Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

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Callum Todd
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Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Callum Todd » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:26 pm

Following the inaugural episode last week, the Focal Talk podcast (presented by Paul Anderson and myself) is back with a second episode.

Episode 2 features guest spots with Ben Wilson and Conor Travers. You can listen to it here. The first episode, guesting Jeff Clayton and James Haughton can be found there too in case you missed it.

If you'd like to download the podcast to listen to it offline at a later point - you can do so from this site. With thanks to Steve H for suggesting this platform.

If you have any feedback on the podcast, we'd love to hear it. Please get in touch with me or Paul or send an e-mail to focaltalkpodcast@gmail.com

I hope you enjoy listening. Cheers!
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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:11 am

Wasn't the main piece of critical feedback from the first episode that it was an order of magnitude too long? This is why it seems odd that now the second episode has come out, it's exactly the same length, but this time there isn't even an abridged version.

(Edit: I have been some quantity of muppet here as I've now found there is an abridged version, but at the other link rather than the one I was using.)

This is addressed at about 6:30 that people complaining about the length probably weren't used to listening to podcasts, and it's implied that two and a half hours is standard, but according to this, the mean average podcast length, after removing extreme outliers, is much shorter at about 37 minutes.

If the podcast were no longer than a episode of Countdown I might listen to the whole thing. The interview with Ben about the history of the show and the community is interesting from what I've heard so far.

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Callum Todd » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:39 am

Perhaps I've misinterpreted that data, but I would expect that just looking at pure average episode length will likely result in a shorter time, as there will naturally be more episodes of shorter podcasts.

Some podcasts can be short (highlights packages of longer shows, or short discussions between two hosts with no guests, or solo shows) but this is a long-form conversation podcast.

It's not possible to make it significantly shorter without fundamentally altering the nature of it (i.e. by limiting our guests' time to speak). If people want a shorter podcast, they don't just want a shorter version of this (which isn't possible): they want a different podcast. Which is fair enough. But that's not what we're making here.

If you don't like long-form conversation podcasts, where guests are given as much time as they need to speak, then this isn't for you.
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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:14 pm

It's very good. i really enjoyed it.

Some sound quality issues with Conor unfortunately. In 2020 it seems like these should be solved by now but sadly not. An idea might be to get your guests to record the call as well then you can use their recording of them and your recording of you.

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Callum Todd » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:39 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:14 pm
It's very good. i really enjoyed it.

Some sound quality issues with Conor unfortunately. In 2020 it seems like these should be solved by now but sadly not. An idea might be to get your guests to record the call as well then you can use their recording of them and your recording of you.
Cheers Jono. Yep that's the plan for future. We have been using a service to record the calls that claims to effectively do just that (record participants calls locally, then upload them to us) but the end result isn't what it should be.
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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:20 am

I listened through the first hour so far. It's enjoyable, though it could probably do with being snappier.

Regarding the Podcast name... ye need to think of a good alternative name and fast. If you want this to be a thing discoverable by fans of Countdown and words games, who aren't part of the clique, "Focal Talk" has to go. Callum worries about branding and copyright issues. It seems far fetched that there would be any problem. It is very very common for fans to use the name of the thing they are fans of. (e.g. right now the group "Countdowners" on facebook attracts new blood to the CD community better than anything else out there, because it uses the name of the show. This forum also uses the name without needing permission from C4.)

In the Eurovision community (another one based around a TV show...), the name 'Eurovision' and the shortened form 'ESC' is used by podcasts & blog sites with impunity. There has never been an issue. Some of these make money from their blogs. A fan run online radio station does great business under the name ESCRADIO with the tagline "Eurovision Song Contest Radio". I understand there is some weirdness around Apterous, where they don't have a Countdowny name and are a bit petulant about it (e.g. "never has been, never will be, and moreover is proud not to be. Yep.")... but that's just the Apto-management's issue rather than a lead that the entire fan community should follow.

The name "Focal" is good for the co-events scene because of what the letters stand for, and that it is the Irish word for "word" is another cool thing about it... but in the case of the Podcast, the Irish connection is actually a hilarious drawback. When I see Focal, I do not pronounce it like you, where it rhymes with 'Yokel', I pronounce it like the Irish word... and that rhymes with 'Buckle'. So when an Irish person sees "Focal Talk", they are actually more likely to think "Fuck-all talk" than "Folk will talk". :lol: :mrgreen:

I have to disagree on the point that Apterous suits elites better than average Joes. There is so much in the design of the site that is friendly to newbies and low-skill players... Top Dog, Daily Duel, Star Paths, The first two bots, the high initial rating score, Easy variants like Nice, Touch, Jnr... As for the standard of player in the game room at any point in time, yes, the standard is high... but that's all down to who logs on, and having some of the best players in the game logging on regularly can hardly be seen as a negative. However, in my experience, it is very rare that there are no players online whose rating is lower than 1000, new players should surely find some close games and the occasional win in that zone? Short of giving out "participation awards", I don't see what improvements could be made. (I personally don't think any changes are necessary.)

