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Must-Listen Podcasts, Part II

I previously posted about the podcasts I most enjoy. I’d planned to post updates periodically, and this is the first of those.

My original post still stands, but there are a few changes. The first, and saddest, of these is that IRL Talk, which had been my favorite podcast for the last year and a half or so, has ended its run. I’m still mourning the loss of this show, but if you haven’t heard it before, I highly recommend listening to its back catalog; it’s simply marvelous.

Mission Log, a fantastic Star Trek podcast, has also mostly fallen off my radar, but not because I don’t enjoy the show. On the contrary, the show is excellent. I just have a hard time caring much about the TNG era, and that is all the show is about at the moment.

Otherwise, the previous list still mirrors my current listening habits, save for a couple of new series.

Welcome to Night Vale is one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time. It’s very, very hard to describe. Essentially, it is an ongoing story and audio drama set in the fictional desert community of Night Vale. The show’s hero is a host on the local radio station, and each episode largely takes place during his broadcasts. The show is both hilarious and creepy. Many have described it in a variety of ways, but I like to say that it seems like what might’ve been the brain child of Stephen King and the Onion. In fact, there’ve been a few Stephen King reference throughout the series thus far. It’s brilliant!

The new format for the show Inquisitive has also become captivating. It is now produced in an ongoing, documentary-style format. If you’re into tech, especially Apple tech, it is a fantastic listen.

The Incomparable is a show about all things geeky, from Star Trek to Star Wars, Dr. Who to Stephen King, Harry Potter to Disney, and beyond. It’s not intended that yo listen to every episode. Go back through the back catalog and download the episodes that sound like they interest you most and enjoy Jason Snell and company.

Speaking of Mr. Snell, Upgrade is another Apple-centric podcast hosted by him and Mike Hurley. It’s also a great listen.

Really, you could do worse than to subscribe to just about every show on the Relay.fm podcast network. They have assembled an insanely great lineup of shows.

I must give an honorable mention to Welcome to Macintosh, a show which explores the history of Apple Inc. The show hasn’t been around very long yet, but its first few episodes are very well done.

So those are my more recent picks. What are you listening to?

Must-Listen Podcasts

Since the release of Overcast, my new favorite podcast client, I’ve been reevaluating the podcasts I subscribe to, as well as deciding which ones are shows that are “must listens” for me, as opposed to shows that I dip into only on occasion.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that my taste, or perhaps it is my mood, for certain types of podcasts is very cyclical. I might listen to a particular show obsessively for a while, forget about it for a few months, then return … or not.

I wanted to document some of these shows here, in the hopes that it might, perhaps, help someone find a new show they enjoy. I plan on revisiting this topic periodically as shows catch, or lose, my interest.

The podcasts below are listed, roughly, in the order by which I, personally, enjoy them. All are shows that I have listened to consistently for at least six months and are still currently being produced. Great shows that have ended their run are not included.

  1. IRLTalk, Formerly Geek Friday, Is a Geek-Centric Comedy Show … Sort of. Really, It Doesn’t Matter What They End Up Discussing, and Believe Me They End Up Discussing Everything, Because It Is the Chemistry and Personalities of Its Hosts, Faith E. Korpi and Jason Seifer, that Carry It. It Took Me a Few Episodes to Get a Feel for the Show, and I’ve Been Hooked Ever Since.
  2. The Accidental Tech Podcast Is a Technology Discussion Show Hosted by the Incomparable Marco Arment, John Siracusa, and Another Guy. (Just Kidding, We All Know Who You Are Now, Casey Liss).
  3. GrammarGirl provides tips and tricks for writing, not always restricted to just grammar. Mignon Fogarty has been doing this successfully since the early days of podcasting, and is there any wonder why? This show is a fantastic resource that she manages to keep both informative and entertaining.
  4. NPR Ask Me Another is a trivia game show for geeks by geeks, featuring the music of the talented Jonathan Coulton.
  5. The British History Podcast covers British history in a fascinating, conversational way. The show’s host is engaging, funny, and an incredibly talented podcaster. There is also a members’ only feed with additional content that I highly recommend as well.
  6. The Talk Show, hosted by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, includes discussion with a range of guests on all things Apple and tech.
  7. The Frequency is a news and talk show covering stories from the real world, the tech world, and sometimes the weird world. The show is fun and entertaining. Dan Benjamin, of 5By5 fame, hosts the show with Haddie Cooke, but Haddie steals the show every time with her energy, wit, and humor.
  8. Mission Log chronicles the Star Trek franchise, one episode at a time. They’ve already covered the entire run of TOS, TAS, and the first six films. Recently, they’ve begun examining the TNG era, which is a bit difficult for me, since I find TNG to be the weakest of the Trek series. Apple fans may recognize the voice of Ken Ray on this show from the popular Mac OS Ken podcast. John Champion, the show’s other host, provides a wealth of Star Trek trivia.
  9. Stuff to Blow Your Mind provides fascinating looks into a wide range of topics, most scientific in nature, that will often surprise you. The material is great and the show’s hosts, Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas, have engaging personalities, great chemistry, and are fantastic at framing difficult or complicated subjects in a way that’s understandable to all.

Thanks to Overcast’s Recommend feature, I’ve recently been discovering new shows that I’d either forgotten about or which had just never hit my radar, so I expect this list to change and grow. For instance, I just began listening to Just the Tip, a comedy podcast that is, so far, proving very entertaining, and Mac OS Ken, a show that I used to listen to regularly and which got lost in the shuffle at some point.

If you check out and enjoy one of the podcasts above, or if you have a podcast you’d like to recommend to me, feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

Woman Arrested for Failing to Return VHS Tape

You can’t make this stuff up.

So nice to see our justice system put to good use. (Note: That’s called sarcasm.)

Twenty-seven-year-old Kayla Michelle Finley of Pickens was arrested last week and charged with failing to return a rented video cassette.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Creed Hashe says Finley rented the movie “Monster-in-Law” from Dalton Videos. The owner took out a warrant against Finley, who was arrested when she was at the sheriff’s office for something else and the warrant was found.

Muggles and Media

Credible, respectable journalism, with a small and ever-shrinking number of exceptions, is a dying trade.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who follows the coverage of Apple news by Wall Street analysts, but it really extends into just about every area. We see it in everything from politics to celebrity gossip1, and now it has even arrived in the Wizarding World.

MuggleNet writes:

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Well, in our view, all J.K. Rowling has admitted was to feeling that the scene in the tent was a shared vulnerable moment between two characters that revealed an intriguing degree of compatibility between each of them, emotionally. In saying that Ron needed to get over his self-doubt, Rowling is mentioning a key component that readers would agree could certainly cause some trouble in an adult relationship. However, by the article’s end, Rowling and Watson have both found a value in Ron that Harry doesn’t possess: Ron’s humor and his ability to level Hermione’s character. Thus, for all of this talk, the result is that the characters end up safely nestled where they were before, inside the canon of the Potter books.

I agree with this assessment. Increasingly, the news media, (especially mainstream news media), favors sensational stories over the truth. Of course, this is all done in the name of capitalism, and so the public, more and more often, simply accepts it. We have reached a point where our beloved freedom of speech is being overshadowed, and indeed undermined, by something which, sadly, we value more than respectability: the almighty dollar. Rita Skeeter would be proud.

  1. Has anyone else noticed that it is getting harder and harder to tell celebrity gossip from political news coverage? ↩︎