Review: Diggnation

DiggnationDiggnation was one of the first big podcasts to hit the Internet and has continued to prove itself since its release in July of 2005. Almost 5 years later and Diggnation continues to grow in popularity and remains Revision3‘s flagship podcast.

Hosted by ex-Tech TV personalities Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, Diggnation lasts around 40-60 minutes and is released every week in both audio and video formats.

At its core, Diggnation is a technology podcast, though unlike other tech podcasts you don’t necessarily need to be a geek to get something out of the show. Each week Kevin and Alex select several of the most popular articles featured on digg.com and discuss them amongst themselves. This format is simple, which makes it easy to jump in to, and means there is plenty of variety to satisfy most.

What has made Diggnation such an important podcast is that it exemplifies what makes online broadcasting so special: it’s just a two guys sitting on a couch with their laptops, talking shit. Yet somehow the show is far more captivating than anything aired on mainstream so-called tech channels.

Having said that, Diggnation has definitely lost some of the quaint charm it once had. Partly this is the higher production values that can occasionally make the podcast overcooked with cute graphics and post-production editing. Another reason is the necessary evil of advertising. There is nothing wrong with advertising in a podcast, but it unfortunately does come at a cost, especially when the commercials are presented as live editorials rather than separate interstitial advertisements. Even so, Diggnation hasn’t forgotten its roots, and these tend not to get in the way of the overall appeal or the hosts’ credibility.

One thing that I don’t enjoy about Diggnation is the live shows. While I commend the crew for being willing to travel interstate or overseas to see their fans and record live episodes, they’re just not that much fun to listen to. Almost every live show has quickly degenerated into self-indulgent scenes of Kevin and Alex drinking or winding up the crowd. I’m sure this would be a blast if I were there, but listening to several minutes of drinking contests or cheering crowds is simply tedious.

When not filming live shows, the boys try to keep in contact with fans through the more traditional medium of email. Unfortunately, despite having a self-proclaimed male-centric audience, it seems the only way your email has a chance of getting read is if you’re female and attach a picture of yourself. To be fair this has led some pretty funny moments, but does strike me as a little juvenile.

If you frequent digg.com, or are generally interested in technology, Diggnation is an absolute most-subscribe. If you aren’t into technology I would still recommend watching an episode or two because every show contains at least a few stories that don’t require being a tech head to appreciate. The chemistry between Kevin and Alex is fantastic and the format is easy to understand and incredibly addictive.

Subscribe to Diggnation: Website | iTunes | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) (more feeds available on their website)

Watch the video version of this review, including samples from the show, in Episode 20 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Diggnation
Entertainment value
The format for diggnation lends itself to a lot of variety. Even if you’re not into technology, there are a number of stories within an episode that span a range of areas.
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Quality of content
With several stories covered in an episode, the content is dense and usually leaves you wanting more.
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Production quality
Although a little overcooked at times, you can’t fault Diggnation for trying to create a tight, well produced show.
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Overall
A little juvenile at times, but the banter between Kevin and Alex is incredibly fun to listen to, and the variety within an episode is sure to satisfy most subscribers.
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Podwatch #20: Diggnation (review)

Episode 20 of Podwatch is review of the Diggnation podcast.

Download Podwatch episode 20

Video samples from:
Diggnation Episode 64
Diggnation Episode 87
Diggnation Episode 88
Diggnation Episode 92
Diggnation Episode 93
Diggnation Episode 100
Diggnation Episode 224
Diggnation Episode 226

http://www.podwatch.org
podwatchpodcast@gmail.com

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Review: Angry & Cliff

Angry and CliffAngry and Cliff is a comedy podcast hosted by the British duo and released very week. Each episode lasts around 30-40 minutes and features irreverent discussion on topical news, movies and TV, as well as the occasional anecdote from their personal lives.

The programme is built on a very solid foundation: the hosts have great chemistry together and their quick witted banter is fun to listen to. They also have a long Rollidex of guest hosts to roll out as needed. Unfortunately I feel like their talents aren’t utilised as well as they could be. It’s not that the podcast is bad, it’s that I didn’t find it as easy to get hooked on as I thought I would.

The problem stems from some pretty underwhelming regular segments, such as On This Day In History, and a general lack of tight structure. When I listen to an episode I enjoy it, but I also don’t find myself hanging out for the next episode, which suggests to me that the show lacks a much needed hook.

Despite this, I’d still rank Angry and Cliff above most other “two-friends-make-a-podcast” podcasts. They put an admirable amount of effort into the production quality and organising regular guests, and their back and forth doesn’t degenerate into juvenile swearing contests like so many others. There’s a lot of substance here, it just lacks an execution that I found engaging.

Subscribe to Angry & Cliff: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review, including samples from the show and a 2 person discussion, in Episode 19 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Angry and Cliff
Entertainment value

There were definitely times where I found Angry and Cliff laugh out loud funny, but there were others where I completely zoned out. This suggests to me that with the right format and the right content, Angry and Cliff has potential to be consistently enjoyable.

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Quality of content

A lot of effort goes into their regular guests and segments, but I can’t say I look forward to listening to any of them. This is different from saying I don’t enjoy them, it just doesn’t ever leave me wanting more.

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Production quality

Excellent production quality and a very solid release schedule.

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Overall

I feel like I should have enjoyed Angry and Cliff more than I did; all the elements are here for a brilliant show, there just wasn’t a strong enough hook to keep me subscribed, or a tight enough format to sustain my attention. The podcast has a strong following, however, so don’t take my word for it — check it out for yourself before writing it off completely.

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Podwatch #19

Episode 19 of Podwatch is a 2 person review of the Angry & Cliff podcast.

Download Podwatch episode 19

Audio samples from:
Angry & Cliff: “XXX Factor”
Angry & Cliff: “Uninterrupted by Kanye West”
Angry & Cliff: “Keep F**king Walking!”
Hamish and Andy: “Best Of Monday 5th October”

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Review: The Spoonman

The SpoonmanFor the uninitiated, Brian Carlton — best known as The Spoonman — is an Australian shock jock that has been floating around on the radio for many years. US listeners might think of him as Australia’s answer to Tom Leykis; he may be of greater moral character than Leykis in my opinion, but Spoonman has proven to be every bit as controversial.

Up until his late night talk show was cancelled late last year, Triple M released two podcasts featuring Spoonman. The first was the repackaged radio show, and the other the After The Forking Show podcast where Spoonman and his producer and panel operator discussed topical news amongst themselves.

Both these programmes no longer exist, but in 2009 fans were delighted to hear The Spoonman was back with two new daily podcasts. The Editorial podcast, where Spoonman briefly runs through news headlines for the day; and the Random Rave podcast where he discusses news in more depth and answers listener emails.

The purpose of the podcast is to offer a bite sized overview of the day’s news, and to allow Carlton to offer his opinions on the hottest topics. His rants can be self indulgent and his demeanor condescending at times, which will surely rub many people up the wrong way. Even so, this is a quick and easy to keep up on some of the bigger stories in the news. The news itself covers both local and world stores, however the topics tend to be localised to Australia and sometimes to Sydney which may alienate international listeners, or even those outside of New South Wales.

This is sure to be a polarising podcast. He’s the sort of guy you’ll love to hate, and although he consistently makes some insightful and well researched arguments, I’d worry if you agreed with everything that came out of his mouth.

Subscribe to The Spoonman: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review, including samples from the show and a 3 person discussion about the show, in Episode 18 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for The Spoonman
Entertainment value

Can be engaging, but unfortunately without a co-host or listener phone-ins to bounce off of, the show becomes more of an echo chamber than a stimulating discussion.

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Quality of content

The news portion is generally well researched and tightly packaged, but overall the show can feel somewhat disorganised moving between news and politics and arguments over whether a men’s carry bag is emasculating or not. Some may find this variety a good thing, but I found it made the podcast more difficult to get hooked on.

