Monday, November 7, 2016

My podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts so I'm often asked what I suggest.  Rather than writing the same email, yet again, I figured this would be a better way to go.  I'm happy to entertain questions, comments, feedback, suggestions for new ones, etc.  This is a work in progress and I'll add links when I get a chance so check back!

Before getting to the podcasts themselves I highly recommend two podcatcher apps: Downcast, which I use for videos and Overcast which only does audio.  Downcast is having some issues with iOS10 but hopefully those will be fixed soon.  Both will let you play podcasts at faster-than-normal speed without making everyone sound like a cartoon character.  Overcast takes it one step farther in smartly eliminating gaps in speech, between sentences, etc.  I've been using it for years and the only time I even notice (other than in time saved) is when some music is playing.  Highly recommended. Now, on with the shows...

Computers / Networking / Techie
  • TechSNAP (Systems Networking Administration Podcast) goes into depth on computer/networking/security every week.  I've been working in the computer field for over twenty years and I still manage to learn something every week.
  • BSD Now - very geeky/techie podcast hosted by one of the hosts of Tech SNAP.  Mainly focused on Free/Open/Net BSD but a great source of overall information on networking, storage, etc.  Especially if you're interested in what's easily the best operating system (FreeBSD) and filesystem (ZFS) on the planet.
  • Mac Power Users- If you're a fan of Apple products (and why would you be reading this otherwise??) this is a worthwhile ~90 minutes.  Yeah, I'm the Apple nerd's Apple nerd but there's always something new to learn.  

Science / Education / News
  • Skeptic's Guide to the Universe - outstanding, snarky, smart podcast about science, focused on combating the bullshit that most people believe. They also play a great game weekly "Science Or Fiction" which I love. (Psst Just between us, I think I have a little podcrush on one of the hosts.)
  • More Or Less: Behind the Stats - published by the BBC (so, yes, their accents are awesome), they delve deep into use, and more often misuse, of statistics in the news. You will learn something. I promise.
  • Big Picture Science - more of a sciency roundup with a theme each week.  Great guests.
  • Talk Nerdy - hosted by one of the hosts from The Skeptic's Guide, Cara Santa Maria.   Hour-long interview that's almost always entertaining and educational, and it gives you a bit more insight into Cara.  
  • Science Friday - 2 episodes a week with deep dives into the week's science stories.  It's a bit corny at times but it's a great way to keep tabs on the latest research and engineering.
  • Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - if you think you know the US Supreme Court, you don't.  My wife is the lawyer in the family but I still found this absolutely fascinating.  
  • Revisionist History - Malcom Gladwell, who sometimes comes off as annoyingly smug - don't let that bug you, looks at historical events and people in a way you'd never expect.  Fascinating.
  • Science Vs.:  This is a must-listen, if for no other reason than the host's amazing Australian accent.  More to the point she looks deeply at items you thought were settled, like forensic science, hypnosis, antidepressants, Zika virus. 

News / Politics
  • Serial: You've probably heard of this one already and it's every bit as good as you've heard. Better, actually. 
  • Real Time With Bill Maher: Free even if you don't have HBO.  He's every bit as good as he's always been.

Entertainment / humor
  • Two Dope Queens - hosted by two NYC-based comedians, one of whom was on The Daily Show until recently.  Language is not safe for children but it's always damned funny.  And Phoebe has one of the best laughs you've ever heard.
  • The Nerdist - This could go in the techie category too.  Hosted by Chris Hardwick, of Comedy Central's @Midnight fame, this is one of the best interview shows I've heard.  It's less interview and more chat between friends. Chris gets his guests to talk about things you'd never expect and, without exception, I've come away with a new respect for every guest - even those I didn't think I really liked.  
  • We Got This With Mark And Hal - every episode the hosts go through a detailed battle between things to determine which is the best.  e.g.: "Best classic video game", "Best vintage toy", "Best Sense".  Fun, and not mentally taxing.  
  • Radiolab - I can't really explain this one easily.  Just subscribe.  Trust me.
  • This American Life - A surprising look at, well, whatever the hosts want.  Insightful, for sure.

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