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Podcast Rundown

One of my favourite ways of keeping up with development is listening to podcasts, which I usually do in my car – a stereo with a USB port comes in very handy here.  (Note:  Only do this while alone!  The dulcet tones of Scot Hanseman might increase your knowledge, but they’re unlikely to impress the chicks..)

Anyway, audio tips and sexism aside, here are all of the podcasts I’ve been listening to and what I think of them, in order of greatness:

Herding Code

Rating: 10/10

Technology: Mainly .Net

Sound Quality: Average

Hosted by four smart and fairly amusing guys, the beauty of this podcast is that you always get to hear all sides of the argument on any given topic.  And unlike some of the other podcasts, the topics are nearly always interesting – I rarely skip an episode.  They get some top guests too.

.Net Rocks!

Rating: 9/10

Technology: .Net

Sound Quality: Excellent

Probably the best-known and longest-running podcast out there, .Net Rocks is perhaps the most professionally produced show out there – you could easily mistake it for a radio show.  The presenters are funny and knowledgeable, get good guests and always ask pertinent questions (although you don’t get the same level of  discussion as with Herding Code).

ElegantCode Cast

Rating: 8/10

Technology: Mainly .Net

Sound Quality: Poor – Average

Run by some of the ElegantCode bloggers, this podcast is similar to Herding Code in it’s style, usually with multiple presenters leading to interesting discussions.  It seems to have died since David Starr left for the PluralCast (see below), but I’m hoping it might get resurrected.

Alt.Net Podcast

Rating: 7/10

Technology: Mainly .Net

Sound Quality: Average

Although this only lasted a short while, the few podcasts it created covered some really useful subjects, in good detail.  And being Alt.Net (if you’re aware of that movement), there are also some interesting debates and disagreements in there.  Well worth a listen.

Pluralcast

Rating: 7/10

Technology: .Net

Sound Quality: Good

Having recently taking over from the Elegant Code Cast, the Pluralcast has made a good start, covering some interesting subjects.  Although run by a commercial company (PluralSight Training), the shows don’t feel like they’re trying to sell you anything.  The interviews are sometimes a little one-sided, and the shows don’t always flow as well as they might, but definitely one to try out.

HanselMinutes

Rating: 6/10

Technology: .Net

Sound Quality: Excellent

Alongside .Net Rocks, HanselMinutes is the other well-produced, long running podcast.  Scott is currently a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, which means he gets some great guests and inside scoops, but sometimes the interviews are again a little one-sided.  Scott’s a really smart guy and knowledgeable developer, and I feel bad for only giving a 6, but the subject is often web development (which I’m not really into), and I often skip shows because I’m not that interested in the guest/subject.

Software Engineering Radio

Rating: 6/10

Technology: All

Sound Quality: Good

I’ve really only just started listening to this so it’s a little early to give my opinion – but when did that ever stop a reviewer?!  So, as you might imagine from the title, it covers general software engineering in all languages, often with clever academic people being interviewed by other clever academic people.  Ok, perhaps I undersell it there, it’s not all academic – and it is good to break out of .Net every now and again.

The Thirsty Developer

Rating: 5/10

Technology: .Net

Sound Quality: Average

A show run my a couple of Microsoft evangelists, this has some good content, but the shows are fairly infrequent and I often skip them.  The subjects and interviews can be a little Microsoft-heavy.

The Pragmatic Bookshelf

Rating: 5/10

Technology: All

Sound Quality: Good

Run (although not hosted) by The Pragmatic Programmers, this podcast consists of interviews with the authors of various books on the Prag Pub label.  It’s kind of commercial in that respect, but interesting nonetheless.

Polymorphic Podcast

Rating: 4/10

Technology: .Net

Sound Quality: Good

Again I feel bad about giving this such a low rating, as it’s not a bad podcast, I just don’t like it personally.  I only listened to the first few, but the topics are usually web-based, and were often covered fairly simplistically, and I didn’t really like the presenter.  I think I’ll give it another try soon, as everyone else seems to rate it.

So there you go, plenty to keep you occupied on your lonely commute there!  Obviously those ratings are just my opinion, so don’t take my advice – go and try them for yourself!

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