We wrote recently on gPodder, an excellent podcast receiver for Linux. Not to leave Windows and Mac out of the equation, we’ll be covering Juice, an extremely useful and versatile program for managing multiple podcast downloads. Juice will make it simple to find, monitor, download, sync, and manage all the audio files for your favorite podcasts.
You can find download links for Windows and Mac (Linux version in the works) at the Juice website. It’s a standard software install on both systems, so we won’t get in to install instructions here.
Finding New Podcasts
When you first launch the program, you’ll have four tabs open in the main window – Downloads, Subscriptions, Podcast Directory, and Cleanup. To find new podcasts, start with the directory. You’ll have the option of browsing several popular podcast feeds.
Juice’s former name was iPodder, so in some places (such as this podcast listing) you’ll see several references to iPodder.
Manually Adding by URL
The Subscriptions tab allows you to add, remove, and otherwise manage your subscriptions. If you know the address of the podcast, you can add it here by URL.
Additionally, you can set various additional options for how this podcast is to be handled. The Authentication tab will let you set user/pass combinations on a per-podcast basis, and the Cleanup tab will let you choose how your files are handled after download (more on that next).
One of more annoying aspects of being a podcast enthusiast is having to deal with the files themselves, especially once you’re done with them. Without something like Juice, you’re likely to quickly become buried in MP3 files that you no longer need. Juice will keep track of your files to monitor things like when the files were downloaded and which have been played. Using the Cleanup tab, you can set general rules for how to handle old files.
If you’re not content with checking for new items on Juice startup, you’ve got a reasonably robust scheduler (Tools > Scheduler) to set how you wish. With it, you can set specific times to check for updates (for example, if you know your favorite podcasts releases daily at 4:00 PM) or to simply check for updates at a predefined interval.
Aside from the basic check/download/cleanup functionality common to most podcast receivers, Juice has a bit more for the advanced user. The Preferences section (File > Preferences) gives excellent control over Juice’s under-the-hood workings.
This author recommends that in particular you pay attention to the download location at the bottom of the General tab. If you’re using an MP3 player in standard MSC mode, you can set this location to the drive letter of your device and your podcasts will download directly to it.
Also within preferences is an option to choose your default media player (Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, etc). If you intend to play your podcasts from the PC and not a portable device, this is an important setting to remember.
Surprisingly, Juice provides very little in the way of device management for your portable media player. Whereas similar podcast receivers like gPodder provide a device configuration section, Juice seems to only show the single download location bar. This means it may lack some of the advanced file management tools of other podcasts receivers. That said, Juice is still a useful, free, and well-written software application. If you’re in need a quality open source podcast client for Windows, Juice should be just what you need.