Sunday, July 27, 2008

32A in Cinemas

[youtube dysIJlVXE0g]

We’re finally in the cinemas in Ireiand with our feature, 32A. It’s been a long haul and the final step is one we have to take ourselves.

Independent cinema faces a lot of new challenges. On the one side, there’s competition for audience eyeballs from the internet and computer gaming. And on the other, filmmakers encounter increasing distributor nervousness. The studios are pumping out bigger and bigger tentpole movies, pretty soon you won’t be able to pick out the big movies in the cinema, they’ll all be big. And those smaller films find it harder and harder to get a release. We’ve forged some relationships with exhibitors and are putting the film out in Ireland ourselves. So a risk, but hopefully with a good outcome. We’re going with our gut, hey, it’s got us this far.

As a filmmaker, exhibition is very necessary phase. The film only becomes real when you sit with the audience and you feel and hear them respond. It’s almost physical, the sense of an audience going with a film. I’d say the other side is true also, losing them can be as painful as it gets. We’ve been very fortunate however, and had really great audience response and feedback in screenings at festivals so far. I can’t wait until I pick a random screening and pop in to see how it plays.

Dublin: IFI Cinemas
Booking office: 01.679.5744
Book Online

Carrick on Shannon: Cineplex
Booking office: 071.967.2000
Book Online

Sligo: Gaiety Cinema
Booking office: 071.917.4001

Related Tags:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spam King Makes Prison Escape!

Scrabble sues Scrabulous. Why not buy them? Facebook opening the architecture for others to take advantage of its system. Google activates KNOL, its Wikipedia clone. The Northern Lights are actually explosions. Intel gets serious about SOC – systems on a chip – AGAIN. Sony modernizes its e-book reader. Alien formats now work. Yahoo announced a rollout of Zimbra e-mail consolidation software. Spammer walks out of jail and is now an escaped convict.

Click to listen: [audio:]

File Naming & the dumbest thing ever

John Foster in a recent episode of MacBreak Tech while in the middle of a perfectly enjoyable discussion on file naming... said the one thing you should never do is use the date in a name, that it was ‘the dumbest thing ever’.

Now, I would have a lot of crossover interests with him, having an opinion on file-naming conventions, no matter how freakin’ sad, being one. And you know, I have being doing the dumbest thing ever for... like the longest time.

Well, maybe fifteen years or so.

I have a filenaming convention which I’ve applied rigorously since deciding I needed to do it. It works for me. And I think the key to adding any element into a filename convention is to be utterly consistent. The benefits only become clear years on.

My needs in file naming are two-fold. You should be able to instantly see what a file is about just from the name and you should be able to find it years later with no real hassle. So I take the following approach:

1. I give every project a three letter acronym, whatever is intuitive is usually what I use, I don’t over-debate it.
32A (our feature film 32A)
EDI ( a script called Easy Does It we’re developing)
JPC (Janey Pictures Company, business stuff)
2. I then include the date, in reverse order and always YY.MM.DD
3. Then who it’s for, IFB, RTE, Media, Bank, Marian etc.
4. Then a narrative on what it is.

So I get files called:

32A 08.07.20 IFI my notes on press release

I can instantly see what project it relates to, when I wrote it, who it was for and what it’s about.

The joy of doing the date in the name only becomes clear when you sort by name. You instantly sort by name and date simultaneously. Projects are sorted into lists which are further sorted by date.

The story of a project becomes very clear as you peruse directory listings.

32A 07.05.02 GFF application for festival
32A 07.05.28 GFF additional notes on format and dolby
32A 07.06.04 GFF acceptance letter
32A 07.06.06 Media press release on premiere
32A 07.07.12 GFF Hotel booking form
32A 07.07.19 GFF thanks again for all

It’s pretty clear what was going on and what the sequence of communication was. The story is clear, that’s one thing I value. And no other project files are in there, if I didn’t have a date in the name, and I sorted by date, you’d see a jumble of different project files mixed together.

This particularly applies if you have an ongoing flat file approach, I have a folder on my desktop called ‘Inbox’, essentially my current working folder.

You have the benefit of the filename doing some of the work folders do, essentially I’ve built in a project folder sorted by date right into the name. I only Archive files into a hierarchy of folders every couple of months or so, and this keeps things organised even with that.

But it also helps in using Spotlight. You can also search quickly in spotlight for ‘32A 07.06“ and get just the files for that project and that exact month. I realise you can construct a spotlight query adding in a date but this is far quicker and much more intuitive.

