Today I am happy to announce the release of AVM – 1.1! This is the second stable release of AVM. This should be a “bug-free” release, but please report any undocumented features to the issue tracker.
For those who may have used AVM 1.0 at this point it has been updated to run correctly in all versions of Windows which have .net 4.0 installed. The installer has changed so please backup your data, uninstall the old AVM and install the new. Then run a restore for best results.
NOTE: Currently Hulu parsing only grabs the Title and Url. There are plans to re-add parsing of details in the future.
Security Now! is a podcast which mostly covers computer security. Steve Gibson who is the show host has quite a bit of experience with security and the deep internals of the computer. This podcast while mainly setup to cover security topics also tends to cover all sorts of topics around how computers and the internet work. It has a very interesting setup where every other week they do a show which listener questions are answered. On the other weeks generally a topic relating to security is covered more in depth. Steve’s explanation of security topics is very thorough and after say an episode on SSL you end up with good understanding of the topic. Also at the beginning of every show they cover the recent security news and patches. Overall this is the best show on security for nerds and non-nerds. This is also the best podcast to check the back episodes if you want to learn about computers and the internet in general.
Tech News Today is a daily tech show that covers the daily news. Think of it as the morning news, but done by people who know what they are talking about. Oh and they are talking about tech stories and not silly stories. They do a good job of covering all the relevant news and even have a nice calendar section where they try to sum up what is going to be going on. The panel used for this show is a mix of regular hosts and a guest host. This means that each show has a tendency to have a different dynamic and might even have slightly different views on topics. It is a great general news show and since it’s daily you will never find yourself out of date… Well except for the weekends.
This Week in Tech is a general roundtable style discussion show which mostly covers the topic of technology in the last week. This was one of the first podcasts I listened to and I still keep coming back. Leo Leporte hosts this show every week and quite often John C. Dvorak is on the show. Personally I find it most enjoyable when Dvorak is on the show since he seems to keep things more down to earth. The show covers all sorts of interesting things in the news and is a good way to get an overview of what the important news was for the week. This is definitely my top technology podcast recommendation as it generally covers the weekly tech news quite well. Another nice thing with this podcast is that it is done live Sunday evening and I find it quite got to enjoy while preparing and eating dinner.
It’s not really all about the apps, but Apps are always a good thing to start out with. Since the main place you will be listening to a podcast will be on a mobile device I give you the best of the iOS and Android Apps. I should point out at this point I am not looking at Windows Phone 7 or Blackberry since my understanding is the best options there is really just the built in apps. Also I have not used either in awhile.
Podcasts is the main app on iOS for listening to podcasts. It was pulled out of the iTunes and Music around a year ago and had a really shaky start. Though it has recently become a much better app. They got rid of the silly reel to reel on the player. It is well integrated into iCloud and podcasts seem to get updated well in the background when your using the app, but not actually entering it. I recently moved back using this app over Downcast mostly for the nice integration. Also this app has a great finish to it. This is by far the nicest looking of the apps for listening to podcasts.
iTunes Store: link
Downcast is a $1.99 podcast app available on the iTunes store. It includes pretty much all the bells an whistles you could imagine. One of the key features in my mind is the dynamic playlist it has. Basically you can hit play and when you finish a podcast if any podcasts of higher priority has downloaded instead of going to the next podcast it will jump back to the start of the list. This is the only app I have seen this feature in and it is a stand out feature. My one issue with the downcast app is that it seems to have issues with downloading on a regular basis. I would get up in the morning and since I had not opened the app in awhile it would not have downloaded any of the podcasts that were from the day before. This is not a issue if you open the app more then me, but most of the time I just use the lock screen play controls so I would have this issue quite often. The one other feature that I should point out is the show notes are much better currently in Downcast to the point where it even supports hyperlinks (this is not the case in the Podcasts app).
iTunes Store: link
Doggcatcher is the best of the podcast apps on Android. Android has a huge number of podcast apps, but over the course of my usage of Android I found Doggcatcher to be the only one with all of the features that I wanted. It worked amazingly well with downloads as you could simply set it to refresh every hour when on wifi. Since Android has background apps this meant that while your battery was lower at least you could rely on having all your podcasts in the morning. The one downside with Doggcatcher is the fact that it is not the prettiest app and it has a very utilitarian design. This is not really a big issue except since Android requires you to unlock to change your music you will end up staring at the blue app quite often.
Google Play: link
After a long hiatus and listening to a friend talk about blogging again I have decided I should have another go at blogging. So first I am going to announce that I am going to do a whole series of articles on Podcasts that I enjoy. My hope here is to give people a nice list of some good Podcasts you could start out listening to. I hope that these articles will be helpful to someone out there.
You can skip to the last two paragraphs if you just want the answer.
For the past year and a half I have been mowing my lawn with a reel mower. No, I did not spell that wrong it is one of those old push mowers that is all manual power. There is something wonderful about mowing with a reel mower, though it might just be the good workout it gives you.
Well this summer the weather insists on making this lawn mowing decision to be the worst decision ever. A reel mower works great on a small lawn as long as it sticks to the 70′s and mid 80′s. Oh, wind helps out as well. This year though it seems to insist on being muggy and 80s every day. So I broke down and decided it’s time to buy a actual lawn mower. You know the one with a spinning blade powered by a motor.
Now one of the other reasons I never wanted to have a lawn more is I hate gas. I hate anything that is explosive really and that is volitile. I also hate the noise. If I can just listen to podcasts while mowing a lawn that makes the whole experience better. So here I have two requirements.
- It must be a electric mower. (These are quite and don’t need to deal with gas)
- Must be cordless and must use lithium ion batteries. (I don’t want a cord to run over and I don’t want a 50 lbs battery)
I also had a third requirement which I wanted which is impossible. That was I wanted an made in America lawn mower. When I was growing up I rememeber someone saying “At least you can always have an American made lawn mower” or something along those lines and it has always stuck with me. My reel mower had been american made by the American Lawn Mower Company. So I thought hey I can do this.
Nope there is no way to meet all of these requirements. Somehow all of the American lawn mower companies never got the memo that lead acid batteries are no longer a good idea. Also they weigh way to much. A 70lbs lawn mower is just not acceptable after using a reel mower for a year and a half (the shipping weight of the reel mower was 32lbs). So I ventured into the land of the “modern” brands. The most common and seeming best deal was from this brand I have been seeing for a few years now. You probably have seen it too!
It’s called GreenWorks. Now when I found the mower I liked, which happened to be their 16 inch lithum ion cordless mower, I noticed something interesting. There website lacked any form of corporate information. Hmm, this seems odd. Normally a “green” company such as this is showing off all of their corporate people and how great they are. Now I decided I had to know who it was that was building this mower. I have no grudges around what companies I buy from normally. I didn’t care where it was made I just wanted to know the name of the company making it. Something we never get to see anymore. About the only “modern” brand we know the maker of is Apple who we know uses Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) to produce much of it’s goods. So I started my adventure on Wikipedia. This proved fruitless and so I had to try more. At this point I figured this company must be Chinese and decided to try the search “greenworks china” this didn’t get me directly to the destination I wanted but it got me close. What I eventually got to is a company called Changzhou Globe Tools Co., Ltd. (short for Globe). This is a manufacture who on their corporate site seems very proud of their GreenWorks and PowerWorks brands.
So now you know who is behind GreenWorks. I don’t share this to say to avoid them. I actually think the mower is great (its quieter then my vacuum cleaner) and would recommend it for people who want a cordless lawn mower that is light weight. (It even has a handle to lift it!) I merely think everyone deserves to know who is behind GreenWorks.