The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: podcasting

For Lack of a Better Title

Listening to these podcasts, I was intrigued by the 99% Invisible episode, Vox Ex Machina. 

I think Roman Mars does an excellent job of holding his listener’s attention. This is not to say that the subject matter is boring or would be uninteresting but for its presentation, but his ability to establish an idea, get the listener invested in it, and follow through on it helps him stay at the forefront of the listener’s attention. At the very beginning of the episode, he introduces this story about the Voder, a machine introduced in 1939 that could synthesize the human voice. After introducing it and talking about it for a bit, Mars moves on to something that at first seemed completely unrelated, and then made the connection. Rather than introducing the main idea and then discussing related information, he starts with the related information and then explains how it’s connected to the main idea. The podcast was also well-broken-up. As lovely as his voice is, it would be harder to pay attention if the podcast was just Roman Mars talking at me for 25 minutes. The fact that he gets sound bytes from his interviews, and introduces different voices helps him break up the show and also creates the feeling that there are multiple perspectives being brought to the show instead of one guy just talking about what he thinks. This is clearly something Anna Butrico thought about when she used so many clips from other podcasts and had a friend voice Aristotle. 99% Invisible has been going for a while, so it’s no surprise that it’s a well-produced show.

Podcast Critiques

To start, I’m writing this blog post now for the second time. For the second week in a row. To my fellow FYWS Cryptographers, write this in Word, Google Docs, or somewhere that’s not here. Because this website likes to play cruel tricks and delete your post right when you click publish.

Anyway, I listened to The VIC Cipher, One-Time Pod Episode 14. Overall, I enjoyed the podcast, but there were definitely aspects that could’ve been improved. Here’s a “pros and cons” list that I created while listening.


  • Introduction with a narrative style. The opening piece was engaging, and the story-telling style made it easy and fun to listen to.
  • The music seemed mysterious, helping to set the mood from the beginning.
  • The pacing was very appropriate – the podcast moved quickly, but not too quick that the listener couldn’t follow along.


  • After the 3 minutes of story-telling in the beginning of the podcast, it became a lot more informational and dry. It was definitely harder to listen to for the last 10 minutes.
  • Sound effects sometimes seemed out of place and louder than the voice of the narrator.
  • At one point, the podcast took ~30 seconds to allow the listener to get out a pen and pencil. I think it could’ve been more effective to say something along the lines of  “at this point, feel free to pause the podcast and take out a pen and pencil” rather than stopping the whole podcast.
  • Definitely could’ve used some more humor/personality. The middle section was especially dry.

In my podcast, I would love to use the narrative, story-telling style that is used in the opening of this podcast. Additionally, I want to find music and sound effects that help set the mood and engage the listener, drawing them into the story that the podcast is creating. I definitely want to avoid losing the listener, which I hope to do by using a more excited tone, sometimes incorporating humor and more informal aspects.


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén