Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Podcast Review: 8Quotes - Motivational Quote Podcast

8Quotes - Motivational Quote Podcast

Overview: Some man (I really truly tried to find out who he is!) reads eight motivational/inspirational quotes. He has a pleasant voice.

Passion Factor: It must take lots of time to research and decide what quotes to use, and then type them up on the blog.

Sound Quality: All right

Sound Levels: Medium low. Elements are the same volume.

Type of music: Intro and outro upbeat techno stuff.

My prudish rating: G

Time: 2-3 minutes

Frequency: Almost every day

Web Site: 8Quotes Podcast Blog. Has a 1-month archive of shows and all the quotes typed out for these shows. You can listen to these episodes just by clicking on the link also. Today, most of the other links are broken. If you go to the bottom of the first post, there is a link to 8Quotes.com, where you'll find a few early shows and links to other places. The "Archive" here link takes you back to the blog.

My Humble Opinion: This is a fine little podcast to get your head into a motivated state. It's a bit annoying that the guy (whoever he is...) asks for money at the very beginning and at the very end.

Why It's Off My Earbuds: The intro and outro music is a catchy computer-generated bubbly little thing. Once I hear it, it goes around and through and crosswise through my brain, and I can hardly concentrate on the reading of the quotes. Then the tune won't go away for 30 minutes or so. This is only because I'm weird and has nothing to do with the fine quotes, I think.
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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sorry for duplicates

Sorry for duplicating the reviews from my other blog. I decided they need their own page!

Podcast Review: The Rev Up Review

Overview: RevMaster Paul S. Jenkins reviews science fiction (he calls it speculative fiction) from just about every medium. Usual segments are:
  • Reviews of magazines, books, podcasts, movies, etc., but not all at once...
  • Rants on any subject that's bugging him at the moment
  • The Plot Thingy, an experimental collaborative short story
  • Short reviews of classical concerts he attends
  • A musical selection or two
  • Serialized readings from fiction Paul writes
  • I hope I didn't leave anything out!
Passion Factor: Paul puts a lot of time and thought into his reviews, and shares his honest opinions.

Sound Quality: Fine

Sound Levels: Medium. Volume is even across all segments.

Type of music: Varies. Mostly rock or ambient-like.

My prudish rating: PG.

Time: 30-45 minutes. Usually about 30 minutes.

Frequency: Every 2-6 weeks or so. Usually every 3 weeks.

Web Site: The Rev Up Review. A basic repository of comprehensive show notes with click-able links to everything in each podcast, which is important when you want to check out the music or something Paul talked about. You can listen to all past episodes right from the site.

My Humble Opinion: When the RUR comes out, it goes to the top of my listening list. Paul has a dry, witty way about him that I just love. His rants are polite objections to little things that ought to be fixed. And his fiction is top-notch. Also, you should check out his hilarious "Sci Fi Definitions You Didn't Need To Know" segments on Slice of SciFi!
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Podcast Review: Cast On

Cast On

Brenda Dayne talks about knitting, spinning and fiber. The show has essays related to the current "season" topic, guest essays, "Today's Sweater" (the backstory of an object Brenda knit), music, a little knitting- or fiber-related news and bits about her life.

Passion Factor: Brenda's style makes me feel like she's a mentor and a friend.

Sound Quality: Excellent

Sound Levels: Medium-high. All elements are the same volume.

Production Quality: High. This podcast sets the bar and I compare other podcasts to its sound and production values. Brenda could get a job as a sound engineer if she wanted to!

Type of music: Varies, but mostly acoustic folky stuff. Songs relate to the topic. Some comedy, even a rap song about knitting.

My prudish rating: PG-13. Brenda rarely utters a curse, but she's been known to do it. If you are offended by graphic descriptions of anatomically correct knitted dolls and bags, you should probably skip those episodes.

Time: 45-60 minutes.

Frequency: Weekly, with "seasons" of ten weeks or so, then she takes a break for a few weeks and comes back for another "season".

