Jeff Carouth

Web and mobile developer. Agile apprentice.

Loosely Coupled: A New Podcast Appears

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For some time I’ve been kicking around the idea of hosting a podcast. I’ve gone through several different ideas but never really got off the ground with them. After ZendCon 2013 I was inspired to be more proactive about sharing information and being involved with the community, so I decided to start a podcast.

As of yesterday I “produced” the very first episode of The Loosely Coupled Podcast where I ramble for around 30 minutes about books every developer who cares about code should read. Well, that’s not really fair. The podcast is about books I think you should read to be a better developer.

The podcast

I wanted to host a podcast that centered around topics that are of particular interest to me and relevance to what I’m trying to do professionally. That led me to talking about testing, code quality, software craftsmanship, object oriented design, application architecture, and other related topics. I tried to distill that list down to a couple bullet points and the goal of the podcast is to present ideas and facilitate–uh oh, management word–discussions about how these topics apply to developers using languages such as PHP and Ruby.

I started the first episode out really lightweight because I just wanted to get the ball moving and see how podcasting felt to me. Honestly it was a lot more work than I thought. I probably recorded that first episode three different times and I still think I sound like an idiot, but welcome to Impostor Syndrome.

The technical side

I spent a lot of time researching equipment and such for podcasting. I didn’t want to go too overboard with my setup because I don’t even know if I like podcasting yet. At the same time, though, I hope to also get some screencast version of some of the talks I’ve given out there so I wanted some decent audio equipment that would get me moving.

I ended up purchasing a Blue Snowball microphone with a shock mount and a pop filter (which makes my desk look very intimidating) and decided to start there. Thus far I’ve been impressed with the qudio quality all things considered.

For recording I’m using Audacity. I played around with Garage Band a bit, but I have used Audacity in the past and it’s familiar so I decided to roll with it.

I do plan on having some guests on the podcast, so I did some research on how to go about recording Skype and ended up purchasing a license to Audio Hijack Pro. My initial tests look favorable, so I’m hopeful that will work just fine. (It sure beats shelling out for a mixing board right now to set up a mix minus, that’s for sure.)

Hosting the podcast

This was the next hurdle I wasn’t sure of. I wanted to make it super easy for me to get the podcast out there and aggregated. Luckily for lazy ol’ me, a friend of mine created Signal Leaf which makes all of that dummy proof where I am the dummy.

My alternate plan was to just host them in a S3 bucket myself (which is what I believe SignalLeaf does with them) but that took the management aspect of the equation for me and I think I’ll be happy with what I’m using now.

The plan

Right now I don’t really know how often I want to record episodes. I’m working on a general episode guide for myself to get some ideas planned and then I’ll work on executing them which will most likely inform my scheduling. I also need to line up relevant guests so that will also play a role on when I release more episodes.

For the time being, go check out the Loosely Coupled blog.

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