I listen to a lot of podcasts these days, and I’ve noticed that I’ve changed a few things up recently, so I thought I’d write up a blog post.
First, I’m still using Overcast. I switched to that, from Instacast, when that app/service shut down a while back. Marco Arment released a new version of Overcast just recently and wrote a blog post about it. He’s obviously the kind of guy that cares about what he’s doing, and it shows in the finished product. It’s easy to use and reliable. One of the interesting things he recently added to the app is the ability to upload files for personal use. This feature is only available to “patrons” who pay a modest recurring fee. I’m currently using Huffduffer to do something like this, so I don’t really need this feature, and I haven’t set myself up as a “patron” for Overcast, though I might do it at some point. (I had paid for Overcast back before he discontinued the paid version and made all features free, so I don’t feel like a freeloader or anything.)
In terms of podcasts I’m following regularly, I’ve added a few new ones recently, and also dropped a few. And I’m thinking about dropping some others.
For tech/programming podcasts, I still subscribe to .NET Rocks, Hanselminutes, and Mac Power Users. Hanselminutes is interesting most of the time, and is a weekly, 30-minute show, so it’s not hard to keep up with.
.NET Rocks (DNR) is about an hour long, and comes out three times a week now, so it’s a bit harder to keep up with. The way I have Overcast set up, I keep only the five most recent episodes of any podcast, and I’m often about three weeks behind, so this means that DNR episodes often drop off before I’ve listened to them. And if I didn’t cull some out, or rearrange them in my playlist occasionally, none of them would ever make it to the top of my playlist. Luckily, a lot of recent DNR episodes have been covering stuff that I’m not that interested in, so it’s easy to skip those. The “geek out” episodes that they do periodically, though, are really great, so I’d keep subscribing to DNR just for those, even if none of the other episodes were interesting to me. What I’ve been doing is occasionally deleting episodes that don’t look interesting, and/or rearranging my playlist to move the “geek out” episodes up.
Mac Power Users (MPU) is weekly, but is generally around 90 minutes long, so that one is also a bit hard to keep up with. I enjoy MPU, and have gotten a lot out of it, but I’m finding that, after listening to it for several months now, I’m not always getting a lot of new information from it. So this is another one where I’ll skip shows occasionally. I might even drop my subscription to it for awhile, then maybe come back and give it another try in six months.
Long ago, I used to listen to a number of music podcasts. Most of them went away some time ago, and I didn’t really replace them with any new ones, so I haven’t had many music podcasts to listen to lately, and I’m trying to address that.
My favorite music podcast, from way back, was Insomnia Radio (IR). This was a great show that stopped releasing new episodes several years ago. The main show spawned several spin-off shows, but I never followed any of those. I recently visited the old IR website, to see what was up, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the IR UK show was still up and running. But it doesn’t seem to be releasing on a terribly regular schedule. I added a subscription to it in Overcast, so it’ll be there whenever it does update. And the main IR show has been resurrected, though there’s only been one new show, posted in February, and nothing since, so who knows if Jason will do any more, but I’m definitely hoping that he will. IR also does a “daily dose” show that’s just a single song. I don’t currently subscribe to that, but I should add it, since that feed is still pretty active.
I’m also still subscribing to Warren Ellis’ SPEKTRMODULE, which is released only sporadically. (Only one show has been released in 2016 so far.) But it’s a cool podcast, though infrequent.
And I subscribe to The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn, which still comes out weekly, and is always worth listening to.
For humor podcasts, I subscribe to Judge John Hodgman, which is great. It comes out pretty consistently, once a week, and is always fun to listen to. I also subscribe to The Bugle, but that podcast went on hiatus a while back. They did a new one recently, and will hopefully do them more regularly this year, but who knows. I think they’re shooting for one a month.
For “miscellaneous” podcasts, I’m still subscribed to StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. That’s still a lot of fun, but many of the episodes recently have just been the audio portion of the National Geographic TV show, so I generally delete them, since I’ve already seen the show on TV. And a lot of them are rebroadcasts of old shows, so I will often delete those too, if I’ve already heard them.
I’ve recently added a number of NPR podcasts. Note To Self is a pretty good one. It’s usually weekly, and 15 minutes long, so it’s easy to keep up with. It’s a tech podcast, but with a different angle than most other tech podcasts.
I’m also listening to Planet Money now. This one is also really good. Most shows are about a half-hour long, and are very well-researched, well-written, and well-produced. They generally do a deep dive into an obscure financial topic that illuminates something that’s important, but maybe not well-understood.
And I just added Pop Culture Happy Hour. I haven’t actually listened to any of those yet, but it looks interesting. So that’s enough NPR stuff that I’ve grouped them all into an NPR playlist in Overcast.
So I guess now I have a nice broad selection of interesting podcasts to listen to, whenever I’m in the car, or looking to listen to something before bed, or whenever. And I have separate playlists for tech, music, humor, and NPR podcasts set up, so I can switch between them depending on my mood.