Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

August 17, 2017
by Romey
0 comments

Clara’s First Day of School!

I know it’s cliche to say that these kids are growing up too quickly, but it’s really quite remarkable just how true that is.

Today Clara started pre-school at her elementary school, and she couldn’t be more proud or excited. Ever since the kids in her daycare have started school, Clara’s been keenly interested in school. At home she’ll often pack her backpack and proclaim that she’s off to school, then going to her room and enacting a school day.  We’ve often had to curtail her ambition about starting school, reminding her it was a ways off.

That day has finally come, and while her early childhood has been a joyous journey, this did still manage to take us by surprise. Clara’s grown into a confident and articulate little girl, and that really became self-evident when she sat right down at her little table and started working on her art project. Bethany and I waved at her through the window, knowing that her excitement had trumped any nervousness or fear of being without her parents.  It also became a little emotional, realizing that this is Clara’s first opportunity to interact with a large group of kids each day, being exposed to different ideas and values, some of which may challenge our own.  The village is now helping raise our little girl. Of course, we’ll be here to foster that, but there is still some significance in presenting your children to the world.

Here’s to more great days of school!

 

July 13, 2017
by Romey
0 comments

How I Cut The Cord

Like many folks out there, I have become fed up with my rising Cable/Satellite bill and my falling TV consumption.  We recently re-assessed all of our bills and despite a reduction in our equipment fees, we were still paying upwards of $115 per month to DirecTV for Satellite.  Since having kids, our TV consumption has both dropped and changed significantly.  Our serialized show consumption has dropped significantly (really only watching a handful per year), but we remain casual news consumers (we record NBC nightly news and watch local news each morning and evening), as well as avid sports consumers (we have normal NFL consumption – no Sunday ticket, as well as NBA and NHL playoffs).  It was getting harder to justify the $115 per month for how little we were consuming.

Last Spring I began to seriously research cutting the cord and what it would entail.  We still wanted to consume broadcast TV with local sports, as well as subscribe to some basic cable channels that would enable us to watch ESPN and TNT/TBS (for sports). Ideally, we’d like a way to DVR the news and other content that wasn’t available on-demand.  It turns out that while cord-cutting is popular, a number of variables make it difficult to follow a standard solution.  Here are the steps I took to enable our cord cutting.

1. Researched Solutions

Over-The-Air HD Coverage.  This is the largest variable and possibly most significant aspect of cord-cutting. Given how big of sports fans we are, we could not forgo live broadcasts of Broncos games and other major events.  The easiest and (possibly) cheapest solution is over-the-air HD.  The biggest factors in your quality of signal are your distance and elevation from the broadcast points.  I found the closest broadcast points going to TVFool.com.  With this, you can now expect which stations to receive and determine how powerful of equipment you need. For Northern Colorado, the strongest signals come from Lookout Mountain just west of Denver, which is about 60 miles away from our house.  I ended up getting a pretty powerful indoor/outdoor antenna (more on that later) with an 80-mile range.

Cable-Replacement Streaming Services. Over the last two years, the bundled streaming services area has become quite competitive.  During my course of research, I looked at the following:

  • DirecTV NOW – Seemed promising, but didn’t give it much consideration since we have given enough money to DirecTV and AT&T. I’m extremely skeptical that the prices will not rise down the road.
  • YouTube TVThe most compelling solution, but unfortunately isn’t fully baked for my (or many) locations with local TV coverage. I did not try this.
  • Sling TV – Used the free trial and enjoyed using the service. This one was the easiest to use and had a lot of great channels, but didn’t have the combination of the channels that we wanted at the time we tried it. It does appear that Sling has recently adjusted their offering and pricing, and have given me a reason to try it again.
  • Playstation Vue – The solution we ultimately chose.  It’s important to note that you do not need a PlayStation 4 to use PlayStation Vue. Currently, I am utilizing Chromecast through my iOS devices, as well as Roku.  They offered the best channel combination and content possibilities for $30 per month.