Other benefits.

- Even after I do sort into a directory hierarchy, a file can leave it’s folder and still have the meaning in the file name.

- For sharing the file, the date of creation is embedded in the file name and if you email to other people, it doesn’t matter about when it’s saved on their system or how correctly set up their system is.

- I don’t do versioning that often, but if I do I build into the narrative, commencing with the word ‘Rev’ and a number: Rev01, Rev02 etc.

Related Tags:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Apple Sells One Million Phones Instantly

Blackberry and Palm release new phones. Apple says it bought 1 million iPhones already. EU to regulate SMS roaming charges. Netflix looks like it is going on the Xbox360. It may never work out if the Net clogs up as predicted by at least one study. Load expected to be 100X worse. Icahn and Ballmer on Yahoo deal. But it's not their company. Yahoo will reject any offer. Xbox360 to go to 60GB. IBM reveals 8-core Power 7 chip.

Click to listen: [audio:]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ira Glass on storytelling

[youtube n7KQ4vkiNUk ]

This American Life is one of my favourite podcasts. A recent episode, The Giant Pool of Money, outlining the background story to the sub-prime mortgage crisis was a standout. It was almost Wire-like in how it interwove high end financial shenanigans, the systems people have to work within, and the trials of ordinary citizens.

The episodes are free on the feed in iTunes for a period but after a while, you have to pay about a dollar for a show. And just to say it, your broker made a lot more telling you a lot less.

Frankly there isn’t a dud episode in the whole series.

Here Ira gives some pointers on his approach to storytelling, basic but very good. Part One is above, There’s four in the series and well worth checking them all out.

Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

Related Tags:


Pestle, originally uploaded by Dromahaire.

I love this mortar and pestle, it's made from granite, Danish and a present. I've made my salad dressing in it for years now. I like it because it's wide and flat, not tall and narrow, you can swirl and stir in it and have a good look at what's going down.

I usually make the same dressing every day. It's pretty straight forward but we wouldn't want it any other way in our house. Starting with a clove of spring garlic lately, ripe and wet, popping straight from the skin with just a press, Then flakes of sea salt and black pepper. And it barely takes a few grinds to have it mush up nicely. Then some Dijon mustard, just half a teaspoon, the juice of half a Sicilian lemon and add enough good olive oil to taste.

You get squodges of mustard and sharp attacks of lemon juice sometimes in your mouth depending on how they were. but I tend to enjoy the odd surprise. The oil is the main thing I vary, I like to check different ones out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Will Bill Gates Please Leave the Building!

New top level domains still in play. Look for among other names. A land rush projected. 700 redundant news stories today about Bill Gates and how he's retiring. Cripes. When will it end? Dell adding colorful laptops. What took them so long? Microsoft indeed going on a buying spree. Intuit does layoffs. This is all the news they can manage. Yahoo reorg news also clogging up the news channels. Susan Decker is now the boss it seems to me. Should the US nationalize the Internet? Symbian versus Android? What can Sarbanes-Oxley do for you? Nothing.

Click to listen: [audio:]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Whatever happened to Computer Art?

I was asked a while back to give a talk on creative applications on the Mac and it set me off thinking about the early days when I first got into this.

I have to say, it was much to the bafflement of loved ones and friends at the time, about 20 years ago. It’s an interest which has continued to this day, my wife says she has no equivalent to it. I counter, rather lamely, pointing out her yoga and interest in alternative healthcare, but it doesn’t really wash.

Back in the day, 1988 to be a bit more precise, I spent a lot of time debating just exactly what Computer Art might be. I was working in the visual arts, primarly with young and emerging contemporary artists. I was intrigued by the new technology which was arriving. I bought a Commodore Amiga which was definitely the artists platform, launched by Andy Warhol painting Debbie Harry.

[youtube 3oqUd8utr14]

Computer Art is a topic that has by and large disappeared from the landscape. The Wikipedia article on it reads like a genre from the fifties, no sense of any current activity at all.

Artists, like everyone else, use a lot of technology these days, but no one particularly calls it Computer Art any more. They’re either film makers or graphic designers or just plain old artists. How it’s made is neither here nor there.

Of course, most clearly with Photoshop and 3D modellers, it’s easy to see how necessary a computer and set of software was to create the work, but that’s now realised as not all that important really. Photoshop is just a set of digital tools after all, generally used to create images which don’t look processed in any way. And while these digitally created images may form a subset of image making, it’s not in any form, a separate medium.

