Saturday, July 26, 2014

Intuitive. Powerful. Orange

I realized that jobs suck, but if you could get up at 6 A.M. and bake your own breakfast, that is very satisfying. - Marco Arment

Raised in Sacramento, the launchpad of Rush Limbaugh, how could I avoid being a fan of the talk radio? Working from home I used to always have KGO playing in the background during work. These days, I am massive fan of Podcasts. It was a natural evolution. When I had a thirty-minute drive every day, that got me listening to five hours of shows a week, or did it?

I can't remember when podcasting introduced playing at "1.5x" and "2x" speed, but I feel like this happened somewhere in the iPod-mini phase of things. Maybe it was early as running Rockbox on the my Archos - who's to say? The important thing is that I bumped up to listening at 1.5x-2.x on podcast and it was great. Now, listening to normal talk radio sounds like drudgery.

I get up in the mornings with Mini-Chaos. We have our bottles (formula for him, coffee for me). We get shower and get changed. Then while he plays I listen to a show at 1.5x-2x. I wonder what it does to his brain. Is he going to be a fast talking kid like the old micro-machine commercials?

One of the developers who's on the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) just released a Podcast app with advanced features that cost $5. It's a big barrier to switch from using the free app from Apple to paying for this new one, but I gladly handed over my money. So much better for three reasons!

  1. "Smart Speed" - cuts out the gaps of silence. Now when I'm playing at "1.5x" it shows I'm actually hearing it at "1.6x" "1.7x" depending on how much the speakers pause. Super slick.
  2. "Voice Boost" - a real time equalizer tuned for spoken word. A common problem on my lower production-value podcasts is that some people are on nice professional mics with shields and diffusers while other people use their Apple earbuds. This feature smooths it all out so there aren't huge differences in people's volume - perfect for listening when Mini-Chaos is asleep to keep him from getting woken up by an expected loud voice.
  3. Re-orderable Playlists - The playlist feature has all sorts of stuff about priority playlists, priority order, sort bys, etc. I don't use any of that. I look at the playlist frequently to see the shows I have and then I manually re-order it. Really simple and perfect. Before whenever a show ended I would have to pull up my list and manually select the next show. Very inconvenient when driving.

I hope Mini-Chaos is getting a good education listening to all my tech, nerd, and cultural podcasts as a little tyke.