Tinker, build, hack, preferably with APIs.

Prioritizing Podcasts with Google Reader

Summary: my story about how incoming podcasts list became overwhelming, so I tamed them using Google Reader. Essentially, I use Google Reader to scan my “podcast inbox”, star only the ones I want to hear, and use that as my personal, filtered podcast.

The problem—there are a ton of great podcasts to listen to. Some of them are so good that I listen to every episode. But others are better suited to grazing, for instance the NPR Most Email Stories podcast or Science Friday. Eventually I had so many feeds that just navigating between them became a chore. Something had to be done…

So I started by subscribing to my podcast feeds in Google Reader…Media Folder in Google ReaderI bundled them all together by tagging each feed with “media,” which collects into a single folder. Once a week I navigate to that folder and scan through the list of new episodes, expanding any that sound interesting and starring just those that I want to listen to.

Next we have to get those starred items out of Reader. Under the Settings > Folders and Tags tab, you can choose to share things publicly:tag sharingNotice the orange “public” icon on the right. Just to the right of that is a link to the public page for the folder/tag, which looks like this:shared list … and notice the orange icon called “Atom Feed.” This is syndicated content that can be pulled right into iTunes (copy the feed URL and paste into “Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast”):itunes gr starredNotice that even though I star a lot of items, iTunes ignores those that it can’t recognize, leaving just those things I want to hear/see, including video (notice the TED Talk). [Extra tip: add “?n=100” to the end of the Atom Feed to include the last 100 items rather than the default of 20.]

Going Further

If you use iTunes, you can stop reading… but I have a Nokia N800 tablet, and Canola can’t handle the atom feed from Google Reader. Yahoo Pipes to the rescue!podcast pipeThe Google Reader Podcast pipe above takes the atom feed from Reader, blocks anything that has no MP3 link, and then remaps fields appropriately. Now Canola can handle the RSS output from the pipe:canola google reader podcast That pipe takes a URL as an input, so it is easily configured to run on any Google Reader atom feed.

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