Podcasts for the Desktop

Much of the spoken word listening I do is over my iPhone either while I am driving between fieldwork appointments or in town to and from work or while I am doing chores at home, and there are certain podcasts, and audiobooks, that work really well in those contexts. There are other podcasts that do not. I am moving those podcasts into the role of being useful as “breaks” during the work day, and so I am capturing those titles here so that I can subscribe to them on my work machine:

  • O’Reilly’s Tools of Change has gone video and really isn’t a portable podcast any more for me.
  • ScreencastsOnline is a fantastic series, and if I had the time to watch them regularly I would subscribe to the full shows. (Perhaps I can make that happen in 2012.) For now, I am moving it out of my iPhone sync.
  • Merlin Mann has spawned more websites and podcasts than it’s possible to count. I think he has finally realized that his productivity, his genius, is to whip around like a loose electrical line and spark things. I don’t know if he will ever get that book done — but, hey, until my book is done I don’t have much room to talk — but that may no longer be the point. He has certainly achieved an enviable level of visibility. I have to assume that he has figured out a way to ride that visibility to a viable career/revenue stream. (And plenty of hat tips to him for it.) All that noted, 43Folders, the podcast, needs to get archived elsewhere and call it a day.

Pruning Podcasts

Everyone once in a while I feel the need to prune back some digital hedges that have overgrown while I was attending to other things. In this particular moment, I realized that there are simply too many podcasts queueing up in iTunes that I just don’t have time to listen to at the moment. For my own future memory, the podcasts that are getting dropped are:

  • Digital Media Insider. A great podcast focused mostly on audio production from O’Reilly that, like a bunch of other O’Reilly podcasts is no longer getting updated.
  • Distributing the Future. Another abandoned bit from O’Reilly, but I am keeping the shows I already have around, there are some really nice pieces in here. (Where to put them is the question.)
  • Escape Pod is free, spoken versions of science fiction stories. I’m keeping this one around, but I don’t listen to it very much.
  • Science Friday. Sorry, Ira Flatow, but sometimes you’re just too glib and/or silly at the wrong time. I really wanted to like SciFri, but it doesn’t help that the show is now only available in one-hour chunks. (It’s been replaced in my listening rotation by the more imaginative RadioLab, but the boys there, Had and Robert, have made a few dumb remarks in their day as well.)

Podcasts on the verge:

  • HBR IdeaCast. The problem with business gurus is that they really don’t have much to say, and the HBR staff don’t really reach out to interesting humanists or scholars. (An interview with Anthony Bourdain was, well, amusing, but it wasn’t much of a conversation. It felt like one of those awkward fan moments.)
  • Thinking Allowed. I really want to like Laurie Taylor’s show, but he mumbles a lot.