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Production quality

Being from a radio background, Spoonman has the facilities of Triple M behind him, so the show is of excellent quality.

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Overall

There’s a lot to like here, but at the end of the day the programme’s poorly defined target market and localised news makes it difficult to get into. What made Spoonman’s original incarnation so good was not just Spoonman’s opinions, but his listener’s reaction to them. Only getting one side of the conversation just doesn’t work as well, and reading out emails is not an adequate substitute. Hopefully we’ll see services such as Ustream or Talk Shoe used down the track that might bring back more of what we loved about The Spoonman.

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Podwatch #18

Episode 18 of Podwatch is a 3 person review of The Spoonman podcast.

Download Podwatch episode 18

Audio samples from:
Spoonman Random Rave, 23 September 2009
Spoonman Random Rave, 9 September 2009
Spoonman Random Rave, 25 September 2009
Spoonman Random Rave, 10 September 2009

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Podwatch #17

Download Podwatch episode 17

Audio samples from:
Something Live: The Cantab Sessions 1
Something Live: The Cantab Sessions 10
Something Live: The Cantab Sessions 5

Performances:
Ian NoeSign of the Times
Music & Lyrics by Ian Noe. Recorded January 19, 2009.

Danielle MiragliaNo One’s Listening But The Choir
Music & Lyrics by Danielle Miraglia. Recorded September 3, 2007.

Rachel Kiel & Ian SchwartzRecords
Music & Lyrics By Rachel Kiel. Recorded May 5, 2008.

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Review: Something Live

Something LiveGet a group of talented musicians together in one place, get passionate sound man PJ Shapiro to record it, mix it up into a podcast and you have Something Live. Every episode features performances from independent artists that would otherwise exist only in the moment.

I love that this podcast exists. Yes, it’s niche, and there’s a long time to wait between episodes, but where else are you going to hear these inspirational performances from unsigned artists. You can tell that Shapiro has genuine fervor during interviews, and this enthusiasm rubs off on the listener. Couple this with some truly moving performances and you have something that will appeal immensely to its intended audience.

The keyword here, though, is intended audience. I think this podcast is an important one given the current state of the music industry, but not everyone is going to enjoy it. Something Live is for people who love music, and get a kick out of listening to independent artists making music for the right reasons. If you’re expecting a top 40 of unsigned musicians, like a podcasting equivalent to Triple J Unearthed this is not it. Rather, it’s about the lyrics, the music and the expression.

Along with the musical performances, each episode features interviews with the artists who share their experiences and motivations. It makes for interesting listening, as the stories of these artists are far more real and intimate that something you might hear on the radio.

This is a difficult podcast to rate, because if you’re outside of the target audience you’re not going to like the show at all. On the other hand, if you are the target audience, Something Live will prove to be a real gem. I suspect those who would not enjoy this already know who thay are simply my reading my description or listening to the samples I’ve chosen in the audio review. For those who are still with me — check Something Live out, you won’t regret it.

Subscribe to Something Live: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review including samples from the show in Episode 17 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Something Live
Entertainment value
Some amazing performances and engaging interviews. Not every song will appeal to your tastes, but there’s plenty of variety.
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Quality of content
Every episode is packed full of content. Shapiro’s dedication to Something Live’s content is admirable.
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Production quality
Excellent production values, but it’s a pity the episodes don’t come out more often.
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Overall
Something Live is very niche, but that specialised appeal means the target audience will feel even more fortunate to have found it. Those who love music and culture, or fellow musicians looking to learn more about live performances, should subscribe immediately.
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WTF just happened?

I’m not usually one for trashy “yo slept with ma huzband” crap on radio, but the call on episode 142 of the Paul and Rach podcast had me transfixed. It all started with a segment where hosts Paul Murray & Rachel Corbett discussed those people in our lives that we wish we didn’t have to talk to. Soon they went to the phones to ask listeners if they had any stories of people they wish could be cut from their own lives. That’s when things got a little strange.

