HNpod Revival

HNpod is Back

HNpod is an unofficial Hacker News podcast Alex Muir began a few months ago. I was fortunate enough to be on the first and a half episodes, and shortly after that Alex got busy and the show took a break.

As of this week, I’ve resumed the show. HNPod 3 covers Ouya, Github, and WeKnowWhatYoureDoing.com with guests Dan Shipper, Steve Corona, and Paul Biggar. A wonderful set of hacker guests for my first time hosting the show.

Many podcasts don’t make it past the first few episodes because of all the overhead involved, so I’m hoping to automate and delegate as much as possible here. The HNpod website helps by including a DIY subsmission form for guests. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please do fill out this form. Once I have guests, I’ll send out a Google+ event and we record in a hangout. This week, I’ll be trying a Hangout on Air so we have a master recording in addition to everyone’s recording of their own voice.

Post-Recording

After recording, it goes to a producer I’m working with. I hired two producers on oDesk to see how they’d go, and it took several hours for each to sync the recordings, neutralise sounds, cut out some silence, and add the music.

Because of teething problems, I still ended up having to do some edits. Here I found Garageband ’11 surprisingly difficult to do some basic trimming. First, the main view requires you to split the track, cut the new segment, and drag the next segment back because it leaves that space silent. Then there’s the track editor below, which had me Googling like mad because you can’t select a region…until I discovered that with Garageband ’11, you have to select a region in the bottom half of the editor. Anyway, cutting a region again doesn’t actually displace it, you still have to move the next region in. Which is kind of a drag if you’ll pardon the pun and I looked elsewhere.

Audacity was okay in the past, but I quickly discovered Fission. The fact that it’s from Rogue Amoeba pretty much sold it to me, as I’ve always found Audio Hijack Pro the picture of task-directed simplicity. So I immediately downloaded the trial and soon purchased it. As expected, it made light work of trimming audio (though I realise it’s not perfect in a couple of places :)). You just select and hit delete, how hard does it have to be after all?!! Plus you get fine control with keyboard shortcuts. There’s also an audio preview, where it loops the next ~half-a-second of audio, so you can immediately know what you’re cutting without having to play it back afterwards.

Publishing

There’s various steps involved in publishing, such as entering guest details on hnpod.com, posting on Twitter, etc. I’m working towards delegating these steps too, with the aim that I can focus on the content and the recording. It will be an interesting learning experience to see how much can be delegated through virtual assistants. As I suspect a lot more podcasts would happen if subject matter experts could focus purely on their shows and less on the mechanics.

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