list of feeds, when they were last checked, if there were any new podcasts (called "enclosures" in the log), and when they were downloaded.

The log statements are issued in fairly plain English. After awhile, your log will get quite long. You're unlikely to need log statements from many weeks ago. To clean up your log and start fresh, press the "Clear" button directly under the log window.

4.5.1   Good Reasons to Read the Log

Podcasting is in its infancy, and as a result, many podcast producers change the address of their feeds frequently. You may notice that you've subscribed to a feed only to find that you've been scanning it for a week or two without any new podcasts. Looking at the log may tell you that that feed's address is now "404" or no longer there. At that point, you can go to the website associated with the podcast and find out if there is a new feed address or if the show has been discontinued, and you can delete the broken/missing/incorrect feed from your list of subscriptions.

5   Glossary

Audio in MP3 format distributed via RSS
Really Simple Syndication. iPodder reads RSS files, often called "feeds," to check for any new podcasts.
Enclosures are files -- audio, video, or other -- whose links are embedded in an RSS feed.
RSS files are often referred to as "feeds," because unlike most files, they are intended to change frequently to alert RSS readers to new content. Hence an RSS feed "feeds" us new blog posts or podcasts. RSS is used to automate the distribution many different kinds of information so that a user doesn't have to check back to a website all the time to see what's new -- RSS helps deliver it to them.

6   FAQ

6.1   Do you need to have an iPod to use iPodder?

-- Alison Fish (http://afish.typepad.com) No! You can use portable Mp3 players other than the iPod. In fact, you don't need a portable Mp3 player at all to use iPodder to enjoy listening to podcasts.

6.1.1   Using iPodder to download podcasts to play on your computer

You don't need a portable mp3 player to use iPodder. If you’re just listening to audio on your computer, you can use iPodder to subscribe to podcast feeds and download podcasts to a given directory on your computer (see for directions on how to telliPodder where to put the things it downloads). Then you just have a folder of MP3s, which you can click on and play with any program you have on your computer that plays mp3s.

6.1.2   Use iPodder to download podcasts to play on your non-iPod Mp3 player

If you have a portable MP3 player other than an iPod, you can still use iPodder to put podcasts on your player. Once you have your folder of iPodder downloads, you can drag and drop them into your MP3 player in whatever way you usually add audio to your portable player.If you use a jukebox program to manage the music on your portable player, many have options like the one in iTunes where you tell the jukebox program to add or watch a certain folder, and it will add anything new in that folder to your MP3 player. If you tell your jukebox program to watch the directory iPodder puts new podcasts in, it should give you access to the podcasts (To find out what folder iPodder is putting downloaded podcasts in, see

7   About This Manual

7.1   Author

Lisa Williams http://www.cadence90.com/wp/ lisa AT cadence90 DOT com

7.2   Credits

Thanks to Andrew Grumet and Erik Jonge for answering questions to help make this manual better.

Thanks to Garth Kidd for introducing me to ReStructured Text.

7.3   Version History

Version 1.1 (11/22/04) Added FAQ section with information on how to use iPodder without an iPod.

Version 1.2 (11/23/04) Introduced a version of the manual using ReStructuredText for automatic generation of HTML docs. My first attempt at ReStructured Text markup. May be bumpy.

Version 1.3 (11/26/04) Added screenshots for Status Tab and Select Feeds from Podcast Directory.