October 28, 2010

Podcast Roundup

I have a confession to make...I am a podcast-aholic. I have a 30 minute commute to and from the office every day so I load up a CD with tech podcasts and listen to them as I drive. I even wrote a script to download new episodes and prepare them to be burned to CDs. There are about a dozen programming podcasts that I have listened to on a regular basis, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites that have been dominating my playlists recently.

TechZing

Release Schedule: Twice Weekly (Midweek interview, Weekend discussion), ~90 minute episodes
Topics: Tech, Start-ups, Hacker News-type stories

TechZing is currently my favorite podcast. There are two episodes a week: one interview show and one discussion show. The interview shows are really interesting and feel more like you are sitting in on a conversation than a typical Q&A session. The hosts (Justin Vincent and Jason Roberts) aren't afraid to interject their own thoughts and stories into the interview and I think it makes for a much more engaging show.

But the weekend discussion show is what really shines. Justin and Jason are both funny guys and I think they would be awesome to hang out with. I love hearing about their own bootstrapped businesses and start-up ideas; they are pretty transparent and open about the decisions they make and what the outcomes are. They both seem really down-to-earth and relatable. Neither is afraid to speak his mind and give his own "take" about what is going on the tech world. Something about them just feels "real", they aren't superstar bloggers or Hacker News celebrities -- just two normal hackers hanging out and talking shop. They seem to be gaining momentum and I am excited to follow this podcast as it grows.

Here are a few of their interview shows that I really liked:


The Changelog

Release Schedule: Weekly, ~30 minute episodes
Topics: Open source

The Changelog is a weekly show that explores up-and-coming open source software projects. The show typically uses an interview format; the hosts (Adam Stacoviak and Wynn Netherland) interview someone involved with the project (usually the creator) and they give an overview of the project, their motivations, etc. There is enough technical detail to keep the listeners interested and the hosts generally ask informed questions: how is this implemented? what other libraries is it similar too? Each show usually ends with the guest sharing what's on their "open source radar".

The show seems to have a slight bias toward Javascript and, to a less extent, Ruby projects, but most of the shows should be interesting to developers who work in any language. The podcast benefits greatly from exposure on Github (it is featured on the Explore page) and this is actually how I found out about it.

All of the episodes are about recent projects, so for those that like to stay current on the latest "flavor of the month" (I'm looking at you node.js diehards...) then I would recommend The Changelog. This also means that even as you worked your way through the backlog, you are still hearing about current stuff.

Here are some of my favorite episodes to get you started:


This Developer's Life

Release Schedule: About 3 times a month, ~45 minute episodes
Topics: Stories about developers

This Developer's Life is a new podcast -- the first episode was 2 months ago and, as of this post, there have been six episodes released. The show is hosted by Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman (of HanselMinutes fame) and takes a more narrative approach than other tech podcasts. Think of it like NPR for Programmers.

I have only listened to one episode of the podcast so far, but it was really good. I usually cherry-pick some episodes from HanselMinutes -- even though I work with .NET at my job, I think that podcast tends to drift a bit too far into Microsoft-land for my tastes -- but Scott is a really good show host. The production value of the show is quite high so I am excited to catch up on the backlog and will definitely be subscribing to future episodes.