Finding myself with a 90-mile commute (each way) this week, I loaded up the iPod mini with some good stuff, popped new triple-As into the Belkin wireless thingy, and rolled down the fabled asphalt of Route 128 (aka Satan’s Highway) happy as could be.
Here’s what I listened to in the past 24 hours.
The Gillmor Gang: The August 18th edition, aka the "Silicon Valley Gang", guests were former-PC Week colleague Sam Whitmore, father of the Closet Deadhead podcast and editor of the Sam Whitmore Media Survey, along with Ron Bloom, the man (along with Adam Curry) behind Podshow, the startup best known for getting $8 million from Kleiner and Sequoia. Pretty good discussion on podcast revenue models, audience aggregation, the obligatory long-tail references, and snarkiness over MSM, incumbent publishers, and usual kvetching. Whitmore is most trenchant.
John Markoff: ITConversations presents a two-part show from the SDForum featuring John Markoff, NYT tech editor and author of "What the Dormouse Said", his excellent book about the origins of the PC industry and the confluence of pyschedelics, the counterculture, and geeks. Part one is John being John (funny, dry) and part two is a panel of the gods he profiles. Great cameo appearance in the audience by Doug Englebart. Read the book.
[random user insights: long commutes call for long podcasts. The three shows described above neatly fit the 90-mile drive time — including the usual cell phone interruptions. I prefer stuff that fills the car for an hour or more. Two-minute podcasts suck. 15 minutes is fine. Diddling an iPod at 80 mph with bad eyesight is a recipe for an airbag in the face.]
[[second random user insight: someone needs to acquire The Learning Company, the guys who tape university professors and publish the results on CD and cassette, and move them to a podcast model. I would definitely pay for the right to listen to smart people. My radio is becoming more useless by the week. BBC World Update at 5 am may give me all I need to know about Darfur and Gaza, but every day? Please. Teach me something!]]
And further proof of the power of the medium colliding with the fetish of the niche — another great podcast I listened to recently was on the topic of "radonneuring" and "brevets" — the act of riding bicycles insanely long distances against the clock. Paul Guttenberg will tell you what you need to know about riding a cycle 1,200 kilometers (about 750 miles) in one go. This is my personal goal for 2006 – to complete the Boston-Montreal-Boston ride in order to qualify for the next Paris-Brest-Paris ride, the granddaddy of cycling events.