Podcast Recommendations- Car Expert

Australia’s favourite motoring editorial podcast is back!

Um, well…… they’ve been back for over a year now, but I’ve only recently found them………

So do you remember Car Advice? The web-site and podcast who test drove and reviewed everyday cars heading our way to Australia? Designed to enlighten the average guy & Gal, in the pros and cons of new vehicles thus we the consumer could make an informed choice before throwing down our hard earned!

Well, if you’ve been following the highs and lows of the Car Advice brand, you’re probably aware that in 2016 Car Advice was taken over by Channel 9, and after that slowly but surely all of our favourite contributors of Car Advice slowly left. First it was Paul, then James W, then Mandy. And once Mandy left, so did the Car Advice podcast. As in they released one more episode with James Ward as host. *Shudders*. And then that was that, no more Car Advice podcast- a pod which I had been following for years and years! Not to mention, contributed a little feedback to as well. Haaha.

For 18 long months, I was in motoring podcast purgatory, trying this and that in a vain attempt to fill the car shaped void in my life. All of which were substandard motoring offerings, until several weeks ago when I stumbled upon ‘Car Expert’.

And OMG! It’s all the familiar voices again! I almost lost my SH*T when I heard the intro and the familiar voice of Mandy coming through my speakers! Mandy, Scott, James W, Mike, Al, Tony, Paul! They’re all back, sounding as good as ever! And it truly feels like coming home!

The segments are the same, the sound effects are the same as well (or lack thereof….What happened to the closing sound effect!?). And aside from all your old favourite contributors, they have some new faces or should I say new voices as well!

However in the prevailing 18 months, the motoring landscape has changed though. Electric car and hybrid car talk takes up much of the content. *Sad look*. And sadly ICE vehicles with stonking V8 engines (or even sweet V6 turbos) are becoming rarer and rarer. So the good old days of Car Advice are long gone, but long live Car E! That is Car Expert for the Electrified era!

To here about all the news and what’s new in the Australian motoring landscape, and for those old fans of Car Advice, you can hear the gang again on Car Expert! Just click HERE to begin listening! Now Channel 9, how come you didn’t work in a non-compete Clause into the Contract of sale? Pretty silly that the old Car Advice team can set-up shop as Car Expert just down the metaphorical road, and do the exact same thing again? Silly from a business point of view, but fantastic for us!

Podcast recommendations- Apple Events (Video

D’oh!

Are you an Apple or Android user? If android, you can skip this blog post. However, however if you’re an Apple user, please continue reading……

I’m first to admit that I’m a faithful Apple user, my very first Apple product was the 2006 iPod Nano 4GB. It was a gift from my uncle from the States, but I ended up re-gifting it to my girlfriend at the time, as the Nano unfortunately did not speak back to me (unlike the girlfriend). So I was unable to use it due to being unable to see. P.S. I hope my ex still enjoys listening to those 300 songs she was able to store on the 4 GB SSD. Haaha.

 My next Apple product (the first in which I could actually use) was the 2008 Apple iPod Touch, the first Apple product with Apple Voiceover. I was given it to perform user testing of the speech functionality, and after I was done with testing, I was allowed to keep it! Score!

My next Apple purchase was in 2010, iPhone 3Gs, I got it free when I signed-up for a $99 phone plan. Then I gifted the phone to my dad- as I thought using a touch phone was going to be so much slower than using my old press, press phone. But 6 years later when my press, press phone finally died, my dad gifted me back the iPhone- and thinking about it now, I can’t believe how thick and bulky it used to be!

Then it was the 2011 second generation iPad, a Christmas gift to my then fiancée (now wife). Followed much later by another iPod Touch (2014) in product red- as a Christmas gift.

And then there were 4 other iPhones (6, SE 1st Gen, 10, SE 2nd Gen), a 2020 Apple MacBook Pro, a 2020 Apple Mac, and the latest was a 2021 iPad for my mum’s birthday. So yeah, you can say that we have a preference for Apple products. Therefore naturally when I first noticed a podcast called ‘Apple Events (Video)’ where Apple uploads the latest Keynote Address (which started during Covid), I naturally subscribed to it-being the Apple fanboy. And here are my thoughts……  

Well, in times of disruption, some organisations fail, while others thrive. And Apple embraced the fact that in 2020 they were unable to hold their regular live in-person Keynote events from Apple Park. And instead of postponing or cancelling, they pivoted to a heavily produce multi-media presentation live streamed to all its fans (and media). And what stands out the most about the production is how slick it is, the use of music to great effect, and the fact that they involve so many different Apple employees, subject matter experts in their field to talk about their pet projects and it’s so great to see diversity in Apple! And now that I’m subscribed to Apple Events (Video), I’m one of the first to learn of their latest products, exhibiting in exhaustive detail all the new functions and features the latest product can now perform.

