Social Enterprise

Poll: Do you listen to tech podcasts?

Technology podcasts and video shows can be a great way to keep up on news, current events, and trends, and to quickly consume IT tips and advice. Are you taking advantage of tech podcasts? Take this TechRepublic poll.

I recently published my list of the 10 best technology podcasts and the 10 best video podcasts on technology. As I mentioned in the first article, I've found that podcasts are a great way to catch up on current events and trends in technology. The best part for me is that I can multi-task while I'm listening to podcasts.

Also, keep in mind that you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts. You can listen to them directly from your computer with iTunes, Juice, Zune, and a variety of other software. I'd like to know if you listen to any tech podcasts. Take the poll and join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

38 comments
rsquaredg
rsquaredg

Yes, I listen to Podcasts and am wondering why I can't subscribe to a Podcast stream of relevant topics from Tech Republic? I got an Ipod Touch for Christmas and burn up two hours on my daily commute. Great time to do some catching up via audio Podcast. Ron Reyer

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

but if the subject matter is something that I need (or think I need) to learn more about, I go for printed materials. When if comes to learning, with me the old saying is true. "Goes in one ear and out the other."

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Goes in one ear and out the other." The best way to learn is through my hands. If my hands do it and my brain sort of understands what my hands did. I can learn it. Don't know if that made sense or not.

swheeler
swheeler

I work for a manufacturing company that bans all music, audio, and headphones from the office and shop floor. I don't listen or watch any tech material because I separate my work and home lives. I try to "work" on the home computer as little as possible. Most days I try not to touch it at all.

bhhaught
bhhaught

I can read and skim text a LOT faster than listening to a podcast. Plus, it's a lot easier to save text for later review or to have automatically indexed. Who has the time to listen to these things?

atoms
atoms

It is hugely inefficient to listen to this kind of stuff when reading is so much faster. All of the tech blathering is 75 to 90% stuff I already know - it is easy to skim over text you already know - not so much with a podcast.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I just received my first .MP3 player courtesy of an MS promotion. I'd been wondering what to do with it; maybe this is the answer. I'd like to try it while walking, but the darn thing is so small I can't figure out how take it along. It's too small for the armband I use for my FM Walkman, has no belt clip, and I can't see the screen in normal daylight levels. The FM reception is surprisingly good, though.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

the Zune slimline 4GB/8GB player: http://www.zune.net/en-US/products/zune4gb8gb/default.htm Is that right?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I receive invitations from MS to complete on-line surveys run by a third-party research firm. Respondents are eligible for a drawing for a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate and I got lucky. I was going to spend all of it on CDs, but thought about trying an MP3 player since it wasn't coming out of my pocket. A Toshiba Gigabeat U 2 gig unit seemed like a good toy to get my feet wet. Since I haven't see or used other .MP3 players, I can't compare it. I do have some initial first impressions. I dislike the overall small size of it (roughly about the same as an 18-stick pack of Trident) because I can't figure out how to take it with me. The headphone jack is on the bottom but the controls are on the front, so no matter how I stick it in my pocket or armband pouch, it's inconveniently positioned to reach the controls. I can't hand-carry it because I'm bumping the controls accidentally. I like a unit I can grip firmly in my hand without having to worry about accidentally clicking something. A larger size would also allow more controls with individual functions and fewer multi-step menus. (I have the same gripe about many consumer technologies. I don't want to grip something between my thumb and fingers. I prefer a tool or toy be at least the size of a pack of cigarettes, resulting in enough space to for buttons each with a single dedicated function and my being able to wrap my hand around it firmly. I guess I'm the only one.) Yet another downside of the small size is there's no way to swap the integrated battery. If it runs dead I can't put in a set of fresh AAs or AAAs on the fly, and must instead wait until it recharges to use it. The included earbuds were the first thing to go, replaced by a set of Panasonic over-the-ear speakers I already owned and have proven to stay put when I'm gardening, working out, etc. They had pretty good sound quality but I hate earbuds, and I hate headsets with only a cord and no plastic headpiece since they don't stay put when I move. I would have made this change regardless of the make model of player. The screen, barely and inch square, is too dim to see under most outdoor lighting. Since I don't have the menus memorized, this makes it difficult to use while walking without stopping and squinting. I dislike being unable to delete a file directly on the unit, instead having to be connected to my computer to do it. So far I've used it as an .MP3 player exactly once, for a tech show from a Santa Monica, CA public radio station. I don't know if my complaints would apply to other players, but so far I'm not impressed. As I noted, the FM reception is pretty good. Yeah, I know, why am I concerned with radio reception on an .MP3 player? Because If I decide I don't like it as an .MP3 player I can still get some use out of it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When I'm working on a brain dead activity or in the car I rather listen to news or sports on the radio. When I do listen to music, I don't have trouble swapping CDs in the car, or just listening to the radio. (Radio is about the only exposure to new music that I get.) I haven't ripped anything and don't see myself doing it for this. I'm just not music-oriented any more.

