How I consume podcasts

2 minute read

I watch/listen to a fair number of video and audio podcasts. The longer ones I consume on the 1hr each way train commute I have to work, along with audio books and instructional videos (I’m currently learning more about Oracle).

I watch them on my PSP, because it had a larger screen and lower dollar cost than the other device I was originally comparing it to, the video iPod. There is another cost, though, as all video podcasts need to be transcoded from formats that work fine on iPods into “PSP format”, which basically is a standard h264 or mpeg4 file with a proprietary header and specific dimensions. This takes a long time. The PSP also uses flash memory instead of a hard drive, so I’m constantly needing to delete/refill the contents. More of my time used up, frequently late at night when I should be sleeping. (like now)

So, I’m probably going to switch to something a bit larger and more flexible in the next little while.

E. pointed me to the Pepper Pad 3, which is a Linux-based UMPC, with nice specs - size is 11.5” x 7” x 1” and weight is 2.2lbs, and it has a 500Mhz AMD ARM processor, 256Mb RAM, 7” screen, 20Gb 1.8” hdd, 802.11b/g, USB, and Bluetooth. It looks pretty cool, but I still have some reservations, especially since it’s almost $800 CDN from the only place that ships them to Canada. Of course, if someone was buying me one for my birthday I’d be entirely happy to get one. [g]

Another option I’m considering is Linux on a used IBM Thinkpad X30. This is a very small laptop, 10.7” x 9” x 1.2” at 3.3lbs, and it’s one of the very tough Thinkpads that IBM was making before they sold all consumer PC stuff to Lenovo. The specs I’m seeing are Pentium 3M at 1.2Ghz, 256Mb RAM, 40Gb HD, 12” screen, 100Mb Ethernet, 802.11b, USB, FireWire, for under $600 CDN before taxes and shipping. It has no CD or floppy drive, so I’ll need to get it booting off USB, FireWire or netboot to do the install, but that shouldn’t be too hard.

Of course, in my perfect world I’d get a MacBook with 1Gb RAM, a 60+Gb HD, and SuperDrive. Sadly, I don’t have $1500 or so lying around right now.

It would be nice to have a machine that could somehow run Windows, as many of the Computer-Based Training (CBT) courses I have are Windows-only. The ones that are all video I can convert to the PSP, but the majority are either Flash (which I could also view on Linux) or entirely Windows apps (installers, executable proprietary viewers, test simulators, etc).

Either way, though, it’ll be nice to have something with a lot more storage and a screen larger than 4.3”, even if I can’t carry it in my coat pocket any more. If nothing else, it’ll get me another 1/2hr of sleep every day, which is pretty much priceless.