Podcast Downloader

Since I stopped working on Beer Style Guidelines, I have been looking for something to work on.

I’ve tinkered with a few things here and there. Nothing really stuck until recently. I just finished a small project. I wrote a small app to download podcast episodes.

I have two music (electronic mixes) podcasts that I listen to. I’ve been listening to these podcasts for over 10 years. I decided that I wanted to download all of the podcasts and import them into the Music app.

I initially looked for apps where I could download all available episodes of a podcast and couldn’t find anything I liked. So, I did what most nerds do, I wrote my own.

The podcast downloader that I wrote is written in Swift. It’s a Swift Package that I run via a command-line interface.

I got to play with a few new libraries. I used FeedKit to parse the RSS feed. I used ID3TagEditor to edit ID3 tags on the downloaded MP3 files.  Finally, I used ConsoleKit to log messages and loading progress to the terminal. It was fun to play with some different libraries in different domain spaces.

For a minute, I thought about open-sourcing the project. But I think it could be used indiscriminately. I wouldn’t want anyone wasting bandwidth downloading all podcasts. I was a bit nervous about doing this myself. I decided to send recurring donations to the podcast authors. Prior to performing a full download, I had done a lot of one-episode testing. I also ensured that if the process failed somewhere, episodes wouldn’t be downloaded again.

The entire project took me about two weeks of tinkering. It’s probably not the best-written code I’ve produced, but I’m happy with the outcome.

I now have all of these music podcast episodes that I’ve enjoyed over the years in Apple Music. I can listen to them again whenever I want.

I’m happy that I was able to work on a new project. I even finished it. Even though this project will likely never be released anywhere.

I’m not sure what I’ll work on next, but I am really happy with how this one turned out.

Hiking

I love hiking. I don’t get to go as much as I would like. But I try to hike whenever possible.

Sometimes I’ll even get my family to come with me. But I’m usually alone when I go. I do like it when they tag along. But I understand it’s not their favorite activity.

When I go, I like to take a lot of photos. I don’t know if any of them are good, but I enjoy looking at them later. The photo above is not mine, but Dale Nibbe’s.

Most of my hiking has been in Pennsylvania. I’ve also gone on a few hikes in California. In the last year, I’ve tried to go for hikes wherever we happen to be on vacation. It’s a great way to check out an area.

This year, I finally bought hiking boots. Previously, I’ve always used an old pair of sneakers. But I wanted something that was waterproof. Some of my hikes have been in muddy and wet areas. Wet socks are never fun.

I went for a hike today. It wasn’t a long hike. I was out there for about an hour. I went on a trail that I’ve been on numerous times. So I know exactly where it goes and what I’ll see. It was very cold out today, so the trail was empty.

I haven’t gone for any overnight hikes. As much as I enjoy hiking, I hate camping in tents. Sleeping (or trying to) on the ground is the worst. I’ve had some bad experiences camping and would rather not do it again.

For now, I’m sticking to short(ish) hikes all shorter than a few hours.

Book Renewal

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I had borrowed a book from the library. I was a little nervous about being able to finish the book within the two weeks I had.

I didn’t finish Billy Summers. I made it about 35% through. Yesterday, I renewed the book for another two weeks. I hope to finish the book this time.

If I only made it through 35%, how am I going to finish the other 65% in two weeks? During the first two weeks, we had a lot going on. The Phillies were in the World Series, the Union was in the MLS cup playoffs. Those are over now. I should have some extra time to read, at least until the World Cup starts this coming weekend.

So far the book is pretty good. I really hope that I can finish within the next two weeks. Wish me luck!

Fletch Book Series

I listen to the MacBreak Weekly podcast. About a month ago, Andy Ihnatko’s pick of the week was the “Fletch” book series.

The series is currently free. I believe it’s free for any Audible Plus members (like me). At least I would assume you would need to be a member to listen to the series for free.

There are 11 books in total. The first one was published in 1974 and the final one was published in 1994.  

I’ve been listening to the novels. They are pretty good. They are also short books and you can get through them pretty quickly. I just finished book 3 (Fletch’s Fortune). I really liked the first book. The second two books have fallen off a bit for me.  

In my mind, I picture Chevy Chase as Fletch, just like the Fletch movie. There’s a new movie out with Jon Hamm as Fletch. I haven’t seen that one yet.

If you’re an Audible Plus subscriber and looking for some good books, check these out.

Borrowed Book

I borrowed an ebook from my local library for the first time yesterday. I’ve borrowed books from the library, but never an ebook. I wasn’t sure how it would work.

I borrowed Stephen King’s Billy Summers. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King over the years, but never this book. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been a fan of E-readers for years. I got my first Amazon Kindle in 2010 and haven’t looked back. E-readers are incredibly convenient. My kindle holds hundreds of books. Being able to borrow an ebook sounds great.  

The process to borrow the book was incredibly easy. I installed the OverDrive Libby app. Then I connected my library card, found a book, borrowed it, then connected my Amazon account. The book was delivered to my Kindle. Easy peasy.

Well. It wasn’t effortless. The first four or five books I looked at have 10+ week waits. One book I tried to borrow has a 26-week wait. Yikes. I requested holds on several books. But once I found a book that was available, it was easy.

I’ve got two weeks to read Billy Summer’s. I’m a slow reader, so I hope I can finish in time. I think I can renew the book loan, but that remains to be seen.

I’m excited to dive into this book.

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