I got an ipod...now what?
February 5, 2009 7:56 PM   Subscribe

I got an ipod...now what?

I finally gave in and ordered an IPOD (a nano), and downloaded iTunes on my desktop. I'm in a living situation where I only have acess to a computer for about an hour a day and very limited TV access, so I figure I can watch some of my favorite shows through iTunes and pick up some new podcasts (or download archived, old shows that I haven't seen) to fill the moments when I am experiencing TV withdrawal. I've had a regular MP3 player for a while but only use it to listen to music currently. So I started searching itunes for some of my favorite shows and realized that just about everything costs $2-3 a show. Which I should have expected, I guess, but when I hear "Watchus on ITunes" at the end of shows on TV I think "Well, it was free on TV" so I didn't expect it to cost extra to download on my computer. Its not in my budget to start paying extra for TV shows, so I turn to you guys: what are the favorite things (shows, podcasts) you get from ITunes or put on your ipod for free?

Also, the computer I am using is a public shared computer so anything off bittorrent is out of the question.

posted by btkuhn to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What you really should do is shell-out for an ipod touch with wi-fi access.
You can view all your favorite sites (metafilter, /., etc) with the wi-fi and download your television shows/musics likewise. I know where I live many people keep open wi-fi access for everyone to share. Perhaps it is the same in your area?
posted by strangelove at 8:03 PM on February 5, 2009

Sadly, "free on TV" isn't quite true, as the price you pay is commercials. The price you pay on iTunes is for a commercial-free version. But that's not helping here...

One option is to ask friends who have iPods already if they will let you load your iPod off their systems. If you know someone with a good library, that may be the easiest solution. Just be polite, and don't pester them. Conversely, you could ask them to give you some shows on a portable hard drive or such, and copy them onto your iTunes that way.

Another option is to "rip" DVDs into movies you can then put on your iPod, but this also takes time. It's faster than Bittorrent, and less legally questionable if you own the DVDs (I do it to series I own to make them easier to watch), but it's still not as fast or easy as downloading them off iTunes.

If all else fails, iTunes Gift Certificates work, if you have a birthday or such coming up. Usually when someone gets a new iPod, they make excellent gifts to go with it.
posted by GJSchaller at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2009

There totally is free tv shows on iTunes, though. They're called vodcasts. A few that quickly come to mind (in an Australian context) are MediaWatch (Aussie media program), The Chasers War on Everything (comedy), Good News Week (comedy) and The Hollowmen (comedy as well). Some of these are time-limited though so you usually need to act fast to get them before they're removed from the service. Also, I don't know of any free American Vodcasts, but I'm sure they exist. You just need to look.

Other good podcasts; the Metafilter podcast, Harry Shearer's Le Show and Penny Arcade's Downloadable Content.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:07 PM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You seem to be a student, and yet you don't have a notebook computer? Seems to me you should get a netbook--perfectly decent mini-laptop for $300. Look through these. That way you can watch TV on a nice screen (lots of shows offer free streaming (well, Daily Show and Colbert Report do)), and hey, it might come in handy for other stuff.
posted by alexei at 9:48 PM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could download videos from youtube or other video sharing sites to then watch on your ipod.
posted by JonB at 11:10 PM on February 5, 2009

I'm a fan of Diggnation, additionally Revision 3 (The guys who produce Diggnation) also have a bunch of other interesting iTunes downloadable Video Podcasts. They have a pretty eclectic selection.

Wine Library TV with Gary Vaynerchuk is also enjoyable

Podiobooks has a large selection of Creative Commons based Audio Books. I'm currently enjoying Heaven by Mur Lafferty

Cory Doctorow has an interesting Podcast as well. Plus he puts up readings from his books occasionally

WebbAlert Was pretty good though it just recently went on Hiatus

Also you might be interested in this Lifehacker article on learning a second language via Podcasts
posted by Redmond Cooper at 1:51 AM on February 6, 2009

Should you get a netbook or if you have long term access to that public computer, you could use Handbrake to convert videos and DVDs to an iPod format. Just borrow DVDs of TV shows or go on your campus's DC++ network if you are a student (google the name of your school and DC++, or ask around). You could even ask a friend to do it for you.

You might have better luck with a Wifi enabled iPod, which lets you watch Youtube.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:25 AM on February 6, 2009

There are some free things (vodcasts) to watch via PBS:
Bill Moyer's Journal
There are others you can search for on iTunes under video podcasts>PBS.

Comedy Central has some vodcasts with excerpts from shows (I think Sarah Silverman is one of them).

As for podcasts, for music I like CBC Radio 3, and for sheer absurdism/silliness, I like Seven Second Delay.
posted by bluefly at 6:30 AM on February 6, 2009

The podcasts at Bloggingheads. Hour-long two-person conversations about politics and other topics. Each episode is available in multiple formats, include a podcast that's iPod-compatible.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:39 AM on February 6, 2009

My previous podcast recommendations.

My new recommendation is to just hit up the podcast directory in iTunes and download anything that looks interesting. If you have a decent connection it won't take very long. Then sample each and delete what doesn't work for you. iTunes has enough end user feedback and editorial control that it is approaching Amazon.com in its ability for you to sample things and preview other user's experiences that you might not have too many "mistakes".
posted by mmascolino at 7:11 AM on February 6, 2009

While it's legally questionable at best, you can certainly download TV shows from bittorrent and copy those to your iPod. You are not limited to video from iTunes (though you may have to convert to some specific format).
posted by valadil at 7:21 AM on February 6, 2009

Oh, dear. There are ways of downloading Youtube videos (and hence entire episodes or movie segments) easily without having to use an actual program, but getting them into an ipod-compatible format seems to require having an extra program to do that...

A good video podcast to look up on iTunes are the TED talks, which are, simply put, interesting ideas worth sharing by the some of the world's top thinkers... most are 10-20 minutes long. If anyone hasn't heard of it before I whole-heartedly recommend it.

G2P is a limited way of finding music for your ipod for free, it searches google for you to find the music people have stored online. Upside is that you can look at all the mp3s people have stored in their folders... downside is it's a crapshoot as to what you'll actually be able to find, and it will take some time. But it's not going to get you into trouble.
posted by lizbunny at 8:06 AM on February 6, 2009

archive.org has lots of audio and video content you can download for free. It's mostly going to be old, out-of-copyright stuff, but it's worth looking through. There are live recordings of newer music too.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:07 PM on February 6, 2009

If you like This American Life, here's the link to download episodes as mp3s: http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse/ismymamashouse/1.mp3. Just replace that last number with the episode number and do File > Save Page As.
posted by MeowForMangoes at 3:55 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

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