And I think this method of virtual Keynote Events has helped Apple to reach an even wider audience and customer base. Sure, previously you can still watch the recording of the live event afterwards on Youtube, but now that it’s a totally pre-recorded event, you too can feel as if the event is produced just for you!

Listening to the podcast (which is an audio recording of the live event, it’s not actually a video), you’ll be the first to know what are Apple’s latest products. Don’t worry about sites trying to predict what the next product is, just wait to be spoon fed the next Apple event to see for yourself what is upcoming!

The latest Fall Keynote, Apple announced an update to Apple Music, MacBook Pro, Airpods, and Homepod mini.

But I’m not here to mindlessly repeat the virtues of these products (as you can hear it for yourself), but I do have a bit of a gripe with Apple. Although I’m a huge fan, and I’ll continue buying and using Apple products, but this is what annoys me about Apple!

How quickly the latest and best Apple product is superseded by the next best and greatest Apple product! Grrrr.

Here is an example, I purchased last year around June-July, the second generation iPhone SE, because I like the small form factor of the SE phone. But in less than 3 months later, Apple announce Apple iPhone 12 mini, another small form factor phone- but now with all the hi-tech features of iPhone 12! Sure, there is a price difference between the two, however  for those who were drawn to the compact size, wouldn’t you be kicking yourself that you got yourself the SE just a few months too early!?

And then it happened to me again, a few months afterwards. I purchased the latest MacBook Pro (with the Intel processor). And 3 months later Apple announces that Apple has developed its own processer (the M1 chip), making all future Macs faster and improved battery life. Now how did I feel after this? The second occurrence in 4 months?  A bit silly right!? I’d spent over $3K, and now I felt that I had an inferior/superseded product. And that has been realised now, with the release of the new MacBook Pro using an Apple chip, but not any Apple chip, but now it’s the M1 Pro! A chip which is now 40% faster than the M1 chip which was only revealed 10 months ago? Again, making those early adopters feel a bit stupid, as now they too have an inferior product just like me! And it’s only been 10 months!

And this same occurrence repeats itself over and over again, we bought a Mac in November last year, and 6 months afterwards the re-designed Mac is out, super thin and with the M1 chip.

In July I bought my mum the latest iPad for her birthday, and 2 months later they announce a brand new iPad which is again faster and improved battery life……

Therefore my only reaction to Apple Keynote Events these days, are D’oh! D’oh! D’oh!, as again and again, I’m made to feel silly, as I had bought at the wrong time, always just a handful of months too soon! And I think this feeling isn’t unique to me. I’m sure all Apple users have felt this before. That feeling of being a chump, for paying full price for a product from the Apple store, the latest and the greatest! But to then find out 2-3 months later, that there is something else much, much better than what you’ve spent your hard earned cash on. And what also uber annoys me, is their readiness to outline how the new product is so much better than the previous year’s version, the one which you have!

And the super crap thing is this, Apple products last and last, so if you’re not prepared to trade in your used devices when you upgrade yearly, you can easily be stuck with a dated phone or watch, or computer for years and years!

What I’ve learnt from these D’oh experiences? Has been, to hold out! Just when you feel you want the latest Apple phone or watch etc. Just hold back your urge for instant gratification, and instead just wait for a few months. And low and behold Apple will announce the next version of the same product. And then, you can line up and be the very first to get your hands on that new shiny product. Then, at least you won’t feel like your product has been superseded, for at least 9 months or so. 9 months isn’t bad?

So to learn of the latest Apple product news, so you can go Doh! Or help you to time your next purchase, check out Apple Events (Video) HERE! Be the first to know what Apple is doing next!   

Podcast recommendation- The Sure Thing

The story behind Australia’s largest white-collar crime!