Listen to the segment on Paul and Rach episode 142 (5min 17sec; MP3)

This episode is currently still available in iTunes if you want to listen for yourself. They’ve also promised follow-ups in later podcasts to try and figure it all out. I find it hard to believe anything when it comes to radio phone-ins, but this one has me pretty convinced.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Hear this and more WTF moments in episode 16 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Podwatch #15

Download Podwatch episode 15

Audio samples from:
Skeptoid: “#54 – The Twin Towers: Fire Melting Steel”
Skeptoid: “#142 – Student Questions: Sugary Behavior, Secondhand Smoke, and Wal-Mart”
Skeptoid: “#123 – Listener Feedback Reloaded”
Dr Karl on Triple J: April 13, 2006

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Review: Skeptoid

SkeptoidIn a world where Fox News exists, it feels as though the media has become a little too credulous these days. Brian Dunning wants to change all that by promoting the art of critical thinking through his 10-minute weekly podcast Skeptoid which casts a skeptical eye on some of the most debated myths and misconceptions going around.

From homeopathy, psychics and creationism to recycling, smoking and McDonald’s, Skeptoid has covered an enormous amount of topics over its almost 200 episodes. Each podcast carefully deconstructs the claim before offering a well researched and easy to understand rebuttal. Although Dunning is not afraid to tackle the big issues, I’ve always found it’s the smaller subjects that are the most fascinating.

The 10 minute format means it takes a very small time investment and leaves the content incredibly rich with information. The downside to this is I’m often left wanting a deeper discussion on the matter. As far as criticisms go, of course, leaving your listeners wanting more is a pretty good problem to have.

Some episodes break format, offering advice for fellow skeptics, such as episode 65 entitled “How to Argue with a Creationist”. There are also episodes where Dunning answers questions from students, and others where he directly responds to listener feedback.

One thing you might notice after listening to Skeptoid for a long while is that the way you look at the world will shift. You will start to spot the logical fallacies in the media or during conversations with friends, which I suspect is exactly what Dunning aims to achieve.

By the way, you can hear an interview with Brian Dunning on episode 4 of the Nonsense podcast, which is longer form podcast along similar lines to Skeptoid and is also recommended.

Subscribe to Skeptoid: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review with audio samples in Episode 15 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Skeptoid
Entertainment value
Depends on your interest in the particular topic for that week, but Skeptoid is always informative and concise.
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Quality of content
Well researched and clearly delivered.
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Production quality
Audio quality is excellent and release schedule incredibly reliable.
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Overall
This podcast can truly change the way you see the world. Even if you disagree with Dunning’s position on a topic, Skeptoid is a pithy programme that will articulate precisely where the scientific community is coming from. It’s also a wonderful resource for teaching institutions looking to promote the art of critical thinking.
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Podwatch #14

Download Podwatch episode 14

Audio samples from:
Josh Thomas and Friend: “Episode 1”
Josh Thomas and Friend: “Episode 14”
Josh Thomas and Friend: “Episode 6”
Josh Thomas and Friend: “Episode 8”

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Review: Josh Thomas and Friend

Josh Thomas and FriendAfter a successful standup carreer, Brisbane born commedian Josh Thomas has become somewhat of a household name in Austraia recently after frequent appearences on Good News Week and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation. The podcast begun shortly before his television career started taking off and is hosted by himself and his friend Tom Ward.

The humor in John Thomas and Friend is unique and will not please everyone, particularly those easily offended. If you don’t mind the language though, Josh and Tom’s quick-witted, edgy conversations are a lot of fun. I would compare their humor to the Ricky Gervais podcasts, with a large portion of the time spent with Josh making fun of Tom, akin to Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant’s back and forth with Karl Pilkinton (not to suggest Tom Ward is in any way as docile and vague as Karl Pilkinton, in fact he gives as well as he recieves).

Unfortunately the podcast’s release schedule has been getting progressively less reliable. there has been some five weeks since the last episode at time of writing. This is understandable given Thomas’ recent career activity, but will prove frustrating for die hard fans.

