Category: Podcast

International Women’s Day 2024 Podcasts

As we approach the 8th March, I wanted to highlight some recent podcasts we’ve produced at SETU that chime in with the spirit of International Women’s Day. The subject matter varies across the podcast, but they all feature inspiring women or discussions on gender and equality issues.

9plus – Roses From The Heart w/ Christina Henri & Kieran Cronin

This is a discussion about an art project – Roses From The Heart – that commemorates women and young girls who were forcibly transported to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Dr. Christina Henri is the founder and lead artist of the project, having been inspired by her research at the Cascades Female Factory Site in Tasmania. It is estimated that that over 25000 women were sent to Australia, often for the most spurious of reasons. Many of them from Ireland, many of the from Waterford. The project tells individual stories, changing those women from historical statistics into real people. I am not a very emotional person, but as Christina described how girls as young as 11 were often “sent” from Ireland to the likes of Tasmania to act as servants and wives for the settlers, I found myself having a reaction as I pictured my own 11-year daughter Wendy in that situation. Roses From The Heart is a powerful project and worth learning about. I hope this podcast helps us see the bigger picture. Podfollow Link

The Machine – Nuria Oliver – Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Addressing Imbalances

Dr. Nuria Oliver is a Spanish computer scientist specialising in computational models of human behavior, human computer-interaction, intelligent user interfaces, mobile computing and big data for social good. The podcast touches on her work to date, such as using big data systems to help unbanked people access credit in developing nations or combating bias in AI systems. There’s a very good section that addresses the gender imbalances in technology and engineering disciplines. Nuria is the first female computer scientist in Spain to be named an ACM Distinguished Scientist and an ACM Fellow. This podcast was produced in collaboration with the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) in New York and I’m delighted to say is a featured item on their website. Podfollow Link

The Nerve – How to talk about race with Dr Ebun Joseph

Dr. Ebun Joseph is a lecturer on social policy, equality, migration and race at UCD and she joined us at SETU for two seminars (one with students and another with staff) on understanding racial diversity and talking about race in the classroom. In this episode of The Nerve podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor chatted to Ebun about her educational journey, setting up the Institute of Antiracism and Black Studies, and how Irish universities can improve their efforts at inclusion. Also in studio was the organiser of the event, Dr Christa de Brún, who discussed the importance of Ebun’s visit, and second year Arts student, Chika Dike, who spoke about what she learned from attending the event. Podfollow Link

If that’s not enough, I’d also direct you to the new Irish Sports and Exercise Science podcast, hosted by SETU’s Bruce Wardrop. While this isn’t strictly a University production, it does feature a lot of female SETU faculty members discussing issues around sports and exercise science. I’d highlight one particular episode about how an older lady took part in the ExWell (Exercise for Wellness) project to maximise her mobility after suffering a stroke. The lady is my mother! Direct Link

Creating a Deaf-accessible Podcast

This week I’ll be travelling to Toronto to attend and present at the ICA 2023 Preconference 20 Years of Podcasting: Mapping the Contours of Podcast Studies. I’m very much looking forward to this as it’s the first in-person conference I’ll have been at in years.

At the conference, I’ll be talking about a special episode of 9plus, which we attempted to make as accessible as possible for a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) audience. This came from a conversation with SETU researcher Una Kealy and Kate McCarthy, who really initiated the push towards accessibility.

The subject of this podcast episode was their project Lyrical Bodies, which is all to do with Waterford playwright and author Teresa Deevy. Important point – Deevy was deaf. The project includes a collaboration with the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf and Una and Kate wanted to ensure any materials produced as part of the project would be accessible to their stakeholders. The podcast involved a conversation between me, Una, Kate and another project partner Jenny O’Connor [full disclosure – Jenny and I are married]

I would love to say that this arose from some sort of altruistic intention on my part to adhere to UDL guidelines with the podcast, but the attempt came from a suggestion by Una and Kate. I’ll be 100% honest – DHH accessibility was not something I had considered before this, much to my own shame. I researched the subject as best I could and fudged together an attempt at making the podcast more inclusive.