And that was what people were discussing back in the day, the emergence of a new medium.

For me, coding was always key to that. There were people, like William Latham, who worked within IBM in the UK, used coding in particular to generate work but they didn’t mesh with the art world all that well, the work didn’t speak to people, either the artistic community or the general public, in a way they could relate to, it’s protean and exploratory by it’s very nature.

What was central to them was that the work did completely come from the code. And I think coding is the key to the future of this, but just perhaps we shouldn’t put the limits of the word ‘art’ on it.

Recently I had a small sense of something emerging from quite an unexpected source.

[youtube PCg1SpEan5k]

I, like everyone else, use Google Earth more and more. And yes it’s very useful, any trip or hotel choice is checked out there first and location based services will be more and more prevalent. But that’s not why I look there sometimes.

There’s something in the experience of Google Earth, I have a true sense of wonder there. This experience, unimaginable a century ago, unimaginable in fact to my own Dad who died too young. There’s a flicker in the back of my head more akin to encountering a work which speaks to me, a sense of wonder. Is this is landscape re-invented, is this is a new sublime?

What if software finally emerged as a new creative genre? What if it became, much as film defined the 20th century, the key defining medium of the 21st?

Related Tags:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WiMAX in Amsterdam Now!

Philly municipal Wi-fi on again after being off again. Toshiba steps up and promotes its R500 laptop. Bumper stickers on your car could indicate you are unbalanced. Microsoft having various issues in Europe. Jon Shirley leaves MSFT board. Google Apps suffer outages. Good news for people pushing cloud computing. Firefox wants 5 million downloads. It's a publicity stunt all the way. Samsung suing TV makers. Amsterdam to run mobile WiMAX. How did they get into the act?

Click to listen: [audio:]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Killala Bay, Horse racing

Killala Bay, Horse racing, originally uploaded by Dromahaire.

Got to Killala for a party at a friends house and wandered down to the beach. They were doing their annual race on the beach and they got an incredible day for it.

The pounding of the hooves on the sand was truly amazing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Hillside, originally uploaded by Dromahaire.

On the road out of Glencar Valley towards Sligo town. I love these stone walls, long crumbled, covered with earth and sod, criss-crossing the mountains. The labour involved must have been considerable and for what really....

By the way, this photo is filled with sheep... not that you'd know it. The G9 original file shows them, when I zoom in, and you can see a few when you view all sizes here in Flickr. The noise was nearly deafening when I was there, sheep bleating nearly constantly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Revenge of Mighty Mouse

Microsoft is now in the news too much. Gates still chattering about one thing or another. The company decides to bribe users to use their search engine. Microsoft Office not adding support for its own Open XML until Office 14. Apple and CBS sued over stealing Mighty Mouse name. Is Comcast irked over the set top boxes? GTA IV actor irked over only making $200,000 for doing voice work.University of TN prof. sending secret docs to enemies? Xbox360 copying the Wii style controller.


Click to listen: [audio:]

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Straddling at Rosses

Straddling at Rosses, originally uploaded by Dromahaire.

Summer, 12 years old. Somethings are classic, others new. He may have an iPod, a digital camera, access to the net and a Wii, but his favourite thing in the whole world? His new Swiss Army penknife.

Mind you, it is pretty cool...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Something new...

I’ve been reading John C. Dvorak’s tech writing for as long as I’ve been interested in this stuff. He was the first general columnist I became aware of after Jerry Pournelle’s writing in Byte Magazine. My first computer was an Amstrad PC1512 and I was an early subscriber to PC Magazine where I came across John’s work. I stopped subscribing to PC Magazine once the Amiga, and later the Mac, became my main machines. I always remembered John’s style and one of the pleasures of the developing podcast world is now listening to him.

One of the strings to his bow is a short podcast called Tech 5 and he’s testing out delivering it directly to blogs, about ten or so initially, including mine.

I like his take on tech generally, though I’ve disagreed with him on occasion naturally enough. What I really like is his understanding that matters technological and business have a certain lifespan, they come and they go. Hype is just not something he’s going to participate in.

So readers will come across John’s show in my feed, hope you enjoy.

