You hear that?
Well, of course you don’t because you’re not here.
This is the first time all week I’ve sat in silence, mainly because I can’t write and listen to people talk at the same time. My brain ends up all scattered.
It is really hard to sit here right now and not be listening to a podcast. Every moment that I’m not working on a big project, writing, or sleeping, you will find me listening to podcasts.
I freaking love podcasts.
I can’t even begin to explain to you all of the interesting, crazy, fascinating, shocking, and captivating people I’ve learned about and from on the podcasts I listen to. In fact, just this morning I learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a millionaire before his film career even started. Plus, he is hilarious; the guy could be a stand-up comedian.
Last week on Mac Power Users, I learned about an app called Hazel that sits in the background on your computer waiting for certain conditions to take place. Once that action happens the app will take whatever action you specify.
The problem I use to have with this solution is that I’d always forget to clean out the camera uploads folder so it wouldn’t clog up my Dropbox storage, but with Hazel that problem is finito. I have told Hazel that any picture over one week old needs to automatically be deleted, since by then it should have already been uploaded to Flickr. I’ll write a more in-depth post about Hazel later, because I feel like it really deserves it.
I think you get the point.
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Podcasts are incredible for learning bits of knowledge about your favorite subjects on whatever timeframe you choose. For those of you that have no clue what a podcast is … a little background.
Introduction to Podcasts
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a digital medium, audio or video in nature, that is downloaded through a web feed or streamed to a device.
The first podcast ever recorded was back in August 2004, when former MTV VJ Adam Curry launched his show the Daily Source Code.
Podcast is a combination of the words “pod” – referring to the iPod – and “broadcast”. Anybody who wants to record their own podcast can do so; all a person needs is the proper instruction on how to start one. This is one of my favorite tutorials on how to start a podcast.
How do you listen to a podcast?
There are many different ways to consume a podcast. Here are just a few:
1. Through an app, sometimes referred to as a podcatcher;
2. Streamed on the podcast’s website; and
3. Downloaded from some type of catalogue, like the iTunes Store.
How much do they cost?
That’s the cool part about podcasts – they are free of charge. Many shows will have short commercials or sponsorships at the beginning and end of each episode that supports the podcast creator. Oftentimes these ads will be of value to the listener because companies are able to specifically target the audience they are trying to reach based on the content.
Podcast Apps I Recommend
Currently, my favorite podcast app is Overcast from developer Marco Arment. The reason Overcast is my favorite is because of its Smart Speed feature, which automatically shortens silences in talk to optimize the amount of time you spend listening – that way you have more time to listen to more podcasts.
Smart Speed, along with a few other premium features, will run you a $4.99 upgrade fee, which in my opinion is well worth it.
If you’re after the free variety of apps, I’d look into Apple’s own Podcast app which is now built into iOS 8. It’s not the best podcast listening experience and doesn’t innovate on much of anything, but it will do the job if you’re just getting into consuming podcasts.
My Top 8 Favorite Podcasts (At This Moment)
Now on to the good stuff. You want to peek into my life and find out the kinds of stuff I listen to, don’t you? Well, get ready to be shocked. I listen to some podcasts that are vastly different from one another, but they all have a special place in my heart for one reason or another.
Learn about getting the most from your Apple technology with focused topics and workflow guests.
Why I love it
I love Apple. <– Understatement of the century.
I probably could have bought a house by now with the amount of money I’ve handed over to the Cupertino, CA based company. Every year I’ve picked up a new iPad; every year I have to have the latest iPhone (I’ve had both the 6 and 6+); every few years I pick up the latest and greatest MacBook Pro.
As much as I love the devices themselves, I love what you can do with the devices more. David Sparks and Katie Floyd, hosts of the Mac Power Users podcast, help me get the most out of my Apple obsession.
Each episode I come away with some new app or workflow that is bound to help improve how I do things on my machine or iDevice. In fact, it is because of Mr. Sparks that I didn’t give up on using OmniFocus earlier this year. He released an incredibly detailed video field guide on how to properly use OmniFocus that got me right back on track.
This is one of the few podcasts that I have notifications turned on for when a new episode is released.
Once a week.
Most episodes hover within the 1.5 hours mark.
Tune in to the latest health, fitness and multi-sport research, non run-of-the-mill interviews with exercise and medicine professionals, and new cutting-edge content from the top personal trainer and wellness coach in the nation.
Why I love it
“How does one human being know all this stuff!?”
I find myself asking that question each time I listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcast. Ben, and his co-host Brock Skywalker (what a cool name!), hit on the top news and studies in the fitness community, as well as answer 3 – 4 listener questions each episode.
Ben is a geyser of fitness knowledge and Brock is the perfect complement of comic relief. I’m often dumbfounded at some new nugget of information I’ve just learned and bursting out laughing at something Brock just said.
This is always a go-to podcast when Amy and I are cruising back from our short trips up to Jacksonville.
Two episodes are posted per week. One features an interview with an expert (which I typically skip depending on the subject matter) and the other is a conversation + listener Q&A with Ben and Brock.
A series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. With Alex Blumberg from This American Life & Planet Money.
