Podcasts: Back to the Future

I remember a few years back, a friend of mine was wearing headphones as she walked around the campus. She stopped and said to me: "I'm just listening to you on a podcast".

It was the podcast of Triple J's Hack on 4th October 2010 and I was talking about the "My Lecturer" website. It was going to be the greatest thing but then it fell flat. It was good experience with the news media. And being on Hack is kind of a landmark for wannabe academics. I was on Hack again in 3rd August 2011 talking about "The Battle of the Broadband". I'd really made the big time!

The podcasts are long gone, but I remember being surprised that anyone was listening to podcasts, let alone one that had me on it. And then podcasts seemed to die their natural death and that was the end of it.

But something happened. I think it must have been the iPhone and other smartphones that finally enabled people to download podcasts on the go, rather than transferring them from a website or feed to an iPod. I am certain this is what started the revival.

I had deliberately rid myself of a mobile phone after my sabbatical in Jordan in late 2009. I lasted until the 6th November 2015 when we moved to Gunning. The one-hour commute meant that not having a smartphone was asking for trouble if the car broke down. Not only letting people know I couldn't make a meeting, but being able to call the NRMA forced it back on me.

Mercedes 300E. The greatest car ever built. Well, I think so!
But I did last six years without one. The Campus Review's "Blog Rankings" even did an article about it on 16 April 2012: "Ditching the phone for the blog".

For my commute, I first went to the Gunning Library and tried CD audio books. My 1987 model Mercedes 300E doesn't have bluetooth. Thankfully.

I listened to Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon. It had me in stitches when the narrator switched from Hemingway to the Old Lady:
Hemingway: "Sonorous baritone, masculine blahdy-blah [even though my actual voice wouldn't be an audio book competition winner]"...
Old Lady: "Oh, squeaky falsetto, castrado mea culpa!"
It was so good I listened to it twice through. The next was an historical novel about Ancient Greece. I couldn't bear the thought of listening to a book I wanted to read. This particular audio book lasted just a few minutes. It sounded like the the crew from The Late Show and it was exactly like Piss Weak World:

So that ended. Then I burnt podcasts onto CDs until the CD player started to stick. And finally, the USB charger and a cable directly into the auxiliary jack and now I have podcasts galore. It is excellent use of my commuting time and there is so much variety. And to think that podcasts almost died.

So now I am planning on creating my own podcast. Stay tuned. I hope to get my first done in the coming months and release by Stitcher.