Why I listen to podcasts

Recently I read a post over at Rocket Ink about Patrick Welkers’ podcast listening habits. It made me think about my own reasons why and what I listen to.

I love to listen to podcasts. I started listening about 5.5 years ago when I really grew tired of the radio. I figured I could use my commute time to catch up on news, learn about the something technical or pure entertainment. The time I listen now has increased due the enjoyment I get out of them. I listen at work (when it does not affect what I am working on), during my commute, working around the house - whenever it makes sense without ignoring my family or friends. Sometimes I listen just for company.

The funny thing is I hate talk radio. Below list of 27 or so regularly listened to podcasts that are all talk. So why would I listen to podcasts that are talk shoes? I think it because that I can’t pick and choose the programs on the radio to listen to, or I was never able to “connect” with the hosts.

Connection to the hosts and topics is really important. You spend a lot of time with these people in your head so you really need to love what you are hearing. They become your “friends” in many ways. A few days before a weekly show is released I start to look forward to the shows because of this connection. Very similar to how you might feel about a character on a favorite televisions program.

The list below is always changing. Shows with be added and removed. Sometimes if I am really behind I will remove an episode for the week. I try not to get anxiety ridden about having a lot of shows in the queue and I am not trying to reach “podcast zero” either. These are for my enjoyment, education only.

My podcast client of choice is Overcast. I love the Voice Boost (especially when I am in the car) and the Smart Speed to reduce the pauses in some shows. Using that feature has allowed me to listen to more shows and save time without speeding up the playback. I think to date I am over 70 hours saved.

Weekly

Every two weeks or as shows post

Based on Topics or Guests

Retired or On Hiatus

  1. Bold shows represent current favorites and ones I always listen to.

Disney Observations

This year Monica and I had the chance to take the kids to Disney World. It was a quick trip, three day taste of the sites and where we might want to spend more time in the future. The last time I was there the Epcot dome looked like the Death Star (it was still being built). This is just a few random observations I had over the trip.

  • I hate roller coasters and many of the rides are roller coasters in disguise (but I made it through all of them).
  • The ability to use FastPass to skip a few lines a day is necessary (IMO) if you have small children.
  • The addition of the magic bands to allow you to pay and move through the park is phenomenal. 
  • Apple Pay works amazing in the park if you dont have wrist bands or do not want to charge things to your room.
  • The accessibility within the park for those who need assistance is like nothing I have ever seen.  So well done.
  • Wifi thorughout the parks was very good - much better than standard hotel wifi you might find on a business trip
  • Logistics to run the park must be on the scale of trying to host an Olympic event every single day
  • Selfie sticks are a real thing and are everywhere. At one point during the trip there was an area with 50 or more in the air.  It looked like some odd tribal group with spears in the air.
  • The iPhone app was very handy for looking at how long the lines are for rides, finding snacks and navigating the park in general.
  • I still hate roller coasters
  • Comfy shoes are a must! We were in the park approximately 4-6 hours a day and we walked at least 8 miles (12.87k) a day.
  • If you forget something you can rent it. (scooters, cameras, strollers, etc.)
  • Transportations to the various parks was so well done.
  • I manage many large projects at a time for work but I couldn’t have planned this trip with out the help of a travel agent (thanks Mary!) to help you book your trip, dinner reservations, fast pass rides.  There are just so many little details to consider. 
  • Seeing people walking around eating these GIANT turkey legs was bizarre.
  • The amount of land the parks occupies is crazy 
  • Many people go to the park really really late to shorten the wait in lines.

It was a great trip and I am so glad we did it.  

SaaS Startup Diary

About a year ago I was a guest on Tom’s Think Make Sell podcast.  After doing the show we continued our correspondence and discovered we had a lot in common and forged a friendship.  Over the course of those discussions we both spoke about software ideas that we would like to build.  We finally decided on one idea and have started the process!  In Toms’s post he starts to outline some of our plans.  If you are interested please follow along as we will both be descibing different parts of the process.  Soon there will be a sign up email list with more details and regular updates.  I hope you follow along.

