My Favorite Podcasts

I spend about 90 minutes commuting in the car each day and primarily listen to podcasts when alone in the car. I think I'm about 7 years into regular podcast listening (I remember burning some onto CDs when my mp3 player could only hold 32MB) and I've certainly settled on a few favorites that are in regular rotation. Here they are:

  • EconTalk: Don't Be fooled - this isn't a theoretical or academic podcast on economics. JD turned me onto this about 2 years ago and it has been in steady rotation. My favorite 2010 episode was an interview of a hair stylist turned entrepreneur who is exploring innovative compensation models in a hair salon.
  • Mac Power Users: A worthy newcomer though I find myself skipping an episode now and then. Favorites in 2010 were on MultiMarkDown and iTunes.
  • MacBreak Weekly: To understand just how important Leo Laporte is to this show, listen to it while he's on vacation. A great cast of characters with frequent obscure references plus worthy iOS and Mac recommendations (and prognostications) make this a weekly listen for me.
  • The Dice Tower: This is the one and only boardgaming podcast that I listen to and it gets better every year. Eric Summerer as the co-host has taken the quality up a notch. And I love the Game Tech segments.
  • PhotoFocus: Scott Bourne has the cred to be cocky and he is, but I learn something new every time I listen to this digital photography Q&A show. A steady stream of guest hosts keeps it fresh.
  • Travel with Rick Steves: Each time I listen it reinforces how traveling overseas only every other year is not enough. My favorite episodes were about the Whiskey Trail and Turkey / Greece relations.
  • The Pipeline: Excellent interview show hosted by Dan Benjamin.
  • This American Life: Yes, this is the public radio show. Relaxing diversion.
  • The Dave Ramsey Show: This gets fewer listens these days. It used to be a favorite of the boys, but one traumatic fact of our debt-ridden society is that you keep hearing the same stories over and over again.
  • Manager Tools: I tend to listen in batches when I need some inspiration and focus in my day job. Great management basics covered here, and they have a dedicated RSS feed to catch you up on the 101 stuff.

If after reading this you have a recommendation for me leave it in the comments!

New Blogging Host

After nearly 7 years of hosting my own DasBlog instance I've moved to a new blogging host. No more manually purging logs, worrying about .NET upgrades, etc. I'm still working on permalink redirects from old posts. RSS feeds should already be getting proper 301 redirects.

Recent Gaming

Life is a bit less hectic these days, which means gaming activity has picked up. I've managed to host a few different gaming sessions and even attended one at Mike’s last week. Let’s recap:

Dominant Species

Jacob and I played a two player game of this after Thanksgiving, playing one species each. As many have said, the rules are clear and concise, components are outstanding, and I think there’s a good game in there. Unfortunately I suspect it isn’t optimized for two players, two species. If we try it again with two, we’ll each play two species to introduce more competition and flavor.

The mechanics remind me a bit of the Splotter game Bus - plot your moves out for the turn, and pay close attention to the sequencing and what your opponents are choosing. I supposed you could say the same about Agricola, Pillars of the Earth, and Caylus, but it felt like Bus to me. Jacob ran away with tundras as I underestimated the value of controlling and scoring those each turn. Excited to try this with 3 or 4 players.

London

Played this at Mike’s last weekend. Somewhat dry game but there’s depth there, though I’ll need a few more plays to rule on this one. I had a hard time seeing card combos and strategies emerge - probably not surprising in a first learning game but I usually latch on a bit faster to at least a few concepts. Will be interesting to see strategies emerge on this one.

1850

1850 with Matt, Mike, Eric, and Chris

I hosted a wonderful 18xx session two weekends ago, playing 1850 with five players in about six hours. Great study in contrasting approaches - Chris S was a great operator and engineer (he’s a very skilled and experienced 18xx player) while Mike played the role of investor playing a minimal operating role in the game. They both finished within spitting distance of each other (a virtual tie given the likely banking errors throughout the game) while I pulled up the rear. I missed an opportunity to shift an engine and dump a company about 2/3 through the game and had to make some difficult choices to keep myself in the game (meaning - I still finished last, but could have ended up much worse without some financial engineering). The great thing in my opinion about 18xx is that I generally have as much fun losing in 6 hours as I do winning. Not as much, but just about as much.

7 Wonders

Doug brought over his unplayed copy of 7 Wonders last night as I hosted a regular Tuesday night gaming session. This game is very easy to learn, plays in about 40 minutes, and looks to be a keeper in the mid-filler range. We played twice and in both games scores were close but the player collecting the sets of technologies managed to win. We deduced that even if you aren’t going after that as a primary strategy, you need to be in the technology game or else you’ll cede too many of those cards to your opponents. Mike and I even tried to bury several of them in the second game but Doug still managed to win by focusing on them. Not sure I need to get this game but I do look forward to playing again soon.