MP3 players are much more useful than just for playing musc. Tiny players should be on all news junkies’ kit list. American National Public Radio and Australian ABC are podcasting powerhouses, making quite a lot of their on-air content available as podcasts.
I have a couple of players; a big 20Gb hard drive type with a large screen for video and a little 512Mb Samsung YP-U2, about the size of a Bic lighter, for ultraportable audio playing- and recording, for up to 10 hours continuously with its built-in mic. The bigger player can also do audio, but its hard drive system is very power hungry. The small player is based on solid-state Flash memory and can play all 512Mb (about 12 hours) on a single charge from my computer’s USB port.
I use Doppler as a podcast aggregator. Doppler automatically retrieves my favourite podcasts in the early hours of the morning, during my ISP’s off-peak data traffic hours, and puts them in a directory for later transfer to a player. They can also be played on my desktop machine with Winamp.
If you’d like to hear some of the news and current affairs programs I download regularly, you can download my current OPML file, which may be compatible with other podcasting aggregator applications.
One podcast no one should miss is the weekly Media Matters with Dr. Robert McChesney, a media studies professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Bob also operates FreePress.net, a media reform think tank. Bob gets right on the issues of malfeasance, intended or otherwise, in mainstream mass media. Much of what happens in US media is directly applicable in Australia, to boot.
You can turn that long commute into a fascinating, twice daily lecture session with an FM radio adaptor, which allows you to listen to your MP3 player on your car radio speakers- but be warned about the cheaper FM adaptors. Because the FM adaptors rely on vacant space on your local FM band, they are subject to noise and distortion from broadcasts on a nearby frequency. Better quality FM adaptors can cover the entire FM band instead of a little bit around 87-88MHz. FM adaptors which can cover the entire band give you more opportunities to find empty space for interference-free podcast listening. The better option for in-car podcast listening is to connect the player’s headphone output directly to the car radio, provided you have a good quality radio with a ‘line level’ input.
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