I thought I’d write a soft blog post to bring in the new year. Lots of things have been happening offline for me in 2016, hence the lack of posts lately – sorry about that!
Anyone who knows me IRL would know that I love listening to podcasts. I listen to them as I drive to the train station every day, on my way to work on the train, during working hours in my headphones as I am coding away, and on my way back home too via train and car again. During the weekends I stream podcasts to my Bose speaker system so I can listen while I do chores around the home. If I could, I’d love to listen podcasts in the shower (but I haven’t found a good Bluetooth shower speaker yet) or while I ride my bicycle if I decide to cycle commute my way to work (but I figure listening to headphones while riding is a big safety hazard).
My podcasting app of choice is Overcast for iOS. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best app I have come across on the platform. I like to download fresh podcast episodes onto my phone rather than stream them, that way I can play them without using mobile data or relying on being in a good coverage area.
Anyway, here’s a list of podcasts I listen to, and my thoughts about them. I have also posted this list on my About Me page.
- Accidental Tech Podcast — goes without saying really. John Siracusa, Casey Liss and Marco Arment talk about tech, Apple, programming and the occasional BMW chat. I really like listening to this podcast, even the occasionally long episodes that can be more than 2.5 hours. I generally find (read: see on Twitter) that the podcast can be polarising — you either really like it, or you really don’t. Probably the only negative I sometimes hear in the podcast is that opinions are occasionally stated as fact, so if you keep that in mind it’s quite good.
- Amigavibes podcast — a musical podcast showcasing demoscene tunes. This podcast I find you won’t hear from for a long period of time, and then all of the sudden 10 episodes appear in the feed. It’s good listening while I work (with headphones in of course), if you like listening to chiptunes. It’s chiptunes, but like 16-bit sounding, so it’s not as bloppy and bloopy like some other podcasts further below.
- Amigos — a podcast about the Amiga, but from a US perspective. These guys have come a long way from their very humble beginnings, and put a lot of effort into their production values (especially their video version, which I don’t subscribe to). It’s interesting to hear how (poorly?) the Amiga was received in the US, and what genres of games the US market was interested in compared to the European / Australian perspective.
- Car Talk — reruns of the NPR radio show featuring Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers themselves. Surprisingly, this is a show that my wife doesn’t mind listening to in the car.
- Chicken Lips Radio — hosted by two Commodore 64 fans. I have a C64 myself that I’m still trying to learn the ropes with, so this podcast helps with informing me on what’s new for the platform. The hosts market the podcast as a source for all things Commodore, but their content is scant on the Amiga subject, which is slightly disappointing. To be fair, the hosts are quite entrenched with the Commodore 64, and have admitted their lack of knowledge with the Amiga platform, but they’re learning albeit slowly.
- Connected — this is my go-to podcast for all news and opinions about Apple. It has a good international flavour, which I enjoy. This replaced MacBreak Weekly after I had enough of Leo Laporte eulogising Android on his show all the time and rubbishing the iOS platform.
- Do Go On — a trivia podcast hosted by three Melbourne-based comedians. A topic is chosen a few days in advance, and each host takes turns making a report on said topic every week. Very entertaining.
- The History of Personal Computing — hosted by two American retro computing enthusiasts, where they discuss old computer tech and eBay finds. Many of their episodes have spurred me to see if any of these retro computers are on eBay at that moment, to add to my own collection. The audio quality could do with improvement on this podcast (I recall one episode where a host’s printer was whirring away in the background!) so maybe one for the car and not the headphones.
- I Love Green Guide Letters — a Melbourne based podcast where the host reads out the whiny and pedantic letters to the editor of the Green Guide (Melbourne’s version of the TV guide). The guest hosts / comedians on the show is what I find most entertaining about this podcast.
- The Retro Hour — if you watch any Amiga clips on YouTube, then you will be familiar with the two hosts of this UK-based podcast. Although Dan and Ravi are big Amiga heads, their podcast does cover retro gaming in general, so if Sega Mega Drive, or Amstrad CPC464, or ZX Spectrum, or whatever is more your thing, I’m sure you will still enjoy this podcast. They tend to land quite a few interviews with some of the big names in game development from the 80s and 90s. A great listen.
- Song Exploder — the host interviews a music group or artist or producer about a particular song they have recorded, who then meticulously explain the thought process or inspiration for each section of their song. Very well produced, and have featured artists such as Metallica, CHVRCHES, Iggy Pop, and Weezer. The Björk episode where she explains how Stonemilker was created is my favourite.
- 99% Invisible — a great podcast on how design has impacted our lives, whether we have realised it or not. Very well produced, and short enough to not bore you with details. Highly recommended.
- The Allusionist — discussion on the English language and how linguistics are evolving, even if we don’t realise it is.
- Bitjam Podcast — this is one of those chiptune podcasts that sound like it was produced on a Commodore 64 (not a bad thing!) The SID chip is featured heavily on this podcast.
- Hello Internet — this podcast is full of intellectual discussion, and I get sucked into their discussion and before you know it, 2 hours have gone by. Hosted by Brady Haran and CGP Grey.
- Open Apple — a podcast about the Apple II. The hosts are friendly enough, despite their extreme bias against all things Commodore or Atari (boo Atari) but the Apple II is getting a bit of a resurgence in popularity in retro computing circles of late, so how else am I suppose to keep my finger on the pulse of the Apple II platform?
- Retro Computing Roundtable — one of my favourite podcasts. Most of the hosts are 8-bit fans but the show is quite meta and tries to encompass all things retro computing, especially the culture. The eBay finds they showcase is my most favourite section of their show.
- Retro Mac Cast — I think this is the longest running podcast today that I still listen to. The show has been going on for over 10 years now and I’ve been listening to it for almost the entire time. The hosts focus naturally on the classic Mac platform from the original Macintosh all the way up to the last of the PowerPC line.
- Twenty Thousand Hertz — a podcast about the stories behind the world’s most recognisable sounds. This is still quite a new podcast, but the productions values are quality and episodes like the 8-bit episode (naturally) and the Siri episode are great. Think of this as the 99% Invisible but for sounds instead of design.
I’d be happy to hear from you on what podcasts you listen to and why – especially if you have similar tastes to me. Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter.