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Sanity check: The 10 best technology podcasts

With podcasts you can essentially create a personal talk radio channel that only includes your favorite programs. You can even create a lineup completely dedicated to technology to help you keep up with the latest news and best practices in IT. Here are what I consider to be the top 10 podcasts on tech and the IT industry.

Because of the breakneck pace of change in the technology world, there is so much information that most of us need to keep up with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to read as much as I would like. As a result, podcasts are one of the most valuable tools that I use to stay current in tech, because of the fact that I can multi-task while I'm listening to podcasts.

I listen to podcasts while I drive to work. I listen to podcasts while I work out. I listen to podcasts on airplanes. I listen to podcasts when checking my e-mail. I listen to podcasts when I'm doing the dishes. If it weren't for podcasts, I simply wouldn't be able to keep up with as much news, information, commentary, and perspectives on technology and the IT industry.

I've put together a list of what I consider to be the top 10, based on podcasts that are informative, concise, and not boring. Of course, I'm also biased toward stuff that has relevance for IT and business technology, and not just consumer tech and gadgets. I've also limited this list to audio-only podcasts. Next week, I'll cover video podcasts.

Note: This list is also available as a PDF download.

10. TechnologyIQ

I'm sure that 99% of you have never heard of this podcast. It's done by Douglas Welch, an IT consultant in Southern California. He provides some short tips for IT pros based on anecdotes from his work with clients. He also includes recordings from an Internet Seminar he does at his local library -- those episodes are safe to skip. However, this guy provides a nice perspective of an IT professional working in the trenches. I should hire this guy to write and do podcasts for TechRepublic.

9. Security Now!

Steve Gibson -- a legend in IT security and host of grc.com -- teams up with former TechTV host Leo Laporte for this weekly podcast that includes security updates, security tips and best practices, and a spotlight on various security technologies. Steve does a regular question-and-answer session based on submissions from listeners.

8. The Real Deal

This CNET.com podcast (CNET.com and TechRepublic.com are both part of CNET Networks) is aimed at cutting through FUD, hype, and marketing-speak and providing real world information about technology. Some of their recent topics have included a look at how OpenID works and an episode on understanding bandwidth.

7. MarketWatch's Take on Tech

As you'd expect, this MarketWatch podcast looks at the most recent news and developments in technology through the filter of the stock market and the financial sector. As such, it mostly reports on news that relates to public tech companies. It's also a great source of news on business technology.

6. The Microsoft IT Manager Podcast

Sponsored by Microsoft Canada, this monthly podcast does a deep dive into the current issues, trends, and practices that IT managers can use to improve their IT strategy and operations. Since this comes from Microsoft, it focuses on business technologies and solutions that are related to Microsoft products, but it still contains a lot of generally useful information.

5. BusinessWeek - Technology & You

BusinessWeek columnist Steve Wildstrom is an excellent technology writer who has made a solid transition to multimedia. In this brief weekly podcast, Steve provides color commentary on a specific product or technology. This tends to be very consumer-focused, but there's still a lot of stuff that will be of interest to IT pros, professionally and personally.

4. Wall Street Journal Tech News Briefing

Delivered twice a day, this podcast provides a great stream of tech news in about 5-15 minutes each in the morning and evening. While you would assume this is strongly focused on business technology since it comes from The Wall Street Journal, it actually includes a fair share of news about general technology. This one is hard to beat in terms of frequency and a quick peak at the top tech stories.

3. Tech5

"The most important five minutes of your day" is the tagline that John Dvorak uses for his quick survey of tech news that he does on an almost-daily basis. I don't think it's that important, but I do think it's the best quick summary of tech news, because Dvorak does a great job of selecting stories plus he adds some commentary, something you won't find in most news surveys this short. Plus, he has a lot of fun with the sound effects.

2. TWiT

Officially "this WEEK in TECH" is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. It's hosted by Leo Laporte and regularly features some of Leo's former TechTV cohorts. Its panelists also include a regular carousel of colorful characters and talking heads such John Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Jason Calacanis, and Kevin Rose. The best episodes are the ones where several guests vehemently disagree. The show tends to run a little long for my taste -- often over an hour -- but the strength of the commentary often makes it worth it.

1. Buzz Out Loud

I haven't missed an episode of BOL in about six months. That's why I consider it the clear No.1 for this list. Hosted by CNET.com's Molly Wood and Tom Merritt, this daily podcast does a great job at highlighting the most important stories, providing great commentary, and regularly including audience feedback. Tom is Mr. Gadget and Molly is technology's Queen of Rant, and the on-air banter between them always keeps it interesting. While this 30-45 minute podcast is primarily focused on consumer technology, it covers enough general tech topics to make it worthwhile for IT pros.

What are your favorite tech podcasts? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

40 comments
duckboxxer
duckboxxer

And another vote for TWiT. There's also Dogear Nation.

mgjurach
mgjurach

Despite the beer drinking, Kevin & Alex show off some cool tech and have interesting "industry-insider" info. TWiT should definitely be #1. But Security Now is AWFUL! Steve Gibson is a great guy who's very smart, but his radio presence is terrible. I was a faithful subscriber for a while, but I just couldn't take it anymore. Paul Thurrot and Windows Weekly is better.

karlg
karlg

Check out "Risky Business" and "A Series of Tubes" on itradio.com.au

babycody
babycody

Hak5 is my favorite tech podcast. They do some interesting moding, and explore security flaws that can be exploited by a malicious hacker. They also come up with a lot of clever and fun stuff that you can do yourself. This is a video podcast, but I thought I'd mention it in case I miss next weeks segment.

jholder
jholder

Ok, shoot me. I'm new to the podcast world. What exactly do you get out of a podcast and can you listen/(watch?) from an iPhone?

wayne
wayne

Way to go Molly Wood! She's very real and fun to listen to. Tom, on the other hand, is knowledgeable but he lets you know it.

