Want to get the most out of your technology? Have you been buying software and gadgets you can't even use and wasting your money as a result? Do you want to plug into networks of people who know stuff you want to know?
There are some great podcasts out there which can really help. And if you don't yet know what a podcast is ... it's basically a radio show that you can have delivered to you every time a new episode arrives; read this podcast FAQ to find out more.
The majority of the downloadable radio shows we've found are aimed at the visually impaired end user, possibly because there is an awful lot of stuff you can share in this market as many visual problems can be overcome with technology. Oh and blind people just love to do radio.
Here are five podcasts we've been listening to, that speak with authority, be they presented by home-based geeks or embedded in the assistive technology industry.
1. The Mac-Cessibility Roundtable Podcast - Listen to the Mac pioneers who are feeding back to the rest of the world how they are getting on with Apple's Mac, iPhone and iPad products. These guys are total total total Apple fan boys and girls and link up across the US and UK via Skype to bring you this show.
Apple now have a fully-fledged built-in screenreader called Voiceover, and screen magnification called Zoom. You don't need to buy it, it's just there on your computer, or device, as part of the operating system, and is understandably causing quite a stir in the blind community because it's accessible out of the box.
2. Serotalk - Made by the guys at Assistive Tech company Serotek, this podcast goes through the latest assistive technology headlines and gives demos of products, services and great finds. A really very good round-up, intelligent, to the point and forward thinking. Plus you'll get to know plenty about the politics of it all from people who work in the industry as well as hearing voices of people whose names you may recognise.
3. Blind Cool Tech - If you want to record yourself reviewing a tech product and upload it for others to listen to, you can do it here. At time of writing, there are audio reviews of braille displays, accessible GPS apps for the iPhone, eBook reader browser plug-ins, routers, new synthetic speech voices, high quality recording equipment and quite a lot more. Some of the recordings are a little over-long but heck where else are you gonna get this knowledge from? If you want a demo, usually you'd have to travel miles, but now you can get it from these enthusiasts and early adopters.
4. Tech Access Weekly - I haven't quite worked out who this podcast is aimed at but I think the male and female presenters (whoever they are?) just follow their interests ... and it's pretty wide-ranging as a result. I like it. They have good strong knowledge of assistive technology but they go slightly beyond visual impairment matters and talk about more mainstream tech and web too. Sometimes they cover accessibility for people with other impairments. A good listen.
5. AbilityNet Tech for all podcast - - The only UK podcast on this list. Possibly the least professional in terms of sound quality but strong on content as it pulls on the knowledge of the staff at the not-for-profit organisation who advise and assist on technology for disabled people on a daily basis. There's a particularly interesting interview with Sir Terry Pratchett who recently told the world he is fighting Alzheimer's. In the June episode, the prolific author tells how his ability to write has been affected and that he now uses Dragon Dictate with Talking Point, a more accessible interface for him. They keep promising one podcast per month and we should hold them to it because they've not made a new one since August/September.
If you have any recommendations for top tech access podcasts then tell us about them in the comments below and help us create a longer list.
Course, I should also mention we have our own fortnightly podcast The Ouch! Talk Show which is low on tech but high on chat. Presented by Mat Fraser and Liz Carr. Disability lifestyle chat and much unplanned razor sharp humour.