I’ve been feeling a bit underappreciated lately, mired in a flood of work that has consumed life in recent weeks. My team surprised me with a small gift and poem for today’s eve-of-feast celebration: it made my day.
I was once program manager of a radio station, and have always enjoyed listening to programs while driving, shopping, or exercising. Dutch radio is completely opaque for me, though, the talk goes too fast to follow, and the music tends towards top-40 hits and oldies.
Podcasts have been a welcome alternative. A podcast is a radio show, distributed over the Internet as an .mp3 file. I They can be easily and automatically downloaded: either install a podcatcher and specify the RSS audio feeds that you want to monitor, or subscribe through iTunes or Podshow, Downloaded shows accumulate in a directory, where they can be copied to an MP3 player weekly. I generally do a bit of cleanup on the file headers, using TagScanner to set the artists and genre consistently so that shows are grouped on my player’s menu. That’s it: you’re good to go!
Unfortunately, there are few instructional Dutch Language podcasts, so I usually just rip language lessons off of instructional CDs. Laura Speaks Dutch and Dutch Grammar Podcast are good shows, but only published monthly. SBS Radio, from Australia, offers daily Dutch-language news and entertainment programs, and there are a lot of home-grown Dutch music and politics programs indexed through Podfeed.nl.
Beyond that, I regularly listen to about a dozen English-language programs, mainly drawn from entertainment, technology, public affairs, and writer’s almanacs. I’ve put a short list of links to some of my favorites to the right of this posting.
And, if overuse and travel abuse damages your iPod, I can recommend a quick fix from UK iPod Repairs. These are good people who can fix almost anything and have been fast, reliable, and fair when I have a problem.