For the first post of 2014, I thought I’d make it a quick one, largely due to the fact that I haven’t had a lot of time to catch my breath over the last few weeks and am thus short on posts in my drafts. A while back, I wrote a post about multi-tasking where I described that I listen to podcasts on the drive to and from work each day. I thought I’d list some podcasts that you might want to check out. I find them valuable, anyway.
I have an app on my phone called Doggcatcher (I think it might be Android only). It’s great for organizing podcasts to which you want to subscribe and playing them as if you were listening to a radio show. With the bluetooth setup in my car, this turns out to be perfect: one ends, and the next one automatically starts without me intervening. New episodes download automatically and listened-to ones vanish automatically from your phone’s drive. Here is my list:
- .NET Rocks, a frequently released, professionally done show about all things .NET.
- Hanselminutes, a weekly technology talk show with Scott Hanselman
- This Developer’s Life, a sporadic personal evaluation of software developers’ lives (Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman)
- Polymorphic Podcast is a developer podcast from Craig Shoemaker (I don’t think it’s made anymore, but it was really good when it was, and I’m hoping it comes back)
- Herding Code, a group of prominent technologists conduct interviews with people doing cool things in the industry.
- The Java Posse, a show about all things Java, that helps me from getting too .NET-centric these days.
- The Stack Exchange Podcast will be familiar if you participate in the stack exchange Q&A sites.
- Deep Fried Bytes is another tech podcast, “with a southern flavor” (though I don’t personally consider that to be a draw, per se — it’s an interesting show on its own).
- Yet Another Podcast, the one I deliberately saved for last due to its name. This is a last, but not least situation — definitely interesting.
I also listen to the Freakonomics podcast, due to a mild obsession with incentives and outcomes that I’ve had for the last couple of years, but I omitted that from the general theme of developer podcasts.
If you’re a developer and interested in improving your craft, I’d highly recommend subscribing to some podcasts. This is an excellent array of them with lots of good information, in my opinion. Perhaps there are others that you’d prefer, however. Just find some and listen.
Podcasts are a great way to passively assimilate information. You don’t need to concentrate heavily or even pay attention all the way through, though it’s certainly preferable. These podcasts touch lightly on a wide variety of topics and the end-result is that they’ll make you vaguely aware of a lot of things that could be useful. You’re not going to come away from your morning commute suddenly fluent in a new programming language, but when your peers are talking about writing a distributed, publish/subscribe utility that can dictate message routes, you can think to yourself, “I’m pretty sure something like that exists…. and that they talked about it on one my my podcasts… let me go google it.” In fact, over the years that I’ve kept up with podcasts, I can’t tell you how many wheels I’ve avoided re-inventing.
So, go get yourself a podcast app if that’s your thing. Or if not, just visit the sites periodically for new episodes. Whatever approach you take, turn yourself on to this pasive way of keeping current with the industry that you can keep up with during life’s natural downtime. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.