Because life is a series of edits

Podcasts, Take 2

In Technology, Thought on July 24, 2006 at 2:00 am

Over the weekend (which was an interesting one as three of our four girls had high fevers and pink eye), I spent some time figuring out podcasts. After bumbling through the mechanics, I listened to several 7-20 minute podcasts on a range of topics, including three on string theory, one on Piltdown man, one on a contest for the best euphemisms for "stupid," and a humorous (and ever-irreverent) interview with author Kurt Vonnegut. I listened to most of these while picking up and doing/folding laundry last night, and then actually tried going to sleep to the inteview (which I did…that is, until our youngest walked in with a 101-degree temperature).

As a medium, I really like the podcast format of very focused, very in-depth content that is downloadable, portable, and (best of all) free. I'm amazed at the amount of variety and quality available at sites like NPR and PBS, let alone all the stuff at iTunes (which I tried working through, but had much better luck finding topics at NPR and PBS, particularly on their Religion, NOVA, NOW, and Religion and Ethics pages.). Slate seems to produce some enjoyable stuff from a socio-political/cultural perspective as well.

I'm in the process of listening to the recommendations given (thanks Ed and Clay), as well as trying to figure out vodcasting, as it would seem some of the PBS stuff would lend itself well to that. For whatever reason, though, I can't get the video stuff to work, but it's probably not that big a deal as the attraction for me is being able to listen to interesting things while doing other things (who has time to sit and watch a show about the universe on a one-inch-wide screen?).

Which brings me to the point of this post: While I think podcasts are really cool, my challenge is figuring out when/how to listen to them without taking time away from my studies, my family, and the quiet I so desperately crave. So much of what I do – reading, writing, studying, relating, etc. – does not allow me the freedom of being able to do something else in my head at the same time (at least not well), so how do I incorporate podcasts into my often-already-occupied mind?

I welcome any suggestions, proposals, and more various and sundry podcast recommendations.

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  1. I listen on my commute to and from work. You’ll find that time available, as well, once you start driving 25-30 minutes each way to Wildwood this fall…

  2. treat ’em like you would the radio in the car or use ’em when you exercise. maybe while you are sorting through files or something…

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