In this weeks blog post I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart; Podcasts. I currently have about 20 hours of podcasts queued up and ready to listen to. In fact, I need to start picking some of them to let go of so I can get through them at a faster rate, unfortunately I’m missing out on the newest information as those go to the bottom of my queue. So what actually are podcasts and why should you care? Well, Dictionary.com succinctly defines them as “a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer”. The great thing about these podcasts is that you can find them on just about every possible topic or theme you can think of; from gardening and sustainability to movie reviews and tech podcasts.
I wanted to cover this topic because I feel that not enough people know about them, and I find that a shame because they can be super informative and fun while also providing something other than music to listen to. Not that I have anything against music mind you, but when I’m walking my dogs, or doing the dishes, I now get to choose to listen to music (via Spotify) or catch up on my latest podcasts. I don’t always have time to sit down and read the newspaper or even a good book, but I have plenty of activities that are well suited to having one or both earbuds in whilst my phone is in my pocket.
So what types of Podcasts do I listen to? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, a few of them are tech-related podcasts, others are on permaculture and sustainability, I have two that are D&D (Duengon and Dragons) role-playing related, one or two on privacy and security, and even a few on preparedness as well. My wife and I also use an app provided by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation abc.net.au) called ‘ABC Listen’ which contains all of the articles they air on the ABC radio stations PLUS exclusive podcast only shows as well. They cover a vast array of topics ranging from health and art to indigenous issues and politics (and so much more). The way it typically works is that you find a podcast that interests you via a podcast catching app, you can then ‘subscribe’ to that podcast and download the most recent episodes to listen to. Downloading them means that you can listen to them on the go, without having to utilise your mobile data.
Alright, enough of me gushing about them, how can you get started? I use my phone mostly, but if you’d like to try some out first, you can access them through your web browser as well. Here’s a link to one that I encourage all of my computer students to check out, it’s a 5 part series titled ‘The Privacy Paradox’ <<https://project.wnyc.org/privacy-paradox/>> When you navigate to that link, you will need to look for and click on “Day 1 What Your Phone Knows” and then select the [Listen] button. I hope you find it informative and thought-provoking.
As I mentioned, I mostly use my phone to download and listen to my podcasts. The process differs depending on what mobile device you have i.e Android and iOS (some apps are available on both). While I don’t own an iPhone, included in the linked document, I have provided some suggestions of apps for those who do. As an Android user, I like to use an app called ‘Podcast Addict’ and there are detailed instructions on how to use it in said linked document. To install the app, simply open the Google Play store on your phone (it’s where you go to find, download and install any new apps) and search for ‘Podcast Addict.’ Once installed, you can click on the plus (+) icon to add a “subscription”. Initially there will be some suggested podcasts listed for you to consider, but you can also click the magnifying glass icon at the top of the page and search for something.
One that I think everyone would benefit from is the T.W.I.T (This Week In Technology) podcast, which talks about all of the IT news for the past week. They actually have an entire network of shows, but I’d recommenced starting out with just that one and see where you go from there. You can find them through that search function we talked about or on their site; www.twit.tv but they also call Podcasts ‘Netcasts’ instead, but don’t get confused by that, it’s just another name for them.
There are some useful settings that I also cover in the linked document that will allow your subscribed podcasts to automatically download new episodes (but only when connected to WiFi) and have them added to your queue for your listening ease. Another setting will even delete them from your device when you have finished listening to them. This helps to automate your podcast experience, making sure you don’t miss out on new episodes but also making sure your phone doesn’t get bogged down with downloaded episodes after they’ve been listened to.
That’s all for now, I’d like to do a follow-up blog about podcasts once everyone has had a chance to check them out. Also, please do let me know in the comments or via email if you’re having any issues that I may be able to help with. I wouldn’t want people to struggle using podcasts, only to give up on them without first giving them a go.
Let me know in the comments how you go setting this up OR if you already listen to podcasts, which ones would you recommend?
Keep learning, and I’ll catch you all again soon.
**UPDATE** I forgot to add the file I mentioned. Please find below a guide to different podcast apps and ‘PodcastAddict’ which is my app of choice.