Adventures in podpeeping…

Posted on September 17, 2010 by

Vancouver currently smells of horseshit, leading me to suspect that this is the time of year when a savvy gardener’s thoughts turn to fertilizer.

Me, I am going after a different kind of enrichment… the always lovely brain on legs known as Linda Carson has turned me on to TED talks and I have been inhaling one, chosen more or less at random, every day.

Like the millions of viewers who have already figured out that these vids are pure gold, I’ve found that twenty minutes a day is an awfully cheap price to pay to get one’s mind stretched. It’s always been one of my more cherished beliefs that any topic is interesting if the speaker is both knowledgeable and passionate. TED pretty much proves me right. They cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from politics and science to art and design. The speakers are at the top of their various fields, and many of them are supremely entertaining. There have been lightning calculators, Mentalist-style maestros of misdirection, and yesterday I watched Chris Anderson explain crowd accelerated innovation. Here’s the trailer Linda used to hook me, featuring snippets from ten of their most downloaded talks:

The practice of watching these has somehow led me back to loading up CBC podcasts, a habit I’d dropped, so I am also happily mushing my way through a backlog of Vinyl Cafe stories and expect to inhale some as-yet uncracked Quirks and Quarks. These are audio, better suited to a hike or my various commutes.

The delivery system for all this material is my teeny-tiny iTouch. Kelly has written a Favorite Thing Ever luv pome about hers, so I won’t rhapsodize. I’ll just say, it is both handy and dandy. In addition to the podcasts, I’ve added one other app to the mix, recently: I loaded up iBooks. (Hey, they offered me a free illustrated copy of Winnie the Pooh … who was I to say no?)

I would’ve expected the teeny tiny iTouch screen to be a barrier to my first foray into proper ebook reading. I read a friend’s novel on my gadget, using a PDF file, and there were teeny-text challenges. No surprise–the screen is, what? Two by three inches? But the iBook interface has a bookshelf, which I find charming, and its files are far more readable than that self-loaded PDF. And I have never actually read Winnie The Pooh, believe it or not. So far, the virtual book does seem surprisingly me-friendly, and may even turn me into a bus reader.

But if it did, when would I write blog posts?

In the meantime, Thursday’s verbiage: 923 words, for a total of 10747.

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