At the conference next week, I’ll be talking about what we did and how we did it. I will refer to a number of artefacts that are linked here:

The regular audio version of the podcast is available on all the usual podcast platforms. Here’s a podfollow link to the specific episode.

A text transcription of the conversation is available here

Finally, there are two video versions of the podcast (both hosted on YouTube). The first contains a video with captions:

The second version is a video of the podcast with Irish Sign Language (ISL) translation, provided by Caoimhe Coburn-Grey:

I plan on recording a version of the presentation after the event (being selfish – it’s so I don’t forget what I said!) If you’re interested in some of the background research, I’ll have a full bibliography in the presentation, but I recommend reading these to get going:

Five Podcasts to Help You Learn About Computing & Technology

I learn a lot from listening. There’s nothing profound in that short sentence – it’s a pretty obvious statement actually. Whether through real-life conversations, radio programmes or podcasts, I’ve always found audio to be a fantastic medium through which information can be absorbed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new student, a seasoned professional or somewhere in between – everyone can learn something new every day.

Staying on top of technology and computing news can be daunting. Things change constantly and new developments are always on the horizon. The life-cycle of new technologies can be incredibly short – sometimes things can go from being novel and exciting to discontinued incredibly quickly (here’s looking at you Quibi)

With that in mind, here are five recommendations of technology podcasts you can digest in your own time to help you navigate the technology currents and stay afloat. Hopefully you might enjoy these while out for a walk, cleaning up the kitchen, sitting on a bus or wherever you listen to audio. There’s no shortage of tech podcasts available, but these are one I regularly listen to, so can personally vouch for their high quality.

The VergeCast

The flagship tech podcast from the Vox media group (their words!). Hosted by Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn (with a revolving cast of side characters), this weekly podcast takes a wry and irreverent look at computing and gadget news. Episodes typically last 1hr 15mins in duration, though they often go past the 1hr 30 mark. It’s always divided up into chunks though, so if you just want to hear them review the latest phone or tech gadget, you can usually skip the first 30 minutes.


A beast in the world of technology podcasts. Produced by Gimlet Media, ReplyAll has been going since 2014. They mostly cover internet technologies, but always from a human angle. Hosts Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi are total pros and are always easy to listen to. Since they have such a huge archive, the producers have created a handy “New Listeners” guide, highlighting some of the best jumping off points. Episode 79 (Boy in the Photo) is particularly good. There’s an element of mystery to that one, so I’ll say nothing and let you experience it spoiler-free.


OK, this is two podcasts rather than one, but they’re from the same gene pool, both produced by Relay FM. If you want to get a handle on the latest gadgets, apps and services, these are well worth a listen. Clockwise’s format is where the 4 person panel discuss 4 tech topics in 30 minutes. It definitely has a very American feel and they tend to focus on the Apple ecosystem a lot. If you’re busy, this is definitely the one to check out (I usually catch Clockwise each week).

Upgrade is a deeper dive covering similar topics and episodes can last up to 90 minutes. They’re both well produced and easy to listen to, whatever your own level of technical knowledge. 

If I was to make a criticism, it’d be that there’s a lot of faffing about at the start of episodes – the radio producer part of my brain wants them to cut the waffle and get to the good stuff earlier. However, this seems to be a feature of many podcasts and Relay FM aren’t alone here.

The Digital Human

The Digital Human is a BBC Radio 4 production that discusses social aspects of techno-culture. Aleks Krotoski (PhD) and the production team usually take an abstract topic and explore how it is impacted by technology. For example, one memorable episode explored the concept of “getting lost” and how mapping technology has removed the random factors of wandering around a new city, trying to find a place of interest. If you’re following a line on a screen, you’re not looking around you and perhaps missing some unexpected gems. I absolutely ADORE this series as it prompts me to question technology from different perspectives.

One of my all time favourite episodes of The Digital Human was ‘Devotion’ about TempleOS which unexpectedly turned into a mini-thesis on operating systems, religion and the divine elegance of good design: 

“When a homeless man was killed by a train on 11/08/18 in The Dalles, Oregon, no-one realised how many people it would effect. He was Terry Davis, and he was on a mission from God.”

