Monday, 27 July 2015

(Mostly Mobile) Tech Podcasts


I like listening to podcasts. Here are some of the mostly mobile tech podcasts I follow (or don't) together with links to their XML feeds or sites. The BBC, so strong in most things radio, seems to have bowed out of the fight when it comes to tech podcasting and several of the non-BBC podcasts below have a real Radio 4 feel about them.
There's a little review of each but if you can't be bothered reading these you can scroll down to the bottom of the page, scoff at, say "pfff" or something worse of or perhaps even agree with my top three. It's all for fun and if you are a presenter and your podcast hasn't made my top three, thanks anyway for your stuff because creativity takes time and your efforts are appreciated if the content isn't always (by me).

Read on MacDuff...


Steve Litchfield and Rafe Blandford

This is the thinking man's or woman's guide to Windows mobile tech. They seemed to have settled now for two presenters.  It is so civilised and sounds like the kind of tech podcast the BBC should be making (but aren't). It has arguably the finest radio presenter in the business in the genial Rafe Blandford. I have the feeling that he is on the way to even greater things and we are catching him at the beginning of a mainstream TV/radio career. The BBC should snap him up. Makes my top four tech podcasts. See below.


Steve Litchfield, Ted Salmon, Gavin Fabiani-Laymond, David Markrich

This is another thinking man's or woman's guide, this time to general mobile tech. Civilised, knowledgeable and charming. Makes my top four tech podcasts. See below.

David Markrich and Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

Good humoured and congenial conversation from two presenters who know their tech stuff. It's gone monthly and I have the feeling it will soon disappear as its presenters go off to do other things. (Updated on July 18 2015. Indeed, this podcast seems to have disappeared and replaced by a 404 error message.)

Created by Ben Smith of Wireless Worker and co-hosted by Ewan MacLeod of Mobile Industry Review and Rafe Blandford

One of those 'strength to strength' podcasts. The chemistry is just right. If BBC producers listened and learned how to do it and we would be spared the weakening and over-earnest 'Tech Tent' and the irretrievably dire 'Click'.  Entertainingly waspish and never better than when the panellists are having a go at each other. High wittertainment factor. Constant leg-pulling of Rafe Blandford - the others claim he lives on an landed estate with servants in attendance etc. Very high technical knowledge evident on the panel and it has Rafe, one of the gentlemen of the industry.

Luke Westaway and others.

Suffers from the presenters feeling they have to turn every news item into a "larf". I wish they wouldn't do this. It gives it a lads-down-the-pub feel all the time. Gave up listening to it for this reason. I must listen to this again sometime to see whether it has improved...
Well, I did listen again but  it still has the lads-down-the-pub feel . It might be your thing. It isn't mine. One presenter starting crooning in a silly voice as they went through their intros. I'll try listening again one day. 

One day.

Darien Graham-Smith, Tim Danton, Sasha Muller, Vaughn Highfield, Tom McMullan, Jonathan Bray

It occasionally lacks a little needed "edge" if Tim Danton is missing. And Barry Collins has never been properly replaced. If you're reading this, Barry, do, do please return. Sadly, I feel I have to demote this from my now top three Tech podcasts for the simple reason that there is an increasing use of "uptalk" on the podcast. Here's a YouTube video to explain what "uptalk" is and why it ruins what you have to say. (Darien is not guilty of uptalk - one or two others are.)


Kevin Wright, Nick Robinson and Richard Yates

It has a presenter who moans such a lot in a mighty Ipswich accent and claims not to be a fruit-related company name fanboy. I'll leave you to be the judge of the latter. The gushing adulation of Apple by the lead presenter has been getting steadily worse of late and the podcast is beginning to get a little cringeworthy and predictable because of it. Richard Yates is a splendid sometime addition to the team and provides some much needed balance.

Tech Weekly podcast

 
Presented by Samuel Gibbs, Simon Barnard, Martin Love and Hannah Jane Parkinson.

The whole programme has seen a re-launch in a 'magazine' format sans Alex Krotoski. It has also entered the dark age of Uptalk. I tried to listen but it was no good and I couldn't continue. To experience Uptalk for yourself just imitate Hannah Jane Parkinson; one of the best exponents of Uptalk on the air, ever. 

In case you don't know Uptalk, just say 

My name is [insert your name] and let your voice rise at the end as if you're not sure what your name is and as if you are frightened you are upsetting your listener by telling him or her what your name is and as if you desperately want them to agree with you what your name is but most of all as if you desperately want your listener to like you. 
    
This is the Guardian tech podcast for dedicated Guardianistas everywhere. And why not? As Barry Norman used to say. Expect lots of stories about women making it big in the Tech world. Hooray! And lots of stories about university computing departments being full of males. Boo! It can also get a bit sweary if any Guardianista hate figure or theme (e.g. er? pornography? sexism?) features in a news story. It experiences often a bewildering change of personnel and so lacks any kind of structure or continuity. Occasionally it does get really quite boring especially when they do a "one-off" podcast, yet again, such as a whole programme interview... yet again. No signs of improvement. When Charles Arthur comes on it perks up but he never does these days. 

Click


The show is currently presented by Gareth Mitchell and with expert comments from Bill Thompson.

I wrote a savage review about this and then deleted it. Suffice it to say this podcast is not for me. Here's a bit I didn't redact...

It takes a lot to put me off a tech podcast but this show manages it. I no longer listen. I can't bear it. Where to start? If you remember Blue Peter in the 60s and 70s, Petra the dog, the Blue Peter Garden and Ukrainian folk dancers endlessly appearing in the studio you will get a feel for this podcast is put together. The aforementioned represented what the Beeb decided children liked. This podcast is what the BBC think appeals to techie listeners and if it doesn't, well it jolly well should do.  A by-the-way, the expert Bill Thompson sounds uncannily and spookily like Charles Arthur from the Guardian. On its website Click is described as "BBC’s flagship technology programme". Ora pro nobis.
I MUST bring myself to listen to this again. I will steel myself and do it. I want to be fair.


Wired.co.uk podcast


Liat Clark, Katie Collins, James Temperton and Michael Rundle

Nate Lanxon reminded me of Alan Partridge. Sorry, I couldn't help it. He did. Olivia left the show to go the Mirror. A loud boo. The show reached a dizzying peak when suddenly it was left in the hands of its three female presenters in summer 2014. The chemistry of these three women giggling with some hefty technical insight to boot at stuff going on in the tech world was very, very good. Condé Nast should have taken note of how well the podcast worked sans Nate but didn't.

Suddenly, out of the blue, one day we found ourselves listening to "Nate's last podcast" and then he was gone...

Someone once wrote in suggesting Liat did an audio book. Yes, oh yes.

It's gone a little more serious but in a good way. You miss Liat when she isn't there, which happens too often. It has still never recaptured the heights of Summer 2014 with 3 female presenters in charge.

Tech Tent


Rory Cellan-Jones

Lacks something. Perhaps this podcast is trying too hard and doesn't sound laid-back enough. I don't know. I'm not a radio producer. (Also, BBC World Service podcasts as a rule are rarely as good as those on Radio 4 - they're too generic - just compare 'More or Less' Radio 4 and WS versions.)

 No improvement  so I stopped listening. I'll try again later in the year.

 Drum rollllllllllllllllllll.....................

The Top three Podcasts of 2015

(tough call - all are very good)


1) The 361 Degrees Podcast

2) All About Windows Phone

3) The Phones Show Chat


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