Podcast Nuggets #1

This is the first in a regular series I will be writing where I pick apart the content of podcasts that I have listened to that resonate with me, or at least, tell me something that I didn’t know (which, to be fair, is quite a lot!). Hopefully by reading this, you can perhaps find something of interest that will make you go and listen to the whole episode and also learn from, too. My interests and tastes are quite varied so you might even come across a series of podcasts you haven’t heard of. As this is the first, I am not sure how many I will include in each article but I guess 5 seems about right? Let’s start with some career advice.

Pragmatic Podcasts

Andy Lester - Land the Tech Job You Love - Episode 27

Andy has a lot of experience of interviewing people but there were a few things that I particularly found especially interesting. The first was that most people don’t actually get tech jobs through the job listing boards like Monster. A figure he gave was only something like 11.2% of jobs are obtained this way which I found amazing; most are filled internally or through people you know. It would be interesting to know then how many jobs are listed on job sites compared to vacancies being available - is that ratio roughly 1:10 too? He also talked about how to answer those, Where do you see yourself in 5 years? questions and basically advocates just being honest. Much like a relationship where you speak about whether you will ever want to have children, it’s really important to be honest so that it doesn’t lead to friction later. One last point he discusses is the importance of making sure you don’t stand still - each year, you need to put at least two things on your resume that are new and show that you are developing and learning. To keep track of this, you can even add your CV to a source code control system so that you can keep track of those changes and ensure you are doing something.

Software Engineering Radio

Erich Gamma, Ralph Johnson & Richard Helm - Gang of Four - 20 Years Later - Episode 215

I was particularly interested in this because the authors of Design Patterns are themselves (and their book) so often quoted. One thing that I frequently hear about the book is how difficult it is to read and having listened to the podcast and learnt that they wrote it remotely, I wonder if that played a part in how the readability was affected. Essentially, they communicated their ideas and chapters through email for the whole book which must have been some undertaking (they mentioned thousands of emails) but may have made it hard to try to maintain a consistent voice. One interesting aspect of this podcast was that they are not great fans of the Singleton pattern, believing that it is used to advocate/justify global variables. They believe it should only be used if there are no alternatives.

A book one of the panelists liked was Domain Driven Design by Eric Evans going so far as to describe it as his favourite book.

They also felt that their contribution to the work on patterns was small compared to that of the community, which was very humble of them. Sadly, John Vlissides (the fourth member of the Gang of Four) passed away in 2005.

Software Engineering Radio

Randy Shoup - Company Culture - EPISODE 212

Randy really believes that the culture of a company and their technical skill are equally important. He makes an interesting analogy between that and a symphony, explaining that in both, you need a variety of skills - I guess to show how you need to merge differences between people but still make the equivalent of beautiful music. When taking on team members, he believes the whole team should interview the person and that any negative dissent should be listened to. Actually, talking about teams, he mentions that at Amazon, a team should be a “Two Pizza Team”. That is, two pizzas should be enough to feed them all. In my case, that might amount to pair programming, unfortunately :-) One other really good point he made was regarding turnover. Too much is a bad thing, but then, so is too little. I suppose by that he meant that you do need new blood, sometimes. Lastly, and most surprisingly, he thinks that if there is no fraud, then the systems in the company are TOO tight! Wow!

Herding Code

Damian Edwards - ASP.NET VNEXT, TAG HELPERS AND SIGNALR - Episode 198

There were so many interesting things mentioned in this podcast that I don’t know quite where to start. OK…no more compiling. At least, not manually - everything will be done in the background for you and shared between Visual Studio and IIS. That means you can add a control to a page and that change will be compiled and merged into the build, automatically, without you pressing F5. In addition, vNext will be cross-platform and will run on Linux, Macs and of course, PCs. What I am wondering is how will this affect hosting companies that tend to offer two packages - one for Linux and the other with Windows? Will they merge? Is it a bad time to buy a Windows based hosting solution just now? You also don’t need to install everything. It can all be placed on a USB key and copied from one machine to another, to run natively. Apparently, Scott Hanselman demonstrated this recently. He spoke about lots more so I really recommend you listen to this. FYI this should be out and about later in 2015.

Herding Code

DEREK BAILEY - SignalLeaf and getting started podcasting - EPISODE 191

This episode is concerned with podcasting in the main and how you go about starting out with it. I got two useful tips from this which were:

  1. Not to buy a condenser microphone - using a Skype headset (~$26) will be fine for most people and,
  2. If you use Skype, a good tool for recording audio can be found at: http://www.scribie.com.

As I often do when listening to things, I sometimes look around at suggested websites and articles and it was here that I looked at the SignalLeaf blog. If you are interested in creating your own podcast, there are loads of brilliant mini-articles there on such topics as choosing microphones, splitting audio when recording from Skype, getting art, understanding why you need to host audio etc. Check it out! That’s enough for this article. Look out for the next one - I am always listening to something!

Hi! Did you find this useful or interesting? I have an email list coming soon, but in the meantime, if you ready anything you fancy chatting about, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here or at stephen ‘at’ logicalmoon.com