Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
I've always seen a value inpodcasting(despite apparently writing to the contraryhereonmy old blog). But until this week I'd mostly grasped that value as an abstract, as something forother people. Despite being fullyiPod-ified, broadband-ed and all the rest, regularly listening to spoken word podcasts simply never really worked for me.
I often work best when listening to music, either off my iPod or straight from myPowerBook. Replace music with the spoken word, though, and my productivity plummets. I can't concentrate on my work. I can't concentrate on the words in my ears. Nothing gets done. Setting aside quiet timejustto listen to a podcast works little better. They're all too long, and I can't seem to focus my attention on listening to disembodied voices for more than about ten minutes. I miss the facial expressions and body movements of the speaker. I miss the flicker of slide transitions. My attention drifts, and I turn to read an RSS feed (sorry, 'web feed') or two.
The change came with anew car. A car withSDslots. A car with SD slots that can read and play .mp3 files. Now I simply download podcasts of interest, copy them to an SD card, pop it into the car, and listen as I drive. It's great (so long as it doesn't clash withTodaybeing broadcast to the car radio anyway, of course). I'm a convert.
Now all I need to do is find or write anAutomatorscript to streamline the process;itshould download new podcasts of interest when they become available, wipe old shows off the SD card, and copy the new ones over. All without me having to do any more than pop the card into my computer.
Oh, and I need a much bigger SD card.
For any North American reader about to tell me I should have been using aniTripall along... their use istechnically illegalin the UK, and our FM spectrum is so densely populated that I understand they don't work that well on the move anyway. Gadgets like theSmartDeckwouldn't have worked either; I haven't had a car with a cassette deck for years. As for burning them to a CD, which I certainlycouldhave done, this always seemed too much like hard work, andfeels(despiteCD-RW) more permanent than I need or want.
And the moral of that story is... people are different. Many thousands of people are happily downloading podcasts from theiTunes Storeand elsewhere, and listening to them every day. Formeto gain the benefit of podcast content, I needed to find ways to fit it into my life, rather than changing my life to fit the new delivery platform.
As I live a two hour drive from the offices of thecompanyI'll be working for from Monday, I can see me listening to an awful lot ofIT Conversations...