Podcast review: Goodnight Chrome (Jack McDade, creator of Statamic CMS)

Goodnight Chrome is a web developers’ tech podcast with an unusually specific purpose – to put its users to sleep as host Jack McDade drones on and on about…

…well, it’s hard for me to describe exactly what Jack drones on about, since I fell asleep while he was describing some random new feature in Chrome, about six minutes into the podcast. Re-listening now through about 06:30, I realize I signed off just before he started talking about his craving for off-brand honey nut Cheerios.

But I didn’t fall asleep before hearing enough to generalize the podcast’s driving technique.

Here’s a sample of the surreal monologuing:

Now also in Chrome 64, modules can now access to host specific meta data with import.meta, and the popup blocker gets strong. Now, it’s not clear what that means; so, one can only assume that it’s been in the gym or has possibly been doing one of those “in the woods” exercises where they kind of just pick up logs and carry them with other window.events, which, you know, is good for them. Now window.alert no longer changes focus…

Jack goes on to throw out more technical factoids about Chrome with little coherence between them, before rambling off again. We might assume that the podcast as a whole went out hiking in the woods one night with that popup blocker, picking up random sticks and stones and wildflowers as they came to its attention in the deepening twilight.

The trippy experience does make a sort of sense. It brings potentially interesting and useful tech trivia to the listener’s attention in a haphazard way that not only doesn’t require the listener to be paying close attention the whole time, but proactively subverts any attempt to follow the monologue as any kind of traditional exposition or narrative. There’s the potential in this structure for the listener to zone in and out, finding creative and memorable ways to imagine random tech trivia when he or she happens to be paying attention.

Although I used the first episode in the intended way, I think I may try disobeying the prominent warning on the simplecast.fm page next time – DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS DURING THE DAY. Actually, I guess that the creative twists on relevant tech themes might be just the thing to occupy the mind while working on something monotonous – in my case, often rote raster or vector graphics work. I wouldn’t try listening to it while coding and certainly not while writing, but I imagine this kind of thing could throw a creative angle that I might be able to use to maintain focus while filing away the tech info for later research.

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