Recommended Tech Podcasts

I think podcasts are a great way of keeping up with a topic in that otherwise dead brain time when you’re travelling to work, washing the dishes and cleaning the floor. Here’s a few of the best that don’t focus on any one particular technology I’ve found over the last few years.

Security Now (feed)

Since 2005, Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte have been talking security each week. You’ll get a summary of any high-impact or interesting security news, deep dives on technical topics and listener Q&As. You also get detailed show notes and full transcriptions of each podcast at grc.com, a service that has proved useful more than once in referring back to something I’d heard.

This is the place I first heard about Heartbleed and Shellshock. Steve’s discussion of HTTP/2 is both in-depth and straightforward, explaining a few details I’d missed in my own reading. The politics around security, privacy, advertising and encryption are also often a topic of discussion, and he recently explained how to use three dumb routers to securely operate IoT devices at home.

Episodes

Weekly, 1-2 hours. Summary of news early in the episode, deep dives later.

Recommended For

If you work in tech, you should be listening to this. If you don’t. but you have any interest at all in computers, you’ll probably get a lot out of it too.

Software Engineering Radio (feed)

‘The Podcast for Professional Software Developers’ has been working with IEEE Software since 2012, but has been broadcasting interviews with software industry luminaries since 2006. This is where I first learnt about REST, way back in 2008. More recently, the episodes on Redis, innovating with legacy systems, and marketing myself (which is why I’m making an effort to blog regularly!) really got me thinking.

Episodes

A little variable in timing, but normally at least one per month. 1-2 hours per episode, short introduction then straight on to the interview.

Recommended For

No prizes for guessing ‘Software Developers’. I think this is great podcast for broadening your awareness of what’s going on out there outside whatever area you’re focussing on.

CodePen Radio (feed)

CodePen lets you write and share code with others, but that’s largely incidental to the podcast. Instead, the founders Chris Coyier, Alex Vasquez and Tim Sabat talk about the challenges and choices they face building and running CodePen. One of the things I like is the discussion of mistakes and compromises – it’s food for thought and makes me feel better about the mistakes and compromises I make!

They cover a variety of topics around running a site like CodePen. They talk about how their ‘Recent Activity’ feature works, switching from running their own database to using Amazon’s RDS, and how they deal with edge cases. They also talk about the business side of things, like hiring people and getting funding.

Episodes

2-4 episodes per month. A minute or two for introductions, moving on to main topic.

Recommended For

Detailed, practical insights into building and operating a small, successful tech company in 2016, so if this is something you do or want to do, I’d listen to this.

Developer Tea (feed)

Jonathan Cutrell produces ten-minute interviews and advice snippets for developers. He’s talked about prototypes, focus and ensuring professionalism. I think of this one as the super-short-form version of SERadio.

Episodes

10 minutes, 2-3 times weekly. Short intro, then content.

Recommended For

Software developers, maybe designers. The short format might work for you or not – I personally find it doesn’t seem to stick as well as the longer podcasts. I think a lot of the advice here is aimed at early-career developers, but still worthwhile for later career if you have time.

Wrapping Up

Have I missed any great podcasts along these lines? Let me know!

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The Joy of Podcasts

Since I won an Apple iPod thing in a raffle last year, I’ve discovered the joy of podcasts.

It’s not the jump-up-and-down-singing kind of joy you might get if you thought you were out of beer and then found an ice-cold bottle of amber nectar behind a melon at the back of the fridge, but it’s not bad for free.

It’s good enough that these days I forgoe the tram in favour of enjoying a 50-minute walk to and then from work (much to my better half’s bewilderment at the apparent insanity of it) so that I can catch up with my listening.

Sharing what I listen to and why I like it’ll make good blog fodder, I figured – and make me have a look around and what’s new and out there that I’ve missed so far. Rather than write a loooong post on all the podcasts I listen to, I’m just going to give a quick review of the one that is probably the one I look forward to most right now, and follow up with others later.

So my pick of the day is… drum roll…

PRI’s The World: Technology

The WebsiteThe Feed

Clark Boyd produces a compelling weekly show clocking in around the 30-minute mark each week.

What’s Good

Mix leaning towards technology, but with regular diversions into other relevant subjects – last year there was a great story about the challenges in delivering AIDS drugs to where they’re needed in Africa.

The technology stories often consider political and social implications, making this a more rounded podcast than most I listen to.

Always great sound quality and clean production.

There are regular features, and Clark’s delivery reminds of a good radio show.

What’s Not So Good

Can’t fault it. Definitely one of my favourites.