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        Is anyone else as obsessed with listening to podcasts as I am? They’re the perfect way to pass the time during long drives, photo editing sessions, dishwashing and working out, and they keep me from falling asleep! Here are a few of my favorites that are constantly on rotation. Have you listened to any of these?

         

        (criminal/investigative) MA If you want to be enraged by the injustice of our criminal justice system, just give In The Dark a listen. The first season covers the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, one of the most notorious child abductions in history, while the second season follows Madeleine Baran as she digs deeper into the case of Curtis Flowers who has been tried for the same crime six times. Both addicting and enlightening, this Peabody Award-winning podcast is worth a listen. Must-listen episodes: Just binge both seasons in order. They will leave your brain spinning.
        (criminal/documentary style) MA There’s no way you won’t instantly fall in love with Ear Hustle. Co-hosts Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, an inmate at San Quentin, bring listeners through the prison, sharing inmates’ stories and revealing just how little is known about what goes on inside. Rarely do they divulge what each inmate is in for, allowing listeners to reserve their judgments and just hear a story for what it is. Must-listen episodes: “The Boom Boom Room” and “Bonus: Songs from S1.”

         

        (lifestyle/health) MA Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand goop is trying its hand at the podcast game. The goop Podcast interviews doctors, creatives, spiritual leaders and celebrities and covers mental, emotional and physical health topics in a straight-to-the-point, educational way, perfect for easy listening between murder mystery podcasts. Must-listen episodes: “Lessons from the Other Side” and “Gwyneth x Blythe: On Mothers and Daughters.”
        (murder investigation) MA In Generation Why, two nerdy sleuths, Aaron and Justin, hash out new and old murder cases, some solved and some still cold. Some of these cases are truly insane, and the show is structured so that listeners can form their own opinions about the cases. The co-hosts take their subject incredibly seriously. You won’t hear them joking about the murderers or their victims, yet they’re goofy and fun to listen to at the same time. Must-listen episodes: “Timmothy Pitzen – 244” and “Adam Kaufman – 282.”

         

        (criminal/investigative) PG-13 If you’re just getting into true crime podcasts, Criminal is a great place to start. The high production value and easily digestible 25-minute episodes keep me coming back for more. Some episodes focus on quirky and weird crimes, while others have a darker, more sinister tone. This is an easy binger, but note that not all of their episodes are appropriate for all ages. Must-listen episodes: “Episode 18: 695BGK” and “Episode 53: Melinda and Judy.”
        (lifestyle/love) PG From the same folks who produce Criminal, there’s This Is Love. Though similar in style and production value, it differs from Criminal in that it’s all about the best thing in the world: love! This Is Love tells attention-grabbing, often bizarre love stories from all over and makes for a heart-warming mind escape. Must-listen episode: “Episode 1: The Run.”

         
         
         

        (lifestyle/journalistic) PG-MA It’s probably fair to say This American Life perfected the art of the podcast in the 23 years it’s been produced. Think of this one as a church potluck in the form of a podcast: nothing’s off limits. From politics and health to kids and love, it’s always something unexpected, and you can always expect quality storytelling from Ira Glass and the rest of the team. Must-listen episodes: “559: Captain’s Log” and “339: Break Up”
        (health) PG-MA When I started buying more organic produce and throwing out personal care items with questionable ingredients, a friend recommended Balanced Bites. After listening to an episode about hormonal birth control, I was hooked. Hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe often beat around the bush toward the beginning of each episode, so you might want to fast-forward to get to the good stuff. It’s worth scanning the titles and listening to any episode that piques your interest. Must-listen episodes: “#299: Female Hormones with Dr. Jolene Brighten” and “#347: Female Hormones & Recovering from Birth Control with Dr. Jolene Brighton.”

         

        (lifestyle/financial) PG Brother and sister duo Dustin and Danielle are Louisiana-based financial advisors, and in their podcast Worth It they drop some knowledge about money and saving in a way that’s easy to understand and not at all intimidating. It’s not just about numbers with these two. They dive into the emotional moments of navigating adult life. On top of that, Danielle shares tips on growing an audience on social media, something she’s successfully accomplished for herself at @showmeyournola. Must-listen episodes: “11 TIPS TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT, WITH DANIELLE GRANGER NAVA, EPISODE #33” and “LADIES, IT’S TIME WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT MONEY, EPISODE #22”
        (photography/small business) PG Mistakes Make Magic is like a breath of fresh air for business owners. Hosted by my friend and colleague Catherine Guidry, this podcast highlights small business owners and their growing pains. Topics range from staying inspired to figuring out how much to charge a client. Mistakes Make Magic is full of quality content and hilarious moments that you feel like you’re in the room. Must-listen episodes: “021: Sapphire Events: Valerie Gernhauser- Pricing for Profit and Working with Luxury Clients” and “033: Promise Tangeman: Top Tips for Website + Graphic Designs.”

         
         

        ______________________________

        Honorable mention: Dirty John, S-Town and Serial.

        From true crime to business advice, there are so many good podcasts out there!

        Have any favorites I didn’t mention? Send them my way!

         

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        Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

        If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

        Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

        Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

        The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

        Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

        Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

        Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

        The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

        Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

        Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

        The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

        The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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