Stackoverflow Blog Podcast

Back in September, I blogged about how I’ve become a podcast addict. I said I’d follow up with short posts on the podcasts I listen to and why I give some of the precious little time I have to listen to them. I look forward to the stackoverflow blog podcast each week, so here’s why.

blog.stackoverflow.comThe Feed

Joel Spolsky (, Fog Creek) and Jeff Atwood ( started up the programmer’s Question and Answer site in 2008 and they’ve been running a podcast in which they talk about the site, the community that’s built up around it, software development and whatever else they feel like talking about.

Topics and Focus

The Site

The design of the site and the decisions that the team made back then, and how those decisions have played out from the private beta to a site with over a million pageviews per day. I’ve not seen anywhere else you can get this kind of insight into a real project.

The Stackoverflow Community

From the initial programmer’s site, there’s now (sysadmin Q and A), (for the family’s computer expert), (Q and A about Q and A), (jobs and careers stuff), and (hosted stackoverflow engine providing Q and A site hosting on a paid-for basis), so there’s a lot of discussion about building and serving communities online.


Over the past few months, there have been more episodes with software luminaries from outside the stackoverflow team, talking about what they do and their views on the sites.

The Transcript Wiki

Pretty much every word in every episode has been transcribed by listeners (there’s that community thing in action again), which means that the content can be accessed by search engines and people with impaired hearing.


Weekly, only a couple of missed weeks over the life of the podcast.

Audio Quality

Always excellent, very clear and easy to listen to.

What’s Not So Good

Might be tricky to get into if you haven’t been following it, as I think there are a few recurring topics and in-jokes. I don’t think there’s much of that though, so I’d listen to a couple of episodes to give it a go if you’re interested in the topics.

Well, I think that about sums it up, cheers!


Reflections on the Year of the Blog

I’ve been rambling inanely on for a year now, and it seems like an opportune time to briefly reflect on the experience.

Here’s some figures, to start with.

  • Posts: 61. (about 4.5 posts per month for thirteen months)
  • Genuine Comments: 52.
  • Spam Comments: 5,337. (Thanks Akismet, you rule!)
  • Feed Subscribers: 27. (My subscribers also rule!)
  • Most Visits in a Day: 75.
  • Total Visits: 3,556.

Here’s some highlights.

  • I’ve helped out a bunch of people from all over the world (and many of them took a moment to thank me, which is awesome).
  • I participated in (possibly even started?) an internet meme.
  • I recorded the ups and downs of my first year of doing an MSc for posterity.
  • I didn’t annoy anyone or get flamed.

And some stuff I learnt.

  • How to use WordPress. It was kinda clunky when I first started but the current version is a joy to use. The plugins I use (I use Feedburner feeds, Akismet spam filtering, Google Code Prettify, Google Analytics and Google Sitemaps, plus others) are totally transparent – they just work. Even the update process is a one-click thing now. Although I can’t help the cold sweat when I do that click, even though I have backups…
  • How to use Google Analytics. I pay nothing, but I have a toolkit telling me what pages people are looking at, where my viewers are in the world, what the trends are… I even have instant access to the complete historical record of that information – right back to last October. Just awesome.
  • How to use Feedburner. Takes the load of providing feeds off my site (OK, so that’s not really a problem with 27 subscribers I’ll grant you) and gives me some idea of how many subscribers there are and which posts get clicked through.
  • How to set up the subdomain. I knew about DNS beforehand, but it was an fascinating experience to watch as this incredible global phone book lurch into action at my command. I have renewed respect for the genius of Paul Mockapetris in coming up with something so simple and yet so powerful.

Upgrade Over

…and it looks like survived!

The upgrade process described on the WordPress site is a bit manual and nervewracking, but (for me, at least) it went like a treat. And WordPress 2.8.3 sure beats 2.3.whateverIwasonbefore for look, feel and features.

Maybe now I can get that permalinks thing sorted. I also hope that the upgrade should resolve the issue where the blog is cut short in RSS feeds, but that remains to be seen.

WordPress Upgrade Time

Ok, I’ve been running on the version of WordPress that my web hosting provider provided when I signed up, which was already quite out of date at the time.

Hey, I’ve been busy!

But now, it’s time. Time to do the backups, time to upgrade to the latest version, and it’s a big jump. So if this blog is never heard from again, at least you’ll know why.

Au revoir…