Thursday, October 09, 2008


I did a Harris online survey awhile back that asked about my ipod usage, and it was an excellent example of bad survey design, because after I answered that I had 29 days worth of material on my ipod, the survey asked me to identify what % of that was devoted to which genre of music, and the system crashed when I entered "0" for each category. Because at the moment, I have no music whatsoever on my ipod; it's all podcasting. Stupidly, the survey assumed ipod usage = music, and there was no "podcast" or "talk-radio" or even "other" option available. Good example of bad design: you have to know all the possible options before sending out a survey.

One reason I have 29 days worth of material is that I seldom get a chance to listen: I'm either working my day job or looking after the kids; and even car time tends to be devoted to the kid's radio choices, rather than my own. So the one nice thing about spending all these weekends cleaning Doug's condos was the opportunity to listen to some of my podcast backlog on my ipod as I worked. This last weekend I was able to catch up with the entire run of:

Quirks and Quarks (CBC) best science show around (and thanks to podcasting, I can listen to most of the world's English language science shows, so I know whereof I speak

The Moth True stories told in front of an audience without a script -- moving and/or funny stuff

Big Ideas (TVO) Like CBC's ideas, but better, because it's just the one speaker rather than soundbites gathered by a producer/interviewer on some topic. Lecturers are often huge names in their fields, and often household names. Always engaging, often profoundly informative.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! (NPR) a hilarious news quiz show with the likes of Paula interviews celebrities about topics they can't possibly know about (segment is called "Not my Job", while panelists try to identify which of three news stories is the true one, or complete limricks based on news items or etc. Very often very very funny.

The Vinyl Cafe (CBC) Stuart McLean Enough said.

Comedy Factory (CBC) Recylced comedy bits from all the CBC newshows etc that use comedy bits (e.g., The Current, DNTO, etc.) Tends to be short show (15 minutes) and ranges from mildly amuzing to hilarious.

I'm also a big fan of:
TedTalks World's top thinkers on infinite range of topics -- e.g., fascinating talk on setting up stock exchange commodities market in Ethiopia to what's wrong with schools to menes to whatever

Spark (CBC) Interesting show on cyberculture, if you're into that
John Cleese Podcast (irregular on again off again show, but hey, it's John Cleese talking about stuff. Some brilliant stuff, some longwinded rambling.

Onion News Network (Video) Best (& most vicious) satire on the web.

Anyone out there have any other suggestions for "must listen"s.

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