Depending on your needs, each solution does have its benefits. The best part about these services is that you’re not locked in, and can switch at any time.  Since the billing is month-to-month, I’m actually going to suspend our subscription for the rest of the summer and will re-evaluate my subscription once football starts.

2. Buy Proper Equipment

Depending on what you determine from TVFool, your equipment may vary.  Some people are able to get away with an on-the-wall indoor antenna. In my case, being 55 miles away from the transmitters, I opted for a pretty high-grade indoor/outdoor antenna.  You may also need to buy a digital receiver, depending on your TV. The basic rule of thumb is that if the TV has an input for a coaxial cable, the receiver should be built in. My Plasma from 2006 was not.

Here is the equipment we purchased:

Channel Master CM-42 UHF and HDTV Antenna ($109 on Amazon)

antenna

CHANNEL MASTER Antenna Mast Steel Antenna Mast (5ft) (CM-1805) ($22.50 on Amazon)

 

Mast

This turned out to be a glorified fence post/pole. Doing this again, I would have looked for something cheaper at Home Depot.

 

Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT Digital HDTV Preamplifier ($34.18 on Amazon)

preamplifier

I returned this.  It turns out I was getting a good enough signal without it.  I’m not sure if my antenna is considered amplified.  If you’re like me, I would buy this to have on-hand, but only open it if the antenna signal looks like it needs to be amplified. If not, return it.

 

Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB 3 / 4 Channel HDTV Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Player ($28.30 on Amazon)

Homeworx

I only needed one of these for the Plasma TV. Our other three TV’s already had tuners built in.  The one complaint I have about this unit is that it doesn’t seem to be as sensitive to signals as the other TV’s that have their tuners built-in, so I’m missing out on a few channels.  This one also had a DVR-expansion capability when you plug in an external hard drive through USB, but I quickly replaced it with the next product below.

SiliconDust HDHomeRun ($99 on Amazon)

hdhomerun

It’s important to note that you don’t need this device to cut the cord, but if you’re looking for a DVR option, the HDHomeRun can be combined with Plex to replace your DVR functionality.  The HDHomeRun is a pretty simple device, a tuner that outputs the signal your network cable. You configure it using another computer, with an option to use that computer (or network-attached storage) to store DVR files.  In addition to that, they have a Windows Store App that lets you stream the TV onto your computer in that same network.

Enter: Plex, my favorite Media Center distribution. Plex utilizes that HDHomeRun’s tuner and wraps DVR capability into it. Not only that, but they have a beta feature that allows you to stream the live video directly from the Plex app.

You do need to be a little more technical to utilize these features. Plex is really smart in that it helps you connect all the parts to build your own over-air-to-streaming solution, but I don’t think they can legally offer the service out of the box.  Still, I didn’t have much trouble setting it up.

[UPDATE: 13-July] Some people seemed pretty excited to hear about the DVR possibilities, so I wanted to offer some additional clarification:

  1. You need to be a Plex Pass Insider to use the DVR portion, it’s $5 per month, but I gladly pay the fee because it allows me to access my Plex server from outside my house and download off-line content to our tablets. Yes, it is another bill. The HDHomerun does have some basic DVR functionality that’s not tied to any subscription that simply records the video to your hard drive, but Plex makes it a pretty good experience.
  2. The DVR’d show is only accessible after recording is finished, you can’t start a currently-airing show on time-delay. During football season we would pause football games during bedtime and then speed-watch to catch up, I won’t be able to do this with the current solution.

