If you’re working in IT, you, almost by definitition, have a sitting job. So, how do you go about expanding your knowledge? Reading and tinkering in your home lab requires time… and more sitting. Well, we suggest you use podcasts to learn. Getting talk shows from the interwebs helps you fast-forward through the boring chores and commutes in life!
We’ll just assume you’re a smart person with a mind that just absorbs information all the time. But maybe you’re unsure if spoken word audio works for you? Luckily, it’s easy to find out. Listen to any of our suggestions on your computer or by looking them up in any podcast app. We’ve included easy links to recent episodes of all our top podcast picks.
A word of warning though: If you’re, say, Finnish like us, the US-style talk radio cheeriness in some of these free, mostly ad-funded programs will take some getting used to. Let’s put it this way: some podcast hosts undeniably sound like juggling monkeys. However, the information offered by all of our recommended shows is close to priceless.
With the number of connected devices and services on the rise, understanding the field of IT security is really becoming a must for many IT professionals and developers.
Thankfully, Australian tech journalist Patrick Gray has ran run his entertaining, yet professional and tight Risky Business show since 2007. Looking at the terrifying current affairs in infosec with a critical eye and slightly cynical humor, Risky Business has all the snark and insight you need to see beyond the depressing trends. And silly names for vulnerabilities.
With frequent guest contributors like Adam Boileau and the hacker known for his pseudonym The Gruq, Risky Business is no lightweight operation, but a well run drama that keeps the pulse of the professional infosec community. Mr. Gray has an excellent nose for sponsors and has the ability to ask critical questions. Even the paid vendor interviews on the show feel as entertaining and relevant as all the rest.
This small podcast network is a powerhouse in spreading knowledge about the future of the connected world. We warmly recommend subscribing to the Packet Pushers’ “Fat Pipe” feed with every show. Then, pick some shows, editorial content or sponsored, at random. In no time, you’ll be bathing in the promise of a brighter future for enterprise IT, for networking engineers in particular.
The Packet Pushers network’s brightest star is Greg Farrow, a UK based IT pro gone journalist, whose sharp tongue expresses the networking worlds’ frustrations. Frequent topics include the need to move from the old, CLI, underpowered and overpriced devices of yesteryear. The dream of API accessible, programmable, testable and diagnosable platforms, “software defined networking”, is alive and well.
The Datanauts series delves slightly more into how compute and storage hardware fit into the equation, from cool war stories of reducing complex data centers to a handful of VMWare hosts to dips into promising technologies like Docker containerization and OpenStack orchestration for “private clouds”.
Wanna talk about what’s going to steal your job? Just kidding. Or are we…?
Well, you’ll find yourself thrown into loops of hard questions like these when you get into machine learning. In case you’ve missed this buzzword, it represents the re-heated, finally happening scene of artificial intelligence. We can’t think of better company to explore these topics than the dynamic duo of journalist Katherine Gorman and Ryan Adams, machine learning professor at Harvard University.
Having scored interviews with big names from Facebook and Google just after launching, Talking Machines offers a podcast back catalog worth catching up with before the first episodes are woefully outdated!
Among tech podcast networks, few are as flashy as the TWiT network, started by Tech TV legend Leo Laporte in the mid-2000s. Their shows range over the entire electronics industry, but generally with a consumer/hobbyist slant.
Not so with This Week in Enterprise Tech, where the world’s possibly most chill Catholic priest, the business IT savvy fr. Robert Ballecer discusses news topics that affect business IT. Ballecer is joined by a revolving cast of sysadmins, software industry veterans and vendors.
For such an easy, light listen, it’s remarkable that This Week In Tech never looses sight of IT as a growing part of the strategic decision making that takes place at the very highest levels of big companies.
Here’s another one from the TWiT network, but with a different tone entirely. FLOSS Weekly focuses on the makers and doers on the open source communities around the world.
Whether the show discusses some piece of code we all use inadvertedly every day, or an interesting niche product, host Randall Schwartz, known for his books on the Perl programming language, tries to wrap the listener’s head around what makes open source tick, in everything from hobbyist endeavors to massive corporate or government sponsored projects.
