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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Need iTunes Podcast Control? Try Cast Away!

January 9th, 2006

Cast Away 1.7.8 ($7 Shareware)
Wooden Brain Concepts

Sure, podcasting is a great concept, allowing anyone with a computer to both offer and consume content, audio and otherwise. Apple has done its part to popularize the concept, by offering a comprehensive podcast directory in their popular iTunes software. The company also offers a podcast subscription feature, but the current implementation leaves a bit to be desired. iTunes lets you specify which podcasts to check, the frequency to check for new episodes, which episodes to download, and which episodes to keep. Unfortunately, many of these settings are at a global level. If only there was a way to get better control of your podcast subscriptions...

Cast Away is a program that allows you to finely control both the removal of podcasts, as well as the automatic playing of podcasts. The action starts in the Main control tab, which links to any iTunes playlists that contain podcasts. From this panel, one can also initiate podcast removal, or run a test that would show what would happen if the removal actually took place.

Set a Myriad of Podcast Options with Cast Away

For each individual podcast, for both the iTunes and iPod contents, you can choose how many days to keep the audio files, set an exception for the minimum number of files to retain, and also set a megabyte cap to help manage space. When and audio file is removed, you can choose to either trash it, or to archive it in a special location. There's also an option to play a new episode as it arrives, and a button to let you play the latest episode immediately.

While you can manually run Cast Away to remove podcasts, you'll probably find it handier to use the scheduling feature. This feature actually uses the UNIX "cron" facility to schedule the execution of a script to check your podcasts. You can set personal wakeup and bedtime times, so that the scheduling facility doesn't play a podcast unless you are awake.

So take full control of your Podcasts, and give Cast Away a shot!

Have any other podcast gadgets that you like using? Send an e-mail to John and he'll check it out.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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