How I listen to podcasts (and keep up)

I have had a number of discussions recently about podcasts and how I listen to them, or find the time to invest in listening to them. After these impromptu discussions, I realized that I may have not provided the complete answer to the question.

To completely answer the question, I am providing this list of ways that I consume podcasts. One note, I am talking only about the audio podcasts since I use my TiVo to watch the few video podcasts that I subscribe to (TekZilla, Cranky Geeks, Diggnation, etc).

1) In the car, during drive time (most commonly, to/from work). I have a 20min commute, each way, to work and find that this is the easiest way for me to keep up with my podcasts. I use the Griffin Technologies iTrip AutoPilot which provides both power and an FM transmitter compatible with my iPhone 3G. The added benefit is that it provides on the cigarette lighter portion, it provides a Play/Pause, Previous and Next Track buttons. This allows me to easily stop the podcast, so I don’t miss anything :-), if I am in a drive thru, or need to focus more on the road/traffic. I purchased mine at Amazon, but you may find it cheaper elsewhere. I highly recommend this device, for those that don’t have a line-in jack on their car stereo. There is a trick ( to allow it to use channels below 88.1 in the US, and that provided me with a single channel that is clear throughout the Cleveland metro area. I use 87.7, for those interested.

2) Outside, while walking/exercising (most commonly lunchtime walks, or evening walks by myself). At work they have been promoting this “know your numbers” health related consciousness and touting that walking 10K steps a day is a good way to stay healthy. In an effort to maintain my health and be a good example, I have been making an effort to get up and walk more around the office as well as taking a daily walk at lunchtime. This is a perfect opportunity to get some podcast listening done, since I am walking along a dead-end street in the industrial complex that our office is located… so traffic is light, outside noise is rare, and there are few people out walking at the same time. I also have been trying to add a walk at night around our housing development. The typical “joke” at this point is that my wife enjoys walking with me while I listen to my podcast and ignore her….. Well, to be honest I take these walks by myself. My wife is on her feet all day keeping up with our two boy’s events, school, and housework. So she doesn’t want to take another walk at night, and with winter coming quickly to the Cleveland area right now, she has no interest in going for a walk with it is just 20-30degrees out.

3) Inside, when doing repetitive or “basic” tasks (resizing images, website updates, or just un-boxing equipment/etc). I love my Motorola S9 bluetooth headset for this type of listening. These headphones allow me to wirelessly listen to my podcasts from my computer (via bluetooth) while I roam around the immediate office area of my desk. It won’t work for everyone, but there are times when it is nice to have some background “news” going on while I am un-boxing an order of 8x 8port switches, 10x power strips, or sorting through all the cables/equipment that comes back from a demo or tradeshow. I am not tied to my computer, and I even have enough range to reach the kitchen while still listening to my podcast. I will say this is probably the “least” useful time to listen, and the hardest to make work for most people… but if you have a job that lends itself to it, and can multi-task in this way it definitely works.

As a bonus, I thought I would also provide the list of podcasts that I am currently listening to at this time. All of these are available through iTunes and all of these are free. Most are between 30mins and 1hr of total time per episode and only a couple of them are daily (noted below).

  1. Blog – Stack Overflow
    Jeff Atwood (of and Joel Spolsky (of discuss the development of their new programming community,
  2. Buzz Out Load (daily)
    Molly Wood, Tom Merritt and producer Jason Howell give you their daily take on what’s happening in tech news throughout the week.
  3. CNET News Daily Podcast (daily)
    The CNET News team brings you this snappy podcast every weekday, covering everything from privacy to processors, iPods to Intel. Charlie Cooper, Leslie Katz, Erica Ogg, and Jennifer Guevin cover the top technology news of the day, and encourage listeners to be a part of the discussion in the forums.
  4. Engadget
    The Engadget Podcast, a one stop shop for all your weekly gadget needs. Hear editors from the leading technology blog discuss and dissect the latest news in cell phones, laptops, and more.
  5. Gadgettes
    Girl gurus Kelly Morrison, Molly Wood and producer Jason Howell give you the latest on hot gadgets, pop-culture tech, and shopping advice.
  6. gdgt weekly
    You may know Peter Rojas and Ryan Block as the guys behind Engadget and Gizmodo, but they’re back with gdgt – the ultimate online destination for all things gadgety and electronic.
  7. The InsideRIA Weekly Roundup
    Created for web developers and designers, the InsideRIA Weekly Roundup is a news recap on the ever-changing world of Rich Internet Application development, covering all of the major players and technologies, from Adobe to Microsoft, from Ajax to Google Gears and JavaFX, and lots more.
  8. MacBreak Weekly
    Get the latest Mac news and views from the top journalists covering Apple today.
  9. net@night
    What’s happening on the ‘net right now? Amber MacArthur spends every waking moment combing the net for cool sites, viral videos, and funny and moving moments online. Only a fraction of the stuff she finds makes it to her TV shows on Citytv – the rest she shares right here with us.
  10. The Onion Radio News (daily)
    The Onion Radio News is a daily podcast featuring a short news clip from The Onion’s award-winning 24-hour radio news network.
  11. Open Web Podcast
    Dion Almaer, John Resig, and Alex Russell discuss news and events coming in from the Open Web community.
  12. this WEEK in TECH
    Your first podcast of the week is the last word in tech. Join Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and other tech luminaries in a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in high tech.
  13. Windows Weekly
    Windows expert, Paul Thurrott, of the SuperSite for Windows, talks about Windows Vista and more each week on this netcast – part of the TWiT Netcast Network

