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Listening to Podcasts Without Dedicating Any Time for Them

by Tom Johnson on Jan 13, 2007
categories: technical-writing

You may think that there's no possible way you could sit and your computer and listen to a podcast that is 1 hour and 18 minutes long, like the Platt podcast I just recommended. However, I did that today without dedicating any special time to listen to it. Here was my podcast schedule for today:

  • Drive to work in morning, 20 minutes, listen to podcast in the car
  • Drive to gym at lunch, 7 minutes, listen to podcast in the car
  • Run on treadmill , 20 minutes, listen to podcast strapped onto my arm
  • Drive back to work, 7 minutes, listen to podcast in the car
  • Drive home, 20 minutes, listen to podcast in the car
  • Run errands (grocery store, gas, blockbuster), 10 minutes+, listen to podcasts in the car

It all adds up. In one day, I've got at least an hour's dead time that I can listen to podcasts, without altering the routine of my day.

Be sure you have a handy FM transmitter so that you can listen to podcasts while you drive. There really is no better time to listen to podcasts than when you're driving or exercising. I've been using an FM Transmitter from iRiver and have had a good experience with it (meaning, the sound is clear and the volume is good).

iriver fm transmitter

In contrast, I do not recommend the Monster FM transmitter. I had one for about 10 months and the cable inside split or something, then eventually broke. I tried soldering it back together, but was unsuccessful. I had a friend who was a technician give it a try (but I haven't tested it yet).

monster fm transmitter

The iRiver FM transmitter above works well for many MP3 players. If you have an iPod, I recommend using one of the FM transmitters specifically designed for iPod. Of course they will cost you an extra $10-20 more than the $50 iRiver above. Newer cars often have MP3 jacks built into the stereos.

A few months ago I was corresponding with someone on a listserv about podcasts. He said that podcasts weren't his thing because he didn't enjoy sitting at his computer for such a long period of time. Not my thing, he said.

Once you begin to listen to podcasts, you really start noticing how appealing they are. But if you're trying to listen to podcasts while sitting patiently at your computer, I'm sorry, but unless you have an incredibly disciplined focus and attention span, it will prove to be a frustrating experience. I recommend getting the necessary equipment to go mobile -- the FM transmitter and the arm band.

Karen from Denmark explains how she listens to podcasts:

I have piles of books and articles and magazines that cover many of of these topics. They can keep me busy for days and weeks and months. But the time! That's where these podcasts prove their value to me. I can listen to them during my daily trip to and from work. From the time I go out my front door until I sit down at my desk at work, I can listen to about 25 minutes worth of podcast. If I used the same time period for reading, I could read about 4 minutes on the Metro and 8-10 minutes on the train. I have been known to read on the walk from the train to the office, but that is only possible with easy-to-handle books - and not on a rainy day! The podcasts are a relaxing way to spend my journey.

How do you listen to podcasts?

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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