Fri, 4 May 2007
Dave Winer mentioned on Scripting News that he was the
Dave was having problems syncing the Zune to his Mac (running Windows using Parallels) and figuring out how to download podcasts to the Zune. I left a comment on his blog about how I download podcasts to my Zune and thought I would repeat the information here since others may have the same problem or curious about how its done.
The Microsoft Zune desktop software doesn’t support podcasts directly (but it is listed as a genre), so you will need an external podcast reader (podcatcher) like Juice or iTunes to retrieve your favorite podcast shows. I use Juice as my podcatcher which downloads podcasts to separate folders for each podcast. After the podcasts are on my computer the Zune desktop will sync them up to the Zune device using “watch” folders. I don’t automatically have the Zune software watch all the podcast show folders because sometimes I listen to them on my desktop and don’t want them on the Zune.
To sync the podcasts up with the Zune I’ve created a Zune folder under My Documents with three subfolders: Pictures, Videos, and Podcasts. I’ve set the Zune desktop software to watch those folders so anything that gets placed in the folders are automatically synced to the Zune. Some of the downloaded podcasts go directly to my Zune Podcast folder and other shows I manually move to the folders. The next time the Zune is connected to the desktop it will automatically download any new files it finds in the watched folders and remove any files from the Zune that have been removed from the watched folders.
Other things you need to remember: 1) You can’t delete the podcasts on the Zune but must manually delete (or remove) them from the “watched” folders. It has no concept of what’s been played and what can be deleted. (I generally listen to all the podcasts on my Zune before resyncing to the PC so I can safely delete everything in the Zune Podcast directory.) 2) Use the genre: Podcast on the Zune to find the downloaded podcasts and select “play all.” This only works if the MP3 ID3 tags has the word “podcast” in the genre field. I find most podcasts do but some don’t and it may list those shows under Unknown genre.
3) When you first install the Zune software it automatically checks the My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos directories on your computer and transfers any existing media you may have. This may take a while if computer is loaded with lots of media files. (You can disable this — see below.) You can access the Zune desktop software “watched” folders list with: Options->Library-Monitor Folders
A question that keeps coming up about the Zune is what happens if you can’t listen to a podcast completely? When you turn the Zune back on does it continue where you left off or does it start from the beginning? The answer is yes and no. Most of the time you can pause and turn off the player and continue later where you left off. There are two exceptions to this: 1) If the battery drains completely while it’s off (wi-fi and FM radio can cause a drain), and 2) After the Zune has been sitting idle for a few days the Zune seems to go through a reset and loses the knowledge of what it was previously doing (even with a fully charged battery). It doesn’t lose any of the media, only what was played.
I hope this has been helpful.
Email me if you have any questions at myfogview AT gmail.com
Category:Technology -- posted at: 4:15pm PST