Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Family Guy' meets 'Star Wars'

I'm not a regular Family Guy viewer, but I must say, the new season six premiere episode rocks! You can read about it here.

Or, if you'd rather watch it, check out the Family Guy page over at a cool site called TV Links and click on the link for the first episode listed under season six, titled "Blue Harvest". Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Succumbing to the Apple...

No, not that "forbidden fruit" of ancient myths. I'm talking about the computer company. A few weeks ago, my sister loaned me her new iPod (Red) Nano and I've been having a blast playing with it ever since.

Yet what I'm enjoying even more than all of the music I can carry with me are the multitude of podcasts which I can choose from for my listening pleasures.

One of my favorites programs right now is Grammar Girl's Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing:

Some of the tips are pretty basic, but others are really fun and interesting, and best of all, she frequently goes into the historical developments of various forms of grammar and words. Having just about caught up with all of her podcasts, I'm about to start on one of the other Quick & Dirty programs, either Money Girl, Legal Lad, or Mr. Manners.

In addition to Grammar Girl, I've also been enjoying (and can recommend) Speaking of Faith from American Public Media and My Daily Phrase German from the Radio Lingua Network (the network also has Coffee Break Spanish and French, among other things, though I must say, the German lessons are very basic, even if well done).

Given all of the fun I've been having though, I was quite surprised to find that well over half the people I've talked to recently who own iPods have never even given podcasts a chance. Naturally, I had to check the statistics on this phenomenon, and while I couldn't find more recent numbers, at least back in 2005, despite as many as 22 million Americans had an iPod or other MP3 player, only some 6 million Americans had tried downloading and listening to podcasts -- less than 30%! (the percentage was higher for those under 29 yrs old -- "nearly half" -- versus those 29 or older -- "only 20 percent".)

Perhaps I shouldn't be shocked by such low numbers -- after all, I'm also well aware that there are many crappy podcasts out there (believe me, I've listened to some of them). Plus, perhaps numbers have gone up significantly since then? Additionally, for all I know, I may be bored of podcasts myself in a week or so, right?

All I can say to those questions is that personally, I have managed to find several really entertaining and educational podcasts. On top of that, I've met a number of people who haven't tried any out at all. And honestly, that's all I'm really asking in this post. How can someone own such a cool (relatively) new technological gadget like the iPod, yet never even try out the related podcasts‽ (By the way, that rarely used question/punctuation symbol is known as the interrobang.)

In hopes of helping to give podcasts a chance then (at least by me, but perhaps by you too), I'd love to hear what anyone reading this post listens to and recommends.

Also, since I'll soon be returning the Nano to my sister, yet also find myself hooked on the little toy, which should I go with if I were to buy one for myself? The iPod Classic or the Nano?