Friday, May 31, 2013

Neat new - and not new - netcasts

Some years back, I published some suggested netcasts (podcasts for most people, but I'm the anti-Apple guy so please excuse the generic term). It's a fantastic way to keep informed, and entertained, while your hands are free and you're walking your happy beagle in the morning. Or doing the dishes. Or driving somewhere while desperately avoiding the inanity that is commercial radio.

The world has changed, and it's time for a refresh on my recommendations. Some new, some old, and some have sadly gone away. The biggest change is how easy it is to listen to all this great, free content in 2013. Back in 2009, I had to download content to a computer, and sync it to an MP3 player, remembering to charge that device and having no end of problems keeping at the right place in each of my netcasts. Now I have a Galaxy Nexus phone running Doggcatcher. The phone and the app do all the work, I just get to listen and enjoy.

A word of caution: there is an amazing amount of great content out there. Be careful how often you click subscribe. I've just had to slim my list down because I was downloading great stuff and just deleting it as a higher priority producer had my attention. Sorry, super cool producers out there, but there are only so many hours in the day.

  1. Tech News Today. Can't miss this one.  Listen to it every day before everything else. Great use of a shorter form, really informed team. Thanks, TNT crew, you rock.
  2. This Week in Google. The longest netcast I currently listen to, it's worth the time because the mix of Leo Laporte, Gina Trapani and Jeff Jarvis is such a great use of the weekly format. Different opinions and specializations, and not just focused on Google. Great info about new cloud services, social web, and much, much more. 
  3. Planet Money. This was on my first list as a "they are just getting started" and have come a long way since then. Very informative, great take on economics for those of us not formally trained, but who like smart people who say smart things.
  4. Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me. Yes, it is a stupid quiz show with celebrities.  Yes, I laugh out loud.
  5. It's a Thing. Tom Merritt and Molly Wood on the same show? Yes, please. Short, fun, and great conversation about very unimportant things that seem to be ... things.
  6. Freakonomics. Mostly short bits, but now and then a longer program about the hidden side of everything. Where Planet Money does more reporting, this favors the unexpected side of markets and incentives.
  7. This American Life. Still the best in terms of production value, and often needing more concentration and time for thought. A slice of what makes us people in whatever way that happens to come about that week. Amazing work.
  8. All About Android. True geeks, geeking out about the worlds best mobile operating system. Segments on hardware, apps, news and more.
  9. Radiolab. OK, so remember when I said This American Life was the best produced show? Maybe I should think it over. Production value, science, thought, live shows and more. Really worth your time.
Now and then life is so busy I have to declare netcast bankruptcy and just delete old episodes so I can listen to the current stuff (except for TNT, as noted in number 1 above). Mostly, it's great stuff for minds tired of being insulted. Traditional commercial broadcasts - I can't say as I miss ya.