Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Gadget Spot

Chatting with the four men behind the tech-driven podcast.

Posted By on July 3, 2016, 11:49 PM

Most everything in our modern world revolves around the latest tech. Whatever you're using to read this blog right now—whether it be the oldest iPhone or the kickass browser intergraded into your 4K television—is a modern technical marvel that people  raved over for a while, before it grew old and we moved onto the next thing. We're getting to a point where we can't keep up with the amount of new items coming out (though some of us do try; go look up my reviews in The Pipeline). But a new local podcast called The Gadget Spot is working hard to tell you about everything new coming out as it happens.  Today we chat with the show's four co-hosts about creating new episodes and new tech they've enjoyed.

Owen, Jarron, Tony, & James
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The Gadget Spot on Facebook

Gavin: Hey everyone! First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

I’m a life­long gadget­-aholic. I love basically everything tech and geek related, from computer parts to comic books, sci-­fi to cartoons, and everything in ­between. I’ve been married for four years to a wonderful woman who somehow tolerates and even supports my hobbies (obsessions). I try to stay healthy and am somewhat well­-rounded, (well, less rounded anyway) with regular exercise and occasional outside activity.

Owen:­ I’m a mechanical thinker. I love taking things apart and at this stage in my life, I am about 88 percent effective at putting said things back together (in working order). On following the path of least resistance, I have developed an obsession with gadgets and technology because they enable that mentality, and assist me in getting more, by doing less. I’m a Beetdigger, so, there’s that. I love logical problems that have measurable results. Running (and most exercise) is for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, so while I do see the value of physical exertion, I intend to survive by being smarter, not faster. I am an ISTP if you follow Jungian personalities; go look that up and you’ll basically know me better than 90 percent of the people in my life.

Jarron:­ I have three non-­human loves in my life: Star Wars, Uncharted, and gadgets. Since the Uncharted franchise is now done, I suddenly have a lot of free time. Hah! I am kind­of­not­really joking. Outside my tech/gadget obsession, I work, I spend time with my family, and I watch movies.

James: ­ I was born to goodly parents, then hastily given away to two more goodly parents, then one of them left. Now I'm down to one goodly parent.

What first got each of you involved with tech and gaming growing up?

­I’ve always been into tech and gaming from as far back as I can remember. It probably started when one of my friends got an NES and around that same time my dad brought home our first PC, a 386 with DOS.

Owen:­ Got my first NES when I was 9, and never looked back. Broke my dad’s 386 (upgraded to a 486!) and most of my high school tech lab computers by creating DOS directories that would spell out some sentence (usually of some snarky nature) and then I would then create a batch file that said ‘Exit’ in the last directory, the batch file executed f­disk, and forced acceptance and then rebooted the computer (an original script kiddie). I was headed towards being an AES-certified mechanic and realized I could basically do the same thing on computers without smashing up my hands (see above "path of least resistance").

Jarron: ­ THE SEGA MASTER SYSTEM. That thing was awesome. We were definitely a Sega family growing up, ­­all the way to the Dreamcast (may it rest in peace). My father also got me into gadgets. He could build amplifiers from scratch and fix any gadget.

James: ­ Oh, man... Where to begin... weeellp, ya see; I love shiny, well-lubricated objects. That being said, I’m no tool when it comes to gadgets, but I do love me somethin’ shiny, ya hear!?

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What eventually got each of you into the fields you work in today?

­ I started in computer repair about a year after finishing my Bachelors Degree in broadcasting, and it just sort of led to me specializing in networking. I use the term “specializing” a bit loosely because I have so much to learn still.

Owen:­ I worked in a mailroom when I was 22 and fixed the department's problems without ever including the IT guy. It was a startup and they needed a new IT lackey, so I became the new IT “helper.” Two weeks later, the IT guy left to go manage a remote location, and thus my IT career started in earnest. My IT career has basically followed that clip, with me taking on more responsibility—then having the senior person leave. Got my bachelor's degree in Networking and Cyber­security.

Jarron:­ I’m an accountant! I don’t know why I’m an accountant. I seriously woke up one day and thought, “I’m going to be an accountant!” However, I do use my tech know-how in my job. Knowing some coding and SQL (and a general knowledge of computers) has definitely given me an edge.

James:­ I’m a glorified filmmaker with a dark past. Also, I love ladders. It just made sense.

When did you all meet each other and become friends?

­ Jarron and I are cousins, Owen and I used to work together, and James came aboard soon after we started when I noticed his coolness as he did the video recording for Geekshow Podcast.

