Hello again, my name is André Jaenisch, also known as Ryuno-Ki.
Last week I recorded my first episode for Hacker Public Radio, the podcast you are listening to right now. This one is recorded on 15th May 2023. Again I'm publishing it under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.
I was surprised to get mentioned on the Fediverse after submitting my show. You can find me there at RyunoKi@layer8.space (no dash, eight as digit, link in the shownotes) in case you want to reach out to me.
I'm also delighted to have received an email even before my last episode was airing. I was asked whether I am interested in recording an episode on my experience with contributing to Hacker Public Radio for the first time. So this is going to be the topic for today. As a warning upfront: I have a reputation of overthinking stuff. I blame my neurodiversity for it. That being said I'm positive that sharing my thought process can help make the service better for everyone.
About recording software
I'm recording this episode again using Audacity. Now there is choice about which software you can use for a podcast. Online based as well as offline one. Audacity was in the news for sending analytics home. However I couldn't find any indication in the settings for it (to opt-out). The forks of the software weren't packaged up for Debian as far as I could tell. Or perhaps they require an additional sources.list entry, I don't know.
Before recording my very first podcast here I had only experience with some video recording. Oftentimes done by the host but I also prepared a few videos for an online course (which I couldn't publish because life happened) and talks I gave during the pandemic years.
Learning about how to podcast
As I often do when I enter a new subject, I went to the library and grabbed some books to learn more. In particular I lended Podcasts by Dirk Hildebrand. A small book in German published at Haufe. I add a link in the shownotes.
Reading through it I learned that I'm doing okay. It's really easy to start a podcast as HPR promises! The thing I should spend some attention on is keeping a consistent distance to the microphone, enable some level of feedback during the recording so that I can listen to what is recorded while speaking (using my gaming headset Logitech G230) and prepare a script.
I don't have to think about designing images for the show or episode because HPR will take care of that for me. It might be different if I start my own podcast. Perhaps using Funkwhale or Castopod. Right now I'm not taking steps towards that. Mainly because I need to rent some webspace first. In my experience streaming media takes considerable amount of bandwidth. Pair that with hosters that try hard to convince you to buy your domains with them as well and the choice shrinks. I have my DNS provider already, thank you very much.
Adapting lessons learned
I looked into how to do that in Audacity and I think the best I could do for now is hitting on the microphone icon next to the meters in the upper right of the interface and enable observation before I start recording. Also leaving a little bit of time before and after the recording allows me to cut keyboard clicks for starting and stopping the recording. In HPR 3802 I also learned about skipping silences which is a Effect in the Special category here. I hope I don't have pauses so long that it warrants to truncate them.
My main thought about going with Audacity was post-processing directly after the recording. I learned from my talks that I already feel comfortable with a script in front of me. It gives me the security I need to avoid too many ums.
What's missing on HPR
However, I feel like a few things are missing. Considering that this is a podcast that is distributed through HPR and its partners I would like to have chapter markers. I couldn't find a hint on how to add them in the form I was presented. Using timestamps it allows to easily see the outline of a recording which aids in the decision making process on whether it's worth the time to listen to a particular episode. I hope you consider the episodes here useful to make time for them :) Thank you.
Another question mark I had when preparing the recording were the settings. I'm used to have a guideline when recording videos for an online talk. Things like preferred format and container, to technical details like stereo or mono to the sampling rate (value and whether static or variable). The only thing I found is a hint that submissions will be transcoded to mono. I record in stereo with the default 44,1 kHz sampling rate here. There was no recommendations on the format so I went with OGG Vorbis instead of MP3 because of license freedom. Audacity appear to not support FLAC so I have to use a lossy format. It's true that MP3 enjoys wide support, but I want to encourage freedom when given the choice. I could have chosen WAV files but those tend to become huge really fast.
Now I also add metadata to the recording. Vorbis offers comments for that. You can compare it to ID3 tags for MP3 files. Given that I couldn't find a way to enter these chapter information in HPR web forms I'm experimenting with EasyTAG from the debian repository. From reading the source code of my podcatcher of choice (AntennaPod for Android as distributed in the F-Droid app store) I can tell that it parses these comments at least. If that doesn't yield results I hope to see, there is vorbiscomment of the vorbis-tools package for the command line. And Kid3 with a Qt or CLI interface. Expect some slightly different metadata by me over the course of my contributions.
Last thing I want to highlight before ending this episode is shownotes. Now I have more experience with blogging than recording a podcast. When researching recommendations online there is all this SEO fluff that goes into writing subtitles. Usually with catchy titles, clickbait and all the rest. I have opinions here. However, I enjoy that there is no „leave a rating and a review” part in the episodes I listened to so far, because a podcast is a special RSS feed basically. Why would I want to bind myself to a special platform? But then I also want to be able to read up and search through the content of a podcast episode. Right now I'm sharing my prepared script as a shownote. It could come off as a wall of text. I'm open to feedback on this front. You can find my Keyoxide profile below. Please do reach out to me.
And that's it for today. I thank you for listening to me. Looking forward to hear from you. Be it in writing or as an episode on HPR.