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Matt Wilcox

Musing

Dec 31st 2014

Podcasts I enjoy

Here's what I'm listening to these days. There's a vague focus on diversity issues which is deliberate.

Since getting OverCast on my phone I've really got into podcasts (the ability to speed them up helps me a lot). Podcasts are a bit of a different beast than they were last time I listened some five or six years ago; They're much higher quality than they used to be, a more mature thing entirely. And there are a lot more of them.

Here's what I'm listening to these days...

Stuff where I eagerly await each new episode

Isometric

Each week, join game developer Brianna Wu, game journalist Maddy Myers, technology journalist Georgia Dow and game enthusiast Steve Lubitz as they analyze the week's biggest stories in the video game industry from different perspectives.

My favourite entertainment podcast by far. And also highly educational. The fact it's a gaming podcast is almost incedental to me, though it's excellent in that regard too. The chemistry of the presenters is perfect, you would never know they'd not met prior to starting the show, they seem like long-time college friends. Thoroughly decent people, a great listen.

Less Than or Equal

Dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of geeks facing inequality in their industries.

Aleen Simms is a great host with a lovely voice, she and her varied guests discuss a variety of topics which are always educational and interesting. The podcast itself is usually well recorded and produced though the guests audio quality can vary quite a bit.

Stuff Mom Never Told You

Gets down to the business of being women from every imaginable angle.

One of my favourites, the variety of topics is staggering, and certainly I've discovered things from listening that I'd never even considered previously as 'things' at all. The shows are always well researched and focussed with both presenters doing an excellent job. Very listanable and I've mined almost the entire back-catalogue now.

Writing Excuses

Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

They may be in a hurry but they're assuredly smart. A podcast about writing stories, with a varied cast including my favourite fantasy author and writing educator (Brandon Sanderson). It's fantastic content if you're at all interested in the process of authorship. It is sadly by far the worst produced podcast here, often with atrocious audio levels and poor sound quality. Don't let that put you off; the content is gold.

Stuff you should know

Josh and Chuck talk about all manner of topics, anything they decide might be interesting; from the history and physics of boomerangs, how home-schooling works, and all about cinemon – to the great train robbery, guide dogs, and space elevators.

Almost always interesting and pretty well researched, there's usually a fair bit of banter too.

Missed in History

Stuff you almost certainly will have missed in history class because it likely was never in history class. Obscure or unlikely topics every week, always a good listen.

Accidental Tech Podcast

A tech podcast we accidentally created while trying to do a car show. Featuring Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa.

All sorts of tech news and debate, usually with an Apple bent. Good discussions and multiple developer perspectives (though this is an all white-guy cast so there's a limit to the diversity angle). The whole cast are smart, experienced, and insightful, the topics are usually on-point and interesting. The end music is highly annoying and happens in the middle of the show. There's always a lengthy 'after show' and frankly there's no thematic difference between the bit before and after the music, so it's a bit pointless IMO.

The Audio Guide to Babylon 5

Every two weeks, hosts Erika Ensign from Verity! and The Incomparable and Chip and Shannon Sudderth from Two-minute Time Lord (plus the occasional Very Special Guest) will take you through another episode of Babylon 5, one of the greatest televised science fiction epics ever.

Impossible to go wrong here; it's a walk-through of watching Babylon 5; the only competition that show has for best sci-fi TV show is the 'new' Battlestar Galactica. B5 was plotted out from start to finish prior to any filming, as a single story. It has gravitas, depth, and authenticity in bucket loads as a result.

The hosts are interesting and come from a variety of perspectives; male and female, hardcore fans and those new to the show entirely. Each episode is discussed spoiler-free for the first half, and then in relation to the overall show arc (and therefor full of spoilers) in the later half.

Stuff I almost always catch

Clockwise

A discussion of technology issues hosted by Jason Snell and Dan Moren. Four topics, five minutes each, and no more than 30 minutes per episode.

One of the many 'tech' podcasts I listen to, this one is the most condensed and focussed of them all. Good for a quick overview of recent industry topics and a bit of entertaining banter.

Revision Path

Revision Path is a weekly interview show that focuses on showcasing Black graphic designers, web designers, and web developers. Each week, we explore the stories, processes, experiences, insights, and creative inspirations of these awesome creators from all over the world

A more recent discovery; I've not had chance to listen to too many of these, but what I have heard has been insightful with some excellent advice for web developers.

Science Friday

Science Friday is your trusted source for news and entertaining stories about science. We started as a radio show, created in 1991 by host and executive producer Ira Flatow.

Somewhat like Clockwise, this is a show with multiple topics per week, and each topic is usually between five and ten minutes long. There's a lot of variety here. Unlike Clockwise, each 'show' is split by topic into multiple downloads and released in one go.

Stuff to blow your mind

Somewhat of an identical twin to 'Stuff you should know', but with different hosts and topics.

Roderick On The Line

Merlin Mann's frank and candid weekly call with John Roderick of the Long Winters.

I've no idea who either of these people are, really. This is just a chat between two interesting guys, once a week. Topics are all over the place, but really it's just like listening in on a random conversation between two guys who seem pretty interesting.

Vector

A news and analysis show focusing on the biggest stories, hottest trends, and most important issues in technology and popular culture.

Another of the tech related podcasts I listen to, this one slightly more diverse a cast owing to Georgia Dow co-hosting. It's a larger cast than most other tech shows which helps differentiate it and keep it interesting.

Polygamer

Polygamer is a twice-monthly audio podcast that examines the issues and opportunities inherent in this critical time for gaming and gamers. By speaking with traditionally marginalized voices, Polygamer provides a platform to discuss problems and seek perspective on matters of sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, and more, within our industry, our community, and our games

Started at a similar time to Less Than or Equal, and with a similar focus – this is just as good and just as educational and entertaining, though much more focussed on gaming.

The Incomparable

The Incomparable is a weekly dive into geeky media we love, including movies, books, TV, comics, and more, featuring a rotating panel of guests and hosted by Jason Snell.

An entertaining and varied show, I've discovered at least five excellent sci-fi and fantasy books from listening to this podcast. Sometimes a show will be on a topic I've little interest in, but even those are listenable due to the hosts chemistry.

Radio BSOTS

Championing independent artists and unsigned hype of mixed genres including hip-hop, soul, funk, and electronic music. Hosted by Macedonia.

The only music show on the list. Back in the day I really dug Solid Steel, a music podcast from the Ninja Tune label. It exposed me to utterly new sounding music with a heap of soul. BSOTS reminds me a lot of Solid Steel. If you check out nothing else, check out the Furguson episode.

Spawn on Me

Hosted by Kahlief Adams & Cicero Holmes is the premier place to hear mature video gaming conversations featuring people of color.

Pretty entertaining and, for me it's much like Isometric – at its best when tackling larger issues than just games.

Stuff that's interesting but I don't catch often

Serial

Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We'll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.

I've not listened to much yet but it's exceedingly popular and sounds very interesting. Here's the description for 'season 1′

It's Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he's innocent – though he can't exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she's nowhere to be found.

Grit (formerly Quit)

The challenges of improving your career, making tough decisions, and starting something awesome.

Lets Make Mistakes

Mike and Jessie talk about design, with a lot of tangents along the way.

Partially Examined Life

Philosophy, philosophers and philosophical texts. The format is an informal roundtable discussion, with each episode loosely focused on a short reading that introduces at least one "big" philosophical question, concern or idea.

Welcome to Night Vale

A twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events