Getting our Novell technical podcast up and online was a rocky road. My goal of making a technical podcast that is driven mostly by our technical user community created enough oddball feature demands that we faced delay after delay. At a certain point one of the old saws of open source demands heeding: release early and release often.
Feeds and Formats
Yes, I know that we currently have only MP3, a proprietary format. For a show called “Open Audio,” there would be no small amount of irony if we planned to keep it that way.
- Ogg Vorbis: An alternate RSS feed will provide Ogg Vorbis soon. I hope before we do our second edition goes online.
- Other feeds: We’re still uncertain about whether we have the audio quality versus file size trade-off right yet. Ultimately we may need to have high and low quality feeds. What I don’t want is to introduce so many feed options that we create an unmanageable feed mayhem.
- Streaming: A couple early listeners have asked for us to provide a streaming option for the show. I’m not sure this will happen, so we’re monitoring feedback to see whether we should implement something.
- Email Notification: We had one request for an email notification service for when new editions go online. I’m still not sure whether this has broad value, or if the listener just doesn’t know about the virtues of RSS yet.
We’re still examining and tuning the show format.
- Why a Show? To be honest, we took a lot of inspiration from the guys at LugRadio. These guys do one of the best Linux shows out there. Their show is something like the result of a genetic experiment gone wrong in which an attempted cross of Spinal Tap with Monty Python had produced geek offspring. But they get that the single droning voice of a podcast is dull.
- Correspondents: I’m also a big fan of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We lifted the idea of having correspondents straight from there. I hope that this will bring in a few different personalities to make the show less about me and more about the tech and the people who love it.
- Show length: General responses to the survey indicate that people prefer shorter shows and more of them, and perhaps with longer interviews. We’ll probably experiment with format just after BrainShare. Right now, we’re trying to get out as much pre-BrainShare content as possible, so we’ll stick to the “2-3 interviews in an hour-long show” format for now.
The website for Novell Open Audio is about half-way done. Here’s what we still have to add:
- Correspondents: Caitlin Jans, technical support uberbabe and Lee Howarth, longtime identity services product management dude (uberbloke?) will soon be added to our about us page.
- Show archive: Of course, we need shows to archive first, but we plan to have a sortable archive of past shows. Besides being able to sort shows by rating and subject, I have asked the Novell web team to consider enabling our audience to put tags on shows. Chances are that no categorization system I could come up with alone would be as good as the one our community would make.
One respondent to our survey asked about the music (with eager approval). Funny story. My orginal plan was to use the opening from Reverend Horton Heat’s “Spend a Night in the Box.” I’m a big Horton Heat fan, but since the band never responded to my queries…
- Music clip: The music we use was done by a Novell employee. Jeff Price, one of our extreme technical sales geeks out of the midwest, and his band made that cut for us. I think that’s even cooler than having the Heat cut that I wanted. Besides being a serious technical geek, Jeff has toured with 80’s metal hair bands like Cinderella. Jeff has been promising me a re-take of the clip that resolves a bit quicker so we don’t have to do the fade out as we start the show.
- More Cowbell: Several people have asked what we mean by more cowbell. But those who know understand what kind of fever I have.
That’s all I can think of for now.
Last note is that I interviewed Novell CTO Jeff Jaffe yesterday. It was my first time meeting him or speaking to him, but from some of his answers, it seems like he already gets the Novell technology landscape pretty well. We’ll have that coming up in about a week or so.
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