Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an app for managing and listening to podcasts on the iPhone with playback technologies that shorten their duration (see article below), an iPhone app for contemporaneous time-tracking, an iPhone app for analyzing your website, and an Android, iOS, and Windows Phone app for referencing information published by Microsoft about its products. Don't miss the next issue.
LISTEN FASTER WITHOUT MISSING ANYTHING
Here you are now in the 20th year of the post-Cobain era. Do you really want to hear Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the thousandth time? Or a radio advertisement for a lawyer? Leave your overplayed playlists and radio stations behind for podcasts, which are free, contain few to no advertisements, and include both big media programming such as Bloomberg Law as well as notable indie phenoms such as Legal Talk Network. All you need is a podcast app.
Overcast … in One Sentence
Launched this week, Overcast is an iPhone app for finding, subscribing to, managing, and listening to podcasts.
The Killer Feature
Many podcast apps exist (including one by Apple called Podcasts), all of which enable you to play episodes at a faster speed to save time. This seems like a good idea, but in practice probably only works well for John Moschitta.
Taking a different approach, Overcast features a technology called Smart Speed, which eliminates silent gaps in podcasts. Also, you can ratchet up the speed in very small increments such as 1.1x to prevent podcasts from sounding like, well, John Moschitta. Overcast tracks and displays the time you save versus listening in realtime.
Other Notable Features
Overcast has a built-in podcasts directory that should eventually mirror iTunes given its high profile creator Marco Arment of Tumblr, Instapaper, and Accidental Tech Podcast fame. The app also provides editorial picks in various categories to help get you started. If you can't find a podcast, you can manually enter its RSS feed. Overcast can also import podcasts from other apps.
Once you subscribe to a podcast, you can choose how many unplayed episodes to keep, whether to receive notifications of new episodes, and whether to use Smart Speed (see above) and/or Voice Boost. The latter equalizes volume across podcasts.
The playback screen has play, skip back, and skip forward buttons (you can adjust the time interval for each in the app's system-wide settings), and also provides access to show notes with a swipe gesture on the podcast's cover art.
Overcast enables you to create customized playlists to organize the podcasts to which you subscribe. Various settings exist such as whether to play newest to oldest or vice versa.
What Else Should You Know?
Overcast offers a sync service that will become more useful when the iPad version ships. The app doesn't support video podcasts. Overcast is free but the marquee features such as Smart Speed, Voice Boost and the ability to download episodes using cellular data sell as a $4.99 in-app purchase bundle. Learn more about Overcast.
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