My strange podcast list…
Podcasts – what are they? Radio on demand. Really specific radio on demand.
Podcasts are like all current media – the democratisation of media means vast amounts of choice, but still very little quality. OTOH, once you’ve found a good one, you’ve found it, and can listen whenever you want to old content, new content whenever they push it, and so on. And new podcasts are easy to try.
The app I use to listen to them? Pocketcasts. I’ve tried a bunch and this is by far the best that I’ve used. It also has a web browser version as well , which is most useful. They’ve recently done an “update” which has made it about half as good as it was, but it’s still the best podcast player out there IMHO. Really wish I could still use the old version, though, much easier to operate.
The A list
The Gist with Mike Pesca— Slate describes it thus: “A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you’ll be discussing with friends and family tonight.” Of course, I’m not going to be discussing it with anyone, but (speaking as a radio professional of a lot of years) Mike is my favourite non-tech presenter. Witty, irreverent, hardly ever badgers his guests. Since the 2016 election, doesn’t fall into the trap most Democrats do of being stupidly one-eyed. His closing muted rant each day is a wonder to behold. I’m an Australian, it’s mostly about the US, and I still think it’s great.
Windows Weekly — A show about Windows, funnily enough, but the two hosts — Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley — are the best in the Windows world. It’s been a fascinating trip through the dev of W10. This is NOT a fanboi show, it’s very evenhanded, so be warned. Leo is less ridiculous here than on TWIG, but is becoming harder and harder to listen to as he concentrates (even less!) on being a semi-decent host. Just get Mika or Ant or Jason to do it.
What The Tech— A show about tech! Has Paul Thurrott, so often it’s about what MS has screwed up this week. Overall tech-agnostic.
Hello Internet — OK, I don’t really know how to describe this podcast, but I really like it. Two blokes talking. One is more of an Apple nut than the other, and every so often makes hilariously bad justifications as to why he loves Apple (which he thinks make sense), and I like it anyway. Just listen.
The Lonely Palette – a podcast about art history. Excellent presenter, usually really interesting.
The B list
I’ll listen if I get time
You Are Not So Smart — ”You Are Not So Smart is a fun exploration of the ways you and everyone else tends to develop an undeserved confidence in human perception, motivation, and behavior.” Look, it’s hard to describe but endlessly fascinating, terrific presenter.
Everything’s Coming Up Podcast!— Simpsons podcast. Guests usually make up for the super-annoying hosts.
Daily Tech News Show — this was my go-to tech news podcast. Excellent presenter in Tom Merritt, always interesting. And they have several times read out my email and discussed it. #gottaloveit Patreon supported (yes, I supported them), so no ads for things that are utterly irrelevant to me down here. Tom has relatives in Australia and knows we exist and a fair bit about us. Improved dramatically with the dumping of the Australian-produced Sunday edition (non-radio people doing it, and it made it unlistenable) and the far less frequent fill-in guests whose major qualifications seemed to be a large number of YouTube subscribers, although this has been creeping back in recent weeks. I’m getting somewhat fed up with newish co-host Sarah Lane, who doesn’t have ANYTHING like Tom’s breadth of knowledge and who struggles with anything that is outside the US, often doesn’t recall info from recent shows and seems to have too many other jobs which stops her doing proper reading/research before shows. Also needs to think about the story they’re discussing before using a laugh/giggle as a placeholder while she sorts out what to say, as that can be very inappropriate. (i.e. this is all basic radio/tv technique/habits.) She is basically the reason I stopped listening, along with the ever-more-frequent Lamar Wilson and co guest-hosting spots. Sad, but required. Now I need a new tech-news show…
This Week in Google — this is a somewhat badly named show, in that it’s more about everything in tech than strictly about Google. Great host in Jeff Jarvis, who is a journalism professor (CUNY) and is fascinating regarding a lot of things, but especially the situation in Europe re publishing. Has been better this year than previously. (NB: Jeff is great to listen to, and read when he publishes to his blog, but is simply a Hilary shill on FB, making it unfollowable. His lack of anything approaching evenhandedness on FB is a bit of a worry for a journalism prof., if obviously typical of the US.) Stacey Higginbotham is a co-host, and is enabling Leo in his moral panic mode, as she’s a techno-panic merchant herself. I’m
close to quitting have quit listening because of her and Leo, but where would I get my input from Jeff? (Nowhere, is the answer. But that’s a decent tradeoff to not have to listen to Leo and Molly, sadly.)
