Archive for the ‘podcasts’ category

Podcast recommendation


I have find new podcast that I want to share with you. It is called “This Developer’s Life” and is produced by well known digerati Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, about 50 % of them produced by Leo Laporte’s TWIT Network (This Week in Tech, Macbreak, This Week in Google, FLOSS Weekly and occasional Security Now).

What I like about Leo’s network is professionalism of audio production, usually good and interesting panel with topics that are worth listening to. Few other podcasts come even close to the TWIT level of perfection.

Except this one which is much better. Not necessarily from audio or production point of view – although they are both very good. This developers life goes way beyond what Twit does. It is not a dialog of few interesting geeks, it is story. Story nicely designed, well crafted, interwoven with really good music. It changes from dialog to story with commentaries, but keeps you interested. An episode usually
focuses on single theme and contains several stories. Topics are not technology, but the area where technology overlaps with life: motivation, audacity, highs and lows of programming career

Great selection of guests, including cybercelebrities such as John Resig or Miguel de Icaza.

I almost never listen to a podcast episode twice. For this one, I do.

Highly recommended.

iMovie 08 and mystery of disappearing Project Library


As if the yesterday’s Firmware update issue was not enough, I had very strange experience with iMovie 08. Suddenly, for no obvious particular reason the user interface became very unresponsive, I was not able to select project in project library. Switching Event library and Project windows on or off stopped working. Windows were not redrawn properly. Creating new project had no visible effect. I could not click on project to select it (well, technically I *could* click, but nothing happened). The time sliders in Events and Projects were either disabled or invisible …

Here is how the iMovie looked like most of the time:

I tried multiple things to fix that: Logout and re-login – no change. Reboot (remember, I came from Windows where this very often used remedy ;-)). No luck. Check and repair the permissions using Disk Utility. No improvement. Verify disk. No errors and still no improvements.

I even resorted to reinstallation of iLife 08. The only effect I achieved was that I got back trial version of Office 2004 which I deleted right after installing Leopard and had to download and install several updates for Garage Band and iWeb – but iMovie still did not work. Installation of iMovie HD (from iLife 06) worked OK as well did the iMovie 06 – but that was not much help because I did not want start from scratch and iMovie 08 with all its bad features is still able to accept way more input formats than ’06.

After killing well over three hours that was supposed to be spent on finishing the screencast, I started to delete all iMovie project files and even libraries from previous attempts. And suddenly, iMovie sprung to life and was as before.

I think that reason for the issues was moving the Events library for some of the older screencasts to external disk, but leaving the Project files in iMovie. Somehow this must have confused the program and the non-responsiveness could be caused by trying to connect the thumbnails and file references from the projects to the not available source clips from event library.

Lesson learned: whenever I move done an event library used in the screencast to external hard disk, it is probably safest to backup and remove the project as well. In other words – keep these two words separated and disjunct.

But of course – this can also be a pure coincidence and everything can have completely different cause. Time will tell. Too bad that Premiere Elements does not exist for Mac platform. Maybe I should seriously consider looking at Final Cut Express ?

Catching up with Hanselminutes


Thanks to great weather, the walking season is in full progress 🙂 and that means I was able to add some more listening material to my podcast collection. I still keep track with all part of TWIT network – This week in tech, Security Now!, MacBreak Weekly and Windows Weekly – but that is nowhere close enough for both walking and driving …

I have returned back to listening to Scott Hanselman blog (Hanselminutes) – mostly out of curiosity how did working for Microsoft change is very balanced and realistic view of technologies.

Fortunately – it did not.

Scott is still same great, very open minded developer that can see value and strength as well as issues and problems in technology regardless of its origin. It speaks a lot positives about Microsoft as well – by allowing this to happen.

Very good episodes are (back from 2007) from my personal point of view were:

I was pretty intrigued with the title of the episode “The Worst Show Ever with Chris Sells and Rory Blyth” – which is Episode 112 and I have to agree, the title was pretty descriptive 🙂 – but it was at least reasonably funny.

I am looking forward catching up with rest of the year, which according the Weather Network should not take too long.

Thanks, Scott. Keep up the great content coming.

Couple of new podcasts


With the walking season almost upon us (so far only walks by streets, for the Ottawa River Pathway one still needs a snowshoes), it is time to replenish the stock of listening material. Here are some of the about 10 new podcasts that I tried out recently and decided to keep:

1) Pragmatic Programmers podcast. That was a pleasant find (thanks Milos). The topics covered are very wide – as are topics covered by the books. Average lengths is about half hour and the podcasts appear about 1-2 per month. I really liked the interviews with Michael Nygard and Johanna Rothman. The disadvantage of these podcasts is fairly miserable audio quality – the discussions are done by phone or something is wrong with the recording. Maybe I am spoiled by great professional audio of most of the TWIT network podcasts – but after Leo and the gang, this audio is really hard on ears.