 

Devices to Receive Streaming Services

There are a ton of options here, and it really depends on your needs. It really comes down to evaluating your budget, streaming services you receive, as well as how you want to interact with the device.  At a glance here are the primary ones I considered:

  • AppleTV – One of the more expensive options. Works great if a majority of your content is in the Apple ecosystem. It has most major services, but as of July 2017, doesn’t have Amazon streaming (it’s only been announced).
  • ChromeCast – One of the cheapest solutions, but also one of the clunkiest.  You interface by starting the media on your phone, mobile device, or browser, then “cast” that media to the ChromeCast.  In many cases, the Chromecast is being told to go get the media from another stream on the internet, but sometimes the media may be streamed/mirrored from the controlling device.  The drawback here is that you have to navigate it using your phone, which makes it a chore to select a movie with multiple people.  It has access to a majority of services (although as of this writing you cannot “Cast” Amazon Streaming video from your phone, only your browser.
  • Kindle Fire Sticks – I don’t have any experience with this device, but based on my research there is one major benefit and one major drawback: the benefit is that the device is affordable, the drawback is that it’s likely subsidized by Amazon services and will likely give preference to those services when using content.  I think it has most major services on it, but admittingly I have not researched this fully.
  • Roku – My recommedationI’m a big fan of Roku largely because it’s not tied to any major platform or ecosystem. It’s the “Switzerland” of streaming devices, being that most major streaming services work with it.  As of this writing, it’s the only device that I’ve found that has access to the major streaming services that I use (Netflix, Plex, Amazon, Hulu, Playstation Vue, SlingTV, etc).  I would recommend spending a little more to buy the at least the Roku 3 over the Roku Streaming Stick, for the sole reason that the Roku 3 has a USB port that can stream movies, photos and other content – off-line.  The Roku 3 is about the size of a hockey puck, which makes it a great travel companion. We’ve streamed ripped movies in many hotel rooms, remote cabins and other areas where fast internet isn’t prevalent.  It looks like there are two version of the Roku 4. Unless you really want to futureproof your streaming needs, I would suggest avoiding the 4k model as most streaming content isn’t available in 4k.

3. Setting Everything Up

After receiving all of the pieces, it was now a matter of putting everything together.  Assembling the antenna wasn’t too painful. Luckily of the one I bought, it was mostly assembled when it came out of the box, although other antennas may require more assembly.  I then mounted it to the pole and set out to mount the pole onto the house.  One benefit of replacing my satellite is that I essentially had all the hardware and connections.  With DirecTV mounting the satellite and connecting all the wiring, it was simply a matter of removing the satellite from the roof mounting pole and replacing it with the antenna pole.  I unplugged the coax hookup from the satellite and right into the antenna. It’s important to note that you have to be a little careful down in your wiring hub, as the splitter DirecTV used had a port to send power to the satellite, so I made sure to unplug that before I hooked everything up.

The benefit of this is that I didn’t have to run any additional cable. If I were replacing Cable and did not have a roof mount, I would have considered mounting the antenna in my attic and figuring out a way to send that cable all the way to the splitter in the basement. This isn’t the most elegant solution, but I’m happy I didn’t have to deal with installing a roof rack, playing in the attic, or fishing cable through walls.

Next was plugging in all of the Coax Cable directly into the TV’s (I had packed away all of the DirecTV receivers and equipment).  It turns out that I did not need to use the amplifier that I purchased (and in fact, I think it was interfering with my signals), so I was able to return it. As previously mentioned, I was able to leverage all of the cables that I used and didn’t have to mess with identifying connectors. If for some reason you don’t have access to a Coax Cable Splitter, you’ll need to consider purchasing one.

Now came the tedious part: calibrating everything correctly.  With the report I got from TVFool, I determined that the antenna had to be facing at 200° to get the best transmitter.  I climbed back on the ladder and used a compass (which was available on my iPhone) to get me to 200 and pointed it there.  I then tightened everything and secured the pole (albeit with methods that could be more effective).

I then fired up each TV, set the tuner to “Air” and auto-scanned to discover my channels.

This is where things got tedious. If you’re not getting any signal, you’ll need to troubleshoot all of your connections. I would suggest having a long coax cable on hand and running it directly from the antenna connector into your nearest TV, eliminating all of the possible points of failure.  If you find that you are able to receive channels, make sure you’re getting all of the channels that you’re expecting. In my case, where my location is borderline, this meant a lot of trial-and-error in moving the antenna.  While I tried to keep it at 200°, I played with 195, then 205 and tried to pinpoint the exact location where the scanner is picking up the most channels, and the channels you care most about are the clearest.  This means going up and down the ladder, scanning, then reviewing channels for any interference.  Once your reception was acceptable, I unplugged the long cable from the antenna and plugged it into the cable that led to the splitter.

