Webometric Thoughts

November 12, 2007

TWiT: Are you kidding me?

Filed under: podcasts,technology — admin @ 1:08 pm

I just read on Social Media that TWiT(This Week in Tech) have been awarded podcast of the year at the Weblog Awards.If this is truely the best podcast out there it is not surprising that Yahoo recently closed down their podcast directory. This is not to say that TWiT is not a good podcast, merely that even amongst the limited number of podcasts I listen to, it doesn’t manage to stand head and shoulders above the others.

As I have previously mentioned, since getting an N95 I have had a renewed interest in podcasts as I can now download them directly to the device rather than having to mess about with the PC. Since then I have regularly listened to 4 technology-focused podcasts, as well as trying a fifth, and out of the five I would probably put TWiT at about number 3 or 4.

1. Digital Planet. Rather than a true podcast, this is one of the BBC’s world service radio programmes that is made available as a podcast each week. Whereas most of the technological podcasts available focus very much on the western individual, or at least see the world from the perspective of the western individual, the Digital Planet team discusses technological stories with people all over the world; as likely to discuss GPS systems in some rainforest as the latest Apple innovation. A scope and quality unsurprisingly beyond the budget of the average podcast.
2. Crave. Unlike Digital Planet, Crave lives up to our expectations of a podcast: a bunch of people sitting around in a studio discussing what they are interested in, in this case technology and gadgets. Admittedly this is not a podcast for the po-faced with their decidedly teenage sense of humour (although they themselves are not teenagers), but they seeem to know enough to manage to persuade me to buy an RM minibook, a decision I am very happy with.
3. TWiT. TWiT is best summed up as a long (regularly over an hour) podcast involving a bunch of people showing varying degrees of righteous indignation at the week’s technological news. Whilst the people involved in the discussion have strong views, and are by no means fools, on occassion I can find their technological-political views annoying, seemingly stuck somewhere around 2001, where Apple is the plucky little guy fighting the tyranical Microsoft, and Google really lives by the philosophy of ‘do no evil’. To me the technological sphere has far more grey areas than this show acknowledges.
4. FrequencyCast. A monthly podcast on UK TV and technology. Very much a podcast for the UK resident, and unlikely to be of interest to anyone anywhere else. That however is not the reason it is number 4 on my list, that decision was based on the shows format of the technological geek constantly explaining things to the technophobe getting a bit tiresome after a while.
5. Mike Tech Show. Described as “Technology and computer podcast discussing cool sites, software, tips and tricks that will make you more productive at home and work.” Maybe I caught a particularly boring episode, or maybe it caught me on an off day, but I only managed to listen to about 2 minutes before turning this one off. One that I should probably give another chance before placing it at the bottom of the pile.

I think it is more likely that TWiT’s particular subject and brand of technological politics appealed to the particular voting audience, rather than TWiT having the podcast of the year. If I can think of better podcasts within the same field, then I am sure there are likely to be numerous better ones across different genres.


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