DanLM
DanLM

to my mp3 player. I am a grunt at work, and sometimes it is just flat out brainless what I am doing... Just grinding out the stuff... Thats about the only time I use my mp3 player... I have the connections to add it to my car, and when I am on a trip I use it. And that is for the simple reason that I can carry MUCH more music and don't have to keep changing cd's. Actually, thats the original reason I bought my mp3 player... The 6 hour drive to see my daughter. I usually drive alone. I hate looking through cd's at 75/80 miles an hour. And I have all my music ripped to mp3s so I can play them on my computer. So, for that 6 hour trip. I load the mp3 player up with 2 gig of music, put the sucker on random... And away I go. But, your right... The are a pain in the butt cause they are so small... Ear plugs blow chunks.. Annoying little suckers. Think about your mp3 player for road trips palmetto... Load it up with a wide selection of your favorite music. Prior to leaving, put it on random... And learn where the next song button is... Lol, then your ready with non radio advertisements that play the same songs over and over. [edited to add] My mp3 player required an adapter to play through the radio... That sucker was almost as much as the damn mp3 player... But, its well worth it on those long rides. Man, did I just fall off the cliff that we call a thread topic. Sorry Jason. Dan

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Seriously, most podcasts I've seen were used to make a sales pitch. Sure there was info in there but who wants to get on someones mailing list for 3kb of information and 20 MB of SPAM?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I subscribe to about 10-15 podcasts and have never been added to a mailing list. That's because you don't have to be a logged-in user to get any of the feeds. You might be thinking of Webcasts. For those, you do have to be logged in and you often have to provide additional information about yourself. However, that's a completely separate thing than podcasts.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I am thinking of webcasts. I don't listen to podcasts because I don't know what they are. :) Seriously, it is faster to skim written content than it is to listen to a discussion, especially when the speakers get lost down a side track. Yes I know sometimes you learn something that way you would never find out otherwise. If you subscribe to something then don't you have to give them some kind of info?

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Haven't tried it from home yet. Maybe I'll give it a try just for kicks.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

With a new .MP3 player, I was motivated to try RSS again over the weekend. I must be dumber than a crossbreed between a sack of hammers and a box of rocks, because I still don't understand what the advantages are. I added the Wizz plug-in to Firefox, read a good chunk of the instructions, "subscribed" to a few feeds (NPR's Car Talk and Only A Game, and TR of course), and sat back waiting for content. I couldn't tell that I was receiving anything. As near as I could tell, all I got was a menu I had to expand to see the same stuff I could get if I went to the respective web pages. I'm expecting to get some sort of notification that the site I'm subscribed to has new content, say an e-mail or a pop-up. If I have to check a bookmark manually, what's the advantage over just going straight to the site itself and looking?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

to subscribe to an RSS feed. It just means to grab the URL and add it to your RSS reader or software application. You don't have to provide any personal information. It's completely anonymous. That said, I understand that some people would rather read than listen or watch.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

no need for a pod , so no cast. If it was important someone would find a way to tell me about it. Like may be talk or sumfing. Podcasts are more about selling pods than making casts.