2) Fortunately, the second podcast – does not suffer from bad audio quality. Topics covered is as name says and as added bonus, web site provides links to episodes.

3) Late Night Cocoa is podcast focusing on Mac development with Objective C and Cocoa. There is also screencast available.

4) The series of podcasts on InformIT: so far I tried out OnOpenSource and found it quite interesting. Technically, it is a video podcast. But in reality, you will not loose much if you just listen to it, because the video adds little to information value: two guys sitting and talking. While it is interesting to see how the people from Open Source project look like, it is not really necessary to watch the full interview – it is what they say that counts. Main disadvantage of this podcast on iPod Touch is that you have to let the screen switched on which eats battery much faster. Not ideal while walking.

If you happen to be able to understand Czech, the group of guys in Prague is publishing Java centric podcast named Java Portal. Audio quality varies, content is surprisingly good. Prague is large spot on world map of software development centers that contributed a lot to projects like Netbeans or IntelliJIDEA.

For me I found that it is very refreshing to listen to podcasts in other languages than English. Without satellite television available carrying TV stations from the old country I have lost contact with everyday living Czech language. If you feel the same, give Java Portal a try. I am now in a search for good tech podcast in German. Any recommendations ?

iPod touch – finally !


So, I have finally got it. Only the 8 GB version as the 16 GB were sold out, but I just could not wait for another week :-). After playing with it for about 1.5 hour, I like it even more. The readability of Safari Web sites is excellent – I started to put together some links. Did not try too many sites yet, but the Dzone reads OK :-). Also the PDF book reading is very good – but that is no news. I guess I will have to put up some internal Apache access to my PDF eBooks from my bed :-).

Wireless gets connected right away and works very good with WPA. Comapared to Macbook, the signal strength indicator shows less bars (about same as my Windows notebooks) – but is still reliable enough. The only partially weird thing with wireless is when you change networks, after return the Safari insisted for some time to keep the Bridghead WiFi address. Speaking of which – Bridgehead got major black point today, as their WiFi does not support Safari. I never noticed it with Macbook – as I used mostly Firefox, but now I have no choice ! I am going to test Zavida – another coffeeshop with free WiFi soon.

After I loaded podcasts, I went for a short 2 hour walk to test drive the iPod part of the gadget. Sound quality is hard to judge on spoken word. Leo sounded good as always and John C. Dvorak was as irresistibly cranky and funny as usual. Compared to my second gen Nano, the only disadvantage I have found so far is that you have actually look at the display when you need to stop play (in order to talk to somebody) or skip through the advertisement – whereas with clickwheel it can be done just by hand in your pocket.

BOTD: Railscast


Today’s blog of the day is not really a blog, but a screencast. Dedicated to Ruby on Rails, the Railscast offers (as of today) 46 episodes of short, targeted practical advice on various aspects of Rails development.

Unlike some other screencasts who try to record the screen action as MPEG movie, this one is perfectly legible. In addition to the Rails enlightenment, you can also enjoy the speed and aesthetics of using TextMate  – with many great Ruby editing shortcuts and beautiful OS-X typography.

Available as subscription in iTunes – search for Railscast.

New great podcast


Running out of Security Now! and TWIT episodes, I have subscribed and started listening to few newly discovered podcasts.

I have started to listen to the .NET specific one from Scott Hanselman named Hanselminutes. There are couple of factors that makes it better that other geeky blogs out there. First reason is the content quality. There is very high signal-to-noise ratio, pretty much all content counts and both guys in addition to being smart are quite good at achieving right balance between keeping on topic and spontaneity.

Second reason – it is not technology-religious and quite pragmatic. Scott obviously likes .NET and is passionate about Microsoft technologies – but there is no sucking-up, Scott is very open minded – just listen to the Dynamic languages where they talk about Ruby on Rails. He even owns a Mac and tests multiplatform software on multiple platforms 🙂

Third reason: there is PDF transcript available with lots of good links which would be otherwise lost (unless you listen with pen in your hand and in front of computer, and not driving or walking as myself.)