Belmosan
Belmosan

Twit should be #1, by far.

luc_andre
luc_andre

Does anyone here listen to Off The Hook by 2600.com? I listen to it now and then and sometimes find it interesting, while sometimes I find it dull. Was interested if others listen to it and what their thoughts were about it

vduber
vduber

There's always this gem. It's funny to listen to. Those older guys go at each other. Then there is the NYC thing. Seriously, Leo has the best shows I've found when taken in context. The radio show is much more intro level for us serious tech guys but still informative. Security Now is more to my liking. I can't wait to try out the other ones mentioned here that I haven't listened to. I think John C. should have his own tech show but he's more out of the hands on these days. I remember the first radio show I found many years ago. Leo and John C. talking IRQ's and memory allocation, but I can see where that didn't last on main stream radio.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

It's also a video podcast and I have a separate list for video: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=598 That said, Diggnation didn't make that list either. I just think Diggnation is pretty lame and worthless. I've never gotten anything useful from it and the guys think way too highly of themselves, so I quit following it.

I love DiggNation, Its cool if you like your news a little silly. TWiT and BOL are the best though.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

1.) Podcasts are essentially like talk radio, but you control when you want to listen to it and can pause it, etc. 2.) You can put podcasts on your iPhone with iTunes (go to the Podcast section)

clweatherford
clweatherford

I try to listen to about 20 podcasts and BOL is the only one I definitely try to listen to everytime. It is the best one for sure. Full disclosure: TechRepublic is owned by CNET.

luc_andre
luc_andre

What about video podcasts? I would recommend several from Revision3 network. -Tekzilla (like old Screensavers of TechTV) -Systm -Diggnation (for the lighter side of tech) -GigaOM -PixelPerfect As well as these podcasts: -Hak5 -Command N -LabRats

joemessman
joemessman

Here is a good one with three down in the trenches computer pros that take questions from their listeners. If you have your own IT shop you can learn from their experiences. http://www.soundbytes.org/archives/ Very entertainig!

techrepublic
techrepublic

I love this podcast. It is user-driven .. the podcast topics are taken from user-contributed content. They also cover things I had never seen covered before, such as "Chinese bloggers" / "Canada's DMCA law" / "Anonymous vs. the Church of Scientology", etc. Great 'cast IMHO. Website at http://www.cbc.ca/searchengine/

karlg
karlg

There are great podcasts on itradio.com.au - "Risky Business" on security and "A Series of Tubes" on networking. Both have interview with industry experts, extracts from presentations and conferences and insightful analysis of the weeks happenings.

randerson
randerson

PaulDotCom security Weekly is a great podcast about what's going on right now in security. it's not dry and they still manage to get into technical details.

andyw
andyw

I am surprised you don't have this staple on the list.

Belmosan
Belmosan

Twit should be #1...by far.

dgerson2
dgerson2

Three of the podcasts I find useful in my role as chief architect are The Infoworld Daily Report, Infoworld SOA and Gartner Research. The Infoworld Daily is a good 5 minute news summary of major events, but not much analysis. The SOA Report is heavy commentary from the ZapThink Team and gives a good perspective for the CXOs. The Gartner Report is the jewel, a 15 minute "off the record" summary of recent Gartner research without the need to subscribe to Gartner. The Downside is the content is fairly deep so it is not the best to listen to while driving.

frankyvee
frankyvee

I have been listening to podcast for over a year now and I must say there is a lot of Tech Podcast. There is soo much that you will have to sit down and analyze how much time you have and which ones are worth your time. The Mike Tech Show with Mike Smith and the The Tech Guy with Leo Laporte are two of my favorite podcast. I was listening to about 10 different podcast and because of time limits I had to limit that to just 4 podcast. The other two I listen to is DLTV with Robert Heron and The Personal Computer Show with Hankee , Joe King, Stevie Debie and Dr. Richard Poor.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I noted in the post that TechRepublic and CNET.com are both part of CNET Networks.

ckasper
ckasper

I'll check out TechnologyIQ. Some suggestions to check out: pauldotcom.com Windows Weekly KenRadio crankygeeks

phugger
phugger

TWIT has been on a downhill slide for the past year or so. The regulars are mostly gone and the replacements are typically annoying like Chris Prillo. After Leo wasted a whole episode on his experience of waiting in line for an iPhone, TWIT lost it's place in my weekly podcast list. Now I only listen if I get bored and have nothing else to listen too. Dvorak and Smith are the only ones worth listening to and I can hear them elsewhere. Leo seems to be set on ruining most of the other TWIT Network podcasts as well. Windows Weekly often spends entire episodes on Apple products - please Leo, just shut up and let the hosts do their thing.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

it probably would be. Sometimes it's just way longer than it needs to be and drifts off topic. But I still enjoy it a lot. That's why it's No. 2 on the list.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'll check out the Gartner Report.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

they were definitely considered for the top 10, but didn't quite make the list.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I've listened to this one a couple times and couldn't get all the way through it. I tend to like 5-10 minute podcasts. There are only two that I regularly listen to that are longer than that: TWiT and Buzz Out Loud. By the way, hope you're doing well. Let's connect the next time I'm in the Bay Area. Take care Mrinal!

Belmosan
Belmosan

Yes, but I like the ramblings. When I'm busy, working at my computer, I like things to be laid back. If they just discussed meaningful info that I neeeded to remember...my head would explode. Leo is so patient with people, especially callers...he's a role model. But I do see your point...however, I do love it as it's just my style. Keep up the good work, Jason.

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