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I've got a home server that is always on and online but hasn't got a display. What I'd like to do is the following: The server checks my podcast subscriptions and downloads them in the background. When I switch on my desktop PC and open the podcatcher application, the files are already download and I can start listening or syncing right away.

Do you know a podcatcher that is split up like that in frontend and backend?

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I use cron andhpodder (available from Software Center) to update my subscriptions and download my podcasts at night. You could do that, and open your application and point it at the downloaded files.

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Which application do you mean when you say "open your application and point it at the downloaded files"? –  user6722 Nov 17 '11 at 16:28
    
I have my hpodder cron job download the podcasts to $HOME/podcasts/<Podcast title>/, the do some script manipulation to create copies in $HOME/podcasts/YYYY-Mmm-Dd/. Then, if my Sony Walkman is connected, uses rsync to copy $HOME/podcasts/2* to the player. You could use hpodder, and cron to keep your podcasts up-to-date, and, for example, one of the packages listed by apt-cache search podcast to listen and sync.. –  waltinator Nov 19 '11 at 1:33
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