Enhanced podcasts are coming

From this point on, each show will be produced in two formats. The mp3 version you’ve come to love will still be available via the links on this site and through this iTunes page (iTunes required).

The second format is the same audio, but in the AAC format. This allows me to do a few great things like:

  • break the show in to chapters that are selectable
  • add images that play along like a slideshow
  • include links to relevant sites

All this and the files are usually smaller! Read on to see how to get ’em . . .

I’m only going to make the new AAC files available through iTunes, and not on this site, since that’s where you’ll get the most out of them unless you have an iPod Photo or Nano (and with those you still need to go through iTunes). So here’s The Animation Podcast AAC page on iTunes. You’ll know you’re in the right place if you see AAC on the end of the name.
AAC page

Once you’re there, click the subscribe button and you’re all set. I haven’t gone back through all the old shows yet but I’ll get to converting them eventually. There are a few for now and the others should fall in to place as I make them.

After you’ve subscribed and downloaded a show, you can check out the new features by first playing the podcast. If you don’t see any artwork at this point, you need to show the artwork pane in iTunes. It’s this button in the lower left corner:
Hide-Show Artwork

Once that is visible you can resize the pane by adjusting its right border. You can also click the images to open them in a larger window. Sometimes there will be a link in the artwork pane that you can click. See the image below for an example:
Podcast art

To jump around to different chapters in the show, look up at the top of iTunes for the chapter pull down icon. You can see it here at the right of the info window:
chapter menu icon

Bring it up to see all the chapters along with thumbnails for their artwork. Just pick one and you’ll be listening to it tout-de-suite.
chapter menu

I don’t have an iPod photo or Nano, so if anyone out there gets one of my shows on theirs, let me know if it works. Also, for now I’d suggest you stay subscribed to both feeds in iTunes until we’re sure everything is running nice and smooth. Enjoy!

34 Comments on “Enhanced podcasts are coming

  1. hey there,

    I like the idea of the AAC file, that looks very nice and neat – but I’d like to still be able to get the mp3s straight off the main website if possible. I usually download the mp3s and just listen to them while working, disconnected from the internet .. it would be great to still be able to do so without having to crap my computer with software like iTunes .. please ? 🙂

  2. Lluis- I’ll always have the mp3s on the site. That’s something you won’t have to worry about. I don’t want to change the way anyone has to get the shows. This is just “value added content” that listeners can choose if they want. Thanks for commenting, though. It’s good to know.


  3. whew ! glad to hear Chad ! 🙂

    btw, keep up the good work man – the Animation Podcast installments are just ultra-inspiring !!



  4. The AAC version of episode 6 seems broken, at least iTunes cannot download it. I get the following error message:

    There was a problem adding “Animation Podcast 006 – Nik Ranieri, Part Three” to iTunes.
    The file might be corrupted or a file type that iTunes cannot play.

    The other two AAC episodes work fine, though.

  5. Thank you for letting me know David. I’ll see what I can do about that later today. I guess I’ll be on the cutting edge and call this ‘Beta’ for now.


  6. Can anyone help me out and let me know if you’re having the same problem as David? It seems to work for me in iTunes, but I’d appreciate some conformation. David, is it still not working for you?

    Thanks, Clay

  7. I’m afraid the problem is still there. 🙁
    I have also noticed that when I try to play episode 6 directly from the iTMS podcast directory without subscribing, the speaker icon moves to the selected episode, but nothing else happens.
    I am using the latest Mac version of iTunes, btw.

  8. Correction – the LCD-ish info display is also updated. But that does not help much either, of course, as long as the episode cannot be played/downloaded… 🙁

  9. I have just tried it with a new user account, who has not used iTunes before. It did not make any difference, neither did switching to the U.S. iTMS.

  10. David, thanks for trying again, and I really appreciate you letting me know what’s going on. I know one thing I did differently is that the show you are having trouble with has a .m4b extension and the others are .m4a. That shouldn’t change much (except that m4b is bookmarkable, meaning you can come back to it later and it remembers where you left off). I may have done something wrong in the feed.

