iPods, iTunes and Podcasting

In this short seminar, we'll explore podcasting. We'll start by introducing you to iPods that got this all started. It is important to understand that you do not need an iPod to author or subscribe to or listen to podcasts (we'll explain all those terms), but it is the technology that has driven a major change in dealing with audio content in new and simple ways. Then we'll get to the nuts and bolts of podcasting. We'll learn to subscribe to podcasts (kind of like subscribing to a magazine) and then try downloading and playing a few episodes of podcasts we've subscribed to. Then we'll explore how to create your own podcasts using several different systems. Along the way, we'll discuss a variety of potential applications for this new technology.


Each of you will be given an iPod to use during the seminar. Please try it out. It is designed to be "intuitive." (We'll go over the basics together.) You'll need your own headphones and a bit of time. (You must return them when the seminar ends! -- Sorry.) Apple has an excellent web site on iPods (iPod 101) that will help familiarize you with this device. The current iPod video looks like the image at right. (The image is from Apple's web site). (Older iPods have a somewhat different look). It is important to note a few things along the top and the bottom. On the top is a slider that, when orange shows, means the unit is locked (the buttons on the front are not active). This is called the Hold Switch. The top also has the connection for audio out. You can connect the iPod to headphones, your stereo, or other audio devices. On the bottom is a wider connection for a special cable for charging and connecting to your computer (or an optional dock or wall charger). It is also where we'll look at attaching an accessory from Belkin to help record audio content.

The iPod is menu driven. You make selections (to choose something or a submenu by pressing the Center button. You go up to a parent menu by pressing the Menu button. You scroll by sliding around the wheel. (It doesn't actually turn.)

Turn on your iPod by pressing and holding any button for a second or so and turn it off by pressing and holding the Play/Pause button.


To learn the rest, go to Apple's site and/or explore. Learn to adjust where you are in a song; learn to adjust volume; learn to not drop it (its slippery). This is classic Apple stuff. It's slick, easy, and life-changing. And it can hold your entire music library and then some.

So how do you start once you've got the pieces out of the box? We'll explain that below in the section on iTunes. After installing software that comes with the iPod (including iTunes) you will attach your iPod by the special cable to your computer and the computer will launch iTunes described below. Then you'll transfer content to the iPod. (Actually, iTunes will take over and do this for you automatically.) We'll assume in this seminar that you already put some music in iTunes before you attach the iPod, but this isn't necessary. So lets see how to do that.


This program is designed to help you store and manage all your music. It is free from Apple and runs on Windows and Apple computers. (It will also play a central role in podcast use.) You can import music from your own CDs or purchase music, videos, or audiobooks from Apple's music store from inside iTunes.

This is another program that you'll learn by using. Use the same web site (iPod 101) to learn about iTunes. It is intuitive. Even so, we'll describe here the steps involved in importing CD music into it. Later we'll look at how to use iTunes to listen to and view podcasts.

If you load iTunes and then insert a Beethoven CD into your CD drive with Beethoven's symphonies 1 and 3 on it, after a bit you'll see:

On the left, the list with Library at the top is called the Source list. It lists the sources of content available to you. After awhile, you'll mostly think of it as a list of your albums or CD's. Each item or symphony or entire CD can be put in its own item here called a playlist. You see above one for the CD itself (says Beethoven: T ...) This is the CD. The music hasn't yet been copied to the hard disk. To do this, you create your own playlist by clicking the + symbol in the lower left (circled in red). In our example, we only want the 3rd symphony, the Eroica. So type a name (like Beethoven's 3rd Symphony - the Eroica) and hit Tab. Then highlight (select tracks 5-8 in the list at right and drag one (which will drag the group) onto the playlist title on the left. The computer will then import the tracks. This will take a while. Everything about CDs is a bit slow compared to what you experience once the music is in the computer. So, in this seminar, we've done this step for you on the computers in the lab. (We'll show the process on one machine.) Then attach the iPod.

To eject a CD, click the button in the lower right (circled in blue).

Attach an iPod. If you've attached it before, the new music (and anything else new since the last time you attached it will download (you can change this behavior, but probably won't want to).

If the iPod is brand new and you use Windows, first you'll need to install the software and register it including entering the serial number from the iPod. After this, you'll see a screen appear like that shown below to name it and make a few settings. Use the suggested name for this seminar, but normally, you'd use your name. Make the other settings as suggested below and click Next. You'll be asked to register the iPod. Skip that and you'll find iTunes returns (or loads if it isn't already loaded). The iPod will be listed as a source. The music will automatically be downloded to it. Watch how fast this is compared to the import from the CD. Welcome to the digital music world!

If your iPod were yours and new, you'd want to explore the iPod 101 site above and try out lots of things. You'd also want to explore iTunes further using the same site. We'll spend only a few minutes in the seminar on this. Try attaching headphones to the iPod, exploring the menus (first it will ask you to choose a language). Play some music. Make it louder or softer. Play the 3rd movement and jump to 2 minutes in to get to a particularly powerful section. Think about how hard this is even on your CD player. On a Windows computer, a message shows on your iPod telling you not to disconnect it. This message will stay until you click the icon in the lower right to Eject the iPod. (There is also a pull-down menu for this.) This is not necessary on a Mac. After updating the iPod, it will be freed up automatically and the "do Not Disconnect" message will disappear.

After about 10 minutes, you're an expert. You're ready to move on to podcasting. That's the meat of this seminar, so it has its own web pages.


Jump to Podcasting (and RSS info).

Recording audio content with an iPod.

Page created 15 July 2006

Edited July 25th 2006

Author Bob Fry
IT Director
Assumption College