Making the most of your commute

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I really don’t like commuting. When I was single and renting and living in Toronto, I could simply pick from jobs within a certain radius of home or move residence so that I was always within a 30 minute drive in the worst imaginable traffic. Now that I’ve got a few more roots and live outside Toronto, I don’t always have the luxury of choosing to work for a company close by. Happily, many companies have telecommuting policies and my jobs for the last 10 years have been such that I’ve been able to work out of my home office.

However, there are times when commuting is a necessary evil. Take now for instance. I just started a new job and even though I’m a mobile worker, it’s in my best interest to be in the office regularly for the next while to get to know people and let people get to know me. Unfortunately, the office is over an hour away even in decent traffic. Ugh.

However, it’s not as bad as it could be. I can be in the car, focus on the road and still be productive by making sure I’ve downloaded all the latest episodes of my favourite podcasts. I just connect my Windows phone to the auxiliary port in the car and listen to my podcasts through the car speakers. This morning I got up to speed on the Office365 Consumer launch, learned what was happening (or not) with the Windows Phone 7.8 update and listened to commentary about the pending Windows Surface Pro product. On the way home, I decided to widen the scope of my listening a bit and learned about scientists who have been able to encode data on DNA stands and others who have been able to transform any material containing carbon into graphene. My commute seemed much shorter and I was able to catch up on my industry.

I use the SlapDash Radio app for Windows Phone but there are many different apps out there for iPhone, Android and probably even Blackberry.Just install the app and search for the podcasts you want to subscribe to. Here are some of my favourite podcasts to listen to:

Freakonomics Radio
The Freakonomics Radio podcast is hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, one of the authors of “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics”. It continues on in the tradition of the books, exploring “the hidden side of everything”. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.

NPR: Technology
NPR: Technology
I had never heard of NPR before, but I really like this podcast. It covers digital culture, research news, the tech industry and more. The best of Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs.

Manager Tools
Manager Tools is a weekly business podcast focused on helping professionals become more effective managers and leaders.

Windows Weekly
Windows Expert, Paul Thurrott and Microsoft Watcher, Mary Jo Foley talk about Windows client, Windows phone and all things Windows on this weekly podcast.

Tech News Today
Hosted by Tom Merritt with co-hosts Sarah Lane (TechTV, Revision3), Iyaz Akhtar (PC Mag, TechVi) and others and recorded 5 days a week.

GeekBeat.TV presents the day’s hottest stories, tips, trends, and news all in one place.

Under the Influence from CBC
The first 50 years of modern advertising was hard-sell. The next 50 years was persuasion through creativity and media tonnage. But advertising is no longer a loud one-way conversation. It’s a delicate dialogue now. The goal is no longer to triumph by weight, but to win by influence. Welcome to Under the Influence. An exploration of that critical shift.

The Public Speaker’s Quick and Dirty Tips
Short podcasts with practical tips for effective communication.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. On this feed, you’ll find TEDTalks video to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination from some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers, speaking from the stage at TED conferences, TEDx events and partner events around the world.

This Week in Tech
Leo Laporte and other tech luminaries have a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in digital technology.

BBC World Update: Daily Commute
30 minutes of the latest interviews, reports and analysis of the day’s top news.


  1. Alan Lukachko

    Your headline picture is probably from the UK due to the traffic going the “wrong” way. Does that help to make your commute that much more interesting? Hah Hah Hah!!

    • Ruth

      It would certainly make it more interesting, although I don’t think it would be quicker!

      The shot was actually taken in Singapore, according to the info on Flickr. Good eye, Alan! 🙂

  2. Carol

    What a good idea! Excuse me…I have to go and download some podcasts for my ‘commute’ to Ottawa on the weekend! Thanks for the links.

  3. Dan Phillips

    Security Now on the TWiT network is also an interesting listen and is a must if you work in Enterprise IT. If you only listen to one epiosde, make sure it is the latest one about the latest UnPnP vulnerability.

  4. Ramona


    Thanks for the insight! With two little ones (2 and 4 years old), my only “quiet” time is my commute to work and I look forward to taking in some of these podcast options.

    (Welcome to Compugen, by the way – the most awesome place to call “home” for work!).

    Ramona Ehlert
    Purchasing Supervisor, Compugen

    • Ruth

      Haha – I can relate to that!

      Thanks for the welcome. My first week has been awesome so far and I’m excited to be part of the Compugen family!

  5. […] Through federation, I have similar visibility into the online status of customers, partners and others using federated Lync. With Lync 2013, federation extends to customers, partners, etc who use Skype as well. Even though I’m sitting by myself in my home office, I’m totally connected to all the people that I need to be in order to be productive and effective. All without the daily commute. […]

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