My podcast listening tastes have changed quite a bit over the years. I first got into listening to podcasts in the early 2000’s, on the commute to the office - remember them? I initially started listening on my iRiver iHP-140 then moved on to using a Nokia N82. Both fantastic devices for their time.
I used to use hpodder to download episodes and then squirt them down a cable to the device. Later then I’ve listened on various iPods and iPhones where I would use the onboard iTunes / Podcasts app to get my podcasts.
Most recently I’ve used Android, and my current podcast consumption device of choice is the OnePlus 5. I tried a few apps and finally settled on PocketCasts. It has a ton of advanced features I don’t use, as I basically subscribe, download and listen, and that’s about it.
You can see the full list of my current subscriptions here. But that list is completely misleading. I have a weird pattern of podcast listening. As I no longer commute, I really only listen when I go for a walk (which competes with book-listening time), when I’m cooking (and the kitchen is empty) and when I sleep (and I fall asleep and miss half the episode).
I thought I’d highlight the main podcasts I listen to, prioritised in order of which one I’d pick if they all released at the same time.
This Week in Virology
TWiV releases each week and has (recently) switched to a split-episode format. One episode is a short ~30 min update about the state of all things COVID from Daniel Griffin and Vincent Racaniello. The other episodes are much longer, and have a larger pool of presenters. Given the current state of the world, I find these honest, easy listening and highly educational, despite the often rather sombre subject matter.
More or Less
More or Less, from the BBC, presented by Tim Harford is typically a bite-size look at some current news event by the numbers. I always learn something from More or Less, and it’s very digestible.
Linux Action News
Linux Action News comes out on a Sunday night so is perfect for me to catch up with tech news as I drift off to sleep before the working week. If I don’t catch it then, I’ll listen over breakfast on Monday morning. Tightly run episodes, easy listening.
FiveThirtyEight I found especially interesting over the last couple of years. As a resident of the UK, I have found the US political system fascinating. The 538 presenters explain and analyse the current events in a fun and thoughtful way. I often listen at bed time as that’s when their episodes come out for me. I’ve often gone to sleep listening to their analysis, which is a compliment :).
Accidental Tech Podcast
ATP is presented by three (Apple) nerds. I enjoy listening to this, despite owning no Apple products. As a Linux and Windows user, I find it interesting to hear about things from the other side of the fence. Hearing about things from a developer perspective, from outside Apple looking in, is interesting to me. Episodes can be long, and I enjoy the style where the presenters pretty much never talk over eachother, but have space to express themselves without rushing.
These are podcasts I tend to listen to every episode of, but typically after all the ones above, in no particular order.
Late Night Linux
LNL is presented by friends. I enjoy listening to my friends discussing nerd news and other topics.
Bad Voltage is another podcast presented by my friends. I love and hate their discussions, which is good I guess. It’s probably the only podcast I tend to pause and then berate the presenters on their Slack :).
2.5 Admins - which I affectionately call “2.05 Admins” (Joe is the 0.5) is fun because I get to hear about tech news from the perspective of people who are technically competent and my friend Joe is in it too ;).
Once in a while.
These are podcasts which I tend to only listen to random episodes of. Maybe there’s nothing else in the queue, or they have a particularly interesting guest, or topic in the episode description.
Ubuntu Security Podcast
Ubuntu Security Podcast is a well made, tight show about a subject I easily get lost on. Alex makes something deeply technical into something I can grok. I have really enjoyed some of the deeper dives into specific security topics that otherwise I may not get.
Adam Buxton is a lovely chap who has fun chats with interesting people. Some are clearly close friends who open up to him, others are not, but he still has great conversations with them anyway. I tend to only listen to episodes with people I know or already like as guests.
Chopper’s Politics was previously “Chopper’s Brexit Podcast” which I’d listen to frequently to hear an opposing point of view on Brexit. Now I listen less frequently, since Brexit is “done” (hah!).
Going Linux is an easy listen. I like it because they often get feedback from new Linux users, people who aren’t necessarily deeply in Linux distributions, but “just” users. I find it valuable to hear the perspective
The rest of the podcasts I may or may not ever listen to. They’re basically filler for when I need something to listen to.