And last but not least – very good audio quality, professionally recorded and processed. After listening to this episode about professional audio processing, it was clear why. Episodes are reasonably short – 20 to 40 minutes

I have learned quite a lot from the about variety of interesting things – e.g that WPF/E (recently named Silverlight) may be actually something I really want to look at :-). It almost sounded too good to be true.

So if .NET is part of your world – or you want it to become part of your world – go for HanselMinutes.

One more reason to like TWIT


As it happens, both my most favorite podcasters – Leo Laporte as well as Steve Gibson are passionate e-book readers. They have both purchased and are (mostly) happy users of the Sony PRS-500 aka Sony Reader in addition to several other platforms – (Palm, Pocket PC). In the latest podcasts – both in TWIT as well as Security Now!, the eBooks and eReader got quite some publicity :-).

Both had similar experience with PDF format on PRS-500 as myself – but Steve mentioned the PDF re-flowing the document to make it better suites for small screen – something I have looked into but did not get it working quite right. The preferred approach to using Reader is RTF format – which again, matches my impressions.

Nice discovery was that some independent sources – other than Sony store – are offering ebooks in LRF format. As an example see McCollum’s books – a hardcore, scientific sci-fi (no dwarves, elves, spells and dragons here :-)). Thanks for tips, gentlemen – I have added McCollum to my reading list.

Evergreen Security Now!


I have started to listen the Security Now! podcasts from the very beginning – sometimes in summer 2005. Unlike some  news-and-rumours podcasts that sound kind of weird if you listen them month later, this one did not loose a bit of it’s freshness. Even listening the story of Sony Rootkit discovery again was very entertaining. I am now at first “mod-4” Q&A podcast, Number 16.

Every time I listen to Steve Gibson, one of two things happens. Either I learn something new, or I discover new, better way how to explain something I knew about in a very nice, accessible way. Steve’s handling of differences between WEP and WPA, explanation why MAC address filtering gives no security and his VPN coverage was an excellent example of the later.

On the NAS building front: I have decided to go with 4 SATA + 1 IDE configuration and keep all 4 SATA disks fully RAID-5-ed. I have not yet decided which distribution I will put on. Probably will start with OpenFiler, but Ubuntu looks pretty good too and deservers a try. Btw, Peter is trying to convince me to use BIOS RAID and build a Windows 2003 server – but that is still a Plan B. If time permits, will move the yardstick on Saturday night. It may be delayed, because the biometric security project is quickly approaching the release phase and – as usual – time will be a precious resource.

Few more podcasts


Unfortunately, as of previous Sunday I have run out of the backlog in Security Now! episodes, which means that with all three of my favorite podcasts (Twit, Windows Weekly and Security Now!), I am pretty much dependent on their weekly releases. This is a problem, because the sum of 5-7 weekly commutes to work and back (about 15 minutes one way) plus about 40 minutes in a gym every day equals to about 6 hours of required podcast quality content, and the new episodes of three podcasts above cover barely half of it.

So I needed to enhance the podcast menu. Here is what seems to work and what worked less:

1) Merlin Man’s 43folder podcast. As with Steve Gibson, I listened up to the current one and enjoyed it a lot, specially the episodes with David Allen. Fast paced, entertaining, informative. I liked Merlin humor.

2) FLOSS – do not run away, this has nothing to do with that scary profession, it stands for Free Libre Open Source Software. I started to listen from the beginning. It is interesting to hear the people you know through their code or technical achievements as living human beings. The quality of the podcast (both audio and moderation) is not as good as other Twit series – but I guess Leo cannot be everywhere and content is heavily dependent on the guest. So far I am at episode 4, the episode #2 with Ben Goodger (Firefox) was interesting, the #3 (Rob Malda aka CmdrTaco of Slashdot) was not so great.

3) Cranky Geeks. Run and moderated by John C Dvorak. First I thought this will be something as good as TWIT, but it was not quite so. Maybe it’s selection of the guests, maybe selection of the news they focus on, but IMHO John put together with few more cranky geeks without compensation of basically positive, enthusiastic person such as Leo leads to overcrankyfication (at least for my taste buds). Second – the commercial breaks. There are way too many and way too annoying. I can accept TWIT’s 2-3 commercial plugs about Dell, Vista or Astaro, but this is an overkill. If John does not make you cranky, the ads will. Use with moderation 🙂

I have also downloaded back episodes 1 to 45 of Security Now! which were not in iTunes subscription – at least I have not discovered how to make them apper there from the and will listen to them. Unlike the news based podcasts, the topics are still very valid and relevant. Thanks, Steve and Leo – you are fantastic.