Podcasting – an Update

Since I last wrote about my podcast habits, I’ve made a few changes to the playlist. I’ve removed a few podcasts, but the list has still grown a little because of new additions - there are a lot of high quality podcasts out there. I’m currently enjoying paternity leave, spending a lot of time walking around with Vilde sleeping in her stroller - a perfect time for listening to podcasts.

How does my playlist look now?

New additions

This American Life

This American Life. Their own take: This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 1.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced by Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

My take: This American Life is one of the most popular podcasts around, and there’s a good reason for that: It’s a great podcast. Each episodes, which run for an hour, contains stories spun around the same topic, ranging from “Good Guys 2015” to “Amateur Hour”. That might sound a little cryptic, but there is a recurring topic throughout each episode. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time, I’m suspecting there will be some re-runs, but I’ve yet to hear the same story twice. The stories are mostly very interesting and professionally produced (This American Life is, after all, a radio show). Even though the show mostly focuses on the US of A and American history, culture, social aspects and other similar topics, many of the stories are highly relevant for everyone, no matter where you live.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Their own take: In “Hardcore History” the very unconventional Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, outside-the-box way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This is a difficult-to-classify show that has a rather sharp edge. It’s not for everyone. But the innovative style and approach has made “Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History” a New Media hit.

My take: If you have the slightest interest in history, I strongly recommend Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast. It’s published very rarely - only four times in 2014 - but each episode is several hours long so it’ll usually take me almost of a week of commuting to get through one. I wouldn’t mind if Carlin increased the number of episodes per year a little, though. By the way, if you miss George Carlin, listening to Dan will help, because they sound pretty much the same.

Designer Notes

Designer Notes. Their own take: Why do we make games? Every designer has a different and very personal answer to that question. Soren Johnson, founder of Mohawk Games, sits down with noted designers to find out by examining their careers as a whole.

My take: Soren Johnson was the lead designer on Civilization IV. From that I take it he knows a thing or two about game design. The Designer Notes podcast is still in my “maybe” pile. The first episode featured Rob Pardo, formerly the Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment. That was a very exciting episode, mainly because it featured someone from a company I’d heard of who had designed games I’d actually played. The subsequent episodes have featured people and companies I’ve never heard of, and although the discussions have been interesting, I have skipped forward from time to time.

SANS Internet Storm Center Daily Network Security and Computer Security Podcast

SANS Internet Storm Center Daily Network Security and Computer Security Podcast. Their own take: A brief daily summary of what is important in cyber security. The podcast is published every weekday and designed to get you ready for the day with a brief, usually 5 minute long, summary of current network security related events. The content is late breaking, educational and based on listener input as well as on input received by the SANS Internet Storm Center. You may submit questions and comments via our contact form at https://isc.sans.edu/contact.html.

My take: Don’t let the ridiculously long name of this podcast scare you away. The SANS Internet Storm Center’s StormCast is a daily, 5-10 minute podcast summarizing the latest internet security news. Presenter Johannes Ullrich can be a little exhausting to listen to at first, but when you get used to that, you’ll realize how great the StormCast is. It’s so good, in fact, that it has replaced two other, much longer, security podcasts I was listening to. With only 5 to 10 minutes to get the most important internet security news, Ullrich drops the bullshit and cuts straight to the chase, and this podcast is the only one you’ll need for your day-to-day security news updates.

Reply All

Reply All. Their own take: A show about the internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. From Gimlet.

My take: Reply all is a rather new podcast, with only 17 episodes published so far. They are still playing around with the format of the show, but Vogt and Goldman is obviously on to something. The episodes are short, usually somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes, which makes them perfect for a short walk or commute. In each episode, they present a topic related to the internet, which makes their range of possible topics pretty much endless. Reply All is the only podcast I’ve heard where the presenters actually make an effort to promote their advertisers, and they try - or at least pretend to try - the products they are advertising. This make me actually listen to the advertisements in Reply All, whereas I’m usually skipping them when listening to other podcasts.


Criminal. Their own take: Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the “if it bleeds, it leads,” kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

My take: Criminal is another young podcasts, which also only has 17 episodes published to date. As you probably guessed from the title, Criminal is about, yes, everything criminal. The podcast seems semi-regular, with new episodes being published sporadically. The stories are short and sweet, usually running for around 25 to 30 minutes, and you don’t have to be crime buff to enjoy them.

The 2 Half-Squads: Advanced Squad Leader Podcast

The 2 Half-Squads: Advanced Squad Leader Podcast. Their own take: The 2 Half-Squads are Jeff Hallett and Dave Kleinschmidt, two Chicago-area gamers. The 2 Half-Squads is the only podcast dedicated 100% to Advanced Squad Leader. Join Dave and Jeff for an informative, frolicking hour of ASL talk. It’s tactics and antics, tips and quips, guns and puns, strategy and comedy. It’s ASL like you’ve never heard before!

My take: This is a curious one. I first heard about this podcast while listening to an episode of another podcast, Three Moves Ahead. The 2 Half-Squads is a show about Advanced Squad Leader, a tactical-level board wargame I’ve never played or even seen a picture of. But I’m still listening to every episode from start to finish, mostly to the credit of hosts Jeff Hallett and Dave Kleinschmidt. They are talking about something they love and listening to them is an absolute joy. Perhaps one day I’ll even try a game of ASL?

All Songs Considered

All Songs Considered. Their own take: Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton spin new music from emerging bands and musical icons.

My take: There’s not a lot of music on my podcast playlist. Until the addition of All Song Considered, there was none at all. But I like music and is always on the lookout for new artist and bands, and All Songs Considered is a great podcast for discovering new music. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton plays a wide range of genres, and I’ve already saved a few to my Spotify playlists.


