Overcast — Info for Podcasters →

August 13, 2018 · 10:53

Marco Arment published a new page detailing what Overcast does and doesn’t do with your podcast. It also includes some technical information, which is worth reading, including a new upcoming feature:

In an update coming in fall 2018, Overcast will display a currency-symbol button that opens a payment, membership, donation, Patreon, etc. URL when present in the currently playing episode’s HTML body (“show notes”).

Use the rel=”payment” attribute on a standard HTML <a> link in an episode’s HTML body […]

If you publish your own podcast, make sure to read this.

Pocket Casts Acquired by NPR, etc. →

May 4, 2018 · 00:17

Chris Welch, on The Verge:

Pocket Casts, widely considered to be one of the best mobile apps for podcast listening, has been acquired by a collective group that includes NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. “This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market,” the companies said in a press release announcing the news. That team of stations and podcast producers are responsible for some of the format’s biggest hits like This American Life (duh), Serial, Radiolab, and Planet Money.

Moving forward, Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture between the new owners. Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic, who formed Shifty Jelly (Pocket Cast’s developer) in 2008, will have unspecified “leadership roles.” The existing staff and development team is staying put. Owen Grover, a veteran of iHeartRadio / Clear Channel, has been named as Pocket Cast’s CEO. NPR’s apps including NPR One will remain in development.

Rest In Peace Pocket Casts, good luck Russell and Philip.

Everyone on iOS go get Overcast [App Store]. I have no clue what you should do if you’re on Android.

Marco Arment’s Stellar Privacy Update →

April 28, 2018 · 08:46

Marco Arment, on his blog:

One of the ways publishers try to get around the limitations of the current model is by embedding remote images or invisible “tracking pixels” in each episode’s HTML show notes. When displayed in most apps, the images are automatically loaded from an analytics server, which can then record and track more information about you.

In Overcast 4.2, much like Mail (and for the same reason), remote images don’t load by default. A tappable placeholder shows you where each image will load from, and you can decide whether to load it or not.

This is one developer I would trust with my data without hesitation. I’m keeping my email-based login for Overcast, even though he’ll probably hate me for burdening him with it.

Removing “Send to Watch” from Overcast →

August 12, 2017 · 14:48

Marco Arment:

I’ve spent many months of development on Overcast’s Apple Watch app, especially implementing standalone “Send to Watch” playback. Unfortunately, I now need to remove the “Send to Watch” feature.

I tried it once, soon after it debuted in Overcast. The transfer of a single podcast episode was so slow, that I never bothered again. Apple needs to fix the Watch’s biggest bottleneck.

Overcast Trying Ads →

September 10, 2016 · 10:07

Marco Arment:

A lot of indie developers struggle to make sustainable income in the App Store. I’ve experimented with many models over the years, and I’ll be happy to share the results of this change to hopefully be useful to other developers.

I honestly don’t know if this will work long-term, but I think it probably will. If it does, it will solve a lot of problems and let me do quite a bit more, better and faster than before, and truly make the best app for everyone, rather than only 3% of my customers.

It honestly makes me sad that developers are having a harder and harder time supporting themselves from good software. Take Tweetbot as an example — an app I use a few hours every single day — it’s really cheap right now but the value it gives me in return is immense. I would gladly pay much more, but at the same time I realise most wouldn’t.

Making Listening to Podcasts Simple →

May 20, 2016 · 08:01

John Paul Titlow:

At launch, RadioPublic is focused on building a mobile app for listening to podcasts and radio-like audio content on smartphones with as little effort as possible. Unlike existing podcast players such as Stitcher Radio and Overcast, which let users curate their own list of shows, RadioPublic’s apps will offer a laid-back, nearly effortless approach to listening in the hopes of injecting the simplicity of terrestrial radio into the podcasting space.

However much I despise proprietary platforms for open projects such as podcasts, they do have a point. While the barrier for entry to finding and listening to my favourite podcasts is not an issue — I like that I can configure my feed to my liking — a less adept person would probably not have a clue what they were doing at step one:

  • download Overcast
  • add podcasts or their RSS feeds
  • create a custom playlist

I love using Overcast because of its simplicity1, but it still isn’t easy enough for those of us who do not understand how the app or podcasts work. Ideally, ‘my mom’ should have to just muddle through installing the app and then hit play. The only in-between step that I would consider adding, would be selecting a category first — politics, tech, whatever. Overcast already has a few categories with recommended podcasts, so in theory Marco could make this work. I do worry however if and how he would handle shows in languages other than English.

  1. Although Voice Boost and Smart Speed are what actually convinced me.

Overcast 2.5 Is Out With New Features →

March 15, 2016 · 08:13

Marco Arment:

Overcast 2.5 is now available, bringing major under-the-hood improvements and some of the most requested features to my iOS podcast player.

The new features are: a new dark mode using the system font, audio file uploads, optimised battery life, a separate Voice Boost profile when listening via the built-in speaker, and many bug fixes. The first two are for patrons only. Speaking of battery life…

Some results were unsurprising: Compared to wired headphones, Bluetooth headphones cut battery life by about a third, while AirPlay cut it about in half. But the biggest battery drain is the built-in speaker, which is even more costly to the battery than AirPlay.

Marco’s battery results actually surprised me. I didn’t think that the impact on the battery by using Bluetooth headphones was so big.

I’ve used Overcast solely since its release and apart from one bug/feature1, it has been the perfect companion during my walks and runs. There are many other great podcast players out there, but Overcast’s simplicity, Voice Boost, and Smart Speed2 won me over.

Overcast – iOS – News – free

  1. When changing the sort options of a playlist, it doesn’t reorder the already downloaded episodes automatically.
  2. I run it at 1.5x.

Instacast Discontinued; Parent Vemedio Out of Money

June 15, 2015 · 10:18

Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac reports that Instacast has been discontinued due to the simple fact that its parent company Vemedio ran out of money. Since the specifics are unknown at this time, I can only assume the main problem was lack of profitability. I could probably write many words on the subject of business models and so forth, but that horse has been beaten to death in various places on the internet many times in these past few years. What I would prefer to focus on are two subjects that I have already mentioned here.

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