It’s not often that I stumble on new trends right from the get-go, but this time as the Australian Financial Review (AFR) released its True Crime podcast series ‘The Sure Thing’- I was there from the very beginning.

You may or may not remember the news reporting of this when it happened, when 2 uni mates hatched an insider trading scam which made them $7.8 Million in only 9 months? One Australian Bureau of Statistics Analyst (Christopher Hill) would pass on employment figures (ahead of their official release) which he crunched monthly, and in the hands of his National Australia Bank broker friend, would then purchase Australian dollars short, and then sell the currency for a profit after the employment figures were officially released- pushing the Australian dollar up or down. While the plan was simple in its application, but Lukas Kamay (the Broker) had other ideas in mind, undermining their original safe bet and would invest huge amounts which then drew attention to themselves- bringing the full force of the law on them.

The AFR reporting and production, led by Angus Grigg, was surprisingly top-notch (for an Australian production), with sound effects, clever weaving of the story to maximise intrigue and engagement, while the use of interviews with primary sources and specialists were used to great effect! And to top off the 6-episode series, there was a twist waiting for us part way through, resulting in an altogether surprising ending to the real-life story!

Look, it was great that I caught onto this podcast right from the start- so that I could recommend it to friends which allowed me to wait for them to loop back to me, super appreciative of my recommendation. But the downsides were the seemingly interminable waits in-between episodes (weekly drops), which felt brutal now that we’re so use to ‘on demand’. So, as I type up this recommendation, my memories of the first few episodes are hazy, as it was over 2 months ago! Perhaps I need to re-listen to them?

If you want to binge on ‘The Sure Thing’, a top shelf Australian True Crime story, click HERE to start listening now!

Podcast recommendation- The Sporkful

Your mission if you so choose to accept it……

Don’t you love cross promotions between Podcasters? Here I was, minding my own business- listening to pods which I was already subscribed to and then ‘Decoder Ring’ spoon feeds me an episode from another podcaster. And it left me riveted, so much so, that when the last tone was still ringing in my ear, I went and subscribed to this podcast.

The Sporkful was the podcast which so riveted me- a show for eaters, not foodies. And their tag line says it all, you don’t have to have a penchant for fine dining or across all the latest food fads to enjoy this pod, but you only need to enjoy eating- and isn’t that all of us?

Hosted by Dan Pashman, a New Yorker, and the very first episode which I listened to, was where he was telling the world his plan to create a new pasta shape. A 5-episode series called Mission ImPastabal! And over the episodes Dan first drums up excitement about his mission/new venture; then goes away to understand everything about pasta from ingredients, mass production methods, and learns of all the various shapes of pasta already out there; before placing pencil to drafting paper to design his ideal and never seen before pasta shape; then going away to find a designer to cast and a factory to produce his pasta; all the way till distribution of his new pasta shape to his faithful listeners.

And let me tell you, Dan has opened my eyes to a whole new world which I had previously never thought too deeply about- like there is a name for every variant of pasta, and here I thought the Rigatoni was just an oversized Penne pasta! And I thought the ruffles on the edges of pasta was just for aesthetic purposes, but they have a purpose of catching more sauce.

And throughout the series, and the criteria which Dan was creating his pasta shape to, was to fulfill the 3 requirements of Forkability! Sausability! And Tooth Sinkability! I.e., how easy is it to get the pasta onto your fork, how well does the pasta hold sauce on its slippery surface, and how much enjoyment do you gain from chewing that pasta? And again, with gusto! Forkability! Sausability! And Tooth Sinkability!

Now I’m wondering, how much postage and handling is going to cost, to ship a 5-pound bag of Dan Pashman’s pasta to Sydney Australia!?

To geek out on pasta, check out ‘The Sporkful’, click HERE to amerce yourself in the mission!

Podcast recommendations- Browse ‘Top Episodes’

It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get!

After a cleanse of my podcast subscriptions, it oddly left me with nothing new to listen to one morning.  so I inevitably started to search for new content. And this is what I found…….

Highly rated one-off episodes! Unless you decide to make the one-off fling into a more permanent relationship. “love you long time!”.

So to this point, I’ve never scrolled that far down the ‘Browse’ tab before. Most of the times I’ve already found a new show from ‘New & noteworthy’ or from ‘Top shows. But the other day I started to scroll down further and found myself in ‘Top episodes’ and I was presented with a list of episode titles, with no hint of the actual name of the show. And a few episode titles caught my eye, so I tapped on them and ‘Oh My God!’ I found some gems!

