For a while now I’;ve taken to listening to podcasts during my commute to and from work. Podcasts have become my primary source of audio in the car for two main reasons; I have to pay attention to what is being said so it helps to take my mind off of the traffic and also I was finding it difficult to stay up to date with IT news etc.
The app I use for my podcasts is iCatcher (for iPhone). I tried a couple of different apps, but this one had a lot of nice features and has proven to work well. It has the main options I like such as; auto add to playlist, sort video and audio as well has being able to sort for keywords in podcast titles so I can dump an entire series into a playlist.
At the start I went through a number of different podcasts to find the ones I like. I started to find that there were simple things that just made some unlistenable. The major things I find that kills a podcast are:
- Sound Quality, I have no intention of sitting through 30 + minutes of crackle, static and dropouts.
- Too many ads, a few of the podcasts I listen to are sponsored. This is a non-issue, state who the sponsor is at the start of the show and at the start of the sponsored section state again. Don’;t try to get my attention by using shit like “I have some breaking news…” No you don’;t, really.
- Bias, even if the product being discussed might be from a show sponsor, still ask the harder questions about it, don’;t turn in it an infomercial. Also break out the SCUBA gear and dive deep.
To the advertisers, a small sponsoring slot on a podcast over a period of time does work. From listening to podcasts I can tell you the name of a number of new SDN vendors off the top of my head. Keep the message simple, let the hosts be critical and technical it builds credibility to yourself and the show itself.
I’;m a big fan of the way Packet Pushers and Risky Business do their ads. At the start of the show “Welcome to X, todays show is brought to you by Y, they bring Z to your network” and later on in the show, time for our sponsored interview. Or if the show is all about that vendor, clearly state if it’;s a sponsored show. If it’;s a new company name, that’;s usually enough to get people to have a look.
Now for the list of the podcasts in my standard rotation.
**Packet Pushers: **I started listening to PP when I started doing my CCNA study and it seemed to be the best networking focused podcast, the content was technical and significantly over my head. This helped showcase some of the awesome things that can be done with a network and how technical it can get. I found that this really helped drive me to learn more, at least so I could make more sense of what they were talking about.
As PP went on there were additional series’; added to PP suite. Datanaughts is a DC focused series which is one of on my favourites, as someone whose work has always been full stack the silo busting philosophy sits very well. Network Break is another relevant section for myself, great for a quick news catchup.
I would love to see PP add a series which is just Gregs rants.
Risky Business: It’;s great to have some Straya representation here. I’;m not in infosec and won’;t pretend to be, however I have learnt a metric ton of information from this podcast, and still have to google some of the terms they use. The news is concise, sometimes cynical and gives a good laugh. RB has probably some of the best humour of the technical podcasts I listen to. Interviews are well covered, questions are to the point and there is a good balance in questions and it feels very unbiased.
The sponsored sections help give an idea of a product, but don’;t feel like they are there to sell the product. More of a ‘Hey this is what vendor X are doing, if you want to know more have a look’; approach.
**Daily Tech News Show: **DTNS isn’;t sponsored by vendors unlike the above two instead the funding comes from community contributions through Patreon. This means there are no ads through the podcast. The standard format is to have headlines at the start and a deeper discussion for a couple of the headlines at the later part of the show. Tech news is well covered and there is a good focus on consumer tech, such as what’;s happening in mobile world congress, IOT, MS bring xbox games to PC etc. The show is hosted by Tom Merrit and there is a rotation of guests.
Quality is good, they don’;t push for contributions, there is a section at the very start and at the end. Good for a news catch up as the name might suggest.
In Tech We Trust: Rants, News and a good laugh. This podcast is more datacentre focused and hosted by people in the industry. Discussions are lively and entertaining covering a broadrange of IT topics from what companies are doing, to clouds and even Nigels hair.
I feel because of the range of hosts and how they are currently in the industry there is a log of good insight into the headlines they present. There’;s a good amount of background knowledge and definitly worth a listen.
This is a community podcasts and there aren’;t sponsored slots or ads to listen through.
**End User Computing: **Another community podcast. EUC is focused on desktop, application and server virtualisation. Being community driven the content is encouraged to be without bias and cover a range of vendors and not just focus on one. Being presented by people in the IT industry the technical details are well covered and topics are very well presented.
EUC has been a recent addition to my list so there’;s not a great deal I can say about it, but I’;m happy to have it on my regular playlist.
**Speaking in Tech: **If you’;re trying to keep up with where Ed Saipetch is working today, then this is the podcast to listen to. This is another community driven podcast and the hosts have a great deal of passion for what they do which is evident in the quality of the podcast.
There’;s a good amount of banter and the humour is good. News is well covered and discussions on headlines and done well. There is a good amount of experience in the industry backing the hosts which makes for good opinions.
**The Geek Whisperers: **One of the most recent editions to my playlist, this is a career focused podcast. They have a great range of guests covering many aspects on career development. Discussions usually stem from personal experiences and points are well discussed and can be quite lively.