Shows and episodes can exist in different states and use cases. Do I listen to every episode of this show? Most episodes? Just dip in and out every once in a while? How can a UI accommodate this?
Do I download? Stream? Per episode? Per show? Sometimes one, sometimes the other? What about tools to manage my download queue? Maybe I have lots of bandwidth at the office, but I have 1mpbs at home. I've yet use a podcast app (I think I've used them all) that has a playlist setting to exclude certain shows. I've been unable to to create a playlist that has the "All Shows" feed from popular networks, doesn't make other playlists (based on episode state) unmaintainable.
Settings at the global level. Settings at the playlist level. Settings at the show level. Settings at the current playing episode level...
Downcast, with it's Windows-like feature set and UI, has given me the most power. I have complaints with it (Bloated UI; I want PocketCasts's playback speed slider and "skip first X seconds" feature), but every other app seems to go in the "less is more... until it's not enough and I go back to downcast" direction.
Overcast has some smart features. (What about an "alert me of any appearance of my favorite guest, whatever the show" feature)? I hope it convinces people that there is still room to grow.
One thing I haven't found yet, though, is a client that offers a playlist or podcast level setting where I can say I want to download the oldest unplaced episode for a show. iTunes has such a sync setting for TV shows, for example, and it would be very handy for podcasts where I'm working my way through an archive.
There is probably a limited audience for such a feature, however, so I'll probably have to keep waiting.
Hope Overcast will make other clients better. I'm going to migrate to Overcast for the time being.
I wish everyone would write such clear and concise FAQ. I especially love the answer to question 'Why is the app free?'
I loved the Instapaper app and will definitely buy this app. The current podcasts app on iOS platform are terrible. The only app I am able to tolerate is 'Downcast'.
The only thing I don't like about it is that it's getting a bit unresponsive on the ipad 2 when you switch back to the app - takes a few seconds to respond to buttons.
The position loss usually occurs with Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast where each episode is 3 - 5 hours long. I listen to about 30 minutes each time on the same device and sometimes it just resumes from a previous stop point rather then the most recent.
To demonstrate it forgetting about playing a list of items, start playing from an episode filter choosing Play All. Stop playing and then come back later. The lock screen will show that current playing episode as does the bottom of the UI. Press play in that. It will then play till the end of that episode and then stop - ie it forgets you were doing a Play All.
So I've had to revert to Downcast. I have bought every podcast app on ios anyway to get away from the godawful native podcast app. Whats one more app amongst friends.
Good to know. It completely stopped launching for me on iOS 8 beta 3. Shows the default.png and the freezes and crashes after a few seconds. I'd downgraded to the Apple Podcasts app (which I hate). Tried Overcast this afternoon and I like it. The only probably for me is there is unlikely to ever be an Android app and I occasionally use an Android device so PocketCasts syncing between devices was great.
That's the only word I can use to describe the experience. Creating an account and adding my favorite podcast was accomplished in less than a minute. It is unbelievably polished for version 1. A must buy if you enjoy podcasts.
In my first 5 minutes of use it:
- Complained no podcasts could be played.
- Crashed on opening the second time.
- Once I could start playing then (post crash?) complained that there was no space left on the device when there was.
I fight with the Podcasts app (and podcasts in iTunes) on a weekly basis. I would love to replace it with something by a developer with a good track record like Marco, but I do about 80% of my podcast listening on my Mac and I don't think the annoyance factor is high enough for me to switch to using only my iPhone yet.
At the end of Federico's interview Marco says he's considering an iPad or maybe Mac app in the future, I can only hope.
1) Didn't import all of my subscriptions. Specifically The Patch from Roosterteeth. Considering the opml file contains the URL, I don't see why this happened.
2) At least one or two podcasts I deleted a long time ago got imported. I haven't examined the opml file but Downcast doesn't show them anymore. So either Downcast is doing something wrong or the import is.
3) I read the Skeptics FAQ. That's really helpful.
4) Despite the FAQ I still don't see why the account is needed. I very nearly didn't create an account. If not for knowing who Marco is I never would have. I feel very strongly about this with apps. Unless there is a clear and compelling reason to need to signup for a service then I don't.
The design is nice. But there's nothing compellingly different about this app compared to Downcast. It also has voice speed. It has lots of fiddly bits if you want to tinker with individual settings. Pay a couple dollars and get Downcast and you don't need an account.
Would you care to hazard a guess as to how Overcast could be getting that data if it's not in the Downcast export :p
There is also a web view/player I think.
