If there was 1 thing I wish I had learnt earlier in my professional career it would be: "read more blogs and watch/ listen to more podcasts/webcasts." Of course neither of these things were around when I started my career.
("Geroff my lawn," etc. etc.)
But still I was late into the game and playing catch up with these tremendous resources.
I am using podcasts, webcasts, whatever you call them, to bring seminars, professional conferences and top shelf training courses right to me. In my car or train on the way to work or wherever, I'm learning for free and I encourage you to do the same.
With that in mind I thought I would share some of the great places I go to to get my video and audio fix. Of course, they are very much tailored towards someone developing on the Microsoft .Net stack with some open source loveliness piled on top. All of them are interesting in my mind.
(Rant: I like listening to this stuff on my terms. In the bath, on the train, whereever. Therefore I need to download it. Some people make this easy, others don't - I will be making this clear in my list!)
So with no further ado, here's the list:
Tagline: Tracking change and innovation in the enterprise software development community
Easy to Download? Not bad. A lot of the webcasts are missing slides though and it's audio + pdf slides only. No video. Not a big problem as you don't really lose any content though.
Why I watch it: Here I get to hear the really important stuff in my opinion. They have a firm focus on architecture and agile methodologies. I get to hear about how other teams are implementing agile and improving software quality. I hear how the big boys (e.g. facebook) are architecting scalable solutions. You get real stories from the field from a variety of technology camps. If I had to choose just 1 place, I would choose InfoQ.
- Awesome quality of speakers and institutions reporting on their real world successes and failures
- Hear not just from Microsoft people, but Ruby, Java, Clojure, Scala, MongoDb, CouchDb, Neo4J etc.
Tagline: Hanselminutes is a weekly audio talk show with noted web developer and technologist Scott Hanselman and hosted by Carl Franklin. Scott discusses utilities and tools, gives practical how-to advice, and discusses ASP.NET or Windows issues and workarounds.
Easy to Download? Yes very, as he has the downloads in his RSS feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/HanselminutesCompleteMP3)). Using "DownThemAll" made this a breeze!
Why I watch it: Scott Hanselman is extremely important and influential person in the .Net world. He's now the Principal Senior Program Manager of the world now or something. He also speaks very well. He is also a generally interesting person. I have learnt more from him than anyone else. He focuses on not wasting your time and learning about all kinds of cool technologies.
- Scott Hanselman
- The ultimate .Net evangelist talks about the best Microsoft technologies and to the best Microsoft technical minds
Tagline: Google TechTalks are designed to disseminate a wide spectrum of views on topics including Current Affairs, Science, Medicine, Engineering, Business, Humanities, Law, Entertainment, and the Arts.
Easy to Download? No - a real pain as they are on YouTube. I had to use the DownloadHelper Firefox add-on to get them. Then I used SUPER to transcode them from .flv into an MPEG-2/MP3-Lame avi.
Why I watch it: From the tagline you would think it's more fluff. Although they have virtually no Microsoft .Net stuff here, they have some important talks on technology and computer science that are worth discovering.
- Also a fantastic series called "The Clean Code Talks". I think this should be mandatory viewing for all CompSci graduates.
- Too many specific highlights to list, maybe I'll do another post with just my favourite Google TechTalks.
- A real gold mine - thanks Google!
Easy to Download? Sure is. They even have specific iPhone and iPad formats.
Why I watch it: First off – this is the only screencast provider in this list that you have to pay for. It's worth it though if you need to learn about any of the topics they present. They go into huge detail on a topic, a real "mastering" series. They started doing pure .Net stuff – MVC, .Net 4, NHibernate, LINQ etc. and have recently (following Rob Conery's bent) presenting from the "their side": Linux, Rails, Sinatra etc.
- Really in-depth detailed "Mastering series"
- Extremely well presented professional screen casts
- Great file/video formats
Tagline: Videos about the people building Microsoft Products & Services
Why I watch it: Well it's from Microsoft, so that's a good and bad thing! We get interesting stuff from the big boys at Microsoft sometimes, but there is alot of "Microsft yay" shilling going on too.
Easy to Download? Very. These guys have handy links to download in any format (including iPhone) from most of their videos 10/10.
- Currently they are doing a fascinating series on Functional programming with some really clever guys (just search for functional or F#)
- For a bit of the past do a search for "The History of Microsoft with Charles Simonyi" - also really fascinating.
- Their library of videos is vast. If you want a video on a Microsoft technology - it will be here.
- They have a load of stuff from Microsoft Research in Cambridge posted here too.
Deep Fried Bytes
Tagline: Deep Fried Bytes is an audio talk show with a Southern flavor hosted by technologists and developers Keith Elder and Chris Woodruff.
Easy to Download? Yup, fantastic - RSS feed available Why I watch it: Actually I don't yet - it's on my todo list. The list of speakers is fantastic though. From Scott Guthrie to Udi Dahan, this definitely looks worth listening to.
Tagline: Developing people who develop software
Why I watch it: These guys are primarily trainers - and very high quality trainers. (At least they were during the COM days when I was with Microsoft, but I hear they are still very good.)
Easy to Download? Yes. They make them all downloadable in video/audio only and slides, sometimes with code zips. Very nice guys thanks!
- They don't have many webcasts - but they are an extremely high calibre.
- They have standard tech webcasts, e.g. MVC, Entity Framework etc. as well as more team/business focused ones e.g. "Selling Agility at your company"
Tag line: The goal is that each episode review only a single overall concept and stays within a 10 minute timeframe.
Easy to Download? Why I watch it: I've only just found out about these guys, so I can't really say I watch it or comment on the quality. Some good names in their author list though.
- Just a flavour of a lesson - 10 minutes a time - Now who doesn't have time for that?
Tagline: The Internet Audio Talk Show for .Net Developers
Easy to Download? Yup, great. RSS Feed
Why I watch it: Again, not had time to listen to many of these yet - run by Carl Franklin – the guy that does Hanselminutes with Scott Hanselman.
Easy to Download? Pretty good - slideshows + videos of all sessions available with RSS feeds to scrape!
Why I watch it: Not really looked at them yet, But it's pretty cool that all the Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference 2010 sessions are here. It means all this great info isn't just reserved for those lucky ones that get to go to these conferences.
Tagline: Skills Matter supports the Agile and Open Source developer community, by organising free events, training courses, conferences and publishing thousands of podcasts on ideas and technologies that drive innovation.
Easy to Download? Nope. You Can't. It sucks.
Why I watch it: I don't. They get an honoury mention here because of the truly important people that are involved here. People like Udi Dahan, Oren Eini all deliver their particular brand of magic in the UK through Skillsmatter. Their training is fantastic and they deliver back to the community too. The problem is I can't download their webcasts. They force you to watch on their site, which I can't do because I listen while I commute.
- Awesome quality training and podcasts, but this isn't a highlight because you can't download the damn things.
- None - I can't download their stuff - ARGH! :(
Easy to Download? Not great - On trying to download these, loads 404'ed and loads gave weird internal 500 errors. The website looked to me like it was just redesigned using Microsoft'ss MVC Framework very badly. A real shame as MVC rocks and this isn't a good advert for it.
Why I watch it? Again haven't looked at these, but some of the titles looked interesting :)