Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Podcast #68 - Buying an iPod

Hello. Last week, after saving up some money and thinking about it for a while, I bought an i-Pod - one of over 88 MILLION sold by Apple since they started selling i-Pods. I have been podcasting for over a year and a half but up until last week did not own an i-Pod. I often have to explain to people that you do not need an i-Pod to create a podcast. I do own three i-River MP3 players - which I love to use to recording on the road and at conferences. One of the most commonly asked questions I receive via e-mail is "What kind of MP3 player should I buy to use in schools if students want to record podcasts away from the classroom and do interviews?" I would still say that the i-River is a great choice for that purpose because of the excellent internal microphone, cost and easy of use with Windows (drop and drag audio files from the player to any folder).

I do love my new black 30 GB video i-Pod. I originally thought I would get a nano but for the extra $100 you get so much more memory and the video was appealing. Many of you already own your own i-Pod so I won't gush on about the cool video screen, the ability to carry thousands of pictures, taking your Outlook contacts and calendar with you and easy sync with i-Tunes. Recently I've downloaded some great video presentations from TED.

I am looking for suggestions on use in the car. I currently use a Belkin FM transmitter to listen to my MP3 player in the car but haven't really been happy with it. If you're in the middle of nowhere it works but close to areas with a larger population it fades in and out. Our car does still have the cassette player and I've heard that a cassette player device from MP3 player does an excellent job. I saw one last week for $9 and thought I might give it a try. Is anyone out there really happy with the device they use to listen to their i-Pod in the car? I would love to hear any suggestions. Please let a comment to this blog post and share your own experiences. (I have had to add the moderation feature to the comments because of spam but will quickly publish all comments relating to this topic.)

Subscribe to the Speaking of History podcast via i-Tunes here.

Direct link to Speaking of History Podcast #68 - Buying an i-Pod - MP3 Format - 9:32 minutes

Show Notes for Podcast #68:


  1. Ben Hazzard9:13 AM

    Hi Eric,

    I have used an iTrip for a while and had a similar problem re: frequency & interference. Using a cassette adapter is great, but I use mine at the cottage, friends homes, parties, etc where the cassette adapter isn't useful.

    So I hacked my iTrip.
    The preceding link is a tutorial on that. It works great. If you have a newer version of the iTrip:

    And of course your warranty is toast!

  2. I got a Belkin -and it works ok with my tiny Ipod shuffle and better than the Itrip which I used to have. I hope you Ipod serves you well for a long time - I have bad experiences with those harddisks (if you see an "Sad Ipod" icon - you might be in trouble - because it could imply harddisk failure which I know too much about now. I am curious about the build in microphone in you Iriver device - is this what you use making your podcast or do you use an external microphone. Last question for now - do you use something like Castblaster or Garageband when making your podcasts? Friendly greetings from Norway

  3. Ben and Leif

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will use your suggestions to try and find a fit for me.

    To answer the questions by Leif - Most of my recent podcasts are done on my desktop computer at home using Audacity and a USB microphone. Any interview that I do is using an i-River portable MP3 player. I really like the i-River's internal microphone quality. Until I started to use my USB microphone I did all my podcasts on the i-River. Even though I now have the i-Pod I will continue to use my i-River to record if I'm away from my computer.



  4. Which iRiver model do you recommend for recording?

  5. Being a former RadioShack employee I used to sell FM transmitters years ago, and by "sell" I mean "temporarily trade them for money and then watch them come back because I worked in a tri-city area."

    The only way to get a transmitter to work anywhere near an urban environment is to violate FCC regulations, which is why no one has any luck using them in a city.

    You were right on the money abut using a cassette adapter, though. The only thing better than that is a line-in jack, but most cars older than 2 years don't have those.

  6. Kelly

    If you are looking for a good portable MP3 recording device I would suggest an i-River T-10. If you look for a sale you can get one with 512MB (red)for around $80. I have a 1GB (blue) and got it at Best Buy last spring for $100 on sale. It is easy to use with Windows and has a good internal microphone. Here is the link for the T10 series:

    Hope that helps.



  7. Congratulations on your purchase! I have had the same iPod for 2 years and it has served me quite well. As far as the hard drive failure discussion in the comments above, you can offset the cost of a new hard drive or battery failure by getting the AppleCare. Educators get a discount on it. It should cost you $47, which would be less than the cost to swap the unit out without the warranty. Well worth the expense. If you are not near a store, you can buy it on their website.
    As for the fm tuner. I have an iTrip. I use that one because it tunes lower down lower than the other brands. Use frequency 87.9 and you should have little trouble in urban settings because 87.9 is not an authorized frequency. You may also get better results if you just move the ipod around the car so it is closer to the antenna.

  8. Eric: We've independently found the same solutions to be great for remote podcast recording and podcast listening. I now swear by my iRiver T10 for recording (even tho I still haven't been able to switch the firmware in my new one to UMS mode, it works fine in WinXP running in Parallels on my Macbook.) I also love listening to podcasts on roadtrips on my iPod, but have given up on FM transmitters in favor of cassette adapters. WalMart sells good cassette adapters for $10, many electronics stores price them higher. Another big discovery for me was PodNova. Their website is down for the weekend, but they are releasing a new version on Monday (reportedly.) I just updated my 48 feeds in Podnova last night and downloaded about 80 new podcast epidodes. I love PodNova because it lets me maintain my podcast subscriptions outside of iTunes, but lets me use iTunes as my player. It automatically creates playlists for each channel. I've had to switch computers a couple of times in the last year and the ability to have "portable" podcast feeds (as OMPL) has been HUGE. I'm happy with iTunes, but if I ever want to try a different podcatcher program in the future, PodNova would let me do that.

    I know I'm late listening to this podcast #68, but I just heard it and thought I'd share those thoughts. As always thanks for sharing your ideas! :-)

  9. I've used the Belkin products with varying levels (mostly poor) of success. Because of my problems with safely listening to my iPod in my car, I switched to using my portable speakers in the car. The sound was not all that great, but it least it was consistent. Plus, the portable speakers were inexpensive (about $30) and I could use them for so many other purposes (e.g., patriotic music when my students were drawing playground maps, listening to my iPod in my hotel room when at conferences).

    That worked for about a year, until my wonderful husband surprised me with "the real thing." He bought me a USA SPEC car adaptor. I LOVE it. They're not cheap ($100+) and they do require installation, but the quality is GREAT and it's very easy to use.


    The alternative is to buy a Prius - socially conscious AND comes with an iPod adaptor. :-)