Ever since I visited the Chinese Pod office last summer, I’d been meaning to really put in some time listening to their podcasts. Unfortunately, one thing came up after another- I changed jobs, I moved twice, Martin and I got really into watching DS9, etc… It wasn’t until this last couple of weeks that I actually bought an MP3 player and started listening to multiple CPods every day.

Almost as if they sensed my intentions, Chinese Pod immediately broke my image link to their site, canceled their affiliate program, and did a site redesign that made it harder for me to download their podcasts. Oh, well. I guess that’s what I get for being such a procrastinator. On the good side, the fact that I waited for them to stop their affiliate program before really blogging about them makes my comments appear more genuine 🙂

The plan

I chose to listen to the first 50 intermediate podcasts. Admittedly, I’m a bit beyond that level, but since my plan was to do all of my listening while out and about, I wanted them to be on the easy side. I’d say that I did about one pod a day while walking to and from work and while going out to get food. I also listened to several podcasts each morning I went to the park for a run. Not all of the pods I listened to were Chinese Pod, though. In total, I’ve averaged 4 CPods a day.

The results

Since they’ve all been easy pods, I can’t say I really learned that many new words. I did learn the Chinese word for scorpion, which I promptly forgot, but the vast majority of the vocabulary items I picked up were mainland versions of words I already knew. Now, I know that they say 火 for something popular instead of 紅, they say 鼠標 for a computer mouse instead of 滑鼠, and northerners say 嗓子 instead of 喉嚨. It’s not the most useful stuff for someone living in Taiwan, but it’s something at least. I definitely feel like it was worthwhile, though.

Before, when I reviewed Chinese Pod, I was listening to podcasts at home. I still don’t think that was the best use of my time. While running at the park, though, it’s great to be able to pick up any Chinese at all. Additionally, I feel like it does some good to just be thinking in Chinese, even if I don’t pick up any new vocab items. The input must have some beneficial effect.

The chinesepod.com site reorganization

I can’t say I’m a big fan of chinesepod.com’s new layout. It used to be that the front page had previews and links to download new lessons, and the archive pages had excerpts and links to fifty numbered downloads each. Now, there’s only one lesson on the front page, and the archives only put 10 lessons on a page. Those pages don’t have excerpts to give an idea of what each lesson is about, and the lessons aren’t numbered, either. The only information given now, is the lesson title, the date it was recorded, and some various tags and meta-information. It’s really inconvenient to say, go download the first 50 intermediate podcasts.

I’m guessing they want users to search for topics that are interesting to them and download them one by one, or something like that. Maybe my desire to systematically download them all is an uncommon one. Or, maybe the changes were made with paying customers in mind. I’m not sure. In any case, I’ve been thinking about expanding my CSL podcast directory to include links to more of their lessons. The nice thing about the internet, is that it’s pretty easy to route around these sorts of organizational difficulties.