Waiting for updates ...

My iPod has been a great addition to my life. I use it to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on my half-hour walks, to and from work. But recently two of my favorite items have gone into suspended animation.

The first one is my absolute favorite podcast, The History of Rome, produced by Mike Duncan. Starting from its mythical beginnings as told in the Aeneid, Roman history was delivered in 15min segments to my iPod every week. Mike had been producing these for a year now (yes, that makes almost 50 episode). In the pocasts we encountered the Etruscans, the Samnites, Cincinnatus, Hannibal, Scipio, Pyrus, Marius and many others. Mike's podcasts are witty and well thought out. I'm actually surprised that he's lasted this long! But sadly just as we were about to meet Caesar, Pompey, Cicero and Brutus the podcast has gone on hiatus. The last show was posted on June 9th. Then nothing until this post on July 10th:

The last month has been insanly busy and completely knocked me out of my routine. I have been traveling, moving, working, and hosting out of town guests. I apologize for the unexplained absense. All is well emotionally and physically, but the podcast was sent to the chopping block when time management became a problem. With a little luck The History of Rome will return soon, but for now we have pressed the pause button.

So we all waited, filling up his comment sections with praise and with desperate pleas for him to return. Then last week this comment appeared:

Mike said...
Hey guys, it's me, Mike. I am on my sisters laptop, anyway you can expect a new episode from me this week sorry for my lack of updates, my computer is not working at the moment. My move has gone well.

ps gee guys, lighten up, hehe

July 21, 2008 12:36 PM

I hope this means that there will be a new pocast on Monday.

For any history buffs, I highly recommend that you download the entire podcast from the beginning. You can subscribe to them through the iTunes store (for free). To get the first few shows you may have to download the episodes directly from Mike's blog.

But that's OK, there's other good stuff out there. Besides podcasts, you can also download audiobooks ... for free. The best site for this is Librivox.org. There volunteers read, record and post audio files of books whose copyright have expired. I've listened to the Iliad, the Odyssey, Gulliver's Travels, the Saga of Eric the Red, the Apology, the Origin of Species and the Prince. Recently I've been listening to Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle and I have to say that it's great. Firsthand accounts of Brazil in a primordial state, gauchos using their bolas to catch rheas, the Fuegians and sad tales of war and genocide against the natives. The most interesting bits are Darwin's observations and musings (you can see the wheels turning in his head as he contemplates all that he sees.) But sadly this audio book also remains incomplete! At the time that I write this entry Chapter 14 remains unread! And so I've been waiting for the chapter to be posted but it's been a month since there's been any activity at the Voyage of the Beagle discussion board at the Librivox forum. At least here I have some recourse, I can just download the text file and read it (and even record it!)

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Thanks for the tip for the History of Rome podcast. I'm always looking for new stuff. Right now I found one on Napoleon, I warn you it's exhaustively long, but it's done by two experts and I've learned a lot.

Also, have you tried "12 Byzantine Emperors"?

In fact Mike Duncan mentioned 12 Byzantine Emperors in an interview that was posted somewhere (can't find it at the moment). I'll have to check it out.

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By Acme Scientist (not verified) on 01 Aug 2008 #permalink