Once your reception was acceptable, I unplugged the long cable from the antenna and plugged it into the cable that led to the splitter.  Then on each TV I re-ran the channel scans and did the tweaking. At this point, it became apparent that not all TV-tuners are alike, and you may need to do some tweaking to see if you can get the channel you want.  This is where I discovered that the external tuner I got for the Plasma is not as sensitive as the built-in tuners on the more modern TV’s.

Now that I was getting over-the-air TV, it was a matter of configuring all of the streaming services to work on your device. Most of these were already in place, but I did install and configure the cable-replacement streaming service (Playstation Vue), and now was off to the races.

4. Living with a cut cord

I’m not two months into it and am mostly satisfied.  The first few weeks, I did have to deal with the wind blowing my antenna out of alignment, but I’ve come up with some ways to secure the antenna’s position. Ideally, this would be solved by replacing the roof mount (which has a bigger opening than the pole), or drilling a hole through the pole and secure it with a screw.  However, the antenna position has been pretty secure for over 6 weeks. About two weeks ago, I thought the weather moved it as I was missing my NBC channels (9News/KUSA and it’s Channel 20 affiliate), only to find out that something happened to their transmitter and those channels are not being broadcast correctly (they’re working on repairs now).

I haven’t missed the cable programming at all.  We don’t consume a lot of channels to begin with, and the summer is typically the slower period for shows, so we’ll see how things kick up when fall premieres hit.  I did watch many NBA playoff games through Playstation Vue and was very happy with the result. Most of all, I don’t miss my cable bill at all. Two months in, our equipment has already paid for itself.

I’ll check back in on this when football season rolls around, but if you do have any questions about cord-cutting, don’t hesitate to ask! I’m far from an expert, and there are a lot of complexities, but I’m happy to share what I learned.  Good luck!

April 20, 2017
by Romey
0 comments

Raising False Internet Hysteria

Reacting to some neighborhood drama:

“Hey Water Valley friends, neighbors and taxpayers. There has been a lot of Internet hysteria and hubbub about Water Valley changing the lake ownership to ‘public.’ Please relax and remember YOU as metro district taxpayers OWN the lakes. NOTHING is changing. The PTMD board is simply housecleaning the rules to properly define ‘non-resident’ use.

Please come to the 9 a.m., Thur. April 27 meeting in the Pelican Lakes Banquet Room and learn the truth and facts about how this beautiful place operates.

Enjoy your weekend, don’t allow false Internet hysteria to cause you any concern. Water Valley is a proven winner and its districts are ridiculously successful in preserving your values and amenities!

Enjoy the weekend see you next week.”

Martin Lind
Water Valley Land Company CEO & PTMD Board President

I really appreciate Martin Lind’s reply and addressing these issues that have concerned many of us. I also am grateful for what he’s done to ensure we have a very nice place to live and play. However, I am disappointed with the disdaining implication that residents like myself generated “false Internet hysteria”.

The lack of context surrounding the introduction of these policies set the stage for vast confusion. The lack of communication, followed by vague statements fertilized the confusion into concern and conjecture. With little information available, concerned residents were forced to resort to speculation based on the limited information they could find.

Nextdoor wasn’t responsible for this. Facebook wasn’t responsible for this. The lack of information, communication, and the challenging of long-held assumptions are the culprits in this confusion.

This document isn’t perfect. My primary concern was surrounding the wording around alcohol usage. The PTMD acknowledged it was a mistake and has committed to correcting this. It’s crucial that all residents review all aspects of the policies – especially those that potentially impact them – and send concerns and comments through the appropriate avenues. Some residents have sacrificed their own time and money to ensure their neighbors are aware of these proposed policies and have their opportunity to comment. To encourage people to participate in the process and ask questions is not raising hysteria.