I highly recommend subscribing to a few podcasts that are of interest to you, and try them out with some of the suggested listening times above. You will be surprised with the nuggets of information you will hear/find and your ability to keep up with what is happening in the news that interests you without combing every news site. Enjoy!

Setting up SMTP AUTH under RedHat 7.3 (Linux)

I recently had to configure a Linux machine to require SMTP AUTH so that we could test a new product at Codonics. So I wanted to provide a little guidance and some insight that I gained while working on this task.

The requirement was “basic” SMTP AUTH… so PLAIN/LOGIN functionality, no need for TLS, and use the existing user accounts on the linux machine. Local email needs to still function (mail from cmd line) but anything from a “remote” user would require a username/password to be verified before allowing the machine to send the email.

1) need to allow sendmail to talk to more than just localhost (allow network connections)
– firewall (open ports, or disable for testing)
– “dnl DAEMON_OPTIONS(`Port=smtp,Addr=, Name=MTA’)” line in the instead of “DAEMON_OPTIONS(`Port=smtp,Addr=, Name=MTA’)” …. adding the dnl in front of the command basically comments it out.

2) need to install from source (for our RedHat 7.3 machine, I used these versions):
– cyrus-sasl (v1.5.24)
– sendmail (8.11.6)
* these versions were selected because they matched the rpms/version that were already installed on machine. I needed to be rebuild to provide support for PLAIN and LOGIN AUTH methods… which I understand are not typically available via RPMs.

3) Important lines in the
define(`confAUTH_OPTIONS’, `A’)dnl
make sure that none of these have a dnl in front of them… that would cause them to be ignored (considered comments).

4) There needs to be a file: /usr/lib/sasl/Sendmail.conf (note the upper-case S in filename) with the following line (only line):
– “pwcheck_method: PAM”

5) Not sure if this is actually required, but during my travels, I found that I need the file /etc/sasldb to exist and it can only be read/writeable by root so:
– touch /etc/sasldb (to create it if necessary)
– chown root:root /etc/sasldb (to change it to owner/group root)
– chmod 600 /etc/sasldb (to ensure that only root user can read/write file)

6) I did confirm that these changes will only require AUTH on connections from external mail clients (doesn’t affect mail cmd-line on the host).

7) If you want to test via “telnet host 25” the sequence of events would be:
-> EHLO hostname (doesn’t matter what you use as hostname)
<- 334 VXNlcm5hbWU6 -> anNueWRlcg== (Base64 encoded username, ie: jsnyder thru the base64 encoder)
<- 334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6 -> dGVzdGluZw== (Base64 encoded password for username above)
<- 235 2.0.0 OK Authenticated (this is a good sign... no need to continue) -> QUIT

Useful commands:
– m4 /etc/mail/ > /etc/ (converts the file into the necessary for sendmail to use)

– sendmail -d0.1 -bv root (shows if SASL support is available in sendmail in the list of “Compiled with:” items)

– sendmail -d0.20 -bv (shows location it is expecting … “Def Conf file:” line).

– sendmail -O LogLevel=33 -bs (runs a quick instance of sendmail with logging turned up to level 33, and then you can enter “ehlo localhost” and it should give you back the options for the server… should include the line: “250-AUTH LOGIN PLAIN” when everything is configured correctly).