Web Site: Cast-On. A blog with excellent show notes with clickable links to items and music for each episode. There are links to other knitting and non-knitting podcasts, her sponsors, and other stuff. You can comment on each episode, leave a voice mail, and send wordy or monetary contributions.

My Humble Opinion: Well, if you can't tell already, I absolutely love this show. Brenda often makes me laugh out loud and occasionally makes me cry. I've shared parts of her podcasts with my non-knitting friends. I usually learn ways to make my knitting better. Many times she says what I was thinking, but so much more wise and witty that I might just let her speak for me from now on. If you're not a knitter, you should at least listen to her intro. It's that cool.
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Podcast Review: Basscast


Overview: David Burgess and a guest bassist listen to music and evaluate mostly electric and sometimes upright bass players. Actually it's more than that, more or less in this order:
  • There are tracks from the guest bassist (solo or with a band)
  • Maybe some bass news, or gear and equipment news
  • Tracks for the featured album or bass player with background and comments from David and his guest
  • "Step Back in Time" segment, which could be an album or an overview of a bass player's career and life, again with background and comments from David and his guest. This part also includes music
Passion Factor: David and his guests tell you why they like something, get kind of mushy when appropriate, and do a pretty thorough job on the selected topics for each episode.

Sound Quality: Great

Sound Levels: Medium. There is a little difference in the volume between speech and music.

Type of music: Rock, punk, fusion, jazz, heavy metal, alternative; just about everything but classical

My prudish rating: PG-13 for occasional cussing. No sex or violence (except for the fact that when you listen to the bass, you'll feel violently sexy, so be careful)

Time: From 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Frequency: Every 2 or 3 weeks or so

Web Site: There is not really a web site, and the link in iTunes just takes you to an admin place. The real place to go is the Basscast area at the Talk Bass forums where there are notes and discussion on each episode. You'll have to register if you want to post comments. There are not any links here, but notes on what was in each episode. This makes it necessary to copy and paste and search for albums you might want to buy, which is not fun for lazy clickers like me. On the other hand, I'd rather hear this in-depth podcast than have an intuitive website, if it's a choice between one or the other.

My Humble Opinion: I enjoy this show, even when David plays music I've never wondered about. I appreciate it when he constructively criticizes tracks - when he doesn't like something, he says so. I always learn something new, and I've learned to listen more effectively. And hooray when he yells at producers when they don't put enough bass in the mix! Maybe somebody will listen to him.
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Podcast Review: Galactica Actual

Galactica Actual

Overview: Tony Torres with Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi channel) news, reviews of episodes, character analysis, fan activities and rumors.

Passion Factor: Tony loves BSG and does a lot of research for news and other ways for us to geek out over the show.

Sound Quality: The opening music is distorted but Tony's voice is fine. Some episodes have distorted music but Tony has been improving his sound quality over time.

Sound Levels: The music and sound effects are louder than Tony's voice.

Type of music: Battlestar Galacitca of course! Bear McCreary

My prudish rating: PG-13 I guess... Only because when you talk about BSG, you're going to talk about sex and violence and political intrigue and cigar smoking.

Time: Around 30 minutes

Frequency: Every 2 or 3 weeks or so. Tony is not on hiatus like the show is, hooray.

Web Site: Galactica Actual has lots of cool stuff going on. There's a forum to connect with other fans of the podcast, an archive section to download old podcast episodes, great show notes with links to what Tony talked about, and links to other BSG stuff. It's very slick and easy to get around. You can also listen to episodes directly from the site (I recommend subscribing in a podcatcher so you never miss anything).

My Humble Opinion: A great show, great research, great music. I look forward to each episode and listen right away. And if you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica, go rent it immediately, and then listen to this podcast!
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Podcast Review: History According to Bob

History According to Bob

Overview: Nothing fancy, just a guy talking about history. Each episode sticks to one subject, but the subject is explored in as many episodes as necessary. Every so often Bob answers questions from listeners. At the end of each episode, he gives sources if you'd like to read further. There are only several episodes available at iTunes. A show as popular as Bob's will cost him megabucks for hosting and bandwidth, so he has to take episodes down in order to keep a roof over his head. See Website below.