GameSlice. Their own take: Join video game industry host and producer Geoff Keighley as he sits down for intimate conversations with the leaders, designers and influencers who are shaping the video game industry.

My take: GameSlice is a brand new podcast from Geoff Keighley. So far, only a single episode has been published, and from that episode alone, it’s hard to tell if this is a podcast I’ll continue listening to or not. Keighley interviewed Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson from Valve in the first episode, and if he continue to get game industry stars like them to appear on the show, I’m pretty much sold.

Still on the playlist

Gamers With Jobs - Conference Call

Gamers With Jobs - Conference Call. Their own take: The official podcast of GamersWithJobs.com, every week the guys discuss the latest games, issues affecting the industry and more! This is THE gaming podcast for mature gamers.

My take: Gamers With Jobs - Conference Call is a general computer gaming podcast, and I only started listening to it since I’m a gamer with a job. The podcast doesn’t really stand out from other gaming podcasts, like The Game Informer Show, which is mentioned below, but I like their crew and they often discuss games in genres I enjoy. Also, they don’t tend to have overly long segments about each game, but instead cover a wide range.

The Game Informer Show

The Game Informer Show. Their own take: The staff of Game Informer chat it up each week bout the latest news, previews and reviews from the game industry. Each show will cover the weeks hot topics plus the games you’re looking forward to or may not know about yet. Subscribe today!

My take: Like Gamers With Jobs - Conference Call, The Game Informer Show is also a general gaming podcast. But unlike the conference call, they usually cover fewer games in longer segments and every so often they release special podcasts dedicated to only one game. The games they discuss in the special podcasts usually don’t interest me much, at least none of their special podcasts has done that so far, but that’s OK since I can simply skip them. The Game Informer Show might be on its way out of my regular playlist, simply because I listen to too many gaming podcasts and this is the one I enjoy the least.

Three Moves Ahead

Three Moves Ahead. Their own take: Three Moves Ahead is the official podcast of the gaming blog Flash of Steel. Troy Goodfellow hosts a panel of knowledgeable writers and developers in a weekly discussion of what’s new and old in strategy and war games.

My take: Three Moves Ahead is yet another gaming podcast, but this one focuses on strategy and war games, my favorite kind of games. Also, they are not just focusing on computer games, but occasionally touch on board and card games, which is a nice change of pace from my usual computer focus. While Troy Goodfellow is mentioned above as the main host, most of the Three Moves Ahead podcasts I’ve listened to have been co-hosted by Rob Zacny. The two make a great pair and are genuinely enjoying what they are talking about, making listening to the podcast a joy even if I don’t find a particular topic that interesting.

Removed from the playlist

Paul’s Security Weekly

Security Weekly. Their own take: For the latest in computer security news, hacking, and research! We sit around, drink beer, and talk security. Our show will feature technical segments that show you how to use the latest tools and techniques. Special guests appear on the show to enlighten us and change your perspective on information security.

My take: Paul’s Security Weekly is pleasantly laid back and surprisingly interesting. These guys really sit around, drink beer and talk security. I’ve learned quite a lot listening to this podcast, for instance some really easy, yet effective Android hacking that I’d love to dive further into one day.

Why it is off the playlist: Paul’s Security Weekly just got too laid back, with too much bullshit. Instead of discussing actual internet security topics, you’d get half an hour ramblings about TSA.

Risky Business

Risky Business. Their own take: Risky Business was established in February, 2007. It take a lighthearted look at information security news and features!

My take: Risky Business is a podcast that pretty much covers the same subjects as Paul’s Security Weekly, but unlike that particular podcast and most of the other popular podcasts you’ll find online, it’s not coming out of the US of A. This one is made in Australia, which often gives you another perspective on the same topics.

Why it is off the playlist: Risky Business’ got a “sponsored interview” section that turned out to be uninteresting too often. The news segment was OK, but the hosts started using too much time making fun of people than discussing the news. It got awkward at times.

The Gareth Emery Podcast

The Gareth Emery Podcast Their own take: The official podcast from Gareth Emery.

My take: English DJ Gareth Emery doesn’t really make any effort to describe is own podcast, but perhaps he doesn’t need to - if you have been at least a little interested in electronic music over the last ten years, you have most likely heard of him. His weekly, one hour podcast, usually features 15 or so tracks in a radio show style format, covering a wide range of dance music genres. Listen to a mostly-music podcast can be a nice change from all the other voice-only ones.

Why it is off the playlist: Gareth turned the Gareth Emery Podcast into Electric For Life, changed the format a little and I soon got tired of the music. It possible that not much actually changed, but I have electronica phases and one of those phases probably just ended.

Crypto-Gram Security Podcast

Crypto-Gram Security Podcast. Their own take: Crypto-Gram is a free monthly e-mail newsletter from security expert Bruce Schneier, with over 100,000 readers. Each issue is filled with interesting commentary, pointed critique, and serious debate about security. As head curmudgeon at the table, Schneier explains, debunks, and draws lessons from security stories that make the news. This is the audio version of the Crypto-Gram Newsletter, and is read by Dan Henage.

My take: Dan Henage does an amazing public service by reading tech security guru Bruce Schneier’s monthly newsletter. Actually reading it would of course be more efficient, but the podcast version makes it possible to keep up to date on Schneier’s newsletters when doing other activities that make it impossible to read at the same time, like driving a car or washing the house. And if you’re blind, listening to Dan Henage’s voice should be a lot better than listening to a screen reader.

Why it is off the playlist: Interesting podcast, but Schneier’s newsletter is only published once a month. A month is not often enough in computer security. A month old news is very, very old news.


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