Summer Reading

I love to read.  Therefore I suppose it follows somewhat logically that I also love those articles you see pooping up this time of year in newspapers and magazines with their published lists of recommended summer reading.

I’ve always wanted to publish my own list.  But there are a couple problems with this desire.  First, the vast majority of books I read are either technical (example SOA Design Patterns by Thomas Erl) or business related (The Execution Premium by Kaplan and Norton).  Second, the remainder of my reading materials is various technical or business magazines.  So you see this is most certainly not the stuff of interesting summer reading lists.

However, I am willing to do the next best thing – tell you what my current favorite podcasts are.  You see, I do have time to listen to podcasts because: 1) we make frequent long trips to our lake house (6 hours each way, me awake, everyone else sleeping) and 2)  I live in a very old house and seem to be always sawing, sanding, grinding, cleaning or restoring something made of wood or tile.  Hence lots of available air time.

What I’ve found is that Podcasts have come a long way from the early days (say 2 years ago).   There are some really good ones out there.  The key is to search for them using specific terms in iTunes or directly using Google.   Do not rely on Apple’s iTunes rack Podcast categorizations (iTunes Store > Podcasts > Technology).  I’ve found the vast majority of these technology Apple-recommended categorical podcasts to be plodding and painfully dull – example, I hate TWIT.  No offense to Leo Laporte, but I am not a long haul truck driver.  Say it in 25% of the time, no awards for girth.

So, what do I like?

  • Cloud Computing Podcast – a bit repetitive, but fast paced.
  • Computer Science and Engineering – video taped college lectures, very cool, topics are wide ranging
  • Hanselminutes – also broad ranging and fast paced
  • IBM Developer Works Podcast – covers you guessed it, mostly the world of big blue, but they don’t call them big blue for nothing, what they do matters.
  • Pragmatic Podcasts – what’s not to like about these guys?
  • Software Engineering Radio – sounds dreary, but is not.  Also covers lots of ground.
  • ThoughtWorks IT Matters Podcast – once again, have to love the ThoughtWorks guys and the vigor in which they live all things software.

Would like to hear what you’re listening to.  I welcome your comments.

Mike Brannan