John Thomas and Friend represents podcasting in its purest form — raw, uncensored and would never be heard on radio or TV. It’s these sort of programmes that demonstrate why online broadcasting is so important, and fills a hole left by mainstream media. It can be a light on content at times, and the release schedule leaves a lot to be desired, but even so it’s an instant classic. Check out an episode or two and if you’re not left feeling horribly offended, you’ll probably enjoy the rest.

Subscribe to Josh Thomas and Friend: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review in Episode 14 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Josh Thomas and Friend
Entertainment value
Edgy and irreverent, Josh and Tom’s banter is a lot of fun to listen to.
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Quality of content
Content is thin at times, and could use a more structured format.
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Production quality
Audio is good, but needs more bumper music.
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Overall
This will not be for everyone, but I found it hilarious. Hopefully the release frequency will pick up steam in the future.
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Podwatch #13

Download Podwatch episode 13

Audio samples from:
The Moth Podcast: “Last Laugh”
The Moth Podcast: “Franny’s Last Ride”
This American Life: “Somewhere Out There” (#374)

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Review: The Moth Podcast

The Moth PodcastThe Moth is a non-profit group based in the United States who are committed to bringing back the art of storytelling. In the podcast, ordinary people take the stage in front of a live audience to tell a story from their lives. These stories typically last around 10-15 minutes and are released every week.

The Moth could be compared to This American LIfe, a podcast I reviewed last year. Both shows feature raw stories from everyday people, and both can be incredibly powerful at times. The difference is that The Moth is a much shorter time investment than This American Life, which may suit some listeners better.

The stories told in The Moth cover a wide range of topics. Some episodes can be funny, others can be incredibly moving. A good example of what kind of stories The Moth can tell is the episode Franny’s Last Ride. In this episode speaker Mike Destefano tells the heart wrenching story of Franny, a girl he met while in a rehibilitation clinic for drug addiction. This episode is no longer in the iTunes store, but but can still download it from here.

This is definitely one for everyone to try. Unlike This American Life, there is less of a time investment required, so those who are unsure can easily throw a few on their iPod to decide whether or not the series is for them.

Subscribe to The Moth Podcast: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review in Episode 13 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for The Moth Podcast
Entertainment value
Most of the time the stories are pithy and enjoyable.
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Quality of content
Some of the most powerful stories out there.
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Production quality
The audio is very raw, but that is part of its charm.
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Overall
Much like This American Life, The Moth Podcast can be hit and miss at times, but it is often beautifully engaging and takes less time investment than it’s NPR counterpart.
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Controversy!

Leo fighting trolls

I know, I know. It’s been a long time. Sorry for the delay between episodes but I am back and ready to go.

So to kick things off for the new season of Podwatch I thought I’d round up a few of the most controversial stories from the podcasting world in the last few months.

So long, 1UP FM

In January Ziff Davis sold its 1UP division to UGO Entertainment, shutting down its print magazine EGM in the process. Popular video game podcast 1UP FM was collateral damage in the fallout. It’s not all bad though because shortly after the dust settled the hosts of 1UP FM formed their own podcast Rebel FM, which is still going strong.

The Screw You Incident

Newly crowned president of the Internet and founder of the TWiT podcasting network Leo Laporte was all over the blogosphere in June in what has become known as The Screw You Incident.

Leo was hosting a live video stream of the podcast The Gillmor Gang on June 6 where he was discussing the new mobile phone the Palm Pre. Anyone who knows Leo will know how important his integrity is to him, so when panelist Mike Arrington of Tech Crunch fame accused him of being swayed by a free review unit of the phone, Leo was understandably upset.

Arrington has since posted an apology on his blog, which Laporte has accepted.

Here’s the video:

Natali Del Conte Responds to Douche bag

Congratulations are in order for CNet’s Buzz Out Loud podcast, reaching its 1000th episode on June 18. Buzz has been through some changes recently, most notable the loss of Molly Wood as a permanent host.

