Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Make sure you're connected // The pitfalls and problems of bringing a podcast to life

Published by Christine

This is the first in an occasional series from Sidepodcast, giving you a behind the scenes look at podcasting, specifically in the Formula 1 genre. We want to share the pitfalls, the problems, and the triumphs that go into making the show what it is. As this is a joint effort, to provide you with both sides of the story, I will be writing in plain text, whilst the geeky one will add his two cents in italics.

Last Friday, our broadband died. And I almost joined it.

I got home from work, ready to start researching F1 Minute for Friday, and there was nothing. No Google, no BBC, no Sidepodcast. Fair enough, the McLaren appeal result didn't come through until late at night anyway, and I probably would have waited for that before recording anything anyway, but I'm all about having the choice.

I would never have guessed.

The last time we were without broadband was when we moved house back in June. We managed to engineer a crossover period, but it involved driving back and forth between two homes, sitting on the floor in a cold, empty room, and generally getting a headache the minute anyone mentioned the words Formula and 1.

The cold, empty room was really our fault though - we could've made it more hospitable. BT did let us down with management of the switchover. They act with impunity because they have a monopoly in this country, and it's a major barrier to entry when it comes to doing anything online... at some point you have to deal with them.

All you need to create a podcast is electricity, a fast connection, and a computer. Never mind that silly food and water, those three things are the essentials in life. And I really mean that. Broadband providers seem to believe that the internet is some kind of luxury, that you can wait a fortnight for, even if you tell them that it isn't. There's no option to pay more to get it quicker, there's no way to speed things up even if your job depends on access. Sidepodcast doesn't provide us with revenue, but that doesn't mean we don't take it seriously.

A fair point. If you move house, you're guaranteed to have basic amenities like gas, electricity and running water from the moment you arrive. Internet access sadly isn't part of the deal. Usually connections don't take more than a couple of days, but in our case it was over a month.

Anyway, back to the present. We've had pretty much flawless coverage since we moved in, but the other night there was nothing happening. I had to rely on my new internet capable mobile to keep refreshing the news sites, until we could dig out the lead we needed.

Ahh, lest you forget dial-up, young lady. We still had a working phone line, and the opportunity to hear the heart wrenching bleeps of an obsolete modem kicking into life is a moment to savour.

Dial up? Yeugh.

Oh.

It's an option, yes, but it's hardly ideal. Today we have been looking at alternative backup solutions, like a portable 3G modem for example.

An external 3G modem makes a lot of sense. They run as fast (and in some cases faster) than broadband. They work pretty much anywhere in the UK and will fall back to GPRS mode should you fall out of range. However, data rates are extremely expensive compared to broadband and contracts are usually longer.

Whilst we haven't invested yet, we will be doing so as soon as we've researched the package that suits us best. The ability to have broadband wherever we go (dependent on coverage, of course), is actually more useful than just a backup. Imagine if we had the ability to blog directly from GPlive, you'd be getting all the updates of what we're seeing as we're witnessing it first hand. This is something we've always been interested in doing, it's why we invested in the portable recording device. As we go out and about more, we want to be able to bring you closer to the action as soon as we can. So whilst our broadband crisis this weekend was a pain, it has brought some more new technology to our attention. Every cloud has a silver lining, they say.

Bloomin' optimists, I say.