Monthly Archives: January 2011

The IT Help Podcast-A brief history (Part 1)

I produce a podcast called “The IT Help Podcast”. It’s aimed at technology users at Indiana University and you can find it here.

Here’s a brief overview of the different types of shows that fall under the IT Help Podcast umbrella. There’s the original type simply called the IT Help Podcast; there’s the IT Help Special Edition; and there’s the Quickcast.

The original IT Help Podcasts had a sort of magazine-style format and covered more than one topic. The first episode was produced in late 2007. I re-did it with an updated look and feel in early 2008.

The objective of Episode 1 was to help IU users connect to the wireless network.  At the start I listed three topics that would be covered in the podcast: Wireless for handhelds and laptops; software to get you connected; and wireless security guidelines.

I created titles for the sections: Technology Tip, Secure Computing, and Featured Software. Each section was marked by an introduction with a graphic and stinger music.

After producing two  episodes of the “regular” IT Help Podcasts I decided to  rethink the format. What evolved were the Quickcasts and Special Editions.

The Quickcast is the format I produce most often. It re-purposes an IU Knowledge Base document “in a portable multimedia format.”  I call them Quickcasts because they’re short (they must last no longer than 5 minutes) and I wanted to differentiate these episodes from those that were longer and didn’t necessarily rely on a single KB document for information.

The third type of IT Help Podcast is the Special Edition. When I needed to create a podcast about a topic that could not be explained in less than 5 minutes, I created an IT Help Special Edition Podcast.

These were often in two parts and referenced more than one Knowledge Base document as well as outside resources and information learned from my UITS colleagues.

That’s the IT Help Podcast overview. I’ll talk more about my process and the tools I use to create these podcasts in future posts.

Here’s a look at the album art and some screenshots.

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Am I an IT Worker?

When I realized that there was nothing I wanted to write about in this “IT” blog I began to wonder why I thought it was a good idea to start such a blog. Sure I work in an information technology department at a Big 10 university. But I’m a communicator, not a programmer, not a systems analyst, not a help desk consultant. I don’t feel like a techie. I don’t even know how you’re supposed to spell that word.

<Aside> Websters’s says I spelled it right </Aside]

Okay, I have to admit to being a bit of a geek since I just used an <Aside> tag. I won’t say I invented it because I’m sure it’s been done before.

Here’s a Wikipedia article about Shakespeare’s’ use of the aside. I have the literary device on my mind thanks to Richard Herring’s AIOTM podcast in which the character Tiny Andrew Collings uses the aside prodigiously.

Observing my thought process in writing this post  shows me that I do have something to say about technology. I can see that I like using technology. I like that some tech tools are really useful for managing important parts of my life and I like that some tools are just for fun.

I stepped away from the keyboard for a few minutes and did some more thinking. These things occurred to me:

  1. A few years ago I wanted to be a “real techie.” I wanted to fit in with the geeks; speak the language; be one of the few girls in that mostly boys club.
  2. I have accepted that my ability to learn programming languages is poor. I tried hard I swear.
  3. I have no trouble learning how to use software that’s already out there and I sometimes find ways to use software to do things it wasn’t necessarily designed to do.
  4. Technology is moving into a new era in which it is no longer veiled in mystery. It is truly for everybody but there’s still a lot of trepidation especially among people over the age of… (I’m not sure about the age. I looked at Pew Internet research and it seems that Internet use tends to drop in the 50+ demographic).
  5. Some people might benefit from reading about an ordinary person’s everyday use of technology. Am I ordinary?

I’ll mention Indiana University’s IT strategic plan “Empowering People.” One of the three central strategies for the plan is “Adopt a human-centered approach to developing and implementing IT systems and applications, so that the IU community can make optimum use of these resources.”  Read the plan’s FAQ page for more.

I think that this blog has the potential to empower a few people.

It’s bound to empower me at the very least.