Jaqui
Jaqui

material are you making casts of the pod from? acrylic? plaster? paper machet?

luc_andre
luc_andre

I listen to quite a few podcasts and watch quite a few video podcasts. Here's my personal list. Audio Podcasts: TWiT Windows Weekly Security Now! Net@Nite Buzz Out Loud Security Bites 2600 Off the Hook Video Podcasts: Diggnation Tekzilla The Digg Reel Totally Rad Show X-Play Podcast LabRats Hak.5 Command N Digital Underground TV

rdubrey
rdubrey

A fun podcast is CNET's Buzz Out Loud... they rehash tech news from all the good tech sites and add some commentary.. pretty funny... Rob

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

There are a few on your list that I hadn't heard of. I'll take a look.

Jaqui
Jaqui

most podcasts tend to be pushed using flash. since I don't have flash installed, and will not install it. most podcasts are not accessable.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Just kidding, Jacqui. Seriously though, if you simply go to the RSS feed of most podcasts then you can grab the MP3 file, download it, and listen to it with your favorite MP3 player software. I think Linux can even play MP3s. ;-) No Flash needed. For example, here's the RSS feed for TechRepublic Out Loud: http://feeds.feedburner.com/techrepublic/tr-out-loud You can download the individual episodes from the "MEDIA ENCLOSURE" links. Have I convinced you to give it a shot yet?

Jaqui
Jaqui

why use flash to push them out at all when they are just audio? why not use an audio specific streamer instead? any decent linux distro has both audio and video streaming servers available, free and open source. :p [ which would add support for more video codecs to the cast options, like video casts for the how do I blog. :D ]

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You cut your nose off to spite it so much, I'm surprised you have one left. Just because they've chosen a poor distribution method doesn't mean the content isn't worthwhile. There are usually multiple methods of accessing the content. You've chosen to try none of them just because you don't approve of one. Me, I've found I don't like them much since this topic was started. I've found I don't like listening to them on a player; maybe it's just the hardware I have, maybe it's that I don't like futzing with the download procedure. I don't like Jason's approach of listening to them on my computer while "multitasking". I can't effectively listen to a technical topic and accomplish some other task at the same time; too old, I guess. I really dislike the apparent lack of a table of contents, and the inability to accurately back up or skip forward. But at least I've given it a try.

luc_andre
luc_andre

You can use one of several items to subscribe to the podcasts and download them through RSS. On Macs, the best item would be iTunes. On Windows, I prefer Juice. I'm not familiar with a podcast receiver for Linux.

Jaqui
Jaqui

subscrib, when I have no information about the content? if it's presented in a flash player it's a zero. If I can't at least hear one, why would I waste time subscribing?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Take the poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=565 I find podcasts really helpful because they help me stay current in IT and I can multi-task while I listen. Does anyone else do the same thing?

vargasonrt
vargasonrt

I enjoy technology podcasts .. perfect way to stay more productive in the commute to and from work

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

a text content page (main topics) available for the podcast so as to jump to the relevant part of interest and skip parts I do not want.

DadsPad
DadsPad

Webcast only when need to for work (they give me time while at work) and podcasts cannot do at work, it both interferes with my job and can distrub others around me (cubical). At home, I have enough projects I have not finished yet. But I do like the idea of using the treadmill time to do so. I would have to run backward to do so, but it is possible. :D

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

You can always use headphones to avoid disturbing fellow cubical dwellers.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I have used that as a method of keeping current since its inception. I also find it a way to do a few things at the same time while digesting all of the new information that appears daily. I in particular find this useful after my heart bypass operation. I religiously walk for 40 minutes every night on my treadmill and once I got the hang of everything (walking on a treadmill is significantly different than walking outside especially for a clumsy guy like myself), I started listening to podcasts while I was walking.

CG IT
CG IT

When Live meetings, first came out, many of us would flock to be a part of it to learn new stuff. Especially on the security front. What virtually all those Live Meetings turned out to be was marketing and sales promotions for a product. I remember sitting in on Symantec, Trend, Microsoft, Live meetings and webcasts, and it was packed. After about 20 minutes into the Live Meeting over half the audience would leave. It was just about the time a sales rep would start their pitch for how their product will resolve the issue. With Webcasts that I've looked at, many of those were just sales pitches for new products so I've avoided watching them. I don't want someone to try and sell me a product that does such and such under the guise of learn new stuff.

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