Michael Alderete recommended IT Conversations over lunch a few weeks ago, and I’ve finally started digging in. The site hosts hundreds of archived speeches in MP3 format by thinkers and players in the computer industry, all free. It’s not what you might think – these aren’t boring whiteboard transcripts of talks on XML or rising disk capacity – this is big-picture stuff, history and sociology and commentary on the whole IT sphere.
Have only listened to two so far: George Dyson on Von Neumann’s Universe, about the fabrication and evolution of the first tube-based computers at Princeton in the middle of the last century, and Clay Shirky’s Ontology is Overrated, with a deep look at the power of “folksonomies” and the rise of organic cataloguing systems. Both were provocative start to finish, totally stimulating.
It’s like those too-rare times when you stumble on some great radio program on the way home and get so involved that you sit in the car in the driveway until it’s over so you don’t miss a word… but time-shifted, so you don’t have to sit in the car in the driveway.
Podcasting downside: No easy way to copy/paste excerpts, which makes it harder for me to convey why I find these talks so compelling.