Code for Thought is going live

Posted by j.laird on 1 August 2022 - 10:00am
sign saying Université Paris Cité
Université Paris Cité in the centre of
Le Marais hosted 2 face to face interviews

It’s hard to believe that it is already one and a half years since the first episode of the Code for Thought podcast went live. Of course, back in January 2021 the UK was in a deep lockdown and the only way to meet people for a recording, or otherwise, was using online tools. 

A lot has changed since then. Not least for the podcast show itself. Since early 2022, Selina Aragon-Camarasa and Jacalyn Laird from the Software Sustainability Institute have joined the podcast and have been contributing exciting new content and episodes. As a team we continue creating new material, new interviews and new stories for you. Look out for the ‘Software Horror Stories’ and meet our SSI Fellows. 

For me podcasting has been an inspiring journey, which started with RSE Stories 2 years ago (thanks Vanessa Sochat!). And this year, with Covid restrictions lifted, the journey has taken another exciting turn: live interviews. 

Recording in person

Early 2022 I went to Paris and had the opportunity to meet a range of interesting scientists and research software engineers face to face. 

And so we shall hear from Teresa Gomez-Dias on the importance of software licensing, and from Bastian Greshake Tzovaras (also an SSI fellow) on citizen science. We’ll also hear from Bastien Guery who works for a French ministry, and is a strong advocate for open software. Michael Rera tells us about ageing and Nicolas Thiery is working hard to bring Jupyter notebooks and hubs into classrooms.

Interviewing people face to face is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a whole different kettle of fish. It can already be daunting to meet people you don’t know online. Going to meet them face to face is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. 

Thankfully, all of the interviewees I met were very welcoming and friendly and it was a pleasure to meet them. 

New challenges

Naturally, face to face interviews come with a different set of challenges. Firstly, you need a room with little or no background noise (unless ambient sound recording is your thing). Mostly, this meant meeting rooms or offices. But in one instance the recording happened in someone’s living room.

Secondly, it pays to come equipped with a proper field recorder and a set of microphones (and cables) to achieve good sound quality. Smartphones, I am afraid, won’t really do. 

Not everything went according to plan, however. One of the planned interviews was with Simon Pinches from ITER - the international organisation working on nuclear fusion. Simon works at the test reactor site in Cadarache near Aix-en-Provence. It would have been exciting to meet Simon and see the site in person. Unfortunately, a stomach bug and train cancellations conspired against us and we had to move the conversation online. Next time, Simon!

Going live

Not stopping at face to face interviews, the next step up will be a “live” podcast recording event at the RSE conference in Newcastle, UK (6 - 9 Sept 2022). For the recording I have invited a panel to discuss “RSE - the next 10 years” and also hear from you the audience. The event will take place on the first day of the conference (6 Sept) at 4:30pm BST. And I can’t wait to meet you all there. 

Code for Thought can be found on most popular podcast platforms such as Apple, Google, Spotify and others. You can also access it directly from our website at https://codeforthought.buzzsprout.com. 

Follow us on Twitter: @Code_4_Thought and join in the conversation using #CodeForThought.


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