Revisionist History – Gladwell would be a FAR better journalist if he stopped drawing his conclusions from his own ideas and anecdotes that he pretends are facts. He puts stories together well, but far too often they are not based on anything solid, just his own wishes. This isn’t how journalism works, no matter how famous you are, or how little people care about actual journalism. Respect the craft, don’t be a part of the problem.
MobileTechRoundup — Kevin Tofel, thus good. Mostly about phones, and so on. Unfortunately, it concentrates WAY too much on high-end phones. In this day and age, we don’t NEED to buy high-end to have good gear, so it should expand its horizons. Also, Matt Miller, Kevin’s co-host, is way too “New phone is awesome! (for two weeks until another new phone arrives, then it’s the most awesome!)” for me to take him too seriously. I’m also getting sick of Matt’s “change phones I own every month or so because I’m well rich enough to do so” consumer-waste attitude.
Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly— Molly’s overtly stupid Apple fanboi-ism didn’t creep in too often, but when the Cambridge Analytica story was on, and she was extolling the virtues of Apple’s “privacy-based approach” and getting the reasons entirely wrong, I quit. If she’s not interested enough to get basic stories like that right because of her cheerleading, I can’t trust her with more complicated ideas and stories.
All About Android — for Android news (I know, it’s a misleading title). Excellent presenter in Jason Howell (anyone seeing a theme here yet?) but I’m well over the shrill and podcast-clueless Florence (good journalist for Android Central, but consistently unprepared for this show and persistently talks over others). Also because Android is now so much more stable that there’s just not much compelling news any more.
Tech News Today — more tech news. I prefer DTNS. Good example was June 27 with the “self-driving cars nearly crashed!” coverage. The DTNS explanation was far more balanced and accurate. Removed in 2016 due to the new hosting arrangements, despite Jason being one of the hosts.
This Week in Tech — weekly tech roundup, but it’s VERY variable in quality due to the guests who they have on. Way too often they have a cartoon guest, while discussing important topics. I almost unsubscribed multiple times. It’s all well and good to describe the show as “getting my friends in to chat about tech,” but there’s a minimum level of quality that this all too often takes no notice of. Getting clueless non-tech people in because you’re friends with them and they run some YouTube channel and consider themselves to be comedians shows a serious lack of judgment, or getting people in because they’re massively rich angel investors you’re sucking up to is pathetic when it negatively impacts the show. More and more often I’ll just look at the guest list and “mark played.” Needs a producer strong enough to tell Leo to stop having crap guests. Removed after the mid-September edition where it had a crazed Apple fangirl making a complete mess of the show because “exploding Samsung Notes.” So juvenile I finally unsubscribed.
Freakonomics Radio— Fascinating look at life via the perspective of economists. Despite that description, was awesome. Unsubscribed due to a couple of disgraceful, utterly unjournalistic fawning episodes that were simply a platform for Charles Koch to spew his billionaire “socialism” with exactly no pushback to his moronic, utterly-dumb ideas. It was the last straw for a podcast fast running out of steam and ideas.
Radiolab – some interesting ideas, but it is crazy overproduced (no doubt they think it’s clever or engaging or something) and it does my head in. There’s a reason that shows have developed the way they have, and being “lever” wit them might be edgy but it’s a PITA to listen to.
Adult ADHD ADD Tips and Support – Hippy-dippy.