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!


Now that I have successfully moved to my new web hosting provider, I am ready to get back to blogging more regularly. The move was relatively easy, but took time to get everyone to play nicely and move the DNS records and get WordPress upgraded and all the old articles restored.

One of the first things I have decided to play with is Twitter. I am going to use the IM -> twitter interface for the common updates, since I don’t have a text-messaging plan on my phone anymore. Since I always have IM open at work, and they have a nice interface from GTalk->Twitter… why not.

Google Reader

Every now and again you find (or get a recommendation for) a software
package that you discard becuase it does what some other software you
already have installed does. In this case, I was using TrillianPro
with the GoodNews RSS feed reading plugin… and I had passed on a
couple of recommendations to use Google Reader instead for all my RSS
feed reading needs.

Well, I decided last night to take Google Reader for a test drive.
It took me only a couple minutes to get signed up, and copy in the 15
or so feeds that I had been reading with some amount of regularity
recently. And in just 8 hours I have already found it to be *way*
better at managing and allowing me to read my feeds than
Trillian/GoodNews ever could have.

Key Features for me:
* common interface to read all my feeds (and one repository for
them) on all the various systems that I may use in a single day.
* quick – allows me to login and check on new news articles in
only a matter of secs on any PC in the office or at home.
* their reading pane is awesome…. allowing you to read the
article right there, and as you scroll it marks them as read (no more
opening a bunch of tabs/windows for every story you want to read).
* star an article for easy retrieval/review later…. double
points awarded becuase you can see these stars on any machine you
access google reader from.

Get yourself an account out at

Wiki: Day Two

One bump in the road, and it doesn’t appear there is an easy fix.
The Help:* files aren’t loaded by default with the default wiki.
Online I found three variations of solutions:
* Do an “export” of the pages (but need a formatted file of all the
page names)
* Edit/Copy the source of the important pages, and paste into
matching pages of my wiki
* Link to another wiki’s instance of the pages

This seems like a glaring omission of the wiki setup, and while I
understand that including a default set of help files has two major
1) what language(s) to include
2) it goes against the core ideas of wiki (that of evolution of
page data/content)

It does, however, cause some issues when have users that want to know
more about the basics of wiki editing and would just like some
overview documents to help them be more efficient. I also understand
there is a certain level of structure that may be of a
“wiki-specific” nature… however, it would be nice to have some
basic English Help files… or a repository where-by it is easy to
get s “starting point” for these files.

If you are using a wiki and have found a better way to gather
together these Help pages… I would appreciate hearing about it.

Synergy in Use

In the article on Synergy, I discussed how you could use it to control multiple computers using one keyboard and mouse. Here is a couple pictures of my setup, that uses Synergy and a KVM to access a total of 8 machines using one keyboard and mouse.


Wiki: Day One

Today the journey begins. Aaron and I have embarked on the journey
to test out MediaWiki for collaboration on a couple of GUI
projects… and see how it goes.

Wikis have been frowned upon in the past (here at work). However,
this is a tool that both of us have toyed with or used in a minor
capacity elsewhere before. Today, we want to jump into the deep end
and really try to use a Wiki to save us time/effort.

Background Details:
Aaron is a remote worker, and I am in the office…

So we are going to use this to save on long distance calls or long IM
sessions or even lengthy email proposals. All of those technologies
work pretty well if you only go back and forth occasionally(or a few
times. GUI work (which we are doing) tends to require a tighter
iterative loop and can have substantially different
opinions/directions…. So the idea is to use the Wiki to keep the
project architecture/design more fluid over time.

I will try to expand on the trials and tribulations, as well as, the
victories and success of this work style.