Join us as we talk to Sean Haas, the host and producer for his show, Advent of Computing. We go over the history of computing, what you should look out for when buying a computer for podcast production, as well as what may happen to the podcasting format in the future. Enjoy!
[excerpt] Sean: I think the best way to find out if it’s right for you is to start trying to produce an episode.
[00:00:27] Nemanja: Welcome to the Nootka Sound Podcast, I’m your host Nemanja Koljaja, a professional Sound Engineer, Audio Editor and Podcast Producer and a CEO and Founder of Nootka Sound, a professional podcast production facility. Today we are joined by Sean Haas, the producer and host for the show Advent of Computing that talks about the shocking, intriguing, and all too often relevant history of computing.
Well, Sean, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:56] Sean: Yeah, thanks for having me on.
[00:00:58] Nemanja: Yeah. So why don’t you tell us about the Advent of Computing and what is it about and what made you start it in the first place?
[00:01:05] Sean: Sure thing. So it’s about the history of computers and specifically it’s about what in computer history I think is important and what we can draw a direct line from the passive computing to what we deal with every day.
And so part of the, like if I had a mission statement is I want to get people interested in the history of computers because computer history is something that compared to other history, I think is really special since we can directly benefit and directly see how its stories affect us very easily. And since computers are still changing every day, a lot of that history is still really dynamic and how we interpret past events even like 50, maybe a hundred years ago, that changes a lot with new advances that come up as we keep going into the future.
So I think it’s really poignant to look at this type of history.
[00:02:04] Nemanja: That sounds really interesting. And how far back do you go?
[00:02:07] Sean: So that’s the thing I tend to… I think the earliest topic I’ve ever covered hits on the 1780s and the first punch cards that were developed, but it’s weird because there’s academic definitions for what a computer is and like hard and fast rules, but there’s a lot of devices that are really similar to computers that are a lot older than you’d expect.
There’s even some examples in antiquity that aren’t quite what we think of as a computer today, but have similar properties. So it goes way back sometimes.
[00:02:40] Nemanja: Yeah.
[00:02:40] Sean: Most of the time though, it’s kind of mid century. So a lot of topics I cover are between like 1945 and 1985.
[00:02:49] Nemanja: Wow. That’s really interesting. Okay, so before we move on, I’d like to ask you, can you tell us more about your recording setup? What kind of equipment are you using to record your episodes?
[00:03:00] Sean: So right now, as I am streaming audio to you this moment, actually, I’m using a Samson Q2U microphone, which I could probably stand to upgrade it, but I really like the mic. It’s pretty cheap. And I got it when I started the podcast, I just kept using it ever since, mainly because when I got it, I didn’t have a mixer and it has a USB interface, so it’s easy to just plug and play, but it also has an XLR Jack. So as I’ve upgraded, I now have it on a shock mount and a boom arm plugged into, I have a Behringer Q 1202 USB mixer that I use as my audio interface.
[00:03:41] Nemanja: Cool. Did you have any help when you started out or did you figure it out all by yourself regarding those specifics?
[00:03:48] Sean: Does the internet count as help?
[00:03:50] Nemanja: Yeah, sure.
[00:03:51] Sean: I basically just Googled around a lot and read up on the podcasting, subreddit and whatnot, to try to figure out what was good and what works.
[00:04:01] Nemanja: So you would recommend like Reddit for people who are just starting out.
[00:04:06] Sean: Yeah, r/podcasting has a whole lot of good resources on it that I find and a lot of relevant posts, like if you have a question it’s pretty easy to just search through it and be like, Oh, here’s a really long thread answering everything I wonder about
[00:04:19] Nemanja: Yeah, somebody who has a lot of spare time on their hands.
[00:04:24] Sean: Yeah. As you can tell, a lot of podcasters tend to
[00:04:29] Nemanja: That’s true. So all of the episodes that you record are kind of represented as a monologue or rather the show is formatted in such a way that you’re not conducting any interviews. And from your experience, would you say that people enjoy having one person walk them through a specific topic or do they prefer listening to a dialogue?
[00:04:50] Sean: That’s a very good question. So part of the reason that I do solo hosted is one I like to curate my content myself, and I’m kind of a little bit of a shut-in, so it works out more easily.
[00:05:04] Nemanja: Know the feel.
[00:05:06] Sean: Yeah. And. Also it makes it, so I don’t have to be trying to set up interviews so I can have a really consistent release and if my release is ever off, I only have myself to blame and I hope people like it. I haven’t gotten any complaints from people about it.
[00:05:24] Nemanja: Yeah.
[00:05:24] Sean: So I think people tend to like it. Also, I try to kind of craft my episodes to be more of an audio lecture, kind of. It’s kinda between pop history and a history lectures how I like to think about it and doing a solo hosted rendition, I think is a good fit for that type of format.
[00:05:44] Nemanja: Yeah, I totally agree. And my followup question would be, what do you think are some topics that would definitely require having a two or even three person interview with like a host, a co-host and the guest.
[00:05:57] Sean: That’s a good question. I, as you know, I only do this one podcast, so I’m not the most versed outside of this niche, but so I have done one interview for the show and that was talking with some authors of a book source that I used really heavily in an episode. So I think when you’re bringing in people who have different expertise than you, then it’s definitely a very good idea to have more than one host. So speaking from my experience, when I do episodes, I try to make it something where I can become somewhat of an expert on it in my production and scripting and research phase. So I feel like I know what I’m talking about, but there are definitely some things that I know I can’t do proper justice to, with my expertise that I would very much like to have a second person on to talk about like early analog computing is something that I know nothing about, but I’m going to need cover eventually. And I think I’m going to have to seek someone out to help me with that.
[00:07:00] Nemanja: I see. And what kind of resources do you use when you’re covering a topic?
[00:07:06] Sean: So my favorite type of resources that I always always try to find are primary sources from the people involved with the story, they were written when that event happened.
[00:07:17] Nemanja: Oh, wow!
[00:07:17] Sean: Yeah, that’s the kind of the Holy grail for this. So for instance, one episode that I did on the early ARPANET and the first development of the internet in the States that I leaned heavily on one of my favorite sources was this 12 volume series of reports written by a researcher at the Rand corporation that was part technical document about how you could build a network and then part commentary about how he conducted his research and what he thought it would be the right way to go in his trial and error process. So for me, that’s the gold standard of what I’m always trying to find, failing that I really like interviews. There’s a lot of really good oral history pieces that are put out for all kinds of topics. But specifically the computer history museum has an oral history series that they do, where they interview people maybe 30, 40, 50 years after the events. And those you can find online. So you can actually listen to it and get an idea of Oh, this is, I put a voice to this person, and then you can also get transcripts.
[00:08:25] Nemanja: Yeah, I can’t even imagine what the experience is like listening to a person who’s actually been there.
[00:08:31] Sean: It’s great. But one thing that I always like running into is a lot of the people are really actually kind of funny, which I love like reading technical papers about Oh, well, Here’s this guy who built the first vacuum tube calculator, and you’re just reading mountains of technical documents.
Then you find an interview with him and he’s like, yeah, I got frustrated one night. So I just got in my car and I drove as fast as I could until I got to a bar, got a drink and I started hashing out the problem. It’s like, wow, this is a lot more relatable now there’s a human there that you can actually think about.
[00:09:07] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s amazing. Most of my problems are solved that way too.
[00:09:13] Sean: I know. If only that could solve more problems.
[00:09:17] Nemanja: Okay. So the history of computing with all of its, you know, technical stuff, it’s kind of a niche topic. And did you have any trouble attracting listeners?
[00:09:27] Sean: I think so. So I’m sure I have, but right now, the podcast gets about 200 to 300 listens on release day for episodes, which blows me away that there’s, that many people interested in the topic.
And then after they’re released people go through and listen to the archives. I’m sure if it was more general like computing or tech podcast, I’d probably be able to get more listeners, but also I’m not very good at the art of the pitch. So yeah, I kind of lean on organic discovery and tweeting around to get listens.
[00:10:04] Nemanja: So do you think you need to be a good salesman in order to make it with your podcast?
[00:10:12] Sean: Well, I think that has to be part of it, right? Because, it depends on your goals. So I have very greedy goals of my podcast. I like to write and I like to talk.
[00:10:23] Nemanja: That’s great.
[00:10:24] Sean: Yeah. I think that’s the right idea to have coming into podcasting as a hobby is more, it’s something you like to do if you’re thinking, Oh, I’m going to put this out and I’m going to become a millionaire that kind of that will be really hard, I think. So if you’re doing it as a hobbyist, I don’t think you really need to be a salesman, but if you’re trying to do it professionally and trying to make money off it, then you have to be good at knowing where to go and who to put your work in front of, which is something that I, I know I’m personally lacking in.
[00:10:56] Nemanja: Yeah, well, totally agree. But I think like growing a small community from a niche topic such as yours is really a fun and maybe even the best way to start a podcasting career, in my opinion.
[00:11:10] Sean: It’s definitely a good journey. I enjoy it every day.
[00:11:14] Nemanja: Yeah. And that’s the most important thing, I think, as long as you’re having fun, it’s like the only thing that matters.
[00:11:21] Sean: Yeah, exactly. Okay, so did you use any tools to promote the show and boost the outreach?
No. When I launched, I just started putting up an RSS feed and made a Twitter account and kind of waited.
[00:11:34] Nemanja: Yeah. I mean, I think it requires a lot of time and effort and you need to post regularly. And if you don’t, it’s like you don’t even exist. So..
[00:11:45] Sean: Exactly. And especially with content like Twitter it’s feels really performative. It’s kind of like you have to craft the perfect message or placement to get people to be interested in your content. The only thing I really do for promotion outside of kind of posting funny junk and stuff related to the podcast on Twitter is I try to flip a lot of my content into articles to publish. And that’s partly because I’m a nerd and I like to write, but I’ve had some traction publishing articles on like E magazines and whatnot.
[00:12:21] Nemanja: I see.
[00:12:22] Sean: Which it’s kind of a thing where you try to find your niche and put stuff in front of people, interested in your niche.
[00:12:29] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s a great way to start. It kinda like reminds me of, you know, a blog or something, and that’s a really good way to organically bring people to the podcast is by actually having some written content beside the actual audio.
[00:12:45] Sean: Yeah. And especially for a niche targeted kind of computer nerd folk like mine, we tend to like to read, so it fits well, I think.
[00:12:54] Nemanja: Cool. Okay. So how much do you rely on your audience’s feedback when it comes to curating content for your show?
[00:13:02] Sean: A little bit, I need to rely on it more. So I’ve actually, this is a great example because I just finished a listener survey on Patreon for some new episode ideas.
[00:13:14] Nemanja: Okay.
[00:13:15] Sean: So very, very occasionally I do it, but I just finished up a two part series on the transistor, which was very technical and I wanted the next episode I’m working on, I want to do something a lot more lighthearted and a lot less. Well, let’s talk about the physics of why silicon is like silicon. So I put out a post on Patreon just to do a poll for some episode ideas that actually helped and has helped me decide the next episode topic. So that worked out really well. That was my first time doing anything like that. And my Patrion is still pretty small. So I only got like, I think five votes, but it’s a beginnin and I look forward to being able to do that a lot more as I can grow my audience.
[00:13:58] Nemanja: Yeah. I think people don’t really understand how important the feedback is, even though it can be from even a couple of people, but when somebody is there to tell you in what direction you should go for, I think that’s a really a great way to improve yourself and your podcast.
[00:14:16] Sean: Exactly. Yeah. And it helps you hone in on partly what people want to hear, but it makes you better as a podcaster, or I think is when you have someone being like, well, you know, this is really good, but if you make it a little bit longer or hey, this is a little crackly in here, it really helps.
[00:14:32] Nemanja: Yeah. And do you think in order to be a successful show host, you need to have like a thick skin to deal with all of the backlash and everything like that?
[00:14:42] Sean: Not in my experience. Yet, I haven’t gotten any hate mail, which I’m very happy about. I think the most scathing review I’ve ever received from a listener is this is great, I wish your episodes were a little bit longer.
[00:15:00] Nemanja: That’s awesome.
[00:15:01] Sean: Yeah. I like to think that just means that I’m attracting nice people, but in general, I’d imagine you do. Like I was saying, I don’t have much experience being shouted at, especially since I always worry about being inaccurate in my episodes and people being like, well, this is great content, but all of your premises are wrong. So that’s my nightmare is that someone’s like hey, this is great, but innacurate.
[00:15:27] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s a normal feeling I would say.
[00:15:29] Sean: Yeah, that feeling’s definitely prevalent, I think.
[00:15:34] Nemanja: Okay. So how much do you rely on social media to search for potential listeners?
[00:15:40] Sean: Honestly, not as much as I could. I use… I’ll post on Twitter, probably three or four times a week. I try to keep it to you know, it’s the whole thing about how you’re supposed to curate your online image. And so I’ll try to post like some photos related to the podcast, I think is one of the better ways to use social media since it’s kind of augmenting the audio part of your presentation. And I always direct people to my Twitter on, at the end bumper for my show. So that’s about the extent I use social media for.
[00:16:14] Nemanja: Yeah, I don’t really like Twitter because of its formatting and you really need to be concise and direct about the message you’re sending. And to me personally, that’s something I’m not really good at.
[00:16:26] Sean: Yeah.
[00:16:27] Nemanja: Maybe I just like talking, I dunno.
[00:16:30] Sean: Well, you kind of have to like talking to be into podcasting, I think.
[00:16:33] Nemanja: Yeah. Okay. So would you say podcasting is an expensive hobby to have when it comes to investing both time and money?
[00:16:42] Sean: I definitely think so. So just getting the setup, I think is the most expensive barrier to entry because sure you can use like a headphone microphone or a laptop mic or something, and that’s fine, but I know for me, I, a little peek behind the curtain. I work for an audio streaming content delivery network. So I’m very picky about sound quality from my work. I like to think it’s kind of spoiled me. So for me getting the whole audio setup right was a lot of time and not a whole lot of money, but it wasn’t cheap. Really.
[00:17:19] Nemanja: Yeah. But I think it’s definitely worth it.
[00:17:22] Sean: Yeah, it’s worth the expense to a point, within reason.
[00:17:27] Nemanja: Yeah, of course. If you’re just having fun and you know, not having a specific goal in mind, but if you’re actually trying to achieve something with podcasting, I think it’s really good to invest a couple hundred of bucks, you know, into a proper equipment.
[00:17:41] Sean: Yeah, I agree. It’s a whole nother thing. When I see posts about people being, Oh, I’m starting my first podcast and they have like four really expensive Shure microphones and a big mixer and cloud lifters. And stuff’s like, ah, Why are you spending so much money?
[00:17:59] Nemanja: Yeah, but, the thing I like about living in this day and age is that audio equipment generally is really accessible and affordable and I mean, when you compare it to like 20 or 30 years ago where this wouldn’t even be possible.
[00:18:17] Sean: Yeah.
[00:18:18] Nemanja: Yeah. It’s really interesting to see where the future of audio and generally technology will go.
[00:18:23] Sean: Yeah, everything just gets more and more accessible every year.
[00:18:26] Nemanja: Yeah, totally. I’d like to go ahead and use this opportunity to help our listeners. If they’re looking to invest into a new computer, for example, specifically for audio or video post-production what kind of specifications would you advise them to pay attention to?
[00:18:41] Sean: The computer I use is, I’m a PC nerd, so I have it’s a little bit long the tooth now, but I have an old gaming PC. I have set up that I use for all my audio production.
I built it because that’s how I live my life, but it has an Intel I5 and I think 32 gigabytes of RAM or something, a little excessive and an okay Nvidia graphics card. You don’t need or at least in my experience, you don’t need a whole lot of hardware for audio editing. You just need probably a CPU that has more than one core on it. And so the Intel I5 I have does perfectly fine. It’s a little older, but I never noticed any problems when I’m doing editing and production. I think as long as you’re not on like a Chromebook or a tiny little laptop that doesn’t have much oomph you’ll be fine. I know, I see people posting about doing podcast recording and production on their phones, and I don’t understand how they do that. That sounds awful to me.
[00:19:44] Nemanja: Yeah. Just bring a laptop.
[00:19:46] Sean: Yeah, exactly. Kinda need a mouse to drag everything around
[00:19:51] Nemanja: that’s true. So I’m going to ask a controversial question. So brace yourself for potential backlash.
[00:19:58] Sean: All right.
[00:19:58] Nemanja: You already said you’re a PC guy. What is the difference between using a windows machine and an Apple Mac for example?
[00:20:05] Sean: So part of the reason that I like using Windows is it’s just what I’ve been exposed to the most. As someone who works in IT, I actually have my Windows computer, my Linux workstation I use for work. And then I have Macintosh laptop that I use for mobile stuff and testing stuff. But the big difference as someone who uses all of this constantly is MacOS and Macintosh Apple hardware… The hardware is really nice. It’s really expensive for what you’re buying and the software you can get for free OSX or Mac iOS, whatever they call it now, you can download that for free. So if you really wanted to have a Macintosh, you can buy a PC or build a PC that’s cheaper and just install Mac iOS on it. It takes a little bit of fiddling, but you can do it. And whereas Windows, it’s kind of finicky kind of doesn’t work sometimes, but in general it’s fine. It does the job just fine. And you don’t have to deal with buying really expensive hardware.
[00:21:14] Nemanja: That’s the only thing I don’t like about Apple is you constantly have to upgrade and buy new features and nothing ever is free. And I mean, I’ve always been a PC guy, but when I went to college, we actually used Apple Macs. And even though the environment is well done, even better than Windows.
[00:21:33] Sean: It’s very pretty.
[00:21:34] Nemanja: Yeah. And user friendly, I just don’t think it’s worth the money. For the exact same amount of money, you can purchase a Windows machine. That’s like five times better.
[00:21:47] Sean: Exactly. My personal preference is Linux because I program so much, but that is not in the realm of accessibility to the majority of people.
[00:21:57] Nemanja: Yeah. I actually heard of people from the IT industry recommending Linux and saying that it is the best environment to actually program in and code and whatever.
[00:22:08] Sean: Yeah. It’s built for programming. It’s great for customizability. It’s not really quite there for the everyday user yet. It’s one of those things will constantly be the invention of the future kind of thing.
[00:22:21] Nemanja: Yeah. I mean, I have an old laptop, so I was like, Oh, I don’t know, download Linux and try it out and first it took me awhile to actually get it, to boot it up and, you know, actually install the operating system. And after I got it going. I can see why people tend to shy away from it. It is kind of complicated and not really user friendly, but I’ve been using it on that laptop and it works fine. I haven’t noticed any issues with it. I even tried like audio editing and it worked fine.
[00:22:53] Sean: Yeah, I haven’t tried audio editing on Linux. I always have weird audio issues with my workstation, so I try not to risk anything with it.
[00:23:01] Nemanja: That’s smart. Okay, so if somebody is thinking about starting a podcast, what advice would you give them?
[00:23:09] Sean: So I think my first advice would be just do it. I think the best way to find out if it’s right for you is to start trying to produce an episode. Initially, maybe don’t bother investing any money. Probably don’t do that if you’re not sure. But definitely just grab a cheap microphone or whatever microphone you have access to, phones even have microphones in them now, so everyone should have a mic and do some recording, plan it out, do some editing and see if it’s something you like. And especially with services like Anchor or SoundCloud or all the ways you can host audio free or close to free now. You can start up for free and you can see how it feels without investing anything but your own time. And I think that’s the number one thing that you should do if you’re thinking about starting, you see if you like it, and if you can do it. Because I don’t think everyone could do a podcast really, mainly because of the more technical parts of it. Since you do have to, if you’re starting out like me and you’re a solo gig, you have to be able to do all the editing and post production and whatnot yourself, but definitely take the dive and see where it goes.
[00:24:19] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s some really good advice, actually. You won’t know about a thing until you actually try it. So the best way to do it is to actually try it. And, you know, I think that’s the biggest obstacle that people run into when trying out something new, especially when talking about podcasting is that they’re either too afraid or don’t have enough like motivation to get started. And once you get started, it’s going to get the ball rolling.
[00:24:47] Sean: And it’s a learning process. Like even as recently as the last episode I put out on Monday, I’ve been constantly changing my settings for everything. It’s the kind of thing where every time you sit down in front of a microphone or in front of your computer to edit or in front of a keyboard to work on your scripting and planning, you’re going to learn and you’re going to get better bit by bit. I know I personally am very fearful of my early episodes because I’ve changed everything about my process so much that I look back at those and I’m like, Oh, that’s really me.
[00:25:18] Nemanja: Yeah, that’s so true. Okay, so what advice would you give yourself one week before recording your first episode?
[00:25:27] Sean: Run! I’d tell myself to revisit my scripting. So one thing that I guess is probably peculiar to the type of niche I’m in, since I do a solo scripted podcast is the writing aspect of it is pretty important or at least I think it is. And so I spend a lot of time, of course, researching and then trying to find a way to take all this technical information and all the narrative information I have and make it into something cohesive that someone could follow if they don’t know what I’m talking about initially.
And someone could also enjoy.
[00:26:04] Nemanja: Yeah.
[00:26:04] Sean: So the scripting is very important for me.
[00:26:08] Nemanja: Yeah it is, it is.
[00:26:09] Sean: And it’s definitely worth giving extra time to. And so initially I just kind of, put whatever I thought worked on a paper and I didn’t go back and do the editing I should have. I didn’t do very good narrative structuring. One thing that really helped me that I wish I could have told Sean when he was preparing the initial episode is to definitely follow the three part narrative structure. So that’s what NPR uses and they have NPR. And I think PRI also have some great articles and resources about how they structure their narrative content. And I’ve, about two months into my show I started following that and it made me feel a lot better about what I was producing. So that’s something I would send my past self, a link to those articles and be like read this, follow this, do not reinvent the wheel. People have done it better than you.
[00:27:09] Nemanja: Yeah. I mean, it’s always easier when you have someone to tell you what to look out for and what to pay attention to and what to avoid and stuff like that.
[00:27:16] Sean: And what works.
[00:27:18] Nemanja: Yeah. And how long does it take you to actually prepare for one episode?
[00:27:23] Sean: So every two weeks I release an episode and I usually spend about two weeks preparing for the episode. Like for instance, once I’m done with this interview, I’m going to go fix up the outline for the next episode, but I’ll usually spend the first week getting all the research done and the rough of my scripting done, spend the next week finishing it up, polishing stuff, putting in all the sourcing that I’m missing. And then, when it actually comes to recording that episode, that’s just a Saturday for me.
[00:27:56] Nemanja: Yeah, that really is important. I think, to having a good structure, especially in your case where you’re covering a topic that can be hard to listen to because of all the technical stuff and having like a clear structure of the episode is really easy to do when you actually put it in writing and have some time to spend curating the whole thing.
[00:28:19] Sean: Exactly. And especially when there is a right answer and a definitive answer to so many things you’re talking about. Like, I need to make sure I have this in writing or I’ll forget it.
[00:28:30] Nemanja: Yeah. Okay well, do you see some potential changes that can happen to the podcasting format in the near future?
[00:28:38] Sean: That’s a hard question to answer. So yes and no. So part of my professional job is writing software for managing statistics for audio listens and part of that’s music. Part of that is podcasting. Now, since that’s become a larger thing, so one of the big things that I think is going to change as legislation and technology catches up is podcast analytics, because there’s now a lot more legislation about consumer privacy and controlling what data someone can collect. Some of that I think is very good as someone in the industry. There’s also parts of privacy legislation that is insanely overzealous and people freaking out over things that aren’t privacy violations. So it’s a really tricky subject right now. And I think in the next, hopefully, by the end of this year, since I’d make my life easier, it will start settling down. We’ll get into more of a rhythm of, what we expect and what kind of numbers we can and can’t do.
[00:29:46] Nemanja: Yeah.
[00:29:47] Sean: And I think that’s the bigger impact for everyday people or people who listen to podcasts or host podcasts is going to be advertising. Because those stats are really important to advertisers. They decide your CPM on that, figure out how much money you make as a sponsor. So I think that’s going to change. I don’t know how it’s going to change, but I know it’s gonna change as we start to figure out what is the right level of consumer privacy. So I’d say that’s the biggest change in the near future. I see.
[00:30:19] Nemanja: That makes sense the one thing I like to think about is I think the next big thing that’s going to happen to the podcasting format is the actual copyright law, because their focus has primarily been on sites like YouTube and I don’t know, specifically the video format. And I think when the right people in the right places to start looking at the podcasting format that is going to change the format dramatically.
[00:30:44] Sean: Yeah, I agree. I think it will be interesting to see what happens with that because you can’t really DMCA strike a podcast in the same way. Right? Because you can try to go after the hosts, but you’re not tied to anything you have at most an email address, and sure you can take down an RSS feed or a file, but there’s so many mirrors. And there’s so many like how iTunes, or I guess Spotify is a better example. They’ll rehost episodes. So you can take it off Spotify. Sure. But you can’t take it off. Like here’s my server that has all my RSS files on it. You can’t do anything to that.
[00:31:20] Nemanja: That’s so true.
[00:31:21] Sean: So I think it will be interesting because there’ll definitely be a lot of red faced lawyers. I think trying to get stuff dealt with that can’t technically be dealt with.
[00:31:29] Nemanja: Yeah. What is the dream goal that you’re trying to achieve with this podcast?
[00:31:35] Sean: So I would love to be a professional podcaster that would be living on easy street as far as I’m concerned, mainly because I really liked doing this. That’s the reason I got into podcasting is because I like doing research and I like the whole production aspect of it, and I just like the feel. So that would be one dream goal. The other one is I want to really write a book either flipping a lot of my content and compiling that into something that could be kind of like a textbook or a pop history book or working on another topic that’s related to computer history because there’s a whole lot of the history of computers that hasn’t been preserved very well. And every time I work on an episode, I run into issues where there’s material that exists and hasn’t been cataloged or there’s material that’s just been destroyed or lost to time. And. I want to use my platform as a podcaster to help with that. And I think either just helping with awareness and getting more people interested in it, or being able to turn this into a career where I can write about this professionally, or do seminars, talks or podcasting about professionally would really help a lot towards that. And it would support me financially, which would be nice.
[00:32:59] Nemanja: Well, that’s such a noble cause, so good luck with that, man.
[00:33:02] Sean: Thanks. I like to think it’s a noble cause.
[00:33:05] Nemanja: Yeah, it is. It is. Yeah. The question I wanted to ask you is when it comes to education, I don’t think actually anyone in the world is covering the topic of computer history. Maybe a few sentences here and there, but not like committing to it fully. Maybe I’m wrong, but you correct me.
[00:33:23] Sean: You’re entirely accurate. It’s weird. So as a little background. I have a degree in physics. I have a bachelor’s of science in physics with a focus on astronomy.
[00:33:33] Nemanja: Cool.
[00:33:34] Sean: Kind of very tangentially related to computers as it turns out. But part of that course load was we never had any specific classes on the history of physics, but every class had a lot of information on the history of the discipline because that’s how you inform future decisions and that’s how you don’t reinvent the wheel, basically. And a lot of coworkers I work with are computer science graduates and they have a similar background where in their classes, they don’t have a history of computer science course, but they have a load of computer history thrown in, in their coursework.
[00:34:10] Nemanja: I see.
[00:34:11] Sean: And I think the problem is there’s not a very large dedication to covering the disciplines history. And there are museums that exist and close to research centers. The big one that I frequent and get a lot of resources from is the computer history museum in Mountain View because they have a private collection attached to it that has a lot of documents that I’m always lusting after, but there’s no formalized classes really for computer history. And also people within the discipline, like in computer science, I’ve, I’ve gotten a lot of people saying that, Oh, I liked the program, but I don’t like that we talked about computer history. I don’t think that’s interesting or relevant when really insanely important. And even looking through, not even successful things like the Macintosh, for instance, you can look at that and be like, Oh, it has a mouse, has a screen really similar to stuff we see today. But looking at the failures and the really more obscure things in computer history, really, I think it informs a lot of what the modern day is. And there’s just not the kind of formalized academic coverage of that, that there should be.
[00:35:24] Nemanja: Totally. That’s such a shame. I mean, I think in order to use a too, any tool properly, you need to be aware of how it came to be, you know,
[00:35:34] Sean: especially something as complicated as like the internet or the computer.
[00:35:39] Nemanja: Yeah. And speaking of which do you think the podcast as a medium can be incorporated into the educational system?
[00:35:46] Sean: I certainly think so. So I’m trying to think of, I know when I was in college, professors made me listen to audio, but it might have just been interviews and documentaries, but I think podcasting can definitely fill a certain niche in education. Obviously, not all podcasts, something like, Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me or Last Podcast on the Left might not be the best thing to add to the course loads, but I think research oriented podcasts, especially in history or technology or sciences could definitely fill a certain void, especially for people who have problems with other modes of education. For instance, I know it’s myself.
I had a really hard time in college because I’m dyslexic and I can usually read fine, but when I’m a little stressed out, I can’t read worth a darn at all. And that definitely made me very averse to using textbooks, which I could have done a lot better if I was able to read texts better. So I think something like a podcast that covered similar topics or was a companion to written education material could definitely go a long way.
And it’s also a great way as like a supplement to a lecture instead of just having your one hour of class or so you can outside of class and pull up a supplement and just listen while you’re like, cooking or going for a walk instead of having to only learn while sitting in a classroom.
[00:37:12] Nemanja: Yeah, totally. What are some of the shows that you listen to in your spare time?
[00:37:17] Sean: So I like history podcasts. My favorite one is Hardcore History. That is a fabulous, fabulous podcast. It’s… I don’t have words to describe it. It’s great. The episodes are about four to five hours long, so it’s kind of intense, but the host, Dan Carlin does an amazing job of putting together primary accounts of historical events with more contemporary writings on it and just making fantastic stories. And I love that, it’s art to me. He has this one series that I think is the best out there on World War I. It’s a six part series. So it amounts to like 24 hours of audio, but it goes through step by step what happened in the war and it uses a lot of letters and notebook entries from people who were in the war to describe the story of it.
And it’s amazing because he’s like, this is a horrible event, but there’s a human side to it. And that’s a lot more interesting than looking at the battles or the political aspects. And I think that makes that podcast great.
[00:38:25] Nemanja: Okay. So one last thing, where can our listeners reach you and check out your show?
[00:38:31] Sean: So you can reach me on Twitter. I’m @adventofcomp, all one word. You can also find my website @adventofcomputing.com that has links to all my everything Patreon is on there. You can also get merch if you want to get a shirt that has my art on it. And then I’m also on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, anywhere you can listen to podcasts.
[00:38:55] Nemanja: Awesome. Well, Sean, thank you so much for being a guest here. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
[00:39:01] Sean: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. I’ve had a great time.
[00:39:04] Nemanja: That’s it! Thank you for listening, make sure you share this podcast with your friends and click that subscribe button so you never miss an episode! If you have any questions for us or suggestions about a topic we can cover related to the podcasting industry leave a comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a podcast producer, show host or an audio editor and would like to be on the show, send us an e-mail, we’d love to have you here! Also, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the handle @TheNootkaPod. Tune in to our next episode where we talk to Sean Haas about his contribution to the show Advent of Computing Peace out!