There has been some controversy over her replacement, Natali Del Conte. It was never going to be easy for anyone to follow a personality like Molly Wood, but it didn’t take long after Del Conte’s start on the show before the nasty emails started flooding in, accusing her of being ditzy and only earning her spot because of her looks.

This all came to a head in episode 942 where Natalie confronted one such nasty emailer by reading his email out and responding on air (hear the audio of this in episode 12 of the Podwatch podcast).

This unfortunately seems to be a common issue when it comes to technology blogs and podcasts, but I think by now Natalie has earned her place and proven herself to be more than up to the job.

The Shebang Closes its doors

And finally, Sydney radio show-turned-podcast The Shebang closed its doors and is no longer with us in 2009. When I reviewed it last year I mentioned that it had been steadily declining in quality since Paul Murray joined the team.

So I thought to give them an appropriate send-off by playing an audio snippet from one of the more infamous episodes of the Shebang’s Missed Opportunities Podcast in episode 12 of Podwatch. The Missed Opportunities podcast was a spin-off show where hosts Marty Sheargold and Fifi Box spoke briefly after their main show about whatever was on their mind.

Anyone who listened to the show will know that Marty was not particularly happy with radio management forcing him to record an extra podcast on top of their main show. So in order to get out of the studio as quickly as he could, Marty would try to be as insubordinate as possible until it was time to leave. This is something only Marty Sheargold could get away with.

Hear the audio version of this article in Episode 12 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Review: News podcasts

If you’re anything like me, as the amount of content you download increases, the amount of content you watch on traditional media like TV and radio decreases. For the most part, this is a good thing; you’re no longer tied to a rigid TV schedule, and you no longer have to sit through huge amounts of commercials or songs you’re not interested in. The downside to this lifestyle, though, is that you can very quickly become out of touch with the world around you.

When watching TV or listening to the radio, you are constantly reminded of the latest news headlines. However, with on demand content like podcasts and TV downloads through iTunes or hulu or other sources you must take deliverate steps to expose yourself to world news. With this in mind, today I’m going to present a few news programmes you can subscribe to in order to keep up with what’s going on.

BBC Global News

If you only want to subscribe to one news podcast, this would be a good choice. Compiling news and interviews from Newshour, The World Today and World Briefing, Global News provides a half-hour roundup of the most important global news twice a day.

Subscribe to Global News: Website | iTunes | RSS

Guardian Daily / Guardian Weekly

The Guardian’s podcasts provide a summary of the biggest headlines. The podcast comes in two flavours: Guardian Daily, a 30-minute version delivered every weekday; and Guardian Weekly, also 30 minutes long, but released once a week and features only the biggest stories and interviews.

Subscribe to Guardian Weekly: Website | iTunes | RSS

Subscribe to Guardian Daily: Website | iTunes | RSS

National Nine News

Nine is an Australian commerical TV network, and they offer a video podcast version of their programme each weekday. The good news is this is a full version of the National Nine News bulletin. The bad news is this is the full version of the National Nine News bulletin. Nine news certianly hasn’t fallen to the depths of Fox News, but they’re abseiling down pretty fast.

Actually, I’m being a little harsh here, because the truth is Nine’s podcast is actually much better than the TV version. The podcast version is only around 10 minutes long, which means they’ve stipped out a lot of the fluff stories that make the regular programme so cringeworthy.

Subscribe to National Nine News: Website | iTunes | RSS

Fox News

Don’t ever let me catch you downloading any Fox News podcast.

Subscribe to Fox News: Over my dead body.

Hear the audio version of this article in Episode 11 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Podwatch #10

Download Podwatch episode 10

Subscribe to Podwatch: iTunes | RSS

Review: The Tech Guy

Anyone who follows tech news will know of Leo Lapotre. From ZDTV to Tech TV to Radio and now to podcasting, Leo is one of the most loved tech broadcasters in the world. Leo is largely responsible for the growth of podcasting in its early days, so it seems fitting that the first of his many podcasts I review is The Tech Guy, seeing as this was available as a downloadable audio file long before podcasting as we know it existed.

