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Getting iTunes podcasts on a Sansa Fuze--Ask the Editors

In this week's MP3 Mailbox Monday blog, Jasmine explains how you can cull from iTunes in order to get podcasts for you SanDisk MP3 player.

Q: Wish I had known before I bought my Fuze last week that iTunes wasn't going to work, although I have to say, I'm glad to discover I'm not losing my mind when I plug it in and don't see anything on iTunes saying "put your files on your player." For now it sounds like the best I can do is to burn all my iTunes purchases onto discs and rerip them as MP3s using Windows Media Player (WMP)? I'm assuming I'll have to type in the track, album, and artist info myself, but there are always rainy days for that sort of thing...

A more immediate concern for me is downloading podcasts--I love mellowing with a little informative talk rather than trying to DJ and find "just the right song," plus the 30-mins (or so) length is perfect for my workouts. So what's the best way to get podcasts off the ether and into my ears, in your opinion? I'm looking for the simplest, fastest, least brain-damaging method. I've been using iTunes and then drag-and-dropping them in Windows Explorer, but even with a high-speed connection at home that seems extraordinarily slow (I thought these things were low bitrate so they'd be easier to move around?) as well as inelegant.--Anton, via e-mail

A: As for the first question about converting the iTunes tracks, what you mentioned is pretty much exactly it. It's definitely time consuming, but the legality is not questionable, and even with burned CDs, WMP will often recognize the album and be able to fill in ID3 tag info for you automatically. There are also programs such as NoteBurner, which converts the tracks without having to burn and re-rip. However, last I checked, this method was legally questionable, what with the fact that such software circumvents the DRM technology. However, it's still readily available, so clearly the area is gray enough.

As for obtaining podcasts, if you are comfortable using iTunes to cull the podcasts from the Internet, I would stick with that--the podcast library of iTunes is far superior to most competitors anyway. Now, what you want to do is set up WMP to monitor the folder that iTunes saves the podcasts to so that they will be automatically added to WMP for you; then you can transfer directly to the Fuze from there. For me, it's set to the default: My Music > iTunes > Podcasts. You can discover what the folder path is for yours by right clicking on a podcast in iTunes and selecting "Show In Windows Explorer."

Then, open WMP, right click anywhere along the window frame and select Tools > Options. Click the Library tab, then click Monitor Folders. Then, Click Add and navigate to the folder where your podcasts are stored. Click OK, then OK again. That should do the trick!

MP3 Mailbox Monday is a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, please state as much in your e-mail.)