my AirPods

I’ve cursed Steve Jobs 10,000 times for not perfecting wireless headphones.

The new Apple AirPods are good and bad.

The good? No wire tangles. They fit. They don’t fall out. Battery life is excellent. You can tap them to start and stop play.

The bad? Bluetooth is not 100% reliable. Audio cuts out quite often. There is no volume control without Siri. They are expensive at US $160. And … not everyone thinks they look cool wearing them. 🙂

Audio books and podcasts are important to me. I’ll get good value out of that $160 over the lifetime of the AirPods.

Still, I’ll normally use them in preference to my regular headphones.

Click PLAY or watch the Johnny Ive pitch on YouTube.

Here’s a real world review. Good and bad. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The fit and sound exactly like Apple earbuds.

On The Media audiocast

On The Media is my favourite podcast.

WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view. Veteran journalists Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield give you the tools to survive the media maelstrom.

The most recent episode  is super —  This is Not a Safe Space. It explores the issues of students feeling safe on campus and academic freedom of speech.

 

White male patriarchy results in bullying on campus for anyone who is not a white male. Something like 1/5 women will STILL be sexually assaulted in their College years.

 

We want all students to feel safe while simultaneously protecting freedom of speech. The two are not mutually exclusive.

 

UE Roll Bluetooth speaker

So far I’m very pleased. Small form factor. Very durable. Good for travel. Good for my Coaching presentations.

I was inspired to buy a UE Roll when the speakers in my old laptop stopped functioning.

ue-roll-waterproof-bluetooth-speaker-618x520

Wirecutter:

After listening to 30 of the most promising new Bluetooth speaker models on top of the 48 we originally tested last year, we think the UE Roll is the best choice for most listeners. It combines above-average sound quality with a waterproof, travel-friendly design that practically begs to be slipped into your suitcase or laptop bag. You can find speakers in the same price range that sound a little better, but in our opinion, you can’t find one that matches the Roll’s combination of sound quality, design, utility, and price.

The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker

AUDIO books and PODCASTS 2015

Seems everyone I know is now listening to audio books and podcasts. 🙂

In the fall of 2014, the medium of podcasting achieved a milestone moment. The podcast Serial – which reinvestigated the 1999 murder of Maryland high school student Hae Min Lee – became the fastest podcast to reach 5 million streams or downloads in iTunes history. Although the success of Serial – a spinoff of WBEZ’s This American Life – clearly represented a new peak in the popularity of podcasts, Pew Research Center data show that the medium has, in fact, been steadily growing its audience …

journalism.org

PJ_15.04.28_FSA-Podcasting

I’m currently subscribed to about 70 podcasts. But truly only listen to about a dozen of those. They are all free via iTunes.

I have about 20 audio books lined up into the future. I pay an average of about $10 for those.

I buy from Amazon – Audible.com.

Audible

The advantages of audio over reading are many. But progress in the switch over has been slower than I would have expected.

Sadly, Apple has mostly bungled podcasts. Their apps have been lousy. Yet the competitors have not dented the importance of iTunes in distribution.

Audible is too dominant in the audio book market. They don’t innovate. They charge too much / title. Yet competitors have not dented the market leader, Amazon.

related – Against all odds, print books are on the rise again in the US

$350,000 to shoot a rare black rhino

Sounds horrendous. The hunter faced death threats from outraged conservationists.

black-rhino-etosha-namibia_wide-40b65374e6f35f56faf85d069d2b72ba87191945-s1500-c85

But the issue is far more complex than it seems at first glance.

The permit came from Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Each year it targets several older rhinos that are no longer able to breed but still pose a deadly threat to younger males. The proceeds are meant to go toward anti-poaching and conservation efforts.

NPR

That $350,000 does much to protect black rhino. Many hunters are keen conservationists.

Want to know more?

Back in 2014, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a hunting trip to Namibia to shoot and kill an endangered species. He’s a professional hunter, who guides hunts all around the world, so going to Africa would be nothing new. The target on the other hand would be. And so too, he quickly found, would be the attention.

This episode, producer Simon Adler follows Corey as he dodges death threats and prepares to pull the trigger. Along the way we stop to talk with Namibian hunters and government officials, American activists, and someone who’s been here before – Kenya’s former Director of Wildlife, Richard Leakey. All the while, we try to uncover what conservation really means in the 21st century.

Listen to the story on RadioLab.

best iPhone podcasting app?

Apple invented and popularized podcasting. But they’ve never been very keen. Not enough profit. Most podcasts are free, you see.

imore just posted an overview article – Best podcast apps for iPhone

best iPhone podcast apps

I assumed one of the dedicated 3rd party apps MUST be superior to the much criticized Podcasts app that comes with the new iPhones by default.

So … I tried two of the top recommendations:

Downcast
Instacast

Sadly, I couldn’t see enough advantage over the default Apple software. So I’m sticking with iTunes.

iTunes 12 Yosemite is not nearly as bad as I thought at first glance. 🙂

related – Examining iTunes 12’s New Interface

Think Like a Freak

I’m a fan of Freakonomics Radio, the audiocast.

… hosted by journalist Stephen Dubner, with economist Steve Levitt as a regular guest. Freakonomics Radio occasionally hits No. 1 on iTunes, with 4 million downloads a month …

Dubner and Levitt have 3 Freakonomics books, the most recent of which I just read.

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

It’s short. But good.

Freakonomics attempts to shed light on topics misunderstood by the general public.

cover

Amazon