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The Java Podcasters, Part 2
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5. How do you put the show together? Do you use any Java tools to create or serve it?

My first goal is to keep it simple. I enjoy working on the podcasts, but my podcasting time is very limited. I jot down a few notes to outline my topic. I record the audio with Audacity on my Mac. I connect the mic and start talking. I don't do any takes. I do a few edits, but I leave more "ahs" and "ums" in than I really should (mainly because I want a life as well; you could edit things forever). I plan to add effects with Audio Hijack Pro. Next, I add a canned intro, ending music, and speak the date. Then I export to MP3.

I pull up my WordPress blog and get setup to make the podcast entry. Some of my shows have extensive show notes, but usually I just type up a paragraph that summarizes the show and gives the key links to stuff I mention in the podcast.

Once the MP3 is exported, I push it up to my server. I wrote a small PHP page that generates the XSPF file used by the Flash player on my website. I then publish my blog entry. At that point it's live and I'm done. Not a Java tool in sight.

6. What's the feedback been like?

I've had a lot of very positive feedback. People seem to enjoy the topics I choose and the informal nature of the podcast itself. I've had several comments where people wanted to hear more about our teams experiences with other aspects of the development process. On the suggestion side of the feedback, the two things that people have mentioned is that they'd like more podcasts and some would like to see me tighten up the "ahs" and "ums"; I'm working on both.

7. Anything else you'd like to tell potential listeners?

I'd say I'd love to have you listen in and that I also think it's useful for just about anyone to know how to put together a podcast. If you ever do any in-house training for new hires--record it. Put up an internal blog, and make a "Training Podcast" category. Ask new hires to listen to it at some appropriate work time. It probably shouldn't replace the training entirely, but it can augment it.

Governments could do an awful lot with this technology, and many programmers work for them. Phil Windley often writes about the benefits IT can bring to government. Public meetings of many sorts could be posted for citizens to listen to at their convenience. Government could make its work more accessible to citizens, and citizens could be encouraged to participate more fully in their government.

Maybe you're not interested in hosting your own podcasts. But maybe you've got a story or two to share. My grandfather became a programmer in the newly-born "IT" department at GE when they got the first computer at his location. My dad's got many stories of pre-PC computing and the early days of the PC software industry. It's worth learning the basics of audio recording, editing, and exporting to MP3 to capture your stories and share them with others; perhaps there'll someday be a History Channel podcast for software development you could submit them to.

So pick up a podcasting book, a mic, and try it out. You'll never know where it may take you.

NetBeans Podcast - Roman Strobl

Roman Strobl's Weblog
NetBeans Podcast Feed

One interesting sign of the growth of Java podcasting, as well as the scope of Java, is the emergence of much more focused, narrowly-tailored podcasts. Roman Strobl's Roman's NetBeans Podcast exemplifies this by focusing on Sun's all-Java IDE, discussing new features like the Matisse GUI builder, integration with other projects, plug-ins, tutorials, and more. Strobl, who works as a technical evangelist at Sun, took a few minutes to tell us how this podcast got started:

1. It looks like you just launched your NetBeans podcast recently. What did it take to get started?

You're right, the NetBeans podcast is very new; I started less than one month ago. It was quite easy for me to get started, because I already recorded some Flash demos that included speech (an example is the NetBeans 5.0 IDE Expert Presentation at JavaLobby), so I had both the equipment and some experience. What you basically need is a good microphone, audio recording and editing software, and some server where you can host your podcast. You also shouldn't be ashamed of what you are saying, it may feel a bit weird at the beginning--it's a bit like talking to yourself. After three episodes, I found it's real fun, and plan to record podcasts on weekly basis.

2. This is the first Java podcast I've found that's specific to one product, namely NetBeans. What kinds of topics do you have in mind for upcoming shows?

The main focus of my podcast is sharing news about NetBeans with its community. I try to provide useful links to interesting articles, Flash demos, tutorials, interviews or any other content which might be of interest to NetBeans users. Recently I also started a Q&A section; I encourage people to ask me any kind of question about NetBeans, and I get them the answer.

The other area I want to cover is specific parts of NetBeans. For example, I will devote one podcast just to the NetBeans MobilityPack. In the future, I also plan to interview NetBeans engineers, technical evangelists and other people around NetBeans, but this is rather in the long term plan--I have to figure out which equipment is the best to use for it, how to mix the voices, etc.

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