Archive for January, 2019

My Particular Podcast Journey

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

There are loads of ways to start a podcast, so this is not prescriptive. But I figured I’d write out how I’ve done it in case it’s useful.

Get a decent audio setup. You can get a lot for $1,000. but I got away with just a RODE podcaster bolted to my desk for years. These days I even have a fancy booth! But that was a splurge after half a decade.

Find a way to publish episodes. You’ll need to be generating an RSS feed that is podcast-friendly. I like WordPress. I’ve used podPress and Blubrry, but Seriously Simple Podcasting looks the cleanest and is best reviewed.

Record/publish regularly. There is something psychological about it that gets people to subscribe and stay subscribed if you’re regular. Nothing hurts moral worse than nobody listening.

Have a partner. Two people are more interesting than one, generally. @davatron5000 is taken, lolzsorry. A partner splits the workload too, which is good for longevity. We talk to each other and guests over Zoom, but have them record locally. Zencaster is pretty amazing also.

We plan episodes in Notion, sharing the notes with the guest. We have a little tech-notes guide they can look at so they know what to do on the day of the show: (Be somewhere quiet with good internet and headphones!)

There are a few places you have to actually SUBMIT your podcast too, like iTunes and Spotify. But the RSS feed is what most podcatchers need.

Having a sound editor person is nice because it ups the quality and takes that task off your plate. Lemon Productions is good.

You gotta host the MP3 somewhere that isn’t gonna cost you a ton of money. Even S3 ain’t nothing. Simplecast is great for that. They do much more than hosting, so their whole feature set might be of interest to you.

Advertising is tough. Unless you’re going to try to go full time on it and make an absolutely amazing podcast on a topic that appeals to a wide audience, we’re talking beer money. I’m not on a “network”, but I don’t think that’s a golden ticket.

If you can afford it, transcribing the podcast is good for a lot of reasons, including accessibility. I wish we did it more. Pham Transcriptions is good.

Good luck!

Public Bug Trackers

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Brent Simmons:

Decisions about what to work on — and when, and by whom — are complicated. From the outside it might look like it’s as simple as picking the next feature request with the most votes, but it’s not that simple.

Amen. We did one little foray into having a public Issue Tracker for CodePen, but it didn’t last long for all these reasons. It’s not that companies shouldn’t be more open generally:

I’d argue that most companies aren’t open and accessible enough. Many companies don’t listen to their users very well. Many don’t even write honest and respectful release notes.

But as Brent says, public issue tracking is just a fast track to getting bogged down and frustrated, with little to gain.

I do think more isolated things could be done publicly though, like a public accessibility audit, where companies probably should be answering publicly for why things are in the state they are in.

Why Working from Home Is Better for Business

Friday, January 18th, 2019

I enjoyed listening to Matt Mullenweg’s pitch for why distributed work is just plain good. It’s a TED video on Facebook that apparently I can’t embed here.

I started remote work in 2007 (I remember cause I keep a timeline) when I told my boss at the time that I wanted to live in a different city and that I could either continue to do my job from there, and that I suspected it would be no big deal), or I’d have to leave. Sort of a threat, but I didn’t mean it that way, it just was how things needed to go down for me and I actually really wanted to keep the job. He agreed, and I worked there for a solid three years. I’d like to think I really leveled up their ability to do web work for clients.

Even when I left there, I went to Wufoo, and we all worked from home as well, which really locked in the idea that I was probably going to do this forever. Ironically my next step was a job where I was required to go in, and I’d say that’s the main reason I left after only a year.

In those sort of “early days” of working remotely, it wasn’t as technologically enabled as it is now. I remember that the #1 way we kept in touch was AOL Instant Messanger, which feels bananas to me now, but I also remember that it was largely fine. We did work, we talked, the end. But I was working with very small teams building things with far less complexity than we are now.

It’s these tools that seem to me have blown the gate off of remote work for tech teams:

Those are the newfangled tools on top of classic enablers like Git and, my all-time favorite: email.

Matt says “fast-forward a decade or two and 90% of companies will be remote first”. I wonder if that’s a conservative estimate.

YouTube Republisher Channels ☹️

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Have you heard of a scraper site? A scraper site steals the content from another website and republishes it on their own. If the work is copyrighted, as it is by default, it’s illegal. There isn’t much you can do about it aside from file a DMCA takedown request as the owner of that content. It might work if you can find them and they take you seriously. But it’s a never-ending battle that’s probably not worth fighting for most of us.

There are lots of sites that scrape CSS-Tricks, and I don’t do anything about it because:

  1. It’s too big and painful of a fight, I’d rather spend my energy elsewhere.
  2. It doesn’t affect much anyway.

The reason #2 is true is that Google doesn’t like scrapers either, as far as I know. Google would rather rank the original content creators original content rather than a criminal. Other search engines too, I imagine, but Google is obviously the big player here.

But what if it did affect me? What if there was a site that scraped me, got way higher search engine rankings, way higher traffic, and had a whole toxic community of people commenting on my content?

I’ve seen this happening on some YouTube channels, although not always illegally. (more…)

3D Printers are cool too but

Monday, January 14th, 2019

A Metalsmith Makes a Puzzle Box From Scratch:

My gosh that last 30 seconds that shows how it has to be opened is WILD.