Podcasts I’ve heard this week

Damm you Evil Genius, that's exactly what I was going to say on my blog…

mention three shows from IT Conversations, two I loved and one I hated. The two I loved:

One was Jason Fried of 37signals giving a talk about the lessons learned building Basecamp. I agree with a lot of the philosophy about doing things cheap, avoiding the pressures of VC money, iterating often, etc. It sounds like all the good stuff of agile development without the woowoo bits of extreme programming that make me itchy.

The other was Doc Searls who talked to Sig Solares, the guy who kept his data center in New Orleans going through the hurricane and flood. It was fascinating on a technical level and horrifying on a human one.

The one I hated was the Larry Magid interview with George Gilder. I've heard multiple podcasts with Gilder recently and he strikes me as one of those pundits that people pay attention to but I'm not exactly sure why. Even though I overlap with his opinions on many points (citizen media being a big one), I find listening to him highly annoying. Mostly, his depth of criticism seems to consist of making up goofily insulting nicknames for the things he doesn't agree with, like “fool cells.” Thank you, Deep Thought. His shallow dismissals for spurious reasons some technologies makes me nervous when I hear him high on technologies I am also high on. It makes me think that maybe I'm actually wrong, if I'm on the same side as him on that point. I heard him on the Gillmor Gang a few weeks ago and had a similar reaction to that.

I would also add that George sounded so sure of himself and ever so arrogant in the interview with Larry, and it was pretty much the same with the Gillmor Gang too. I'm off the guy and I've only heard him talk twice, maybe not the best thing to admit if I ever meet him but thats how I feel right now.

Jason from 37signals was breathtaking to hear, when I started listening I was thinking oh no not another sells type pitch. But before long I was listening hard and really taking in some of the things he was saying. Really worth the time to hear this podcast I would say.

On a related topic, I'm deeply considering building a special feed for all the recommended podcasts I hear. I was trying some new social podcasting service (cant remember the url right now) which claims to do just that but fails because it assumes all podcast feeds are attached to one person. So subscribing IT conversations really screwed things up. No I'm considering using listal.com or something else to say yes I recommend this single podcast. The idea would be that if I recommend a couple a week, it would slowly build up to a highly recommeded best of what i'm hearing type feed.
On how I do this, I've got a few thoughts. I could just setup another del.icio.us account and only post urls to rich media or I could add a special tag which I identify as this is a recommended podcast. I would then take either of the feeds and using xsl transform it into another podcast feed. I know I could use something like feedburner to do this, but I really want to just bookmark it and know it will end up in the other feed without any more human intervention. I was also considering doing a cross check with my audioscrobbler/last.fm feed to get more data.
Natrually any feed I would generate, I would also process into xhtml so it can appear on the side bar of the site. Which would be more useful than just copying my recently listened to audioscrobbler list as it does currently. It would be great if Itunes actually had a easily accessable xml based api which I could get into. Then I would be tempted to use the itunes rating system to rate podcasts.
I'm sure Steve Gillmor would also find such a API useful to get feedback on IT conversation programming. I'm currently I do go to the site and vote for some stuff, but not even 20% of what I actually listen to. If the vote system was de-coupled into itunes or my RSS aggregator I would vote on everything I heard. Its a bit like the Digg problem really. To actually digg a story you have to go to the site. There's seems to be not trackback or simple restful url I can send the data too at the moment. There's certainly a gap in the market for audioscrobbler plugins to send rating data to its self, which could actually give a little more focus on the podcasting listenership figures. I'm actually sure someones thought of this too, but I guess the differences between rating systems in windows mediaplayer, itunes and whatever else makes things difficult, but not impossible.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.