Marking time the right way

Many people use January 1st as the date to measure their success from the previous year and make plans for the future year.  Resolutions and changes in behavior are always at the top of the list. I have never subscribed to this thinking. Turns out my birthday was that marker for me.

Yesterday was my birthday. If I am honest it has not my favorite day of the year. It has been this way since I was seventeen.  Nothing tragic ever happened to make me dislike it. For years it bothered me and I was not able to figure out why. Everyone told me it was the age change, but this never bothered me at all.  

Reflecting on the past year would often let me down in terms of accomplishments and desires perhaps not fulfilled. 

This year I am trying to be better about those things. Reduce the desire to beat myself up - let myself off the hook. I want to spend more time on the positive things in my life. Spend more time on the things that matter, friends, family and exciting work.

Saying no to more things so I can say yes to things that matter most to me.  Simplify and reduce the mental clutter I have accumulated over the years. 

Many many people have helped shape this mindset change in me, but no one more than Monica Rodgers. She has showed me a side of myself that I refused to see, she has loved me without question, she has helped me through rough patches and supported me when I did not think I deserved support. Her presence in my life has changed everything.

This is the best gift that I have ever received ! Thank you love...

Searching for Portable Nirvana

I love traveling light. The less I bring the happier I am generally. Easier on planes, lighter to carry, less to fuss with. Packing the technology used to be the hardest oart for me.

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • iPad
  • lots of cables and accessories.

I would always prepare for evey possible computing solution. Over the years I have been able to pair my "stuff" down. If I am not traveling for work I can leave my laptop behind and rely on the iPhone and iPad.

On a trip to Maine I decided to go with just the iPhone 6 plus. What could I do? What would I not be able to do? The size is great and it is much easier for me to respond to emails and tweets. But would I enjoy working with it if I wanted to write something long form. I normally bring my Logitech Tablet Keyboard. It is full size and still very portable. This time I decided to try an iWerkz Universal Foladable Keyboard.

The keyboard comes with a protective case that doubles as a stand. The keyboard is hinged in the middle to open to a near full size keyboard. Opening it up for the first time I was reminded of another bluetooth keyboard made by Stow-away that I used to use with my Handspring Visor

Compared to iPhone 6+

Compared to iPhone 6+

Thickness of keyboard in case next to iPhone 6+

Thickness of keyboard in case next to iPhone 6+

The setup is nice. Using the keyboard case as a stand allows you to use the phone in portrait or landscape orientation. In landscape mode it did cut offf the bottom a tiny bit but not enough to disrupt working. For a travel stand it was perfectly adequate.

My first impression of the keyboard were mixed. The size was nice, light enough but the keys were very squishy with little travel movement of the keys. I figured this is something I could get used to because it was not a primary input device, just for travel packing. Using it that weekend proved otherwise. The spaceing of the keys was a little off. Not being a touch typist I also found the split spacebar to be harder to get used to then I had imagined. But there were two major issues I ran into.

The first was the keyboard functions. This is a universal keyboard. It works with Windows, Android and iOS. Figuring out the correct key combinations to use the functions was a nightmare. You can see looking at the number keys there are 3-4 functions on each. Below on the Q,W,E keys you can see the primary options for each operating system. One thing I found was that it was very easy to "knock" you out of the Operating system and end up in another one. I found this frustrating.

The second issue was within 20 minutes of typing on the keyboard I had broken two of the keys. One popped off the base altogether and the other would depress and then not pop back up. The spring was essentially stuck. I was able to pry it back up with a butter knife but the next time it was depressed the same thing happened again. Not what you woudl expect in a keyboard.

The long and short of it was this was not an adequate solution at all and was returned to Amazon. The reviews of the product seemed to indicate that you either got a good one or a bad one.

For now I will contunue to use my Origami case with the Apple blurtooth keyboard or the Logitech tablet keyboard which are both full size but a much better typing experience.

