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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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This Podcast App Covertly Saves You Tons of Time

This Podcast App Covertly Saves You Tons of Time

I'm getting a real thrill out of podcasts joining the zeitgeist over the past few years. I started listening to podcasts regularly in about 2006, and in 2012 I wrote a post about my favorite podcasts here, that opened like so: 

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Actually, I may listen to very few podcasts, but I don’t know anyone else who listens to them, so compared to my friends I listen to ALL the podcasts.

In 2012, that was completely true! Now, I can mention podcasts and not only will just about everyone know what I'm talking about, they'll want to hear my recommendations and in turn, give me theirs. What a time to be alive. 

I've always used Apple's native podcast app that comes on phones and iPods (I listened to podcasts pre-iPhone, remember, for I am as old as the sea), but in one of Apple's most recent iOS updates they took their formerly decent podcast app and blew it all to hell. They rendered it virtually unusable. Sure, now I have a pierogi emoji, but it takes me an age to find the most recent episode of a podcast that I listen to every damn day. I had never considered using a different podcast app, but Apple drove me to it, and now that I'm on the other side, I'm glad they did. 

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I decided to try Overcast, solely because of one feature they offer called Smart Speed. Do you listen to podcasts where there are long pauses? Like, pauses so long that you think you accidentally stopped playback, or your phone is about to ring, or the rapture is about to happen? I know I do. Smart Speed, through some sort of witchcraft, knows when long pauses occur and just skips right over them. You don't notice it at all when you're listening, but if you watch the screen while a podcast is playing you can see the speed change (1.08, 1.14, 1.2, etc). It never sounds like you're listening to the show faster, but you can look up how much time you have saved by not listening to pauses, and I was so impressed that I had saved 30 minutes after just two days of using the app that I started evangelizing about Overcast to everyone I possibly could. 

 Smart Speed in action

Smart Speed in action

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After using Overcast for about five days I completely deleted the Podcast app from my phone. I'm not only getting every podcast I listened to before on the new app, I can actually find what I'm looking for and save time while I'm listening. I also listen to podcasts while I'm falling asleep, and I love that I can switch the app to be in dark colors so I'm not jarred by a bright white screen in the middle of the night. I like it so much I use the dark theme all the time. 

Overcast is a free download, but there is a premium version for $10 a year. The free version has ads, but they're so minimal at first I didn't even notice they were there. It's a tiny bar on the top or bottom of the screen - super easy to ignore. With premium you can upload your own files, change the look of the icon on your device, and are free from the (extremely unobtrusive) ads. 

Wear, Watch, Want #60: The Soft Murderous Animal Edition

Wear, Watch, Want #60: The Soft Murderous Animal Edition

How To Make the Most of Your AirPods

How To Make the Most of Your AirPods