Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools page
highlights here something called ITConversations. It’s a sort of radio station without the airwaves: lots of free, interesting content for folks in the software business. I’m not sure what their revenue model is, but there’s some really good stuff here. Downloadable interviews and speeches have been around for years now (see Carl Malamud’s venerable Geek of the Week, for example), but it’s the iPod that really changed the landscape. Who wants to sit in front of their computer and listen to a 115 Mbyte .au file? But now you can think of your iPod as a TiVo for the radio (or radio-like content). I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to books on tape during my commute, first with (you guessed it) Books On Tape, then more recently with Audible.com. So it was easy for me to adjust some of my listening time to good free audio content on trends in my industry. The first thing I listened to was a keynote speech by Kent Beck on developer-written software tests. Not riveting if you’re not in my business, but very relevant to me right now. Call it painless continuing education.
When the internet was first growing in influence years ago, people often spoke of how good writing was regaining its cultural currency because of email, newsgroup discussions, and so on. Now the web, via podcasting and MP3s, is doing the same thing for the spoken word.