Scott Hansleman Introduces his brand new podcast - "Hanselminutes". First - what a cool name. In fact, everything about the way this podcast is presented is "cool". I mean, if there ever was someone that made us MS geeks look cool, Scott Hansleman would be up there in the top three. His ultra-geeky lifestyle (the guy makes even diabetes look cool) and superb knowledge of tools, utilities, code and technology makes him the perfect, coolest candidate to have a podcast about...well, technology and utilities.
So Scott teamed up with the boys at Franklins.Net (Pwop productions)- the same people who brought one of the very first (highly successfully) podcasts and audio shows in the .NET world - .NET Rocks, and together they made a show.
I have to say I was surprised at the amount at which Carl Franklin appears in the show. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that I thought this was Scott's show, but it's actually Carl's in which he decided to interview Scott on a weekly basis.
Carl acts really as the host, and Scott acts as the all-knowledgeable, all-encompassing guest of the show. You might as well have called it "The weekly interview with Scott" since that's essentially what it is. Some people have complained about the length of the commercials in the beginning and the end, but I think that's a non-issue. These things need some kind of sponsoring to pay for people's time doing them, and that's a good way to do it. Don't like it? skip ahead.
I did find that the first 5 minutes after the commercials were practically a praise and song for the new hero in the podcast world - Scott-be-thy-name. Heck, even Scott noticed that, being the pragmatic creature that he is, and said he feels he does not want to waste the listener's time.
Frankly, I don't need another .NET Rocks in my life - I want something different. It was weird because Scott has enough muscle on his own to generate interest, topics and agenda for his show, and if he doesn't want to look like another .NET Rocks wannabe, he may as well find his own voice and rhythm of things. As far as my ears heard, Scott didn't sound too cozy doing the show in that format, but then again, he didn't sound sure about doing the show at all. A little more confidence would have made things a lot better.
The topics on the show were interesting if you're an ultra geek and a coder. If you've read Scott's blog, it's more of the same stuff, sometimes even a rehash of old topics. If you've never read his blog, it has some great content.
"Bug fix of the week" has a future, and I dare say they should add a "news of the week" where Carl reads the news and Scott comments on them, some real meat, juicy stuff. The topics range from XBox 360 to .NET caching. Really a plethora of topics anyone can find something interesting in. But please don't make us listen to all the names of the people who ever built das-blog. This isn't a credit show, or a name-dropping show. As Scott says "You're wasting my time". Since Scott is a funny guy when he want to, how about "Geek joke of the week"? Have some sort of predefined format where people can expect something at some point of the show. otherwise it's just an ongoing conversation instead of a steady stream of useful tidbits.
The show could be much better if there was actually anything which resembles a conversation and more than one opinion. Hearing two people discuss something on a weekly basis is OK, but having one person simply lead up and ask questions of the other without actually reflecting any of their own views is another ("discussion" vs. "interview"). If the show took more of a discussion point of view Scott may have more "meat" to chew on and sound even more interesting.
The "soothing voice" problem
The main problem for me in the show was Scott's voice and intonation. I can't say it any different - In his first podcast Scott spoke slowly and monotonously. His voice stayed on the same pitch/wavelength for the entire show, which, combined with a car stereo and an air conditioning set on "heat" can lead to some serious car crashes. Scott has some great content to give and I suspect that the voice thing is not because he's bored or something, but that's the way he talks. Some people talk like that and it makes them sound very cynical and cool (I don't think Scott does that on purpose). It may work great on stage (he's a very good presenter), but in audio it just doesn't. If Scott wants to make the show better, he's going to need to take lessons from Carl Franklin, who, during the conversation, sounded interested, laughing, asking, and the whole range of human emotion bursting from him as can be expressed through audio. That's Carl's gift and anyone doing a podcast should be taking notes.
Perhaps that's the real reason Carl did the show with Scott. To make it sound more interesting. Again, I don't think that was required. I just think Scott needs to get the hang of it a little bit, find his own voice and just have fun, because it doesn't sound like he's having fun now.
In the "professionalism" department, the show scores very high. You'll find links to download the show directly, with audio bits specifically for iPods or other formats, and RSS enclosures galore. If there ever was a way to get audio on the net - the Franklin boys made it available on the show's site. That's a great start. The site looks polished and professional, Just continue on like that.
In summary, Hanselminutes is a show with a great future, provided the Scott can find his own voice instead of making another .NET Rocks, and that Carl Franklin doesn't intervene too much in the process. Let each person do what he does best, and this will be a good geek fest. Continue on like the current situation, and the show will end up only marginally successful, attracting on geeks who are "closer to home" - people who know Scott/Carl and just can't get enough of them.