Coming up I hope :)

I have requested two interviews.

1. Eviction Lab, want to know what is happening with evictions in the USA. Check this site out https://evictionlab.org it's not pretty but it's important to talk about. So i have emailed and asked them for some insights.

2. I also contacted a site that does specialty tea sets. I hope to have someone from the site based in the UK contact me soon for an inerview.

3. I have also sent a request to two more people one expert on heat waves and a company that provides expert witnesses for trials.

C. T.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's All About The Stuph A Candid Conversation With Peter Anthony Holder

He is the Stuph man and he has been the Stuph man for 20+ plus years. Even after his on air gig ended his show and the features that are embedded in it live on via the world of Podcasting. I am speaking about the Stuph File Program and it's host/creator Peter Anthony Holder. Peter has a rare knack for digging up some of the funniest stories and for finding some of the most interesting people to interview on his Podcast. As I mentioned above he has successfully crossed over from the on air studio to the online world and has not only been able to continue telling those odd stories but has been able to bring his regular guests from his former radio show to the online world. I am glad to welcome you Peter to Candid Conversations.

P.A.H: Thanks for having me.


Cliff T.: I think enough has been said about the past re what happened at your former job so I will skip that part. However I do want to know was the decision to bring The Stuph File over to an online form one that took some mulling over or was it an immediate lets go for it decision?

P.A.H: There was no mulling over to be done. I have always had a home studio and always did production from that studio so it was a no-brainer on my part to continue the process. The key was to do something that wasn’t going to be costly, but again, since I had all the equipment there really are no monetary costs, simply time. I have to say that the wonderful world of Skype has been a godsend.


Cliff T.: For the uninitiated can you tell us what is the Stuph File Program is about and who are your regular featured guest on the show?

P.A.H: Well, The Stuph File Program is basically a quirky interview show wrapped up in a collection of odd news or kicker stories. The kind of thing that you don’t normally hear on conventional radio (especially since I’m no longer there!) As for the regular guests, right now there is Steve Walsh, Our Man In The Heart Of America Checking The Pulse Of The Nation who is on the show weekly.


The others, such as Book Banter with Stuart Nulman and items like Andrew Fazekas, “The Night Sky Guy” are less frequent. If the one-hour weekly show becomes more successful and can earn a profit, then I would be interested in doing it more than once a week and if that were possible then I would bring back even more regular features, such as The Gabby Cabby.

Cliff T.: What was your initial reaction to the idea of doing a Podcast and has your view of them changed since you decided to do one?

P.A.H: Well, first of all, although I don’t have any problems with podcasts and the online world, I prefer NOT to refer to the program as a podcast. I did initially because it was only online. But it’s a little more than that now, especially since it is on terrestrial radio in New Zealand and there is the possibility that it could also be on in the UK and other locations as well.


When I first started the show, it was called “The Stuph File Podcast” but now it is merely “The Stuph File Program.” Also, for the most part, podcasts are shorter and don’t necessarily have the radio “bells and whistles” that The Stuph File has. This show is an hour long (actually 56 minutes to allow for commercials) and its production is very similar to what the original radio show was like. And I still work the show on the radio-clock system, so it’s produced very tight in a uniformed time from week to week. Most podcasts don’t have that (one exception is “The Kelly Alexander Show” which I suggest you and your readers check out. Kelly does a fine show and she is also a radio host who dabbles online with an hour-long format).

The show is also heard on CyberStationUSA.com and the folks there actually wanted me to do a two hour show. However I balked at that because I believe online the attention spans are shorter and at an hour I’m already pushing the envelope as far as show length is concerned. I’ve told the folks at CyberStationUSA.com that if we start to turn a profit with this program, I would prefer to do two one-hour shows than one two-hour show, just to give the online audience a breather.

Cliff T.: Do you find it easier to get interviews for the Podcast or is it similar to what you experienced while working on the air?

P.A.H: There really isn’t any difference. I had built up a reputation with the previous show that carries forward to doing this one. As a result the folks that I have to deal with when booking guests have been most accommodating. Also, as time goes on, it is quite possible that the audience I am building here would be even larger than my old radio audience, even though I was on two powerhouse stations in two very big radio markets in the country. Potential guests and their handlers are aware of the audience reach and the savvy online listeners.


