Music for the Mind

When you sit at a computer for eight hours a day, having something interesting to listen to is a must in order to keep your sanity.  Podcasts are a great way to learn something new, be entertained and the best thing about them; the content is always fresh.  Here are some of my favorite podcasts!
Technology and Career-Driven Podcasts
Speaking in Tech

Speaking in TechIf you are looking for a podcast about technology that is both entertaining and will make you learn something, this is the podcast for you!

Podcast hosts Greg Knieriemen (Hitachi), Ed Saipetch (Office of the CTO, IBM Cloud) Melissa Gurney (Dell EMC Storage) and Peter Smallbone (Freelance Network Architect) use their weekly podcast to discuss everything from consumer technology to the latest industry mergers and acquisitions.  Billed as the podcast “Where Enterprise Tech Meets Consumer Tech”, listening to this podcast you can get a good idea of the latest trends in Virtualization, Disaster Recovery, Networking and Cloud storage; trends that are already impacting enterprise level users but that will eventually trickle out to consumers.  They also feature guests from the tech industry which gives another level of insight into the topics they discuss.

Lest you think this is a boring, run-of-the-mill industry podcast, it’s not!  It’s definitely in the genre of friends sitting down after work with a drink to discuss the industry, which means a fair amount of BS’ing and humor is involved.  I recommend this podcast for anyone with even a passing interest in technology.  You can subscribe on iTunes or via The Register.  Fair warning: Use headphones if you are listening to this podcast in the office or where little ones are present, as it does contain some adult language which is probably not office appropriate.

The Geek Whisperers

Geek WhisperersThis long-running podcast originally started out as a technology-focused podcast similar to Speaking in Tech. But a number of years ago it made a pivot to instead focus on the people who work in tech, advice for managing careers in technology, the culture of the technology world and interviews with some very interesting and inspiring people who work in technology.

Hosted by John Mark Troyer (Tech Consultant, former VMware), Matt Broberg (Intel) and Amy Lewis (NetApp), the podcast features a wide range of guests from the tech industry who discuss everything from how to get into tech without solid tech credentials, the trials and tribulations of pursuing important technology certifications, networking tips for those attending conferences and great advice for how to create a career in technology or advance your career in technology and related fields. It is an insightful, informative podcast that is a delight to listen to and will definitely leave you listening to episodes over and over again.

I have to recommend Episode 75 – CEO of Your Own Career with special guest Josh Atwell. I spoke about this podcast in a previous blog post, but this episode is worth a second mention. This episode came at a time when I was suffering from a severe case of analysis paralysis when it came to my career and the pivot I desperately wanted to make. It gave me some great new ways to think about my career, wonderful inspiration for career management (including my career wall inspired by Josh Atwell) and the permission I needed to re-focus and find direction. It’s the only podcast episode that resulted in hand-written notes as well as a permanent save on my iPhone for future listening.

The CyberWire

CyberWireI’ve always had an interest in cybersecurity. However, like many women who went to school in the 80’s and 90’s, I wasn’t exposed to cybersecurity, or technology in general, as a career option. However, this podcast has shown me that, if anything, it is possible to bring an outside perspective like mine into the world of cybersecurity and that all would benefit from this kind of outside-the-box approach.

This daily podcast is a great way to keep up to date on some of the latest news, ranging from the latest cybersecurity threats and data breaches to interviews with guest hosts that cover more complex issues in depth. Because this is a daily podcast, I would recommend starting with the most recent episode available for download from any podcast aggregator or from the podcast website. You will walk away feeling more knowledgeable about threats in the digital world, and it provides great food for thought about how those issues can be addressed.

Food for Thought / Just Plain Fun
Hello Internet

Hello InternetIf you are fan of YouTube stars CGP Grey or Brady Haran, you probably already know about this podcast. If not, get ready to become a fan!  Grey and Haran are real life friends, and every few weeks they release a podcast in the two-dudes-talking genre that is a ton of fun to listen to!

CGP Grey is an American living in London, a former teacher who got disillusioned with teaching methodologies and turned to the newly expanding YouTube to make informational and yet entertaining videos for people to enjoy. His YouTube Channel is full of videos that are visually simple and yet very informative. Brady Haran is an Australian journalist who left the typical journalist office to make videos on subject ranging from chemistry to mathematics. He maintains a number of channels on YouTube; some of his more well known series are Numberphile and Periodic Videos.

It’s a great podcast for anyone who enjoys a good conversation and several laughs! I suggest starting with Episode 57: Podcasters React.  The episode covers a YouTube controversy over trademarking and licensing as well as Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a book detailing the struggles of people who have had their lives negatively impacted by things they’ve said or done on the internet and how they have tried to recover. Grey and Haran turn it into an excellent conversation about how the internet has impacted society, and what if anything could be done to prevent lynch mobs using the anonymity of the internet to ruin people’s lives.

Hidden Brain

hidden brainThis is one of many podcasts from National Public Radio (NPR) that fill my podcast queue. If you are a regular listener to NPR, you will have heard podcast host Shankar Vedantam during the regular newscasts bringing you the latest in social science research. The Hidden Brain is like an extended version of those short social science tidbits. Shankar takes an in-depth look at issues ranging from solitary confinement and its effects on mental health to what makes people stick to beliefs despite facts to the contrary. He gives you a good look at the science behind why the issue exists and its broader implications for society. This is definitely a podcast that will leave you curious to learn more and with plenty of food for thought.

I would recommend Episode 69: Money Talks as a good example. Shankar takes a look at  how people use boycotts and their spending habits to portray an image of how they want to be seen by others, and more interestingly, how we use money to lie to ourselves.

Note to Self

Note to SelfProduced by WNYC Studios in New York, this podcast is billed as The Tech Show About Being Human. Host Manoush Zomorodi uses this weekly podcast to take a look at how humans influence technology, and how technology influences humans.  Though this podcast features technology, it is more about how technology effects the humans that use it, and the human stories shine through. For example, the episode titled Parents Just Don’t Understand: Tech Edition starts out as a lighthearted look at the common mistakes that our parents and older generations make when using technology that drive us crazy…things like not knowing the difference between a group text message and a text message sent to a single person. But the episode also features how these tech communication faux pas can lead to some very real hurt, as the story of one person who came out to her mother via e-mail, only to receive no response to the disclosure for months. It caused real pain, and raises some good questions about the best ways to convey certain types of information between generations.

Manoush is also known for presenting podcast challenges, which help users do everything from a tech detox in Infomagical to taking a good look at our data sharing and privacy settings in The Privacy Paradox. You can access these series from the Series tab on the podcast home page. I recommend starting with The Privacy Paradox as a way to not only learn about just how risky it is to put information on the internet, but also as a good reminder that reading permissions for apps and services you use is always a good idea.



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