The nature of my occupation dictates that I spend the vast majority of the business day sitting at my desk, the vast majority of that time is spent working on the computer. This has resulted in two things, terrible eyesight and a love for podcasts. For a long time music was enough to get me through the day, and often it is exactly the correct background noise to allow my brain to focus on a complicated task. But occasionally I have responsibilities that are a bit mundane.
3-Dimensional modeling, for example. While building a virtual model the thought processes required are very rudimentary for the majority of the task, drawing lines to create planes, joining planes to form objects, placing objects within and adjacent to other objects. With little necessity for alphabetical or numerical thought processes, I find the task move along much quicker while I am listening to something interesting.
I love audio books. I love to read and have a vast number of books that I want to read, however, with only 24 hours in the day, and especially with the summer sun, I find that reading is frequently cut from the days activities. Audio books are perfect because I can finally get a chance to consume all the old classics that I would otherwise be likely not to read: Gulliver’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Tarzan, Animal Farm, Jack London, and the list continues. Gradually, however, I ran out of free audio books that interested me, this is where podcasts come in.
My passion for podcasts really took off while I was searching for an intelligent discussion about the film Avatar. (I was one of those people who really fell in love with the aura of the film) This search led me first to my current favorite podcast, Filmjunk. This is a movie blog and podcast based out of St. Cathrines, Ontario, Canada. Just over the international border from Niagara Falls. These guys have a number of projects that they all work on in one respect or another and in my opinion, are pretty much all gold (especially Cantankerous and the new arrival Game Junk) They are informal and do not feel the pressure of abbreviating an inspiring conversation in order to appeal to the social norms of short attention spans. They host their shows with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude and I believe their success comes from the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Even if you don’t consider yourself a movie-buff and would never normally listen to a podcast dedicated to movies, if you have seen a movie, and/or have an opinion about a movie, then this will interest you.
The second podcast which appears on my weekly download list is actually a network source. The Australian Broadcast Corporation (the other ABC) is Australia’s national public broadcaster providing radio, television, and mobile services throughout the country. ABC has myriad of radio shows that broadcast each week, many of them available online in the form of podcasts. My favorite of which is a program called By Design. This program is dedicated to all things design; Architecture, furniture, culinary creations, clothing, trends, and products. At times the topics can be a little to focused on Australian interests, but the occasion is rare. The guests are numerous and from all over the globe, providing an entertaining mix of accents and dialects to contemplate. There have been many segments on this program that have proved extremely useful for me personally in developing my design methods and thought processes.
Another great radio program from the ABC is The Science Show. This program is dedicated to scientific discoveries, debates, discussions, personalities, basically all things science. These are shorter segments and available on an individual basis to you can pick and choose what you want to learn about. Also globally orientated, this is a great resource for keeping up to date with your science interests, (and full of useful trivia to impress your friends!)
The last podcast that I download on a weekly basis is The Tech Report Podcast. This particular podcast may be a bit more hit-and-miss, as an additional outreach from a Tech Report company that focus on reviewing PC hardware, for the unaccustomed this may be a tad dry. I will not pretend to be a computer guru able to completely rebuild a rig at the drop of a hat, I do enjoy keeping up to date with the potential and possibilities of the computing equipment. The guys who host the podcast are humorous and easy to listen to, often there are side discussions of games, or events they find interesting. Many of the topics they cover are easy to keep up with for anyone even slightly tech-savvy, like iPad reviews or discussions of 6 monitor displays, there are some topics that reach beyond the laypersons grasp and are directed specifically towards those intending to purchase raw hardware for an upgrade or to completely build a computer.
These podcasts, along with a host of other, less frequent, episodes consume most of my available listing time during the week. I do still have a few hours left though and I continue my search for a decent Mountain Biking podcast. If you happen to stumble upon one feel free to share, maybe it will make it to the next roundup and I will give you a shout-out.