Why I love it
You know the Chicago Public Radio hit This American Life? What about NPR’s Planet Money? Well, the creator of this next podcast used to be a producer on both those shows. So, you know it has to be good.
This podcast is different from all the others in that it’s not a casual conversation between two hosts or an interview show. Think of StartUp as a throwback to the golden days of radio when shows were like a TV series; you couldn’t wait to hear what was going to happen on next week’s episode.
As the byline of the podcast states: “StartUp is a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.” I think that’s why I’m so hooked on this show. I too know absolutely nothing about business and I too someday want to start a business of my own. To hear somebody else fail, learn, feel stupid, and succeed in their dream business motivates me to take the leap in my own life.
Season 1 just wrapped up and was focused on getting Alex’s company of the ground. Now that it looks like things are moving in the right direction at Gimlet Media (which is the name of his podcast company … he takes a ton of flak for it in an earlier episode), Season 2 will focus on a different startup and their struggle to remain viable.
If you’re interested in business or starting one of your own some day, I highly recommended you check out StartUp.
Episodes are seasonal. The first season wrapped up earlier this month, with Season 2 beginning sometime in April.
About 45 minutes.
Three nerds discussing tech, Apple, programming, and loosely related matters.
Why I love it
I could listen to nerds talk tech all day long. Whereas Mac Power Users was an 8 or a 9 on the geeky scale, Accidental Tech Podcast is a 10. If you just dabble in technology, I wouldn’t go near this show.
Much of the conversation centers around iOS development, UX (User Experience), and programming. I truly don’t understand the bulk of what they talk about, but I’m hoping all that shared knowledge just soaks in one day so that I can become a master programmer overnight. Muhahahaha!!
Once a week.
Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” and The New York Times calls him “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.” In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.
Why I love it
Like Ben Greenfield, Tim Ferriss is a walking knowledge base on many different subjects. The man has written best selling books on the topics of rapid fat loss, cooking like a pro, and hacking the workweek.
In his podcast, he interviews guests that are on the top of their respective games. Earlier this month he sat down with Arnold Schwarzenegger and dug into all kinds of interesting things, like how he used the art of psychological warfare to win Mr. Universe.
Tim’s guests range from Grandmasters of Memory to FBI Futurists to physical therapists.
I love that I leave each podcast with some new piece of knowledge or insight that I didn’t have before listening. It is without a doubt time well spent.
One a week to every couple of days.
45 minutes to 2 hours.
Abel James of FatBurningMan.com answers your questions and interviews leaders in the paleo, primal, evolutionary, and ancestral field to share secrets about losing fat, building muscle, and improving your health. Join us and have some fun!
Why I love it
This is the show that initially got me hooked on podcasts. While I no longer listen to The Fat Burning Man Show (mainly because he hasn’t recorded a new episode since October 2014) , I felt it was important to include because of the backlog of kick-butt content.
Abel is a great interviewer with a laid back conversational style. Even though his show title implies that he’s just focused on “fat burning”, the show really hits on everything that relates to that topic; because we all know burning fat and staying in shape isn’t just all about exercising a ton and eating the right stuff. Able has 40 episodes in the bank on iTunes from the past year, with more content and goodies on his website.
After a 5 month hiatus, Able just posted a new episode on February 17. He posted an episode about once a week before that.
30 minutes to an hour.
A weekly dose of just the right medicine to help you get out of debt, save more money, and beat the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Why I love it
Ah, finally – a personal finance podcast.
Amy and I used YNAB to get out of $10,000 of debt and can’t recommend it enough for people looking for a little clarity and transparency on how they handle their personal finances.
While Jesse is no Dave Ramsey, his perspective on money always helps me sail slowly back to earth. I typically have the itch to make some type of big purchase about once a week and when I feel that way I flip on the YNAB podcast for a few minutes.
Oh, that reminds me … that’s the part I love about the show: each episode only lasts a few minutes. While one reviewer on iTunes said that Jesse “took ten minutes to tell a story about how he got stuck under a barbell”, I find his opinions short, sweet, and to the point.
Once a week.
3 – 5 minutes.
The only officially unofficial podcast directly from the Xbox Team. Join Larry Hryb (Gamertag: Major Nelson), Laura (lollipop) and Jeff (Jef_United) discussing the latest in Xbox news, other gaming platforms, games, technology and much more in this weekly (or as close as we can get to it) podcast.
Why I love it
This is my guilty pleasure.
My Game of Thrones if you will.
When my brain is tired and can’t take anymore, this is where I turn. The host of the show, Larry Hryb aka Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, is one of the most famous faces (and voices) in gaming. He hosts the show with e, Laura “lollip0p”, and Jeff “Rubes” who all work with Major Nelson at Microsoft.
They always start off each show by talking about what games they’re playing, E gives out some helpful Xbox tips, and they wrap up by talking about whatever new gadgets they’ve recently purchased.
My gamer friends will totally get this podcast choice. Gamers can’t get enough of other gamers talking about gaming.
Once a week.
45 minutes to an hour.
That Wraps It Up!
Phew! That was a long post, but I hope I piqued your interest in podcasts (if you weren’t already a fan) and gave you some ideas of a few shows you may like to listen to yourself.
Now I want to hear from you. Are you a podcast listener? What shows do you listen to that didn’t make this list? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!