I am glad that the PTMD is encouraging people in attending their board meeting and moving it to a larger location, although I do wish that a meeting so crucial to the residents could be held at a time that would enable residents to attend and learn the truth and facts.

At the end of the day, we can all agree that our community is best served by informed and involved residents. The PTMD has requested review and comments, and it’s my hope that every resident is aware and supportive of perfected proposed policies, as we’re all expected to abide by them.

April 5, 2017
by Romey
4 Comments

Is the Ninja Coffee Bar A Dud?

2017-04-05 23.03.19

Last Christmas I got my wife a new coffee maker and settled on the Ninja Coffee Bar (ours was Model CF081).  When we first bought it, we were extremely happy with it. It was consistently making great coffee.  Now about 4 months later, we’ve seemed to have stumbled into what’s becoming a common issue with the coffee maker.

Recently the display has gone to display “CLN” (which stands for Clean) and has really prevented the coffee maker from working or brewing consistently. After following the directions to clean the coffee maker, the clean notification never turns off.  I tried to Google this information over the last few days but hadn’t seen anything definitive on the web. I had to dig a little deeper to find numerous comments on their Facebook Page and on Amazon Reviews.  There seem to be a significant amount of users complaining about the issue, and each comment on Facebook has been met with the same canned response, asking users to private message them a number on the plug prong and that they’ll email you specific instructions on how to clean it.  Presently I’m awaiting those instructions, but I have my doubts that there’s a magic sequence that solves the problem.  Based on updates from other commenters, it seems they are recommending that people clean with their specific cleaning solution (now that’s convenient), and in some cases, they are sending out replacement units (although I’ve heard that some users are being charged a $20 shipping fee).  I’ll provide an update once I hear from their support.

 

If you are experiencing this issue, be sure to click on the comments on the above Facebook post.

This is starting to seem like a systemic problem, something that only is now appearing to really manifest itself with these coffee makers being in the wild for a few months.  I’m not sure if this has been fixed in later models, but people are presently commenting on the same issue in the Amazon reviews of the current for-sale model. I’m not sure if their cleaning sensor is malfunctioning, or if there are genuine issues with calcium buildup that is not being solved by their cleaning methods. Nonetheless, this is pretty disappointing.

Are you a Ninja Coffee Bar user and experienced this problem? Do you have any tips in how to solve this?

Update: Ninja Support did send me a link to a PDF that had cleaning instructions that differed from the manual, that had specific details of how to execute post-clean flushes.  The key was that the flush had to executed within 15 minutes after a clean cycle, or it had to be started all over again. We’re a few days into making coffee again.

March 31, 2017
by Romey
0 comments

Trypod–My Favorite Podcasts 2017

For nearly 10 years I’ve been a huge consumer of podcasts and have been elated to see it come more into the mainstream over the last few years.  The two biggest virtues of Podcasting are the long-form and in-depth conversations that take place, combined with the variety of content. This results in a utopia of great content, no matter how diverse or obscure your interests are.

Some of the biggest podcasts have been involved with TryPod all March, where they ask listeners to invite friends to check out some of their favorite podcasts.  I’ve been meaning to post my list of favorite podcasts all month, but what better time to get around to it than the last day of the month?  Better late than never I guess.

First you need to know that my podcasting obsession may be a little out of control. I currently subscribe to 87 different podcast fees, and this is after recently pruning my subscriptions.  It’s certainly not practical to listen to 87 different podcasts (although some of those are currently dormant or don’t produce content on a frequent basis), and so over the years I’ve adapted my podcast listening strategy. Typically I am an obsessed completion-ist, feeling that subscribing to a podcast meant a commitment to hear every episode. That then evolved into a “must listen” list, where I selected the top podcasts that I wouldn’t miss. Today, I treat my Podcast feeds more like a radio dial: there are shows that I’ll always grab as soon as they’re available, and have developed a lower tolerance for entertaining content and may stop listening to a podcast mid-episode if it doesn’t interest me, some shows I’ll just skip all together and wait for the next episode.

