Listening to text instead of reading is a godsend on weary days. I know, I’ve had my share. When I’m juggling a hefty workload, Notepad++ is my go-to app because of its Speech plugin. To compress extended, hour-long reading sessions into half the time, I rely on the excellent Balabolka. And finally, when I get back home, it’s time to shut out the world and unwind, my feet up on the couch and Podcastomatic playing my favorite blogs softly back to me.
What I really like about Podcastomatic is that, as the name suggests, it’s automatic. All you have to do is copy a blog’s URL and paste it in the address field and hit ‘Go!’
And voilà! In few seconds or several minutes, depending on how saturated the blog is, you’ll get a neatly ordered list of the latest entries, converted into podcasts.
Click a post and basic audio controls will appear in the upper-right corner. The biggest inadequacy in Podcastomatic, one you’ll feel instantly, is precisely these audio controls. There is no seek bar; once a podcast starts playing, you can’t go back and forth. Though, you can always download the podcast as a media file from the link provided at the end and listen to it via your media player instead.
Podcastomatic is essentially an RSS feed reader integrated with text-to-speech technology. You can open the RSS feed (which is what the web app reads out loud) from the link at the top, as I’ve done below.
You can also subscribe to your favorite blog’s RSS from here. Clicking a post’s title will open its original version in the same tab.
One thing I personally find rather annoying is that Podcastomatic can’t process just one webpage at a time. If you enter a URL for a specific page, the entire blog gets loaded, and you have to sift through a whole blog’s worth of podcasts to find the one you want to listen to (Podcastomatic doesn’t have a search option).
Another disadvantage of the app fetching RSS feeds is that, for each feed item, it only reads the content before the break. So, for blogs that don’t include whole posts in an RSS feed, Podcastomatic is only little more than a voice-based update notification service.
But I wouldn’t toss it out of hand just yet; weighing Podcastomatic’s advantages and disadvantages in a context that does it justice, it’s clear that being able to handle a whole website is better than being limited to a manual page-by-page process. Agree as we might that a combination of both features would’ve been preferable, nonetheless, Podcastomatic is an adequate web application that manages to perform its basic function quite well.