From the archives: Prodigy

Back in the day my first foray into massive online services that weren’t BBS’s was Prodigy. I got a Sears credit card and they gave me a free account when it started out. I stayed on for a few years and had a blast talking to tons of people. I have nothing but fond memories of it.

About 5 or 6 years ago I was being dragged along to flea markets in the middle of Pennsylvania when I ran across a brand new, in-box copy of Prodigy 1.1 for Windows. I carried around for a few years and had it on the shelf but my inner spartan got the better of me so I decided to immortalize it with scans. I’ve got more old software that I scanned I’ll be releasing when I can find them. AHEM, Kai’s Power Tools 1.0 anyone? Enjoy!

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The Joys of Podcasting

For the past year and change I’ve been a bona-fide podcaster. It started with Grumpy Old Geeks with my long time friend and co-host Brian Schulmeister. I always wanted to do a show but it was when we got hammered one afternoon at Brian’s local and talked shop for 3 hours, it hit me that he would be the perfect co-host. We’re both from the same era, came up together, and both are about as jaded as could be with the biz. Over the past year we’ve built a small and loyal following. Emphasis on small, but it’s been a really fun trip so far. Considering that neither of us had done this before, I think we’ve come pretty far in what is about 2 weeks worth of a full-time job.

After I got to Chicago I wanted to do a new show from start to finish by myself so I could learn every step. From production, to editing, to promotion, etc. So I wrangled 2 of my old friends who I know are into movies into doing a show with me. We started Does It Have Legs last year and have been sporadically publishing but are getting on a more normal track now. This was a more challenging show because of the 3 microphone set-up and the technical side that I had to deal with but also with another person it’s like herding cats some weeks. I went through a lot of gear as well as trial and error but I spent the money to get a solid set-up and we now record on the rig in the photo above.

The lessons I’ve learned so far are that ANYONE can do a podcast but it takes a serious commitment. We SUCKED at the beginning but stuck with it and powered through. Howard Stern’s job is still safe but now I’m not embarrassed to ask friends to come on the show or let anyone hear it. We’ve had some pretty impressive guests as well. They were all learning experiences and I appreciate all their time to help us out. But man is it stressful doing a guest show. You want them to sound good and do them justice as well as not waste their time and be fun and entertaining all at the same time. It’s way harder than doing plain shows. Also, don’t be offended when your friends don’t promote their appearances. Only a few people did that but it was a personal jab every time and sucked but you can’t take it personally. They did you a favor by coming on your show so shut up and make them sound great.

Also, what you’ll learn is that podcasting is REALLY crowded and getting your show over is a full-time job. There are hundreds of thousands of shows and most don’t make it and yours probably won’t either. If you’re not going to make it a full-time job and work on it every day both promoting the show and making the best shows you can then be prepared to not be the next Leo Laporte. But if you do it for fun and passion then you’re ahead of the game. Be prepared to spend a lot more on your show than you make because you’re probably not going to make anything for a while until you get the numbers up. If you get on a network you can slingshot your rise some but even those are becoming over saturated.

It’s absolutely not about the money or the fame (because well, yeah…) Brian and I said that if we didn’t make any money by episode 10 we were going to quit. This week we’re going to be recording episode 58 and we also just put episode 14 of Does It Have Legs in the can. The actual doing of the shows is their own reward. That said if you have something to say then just do it. And don’t buy any of these ‘How to Podcast’ info products because they’re a scam. Just pay me instead :-)