Fun stuff

A whole world of information

Podcasts are brilliant and I’m constantly surprised by how many people either don’t know what they are or have never listened to one. Since I’m probably going to refer to them a lot on this blog I thought I’d go through the basics.

Podcasts offer a freely available world of information and entertainment, on pretty much any topic you want to name, that you can listen to over all kinds of devices, whenever and wherever you want.

I’m a bit of an information junkie, and those times when I’m exercising, driving, gardening, washing up, walking the dog, you name it, I can grab my phone or iPod, pop in the ear buds and listen to a favourite show.

What are ‘podcasts’?

A podcast is like a radio show that you can download from the internet and listen to at your leisure. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different shows, on all kinds of topics: you want to learn a language, learn about history, you’re into politics, organic gardening, astronomy, you want to have a laugh on the way home form work – it’s all there for the taking.

How do you find them?

There’s a bunch of platforms for finding podcasts, with the most popular probably being iTunes, plus there’s Stitcher, TuneIn, Podcast Alley, etc. Go on there and you can search them up and download them.

If you have an iPhone (like me), there’s a purple icon that looks like this. Click on that and you’ve just stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia. You’ll see a toolbar down the bottom with some more icons. If you want to search for something specific by either topic or title touch on the magnifying glass, or if you’re happy to go with the wisdom of the crowd and see what’s popular out there look at “Top Charts”.

Organising your podcasts

If you’re like me you’ll find you eventually have a bunch of different podcasts you’d like to listen to and it’s handy to be able to put them in a playlist so when you’re driving or cycling you don’t have to stop and fiddle around to find the next one. Unfortunately the iPhone’s podcast app is pretty useless for that, but there’s a good one I use called Overcast (available from the app store), which let’s you set up and edit a playlist.

Some suggestions to get you started

If you fancy a laugh try My Dad Wrote A Porno, classic English humour.

TED Talks Daily has 10-20 minute talks on a huge variety of topics.

All the ABC Radio shows are available, like Saturday Extra, The Health Report, Rear Vision and All In The Mind.

A suggestion for headphones

Wireless (Bluetooth) headphones are pretty handy – no cord to worry about. I tried four or five around the $100-125 range and found the BlueAnt Pump Lite to have by far the best sound (the others were tinny and thin by comparison). No sooner had I paid $100 for them from JB Hifi than I saw them on catchoftheday.com for $30 – that’s a bargain! I don’t know if I’d recommend them for runners because the ear units are fairly chunky and might drop out, but for cycling, walking, gardening and what have you, they’re great.

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