If you do not have an MP3 player, you may be in the minority now! These little devices are also called PMPs (for “Personal Media Player”) since many will now play most of the common audio formats as well as common picture and video files.
In this article, I want to share with you the basic information that you need to purchase a device and to get started using it. The most common use is to play “tunes” – audio files “ripped” from a CD (using your computer) or music files purchased from an online source. But this article is more specifically related to the use of such devices to listen to “podcasts” (such as those offered on this site.)
PMPs generally are one of two major types: either hard disk or flash drive versions. The flash drives are generally much less expensive but also have a smaller storage space. However, these devices often have from 2-4 Gigabytes of storage. I recently purchased a couple of the Sylvania SMPK2062 (2Gig, flash) devices at Big Lots for $40 each. This device plays audio, photos, and video in most of the common formats. It has a 1.8″ (color) screen and includes a set of earbuds. I considered this to be a pretty good deal. It certainly beats (IMHO) paying several hundred dollars for an iPod.
You can subscribe to the audio files on almost any topic. You will need some client software (sometimes called a “podcatcher”) to utilize the capabilities of the feed. My favorite client is MediaFly. The linked site will walk you through the use of their software.
If you already use iTunes, you can subscribe to the feed for actual recordings in iTunes here: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=283597046
After you are finished, you should be able to automatically receive the audio files on your computer (each audio file from here is about the size of an MP3 music file – 5-10 megs). Then, when you attach your MP3 player or iPod to your computer, the MediaFly client will synchronize the files on your computer and add new files to your MP3 player. With that done, you can listen to the CS podcasts anytime you wish.
Check out the technology pages on this site for more information here.