    Thanks for your patience, and the same to anyone else with this problem. I’ll get it worked out somehow.


  11. It worked for me… and it’s COOL!

    Great idea!

    – Benjamin

  12. Well that’s good and bad new because now I don’t know what’s wrong with it (or not). I’m glad it worked for you, though.

  13. Hey Clay-

    Since it seems like it may be an issue, I’ll let you know that I to had trouble getting the AAC podcast for Nik’s show. I had the same message pop up that I believe David had. No worries, I have it on the mp3, so it’s all good, but just to let you know that David’s not the only one having problems with that show! 🙂

    Glad to see your able to keep up with American Dog AND take The Animation Podcast to the next level! WHOO HOO!


  14. Oh, sorry! I hadn’t read it well enough, and I thought he was talking about the Ron and John one. Now that I’m trying to download the others, the Nick one gives problems here as well.

    I apologize for my stupid behaviour 😮

    – Benjamin

  15. I subscribed and dl’d all of the shows so far and they’re all working fine for me. Thanks Clay…the shows have been great…my suggestion would be to remove the intro from successive parts but keep it on part one. I like the ending where you have the calls and feedback. Great stuff…keep it up. Thanks


  16. Thanks for the info Ryan. As far as your suggestion, that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do. You’ll notice the abbreviated theme song in Show 8. Show 8 doesn’t have any calls and feedback because no one called 🙁 Maybe next time.


  17. Dangit. What am I supposed to do? (PC People without iTunes that is…)

  18. I just noticed: the episode with the broken link seems to be just the one which I can’t download or play via iTunes… 😉

  19. David- Ugh! My bad again! I fixed the link for the second file. (You may need to refresh to see it) I had the file name all wrong. One day that file will exist, but not today. Thanks for the info, I would have never known.


  20. Hey – just discovered this podcast, makes my bus journeys to and from work all the more pleasant 🙂

    This new AAC version works great – I’ve taked some photos of it working with my iPod Nano – thought you might be interested. Bookmarks and images work perfectly.

    The photos (complete with trademark Apple scratches and a mirror image of my camera) are at:

    There’s each of the three views you can have whilst playing the podcast. Hope you can make them out 🙂


  21. Hey, WOW Ben! You’ve outdone yourself. Thanks for the pics. I’ve always wondered what the show looks like in color. All right, this inspires me to push my schedule around so I can work on the next show some more this week. Fantasic post!


  22. I’ve downloaded the new AAC podcast and it’s really nice to see pictures that illustrate what’s being discussed. Great job!

  23. Thanks Dennis, sometimes it’s hard to find pictures to illustrate the audio, but I think this could be a pretty cool thing in the long run. I’ve been wondering how many chapters I could fit in to one file. If I got enough in there, it could actually be an “animated podcast” if the images changed fast enough. I don’t mind putting my brainchild out there for someone to try, since I know I don’t have the time. When it becomes the latest craze in podcasting, remember you read about the idea here first.


  24. Glad you were inspired into action 🙂

    The “animated podcast” idea is similar to one I remember hearing about when Apple first came out with a colour screen ipod. Somebody at the time set up a playlist of several songs each with different album art which played together made an animation.

    Obviously now with the new podcast stuff though, it could be put together into one file which would be rather nice, although I’m not sure how easy it would be to make out 🙂

  25. Well, I finally fixed the feed for AACs (as far as linking to the wrong file is concerned) – I hope. To get it to update correctly, you should probably unsubscribe and then subscribe again in iTunes.


  26. I have a problem again…(sorry) I dont see the chapters box in itunes while I`m playing your enhanced podcast…what could be the problem? I`m using version 7.0.2 which is the latest I guess..

  27. hey sorry, I just found out, this version of itunes has the chapters as a menu item instead the button. so no sweat. sorry for the false alarm.

  28. great work clay! now i just have to re-download all of them…;) … my stupid computer got a virus and had to be scratched back to factory condition… 🙁

  29. any way that you can put the mp3 files that are missing (ie. not AAC) up soon… even just as MP3 files… – it will make it easier to download them all at once… thanks!