I've been spending some time learning a bit more about iTunes lately. One time waster I'm trying to kill is the process I use to load and discard podcasts. I listen to a variety of podcasts ranging from history to law to tech. I have a "slightly used and battered" generation one iPod Nano that generally gets plugged into my car stereo and my iPhone. It is a pain to manually copy and remove these things from various devices and even more of a pain to do it twice. So I decided to try and build a smart play list to do this work for me.
You can make a new smart play list from the menu bar (under "File") or with a key combination (option-command-N) or by option clicking on the little plus sign below your play lists.
Once that is done it is a simple matter of filling in your rules.
So in order to fit in the playlist, the audio file has to be a podcast and have a playcount of 0. I then made a few rules to exclude specific video podcasts in my feed. Finally, I clicked "Live updating".
Now, when I sync my iPod, iTunes figures out what podcasts have already been listened to and removes them from the list. It also adds anything new that iTunes has downloaded in the interim. It doesn't matter if I've listened to it on my iPhone or iPod, it all gets synced up in the end.
I'm amazed at how ridiculously simple this was and how much easier it makes syncing. I'm going to be adding more smart playlists. Stay tuned.