Your talk about the 1000 club and the greats of the game was interesting. It caused me to revisit the "1000 club" thread here, and in doing so I came across this:-
L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:40 pm
Conor wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:46 pm
L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:39 pm


If you wanna put your money where your mouth is, €10 says it happens before S80, and €100 says it happens before the end of the year 2020. :)
Do your bets still stand? And are they both at evens? Because then I'd like to take you up on the first one.
But not the second one. ;)
(I'll give you the tenner when/if I meet you at some Countdown related event in the future.)
Oops! Conor, I completely forgot about this, you should have gotten the tenner at Co-Dub 19. Payment is postponed to the next co-event... or if you'd like some interest on the investment (seven-fold!), you can have free entry to Co:Wat 2020 instead!
:arrow: :arrow: :arrow: S:778-ochamp

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Martin Peters » Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:47 pm

When is ep3 out???

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Callum Todd » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:46 am

Episode 3, featuring Innis Carson in the sole guest slot, will be released soon (hopefully this week). We will probably release long play as soon as its ready, with short edit to follow some time over the next week or so.
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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Martin Peters » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:37 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:46 am
Episode 3, featuring Innis Carson in the sole guest slot, will be released soon (hopefully this week). We will probably release long play as soon as its ready, with short edit to follow some time over the next week or so.
Thanks Callum, I can’t wait to listen now.

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Paul Anderson » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:55 am

Hi guys

It's out now. Ahead of Callum posting here, you can find it on the Countdowner's page on FB.
Enjoy

Cheers

Paul

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:46 pm

I'm still catching up with these and have just finished the second one. I thought it was good, certainly, but I would still question your insistence that it is the right length. It's about 2.5 hours long, and episode 4 I notice is a whole hour longer than that! As it was essentially two separate interviews (Ben and Conor), it could be split into two separate podcasts, because I also wonder how many people actually listen to them all in one go anyway. I would understand more if it was one continuous thing that had to be that length (you mentioned films), but this was essentially two disjoint items. It probably doesn't matter that much because people can just listen to however much they want at a time, but one of the reasons I've put off listening to them is that I've found it a bit daunting!

Also, I noticed you referred to Conor's natural skill at the game at the start (before he actually came on), and this general subject came up again towards the end, but I thought it would have been interesting to hear Conor's take on it a bit more. To what would he attribute his skill - how much does he think it is down to genes/hard work/starting at an early age etc?

But yes, I really enjoyed it anyway and I will be catching up with them all eventually.

Edit - Also, what time do you finish school in Ireland? 3:25 as a time for Countdown still seems far too early for children coming back from school!
Last edited by Gavin Chipper on Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:03 pm

I can ask Conor here actually by "tagging" him:
Conor wrote:

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Conor » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:30 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:46 pm
Also, I noticed you referred to Conor's natural skill at the game at the start (before he actually came on), and this general subject came up again towards the end, but I thought it would have been interesting to hear Conor's take on it a bit more. To what would he attribute his skill - how much does he think it is down to genes/hard work/starting at an early age etc?
For me personally, I'd attribute most of it to 'how my brain works' and starting at a young age. Whether how my brain works is genetic or behavioral I don't really know.

There's a few reasons why starting at a young age helped: the plasticity of the brain is better, and you can pick up skills like anagramming more easily; there's the lack of pragmatic constraints and spend hours playing a word game having the time and not thinking 'I should do be doing something better with my time'. I feel it helped developing most of my skills at a younger age and returning a bit older where I had a bit more introspection and maturity and this helped me actualize things.

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Re: Focal Talk podcast Episode 2 out now (featuring Ben Wilson and Conor Travers)

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:02 pm

Conor wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:30 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:46 pm
Also, I noticed you referred to Conor's natural skill at the game at the start (before he actually came on), and this general subject came up again towards the end, but I thought it would have been interesting to hear Conor's take on it a bit more. To what would he attribute his skill - how much does he think it is down to genes/hard work/starting at an early age etc?
For me personally, I'd attribute most of it to 'how my brain works' and starting at a young age. Whether how my brain works is genetic or behavioral I don't really know.

There's a few reasons why starting at a young age helped: the plasticity of the brain is better, and you can pick up skills like anagramming more easily; there's the lack of pragmatic constraints and spend hours playing a word game having the time and not thinking 'I should do be doing something better with my time'. I feel it helped developing most of my skills at a younger age and returning a bit older where I had a bit more introspection and maturity and this helped me actualize things.
Cool. I think we might have discussed this a bit in person a while ago as well, but it's interesting to get people's take on it.

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