In normal times I listen to podcasts. As I do this on a commute I’ve only listened to 2 episodes since schools shut. I miss it.

When listening I often want to remember something for later, perhaps for a blog post or like, usually this ends in frustration as my memory fails. I imagined a podcast player that had voice control and would let you make voice notes. Today this imagining came true.

Castro, the podcast app I use, had an update. This includes a pile of very welcome Siri integration which will help with hands free problems.

Even better the addition of shortcuts and one of the examples gathers info about the current playing episode and allows you speak a note. This is collated with data about the episode, podcast name, Castro url, show notes, position and saved into a New note.

I managed to edit the shortcut to get the information into Drafts instead. I’ve tested it a few times and I am now good to go when commuting starts again on 11 August.

Recently I was being Pedantic about Podcasts. Trying to point out that the important thing about podcasts is the way they are distributed making it is be easy to listen as we wash the dishes or drive to work.

I posted about this before: EDUtalk: How to Listen.

Once you get this set up to be automatic it makes listen to podcasts as easy as listening to the radio.

I started way back, syncing podcasts to an iPod. One I got my first iPhone I used that, trying a few different apps before settling on  Overcast.

A few weeks ago I deleted Overcast as I was running out of space to record a movie, planning to reinstall ASAP.

Last week as I went to do this, on a whim,  I spent £3.99 on Castro 2 instead. It turns out that this app matches my listening habits better than overcast. I’d guess, from memory, it has less settings and options but that is not a bad thing.

I listen to podcasts mostly on my 45 minute commute home. I am interested in more podcasts than would fill that amount of time. Castro lets me subscribe to a bunch of podcasts and queue up (and download) only the episodes I want to hear. It does this in a very simple way.

  • New episodes from the feeds I am subscribed to get listed in my inbox.
  • From there you can quickly add then to your queue, at the end or at the top. At this point they get downloaded.
  • You can set any feed to have its episodes automatically added to the queue.
  • You can archive episodes, you don’t loose them but they get out of the inbox.
  • You can queue episodes from your archive or the discovery tab. That means you can search or paste the url to a podcast into the discovery tab and see the episodes, you can add one to the queue without subscribing.

Once in the queue you can rearrange the episodes and they play in order. Each moves to the archive after it is played. Importantly for me, the next queued episode plays automatically.

Bonus, as you add an episode to the queue there is a nice wee animation as seen in the featured image of this post (my image is a gif, speed and quality are not reflections of the app.)