Remember the debate over the word podcast? Bet you probably know someone who a better word for 'compressed audio file transmitted via http and an RSS enclosure' right? Media Cast, Radio Me, Audio Blog are just a few of the plethora of suggestions we heard; PodCast was just to aligned with Apple for most of us. How many times have you been asked if podcasts only work on iPods when try to explain podcasting to a (non-geek) friend, it is almost everytime for me. Well it is too late Podcast is a word, and wait it gets worse, it is the New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year. This must be true as it says so in wikipedia ( LOL! You all heard the rumors about Adam Curry right?

Many of us were rooting for a less device specific term, but even after five product generations Apple's iPod is still the MP3 player cool kids ask Santa for. Alternatives are available, but even I as a hard-core specification scouring, value demanding geek ended up with an iPod. After seeing endless conformist white ear-buds in Europe I would really like to change it but there is no good alternative to the iPod mini yet; witness the higher than new prices of used iPod minis on eBay now it has ceased production.

Atlanta's tech-crowd seem have to labeled me as the local podcast guy, so I am upholding the un-elected position and giving everyone another nudge to check out at least few of my favorite podcasts.

.Net Rocks

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 aimed at junior developers looking to keep up with the buzzword alphabet soup. I believe the audience is now very large which is great for Carl and Richard who play the fame game for their business (not a bad thing at all!!).

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 will find yourself frustrated with the amount of technical errors in the show. I still skim-listen to the shows, but am careful not to believe all that is said.

ASP.Net Podcast

This is almost a polar-inversion of .Net Rocks. Wallace McClure (MVP, multiple author, ASPInsider, blah blah blah) really know his .Net and his show would send shivers of terror down a junior developer's spine. The audience for this show consists mainly of MVPs, Microsoft staff and senior devs, not as large an audience as for the slickly produced .Net Rocks, but very heavy in terms of influentials.

Recently the audio quality has gotten much better, but I don't recommend digging too far into the archives unless you love listening to am radio while driving through a tunnel (sorry Wally!). This show is very much a bit flipper with a mike talking tech, and Wally often recruits other .Net talent from around the world to share their knowledge and ideas.

In summary this podcasts focuses on content rather than slick production tricks. If you are a senior dev then tune in; I am a fan of this podcasts but still use the skip button now and again.


The Polymorphic Podcast

Craig Shoemaker runs this show and appears to be a full time .Net developer. Unfortunately I have not listened to too many of these shows and must address this... check back tomorrow for a better review, by which time I will have listened to some recent shows.


Frankie's Friday Flashback (.Net/ Technology)

Another friend of mine here; Frank La Vigne is a compulsive blogger has recently started podcasting.

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.


TWIT - This Week in Tech

Returning from the Screen Savers Leo Laporte has done an excellent job with this podcast. For a while it was drifting into a just tech-journalists talking about how great they are, with useful subject matter like what their Nanny had for dinner last night (seriously!). If you stopped listening because of this tune in again, they have really got their act together.

The subject is general technology news and all in all I learn a good bit from these shows. Of course when they talk about a topic I understand (.Net, XviD, cars etc) it is obvious they have very little technical knowledge. Probably this is is true of any journalist on any topic, but at my level (bumbling bit flipper) this does not often matter; I just pick up buzzwords and get a feel for where markets are heading. Steve Gibson is the one exception of their crew; if you hear technical corrections being made then that's Steve talking.

In summary this podcast is a must listen unless they drift back into non-tech filler mode.

Security Now

Listening to Stephen Gibson talk about security can actually make my day. This show is about thirty minutes long and is pretty basic for the first 15 minutes. Stick with the show Steve opens up the floodgates in the latter half of the show and I always end-up expanding my knowledge.

In summary everyone in technology should listen to these shows, even managers with pointy hair.


One hour of typing later... well that's my reviews for today - I have many more shows to recommend but I'll wait and see if people liked this post first + after a two week vacation I need to grab my running gear and get outside before the pounds tart piling on again.

Grrr.... I had nice CSS formatting on this post while creating it in Dreamweaver and Das Blog has zapped it, Grrrrr.