The show runs for around 2 hours twice a week and follows a simple format whereby listeners can call up Leo and ask him a tech related question. These questions range dramatically, from super-geeky questions about network setups or bleeding edge gadgets, to grandmas asking how to transfer their VHS tapes to DVD. This range gives the show variety and means both geeks and non-geeks alike will get something out of it. Certainly, you need to be interested in technology to enjoy it, but you don’t need to know anything about technology to find this podcast useful.

Also, if you are tech-savvy, there is a perverse pleasure in listening to clueless n00b callers ;)

The Tech Guy’s biggest problem is the audio quality, which suffers from echo whenever Leo talks with callers on the line, and the release schedule, which is sporadic at best. Still, this is an excellent show and one that those wanting to learn more about technology should all listen to.

UPDATE: The echo issue appears to have been fixed in recent podcasts.

Website | RSS | iTunes

Ratings for The Tech Guy
8/10 Entertainment value
Sometimes slow moving, but generally entertaining and full of useful information for all experience levels.
10/10 Quality of content
Leo’s advice is always spot-on, and he does a great job at delivering the latest in tech news in an accessible way. The show also features regular 10 minute guests who cover photography tips, security news, and home theatre tips.
7.5/10 Production quality
A radio show, so well produced, though the bumper music between segments goes for a long time. You almost wish there were commercials so you had something more interesting to listen to. Also, there is noticeable echo whenever Leo talks to a caller, which is very distracting. The problem has been acknowledged and is an unavoidable issue because of the way the system is set up, but it is nevertheless an annoying issue.
8/10 Overall
I feel the geeky and the non-geeky alike will get a lot out of this programme, but it is a big time investment, so you do need to be interested.

The Real Reason Why People Continue to Pirate Music

I’ll start by stating the obvious: downloading music illegally is cheaper and easier than the alternative. The question, though, is why do people continue to pirate even with the scare campaigns and tougher laws? It happens that on a recent Hamish And Andy podcast, one of the main reasons for why people don’t care about music piracy came painfully clear to me.

Early in the podcast titled “Best of Friday 4th April”, Hamish and Andy interviewed Australian popstar Vanessa Amorosi about her new album. As a bit of fun, the pair played a game with Amorosi whereby they would build “the perfect man” by using components of various well known male identities such as Robin Williams and Jack Black. Mildly amusing, the segment continued, this time the category was personality, for which Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was chosen. Following is a transcript, or MP3 File if you’d prefer:

Hamish: What have we got next, Ando?
Andy: OK, we’ve got ‘Personality of…’

Hamish: Hmm, personality of Kevin Rudd. So, whilst he’s very cut, very sensible to you on the phone while you’re on tour…
Amorosi: Kevin Rudd? Sorry, explain.
Hamish & Andy: The Prime Minster.
Amorosi: Oh, my god! The guy with the glasses! Why did I think he was a football player for a second?

Download MP3 File (0:49, 384kb)

Now, I’m sure there are quite a few people overseas who don’t know the Australian Prime Mister’s name, but if you don’t know the leader of the country you are living in, there is something seriously wrong.

So what does this have to do with music piracy? The fact is people don’t care about pirating music because they don’t care about the artist. You are more inclined to spend money on an artist that you know writes their own lyrics and plays their own music because you want to support them — you want the music you love to keep coming. The problem with artists like Amorosi, however, is that she has little talent herself, and its comments like this that prove if it weren’t for the record label pumping money into her marketing and writing her songs and her music, she would not have made it to be the celebrity she is today.

I’m not trying to sound self-righteous, or begin a support-indie-music rant — anyone who knows me will know that I have followed some pretty tragic pop artists in my time — I simply wanted to take this chance to articulate the root of people’s flippant attitude towards piracy. Perhaps if record companies spent time finding real artists with real talent, consumers would respect them more, and feel a stronger compulsion to invest in their success.

Hear the audio version of this article in Episode 11 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download