Cliff T.: How many people are downloading The Stuph File Program? Did you think you would get as big a response as you have gotten?

P.A.H: Well, the biggest chunk of listeners comes from CyberStationUSA.com. With them I have between 50,000-75,000 listeners per week. The direct downloads from my website can add about another couple of thousand and then there’s iTunes (which I don’t have complete figures for) and the folks who listen to it terrestrially in New Zealand. It’s growing steadily.


Cliff T.: How long does it take to put a show together?

P.A.H: The interviews are done first and they take the real time that it takes to put them together, usually about eight to ten minutes. I don’t really count recording them as part of the time it takes to put the show together. When I have the elements ready, it’s then the writing of The Stuph File and the recording of the show. I would say, conservatively speaking, the time to put all that together would be in the neighbourhood of about three hours. It could be more because I like to tinker, audio-wise, it could be less if everything goes smoothly and I’m on a roll.


Cliff T.: Do you try to go for a theme during the show or does that happen as you produce the show?

P.A.H: Rarely do I try to go with a theme. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. For instance, I did one show that dealt with soap operas. I just happened to have a major soap star booked and another soap related topic came up so I put them in the same show, but that wasn’t the initial plan. I just try to put together an eclectic kind of show that has a little bit of everything to give it a bit of variety.


Cliff T.:Has any of your recent guests on the show inspired you? Or, to put it in another way who or what helped you decide to move into Podcasting? And has the experience of doing a Podcast changed your view of media? If so how?

P.A.H: Well, Mitch Joel was the first guest we had on The Stuph File Program because he is a major blogger and is really into the podcast world, but beyond that I can’t say anyone else. My view of the media hasn’t changed, because I’ve been aware of the online world and the social media world as it has developed so it’s not like it was a foreign entity to me before I started doing the show online.


Cliff T.: Peter does it feel the same as being on the air if so how? Or, alternately how does it differ from being on the air?

P.A.H: Outside of the fact that I don’t do the show live; there really isn’t any difference in how the show sounds or how it feels. I purposely designed the show that way so it’s just merely a continuation of what I did over the airwaves.


Cliff T.: They say radio is in the blood, are you planning a return to the studio? Or, have you decided to leave radio and pursue other career goals?

P.A.H: Again, I don’t feel that this is any different from radio, so I don’t feel I’ve left it behind. I’m still in a studio. Just one that is at home. (And there was a period of about six weeks after a surgery that I had that I did the radio show from my home studio, so a studio is wherever a mic and a board exists). I’m quite happy doing The Stuph File Program and will continue to do it, regardless of what the future might hold elsewhere.


Cliff T.: Peter I want to thank you gain for taking time out in your busy schedule to speak through e-mail about The Stuph File Program. Your listeners new and old including myself wish all the success to you as you move forward with the show. Thanks for keeping the stuph coming.

P.A.H: Thank you.


Cliff T.:Peter Anthony Holder is the creator and host of the Stuph File Program. The podcast is produced in Montreal Quebec Canada under the production name of Flying Fish Communications. The Stuph File Program website address is www.thestuphfile.com You can download the podcast from this site and also via Itunes.

For more information about the show and Peter check out the following links

Peter's Blog Holder's Stuph File
http://twitter.com/PAHolder is Peter's Twitter address
And for those who fancy the use of Facebook Peter's page

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Debugging IT With Kevin Trottier of Twist Solutions A Candid Conversation

While surfing the net for people to interview on Candid Conversations I come across a lot of press releases. I have bookmarked a couple of press release sites and I will look at them to see if the subject at hand may be of interest to readers on Candid Conversations. One such release caught my eye. The headline read “Is Your IT department necessary?” That is a very good question. So I got in touch with the author Kevin Trottier of Twist Solutions a company that offers, you guessed it, IT solutions. Mr. Trottier thanks for taking the time to chat with me and the readers of Candid Conversations.

Cliff T.: OK let’s start by asking the question does a company need to have an IT department? And or another way of putting this question is what kinds of companies and what size companies need IT departments?

