Skip to main content

The Stuff You Didn't Get Around To Read


Don't you think it's hard to keep up with everything going on out there?

You probably think there's not enough time in the day to dig into the latest things going on in IT, science, games, sports, politics, finance, or whatever your interests are.

Not to mention all those great books you got off Amazon, which are just stacking up. Maybe you got a Kindle or a tablet to help you get more reading done.

And then there are those 200 videos from that awesome conference on Vimeo for free! Will have to dig through them soon.

In a vain attempt to trick yourself into believing you'll get around to consuming all the material, you star it on Twitter. You tag it for later. You add it to Instapaper. Read Later. Watch Later. An ever increasing backlog of information you want to absorb, but the truth is that you'll never catch up.

What if I were to say: You do have the time. You're just not using it right. You're trying to consume good information, but you're using the wrong channel: the visual channel.

Now don't get me wrong, your eyes are great for absorbing information. The problem is that your eyes are already busy most of the day. Busy driving. Walking. Shopping. Doing the dishes. Cooking.

Your ears, however. Now that's a different story.


Your ears are free most of the day, as long as you're not in conversation, or concentrating. Think about the commute to work. That's 1-2 hours of time where your eyes are mostly busy.

This is time you should use to get through your information backlog. Hence, the alternative title of this blog-post is..

Why You Should Listen to Podcasts

Maybe you take the train/bus to work, and you think you're already getting plenty visual time to read when you're on the go. But do you really? How much time of that trip are you actually sitting down, have both hands free, and the concentration to read something? For me that's maybe 10-20 minutes of the 40 it takes me to get to work. The rest of the time I'm walking between transit or standing in a cramped train.

Listening to a podcast instead, I get 40 minutes of listening out of that trip. And again on the return trip.

I take my daughter for an hour's walk in the pram in the evening. She's mostly busy sleeping, or looking at stuff, so that's another hour of listening.

And later on when I'm cleaning up the kitchen and around, I usually get another 30 mins or more.

All together, that's nearly three hours of listening in a day. Three hours of learning. Three hours of entertainment. Time which would have been kind of wasted otherwise.

But how do I listen to podcasts?

You probably already have a smartphone. More or less any Android or iPhone will do.

If you drive to work, you'll need Bluetooth, or some way of hooking it into your car stereo (I spent about 150 euros into getting a Bluetooth stereo into my car, service included). A lot of car stereos also have aux-in (cable).

Now get either Downcast for iPhone, or BeyondPod for Android. Subscribe to a podcast of your liking, and start listening.

I recently started my own podcast as a supplement to this blog, and in the last episode we talk about our very first steps as podcast-listeners (there are some great podcast recommendations for you in the show-notes), and some tips and tricks for bootstrapping the experience.

But I don't get anything out of listening to people talk

Maybe. We're all different. Or maybe you should try doing it for a few weeks and see if you start to like it. I disregarded podcasts as being kind of useless up until summer last year. Now I'm a total podcast junkie.

But the information I want to consume is not available in podcast form

Hey, you just discovered a niche where you should start your own podcast! Well, maybe not, but this is something I'll come back to in a future blog-post, because once you really start consuming, you might exhaust the good podcasts' production rate.

For instance, the programming-related podcasts I listen to don't produce enough for me to listen to constantly, so I've widened out and started listening in other areas like science, etc. Expand your horizons a bit. Besides, in years to come I'm pretty sure we will get more and more content producers in every area.

And if you still run out of podcasts, there are still plenty of audiobooks.

But I still didn't get around to reading all those things I wanted to read

Neither did I. But I don't feel so bad about it anymore, because I'm investing a lot of new time into learning stuff. Besides, when listening to podcasts, I get a lot more information into my brain compared to when I skim through articles or blog-posts. A podcast is a bit like a real conversation with someone who's trying to explain something to me deeply. In the end, I feel smarter, and better informed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Open source CMS evaluations