In the past I’d seen ‘Conversation’s, and I told myself that I didn’t need to listen to interviews with Australian celebrities, as what celebrities do, we have anyway? And ‘Mamamia’, that had never interested me, as the movie of the same name hadn’t moved me to want to watch it either. And ‘Casefile True Crime’, I had listened to this a handful of years ago and the host’s emotionless reading of a script for upwards of 90 minutes had bord me to death (A future Casefile episode, ‘How a man died of boredom, through a podcast’). But because the ‘Top episodes’ were brandless and titleless, I gave them a go peaked by the subject matter, not by what preconceived notion I might have had of the shows.

And what I found, was that ‘Conversations’ wasn’t chats with Aussie celebrities, but in fact with normal everyday people, who were  subject matter experts in a particular field- always very interesting field/subjects. So much so, that you genuinely feel enlightened after each experience.

That Mamamia podcasts were very well produced, targeted at a female audience, but men were never made to feel out of place. So I’ve listened to a few episodes now from the Mamamia family of podcasts, and I’ve enjoyed them all (and I may or may not have a tiny crush on Gladys now. Haaha).

And although Casey is just as boring and emotionless with his re-telling of true crime cases, however the stories are well researched, and the scripts at least are well told. So you can almost forgive him for his almost perfect impersonation of a talking robot. And funny enough, I’m actually subscribed to his show now.

What I’ve found refreshing about the ‘Top Episodes’ list, is the fact that they do not promote the show, so if the hosts themselves don’t repeat the name of their program- you can go a whole entire episode without knowing who you’re listening to. And that’s refreshing right? So it’s not about the brand, or the show’s reputation, but just based on the content of this one-off experience for you!

So if you want to add some surprise back into your life, check out Apple Podcasts, select ‘Browse’ in your Podcast app, then scroll down to ‘Top Episodes’. Enjoy!

Podcast recommendations- Hamish & Andys Remembering Project

walk down memory lane!

Who can get enough of the boys? Especially when they’re on their yearly 3-month government mandated Summer break? And just in time for this yearly hiatus, Hamish & Andy has introduced their spin-off podcast called ‘Hamish & Andys Remembering Project, designed to help us fil that gap before they return on March eve.

The name of the pod already hints at what to expect, after 20 years on radio and podcasting (realistically it’s more like 14 years after taking away  all the breaks they take), Hamish & Andy are taking us on a journey down memory lane. Each show a random date is selected from the calendar and taking turns Hamish and Andy select a particular year and a particular talk break from a past  show of theirs- to be played back for our listening pleasure.

In most cases, what makes the 20-minute-long podcast interesting/funny, isn’t the actual 2-5 minutes of archive recording that they play back, but it’s the lead up to hitting play on the recorder which is funny. For example, Hamish might reminisce on an event around that date in mention, or a memory which he could recall from that date (but not that year) and the boys would giggle and laugh as they attempt to  fill in their collective gaps in their memories. And after taking us on a several minute journey down memory lane, then they would inevitably  go “but no, we’re not going to listen to that.” Or sometimes it just feels like they’re two old guys, just recounting stories for the much younger Podcast Mike’s benefit as he hadn’t been working with them back in the day, and we’re like just eves dropping in on three guys just chatting. BTW, it’s amazing what Podcast Mike can remember, being a super fan of the boys  who ends up working for his childhood idles.

And although I’ve haven’t been a super long fan of Hamish & Andy’s (probably only been following them for 5 years?), I’ve really enjoyed listening back to their earlier work, all of which has been refreshing as it’s all new for me. And what I’ve found myself doing, was that as they reflected back on a particular date and year, I too think back where I was back at that particular point in time of my life. And sometimes it has brought back smiles remembering to my uni days, or sometimes it was just nice to slow down and think back to another chapter of my life either good or bad.

So if you’re a fan of Hamish & Andy and just want to journey down memory lane with them, by all means, check out H&A’s Remembering Project. Or if you just want a stimulus to help you reflect back on your own life, thinking back when you were 20 years younger, the Remembering Project has been a great starter for that as well.

To check out Hamish & Andys Remembering Project, click HERE!