Passion Factor: It's obvious that Bob loves history and teaching. And it's obvious that he's done his research and knows what he's talking about. He isn't afraid to tell his opinion about any subject, which is refreshing in this pc world.

Sound Quality: Fine

Sound Levels: Medium. Levels don't change within the episode, hooray.

Type of music: None

My prudish rating: PG... no cussing, but some episodes are a tiny bit racy (like the series on famous mistresses)

Time: from 8-25 minutes. Usually around 15-20 minutes.

Frequency: daily.

Web Site: Past episodes are available for purchase on cd, and some popular past episodes are
available for listening now on the Archive tab. There is a little advertising on the front page, and a little more on the Partners page. (Clicking on these ads will make Bob a few pennies.) Also on the Partners page are links to other podcasts. It's a spiffy and intuitive site.

My Humble Opinion: I love this podcast and listen to almost every episode.
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Podcast Listening: Basic iTunes

If you're still using dial-up (how quaint!) for your internet, then it's probably best for you to forget about listening to podcasts.

Here are some basic instructions for iTunes:

When you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes downloads the most recent episode to your computer. On the iTunes screen, click once on "Podcasts" on the left; it's just below "Library". The podcasts you're subscribed to will show up in the large window.

To the left of each podcast is a gray triangle. If it's pointing to the right, click on it once and it will show the episodes for that podcast. To listen to an episode you have, double click on it. The episodes you don't have are gray, with a button that says "get". To the far right is a gray circle with an "i" in it. Click once on that to open a small window that shows the information for that particular episode. Read it and close the window by clicking once on the red "x" in the top right corner. If it's something you'd like to listen to, click the "get" button and iTunes will download it to your computer. Easy peasy!

If there's a blue dot on the left of the episode, that means you haven't listened to it yet.
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Podcast Listening: The Basics, Part I

I'm addicted to podcasts, and rarely listen to the radio anymore. Here's how it happened:

Driving to Tucson or Flagstaff takes 2 hours, and the radio stations fade in and out. A few years ago I got a portable cd player and plugged it into the tape player in my car. My car's sound system is quite awful so I don't like listening to music there (can hardly hear the bass!). So I started getting books on tape and cd at the library, which turned out to keep me more awake.

Last fall I discovered that the library offers free, limited-time audio books for download. Burning them to cd would use 7-15 cds per book, so I purchased an mp3 player. I can plug the mp3 player into my car's tape deck also. I heard about KnitCast through a mailing list, and downloaded each episode. After I got iTunes, I discovered a whole new world.

Podcasts are like radio shows: many of the best are produced by regular folks although commercial media companies are offering lots of stuff. All the cool podcasts are free.

The easiest way to listen is to first download and install iTunes on your computer. Then in iTunes in the left window click on Podcasts, then at the bottom of the screen click on the little arrow to the right of "Podcast Directory". This takes you to a page where you can look at featured podcasts, look at them by subject or search for specific terms. Click on a podcast title to get the details. When you subscribe to a podcast, your computer automatically downloads new episodes as they become available. After you subscribe, you can get past episodes if you want.

You don't need an mp3 player to listen! You can listen on your computer or burn to cd.
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Podcast reviews: my guidelines

Instead of just featuring a podcast each week, I decided to review them instead. Of course my tastes aren't the same as anyone else's, and I'm kind of a geek...

I'll give a general overview, judge the sound quality and content, and look at the website. I'll stick to "homemade" podcasts and ignore the ones put out by media giants for now. And I'll start with podcasts I like. As much as I love you, gentle reader, I'm not in the mood to continue listening to a podcast with bad sound quality (hurts my ears), or a giggler, or toilet humor or such, just to post a thorough review. So you'll see mostly positive reviews...

If I can't listen to something for the above reasons, I'll let you know. But if I can only listen to a few minutes of a podcast, a review of the whole thing might not be fair to the podcaster.

A podcast will have at least 5 episodes before I review it, to give the podcaster a chance to get into their groove.

Monday, January 01, 2001