My Favourite Podcasts
By now you probably have an portable MP3 player of your own, and if not then you at least can listen to them on the computer you're using to read this. In addition to the great convenience of having acres of music at your fingertips, there's something else you can do with it: listen to podcasts. Podcasts are like short radio shows that are downloaded to your computer at regular intervals. I've tried a few and wanted to recommend a couple.
The best one so far is NPR's "Story of the Day" (http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/), which is on that page near the bottom under the "People and Places" group. It has the best story broadcast that day on National Public Radio in the USA and is always interesting. There are lots of other programs listed there that you might want to try too, but Story of the Day is the best, I think. Deanne and I actually lay down on the couch together and listened to about ten of them in a row. A story from Nov 29, 2005 about a band called "Clap Your Hands Say Yeah" is what inspired this blog posting, actually. It's an excellent story about how Internet exposure took an indie band from nowhere to "choose your record label" in a matter of weeks.
Quirks and Quarks is a science program broadcast on Canadian radio - they take the extra step of dividing each weeks podcast into seperate mp3 files, so you can listen to them one at a time, instead of having to fast-forward through the file each time you have a chance to listen to it. Kudos to them for thinking of that - so far they're the only one I've seen that does that. Look for the "XML Podcast" logo on the right side of the main screen.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporations' "Radio National" offer a lot of their programs as podcasts too; I used to enjoy the Science Show when I was able to catch it, and now I never miss it :)
You can download iPodder, a software program that will help you manage your podcast subscriptions, automatically downloading the programs and deleting the files when you're done with them. Don't be tempted to keep everything you've downloaded; well, I suppose you could burn it to a CD if you really wanted to, but I think its best to treat it like radio: listen to it, then delete it.
It's nice to be able to pop the headphones on, or hook up the mp3 player to the car stereo and hear the best programs from all around the world, in perfect clarity, whenever I'm ready to do so -give it a try :)