By Bill Kennedy - If confession is good for the soul, then here's mine: I haven't been reading much lately. My latest business book was "From Good to Great" and I wrote about it previously in Fragile Giants.
Instead, I've been listening to podcasts. Instead of an iPod, I have a Zune. Yes, I'm one of those people on the subway apparently oblivious to all that's going on around me and subject to sudden smiles and the odd chuckle. For those who haven't tried podcasts yet, they are pre-recorded shows (some are video and some just audio) available for download on the internet.
Two podcasts that I can heartily recommend are "Spark" and "Search Engine". They are both by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), but they are both suitable for an international audience. "Spark" is about new developments in online technology. "Search Engine" is also about the internet, but it is more political, dealing with such issues as net neutrality.
As a recent subscriber, I've been going through Spark's back issues (as it were) and catching up. What I like about Spark is that you never know what they're going to do. There are practical sessions about things like owning your own domain name or building a family tree online. There are human interest stories, like the guy who set up a Twitter account for his grandmother and through her Tweets found out that she had been a resistance fighter in World War II. There are also a few wacky stories, like the artist who set up a large speaker in the mountains in Norway and gave out a phone number over the internet so people could mountaincast their messages.