Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Yorker Podcast Blues

Been listening to the short story podcasts from The New Yorker. Fantastic. Absolutely brilliant.

Tobias Wolff's amazingly memorable "Bullet In The Head" read by T.C. Boyle, Nabokov's wonderfully understated (for him) "Symbols and Signs" (aka "Signs and Symbols") read by Mary Gaitskill, James Thurber's very amusing but not, thankfully, funny "The Wood Duck" read by Jonathem Lethem, Denis Johnson's scary - if you're not used to hospitals - and yet amusingly wry "Emergency" read by Tobias Wolff (yes, it's a closed circle of writers, I'm not the first to be thinking), Paul Theroux reading Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Gospel According to Mark”, etc...

You get the idea. Great writers reading other great writers. Oh, read the list yourselves... linked above.

Blues, you said. Problem?

Sigh. I can get iTunes to synch to them on the iMac at home with no problem and I can put them on my iPod which only synchs to the iMac, but when I try to imitate this feat on the laptop PC (at work, or travelling) to get them onto my iPhone, the iTunes there says these podcasts are not available in Singapore. WTF? Since when is my iMac's home in Novena not in Singapore?

This means I cannot put the podcasts onto my iPhone, which is where I really want them, so that I can get cultured whilst sitting around waiting, as I do mostly, and then take calls as they come in, without missing them due to having my noise-cancelling ear-buds in, which is what is going to happen now with my iPod.

The iPhone only synchs to the laptop PC. This is a royal pain.

I've tried to use SuperSynch to get them off the iPod and into the iTunes library on my laptop, but SuperSynch only seems to read the music files on the iPod, not the freaking podcasts.


I've tried Doubletwist, but of course it doesn't work a) with iPhone V3 software, or b) with iTunes on the iMac.


OK it's no real big deal, just annoying. This just means I will have to keep dragging my iPod AND my iPhone (and my Nokia e71 which has a Thailand chip in it, but the damn True provider can never find a 3G signal!) around with me (and keeping an eye on the iPhone for calls and SMSs) on my increasingly frequent - based on what standard? - travels.

And given that I've lost my sunglasses, my normal glasses and my house keys all in the last three days, chances are not looking good for this trio to stay together long.


Another issue is that I can't read a book and listen to a short story at the same time. Or can I? Does it matter, as I can never remember what they were about anyway. Except "Bullet In The Head" - like I said above, I'll remember that one.



Momentary Madness said...

I haven't read this post yet.
There's a link (and a piece) for you on my post

Hong Kong in Park Ridge said...

Can't you download podcasts directly from iTunes which is already on your iPhone?

expat@large said...

HKinPR: "Cannot Reach The iTunes Store: The iTunes store is not supported in this country." (Singapore)

There is an 'iTunes store' for apps and from there I can only access the New Yorker animated cartoon app.

Yet the iMac in my house has been downloading the podcasts with no problem...

expat@large said...

MM: I thanked you on your site.

Hong Kong in Park Ridge said...

Sounds like you need an account with a US address. When I lived in HK, I used the mailing address of a friend and they sent me prepaid iTunes cards that I redeemed via iTunes, therefore giving the impression that I was based in the US. I was able to download all sorts of music/videos whilst in HK. I do the same for some HK friends now that I'm based here for a while. Let me know if I can help. Thanks.

expat@large said...

HKinPR: I have an Aussie credit card, with an Aussie address, and that was rejected as well. Some unknown error. Ten times.

Big question, should I dump out of the iPhone and iMac entirely. I mean, the only apps I ever use are the sudoku game and the eReader Stanza (hot tip: downloaded a very cool [should I say groovy?] collection of Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné stories for FREE!) when I am sitting in a humid corridors/verandahs in up country wherever, waiting for the Dr or the pt or the machine to turn up.

I mean who am I kidding? OK I have grown to trust the spell-check as I tap-type, which makes me look lightning speed, so it is good for notes, but diddly squat else. My work email doesn't work from anywhere except internet. The e71's keyboard is just too small. Should I ditch them both and grab the latest Nokia with the keyboard?

Fuck, I don't know. Sturgeon's Rule.

expat@large said...

I mean you just get trapped in this cycle of endless up-grading, and ditching this crap that doesn't do what you want for the next piece of crap that does that but not something else.

For example, I got an SMS on the iPhone from Mdme Chiang. Do you think I could put her new number FROM that SMS into the Contacts?


Had it been the Nokia, there would have been no problem.

Hong Kong in Park Ridge said...

I've had a problem before when the billing address of the credit card doesn't equal what you input, but it eventually works out - more human error than anything else.

As for dumping out of iPhone/iMac entirely, that's a difficult question. Adding a new number from an SMS is relatively easy - you just press "Add to Contacts" tab on the top right of the message. If the number is within the body of the text, then you copy the number and paste it when you edit the number of your contact. Do you have the version 3.0 software that allows copy/cut/paste?

