Anodised is coming up on it’s second-year anniversary. I’m writing a multi-part series on the show, where it came from, how it’s gone so far, what I’ve learnt and where I’d like to see the show in the future.
Compared to the rocky start of Series Two, Anodised Series Three had a positively triumphant return to the podwaves.
During the break between Series Two and Series Three, I successfully launched a new website for Anodised. I was really proud of the work I had done on the site and was excited about using it in a production capacity. So excited, in fact, that I started Series Three a full two weeks ahead of my originally scheduled return date.
For S3E1 I invited Zac Cichy back on to discuss the Surface Pro 3 which was announced a few days prior. I had a lot of fun talking to Zac about the Surface Pro 3, it’s a product that I’ve been interested in ever since it was first announced and it continues to fascinate me; Microsoft just keeps trying even though they aren’t having a huge amount of success with it.
Although Anodised typically isn’t a news-of-the-week show — the exceptions to this are major product launches by Apple — I figured the announcement of a new Surface by Microsoft was big enough news to warrant an episode dedicated to it. Besides, the Surface has been on the topics list since before Anodised was Anodised so it was as good a time as any to check it off the list.
S3E1 has the fastest turn around time of any Anodised episode to date. I invited Zac on the show only two days before recording and I published the episode just a few hours after we finished recording. The new site played a big role in the quick turn around time between recording and publishing as the new CMS allowed me to create a post for the episode while editing the audio. When Anodised was hosted on Squarespace I would edit the episode and create a post on separate days, I just found the Squarespace CMS too complicated and tedious to do both tasks at once.
I’m pleased to say that the new site performed remarkably well — especially given that it was the first site I had ever built practically from scratch. I didn’t have any issues publishing the episode, I didn’t have any server problems and I didn’t have any problems with my RSS feed. S3E1 appeared in iTunes alongside all the other episodes without incident.
I did, however, have one minor issue with the new artwork I had created for the show and it took me two whole weeks to work out what the problem was.
iTunes supports artwork saved as PNG or JPEG files, I saved my artwork as a PNG and made sure it conformed to Apple’s guidelines but when I looked at Anodised on the iTunes Store, the artwork was missing. Every other podcast client under the sun loaded the artwork, even iTunes loaded the artwork once the podcast had been subscribed to, the issue was only presenting on the iTunes Store.
In the end I uploaded a JPEG of the Anodised artwork and iTunes accepted it pretty much immediately. I later found out that iTunes doesn’t support images with alpha transparency enabled so hey, Apple? Do you think you could update the support document to mention that? It would be ever so nice of you to mention that in the support document.
A new site, new artwork and an early start to Series Three, yep, things were going great for Anodised.
The news-of-the-week theme continued with John and I discussing all the news to come out of WWDC on S3E2 and there was a lot of news to cover. At two hours and fifteen minutes, S3E2 is the second longest episode of Anodised to date, I don’t think we could’ve covered Yosemite, iOS 8, Continuity, Photos For Mac, HealthKit, HomeKit, Swift and the presentation itself in any less time than we did; Apple announced a ridiculous amount of things at WWDC!
I wanted to do something a little bit special for S3E2, I thought it would be fun to introduce international listeners to places in Australia by coming up with Australian-themed OS X releases. John and I came up with some great names for an Australian-made OS X, although I think I got a bit carried away with my list.
I’ve always seen podcasting as a great way to introduce overseas listeners to Australia and Australian culture as there are no geographical restrictions on podcast availability. Anodised has the potential to reach an international audience and — if the stats are anything to go by — it does indeed reach an international audience. Anodised has been downloaded from nearly every continent on Earth with the bulk of the overseas downloads coming from the US, UK, Germany, Canada and New Zealand.
Of course, just because I have downloads from nearly every continent that doesn’t mean Anodised has listeners from nearly every continent. It would be nice to find out where the listeners are listening from. Perhaps I’ll start inviting people to write in to let me know where they’re listening from; that could be fun.
Mere days after publishing S3E2 I was already recording S3E3 with Rob Griffiths. I was so pleased to have Rob on the show and not just because he was a great guest, it gave me an opportunity to discuss something I’ve wanted to talk about ever since John and I started Exastential: OS X Lion.
S3E3 was a significant departure from the news-of-the-week theme of the previous two episodes, Lion was old news. It had already been superseded by two major versions of OS X and the next major version had been announced the week prior. Why discuss Lion now?
It’s no secret that I hated Lion. I hated the new skeuomorphic design elements, I hated Lion’s poor performance, I hated the way Apple forced new UI conventions on us and I especially hated the way Apple repeatedly forced users to upgrade by prematurely dropping application support for Snow Leopard.