The Digital Human is produced in series batches and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. However, most listeners outside the UK (such as me!) will enjoy it as a podcast on BBC Sounds or their preferred podcast app.

The Machine

Naturally, when recommending tech podcasts, I’d include our own one, geared specifically towards computer science education! The Machine is produced internally in WIT, where a bunch of faculty members (hosted by yours truly) discuss topics related to computing and technology, such as programming, AI, Big Data, etc. The conversations are targeted at tech novices, so we don’t assume a huge amount of prior knowledge before listening. That said, we also seem to have a decent audience amongst technology professionals, so hopefully that means the conversations are both accessible and reasonably deep. 

The Machine is a bit sporadic in its output as everyone contributes to this in their spare time. We aim to release six episodes per semester, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Last year, more episodes than expected were produced, whereas we’re behind this year. Can I still blame the global pandemic??? 😜

The Machine is available on pretty much every podcast platform. It probably the best tech podcast produced at 3rd Level in Ireland (I may be biased in my pronouncement)

Pop In Those Earbuds

All of these are pretty much general purpose computing podcasts. If you need something that’s a bit more focussed or specific to a technology, there’s probably a podcast for that too. For example, when I was first learning Kotlin a few years back, I found JetBrain’s Talking Kotlin podcast very useful, but you’re really getting into niche listening there. 

Obviously, these podcasts are not meant as a substitute for real-life conversations, but we don’t always have fellow geeks around to talk tech in person. Next time you’re alone and seeking some brain food of the technology variety, pop in those earbuds and give one of these podcasts a whirl. If you find any of these worthwhile or have any recommendations yourself, I’d love to hear about it – drop me a line on Twitter @roboconnor_irl

Irish Beats 4th April 2021

It was an all-vinyl affair on this evening’s Irish Beats as I dug into my collection to bring you some of the warmest homegrown sounds around. There was one electronic selection before breaking into the guitars – well worth turning your radios up to 11! The second of the show was a documentary following one WIT student’s quest to get into the format. ‘Gianluca Wants a Record Player’ asks questions like what’s so appealing about vinyl? Who’s listening to the format? Does it really sound better than Spotify? Should Gianluca go ahead and get a turntable?

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The Machine Podcast – Walton Institute

Last week, we published an episode of The Machine podcast all about The Walton Institute, which is the new name for the TSSG research group in WIT. I’m proud o say that once upon a time, I worked with these folks (and completed an MSc by Research there). I’ve tried to keep up with their activities, though it’s become increasingly difficult as the years go by – mostly because the group has grown so much.

The TSSG originally had a telecommunications and networks focus, which was the area I largely worked in. However, over the years they’ve broadened to include all aspects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and more importantly, lead some ground breaking cross-disciplinary research.

The Walton Institute isn’t just a renaming – it reflects the change in ICT research over the past 20 years and how the folks are looking towards a wider future. I’m very enthusiastic about this. I get a kick out of seeing how computing technology can be applied to other areas in a positive fashion. Are the results always for the better? No! However, I firmly believe that when people actually think about problems, we can come up with innovative solutions. What can I say, I’m an optimist.

Anyway, I enjoyed the chat with co-directors Sasitharan Balasubramaniam and Kevin Doolin who’s enthusiasm is infectious – for research and the opportunities for the South East.

This week, I’m recording an episode with some TSSG/Walton staff members about Virtual Reality and Augment Reality, so that’ll be proper geeky.

Interview with Caoimhe Barry (Wyvern Lingo)

Last week, I sat down with Caoimhe Barry of Irish trio Wyvern Lingo on the release day of their sophomore album ‘Awake You Lie.’ We spoke about how it’s not a COVID album having mostly been recorded in Berlin in late 2019, but it also kind of is a COVID reflection. We also chatted about musical influences, video games and Caoimhe gave the inside scoop on being on one of Ireland’s most successful indie record labels (RubyWorks).

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