Posts Tagged With: Podcasts

99 percent invisible podcast (Or: Dutch references)

I was catching up on some episodes of the 99% invisible podcast last week (also known as 99pi). It’s quite informative, although I must admit that I like it because the host, Roman Mars, has such a soothing voice. What can I say – some people just sound really good on radio.

One of the episodes I listened to last week was Mini-stories 8, an episode of, you guessed it, mini stories. They usually broadcast a few of those at the end of the year around the holidays. One of the mini stories was entitled “The Forever Bond“. Bonds are something governments or companies offer in exchange for a loan from you. Over time the bonds pay interest, usually maturing over 30 years, meaning that if you’re patient you’ll make a bit of money on the side.

But there are also “perpetual bonds”, which never mature and always create interest for the holder. Those are quite rare. The oldest one still paying interest is a 1648 bond from a Dutch water authority to help pay for the construction of a pier. It is written on goatskin and now owned by Yale University.

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Podcasts (Or: Back in the groove)

Back in 2017 and 2018 I listened to a lot of podcasts during work. At that time I had a different job, still at the same company as today, and I found it easier to put in my headphones and “get in the groove”, as it were. Since last year I have a different job, and at this job it is all but impossible to listen to podcasts during working hours. That’s fine, it’s a different job.

Enter corona times. While everyone else is saying their podcast listening hours are decreasing due to not having a commute, mine are increasing again. And I like that a lot.

One of the Dutch podcasts I listen to is Echt Gebeurd (“Really happened”), which features people telling true stories that they experienced in their life. Podcasts range generally range from 10 to 15 minutes. It’s also the perfect podcast to listen to right before bed. The only problem? Since Friday I am finally caught up again. Eek! Here are some episodes for you:

Episode 222 Storyslam: Paulien Cornelisse This special episode is in English. (The 40 second introduction is in Dutch of course.) And the fact that it is told in English is important – it’s about language and how confusing it came be.

The rest of my suggestions are all (of course) in Dutch:

Episode 207 Via Internet: Alex Ploeg Warning: it takes an unexpected, sad turn in the second half. It is 1998 and student Alex Ploeg creates an email address. It turns out that the email address already belongs to someone else.

Episode 225 Met de auto: Willem Eekhof (met de auto = by car). Willem has two things: a desire to have kids and a Suzuki Splash. I don’t think I will forget this one. It grabbed my attention and didn’t let go all the way through.

Episode 263: Naakt: Sytse Wilman (naakt = naked). A beautiful summer’s evening six years ago. One moment Sytse is sitting with his wife on scaffolding, the next moment he is under water.

Episode 168: Gevecht: Eva Rovers (gevecht = violence). While on vacation Eva fights with the South China Sea.

There are many more, but those stick in my mind the most.

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Today’s theme is: Stories (Or: Dutch podcasts)

I’ve added a few more podcasts to the Dutch podcasts page. They are:

Achter het verhaal (“Behind the story”) – This podcast interviews journalists to get the ‘story behind the story’ for an article published in the print or online newspaper. It’s from ‘Dagblad van het Noorden’, or ‘Daily paper from the north’ as a rough translation. When in doubt, pick the newspaper stories that interest you the most to listen to.

1 minuut / Plots – 1 minuut is a podcast with stories that last about 1 minute each. A great way to learn the language. My only criticism is that you need to have a podcast player that can automatically play the next episode, but that is nothing against the podcast itself. On the other side you have ‘Plots’, true stories told over about 45 minutes. Both are by VPRO, as is Toendra above.

VPRO also has podcasts ‘1 minuutjes jeugd’ and ‘1 minuutjes kleuters’, both of which are more appropriate for children to listen to.

Of course I also have my favorite podcasts in English. I’d prefer to listen to similarly quality Dutch podcasts to kill two birds with one stone (enjoy myself and hear more Dutch) but you cannot have it all. Some of the English language podcasts I listen to could be best categorized as docudrama’s or serialized fiction – stories broken up and told week by week or month by month.

The Black Tapes podcast – inspired by Serial (a non-fiction podcast following the case of someone imprisoned for his girlfriend’s murder), The Black Tapes is described as “a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both”. Season one just finished.

Limetown – “Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappear from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. In this seven-part podcast, American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more “What happened to the people of Limetown?” (But be warned – there’s only a few episodes ready and there seems to be a small delay publishing more.)

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

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Podcasts (Or: Passing time at work)

I’ve added a new page to the blog – podcasts. The blog already had an apps page for Dutch apps (games or informational) so I thought it might be interesting to add a page for my other interest, podcasts. I actually started listening to podcasts late last year, around the time of the Serial craze. Serial wasn’t the one that hooked me to listening to podcasts, though. I’d probably say Strangers or 99% invisible was.

What is a podcast?
An audio file which can be downloaded off the internet, generally in installments (weekly, monthly, randomly). The topics can be anything – Strangers was just… stories/memories, heartfelt, sometimes sad. 99% invisible is a podcast about design. Little facts about things you never thought about. For example, one of the more recent episodes was about the bathysphere, a crude device from the 1920s for descending deep into the ocean depths.

What do you need to listen to it?
I listen on my phone. If you have an iPhone, it comes pre-installed with the Podcasts app. I have recently switched to Overcast, which has a very handy feature of skipping backwards or forwards by 30 seconds – useful if you listen to podcasts at work like I do and get distracted. It’s free, but I am liking it enough that I might actually donate the suggested 5 euros to unlock all features someday soon. Apple TV also has the Podcasts app. But most of the podcasts also have a website, so it is possible to listen from your computer as well.

What are some of my favorite Dutch podcasts?
Unfortunately, I don’t have many. There obviously isn’t as much choice as what you would get in English. If you listen to any others please comment!

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Serial the podcast (And: Other technological thoughts)

Lately I’ve been searching for something to listen to during my time at work. Previously the most success I have had was with Radio 1, the public service radio channel in Dutch. There is something to be said for having Dutch piped into your ears for hours on end when you are trying to learn the language. With that said, you’re tied down to whatever they are talking about at that moment – and sometimes it can be a bit boring. A little variety is nice.

On Thursday I re-found a podcast, “Serial“. It is a non-fiction story told out over multiple episodes. I had seen it several times over the last few months as I looked for podcasts but hadn’t listened to it. Apparently it was #1 for iTunes podcasts before the first episode even aired. Or something like that. Season 1 is twelve episodes long. It covers the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee and the former boyfriend who was convicted of killing her and sentenced to life in prison.

Serial podcast logo

What makes this podcast interesting is the use of actual interviews, recorded phone calls and court room testimony. It is not the voice of one person but the voice of many. Since the events are real, you can’t help but feel like you shouldn’t be listening, like this is private. It’s an interesting feeling.

Here are some interesting links:

Official page
Wikipedia page
Reddit thread
Facebook page

I only started listening to podcasts within the last year or so. While I do feel like I grew up with technology — there were computers at my elementary school and I was online regularly by 11 or 12 — I can definitely feel the divide between my generation and the digital generation. I still prefer email over texting. I don’t follow much of the latest crazes like Vine or Snapchat. Never tried Instagram. I had a twitter account, but deleted it after it got hacked (used the same simple password for that as well as a message board password, and the board got hacked first). I didn’t grow up with an iPad in my hands from birth or a pressing need to have a smart phone by age 7. I didn’t get my first cell phone into high school (Nokia, I believe) and didn’t get a smart phone until 2013.

So I can relate to older generations – I can only imagine what technology is going to confuse the heck out of me in 50 years. Heh. Get off my lawn, and just give me my iPad…

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