Owen:­ Yup. Also, although I worked for the same company as Jarron, I only knew him as someone just taller than the cubicle walls that would sometimes come visit Tony. James is... well, look at his twitter account, 15k followers... I’m sure I knew him before the podcast somehow, but it is still unclear.

Jarron:­ I’ve known Tony since the dawn of time. We became friends two weeks ago. Owen used to work where I work, and I would occasionally see him when I visited Tony two floors down. I always thought of Owen as “who is that guy?” A friendship quickly followed. I still don’t know if James is my friend. You would have to ask him.

James:­ Jarron was on a hike, and needed an experienced “trail leader,” and after I lured him to my van with the promise of trail mix (without raisins), I treated him like any good altar boy and sent him on his way. Tony, I met while perusing the hefty meat section of WalMart and our knuckles touches as we both reached for the overly ground meat. And Owen has great taste in furniture; everyone needs a friend like Owen.

What made you decide to start up a tech podcast?

­ This idea came from long discussions that Jarron and I had/have about tech and video games when we hang out. After I had been producing and participating in the Geekshow Podcast for a few years I wanted to try something out that focused more exclusively on tech/gadgets/video games, so I asked Kerry Jackson his thoughts on it, and he said I should give it a shot. So I did and here we are!

I said yes to Tony and Jarron, it’s pretty fantastic.

Jarron:­ Tony and I used to have very heated discussions about video cards and processors (seriously). One day he was like “we should do a podcast!” I was like “Yyyyyeeeeaahhhhh!” I’ve always wanted to do a podcast.

James:  I had free time and a pocket full of nickles.

What was it like in getting all the gear you needed for the show and getting the bets setup?

­ I did a bit of research on sound boards and landed on a Behringer model. Everyone had their own mics, so I just bought some table stands and plugged it all together to run through a laptop. I use Adobe Audition to record and edit. Oh yeah, and headphones. We have those too.

  I found an old Radio Shack MIC that is super hot for five minutes... then goes... less hot. Anyway, I’ll be picking up a Behringer mic shortly. I’ve piggybacked off Tony’s smarts.

­ I provided all of the mics on the first podcast. I had some lying around from my old rock band days (Yes, I had a band and yes, we were terrible). One of the mics worked terribly so we stopped using it. That is all I have contributed.

James:­ I went to the goddamn store like an adult and had human interactions. Later, retiring to my homestead, I wrapped the cord around my neck (to test the density, I’m no fool). Also, I use a nice Sure mic.

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Did you do any test episodes prior to launch or go straight in?

Haha, we actually got together to just record a test episode the first time. When we finished I thought it went pretty well but from the beginning, I wasn’t planning on posting it. It went well enough though that we figured “eh, why not?” And we went with it.

Owen: I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out. I’m not super social, so jumping right in was an adventure.

Jarron:­ I don’t drink soda. On the first podcast, I drank a Mountain Dew. I was wired. It was a great first time, and I’m glad it went well.

James:­ The only testing I do is to see how many articles of clothing I can remove before Tony makes me put them back on.

What’s the process like for all of you in deciding what to discuss on the show?

­ We have a shared document on Google Docs that we add topics to throughout the days between episodes. We draw from that during recording.

Owen:­ Tony does great at driving the show, even though we make it hard for him sometimes. We supply content and as a group, we segue through all of our show prep. Some segues are awesome, some are done by James, haha.

Jarron:­ I read a ton of tech news. I make sure any topics I add to the show notes are of the highest caliber. Then Tony asks Owen to talk about the Kickstarter flavor of the week, and we run out of time. Jokes! It’s a balancing act to decide what to keep and remove.

James: You ever play spin the bottle, Boris? Yes.

What’s the reception been like so far from the listeners? What kind of challenge has it been growing your audience?

­ So reception has been really positive from the listeners! We don’t have a ton, about 320 per episode, but everyone seems to like it that has tuned in. That’s definitely encouraging since we have a ton of fun recording.

Owen:­ I can’t believe we have a listener in Colorado, that blew my mind. The last episode, we found out we have a listener in Australia... whoa. I think it’s pretty amazing.

Jarron:­ The reception has been great! I love pulling up our email (or iTunes reviews) to read what people have to say. Getting our current audience was pretty easy. All Tony had to do was tweet “Listen to this podcast!” And bam, we had a few hundred listeners. It has been a challenge to grow our audience from there since we don’t have an established brand. Since James’s specialty is marketing, I’m hoping he will have some secret to getting more listeners.

