People frequently overlook the quantity and the quality of free podcasts available on the iTunes Store. When people ask me what I think is Apple Inc.'s biggest strength I harken back to the gigantic community of people and organizations who freely contribute their time and expertise to make Apple's online presence the most sophisticated and deep presence on the web. The iTunes Store now has hundreds of free college and university courses, town hall meetings from great think tanks, industry-specific conversations, travel views, and a lot more. A small selection of my favourite podcasts should illustrate what I mean.
1) Inside The New York Times Book Review with Sam Tanenhaus
One of my favourite Sunday morning pleasures was opening the Sunday New York Times to the Book Review section and diving into the latest and greatest books published, usually reviewed by great readers and sometimes even by great writers. Now I get my fix by podcast direct from the editor of the section, Sam Tanenhaus,
a funny and provocative voice in his own right. Sam usually interviews two authors or reviewers of books showing up in that week's Book Review, and there is usually a set commentary about the book industry, and a roundup of the Bestsellers List by the very funny Jennifer Scheussler.
Jillian, a long time neighbour and customer, was visiting the store and we got talking about podcasts and news readers. She recommended Brain Science Podcast, by Ginger Campbell, MD. Myles promised to send Jillian a list of his favourite news readers, and this is what followed!
As promised, here are my top readers for news on iPad:
Flipboard - This is a kind-of do-it-yourself newsreader which achieved fame by allowing people to take the dull, leaden Facebook pages and turn it into a Newsweek-like layout. Very attractive and customizable. You can tell it to add your favourite RSS feeds accumulated in Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, and a wide variety of news sources. I make a point of making "friends" with people who have similar interests as I and whose opinion I generally respect. One of my customers now sends me daily tech feeds that I might not otherwise notice.
Pulse - There I link the RSS feeds of some of the world's top newspapers and media outlets for general news, tech news, and sports on unique topic "Pages". This way, for example, I can compare the coverage of world events between Canadian, US, European, and Asian news outlets.
Zite - This Vancouver-based newsreader gives you a similar feel to Flipboard and seems to have a really good algorithm behind it choosing for me which articles to read. I really like it's easy sharing option, so I can share favourite articles with friends on Facebook and Twitter.
News360. This newsreader also gives great comparative shopping among the news services to get various perspectives on a single news issues. It also allows you to customize news feeds to some extent to focus on a particular issue attracting your attention. For example, when we were recently in San Francisco we dined at Chez Panisse, a famous restaurant started by Alice Waters. Some people had claimed that Alice's dishes were suffering from a lack of creativity recently, so I wanted to follow news links to her over
time. Instead of just Googling Alice Waters, I set up a favourite in News360 and review it periodically.
I am experimenting a few others including Boxee, a video newsreader and Eyewitness, a "week in photos" type newsreader. I still occasionally use Cooliris to view the week in images.
You might think that with all these news reader I hardly have time for anything else, but you'd be wrong. I still plow through a book every week or two, and not an e-book either. I still make great use of the public library. I am currently reading Henry Kissinger "On
China", a great primer for high-level US-China diplomacy.
I review every book I read and post it on We Read, a Facebook plug-in. You can read all my reviews my becoming my friend on Facebook. You can also follow our stores on Facebook (RiverdaleMac & BeachMac) & Twitter.
Have a nice weekend.