The Podcasting Conundrum

Recently I've been getting into the latest phenomenon: podcasting. It's basically downloadable radio shows that I can put on my iPod if desired. (Right now I mostly listen to them on my computer, but I can forsee myself loading up my iPod and listening on the way to work.)

So why podcasts? Very simple. There's thousands of them out there and they reach a much more targeted audience than probably any radio show. Or, if not, they have a highly focused stream of content and allow basically anybody on the 'net to broadcast whatever they want. Of course, this quickly arose to include some lewd programming that would never get on radio, but there are many great ones out there.

My first podcast that I subscribe to is TWiT. Basically, a couple of years ago my silly roommate got cable. I had no need for it because all I really watched was reruns of The Simpsons and Seinfeld. Of course, I ddin't mind that cable had crystal-clear reception and Star Trek: The Next Generation on every night. But the real gem I found was TechTV. It was TV for true geeks. They had folks on the TV showing you all the tips and tricks to get the best out of your applications, did a bit with the latest games, and kept everybody updated on tech news. It was great.

A couple months later, my roommate decided he couldn't pay for cable (which I already knew). So gone from my life was the ever-enjoyable TechTV. But, I'm told, it was not that bad of a thing. Apparently the channel got to be more and more popular and the techs had to dumb things down and make it less unscripted. Then, about a year or so ago, they merged with G4, the all-gaming channel, which meant less tech and more games. And now, the G4TechTV channel is just G4 again, so there goes all the fun content.

Luckily, all the favorites from the prime-time variety show The Screen Savers got together and decided to start TWiT. Basically, they just get together and talk a plethora of tech news every week. It's probably the first talk show that's not boring to me (besides the one time The Geek Squad took over WCCO 830 one evening probably eight years ago). Plus, of course, it's completely free to download.

Another one that's just started and looks promising is systm. The first episode was a bit too hardware-based for me but was still cool. But the second, which shows how to set up a Linux-based TV turner that does everything a TiVO does and more was very fun to watch. Actually, I guess it's not a podcast because it's video and all podcasts are audio, but it is still part of the independently-produced downloadable medium that is the essence of podcasting.


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