As I’ve said before, there are great podcasts for just about every interest that you have, and as such I listen to podcasts about Politics, Sports, Pop Culture, Photography, Drumming, Music Business, Comics, Technology and Development, News and Comedy. Currently the majority of my listening is steeped in news and politics, where I’m striving to get a vast array of opinions. I politically consider myself a fiscal conservative and socially moderate Republican, that is currently questioning my party affiliation. You may notice that many of the political podcasts are more mainstream or left-leaning, in my attempt to understand different viewpoints.

So without further ado, here are 31 Podcasts for 31 Days (in no particular order):

1947 Meet The Press Podcast

News, Politics Interviews – Weekly

Why I Listen: Hosted by Chuck Todd, the podcast enables him to dive deeper into compelling topics that interest him.

 

Accidental Tech Podcast

Technology (Mostly Apple)  – Weekly

Why I Listen: Geeky tech talk that dives deep into mainly Apple issues, isn’t afraid to go deep in the weeds with nerdy topics.

Can He Do That?

Politics – Weekly

Why I Listen: This Washington Post podcast is focused around Donald Trump, with a fair analysis of recent controversial decisions and behaviors.

Comic Geek Speak

Comics – 2-4 Per Month

Why I Listen: One of my oldest podcasts to remain at the top of my rotation. Some really passionate and nerdy (and I mean that affectionately) discussion-based podcasts.  They cover a wide array of comics, but my favorite episodes are their deep-dive “spotlight” episodes on characters and their eras.

Ctrl Walt Delete

Tech – Weekly

Why I Listen: Really thoughtful discussion on the latest technology topics. Essentially Nilay Patel and Walt Mossberg discuss Walt’s recent column. This podcast has grown to be one of my favorite tech podcasts, and has really made me develop a significant amount of respect for Walt Mossberg.

Deadcast

Sports – Weekly

Why I Listen: Recently back from the dead, this NSFW Podcast gives hilarious discussion on sports and some pop culture.

DIY Musician Podcast

Music Business – Weekly

Why I Listen: Put on by CDBaby, this podcast gives me a lot to think about when it comes to musician marketing, outreach and growing our band. I appreciate that their topics are varied, yet apply to working musicians.

Exponent

Tech/Business – Weekly

Why I Listen: These guys are probably the smartest and most insightful analysts I listen to. My mind is always blown by the richness of their discussions. Most of it is based in consumer technology business models, but I’m left with a lot to ponder after each podcast.

Fatman on Batman

Comics – Weekly

Why I Listen: Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin talking all things comics. Despite the name, they’ve branched out far beyond Batman and talk all things comics/geek culture.  The language can be NSFW, but is often my go-to podcast when I’m trying to catch up on the latest comic news.

 

FiveThirtyEight Politics

Politics – Weekly

Why I Listen: Extremely insightful analysis on political numbers, polls and recent political happenings.  The analysis is very fair and the hosts do a great job of taking a dry subject and making it entertaining and accessible.

 

FoKnowsPhoto Raw Talk

Photography – 2x Monthly

Why I Listen: I’m a huge FroKnowsPhoto fan. Honestly a lot of my photography approach is shaped by Jared Polin.  What I most appreciate about this show is that it covers photo news, happenings and issues that professional and budding photographers face. The show doesn’t get too far into the weeds, but is extremely entertaining. Their newest format with Todd took a while to grow on me, but it’s really matured into an insightful and entertaining show.

Here’s The Thing

Interviews – 2-4x Monthly

Why I Listen: Thoughtful interviews done by Alec Baldwin – yes, that Alec Baldwin. He goes to great depths with celebrities from all over. I leave each show learning more about both Alec and his subject.

 

Jay & Miles X-plain The X-men

Comics – Weekly

Why I Listen: This is probably my favorite podcast. As a closeted X-men fan that got into comics in the early 90’s, this is definitely in my wheelhouse.  The level of depth in the recaps and analysis is impressive and entertaining. It’s easy to take for granted just how much work Jay and Miles put into each episode.

