This is a continually updated collection of .Net podcast reviews. Last updated: April 9 2006
Disclaimer: For all of these podcasts I know the host, or they are at most one friend away. As part of my open and honest approach there are a few criticisms/ suggestions for improvement below. These are meant to be constructive so hopefully everyone will be still be speaking to me! Anyone who spends the enormous amount of time producing these shows is a hero in my book.
HanselMinutes (.Net and Tech Tools)
Oh yeah! Scott has nailed the kind of podcast I want to hear. There are few ads, but he does not waste time, and little fluff gets in the way of content. Mistakes are only minor when made, and given the quantity of information they are totally acceptable.
Scott Hanselman has utilized Carl Franklin's skills (or vice-versa) to deliver a well produced podcast right out of the box. You probably know that Scott lives technology 24/7; still I cannot believe how much he knows about such a breadth of subjects. He must sleep 4 hours a day and do research as part of his day job. Podcasts number 4 on Continuous Integration, and number 5 on Mono are my particular favorites. At the time of writing Scott has just posted number 5 on hacking the Linksys WRT54 Router - I was thinking of attempting this today for improved QOS support. What timing!!! This podcast rules. I doubt very much if Scott can keep supplying this level of interesting technical content week-in, week-out for very long but if anyone can Scott can.
Update (April 2006): Scott is twelve shows in and still going strong. I recommend starting with Continuous Integration as it should be mandatory listening for all developers.
Craig Shoemaker has made great progress with this podcast which he clearly puts a lot of effort into. Craig is a full time .Net developer and produces planned introductions to .Net technologies, spliced with interviews of .Net luminaries.
Much like DNR the interviews depend on who is being interviewed and Craig makes a pretty good Larry King extracting the most from his guests. I would be slapping the guests around for technical accuracy, but that is a one good reason I do not have a podcast! Talking of technical accuracy; not once have I noticed Craig give out inaccurate information. He obviously researches before pressing record.
Audio quality is often a bug-bear of niche podcasts. In true ‘my laptop has a built-in-mike and I want to podcast now’ style the audio was initially terrible; I think Craig did it on one those ‘plastic-cup-tied-to-a-piece-of-wet-sting that ran to his neighbor’s house’ type device we all played with a kids. He was probably underwater at the time too, speaking through his nose… I could go on <g> Download his first podcast and take a trip back to podcasts in early 2005.
Seriously like many other podcasts from early to mid 2004 the audio was bad, but it is now high quality well put together audio and it was wonderful to hear a podcast hero Scott Fletcher give a professional intro and exit piece (I love Scott’s podcast on podcasting and hope he does not fade).
Advertisements/ sponsors: Many podcasters are attempting to monetize their shows, and considering the effort involved who can blame them? Given the number of ad-free podcasts still available, the Slashdot review and Hanselminutes are the only shows where I put up with advertisements, because the content is worth it. Fortunately Craig’s advertisements are pretty unobtrusive with none disturbing a show's main content; evidently he thought hard about how to advertise.
In summary this is a must try for mid-level .Net developers. .Net newbies will be lost because unlike DNR Craig makes some assumptions of the listener's knowledge. Until lately I said book-consuming, blog-devouring seniors devs would not hear anything new. Craig's recent podcast on the state of AJAX is changing my mind about this.
The Grand Daddy of .Net podcasting: Carl Franklin releases an incredible amount of energy into the .Net community. Not least of those efforts is his Internet Radio Show called .Net Rocks. This show predates the word Podcast having kicked off in August 2002, when the dinosaurs were still around burning their downloaded MP3 'podcasts' to compact discs.
This show started out pretty technical with co-host Mark Dunn, really taking off with world famous co-host Rory Blythe and many of us are still weeping at his departure. The show's format seems to have found a resting place with Richard Campbell helping Carl steer the helm. In 2003 and 2004 there were some terrifically technical shows particularly the ones with Kimberly Tripp, Don Box and Ted Neward. Over the last year the show generally gravitated to simpler subject matter and is now IMO aimed at junior developers looking to keep up with the buzzword alphabet soup.
In summary this is one of the best produced niche shows out there; their audio quality is great and these guys have found a format that works. If you are less than a year into .Net then listen to this show all you can. Unfortunately if you have two or more years .Net you may well find yourself frustrated with technical errors that crop up.
Update (April 2006): These shows appear to be getting more interesting with fewer technical gaffs. Their recent coverage of outsourcing was very interesting.
The best thing about this podcast is also the worst. Wallace McClure (MVP, multiple author, ASPInsider, blah blah blah) mixes up the regular talking about .Net, along with sharing many snippets from his daily life. I love hearing all about his latest book deal, speaking events etc, etc and I am sure many others listen for this reason. On the flipside, a good percentage of first time listeners are probably wishing he would just get to the tech. I loved Wally's 2005 summary show where he just talked about his year in 2005; maybe shows like this could complement shorter shows that just talk tech?
Paul Glavich is co-founder of the ASP.Net podcast and creates podcasts from his Australian location. He produces less shows than Wally but certainly deserves a mention. I don't recall them doing a DNR style Skpye show recently; that could be pretty interesting. Their audience consists mainly of MVPs, Microsoft staff and senior devs, probably not as large an audience as for the slickly produced .Net Rocks, but very heavy in terms of influentials. As you are guessing this show is very on the mid to senior dev side.
Update (April 2006): The recent interviews have been very interesting; everyone should listen to Udi Dahan (it has rare bad audio though). Wally is becoming more professional with every show, but is not quite the natural that Craig turned out to be.
Frank La Vigne is a compulsive blogger and started podcasting in December 2005.
If you are an amateur thinking of podcasting you must listen to Frank's first show. He obviously took a lot of time in deciding how to assemble the podcast and it is very close to emulating professional quality. I for one hope he keeps this show up; I know the effort required to make quality podcasts is non-trivial. Frank is now fice shows in, and I think has really realized the time involved to create a quality podcast. Frank does a lot of other Microsoft community work, and I'll bet on him being an MVP this time next year. Even if Frank becomes a pod-fader he has already set a good example for those wishing to start their own podcast.
Update (April 2006): Yup he got the MVP :)