Monday, November 07, 2005

In search of Podcasts, first recommendations:

The term "Podcasting" refers losely to making one's own radio broadcasts, in the form of audio files that we can download. At least a few thousand people are creating podcasts in English. You can search for them by category, and there are several podcast directory sites to help you find what you might possibly want, such as Podcast Alley and (which is actually a directory of podcast directories). Some of the music services, and some podcast sites, make it particularly easy for you to get their programs. In some cases you can "subscribe" and then you'll get weekly or daily downloads to your mp3 player.

Initially I thought that looking into podcasts would be a terrific waste of time. When I want to find a new blog to read, I quickly scan random blogs (or everything on somebody's blogroll), maybe a hundred of them. I can't see doing that with audio, you really have to LISTEN and it would take far too long to scan many podcasts.

But on the other hand I like to listen to audio books as well as music. I recently found a website called IT Conversations, whose rather modest goal is to place audio recordings of all (I'm not kidding) conferences online. They also record many interviews, and they've recorded conversations with many of my heroes in the software business, including
Larry Lessig, Bruce Schneier, Paul Graham and Joel Spolsky. That whetted my apetite, so I started browsing the directories and looking for things I might enjoy. Quite by accident I quickly found a remarkably good humorist, Cayenne Chris Conroy, whose weekly half hour show, Teknikal Diffikulties, I really enjoy. It's clear that a decent script is written before recording begins; the production values are good; the humor is amusing and delivered, in a variety of voices, with excellent timing. Conroy is whimsical, which - I'm afraid - particularly appeals to me.

I now have a false feeling that it will NOT take long to find some more enjoyable shows. We'll see how long it takes me to get disillusioned. Meanwhile I'm adding a Podcast Roll to this blog (You'll see it at left above the blogroll). IT Conversations and Teknikal Diffikulties are its first two members. (I'll only recommend podcasts that we can download free and play on any old mp3 player.) Although I'm not ready to recommend any more podcasts yet, I have definitely enjoyed sampling some others. For some unknown reason, most of the ones I like are produced in the midwest.

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