This Week in Podcasts

I made it to Thursday afternoon with only three episodes here, as woefully underpopulated as last week’s issue had been. But then, as they say, a miracle happened: all of a sudden every show I turned on wowed me, and before I knew it, I had the sprawling list you see stretched out before you. A sprawling list of, as usual, the best podcasts curated from those I listened to over this last week; it doesn’t get much better than this. Unfortunately though, I forgot to post it on Sunday: Mothers’ Day got the best of me, I suppose. Sorry — but let me assure you, this will be worth your wait.

Technical Difficulties Episode 24: Text Editors and Plain Text. Although slightly outdated given the rapidly-changing nature of text editors and the platforms on which they run, I found this a very interesting discussion on the state of plain text and the future of Markdown both. Although I’m not sure a bundled format is the solution to the problem of limited features facilitated by simple plain text files, it is nevertheless an interesting thought exercise to consider the ways in which this format could be improved.

Technical Difficulties Episode 25: Design and Fighter Jets. Gabe Weatherhead had Nate Hess on to talk about design and how its principles apply to everything from simple colors and typography to infinitely complex airplanes.

Technical Difficulties Episode 29: Myke Hurley and Building a New Career. Back when Myke Hurley used to be British, he sat down with Gabe and Eric Hess to talk about his journey into podcasts and the future of this beloved medium. I have heard this story a hundred times before, and I could listen to it a hundred times more.

The Tech.pinions Podcast Episode 03: Amazon Smartphones. In the second episode of Tech.pinion’s recently-revived podcast, Ben Bajarin, Bob O’Donnell, and Jan Dawson talk about the seemingly inevitable Amazon smartphone, the future of this space in light of Amazon’s impending entrance, and how that company could choose to differentiate its offering in a space crowded by entrenched players. I will not spoil their conclusion, but I will say this: everyone looking to Amazon to make a phone with a better camera than everyone else completely misses the point.

The Voicemail Episode 97. In the latter section of this week’s The Voicemail, Stefan Constantinescu and James Whatley devoted a fair amount of time to giving one of their listeners some helpful suggestions as to what makes for a great podcast. Namely, good audio gear and high production values, with optional tertiary aspects such as time limits contingent on personal preference and editing that, once again, ought to be applied — or not — according to the convictions of the producer. Not to dredge up an old argument, but that’s how Harry Marks should have put forth his thoughts on what makes a podcast good: as suggestions rather than hard and fast rules. James and Stephan did this very well.

Systematic Episode 94: Work Overload With David Chartier. From last week that I somehow forgot to mention earlier, Brett Terpstra had David Chartier on to talk about Agile Bits, 1Password, and finding a work/life balance when you have many interests and trouble denying any one of them. I will come out and admit it — I’m terrible at this: I leave my house just after six every morning, work all day, get home between three and four o’clock, hit the gym for an hour, and then spend whatever time I have left in the day at my computer reading and writing. But this, right now, is where my passion lies, and so — at least for now — I have no desire to deny it.

Systematic Episode 95: Robert McGinley Myers — Tech Anxiety. Brett had a great talk with Robert Myers this week on, among other things, creativity. In particular, I found Robert’s blogging saga especially impactful given that I just went through the same thing: just as he plodded along with mediocre results until, one day, his site exploded in popularity after a popular blogger turned his fire hose of a readership towards Robert’s site, so, too, did my blog climb to minor renown after Jim Dalrymple linked to it; and just as Robert used the ensuing enthusiasm to create like he never had before, as I chose to as well, only to then burn himself out shortly after, I met with the same fate earlier this week. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in this.

Stratechery.fm Episode 04: Twitter, Secret, and Yik Yak. Fantastic episode on Twitter, social networks, and anonymity vis a vis Secret and Yik Yak. As I have said in the past, to further explain this episode would be to do it a great disservice, so I will simply leave you with this: unsurprisingly, the latest episode of Ben Thompson and Jon Nathanson’s podcast is a must if you have any interest in this space. Fascinating.

CMD+SPACE 95: Playing It Cool, with Dan Moren. Just an all-around great interview between podcasting kingpin Myke Hurley and Dan Moren.

Debug Episode 35: Scotty on NSConference and RemObjects. Speaking of great interviews, Guy English and Rene Ritchie had Steve Scott on to talk about handling nuclear waste and automating prisons, as well as NSConference and his other ventures. Scott has had one interesting career, that’s for sure.

The Prompt Episode 47: What’s a Cupcake?. With Myke back, he, Federico, and Stephen talk iOS 8 wishes, give a preview of some realistic WWDC predictions, and discuss the reasons App.net failed — because that is exactly what happened, make no mistake. After the aforementioned episode of Stratechery.fm, this is a great complement focusing on the other side of the social coin.

Until next week, friends.