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Listen to me!
When I am in my office working (and thinking) I am usually listening to music of various kinds from Argentine Tango through to Russian Techno. But when I am working out at the gym I have been listening to a lot of technical/gadget podcasts in order to keep my mind distracted from all the sweaty stuff. So this week I wanted to mention two of my favourite[1] technical podcasts.

Software Engineering Radio
The Software Engineering Radio podcast has been running since 2006, yet I only discovered it this week. Up until January 2012 this was an independent podcast, but since Feburary it has been published under the wings of IEEE Software, itself a magazine published by the IEEE Computer Society. The best way to describe the podcast is to quote from the site itself:

Software Engineering Radio is a podcast targeted at the professional software developer. The goal is to be a lasting educational resource, not a newscast. Every two to four weeks, a new episode is published that covers all topics software engineering. Episodes are either tutorials on a specific topic, or an interview with a well-known expert from the software engineering world.

Since Software Engineering Radio was founded in 2006, it has published over 180 episodes on a wide variety of software engineering topics. SE Radio has evolved into one of the premier software podcasts, and many luminaries and opinion leaders in the field have appeared on the show. In fact, we just reached a huge milestone: over 5 million downloads.

Although that may sound dry, to any software professional the breadth and depth of the topics it covers is simply astonishing. Some recent examples of their episodes include things like:

  • The Mainframe
  • Domain-specific languages
  • Leading Agile Developers
  • Quantum computing
  • Game Development

The series is available on iTunes as well as directly from their website, however each episode on the SE Radio site typically contains additional URLs to sites relevant to that episode.

This week I have managed to listen to the Mainframe episode, and also one going back to 2010 “C++0X with Scott Meyers”. When I was working a lot in C++, Scott was my favourite author, so I was thrilled to listen to him speak on the latest changes to C++ (which due to delays morphed from C++0X into C++11). That episode also brought forth a C++ nerdy joke:

Q. Why doesn’t C++ have garbage collection?
A. Because then there wouldn’t be anything left!

And while I have only listened to two episode, I can’t also say enough about the podcast’s host. While other episodes may have different hosts, in the ones I listed to the host was extremely knowledgable in his own right, and was asking thought-provoking questions that really engaged the guests. And that makes for a great podcast!

In the coming weeks I will be catching up on a lot of previous episode related to Agile and Scrum, but with over 180 episodes to choose from I’m going to have to prioritize my listening!

FLOSS Weekly
The other podcast on my favourite list is Floss Weekly, a podcast that is (to quote):

We’re not talking dentistry here; FLOSS all about Free Libre Open Source Software. Join host Randal Schwartz and his rotating panel of co-hosts every Wednesday as they talk with the most interesting and important people in the Open Source and Free Software community.

This podcast is a great way to get to know various open source initiatives that you may never have heard about before, such as:

  • Autotest software testing framework
  • FreeNAS disk storage solution
  • Tiki Wiki Groupware
  • LinuxMCE home automation
  • VirtualBox software virtualization

Again the series is also available on iTunes.

I have listened to a lot more of these podcasts than SE Radio, and while the FLOSS Weekly ones don’t go into as much depth, they have certainly introduced me to a lot of things that I had never heard of.

One of the episodes that really interested me described the Village Telco project which is a mesh based, wireless, VoIP, local DIY phone solution. I can see this fitting in with some of the volunteer work I am doing for Engineers Without Borders. I would never have even considered this solution with having heard the FLOSS Weekly podcast.

Au revoir
Again, its been wonderful!


[1] Yes I will keep spelling favourite as favourite and screw what Safari says is a spelling error.