Feels like more like a glitch in Instacast and what it's sending to the OPML rather than Overcast though.
The amount of times I have to touch volume buttons on non normalized podcasts is nuts.
As long as this works decently or close to downcast in overall use I'll throw the $5 at this easy.
There are Instacast, Downcast and Pocket Casts with tons of features, though all with slightly different approaches to UI and graphic design. A nice selection for anyone who wants every feature and everyone who has a very particular and personal way of listening and organising podcasts that doesn’t fit with the way simpler apps organise the podcasts. For me their design (both UI and graphic design which in many cases is just awful) is a bit too noisy and loud and while they do have customisability the developers don’t seem to have put as much effort into making the experience map well to typical listening scenarios right out of the box, making you do all the work. For me personally they are a bit to complex and confusing, but for people who need the features they are great.
On the other end of the scale is Castro with its simplicity (and excellent graphic design) that makes it very streamlined to use – if your approach to listening to podcasts fits with what they designers had in mind. For me it just fits perfectly. (I really need nothing besides a list of podcasts and a list of unplayed episodes. That’s perfect for me.) Plus, background downloads work very well, even if they do consume a bit more battery. I can understand going with a server component, but it wouldn’t have been an absolute necessity.
Overcast fits somewhere between the Instacast-Castro complexity spectrum (with some cool extra features no one else has), filling that gap.
Sadly, Marco Arment doesn’t have the graphic design prowess of the people who made Castro, and since my demands are very simple I will stick with Castro for the time being. But I’m always up to switching it up and I can imagine it being a great app for many people.
(Those boxes I put those apps into aren’t hermetically sealed. In some respects Overcast actually is simpler than Castro in very thoughtful way, for example. But in general those categories work well for me.)
But point taken. It uses less standard controls, certainly. I have nothing against standard controls, my issue with Overcast is more with alignment and layout (especially the alignment and layout of the podcast images, up there in a corner).
In the end my willingness to trade usability for graphic design might be slightly higher than that of many other people (at least those who care).
They're also bred of listening to a lot of podcasts. Marco seems like he's scratching his own itch with these features, which is always great.
I was afraid I was going to have to manually subscribe to all my feeds again, but they were imported smoothly. Creating an account couldn't have been easier either.
I also really like that there is a "Delete Account" option front and center, letting me know I won't have to jump through hoops to get rid of my account.
I suppose if you hate orange, you're going to find the whole thing pretty hideous. (But if you hate orange how can you bear Hacker News?)
BTW you should all strongly consider listening to the Roderick on the Line podcast. The latest episode is a good one.
I don't think it's a tab bar in the navigation bar. It just seems to be four buttons on a UIToolbar equally spaced.
Edit: Strange that this was down voted...care to explain why? It's almost certainly not a tab bar. A tab bar switches view controllers. The buttons on this bar present new ones modally leaving the current view controller in place.
YouTube has been apparently awful at having humans being contactable to sort this stuff out. Guys From Queens have related the same experiences.
Own your content. Yes, it's expensive, and a cost of doing business, but TWiT's got some revenue.
I've actually been looking forward to this after hearing about it on ATP for months now. I was wondering what could be done to differentiate and I'm pleasantly surprised - smart speed and voice boost are killer features if they work as described.
Perhaps in a few years there will be an Android port I can buy and use to listen to Marco talk about how no one buys Android apps.
Don't like getting hit up for an email address right off the bat, but Marco has a pretty solid track record.
It would also be nice to have an explanation as to why it's needed (web client etc).
> Why an email address instead of a username?
> Password resets.
> I tried usernames with Instapaper at first, but people forgot their passwords and got locked out of their accounts all the time. It was by far the top support problem. Email addresses fix that. (Nothing’s stopping you from entering a fake address, but if you forget your password, I won’t be able to help.)
It's a shame his two tentpole features (Smart Speed, Voice Boost) are locked behind the paywall, though. I'd have liked to try them out before dropping a sawbuck. Not sure if that's part of Apple's "no time-limited demos" policy, a business decision, or both.
edit: apparently I should have tried the effects menu before posting; they are apparently available for 5 minutes at a time without paying. (I say apparently because I already unlocked the app and can't easily verify the replies below.)
Considering this app is by Marco, I would say that go ahead and buy it. It's highly unlikely that it won't work as advertised.
Edit: Missed a decimal there...
