Podcasting in various forms has been around for ages, but arguably didn’t hit mainstream until Apple released a version of their dreaded iTunes application with podcast support in 2005. Apple is also partly responsible for the “podcast” name, which was first mentioned in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article. It is a portmanteau of the words “pod” (from Apple’s iPod) and “broadcast”.
I’ve never been into podcasts big time, partly because I felt I was getting all the information I needed through browsing the internet and partly because I never had the time (or took the time) to listen to them. But when we moved to Nesodden last year, I suddenly found myself commuting for an hour to and from work and decided podcasts could potentially be a nice way to kill some time.
Finding high quality podcasts turned out to be quite the challenge. There is a lot of crap out there. Like with the blogsphere, where it’s very easy for everyone and their mum to set up a blawgh, it’s also very easy to record a podcast and distribute it all over the internet, for instance via iTunes.
With the list below, I hope that I’ve been able to filter out some of the podcast universe’s noise to help you to quickly find a few high quality podcasts - at least if you’re looking for podcasts in the genres of electronic music, tech security and computer games.
Paul’s 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Previously on the playlist
The Game Design Round Table
Their own take: Hosts Dirk Knemeyer and Jon Shafer talk game design each week with esteemed guests. Focusing on both digital and tabletop gaming, The Game Design Round Table provides a forum for conversation about critical issues to game design.
My take: The Game Design Round Table was one of the first podcast I started listening to, mainly because it was co-hosted by Jon Shafer, lead designed on Civilization V and the brain behind the upcoming At the Gates. While the podcast featured a lot of interesting discussions and guests, I grew tired of Jon’s co-host, Dirk Knemeyer and his negative attitude towards pretty much everything. This might of course have been a thing they were doing for the podcast, Jon being the positive guy while Dirk took the not-so-grateful role of the negative co-host, but either way, it didn’t work for me in the long run. Since I stopped listening to The Game Design Round Table, Jon has left the podcast to focus on the development of At the Gates.
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast
Their own take: Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day - WTF? He’ll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.
My take: Marc Maron interviews a lot of interesting - and often well known - people on his twice-weekly podcast. The only reason I stopped listening to Maron’s podcast was that they were too long and published too often. This might sound like a bit of a first world problem, but those are problems too and I ended up with a massive backlog of podcasts I never listened to. So instead of deleting old podcasts, I took the coward’s way out and simply unsubscribed.
Their own take: Steve Gibson, the man who coined the term spyware and created the first anti-spyware program, creator of Spinrite and ShieldsUP, discusses the hot topics in security today with Leo Laporte. Winner of the 2009 and 2007 people’s choice award for best Technology/Science podcast. Records live at http://live.twit.tv/ every Tuesday at 1:00pm PT/4:00pm ET.
My take: Steve Gibson has been in the tech security industry for as long as I can remember, and he takes any opportunity to tell that he is indeed an experienced tech guy. You might have used his ShieldsUp! port scanning at some point in time. Gibson has also created other software, like SpinRite, which he will tell you about in every single one of his podcasts. While Gibson and his sidekick, whose name I can’t remember, does discuss some interesting topics, I eventually had enough of Gibson’s personality and his love for himself and SpinRite.