Related Tags:

Comcastic Speed

 Comcast upgrade works. Now I get as high as 22 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. The numbers fall off when you go overseas. Apple rolling out 4 more non-exclusive iPhone deals. Yahoo being sued. It decided to conceal details for some unknown reason. Missouri woman now indicted for cyberbullying. Comcast still being accused of throttling bit-torrent. Sprint says 2008 WiMax. Yeah, right. I like the Aliph Jawbone. ASUS making all its motherboards "instant on!" Wow.

Click to listen: [audio:]


Headlong, originally uploaded by Dromahaire.

Just came across this shot in my trawl through my photos after I imported my iPhoto library into Aperture. I've always liked it, there's something about his energy that's conveyed here. Headlong and curious. the world open before him.

I remember this trip up the Leitrim mountains well, he plunged his arms deep into rabbit warrens, climbed higher than I felt comfortable, belted rocks with his geology hammer hoping to find a cluster of quartz.... He brought a hammer, I brought chocolate...

And yes, that is a Toy Story backpack.

Saturday, April 5, 2008



There’s many nice things you can receive in the post from a festival, an acceptance letter, a prize and hey, a cheque is always good.

Last week, we got an envelope at the office we didn’t expect. The Berlinale sent us out an envelope with t-shirts for each of our lead actresses, all wrapped up in festival posters for them, together with a photo for each of them and a lovely one of Marian at the Q&A in Berlin. There was a nice letter from the festival director and a press pack and DVD of still images from the premiere.

But best of all was a whole stack of filled in response sheets to the film. The first to catch my eye was one with only one word on it, they ticked the ‘sehr gut’ box and simply wrote ‘Alles“ for what they liked, really just great to hear. Theirs was the briefest, others had plenty to say. About half of them were in German and the other half in English and I’m definitely going to have someone translate them for me. It was a total kick reading through the english ones and what people’s response to the film was.

It says so much of the festival that they do this, the Festival was two months ago, they are one of the world’s leading film festivals, they really didn’t have to do any of this. And the thought came to me, that perhaps they are one of the best festivals in the world, simply because they do things like this, the little things that make such a difference.

I definitely have my own personal ‘sehr gut’ and ‘Alles’ to the good people working in the Berlinale Office, who were a pleasure to deal with from start to finish.

Related Tags:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Charlie Rose - Redux


I blogged about the Charlie Rose site before but I thought it might be worthwhile revisiting it now that I’ve been checking in for a few months now.

Charlie Rose as a site is a very impressive venture indeed. It hit the ground running and hasn’t let up. Any improvements that have been implemented have been subtle and well judged, the structure has remained constant, each tweak focussed on improving the access to the material available to them.

And what material they have... I’ve been extremely impressed with not only the sheer volume and quantity of high end interviews over the years but with how it delivers it to the visitor. It certainly achieves that primary aim of maiking all that archival material available. As a chronicle it’s superb.

But what has quietly impressed is a sense of currency, each night’s episode is available the next day. The query ‘what’s on Charlie Rose tonight?’ which a regular television viewer might have has been seamlessly transferred to the website.

There’s a keen editorial mind at work too, unearthing interesting interviews relevant to todays episode and provide a lot of context setting. All of which means that the site is ‘live’ in a way that a show chronicling current affairs and topics of interest should be.

The site has one major problem which differentiates it from other sites with large archives of video of similar quality, TED comes to mind. The site launched when Google Video seemed like a viable proposal and the site remains tied to that format and approach despite it’s failure. It would be so much better if it was in Quicktime and RSS was offered. I would love to see it offered as a video podcast. So the only options are to embed it on sites or to view it on the actual Charlie Rose site. To it’s credit, the level of production on the site certainly makes a good case for visiting there. I do think, however, that Charlie Rose as a podcast would penetrate the global consciousness, much as TED has done, if it took the same approach as TED. TED provides a compelling site, lots to explore and see, but it also offers RSS streams to subscribe to. With the coming election, a more accessible Charlie Rose delivered to iPods around the world could reach a huge audience interested in it’s outcome.

Any other criticisms are minor. They’ve done an excellent job tagging, but there’s no way for the visitor to tag. They do provide indexes by interviewee and topic, but I do find the browse method a bit intimidating and lacking an intuitive appeal, something material of this quality deserves. And there is a slight niggling sense that the ability to edit out Charlie’s vulnerabilities is given some leeway, his recent accident highlights this, on the broadcast show, we got a full “Hell yes” as he tells the audience what happened. But online this is cut out. I feel this is a mistake, the relationship with him is at least part of what’s at work here.

