Tech Podcasts

I recently wrote about the most expensive tech podcast that I listen to, here’s the additional tech podcasts I regularly listen to. While some of these have both video and audio versions I stick with audio as I listen in the car or when working at my desk.

The previously mentioned BYOB podcast is one that I pay attention to when I listen and frequently replay it or take notes. It’s also one of the few podcasts where the back catalog is worth revisiting. The only other podcast in my list with that distinction is Security Now!.

tile_securityLSecurity Now! is on Leo Laporte’s TWIT network and is hosted by Steve Gibson along with Leo. See for more info about Steve. I’ve been listening to the weekly podcast since the beginning and the podcast has changed with the times.

These days every other show is a listener Q&A. The shows begin with a review of the week’s security news and exploits. Then Steve dives into a topic in detail. Steve does a good job of explaining technical topics. Not everything is strictly a security topic. For example, there was a series of shows about the foundations of computers.

Steve also provides a transcript of all shows which is useful to find information from past shows.

The Home Server Show podcast is naturally about Windows Home Server but does include more general home server related topics. I’ve been listening since the early days of the show. Early enough to be able to have caught up with past shows.

The show is weekly and an hour or longer. They cover Windows Home Server news at the beginning of each show the dive into a topic or interview. They can also cover WHS related areas such as Media Center and how a WHS fits into the home. They’ve recently added an “off-topic” section where the hosts talk about non-WHS stuff.

While it’s certainly WHS focused I like the show because it’s not laser focused on Microsoft WHS. Much of the discussion can be applied to non-Microsoft solutions. Examples include discussions on RAID, DVD ripping and Drobo.

The Home Server show spawned the BYOB podcast and there’s some crossover between the two of them. BYOB generally spends more time getting into the technical discussions.

The only remaining Mac podcast I listen to is The Maccast hosted by Adam Christianson and is “about all things Macintosh”. Although these days a better tagline would probably be “about all things Apple”.

It’s a weekly podcast that’s usually about an hour. Adam provides a mixture of news and tips.

Windows Weekly is a weekly (duh) podcast with Leo and Paul Thurrott. While it is windows centric, Paul’s topics cover technology in general. While he usually relates it to Windows users, topics can include Apple hardware, Android phones, non-windows tablets and more.

tile_headphonesI’ve been looking for a Linux podcast to add to my rotation. Linux Outlaws is a recent addition to my list. I’ve only listened to a couple shows so far but it’s been interesting and I’ll probably stay subscribed and go back through older shows to see if any seem interesting. The format is news, reviews and interviews. The show has the explicit tag in iTunes due to language.

Despite the show graphics and website having a western theme (as in cowboys) the hosts are from the UK and Germany.

The above podcasts are the ones I always listen to. The rest of these podcasts, while tech related, are in my “fluff” category. I may listen to each show but much of the time it will be background noise while I do other work.

I listen to two daily tech news shows – Buzz Out Loud (BOL) and Tech News Today(TNT). BOL is from CNet while TNT is from TWIT and is hosted by a BOL alumni. Both are less than an hour, depending on the news that day. There’s some overlap and I should probably pick 1, but I can’t decide. I’d say BOL mixes in more lighter news and tries to provide entertainment in with the news.

Leo Laporte’s TWIT network has numerous podcasts and I listen to a few. They are spotty in my opinion. Leo is one of the hosts on most of the shows I listen to. While they are good he has a tendency to get off topic (he even has a “rat hole” jingle”). Extremely annoying is his tendency to cut off his co-hosts (sometimes seems like he’s not paying attention) and not letting them finish a thought I was interested in. So when I run short of time, these are the podcasts likely to be ignored.

Mac Break Weekly comes and goes from my playlist. These days I can easily overdose with Mac news and rumors. Add to that Leo’s tendency to go off topic and I often skip this one. The Mac Break format of a bunch of people sitting around having an unscripted discussion can be interesting to listen to, but sometimes I just don’t care. The do have “picks” at the end of each show, but beyond the picks I rarely learn anything from the show.

This Week In Tech has the same format as MacBreak weekly but has all of tech as a topic. But considering the other shows, this one frequently drops from my playlist if I don’t get to it before the next show is released.

FLOSS Weekly is another TWIT show but lacks Leo. They cover a different Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) topic each week. Many topics aren’t about software or projects I’ll every have a chance to use,  but I like listening to the discussion.

Tekzilla is one of the few Video Podcasts I watch. It’s tech focused and covers a little news and a lot of tips or reviews. The have a short daily tip but primarily have two shows a week of 30-45 minutes each.

That’s about it for tech podcasts. I’ve been cutting back the ones in my feed and this is what’s left. Any that you’d recommend I should listen to?

BYOB – An Expensive Podcast

One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is the BYOB podcast (BYOB = Build Your Own Box). The podcast is free, but there’s rarely a show that goes by that doesn’t trigger some techno-lust which will consume my time or money. True to form recent shows have triggered one project and one hardware purchase. The project has been consuming my time, while the hardware consumed a couple hundred dollars along with my time.

HP MicroserverThe favorable coverage on the podcast tipped the balance and I bought a HP Micro Server. It was already on my radar as a nice compact, low power server.  I’ve installed Windows Server 2008 R2 and Citrix XenServer on it successfully. I’m still deciding what I want to do with it. I’m leaning towards installing Ubuntu server on it and using it as a test & file server. I haven’t tested it myself, but from what I’ve read it will support 3 TB drives.

I’m still debating how I want to use this box. At least for awhile I’ll be testing different OS’s and hardware on it. So deciding what to do with it has become a mini project in itself.

The bigger project is what the BYOB guys called a “Super Router”. I’ve been keeping track of possible home network changes for awhile, and it got more intense when I bumped against my bandwidth cap and added DSL to my cable ISP. When they talked about the super router on episode 34 a light bulb went on and I slapped my forehead. It really was the solution I wanted.

I ended up rebuilding my old PC now that all it’s parts were in the parts bin since everything has been upgraded. All I had to buy was a couple new network cards so at least the expense here won’t be money, just time.

I did install Citrix XenServer on the box and created a pfsense virtual machine. Unfortunately I couldn’t get pfSense to work with my DSL. It did work with the cable connection but I really want to use the slower DSL for testing. So I’ll eventually return to the problem and try to get it to work. But at least I know I have the necessary hardware.

I want to keep it virtual so I can easily swap configurations and test different software. For this I want to use bare metal virtualization software as I would expect better performance and reliability.

The router project will keep me busy for awhile. Besides pfSense I want to look at alternatives. Luckily I have a several months before my DSL promotional pricing ends. I should get this running and get a better handle on my bandwidth usage before regular pricing kicks in. While the DSL problem is frustrating (it should work!) and may be something obvious I’m missing it’s an otherwise enjoyable project. I can easily get lost in the settings and testing for hours.

As for the HP Micro Server, it’s going to be a nice compact test box that doesn’t take much shelf space. While I could add external drives that defeats the purpose of it being compact. I broke with tradition by not having a specific purpose in mind when I bought this. Despite that, I don’t have any buyer’s remorse.

Hopefully the BYOB guys will stick to general tech discussions until I get these projects done. If they can’t do that then they can stick to graphics cards. I’m not a gamer and can’t get excited about graphic cards, so it’s a safe topic. Of course, after their latest episode I’m now fighting a urge to upgrade my SSD drive.