I listen to a lot of podcasts. I really can't remember how it started but getting my smart phone (about 4 years back) is what triggered it. I have listened to a lot of them and found them useful, entertaining, informative and fun. Some of these podcasters even feel like long time friends. Ok, that might be pushing it, but at times I do feel a sort of allegiance and loyalty to them.
Objectively, I feel podcasts can act as a good source of information/knowledge which can consumed in a passive manner. I listen to podcasts mostly when I am commuting or exercising (walking!). There are podcasts for almost every topic you can think of. I am primarily focused on technology, software development and startup related podcasts but I know there are a lot more available. While there are podcasts directories which you can use to locate podcasts, I find my podcasts from podcatchers, itunes and from other podcasts (and of course do googling for getting the rss feed link). Most of the podcasts I listen to are produced in the US (wish I could find more from India!!!). That said, they provide a lot of value from my perspective.
Share the goodness
Since I find it so useful, I thought it would be good to share them with others. I initially thought of just creating a list of all of them and throw it out there. But somehow I felt that was too vanilla. Then I thought of creating a top 10 list but that felt cheesy initially. When I thought more about it and I felt it might be useful for figuring out my own preferences and likings and my ability to judge things. So I attempted to make an objective score for some of the really good podcasts (as per my taste) which I listen to. Only to realize that it is damn difficult to make it objective. So I gave up on that. Finally decided to create a set of subjective groups of podcasts I listen to and share them with you all.
Podcasts Set 1 - Distinctive and Fresh
I am starting this series with a set of podcasts which I feel have a very distinctive nature. The content they provide (most times) is perceptive and opens your mind to a lot of different thoughts and ideas. Listening to them makes you think, smile and sometimes be amazed. Let us get on with it.
Spark, in Nora's words, is a podcast about tech trends and fresh ideas. And I couldn't describe it any better. Nora is the anchor of the show. The podcast is set as a conversation with the listener. Nora makes the listener a part of the journey in which she meets remarkable people and has very deliberate and pleasant conversation with them. These people look at tech in different ways - either to solve problems or just to understand different things. The podcast brings innovative stories on tech trends and how technology affects people and culture. It brings up simple life hacks and cool new ideas. And it is really produced well (it is a radio show by CBC). The show is done regularly. The music is done well and it connects the various parts of the show nicely. There is a scent of art and creation in the podcast which appeals to creative spirit in us developers (at least I would like to think that :)). It leaves you with an enriched and fresh feeling most of the times.
Cognicast is a podcast produced by Cognitect and is hosted by Craig Andera. This is relatively new podcast and leans towards Clojure related topics (since Cognitect is Clojure focused - Rich Hickey is the CTO for crying out loud!). Now I am not a Clojure guy at all but I like the functional leanings of the topics. That said, this podcast is also modeled in the lines of hanselminutes. Apart from technical topics, it covers other kinds of topics as well. Craig keeps the conversation nice and cordial. One of the great things he does is that he allows the guest to flow with what they want to talk and get the maximum out of them. He might nudge them a little here and there but allows them to take the limelight almost completely. Very nice and humble all the time. Some of the discussions I have heard have truly blown my mind. That is why even when there are many clojure heavy discussions on the show, I still listen to them since I get at least something out of it. Another novel part of the show is that allows you to sample lots of different music. The show is young but I find it enjoyable, thought provoking and fresh. I hope Craig keeps going that way.
Update on 3-May-2015: The music sampling part of the show got stopped from this year (2015) onwards.
That is the first batch out. I will push the next installment very soon!!! Catch you all later.