--Original Review from June 16th--Anyone who follows my blog regularly knows how much of a proponent I am for listening to podcasts of Italian shows and programs to improve one's language skills. It's important to listen to Italian along with reading, writing and speaking, but, for those of us who can't get to Italy often or who don't have Italian friends with whom we can talk, we have to rely on more creative solutions.
Listening to spoken Italian is a great way to train your ear for the "real thing" -- last year when I went to Italy for a month, I was amazed at how well I could understand Italian from strangers. Listening to Italian podcasts can help prepare you for the speed that Italians use their language.
One such app is called Rss Player (it's been renamed Podcaster for a while now -- check out their web site)- they have a blog, and you can read about their app with links to purchasing the app in the Itunes store. They have developed a very useful program that allows you to stream and download podcasts through the device without having to sync up to Itunes. They've also created a listing of podcasts, and many of the podcasts that I've discussed here in the past are listed. If it is not listed, there's a way to add the RSS feed, too. The app has received some complaints about crashing and not working, but I've used the app for the past week, and it has not crashed once, works great, functions as it says. I find the app very useful and versatile, and I use the app to listen to Italian podcasts on my way to my Italian conversation class to get my ear ready!
Another reason that many people like this app is that it allows you to download without using Itunes, and there's no limit on how much or how long you can listen, no download limit, and you're not limited by the Apple servers. The app interacts directly with the servers where the podcasts are hosted. (FYI - if you don't have unlimited data usage, you might want to restrict your downloading to when you're on a wi-fi network. The app can be configured to work over wi-fi or wi-fi and cellular).
If you use the app, leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.