James: You ever see divinity in real life, Kevin? Well, you're looking at it. Listeners. Worship. Me. Yup and this whole thing is gonna cost you ten percent.

Do you prefer to lean more to the tech aspect and the latest gear coming out, or video games and the latest titles to hit the market?

I really try to get a good balance of both but I think we lean more toward the tech side of things. There is just, naturally, more tech news vs game news. There’s obviously a ton of overlap between the two as well.

Owen: I definitely lean towards tech and gadgets. Video games are becoming increasingly more time consuming and family life with three kids really puts a damper on trying to play a game “right.” I am a super completionist, (Jarron understands that one) so doing a game just to see gameplay and to test it out is a little rough for me. I’m all in or nothing. Unfortunately, my video­game game suffers. I do love learning about games, though because the puzzles and goals are typically logical in nature.

Jarron:­ I’m definitely more of a tech guy, but I do love video games and try to follow that industry closely. As Tony said, having a good balance between the two is key. I wish I had more time for video games. Like Owen, I am a completionist, but that doesn’t stop me from buying a ton of games that I rarely play.

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Being a bi-weekly show, do you find it difficult parsing through all the news and rumors to create solid content?

Tony:­  I try to stay away from rumors as much as possible. Rumors in the tech industry are a dime a dozen and are mostly unsubstantiated. We link all our info and sources in the show notes that are posted to our Facebook page so listeners can see for themselves.

Owen:­ I do love the odd technology unicorn, and I’ll gladly breathe in the tantalizing scent of vapor-ware, but in the end, I want to see a working prototype, with real application. I’m a realist and optimism, and fluffy “wouldn’t that be neat” stuff is just funny conversation banter.

Jarron: ­ I mostly agree with Tony about rumors. However, sometimes talking about rumors feels right (e.g. new PlayStation and XBox consoles). I don’t find it too difficult to parse through all the news. When something is podcast worthy, I can feel it deep inside of me.

James: Everything that comes out of this mouth is solid content, that’s why people say I’m full of shit. Also, yes.

Do you like to pre-­plan what you discuss or do you have more fun with a free-­form discussion?

We end up knowing, roughly, what the show will be about because of the shared show notes. So in respect to topics we are pre-planned but the discussion that ensues from them is all free­-form. We try to preserve the spontaneity of the show by only talking about the topics when the microphone is recording, for the most part.

Owen:­ Exactly what Tony said, and I will note that containing my tech talk for two weeks is sometimes the most difficult part of this project. Not that we have a tech speech embargo or anything, but it’s so much more enjoyable to know that someone on the podcast has seen the show notes and may have some bone to pick or a funny comment. I think that’s what really makes us feel cohesive.

Jarron:­ Free-­form discussion all the way! To facilitate that, I have to keep everything I want to say bottled up inside until the next podcast. Sometimes that is really really hard.

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Where do you hope to take the show over the next few years as you grow?

­ I just want to grow the listener base for now. I think it would be great to get to the point where we have enough of an audience to get the tech industry to recognize us a bit and give us access to review and preview some products first hand. Up to this point, everything we review has been purchased by us or borrowed from friends and relatives. I wouldn’t complain if we got some sponsors, as well, to cover our equipment and hosting costs, etc. Haha.

Owen:­ Wait, how long does a podcast last? Hah!

Jarron: ­ I think it would be great if we made some video segments from time ­to­ time. I’m not sure what that would be at this point, but we’re only going to do it if it’s high quality and fun.

James:­ I don’t think a single thing in my life has been pre-­planned. Hell, I was an accident baby, I’m pretty sure that it’s my mom's handwriting on my high school diploma, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never properly done the laundry in my life. I think my wife just does it again after I’ve gone to sleep.

What can we expect from all of you and the show over the rest of the year?

I think about the only thing you can expect from us to keep having a good time! We do this because it’s fun! If it were to ever get to the point where is was not then we would probably bag it.

Owen:­ I pledge to make more orphan jokes, James told me I have to. Really, though, you can tune in to have a laugh and learn some great tech/gadget/game information, we really do put a lot of effort into digging through the rumors and spending the time listening to, watching and attending tech conventions and playing games to bring listeners good content.

Jarron:­ More blood! More Gore! Bigger explosions! Seriously, though, you can expect more insults. Making fun of each other is the highlight of my week.

James: ­ Funny shit.

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