But all that said, If you ever wanted an argument of why this stuff is better online than over the air, Charlie Rose is the best example you could ever ask for, the ability to cross-reference with the archive alone is worth your attention. Roll on November, this is the place to see the Election played out.

Related Tags:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

IT Conversations - pick #1: Ajax Security

If I had to pick one tech podcast and discard the rest it would be the originator of the species, IT Conversations. This blend of different shows has a wide-ranging remit from biotechnology to web development. They have a number of presenters who interview innovators and leading technologists, and they also put out recorded presentations from top conferences, which can be especially valuable. They’re all free and available via iTunes.

I listen to them regularly, good meaty discussions which can be satisfying in the midst of the other more newsy, gossipy fluff that fills the tech podcast world. Sure, a lot of it is not for me, I usually have my thumb poised, ready to click through to the next one, there’s a lot in the feed so you have to be selective.

But quite frequently you hear something that’s well informed, interesting and current, covering an aspect of technology that you don’t really see discussed anywhere. So I thought I’d point out ones that have ticked those boxes as I come across one. So, that’s why I have a #1 up there in the title, it’s going to be the first in a series.

Today, I heard Billy Hoffman discussing Ajax Security with Phil Windley in the Technometria channel on IT Conversations.

As Ajax spreads and more and more sites become web applications, the hype online is that desktop software is moving out to the web. The reality is that a lot of these sites push code, especially javascript, out to the users machines, frequently with scant regard to security, exposing them and the site to malicious code. Billy Hoffman covers a lot of different examples of poor implementation which will give anyone pause. More entertaining and enlightening than you might have expected from the title.

Technometria on Ajax Security with Billy Hoffman.

Related Tags:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Goodbye To All That No.2

Robin Morgan wrote a seminal essay on women and politics in 1970 called Goodbye to All That. As voters in the US debate Hillary versus Barack, she’s been moved to write again. The opening is below but the whole thing is well worth a read, no matter where you stand.

Goodbye to All That No.2

Goodbye to the double standard . . .
—Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who’s emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
—She’s “ambitious” but he shows “fire in the belly.” (Ever had labor pains?)—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.
—Young political Kennedys—Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.—all endorsed Hillary. Senator Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort “See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him.” (Personally, I’m unimpressed with Caroline’s longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe’s suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
Goodbye to the toxic viciousness  . . .
Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary’s “thick ankles.” Nixon-trickster Roger Stone’s new Hillary-hating 527 group, “Citizens United Not Timid” (check the capital letters). John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?" with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.
Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged—and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.
Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan “If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!” Shame. 
Goodbye to Comedy Central’s “Southpark” featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC’s vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame. 
Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not “Clinton hating,” not “Hillary hating.” This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison.  Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?

Related Tags:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Once up for Best Song

Oh, it deserved more than one category, though the song deserves the nomination... would it have stuck in the Academy’s craw to put it where it belongs, the Best Picture category? The film’s basic conceit is a musical one, that two strings in tune will resonate and amplify, and the joy in John Carney’s filmmaking is his deft delivery of this.

I’m with David Carr, one of Entertainment Weekly’s bloggers on that one.

Related Tags:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Problem with Punk

Peter Carlton of Film Four in the UK has said that they make films your mother wouldn't like. If you're a filmmaker it's a constant mantra from financiers... "hip and edgy".

A few years back, I went to the local supermarket and was loading up the aisles when I noticed the music over the tannoys. 'White Riot' by The Clash. I laughed to myself as I loaded up the pizzas. "White Riot, I wanna riot. White Riot, I wanna riot on my own..." Someone must have been asleep at the scheduling wheel or having a laugh. But no... the dulcet tones of Larry Gogan followed; "That was today's Golden Oldie..."

Hold on, that was White Riot... on Radio 1... in the mid-afternoon... on Larry Gogan... as a Golden-Freakin'-Oldie.

I recalled the NME during the punk era and what they called men of a certain age. 'Boring Old Farts' was the term they coined. Is this what's happened, have all the punks become the boring old farts who run the show?

My generation sneered at those hippies who were becoming middle-aged guys, still with the long hair and beads. But hey now, it's my generations turn. Angry Punk Dads, pushing shopping carts, loading up with stuff for the kids, somewhere inside still giving the world the finger.

When I ask my students who watches TV every day, a handful put up their hands. When I ask who goes online everyday, they all do. They are the Add Me generation. The current crop of Gen Ys and Millenials are a far nicer, more connected and more concerned bunch than the set of Angry Punk Dads that have preceeded them.