Considering that the Internet runs on open source software to an astonishing degree, we think people in IT and software development ought to look into how these community efforts function. No-one’s insisting that it’s “the year of Linux on the Enterprise desktop”.
Nope, instead, Linux is everywhere else, and you probably don’t even notice the extent of it. So, you know it’s time to understand Open Source now that Microsoft is all over it. FLOSS Weekly offers you a peek into this world, with a decade’s worth of back catalog of evergreen interviews with interesting personalities.
If you want to understand the changing IT landscape powered by mobile apps, what better place is there to look than the guys who fund successful mobile tech startups?
Andreessen Horowitz being one of the big and successful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, a16z can get hold of some of the brightest minds in the industry to talk about both how successful tech and businesses grow, and the market logic behind it all. It’s a joy to hear guys who make things happen share some of their insight. As IT pros, we sort of need to know where the wind is blowing and what consumers will expect from computing, as it’s being popularized on mobile platforms.
Anyone with any kind of contact with the business of writing web and mobile apps during the past decade has probably noticed the rise of “the public cloud”. That is, buying storage, bandwidth and different kinds of compute resources from Amazon and others.
The Cloudcast goes into the nitty gritty details about renting “other people’s computers”, to have workloads magically happen somewhere else than in our own closets, or massive server farms that require massive capital to build and run.
Cloudcast doesn’t shy away from big vendors. Their recent episodes include fascinating interviews with people from Digital Ocean and Dropbox, who all keenly want to share their views of how to scale humongous workloads of the type where you literally can’t buy and deploy server hardware quickly enough.
In this article, we’ve mostly skipped all the generic tech media and their focus on the gadgets of the day, gaming and whatnot. Instead we’ve focused on the now and future of on your job: keeping businesses running with all these layers and layers of computer-powered complexity.
So, consider Wired UK’s podcast art class. Here, you’ll get to jump in to more general subjects that are highly interesting to anyone who follows trends in technology.
How about odd-ball topics like the emerging trend of microdosing (illegal) psychedelic drugs to keep the young, hip and driven Silicon Valley startup workers creative, focused but not stoned out of their minds? How AI is helping fight cancer? The scientific coolness of NASA’s Jupiter missions?
All three of these are recent topics on the Wired podcast. This podcast is a must listen if you can’t find the time to read the very long form stories on Wired’s website, which after all, remains one of the best sources of tech journalism.
Apple oriented developers shouldn’t skip this one. Veteran iOS developer Guy English and iMore reporter Rene Ritchie use Debug as a venue to discuss Apple development and the business of software. There’s no radio-style shouting here, but instead laid-back, polite and sometimes deep conversations with people deep in the Apple ecosystem, both on the app developer side and former Apple employees.
Even if you’re a long-time user of Apple products rather than a developer, Debug is sure to give you some context and names behind software you may have used for years! The show is sometimes irregular, but the back catalog is always worth a look.
As we all know, we don’t yet live in Peter Thiel’s libertarian and/or neofeudal utopia(!?) of seasteading colonies, where computers take care of all transactions between individuals and corporations. All through the wonder of, presumably, a lot of blockchains.
Instead we’re submerged in a world where the states and their legal systems are clashing with a digital realm, where illusions of no borders, no politics and anonymity are maintained to a stunning degree. The Steptow Cyberlaw Podcast takes on the challenge of making sense of this clash.
The show, produced by the international law firm Steptoe, makes no secret of representing a view close to the US Government, with guests perhaps representing a revolving door around this very scene. At Miradore, we disagreee with how the Steptoe hosts, sometimes half-jokingly frame topics like EU privacy legislation, as a way of getting in the way of catching terrorists. However, these are smart conversations where complicated technical and legal issues collide at high speed, so we can’t but recommend this show.
There, we did it! Some fantastic podcasts to keep you informed and entertained during those dull moments of the day.
As always, we don’t know everything and we’re up for suggestions. If you know about more fabulous audio programming relevant to the IT pro, please let us know in the comments section below.
If you want to chime in with particular recommendations about podcast player apps, those are very welcome too! Personally, I mostly just use Apple’s Podcasts app on iPhone. But I want to recommend Overcast (iOS) for its smart audio features. Android users might want to take a look at Pocket Casts and BeyondPod.
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