Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Pod People

I'm not sure how podcast-savvy Disco is - so please excuse any overly simple or redundant explanations.

I have a 45 minute commute which takes place on public transport. There is not enough music in the world to make this ok. As a result I turn to facts and people who tell me about them.

'Podcast' is really just another name for 'audio file' - you don't need to have an iPod, you can play the file on your computer. The big deal is that you can subscribe to a Podcast and the latest episodes are downloaded automatically so it becomes more like a TiVo/Foxtel iQ situation.

The rise of Cable TV in the US opened the playing field for independents by lowering the barriers to entry of producing and distributing a TV show. Suddenly there were hundreds more channels with not much on them. The internet combined with increasingly sophisticated consumer broadcast technology has meant that it has never been easier to have your own online 'channel' (see RK's YouTube post). So there is a lot more mediocrity on its way (again, see YouTube).

The important difference here is that the Internet is a la carte. Timeshifting and aggregation are native to the online environment. So where cable lies groaning* under the weight of mediocre shows, the internet makes it possible to see only the diamonds in the rough by filtering out all the amateur detritus.

In that spirit, here are my recommendations:
  • triplej's Hack Daily (no need for
  • Andrew Denton - Enough Rope (it's great to be able to pick the interviews you want when you want)
  • Stanford School of Engineering - Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (some really interesting people talk about their careers)
  • Adam Kempenar, Sam Van Halgren - Filmspotting (The best + least pretentious podcast about film)
  • The Economist (some sound quality + programming issues but getting better)
  • The Ricky Gervais Podcast (only if you're a fan)
  • TVO Canada - Big Ideas (requires further filtering to find the good lectures but listen to Jessica Stern on Terrorism)
  • Lars Brownworth - 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of the Byzantine Empire (History's 'other' empire)
To access all of this goodness download the latest version of iTunes. Start iTunes, click on the Podcasts tab in the pane on the left. Then click 'Podcast Directory' on the bottom right. This will take you to the iTunes music store where everything is free (except music). Search for these podcasts or subscribe to others.

Any Disco members who share my commuting pain and podcast love, let me know what you're listening to...


R Ko said...

I haven't the commute so Podcasts have passed me by. Filtering podcast choices (i.e., Internet search) is another good example of memetic technology.

See also this previous post

Orlando said...

I like KCRW's
Left Right and Centre and
To the Point

Also cool was the
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006 and
Globalisation Institute Podcast

Kato said...

I second Orlando's "Left Right and Centre" vote - I'd also add that KCRW does an excellent podcast called Bookworm where famous authors are interviewed by an eccentric dude called Michael Silverblatt. There is some questionable introductory music (which almost made me want to stop listening) but v. famous authors appear and the discussion is dreamy.

Currently also obsessed with Easy French Poetry - slowly read famous poems are deconstructed easily.

And because I'm clearly on a language kick, I'd give huge snaps to Japanesepod101 - an amazing Japanese language podcast which concentrates on easy dialogue aimed at beginner, intermediate and senior levels. Having studied Jap for years, I wished this was around a long time ago.

Last but not least, SoonerThought is supposed to be a good podcast (US based liberal dem ideas) although I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

R Ko said...

I received a subscription to New Scientist for Kwanzaa... am gonna try the poddies!

James said...

For science related things also check out "Science Friday" (Search in iTunes Music Store). Interviews with scientists and people who have written books on popular Disco subjects like energy, personal tech, biotech etc...