I wanted to write about Lion, I wanted to podcast about Lion but I never did. I didn’t want to come across as someone who was just angry, someone who was just ranting and raving. I wanted to present my criticisms against Lion in a calm, rational and well-reasoned way but I struggled putting such an argument together without getting angry and resorting to ranting and raving. Besides, Mountain Lion was announced early in Exastential’s run so there didn’t seem to be much point in discussing why I didn’t like Lion at that time.
Unlike Exastential, Anodised is not bound by the news of the week; this allows Anodised more freedom when it comes to episode topics. Seeing though Apple had just announced the fourth major version of OS X in as many years, I thought it was a good time to look back at OS X Lion and discuss what I didn’t like about it.
The discussion of Lion and the disliking thereof was greatly helped by having Rob on as a guest. Rob went through a similar experience to mine; he tried Lion, disagreed with the direction Apple had gone in and decided to stick with Snow Leopard. Rob was the perfect guest for this topic, our criticisms against Lion were very nearly identical and I don’t think we disagreed on a single thing throughout the episode. I think if I had anyone else on the show — especially someone who liked Lion or even someone who was just meh about it — the episode could’ve been more antagonistic.
Of course, we didn’t dedicate the entire episode to discussing why we disliked Lion. We also talked about developing for the Mac App Store and Apple’s requirement for MAS developers to sandbox their apps. It was an unexpected tangent but a useful one as it crossed off a few topics from my list.
The recording of S3E3 was brought forward to fit in with Rob’s busy schedule. Thanks to the ever delightful task of wrapping one’s head around international time zones, it took a lot of back and forth to find a date that suited both of us. In the end, we managed to find some free time sandwiched between WWDC and Rob’s holidays at nine o’clock in the morning for Rob and half-past one the following morning for me.
Aren’t timezones wonderful?
I’ve always maintained that guests should not have to inconvenience themselves to be on my podcast, I try to be as accommodating as possible when arranging a time. On this occasion I was more than happy to stay up till three in the morning as I had the following day off and could spend as much time in bed catching up on sleep as I pleased.
Bringing the recording of S3E3 forward had the added advantage of leaving me plenty of time to organise and prepare S3E4. For S3E4 I wanted to revisit a topic from Series 1 and address a shortcoming in the Anodised guest lineup.
When John and I discussed “what makes someone a gamer” in S1E4, we had originally planned to spend just a few minutes talking about games we’ve played to establish our gamer cred before moving onto the discussion topic. We had so much fun talking about games we’ve played that it was almost an hour before we even started on the main topic for the episode! John was feeling really tired by this time, so tired that it was coming through in his voice. As a result, we rushed through the topic and crammed the discussion into the last half hour of the episode.
I’ve wanted to revisit this topic pretty much ever since I published S1E4 and I especially wanted to revisit something that I brought up in the last seven minutes of the episode: the assumption that women don’t play games.
In seventeen episodes Anodised has had six guests, all of whom have been male. There’s a good reason for this and some not so good reasons for this. When John and I started Anodised we had no idea if we would be able to get anyone to guest on the show. I certainly imagined scenarios where people would decline to guest on our podcast. When it came time to find guests I played it safe and invited my fellow podcasting friends on the show. Ben had his own podcasting syndicate, Zac was the co-host of the Menu Bar and MJCP was the host of MacThePodcast. Chris has not been on any podcasts as far as I’m aware but we’ve been good friends for a number of years. As for Jason, well, the only reason I invited him on at all was his enthusiastic reaction to the revelation that I had my own podcast. I wouldn’t have even tried to get Jason on the show if it weren’t for that tweet.
Even though I was playing it safe in my choice of guest, I’m still surprised, shocked, stunned that any of them came on the show. Especially Jason, even I can’t believe I got Jason Snell on the podcast.
I mean, why would anybody come on my podcast? I’m just some complete nobody, I’m not important, I’m not significant, I’m not well known. I don’t have a reputation for intelligent or insightful analysis, in fact, I imagine my reputation would be for quite the opposite. I’ve had six guests and it is still an absolute mystery to me why any of them wanted to participate.
I have this perception — there may be some truth to it or it may be a complete fabrication on my part — that men are far more likely to throw caution to the wind and make fools of themselves than women. I know that there are lots of women in podcasting and I definitely had a few women on the very first guest list I put together for Anodised but I’ve never invited them on. I had this, worry? Concern? It was an irrational fear really, that the women on my guest list would knock back invitations to guest because they would be cautious and reluctant to appear on the podcast. This is why I started with the male guests and left the female guests until I had a few episodes up my sleeve.
By the time S3E4 came around, I felt that I had enough experience with getting guests on the show that it was time to have a female guest on Anodised. I had three women from the Australian gaming community in mind who I thought would be ideal guests, I really wanted to hear about their experiences as gamers and find out how prevalent the type of ignorant sexism that assumes women don’t play games really is.
However before I could invite anyone to participate in S3E4, Anodised succumbed to Fourth Episode Syndrome and I put the show on a mid-series hiatus and effectively brought an end to the podcast.