The trouble with Harry

For two weeks in a row, Harry Shearer’s Le Show podcast has wreaked havoc on my new iPod nano. Here’s what happens:

I have Le Show on my list of podcasts to sync with my iPod, so whenever a new episode becomes available, I get it on my iPod the next time I hook it up to my computer. I can then play the podcast as ususal; if I interrupt it in the middle of the show, it will pick up back where I left off, even if the interruption is long enough to make the iPod sleep. But if I sync the iPod during that interruption, finishing the podcast gets troublesome.

First, the episode will not play if I select it and click the center button. Doing so causes the display to show the Le Show screen briefly but then jump back to the main menu. Usually, I can select the episode and get it to play by clicking the Play/Pause button at the bottom of the wheel, but sometimes that makes the iPod jump back to the main menu, too.

If I do get the episode to start playing, it starts from the beginning—it’s forgotten where it left off. This shouldn’t be a big deal, because I ought to be able to fast forward to somewhere near that spot, even if I have to do a bit of scrolling back and forth to find it. But no. I can click the center button to make the scrollbar with the position diamond appear, and I can run my finger around the wheel to get the diamond to advance, but as soon as I stop scrolling the iPod goes back to its main menu.

My workaround has been to get the episode playing and then leave the iPod alone until I think it’s back at the spot I want. Not a very good solution.

I’ve tried replicating this behavior with two other podcasts— The Penn Jillette Show and Coverville—but neither have this problem. Apparently the Le Show MP3 is triggering some bug in the software. Since the audio actually plays and the problem has occurred in two different episodes, I suspect the data that’s causing the problem is in the header (or wherever MP3 files store the tag info). I’ll be filing a bug report with Apple tonight, but I don’t know who to contact at Le Show (or what value that would be). I would like to know if I’m the only person having this problem.

Update Feb 6, 2007
Despite what I said at the end of this post, I never got around to reporting the problems I was having listening to the Le Show podcast on my iPod nano. And since the most recent show worked fine, I probably won’t. I did see in my site statistics that someone visited here after a Google search on “le show podcast itunes problem,” so I guess I wasn’t the only one with this problem.