My daughter, Sarah, is a huge podcast fan. She has a 40 minute (each way) commute and podcasts are how she occupies her mind during her brain numbing daily migration to and from work. She listens to a wide variety of subjects, from self help ( she’s in a constant state of “change”) to comedy to history and more. She says podcasts are how she keeps up with the world. Since becoming a new mom, keeping up on current events has been harder for her, and podcasts give her something that isn’t work-related to think about, and that can put a more humane cap on an inhumane day at the office.
I was never much of a audio podcast fan. I enjoy video podcasts from time to time, and I’d likely get into the audio ones if my commute to TMO Towers was longer than 5 minutes, but, alas, short commuters (length of commute, not stature) get no audio podcasts.
I mention all of this because a friend of mine (and one-time TMO contributor), Eolake Stobblehouse (isn’t that a cool name?) pointed me to an app that piqued his interest, and he thought it might be something others would be interested in as well.
It seems that Eolake is an audio podcast and audiobook fan too. One of the problems with audiobooks, he tells me, is that, if you listen to them on apps designed to play music, you don’t get much control of your playback. Music players don’t “remember” where you were in the book if you suddenly have to stop, like for a phone call for instance. You also can’t easily jog the track back a few seconds to re-listen to what went on before you stopped. If you don’t care about these features then a regular music app, like iPod (for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), will do just fine for you. But if you are into audiobooks like Eolake, then you may want an app that offers something more. The app that Eolake pointed me to is called Ambling BookPlayer.
What make Ambling BookPlayer cool is that it offers an endless number of automagically set bookmarks. If you have to leave your story in mid-sentence Ambling will remember and deposit you exactly were you left off when you start again. But wait, there’s more…
Ambling remembers ALL the bookmarks you’ve made, and you can choose any of them to start listening from. That’s pretty cool.
Having bookmarks is nice and all, but what would be nicer is if you can automagically jog the track back a few seconds so you can review what happened just before you left. Ambling lets you jog 15 seconds or a full minute backwards or forwards from where you are. If you want you can go back or forward a chapter at a time, speed up or slow down the playback, then undo it all if you’ve made a mistake, Ambling will let you.
Ambling gives you access to a nice list of public domain books that are free to download and listen to, and it also gives you access to newly publish audiobooks as well. Choose from some of the latest best sellers. Book listings are divided between fiction and non-fiction, but I wish there were subcategories like Science Fiction, Biographies, and so on.
There’s a pro version that cost a whopping US$9.00. For that you get to listen to audiobooks and podcasts in your iTunes library, otherwise you have to download your books through Ambling and forget about podcasts. I believe most folks who listen to audio products occasionally will just grab the free, Lite version and call it a day.
If you insist on being able to listen to audiobooks and podcasts on the cheap then take a look at the unimaginatively named Audiobook and Podcast Player.
While the player is free, I should warn you that it’s hobbleware. After using the app for a while it will “suggest” that you fork over US$2.99 for an unhobbled version through in-app purchase. The suggestions are annoying, but I guess that’s the point.
Before it starts begging you to pay, however, you’ll find that this is a pretty nice app. You can jump forwards and backwards at 10 seconds, 1 minute, and 10 minute intervals. Of course, you can move forward and backwards by whole chapters as well.
There is, however, one unique feature that may make this particular app worth your time, and it’s called Time Travel. What it does it take you back to whatever you were listening to at a selectable date and time in the past. It’s this app’s version of auto-bookmarking with a fancy name, but it works.
I also like that it works with your iTunes audio library, so I can grab any podcast or audiobook I like from any source iTunes has access to, which is considerable, and listen to my heart’s content.
If the app was ad supported and not hobbleware then grabbing this app would be a no-brainer. Still, download it and see if it’s worth your time. I think it might be if you are really into audiobooks and podcasts.
Speaking of podcasts, I found one recently that’s pretty interesting. Stephanie and Sarah of Get Mommy a Drink sound like two trash talking high schoolers who traded pompoms, dates with jocks, and skin care concerns for motherhood. The fact is they are much older (late 20s to mid 30s), and much more adult than they sound, with adult interests and concerns, and an adult sense of humor.
These ladies talk about motherhood, family, and their life P.C. (Post Childbirth). Their conversation is irreverent, sprinkled with potty words, and, at times, annoyingly immature, but they’ve managed to be funny and insightful so far, and that’s a good thing.
My daughter’s a new mom and I know she thinks at least some of the stuff talked about in Get Mommy a Drink. That’s not to say that only moms will identify and like this show, I like it because it reveals the crap that goes on inside the heads of mothers.
Be warned that this show contains adult humor and language, so those with sensitive ears need not apply.
There are only 3 episodes so far, but new ones should appear on a weekly basis. Check out Get Mommy a Drink. Good for laugh.
That’s a wrap for this week. More comedy podcasts below with direct links.