Helpful Links:

Sendmail downloads:

Base64 Encode/Decoder:

Content of my “” file for comparison:

dnl This is the sendmail macro config file. If you make changes to this file,
dnl you need the sendmail-cf rpm installed and then have to generate a
dnl new /etc/ by running the following command:
dnl m4 /etc/mail/ > /etc/
VERSIONID(`linux setup for Red Hat Linux')dnl
dnl Uncomment and edit the following line if your mail needs to be sent out
dnl through an external mail server:
dnl define(`SMART_HOST',`smtp.your.provider')
define(`LOCAL_RELAY', `')
define(`MAIL_HUB', `')
define(`SMART_HOST', `')
define(`confTO_CONNECT', `1m')dnl
define(`ALIAS_FILE', `/etc/aliases')dnl
dnl define(`STATUS_FILE', `/etc/mail/statistics')dnl
define(`UUCP_MAILER_MAX', `2000000')dnl
define(`confUSERDB_SPEC', `/etc/mail/userdb.db')dnl
define(`confPRIVACY_FLAGS', `authwarnings,novrfy,noexpn,restrictqrun')dnl
define(`confAUTH_OPTIONS', `A')dnl
dnl define(`confTO_QUEUEWARN', `4h')dnl
dnl define(`confTO_QUEUERETURN', `5d')dnl
dnl define(`confQUEUE_LA', `12')dnl
dnl define(`confREFUSE_LA', `18')dnl
dnl FEATURE(delay_checks)dnl
FEATURE(`mailertable',`hash -o /etc/mail/mailertable.db')dnl
FEATURE(`virtusertable',`hash -o /etc/mail/virtusertable.db')dnl
dnl The '-t' option will retry delivery if e.g. the user runs over his quota.
FEATURE(local_procmail,`',`procmail -t -Y -a $h -d $u')dnl
FEATURE(`access_db',`hash -o /etc/mail/access.db')dnl
dnl This changes sendmail to only listen on the loopback device
dnl and not on any other network devices. Comment this out if you want
dnl to accept email over the network.
dnl DAEMON_OPTIONS(`Port=smtp,Addr=, Name=MTA')
dnl NOTE: binding both IPv4 and IPv6 daemon to the same port requires
dnl a kernel patch
dnl DAEMON_OPTIONS(`port=smtp,Addr=::1, Name=MTA-v6, Family=inet6')
dnl We strongly recommend to comment this one out if you want to protect
dnl yourself from spam. However, the laptop and users on computers that do
dnl not have 24x7 DNS do need this.
dnl FEATURE(`relay_based_on_MX')dnl

iPhone Stats (first 8-weeks)

Ok, this is the last post on the topic… but I thought I would share my usage, and see what interesting conclusions may be drawn from the numbers.

Songs: 524
Videos: 0
Photos: 18
Capacity: 14.6 GB
Available: 11.7 GB

Call Time
Call Time: 5hrs and 58mins

Cellular Network Data
Sent: 7.8 MB
Received: 123 MB

Based on these numbers, here are some basic averages (based on 58 days):
phone conversation a day: 6.1 up slightly from the first 4-week average of 5.2 mins
data sent per day: 0.134 up slightly from 0.114 MB
data received per day: 2.120MB up modestly from 1.828 MB

Couple of observations… I have “settled” into a routine with the device. I purchased the Griffin Technologies iTrip AutoPilot and have been listening to podcasts (tWiT, BOL, the404, StackOverflow, gdgt weekly, OpenWebPodcast) during commute. This unit (model 4046-TRPAUTOC) supports charging the phone + FM transmitter, with the extra benefit of Prev/Next/Play&Pause all on the lighter-plug (very useful!).

Apps installed:

  • Pandora Radio
  • ShifD
  • AIM (just in case)
  • Twittelator
  • BreakLite
  • LumenLite
  • Apple iTunes Remote

iPhone Stats (first 4-weeks)

After 4 weeks with my iPhone 3G, I thought I would share some of the statistics that the phone has been keeping on my usage:

Songs: 520
Videos: 0
Photos: 18
Capacity: 14.6 GB
Available: 11.8 GB

Call Time
Call Time: 2hrs and 25mins

Cellular Network Data
Sent: 3.2 MB
Received: 51.2 MB

Based on these numbers, here are some basic averages (based on 28 days):
5.2 mins of phone conversation a day
0.114 MB data sent a day
1.828 MB data received a day

I have found, that I am using it primarily for reading email and rss feeds (google-reader), and was keeping up with the Olympics news on it as well. I also use the music a fair amount, and I am hoping to find a couple of good podcasts that I can listen to on the commute time (to learn something while I drive :-).

Netscape 7.2 Email Client and Internet Explorer Browser

I realize that many have already migrated to another program for email (instead of Netscape 7.2). However, I was asked to solve the problem of getting Netscape 7.2 email to open links in IE 7 that required a non-obvious answer (and some googling).