Kevin Trottier: Small and mid-sized organizations lend themselves to having a third party managed service as the price/performance of the services versus an IT department can be very compelling. The IT skill-sets required to create a basic IT department like: help-desk, server administration, monitoring, and planning can be cost prohibitive for small companies. For large scale enterprises it makes sense to have members of their IT department be a part of their internal executive team.

Cliff T.: I tried my hand at IT sales back in 2004 not an easy job. One of the things we were told is that it is essential for companies to look at having an IT department to protect the bottom line, does having an IT department do such a thing for a company? Why or why not?

Kevin Trottier: Having stable and reliable IT systems, created by mature IT processes, is essential in protecting the bottom line. Whether the IT functions are provided from an internal company department or a third party provider - mature IT processes ultimately provide the best protection of the bottom line.


Cliff T.: What should an IT department be doing in the first place?

Kevin Trottier: The IT department in a small to mid-sized business should provide two main functions: 1) from the day-to-day standpoint, it should be providing smooth and effective operations of the technical environment and when there is a problem, to fix it quickly and correctly; 2) from a strategic standpoint, determine and then implement the key technology enablers to help the executives hit their goals.


Cliff T.: People think of the IT department as the plumbing guys for the network in a company. However I am sure that there is more to it than that. What exactly is or makes up an IT department?

Kevin Trottier: An IT department for a small to mid-sized business is typically made up of the following skill sets:


  • Technologists that help the end-users with their day-to-day needs like, “I can’t print or get to the Internet”
  • System administrators that that make sure the back-off systems like, email and data backup are operating and
  • Consulting resources that provide planning based on the business needs and emerging technologies.
Cliff T.: Because in most cases one never really sees the IT team at work there must be misconceptions and disconnect? What is the biggest misconception and what can companies do to overcome disconnects between the users management and IT?

Kevin Trottier: A challenging area is the fine line between where end-user “training” issues end and where “technical” issues begin. A simple way to overcome this challenge is to develop clear criteria that differentiate between “training” related versus “technical” issues. Presenting a trend-line of these types of issues to end-users at an IT feedback session is a great way to overcome any misconceptions. Trying to give feedback to a rushed end-user in real-time you may run the risk of being the condescending IT guy… ouch!

Cliff T.: How long have you been working in IT?

Kevin Trottier: I have been working in the industry for 12 years in a variety of roles from software engineer, product development, and sales and marketing.


Cliff T.: In your line of work I would think that you get some rather interesting requests related to IT, has anything come your way that just was totally out to lunch?

Kevin Trottier: We had a request regarding a Christmas tree that comes to mind which is out of scope for the services we provide J Our service model provides a complete alternative to a traditional IT department so we often field a variety of requests from business clients that are not always related to the services we provide.


Cliff T.: What kinds of IT challenges get you thinking I know there is a way and how do you begin to find the way to overcoming the challenge presented?

Kevin Trottier: I think there is a challenge; really more of an opportunity around business processes within the industries we serve. Executives at small to mid-sized firms are pulled in so many directions from delivering their products or services, managing staff, and financials, etc. that having a good set of internal operating process can be a really “un-locking” move for them. The IT folks are in a unique position to see the entire operation and develop these processes.


Cliff T.: Is IT a personal thing for people like you who work in it? I ask because many in other trades say it gets in the blood would you say that is true about being an IT guy?

Kevin Trottier: We certainly look at passion for technology in new hires. Technical advancements happen so fast in the IT industry that trying to keep up can be quite a burden if you don’t have technology in the blood.


Cliff T.: I noticed the title of the company you work for Twist, interesting name for a firm. Is that the goal here to offer a twist if you will to the world of IT? And if so what is that twist?

Kevin Trottier: We have a unique service delivery model combining a proprietary IT management platform with our technical specialists. This combination creates an alternative to an IT department as a subscription based service.


Cliff T.: Mr. Trottier I want to thank you for letting us peek into your world. IT is an interesting realm with lots of interesting turns and pardon the pun, twists, I wish you and Twist the best of success.

Kevin Trottier: Thank you Cliff!


Cliff T.: Kevin Trottier works for Twist Solutions a Dallas Texas based computer and IT Service Company. Twist helps companies manage many aspects of their IT including installation and service of servers and desktops. He wrote to us from his office in Dallas. To find out more visit the company site at twistsolutions.com