I use the following apps:

1. Around Me - let's me see what is 'around me' when i'm in a new city - from banks, restaurants, bars etc. Links to Google Maps for quick directions.

2. RSS reader - let's me keep up to date with you all

3. Stanza - thanks for the hot tip!

4. JP Morgan Chase - banking stuff

5. Kayak - travel site for excellent air/hotel fares

6. Wikipanion - excellent for sorting out quiz disputes in bars!

7. CX Mobile - you can check-in with the iPhone!

8. Daily Telegraph - UK news. Cool interface.

9. Skype - more for IM than talking.

All of these are free to download.

Not knowing what company you work for, I can't imagine they are running anything other than Microsoft Exchange which is supported within the iPhone Mail program. You might need your IT department to set it up, but once it's set up, it's just the same as the Blackberry.

I've had every phone possible and I upgraded every 6 months when living in HK - Nokia, Sony Ericsson & Motorola were my friends. After the iPhone came out, i've only had to upgrade once per year!

Sure, the battery life can be improved, but when you think you have a mini computer in your hands, I don't mind having to re-charge after 70% of my day is gone. Spike even bought a special battery pack that extends the life considerably.

Oh and don't forget about the iPod portion of the iPhone!

Hope you can keep on using the iPhone - I need my Apple shares rising in value :)

That's my 2 cents, or maybe a bit more - sorry for the long winded reply!


Hong Kong in Park Ridge said...

One more thing - you do need to set your country in iTunes to something other than Singapore - that might help with your Aussie credit card conflicts. Cheers.

expat@large said...

HKinPR: Not in any order:

What "Add To Contacts"? I'm looking and I'm not seeing it... I'm not seeing it, and I'm looking! ;-)

All I have is Clear All and Edit at the top of the screen. If I press Edit, I get the option to select a message and either Delete or Forward it. Then there's Done and that's it.

I CANNOT add that number either to an existing contact or make a new contact. There has to be a number in the context of the message.

This is with iPhone3G running V3 software. (I gave my iPhone2G to Izzy who is using it as an iTouch. Maybe the 3G has a similar destiny.)

Can't use a phone during the Pub Quiz I go to Wednesdays when I'm in town, but I did quickly Wiki 'sourdough bread' while the waitress was checking my order yesterday. Had to go through Safari. Will check for the app now, thanks for tip.

For travel stuff like, money conversion and flight schedules I WorldMate - I first saw it on the Nokia, and there is now a slick iPhone version. I have SIA flight schedules in WorldMate. Need the Pro version to check-in but I'm automatically checked-in to SIA anyway, maybe because I am in PPS Club.

No, for our work email we use the Business Solutions(!) from Singtel. When I'm plugged in on the laptop I just use Outlook, but on the iPhone I have to use Safari and webmail. The POP and STMP don't work with the email features on either the Nokia or the iPhone. It sucks royally too, logs you out after 5mins (maybe 10) of inactivity - and you might be responding to an email in that time, but merely typing doesn't count! Our IT department BTW consists of our head engineer (we have two engineers) when he's not trtavelling (not as busy as me, but nearly). Head office in Tokyo leave it all to him for our branch office stuff.

My job is not email based or email driven, (typical work emails: "Can you go to *insert country* in September?" or "attached 5MB pdf file of some obscure bug-fix in a machine we don't deal with in S-EA") so it's not a big one to have to wait until I get back to the hotel to get my email. It's just that check for blog-comments of Facebook updates (yes I have the FB app but rarely use it) gives me something to do if I have dead-time on the job when the sudoku numbers are all blurring together and/or I can't focus or concentrate on my book. btw - When the Dr and entourage come along the corridor eventually, if you are reading a book it looks sorta bad, if you are doing something on your phone it looks good.

The battery life is better after I took it in for a service. It can now last two days if I don't use it much.

RSS feeds: no-one I know blogs anymore, except Spike, and he's gone all boring (wink to Spike!) now that he's in a relationship.


expat@large said...

HKinPR: stop commenting, you should be working!

I don't have my Aus credit card with me, but I am sure I did all that last time, and still it failed. Anyway, I'll try to use my NAB card again from home tonight after changing my billing address (again) just to keep you happy. You are happy, right?

expat@large said...

I'm still just wondering why NYT podcasts works at home and not at work.

Hong Kong in Park Ridge said...

Something wrong with your software then. The V3 software should change the name of the icon of SMS to Messages. I'm sure Spike can also confirm the same. I can email you the screen shots if you want. By the way, do you know you can take a screenshot by holding down the 'home' button and then pressing the button at the top of the iPhone? The screenshots are stored in the photo album.
Anyway, off to bed. Won't comment any further :)


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