As a little enticement / reward for doing more exercise recently, I decided to upgrade my iPod. My kids wanted me to get one of the big boys; they wanted to see the videos and the games. Not like they would have ever had a chance to play with it or anything. :-) I opted instead for the shuffle because I really wanted something smaller.
What I'm having a bit of a problem getting around is the lack of podcast support in iTunes with the shuffle device. Namely, that it's missing the "Podcast" tab for the device in iTunes, where you'd select the podcasts you wanted auto-synced. This is important to me, because my primary use of my iPod is to listen to podcasts.
Instead, you have to do things manually. You know, drag and drop files in the iTunes UI. And select files to be deleted. Etc. That's certainly a step down in functionality than I had with my crusty old 3G iPod. I have no idea why the functionality is missing in the first place.
I currently do have an "Autofill" set up for a Smart Playlist I created called "Podcasts" that contains, well, you can guess. Autofill is some special function, presumably just for the shuffle, that picks songs randomly from your library or from a playlist to put on the shuffle. I can't quite tell how well this is working yet; I'm sure I'll have to go a few weeks to see if it makes life easier. At a minimum, having a Smart Playlist with just podcasts in it makes life somewhat easy itself, in terms of copy en masse to the device.
One advantage of the simplicity factor here is that it's quite easy to arrange audio files, on the device, in whatever order you wish. Instead of turning and clicking to pick the things I listen to (while driving), I can now arrange them in the order I want, sitting on the computer.
The size, simplicity, and wacky colors of the device are hard to beat. I especially love the big play/pause button right in the middle, and the integrated clip.