It's also perhaps a bit manipulative. I'm not in any way saying this in a critical or dismissive fashion, but rather given that many here are learning from software like this, and I do think there is a lesson to be drawn from that.
Persuasion and social norms are powerful forces. Giving direct links to your competitors not only demonstrates confidence in your product (e.g. it must be better given that it confidently points you at alternatives), it can also diffuse criticism, ala "if you aren't happy, here are other options that might make you happy".
Recall that reviled Comcast phone call the other day -- the agent was using a tactic as old as time which is to make the caller feel unreasonable and unfair about cancelling (e.g. "until you've given me a good reason", and then a list of why they're better). Such a competitor link list may achieve the same goal for negative reviews/sentiments.
App looks great.
EDIT: Pretty extraordinary how literally (and simplistically) people take the Comcast comparison. I was describing persuasive techniques (of which our society is filled), not saying that Marco is equal to Comcast. It is deeply unfortunate that this needs to be spelled out.
It is also shocking how people are both going forth to fight any notion that this is anything but a purely selfless move wrought by good intentions, but because of such a selfless move wrought with good intentions isn't Marco a great guy (and so "ballsy and classy") and isn't it worthwhile to spend $4.99. I am not sure if the reality is lost, or the fan club has flocked in.
The notion that anyone would read my comment and think they have to defend Marco or silence an obvious, factual comment is rather sad.
Does Marco hope that this will make you feel good about him and his app? That seems likely. Does he also want to support independent developers? That seems likely too.
Not everything can be simply boiled down to 'persuasive tactics'.
The facts, gress, are persuasive techniques, not Marco's intentions which neither of us can measure. I made this abundantly clear in my OP, however the desperate, sad dogpile of waylaid Arment defenders ("OMG! HE SAID THAT ARMENT IS LITERALY COMCAST!") made that a little too difficult for some of you to read.
There is nothing dishonest in my edits. I have clarified my point (which has remained exactly the same, regardless of your comprehension issues) without providing yet another post for Arment cheerleaders to pummel down in their confusion about what is being discussed. Hacker News is not conducive to conversations when a side (even when "a side" is as bizarre and perplexing as "refutes basic persuasion techniques") is passionate, as evidenced by the fact that the same boorish people feel some perverse need to arrow up/arrow down through an entire already-transparent conversation, force-multiplying their input. It is HN's greatest weakness.
I'm stating an opinion. Not facts. You seem to claim some kind of higher authority, and I'm calling you out for that.
[edit: I see that rather than replying, you have dishonestly edited your comment to distort your position and make this followup look out of place. I guess this is not a conversation.]
Specifically, the line "Support independent developers, such as:", endears me to the publisher's genuine intentions. "Support" is the operative word here, and I think the comparison between this and the Comcast ordeal is different because I can't imagine Comcast using those words to describe their competitors.
I don't think what the publisher is doing diffuses criticism. I think it anticipates it and wraps it under a notion of "I know I can't give you everything you could want in a podcast app, so try these ones instead if you want". To me that's very different from, "This is the best podcast app, these other competitors can't possibly give you what I give you."
To me it feels a little haughty. Basically, "if you think anything in this app is wrong, you are incorrect, and should go elsewhere"
Don't get me wrong, it's Marco so he has earned the right to dictate how an app is. It strikes me as more funny than anything else, but I wouldn't want people to see this and think they can replicate it without having a big name to back it up.
To be honest, that isn't a terrible approach to take with this sort of app. Sure, there'll be some problems that he'll want to fix, but it's the sort of thing where people have differing personal preferences, and you're never going to please everyone.
EDIT: Also, I think I remember him talking before about how he implemented things due to user demand on Instapaper that ultimately didn't really fit, and which he regretted. Was on a podcast, unfortunately, so no link.
Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as ignoring or disdaining criticism, it's just deciding to put it to use selectively.
No product can be, neither should it be, everything for everyone. Quite a few people thing google docs is fine, but some think it's lacking in features. They are both correct, in their own way.
Whether you choose to cater to everyone, which is a fool's errand in my opinion, is ultimately a business decision. If you think the product as you envision it will have buyers, then why not?
So the dichotomy of correct / incorrect is not as clear as you say.
You can take feedback and suggestions (and remember, feedback is in the menu above the links to other apps) but as a software developer it's unlikely your app is ever going to be all things to all people. This feels like a simple acceptance of that and a chance to recommend apps / developers he likes if what he's doing isn't for you.