Mission Log

Star Trek – Weekly

Why I Listen: A weekly Star Trek episode recap show.As a Trekie who’s seen every episode at least 4 times, I love revisiting the show each week and thinking about the show’s messages, and whether it holds up.  If you love Star Trek, you’ll be deep-diving into their archives.

NPR Politics

Politics – Weekly

Why I Listen: Insightful center-left analysis of the latest political happenings.  I appreciate the context that is offered for the current issues.

On The Media

Politics/News – Weekly

Why I Listen: A left-leaning look on the ways culture and media impact each other. This show is well-done and thought-provoking, although it’s definitely gone to a darker place since the election.

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture – Weekly

Why I Listen: Witty and insightful discussion on the latest movies, TV shows, and pop-culture happenings.  The shows are the perfect length and provide the perfect depth and analysis of the topics.  This show is basically Cliff-Notes for Pop Culture, so you can give the illusion that you’re still hip.

S-Town

Narrative – One-Time

Why I Listen: This is the newest edition to my feed, recently replacing the Missing Richard Simmons podcast. This is done by the same group that put on Serial once upon a time, and is done in the same story-telling format.  I would call this a cross between “human interest’ and “guilty pleasure”.

Whistlestop

Political History – 2x Month

Why I Listen: Hosted by John Dickerson, this podcast provides some historical context to recent political events. This helps you figure out whether you should freak out about latest political developments.

Startup

Tech/Business – Weekly

Why I Listen: A fantastic narrative-based podcast that covers the world of starting and growing a business.

Talk From Superheroes

Comedy/Comics/Movies – Weekly

Why I Listen: An extremely funny show where comedians discuss and recap new and old super hero movies. What starts off as hilarious observations ends up with some very insightful reflections on the movies.

 

The Axe Files

Politics Interviews – Weekly

Why I Listen: Former Obama advisor David Axelrod interviews political figures from all sides of the political spectrum.

 

Bill Simmons

Sports, Pop Culture – 1-3x Per week

Why I Listen: One of my longest-tenured podcasts dating back to the BS Report, Bill ;Simmons has some very entertaining interviews.

 

The Daily

News, Politics – Daily

Why I Listen: A new New York Times podcast that I listen while showering each morning. It’s short, well-produced and very topical.

The Talk Show w/ John Gruber

Tech/Apple – Weekly

Why I Listen: Interesting Apple-focused tech discussion.

West Wing Weekly

West Wing TV Show – Weekly

Why I Listen: An entertaining and insightful recap of West Wing episodes, with Hrishikesh Hirway and Josh Malina (who was on the West Wing in Seasons 4-7). They land interviews from various cast members, including Aaron Sorkin himself.

 

TWiT

Tech Analysis – Weekly

Why I Listen: One of my longest-tenured podcasts for tech news discussion and analysis. I have to admit that I listen to this one more out of loyalty now, with my listening being determined by who’s on the week’s panel.

TV Avalanche

TV Pop Culture – Weekly

Why I Listen: A TV critics podcast about the latest and best shows. I’m a big fan of Alan Sepinwall and am glad to have him back in Podcasting.

Upgrade

Tech News, Apple – Weekly

Why I Listen: Another Apple-focused tech discussion podcast. I’m starting to see a trend with most of my tech consumption being Apple-focused. I’d like to think this is more coincidental in my search for insightful tech discussion, but some may be influenced by my tech consumption as an iOS user.

The Weeds

Political Policy – Weekly

Why I Listen: Intelligent left-leaning political policy discussion going in “the weeds” on issues.

 

The Weekly Standard

Political Discussion – 1-2x Weekly

Why I Listen: Conservative political discussion and analysis of current events. The Weekly Standard is definitely pro-Republican, but not necessarily Pro-Trump, which makes for some insightful commentary.

 

I would definitely invite you to give any of these 31 podcasts a try, especially if any of the interests are in your wheelhouse.  If you’re already into podcasts, I’d love to hear any recommendations you may have.