Books I Read in 2014

For the past few years I have kept an active list of the books I read in the current year. I believe I got this idea from Patrick Rhone originally though I have seen many people do the same. I keep a running list of things I want to read and then grab one from the list that strikes my fancy at the time. The books are in the order I read them. I have various notes on all the of the books but this is not meant to be a review, just a collection.

Without going into specifics the ones that are bold are the ones I enjoyed the most.

Tim Cook Speaks Up

If you have not read the Bloomberg Businessweek piece that Tim Cook wrote the other day you should.  Its great.  Its clear and he communicates his feelings beautifully.  

I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.
— Tim Cook


First week thoughts on the iPhone 6 plus

There is not a lot remaining that has not been said about the new iPhones. Many great reviews and technical breakdowns have been written.  Instead I wanted to provide my thoughts of the first week with the new device. 

  1. Yes the device is large. Everyday I use it though I feel that it is getting more comfortable for me.
  2. The battery life is amazing.* Under normal conidtions I start my day around 6:45 am with 100% battery on my iPhone 5s.  I usually check mail and listen to podcasts as I drive to work (plugged in during the drive).  I will check twitter multiple times a day and continue to listen to music and podcasts throughout the day.  Email and iMessages are in heavy use.  Throughout the day I would plug the phone in to sip a few minutes of power here and there.  By the time I went to bed I am in the red usually below 10% even after the top-offs.  Using the 6 plus, doing the same activities and not charging I am around 67%.  
  3. It is a two handed device for sure.  Yes you can use it in one hand but it is harder.  One thing that I did not realize is I suck at typing on the 5s period.  One handed, two handed whatever.  For me my speed and accuracy on the keyboard has greatly improved.  Did I give up some typing ability on the go, yes but there are people understanding my emails and messages better now.
  4. By day three holding the 5s in my hands felt comically small.  Beautiful, but it felt more Fisher-Price like.   
  5. Within the last yeat I had to start wearing reading glasses.  Prior to getting them the older iPhone looked clear ennough. When I got the glasses wow what a difference!  Until I was not wearing them and it was painfully hard to use it.  With the Iphone 6 plus It is much easier with or without them.  I appreciate the screen size a lot more. 
  6. I read a lot in my spare time.  I usually use my iPad Retina mini at night.  Often I would leave it in another room and grab the 5s from the nightstand (purely out of laziness) and read on that but it was never enjoyable.  There was always an element of work. If you have to flick 5 screen pages to equal 1 book page it felt like a drag.  In the last seven days I have finished two books just on the iPhone.  The Ipad minis' days are numbered, most likely in favor of an iPad Air reading around the house. 
  7. There is one thing about the Iphone 6 plus that I did not take into account when I ordered it and that is being self conscious.  Android users have always had several screen size options.  I have seen a lot of the Samsung Note users in stores with large phones.  iPhone users have been limited to a 3.5 or more recently 4" screens for the last seven years.  Having a larger phone (even the iPhone 6) has made me more aware of those around me and feeling a little odd.  I am sure as more users get newer iPhones and I become more accustom to the device this feeling will fade away.

* Yes I know I am comparing it to a one year old device with 300 charges or more on it and that the internal capacity of the iPhone 6 plus is larger.

inessential.com: Build 2014

Great piece from Brent Simmons on the enthusiasm at Mircosoft at the Build conference and in particular around Azure.

But where the new CEO makes a difference is that leadership has caught up to where Microsoft employees already were. They can be honest, with themselves and others, about the company’s role in the world. They can stop wasting time trying to recapture those days of monopolistic dominance and instead concentrate on building great things for the future, for the many-platforms future.

Making lemonade from lemons is a far better plan than trying to return to the glory days which have moved on.

Consider the opportunity: many billions of smartphones and tablets and many apps on each device. Those apps need syncing and web services.

(via Inessentials)

Source: http://inessential.com/2014/04/08/build_20...