I have now seen three more or less serious open source CMS reviews. First guy to hit the field was Matt Raible ( 1 2 3 4 ), ending up with Drupal , Joomla , Magnolia , OpenCms and MeshCMS being runner-ups. Then there is OpenAdvantage that tries out a handful ( Drupal , Exponent CMS , Lenya , Mambo , and Silva ), including Plone which they use for their own site (funny/annoying that the entire site has no RSS-feeds, nor is it possible to comment on the articles), following Matt's approach by exluding many CMS that seem not to fit the criteria. It is somewhat strange that OpenAdvantage cuts away Magnolia because it "Requires J2EE server; difficult to install and configure; more of a framework than CMS", and proceed to include Apache Lenya in the full evaluation. Magnolia does not require a J2EE server. It runs on Tomcat just like Lenya does (maybe it's an idea to bundle Magnolia with Jetty to make it seem more lightweight). I'm still sure that OpenAdvant

Managing dot-files with vcsh and myrepos

Say I want to get my dot-files out on a new computer. Here's what I do: # install vcsh & myrepos via apt/brew/etc vcsh clone https://github.com/tfnico/config-mr.git mr mr update Done! All dot-files are ready to use and in place. No deploy command, no linking up symlinks to the files . No checking/out in my entire home directory as a Git repository. Yet, all my dot-files are neatly kept in fine-grained repositories, and any changes I make are immediately ready to be committed: config-atom.git     -> ~/.atom/* config-mr.git     -> ~/.mrconfig     -> ~/.config/mr/* config-tmuxinator.git       -> ~/.tmuxinator/* config-vim.git     -> ~/.vimrc     -> ~/.vim/* config-bin.git        -> ~/bin/* config-git.git               -> ~/.gitconfig config-tmux.git       -> ~/.tmux.conf     config-zsh.git     -> ~/.zshrc How can this be? The key here is to use vcsh to keep track of your dot-files, and its partner myrepos/mr for o

Leaving eyeo

Thirteen blog posts later, this one notes my departure from eyeo after 4 years and 3 months. I joined eyeo around the headcount of 80 employees, and now I think there's just over 250 people there. My role coming in was as operations manager, doing a mix of infrastructure engineering and technical project management. I later on took on organizational development to help the company deal with its growing pains . We introduced cross-functional teams, departments (kind of like guilds), new leadership structures, goal-setting frameworks, onboarding processes and career frameworks.  And all of this in a rapidly growing distributed company. I'm proud and happy that for a long time I knew every employee by name and got to meet every single new-hire through training them on company structure and processes.  At some point, we had enough experienced leaders and organizational developers that I could zoom back in on working in one team, consulting them on  Git and continuous integration

Using Voice-Chat for Gamers in Distributed Teams

This is a post going into the usefulness of live voice-chat tools in distributed teams. If you've ever seen the Leeeeeroooooyy Jeeeenkiiins video of World of Warcraft fame, you've heard this kind of tool in action. It's how the participants in the video are speaking with each other - this is not a feature built into the World of Warcraft game - it's a separate team-oriented VoIP software, and it's all about letting gamers communicate orally while gaming.  Since these tools are for gamers, they have to be fast (low latency) light (as not to steal CPU-cycles from heavy games graphics)  moderate in bandwidth usage (as not to affect the game server connection) There are several options around: TeamSpeak , Ventrilo , more recently the massively grown Discord , and finally Mumble , which is the open-source alternative of the gang. A few years ago, when I joined eyeo (a distributed company), several of the operations team were avid gamers, and had a TeamSp

Joining eyeo: A Year in Review

It's been well over a year since I  joined eyeo . And 'tis the season for yearly reviews, so... It's been pretty wild. So many times I thought "this stuff really deserves a bloggin", but then it was too inviting to grab onto the next thing and get that rolling. Instead of taking a deep dive into some topic already, I want to scan through that year in review and think for myself, what were the big things, the important things, the things I achieved, and the things I learned. And then later on, if I ever get around to it, grab one of these topics and elaborate in a dedicated blog-post. Like a bucket-list of the blog posts that I should have written. Here goes: How given no other structures, silos will grow by themselves This was my initial shock after joining the company. Only a few years after taking off as a startup, the hedges began growing, seemingly almost by themselves, and against the will of the founders. I've worked in silos, and in companies wit