They're not that hip or edgy really, in fact they're rather nice. My mother probably would like them... perhaps she should have a word with Peter. Television might be losing it's audience in more ways than one.

Related Tags:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Podcasts worth listening to

I've moved away from live radio almost completely now.

A surprising thing for me, given that the spoken word has long been my favourite medium for news and politics by far. My earliest personal relationship with media was listening to Radio Caroline and later John Peel chronicling the arrival of punk in the mid seventies. From those early days radio was a constant companion as my interest in current affairs deepened. This was a medium that has always felt personal to me. Over the years I've listened to RTE Radio 1, the BBC World Service, Radio 4, Today FM and latterly NPR/PRI , in particular WNYC.

What's different now? Changes at RTE lost me. RTE's Radio 1 was the mainstay of talk radio here. When you're a talk radio listener, turning on the radio was one of the first things you did upon getting up, letting it witter away in the corner of the kitchen or office. You tuned in and out as needed. As life and work progressed, you'd keep current, ignoring the odd show which irritated. The dumbing-down of RTE Radio 1 over the last year or two left me with little reason to turn it on, so much of it was sheer rubbish.

So I turned to iTunes and a set of smart playlists that brings me a good mix of news and current affairs, interesting stories from around the world including Ireland. RTE have finally gotten their act together on podcasts, though for a while they were on the wrong track there. I pleaded with them via email not to embrace Real back when they started to go online to no avail. Sadly RealPlayer and Windows Audio still form their principal offerings for live listening, so it doesn't matter if you're online or using an old fashioned transistor radio, RTE Live sucks either way...

The shows I list below form my listening now. I have a playlist which automatically keeps things current. I just set it off in the morning, picking either News and Stories or Technology, and let it run. I list my News and Stories podcasts here, I may do the Tech ones later. Looking at this list, I'm aware of how much I tend to like people with strong personalities, shows with clear voices. The News and Stories are from existing media outlets and the Technology podcasts from newer providers, it will be interesting to see how things progress, to see if new voices on current affairs emerge from the independent sector.

News and Stories

WNYC - Radio Lab - Add to iTunes
Inventive and experimental, a show which researches and explores a single theme, from Time to the Wright Brothers, by weaving interviews with key figures, sounds and conversations between the two hosts.

PRI - This American Life - Add to iTunes
Ira Glass, Philip's son, has developed an iconic (or whatever the audio equivalent of iconic is..) show. Wonderfully produced, it brings together several stories around a single idea, humorous and intelligent, and with a great set of writers.

WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show - Add to iTunes
I keep up to date with New York and US politics via Brian's show. Perhaps a tad parochial for a global audience, you'd have to know and love NYC to care about some of the stories. That said, it also covers national and presidential politics in a lively and accessible fashion.

RTE - Tonight with Vincent Browne - Add to iTunes
Ireland's best politics show bar none. At times rather odd and like something from another era, it's at the centre of political reporting in Ireland. It's also an excellent guide to major figures from history. Essential listening, who is going to be this man's successor?

RTE - Conversations with Eamonn Dunphy - Add to iTunes
I liked The Last Word when Eamonn was at the helm over on Today FM. With his departure it's now just another drive-time show. At times erratic and irritating, but at his best...he's unique. He certainly engages with his subjects in a very real and personal way, providing compelling listening.

BBC - In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg - Add to iTunes
Wonderful radio, a lecture in a podcast, covering topics as diverse as the Fibonacci Sequence to Avicenna. (Okay... a set of numbers which turn up everywhere in nature and an ancient Iranian philosopher.) Bragg is brilliant here, you get a real sense of how television limited him.

BBC - File on Four - Add to iTunes
Investigative journalism as it should be done. I wish there was more shows like this.

BBC - From Our Own Correspondent - Add to iTunes
The Beeb at it's best, covering news and current affairs from all over the world. It might still have the whiff of colonialism... but it's excellent stuff.

PRI - Selected Shorts - Add to iTunes
Leading actors read leading authors short stores to a live audience. I believe the word is 'delightful'. I particularly like this driving home late at night.

The New Yorker - Fiction - Add to iTunes
Sadly only out once a month. The New Yorker's enviable list of writers and stories read by other writers. Theroux reads Borges, Jhumpa Lahiri reads William Trevor.

Related Tags: