Scott Hanselman

This Developer's Life 1.04 - Being Mean

September 28, 2010 Comment on this post [33] Posted in Podcast
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image I blogged a few weeks ago about a new developer podcast called "This Developer's Life" spearheaded by Rob Conery. If you've listened, you may have noticed that I've been on the last three shows. Rob and I have officially teamed up and are working on this show together. I love working with Rob (he worked for me for a minute during his time at Microsoft) and we're non-technical creative collaborators on this wonderful venture.

Between us, we'll bring you stories from the mouths of real people, some you know and some you don't.

Over the last month, lots has happened, including some interesting, but friendly, calls with the This American Life folks. They've given us tacit approval to use the "This Developer's Life" name, but they reserve the option to ask us to change it later. A very reasonable agreement as we're clearly a "tribute band" in a niche area, and we appreciate their patience!

We just released episode 1.0.4, but as I assume most of you haven't stumbled on our little show, here's the last four episodes of

Don't forget, you can subscribe via RSS, via iTunes or via Zune.

1.0.4 - Being Mean.

What makes people mean in our industry? What about aggressive? Confident? What's the difference? Would you rather have a drill sergeant for a boss, or a zen master? We talk to Cyra Richardson and Giles Bowkett.

1.0.3 - Problems.

How do you solve problems as a developer? How do you tackle issues that seem completely unsolvable - as an individual or on a team? Mike Moore, Javier Lozano, Tamar Cohen and trouble.

1.0.2 - Fame.

Is fame useful for a developer? Should you make a plan and become Internet Famous? Is there value and how does notoriety happen? John Sheehan joins me in the storytelling.

1.0.1 - Getting Fired.

It eventually happens to everyone. The real question is, how do you deal with it when it happens to you? Oren Eini and Sara Chipps explore and share.


About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 28, 2010 10:17
Excellent news, this is awesome podcast !
September 28, 2010 14:11
It would be interesting if you did a podcast that didn't include people from your clique.
September 28, 2010 15:09
Been listening to this podcast since episode 1 and have to say this is an awesome podcast. A must-listen :)

September 28, 2010 16:12
Been listening since the first episode. Great podcast! Good to have a development podcast based on the developers' histories and life lessons, for a change. It is also good to know that the folks from This American Life were nice and reasonable.

I have one question: How much time in average do you spend in each episode (planning, recording, editing...)?

Looking forward for the next episode.
September 28, 2010 16:15
Forgot to mention, that "Why so mean" photo is hilarious =D
September 28, 2010 18:17
Loving the podcast so far; I hope I continue to listen.

That's not an indictment of you or the podcast. I don't know why, but I struggle to remember to listen to podcasts - I guess the technology and I haven't found our bridge yet (like Google Reader bridged blogs for me, maybe Google Listen will do the same for podcasts).
September 28, 2010 18:57
Love this podcast. Excellent work guys.
September 28, 2010 20:58
I've avoided listening to this podcast so far, mostly because I've started to avoid Rob Conery like the plague. I subscribed to his blog for a while and every third day it was "Oooh let's get all gaga over this new (technology|language|concept|pattern|etc...)!" The man never stays in one place long, and it seems like he's too intent on latching on to the "cutting edge" and not so much improving upon existing skills. That's fine as a personal choice, but it's not something I care to subscribe to.

The relevance here is in expressing my hope that you too, Scott Hanselman, do not get suckered into chasing the technology future and lose all track of the present. I suspect you're a decade of maturity greater than Rob, but sometimes, I do have my doubts.

Sorry for being such a downer, but this particular topic annoys me.
September 28, 2010 21:15
Glad to hear the podcast name stays.

The podcast is interesting, I've listened to the first three episodes. A few constructive comments though:

1) The audio seems to be very low. It is clear, but I find that I need to turn up my speakers very high to hear it. Then when I listen to another podcast -- .NETRocks, Hanselminutes, RunAs, or whastever, the volume is way too high!

2) There have been a few instancs where nobody was talking, no music, and basically a 5-10 sec pause in the middle of a transition or something. This needs to be shortened.

3) I like the music and whatnot, but it seems almost excessive and definitely too long. I like the format, it just needs to be streamlined. Don't forget, "We're all too busy to listen to podcasts!!!"

Otherwise, keep up the good work!
September 28, 2010 21:40
I think you did an awesome job with the website. This is a great podcast, the content is great and the music is awesome, only thing is missing is album art (or podcast art, I should say) ;-)
September 28, 2010 22:21
The show has had some interesting ideas but seems a little (more than a little really) too slavish in it's note for note replication of This American Life. I'm amazed they agreed not to give you a cease and desist. You guys even stole their logo... It seems like you have good content - why not make something fresh with it?
September 28, 2010 22:44
Chris - Lol, this show is non-technical. I don't read Rob's blog for the reasons you outline. He and I disagree on things technical, but this show is a series of character studies.

Keith - We've changed the logo. Agreed that was too much. As for "note for note replication," we're learning. TAL was a good starting point, but the show will evolve into its own thing.
September 28, 2010 23:35
The fact that you even needed their approval for the name is ridiculous. Maybe for good measure you should seek the approval from the guys behind "This Old House" since it also has the word "This" in the title.
September 28, 2010 23:57
Josh - LOL. I wanted to call the show "Golden Girls" but you know...
September 29, 2010 1:39
Any way to post these pod casts not on tumblr? The state blocks all tumblr ip's for some pornographic reason.
September 29, 2010 1:57
Steve - Sure, just visit directly instead.
September 29, 2010 3:50
It's too quiet and I wasn't able to make anything out. Well, until the music anyway, boost the volume a bit.
September 29, 2010 3:55
Just FYI, "notoriety" has a bad connotation ("the state of being known for some unfavorable act or quality"). What you probably meant was to say for 1.0.2 was "Is there value and how does celebrity happen?" Or maybe you didn't...I knew a guy personally who became somewhat well-known by doing a lot of speaking engagements (I won't name names but you've come across him, trust me) and that little bit of celebrity went to his head. That in turn lead to some notoriety for being a jerk.

So maybe you should have a follow-up discussion on "When does a little celebrity turn to notoriety?" I should get a writing credit for that episode...but that will just make me mildly famous, which will go to my head, and you can follow the trail from there...
September 29, 2010 4:27
Great podcast.

Constructive Criticism == A little shorter on the music filled dramatic pauses. Before giving this critique I thought about how I'd stitch together a similar program - and I'm sure I'd do a FAR worse job than you. So I'm really just trying to make it better.

September 29, 2010 18:43
Good or otherwise, I wouldn't link myself with this podcast because of the owner's view on copyrighted material. His fair use post is a laughable attempt to justify the theft of people's music without paying royalties. If he used my music I would sue him in a heartbeat.
September 29, 2010 21:08
Jim - We'll be moving to creative commons music going forward.
September 29, 2010 22:56

Glad to hear it. BTW, love the Hanselminutes podcast.
September 29, 2010 23:10
@Chris - I understand what you mean about chasing things new and "let's get all gaga". I have a love of finding out what's out there and seeing what it is and does - and then I share it with people. It's who I am and what I do. I don't do it out of malice or some kind of desire to whip people up into a frenzy - I find technology fascinating in that it's continually changing and defining itself as an industry. Have to keep learning or you erode.

@Jim - Fair Use is a long-standing issue that is the deepest shade of gray there is. Theft is a bit harsh and I might even add uncalled for. I did a ton of research into the matter and so far all I could find is precisely what I wrote about in that post: if you do something derivative for pay... you're in trouble.

It could very well be that I'm in trouble too, and to play it safe I'm thinking I should redo the old shows (I might just do that).
September 29, 2010 23:34
I'm surprised Joe Celko didn't get a nod during the "Being Mean" show. He is the absolute king of being mean, though he is a SQL guy, so maybe he's not on your radar.
September 30, 2010 0:15
re: Fair Use There is a great discussion of the issue of Fair Use as it relates to podcasts located here.

The part that struck me was the discussion of intro/outro music.

Example 2: A podcaster uses the copyrighted music of pianist George Winston for the intros and outros of her podcast that is about yoga and meditation. The podcast has nothing to do with commenting or critiquing the music played. Conclusion: This is likely not a fair use.

Most podcasts include the intro/outro music of either a well known or a not-well known piece of music. I've heard things like "30 second clips are OK to include", but I haven't found any cases where a podcaster was sued for copyright infringement of the song clips included in their podcast.
September 30, 2010 0:28
In the given example, I think the regular inclusion of the same piece of intro/outro music wouldn't be considered fair use as the user is trying to make a connection between their work and the work of George Winston. However if the user picked a piece of George Winston doing the first bar of JSB's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as punctuation in a piece of their would be.

I think Rob is in the clear here...but knowing how the music industry is with regards to the consumers of it's product...I too would reconsider.
September 30, 2010 0:56
My fellow host on the Community Megaphone Podcast, Dane Morgridge, solved the "fair use" problem by working with a local band he knew to create an original theme for the podcast. We're pretty happy with the music, and since the band gave their permission for its use, there aren't any copyright issues to deal with.
September 30, 2010 1:03
Hey Scott/Rob,

Love TAL and I like your show. Agree with some of the audio comments about levels/length. Also, one of the things that makes TAL so great is that the stories are from common everyday people.

I like that you're getting an overall theme running through the show. Btw, future show idea, "Growing - how have you grown/matured as a developer".

Anyways, keep up the good work and thanks, I'm sure the production effort to edit the show is probably not easy. :)
September 30, 2010 1:22
I have about 230 Royalty free tracks that I've purchased from places like Loopmasters and Magnatune. We use them for all the Tekpub stuff (since we make money, can't use copyrighted music on the stuff we charge for). Also ASCAP has been very lenient when it comes to streaming and music (see YouTube).

Also - @jimdanby - with respect to suing me in a heart beat... you'd probably lose. The main reason is there's nothing to sue me for; I don't make any money, haven't changed the intent/contribution of your music, and moreover I could prove quite readily that I'm actually benefitting your copyright by linking to a distribution of your music... wherein you GET PAID.

All of this said - for the longer pieces I use Royalty free stuff (NIN Ghosts, the Magnatune stuff) and I've started trimming the other clips to 30 seconds or so but will likely move off. I think I'm going to be proactive on this and contact RIAA to see what I can do to keep this a happy home.
September 30, 2010 2:56
Podcast content is good. Music length is good. In fact, I really appreciate it: I really like taking the time to ponder during intermissions (or to turn on the disposal--depends what I'm doing when I'm listening). It could use a bit more volume, but that's why I have a volume nob (my podcasts all vary wildly in volume).

If people want something else, they should go find a different show or stop listening. If you started trying to please everybody, I'd quickly do the latter.
September 30, 2010 6:53
Awesome show! I hope it continues for a long time
October 01, 2010 13:44
Enjoyed listening to the first one, but the second episode doesn't seem to be available on iTunes??
March 31, 2011 12:26
Love the show!!!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.