Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why Podcasts are Cool

The other day I blogged about my new mp3 player. To me, what's exciting about it isn't the device itself, but what it allows me to do. The simple answer is that it allows me carry around litterally hours of content in my pocket. Why is this a big deal? Two reasons...

Gray Time
Gray Time is defined here as the time spent doing an activity that you are 100% physically comitted to, but only partially mentally comitted to. This article goes into depth about this and gives good examples. Though two favorites are standing in line and driving (notice I said partially mentally comitted to...). Read the article and appreciate that the mp3 player gives you one more tool for making use of gray time.

More Content Per Square Inch
Gray time is important to fill. In fact I'm doing exactly that at this moment (as I'm writing this while waiting for a meeting to start). My sidekick already does that job pretty well, right? The fact is that I can easily pull it out and read/compose e-mail faster than I can take an mp3 player out, untangle the wires and listen.

But, and this is a big but - the sidekick has two issues. First, take away cell phone signal and your device becomes much less useful. Second, finding hours of conent to keep yourself occupied is tricky. The classic example is a 3 hour flight. Sure, you can turn off the wireless aspect of the sidekick and compose blog entries offline, or plan your day in the ToDo section (a favorite pastime of mine!), but after an hour it's gonna get old. I always end reading that silly Skymall catalog, and consider whether I need to buy the brass dryer-lint cleaner with bonus flashlight.

But with hours of podcasts in your pocket you can actually make use of that time. Or at the very least be entertained. The bottom line is that the mp3 player is like carrying around a couple books just in case you have time for some reading.

And the content/signal issue isn't just for big events like flights. Yesterday Shira left me in the lobby of her Grandma's old age home assisted living facilitiy for 45 minutes and I couldn't get signal. Instead I pulled out the old Mach mp3 player and made good use of that time.

Hmmm, my meetings approaching and I'm running out of gray time. Happy listening!

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