Friday, August 8, 2014

Manually add a podcast to your iOS device

As you may know (if you've read some of my previous posts), that I like to listen to books, music and podcasts. Podcasts have been great for catching up on technology news, video games homebrewing, beer reviews and more recently, TV show news/recaps (A Cast of Kings for insight on the HBO series, Game of Thrones) for me for many, many years.

Did you know that you can listen to partial or even complete shows that are air on your favorite radio stations? For years, I have taken advantage of this with shows like Video Games Weekly which is aired on one of the local sports radio stations in town, KFAN. Its been great! With the "power of the podcast", I can listen to my favorite shows on my own time! HOWEVER, as with any technology, things aren't perfect, especially when it comes to the delivery of these podcasts to various electronic devices. I am writing this post in the case you run into a hiccup with one of your favorite podcasts and you simply can't 'subscribe' to it like you normally should say with an iTunes subscription link.

I ran into a situation with a great on-demand show based here in the Twin Cities called The Beer Show which is created by the local AM 1500 ESPN radio station. Well, back in February of this year, my perfectly functioning,automatic download subscription stopped all of a sudden... just for this show. All my other 10+ podcast subscriptions were just fine on my iOS mobile device. Now, I suspect that the tech guru behind the podcast feed at the radio station changed something and thus broke my original working subscription, but I was also unable to subscribe via their website (I believe that is broken as well, at least at the time of this posting).

My fix and alternate way to get this working again was easy:
  1. I first needed to find out the RSS newsfeed link, I was able to get that by clicking on the Feedburner link listed on their On Demand page. From there, I was given the url address to the RSS feed ( which is what you need. 
  2. Next, on my iOS device, I opened the Podcast app and entered in this same url address and clicked the Search button. 
  3. I was then immediately prompted to see if I wanted to subscribe (which is what I did). The most recent podcast (and some of previous episodes) automatically showed up! BOOM!

I am now back to enjoying about a months' worth of Beer Show podcasts on my iOS device (iPhone)! As a crazed, doped up man once said, "Winning!"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Ready Player One

Its been awhile since I've posted a book review but after *reading* this one, I had to give it some praise out here on the interwebs. Yep, this ones' an audiobook (thus the stress on the *reading* part). I've only listened to handful of audiobooks in my time and I honestly don't know why I don't listen to more. I'm sure as life goes on, I will do plenty more!

Anyway, I've read a bunch of books since my last review posted out here (yes, physically read them). Books such as Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Hobbit and the Hunger Games trilogy... but whenever I can, I'll download an audiobook to listen to. Aside from the Micheal J. Fox book I reviewed many years ago, I've listened to some great ones in more recent times but simply never reviewed them on my site. For example, both Daemon and Freedom(TM) written by the tech savvy, Daniel Suarez were excellent to listen to. All these books I've mentioned are great books, but the one I am about to tell you about was SO cool I HAD to post something about it.

The book is a New York Times bestseller titled, Ready Player One written by Earnest Cline. It was released/published in June of 2012 and I first heard about it a few months after that (from one many podcasts I watch/listen to). Anyway, I picked up the audiobook version just about a month ago and loaded it in the ol' iPhone. I'd give it a listened during the commute to work or times where I'm killing time between shuffling one of my two boys around. All-in-all, I want to say it was about a 16 hour long audiobook! Maybe the most sad part is the fact that I listened to all of it in my car.

I won't dive too much into the story too much but before I do, the first really cool thing about the audiobook is that its read by the one and only, Wil Wheaton. Yeah, Gordie from the 80's classic Stand By Me and Wesley Crusher from the 90's show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Today, in this internet world we live in, Wil Wheaton represents everything that is cool about geekdom (computers, games, beer). Having him read this book makes it that much more cool.

The story is about an impoverished teen living like most people do in his time (which is the year 2044) - spending it online inside a virtual reality world called the Oasis. In this world, people work, go to school, play and do just about everything else there. There is a whole economic ecosystem in that world; money is earned and spent there. In the story, the original developer of this world (James Haliday) had died and as part of his legacy, programmed a 'easter egg' somewhere inside the Oasis. The person who finds 3 different keys followed by 3 gates will uncover this easter egg and unlock the billions of dollars the developer has left in his will. Its basically a super hard scavenger hunt that millions of people have been attempting for over 5 years... without any luck until the main character, Wade (aka Parsifal) uncovers the 1st key.

Of course there is MUCH, much more to the story. You can read more here at's website. The reason I loved this story is because it brought together many of the things I grew up with - all being from the 1980's. All things 80's such as TV sitcoms, vintage Saturday morning cartoons, classic Atari 2600 video games and music from the era. Its simply a brilliantly crafted story! Before I wrap this up, I will give you a little spoiler - near the end of the book during one of the last 'Gates' the characters have to go through, they have to solve a quest which is directly based off the Canadian rock trio, Rush album, titled 2112... The way the author was able to tie this into the story was clever and cool as hell.

Bottom line: if you grew up in the 80's and have any interest in a fictional story involving video games and virtual reality, check this book out!