I am documenting it here, incase someone else wants to do the same thing.

Basically, you need to edit the prefs.js file for Netscape (C:\Documents and Settings\*username*\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\default\*.slt\prefs.js)

Adding the following lines:

user_pref("", "iexplore.exe");
user_pref("", "iexplore.exe");
user_pref("network.protocol-handler.expose.http", false);
user_pref("network.protocol-handler.expose.https", false);

Also, important to note that you need to have Netscape closed when editing this file… otherwise the changes will not take effect. Easiest way to ensure this, make sure that netscp.exe isn’t running in Task manager.

My iPhone 3G

This post a long overdue… only if you were following my tweets, would you have known. I placed the order for my iPhone (16GB Black model) on the Monday after the crazy Friday they went on sale. I obviously, had to do the direct fulfillment at the ATT store in Strongsville (near work) since they were sold out by Monday.

The phone arrived to the ATT store on July 25th, but I was on a plane to Texas when it was delivered. So I had to wait until Tuesday the 29th in the evening to pick it up. First impressions (like so many others)…. WOW, Apple does a great job with first impressions of the device (from opening the box to the installed apps/etc, web access, emails, etc).

I have been using the iPhone 3G now for about two weeks, and it (and it’s data plan) have changed the way I use my cell phone. I definitely appreciate having internet and gps just about anywhere… especially when I have that 15-30mins of downtime while the boys are at an activity or wrapping up something. I enjoy being able to tweet, read blogs with Google Reader, and get a quick update of my emails while out and about. I imagine (tho haven’t needed yet) the GPS could be handy especially with google maps to find where I am in a different city (and locations for food/products).

List of apps that I have installed so far:

  • Pandora (streaming music)
  • SHIFD (shifting notes/links/locations between devices)
  • AIM (instant messaging client, haven’t really used/needed)
  • Twittelator (twitter client)
  • JawBreaker (game)

I also have a link on the apps page(s) to take me to the Yahoo! Olympics pages to the Medal count and latest news from the 2008 Beijing Games. So that I can keep up with the Olympics.


  • Installed Apps are stopped when you switch to “home” or other app (Makes Pandora use a little less than ideal…. the iPod app, allows you to keep the music going)
  • Safari can only really have 8 windows open at once (this is probably a good thing, and forces me to bookmark or email off pages that I am reading and want to keep open longer). Just not an obvious limitation until you run into it… and you can’t open any more links because you hit the max “window” count of Safari.
  • Camera app, button location for taking the picture is centered right above the “home” button…. and I invariably hit “home” instead of take a picture. So then I have to wait for the camera app to start up again before I can take the picture I wanted (this time being careful to press the button on the screen and not the “home” button). This is probably just a “getting used” to the device quirk, I hope.
  • switching between landscape and portrait mode isn’t flawless…. either it doesn’t switch or it takes longer than I think it should to realize I wanted it to switch to landscape mode.
  • Can’t get ipod/pandora music out via bluetooth to my Motorola S9 headset. Apple seems to have decided that the only time you need bluetooth audio is while on a phone call. So there is no A2DP or AVRCP functionality in the bluetooth stack on the iPhone 3G.
  • The vibrate feature doesn’t seem to be “enough” to realize there is an incoming call. I am not sure if it is me, or something with the phone, but I have missed more calls with this phone in two weeks than I ever did with my HTC 8125. And I have always left my phone in vibrate… so I thought I was “trained” to respond to the vibration. Possibility is the issue isn’t the phone but more likely the case. Another possibility is that it is actually the reception with 3G and this phone…. and I am not getting the call through… but later getting the notification I missed the call (and new voicemail). I am going to be watching this one more closely, and may need to turn on the ringer for a while to see if I can pinpoint the cause.

So all in all, it is a great device and offers me a number of features/functionality that make me more productive in those “in-between” moments and also a little more connected. The reception/missed calls issue is really the only significant issue and I am hopeful that it can be resolved with placement of the case, or very low ringer. I am hopeful that Apple will consider implementing more bluetooth functionality, as well as the ability to have *some* apps at least run in the background so that you can multitask more on the device. Otherwise, I am very happy with my new iPhone.

Removing a couple of nuisance icons from “My computer”

How to remove “Nero Scout” from “My Computer” [Link]

This command worked for me:
regsvr32 /u "%commonprogramfiles%\Ahead\Lib\MediaLibraryNSE.dll"

How to remove “My Sharing Folders” from “My Computer” [Link]

This command worked for me:
regsvr32 /u "C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Messenger\fsshext.8.5.1302.1018.dll"