After guesting on a few podcasts over the past year, I’ve come up with what I feel is a simple (but thorough) preflight checklist of the things that I like to do to before recording. These things help normalize my environment and minimize the majority of technical difficulties that I run into.

Anyway… In an attempt to be helpful, I thought I’d share them with y’all.

  • Pour yourself a large glass of ice water.
    • Don’t accidentally leave it in the kitchen!
  • Plug in USB mic.
    • Select the USB mic as your input device.
  • Plug in headphones.
    • Verify that headphones are set as your output device.
  • Manually restart your residential gateway or cable modem.
  • Manually restart your router.
    • If an ethernet connection is available, plug your machine directly into your router.
  • Run a speed test on your connection.
    • You want low latency and a reasonably speedy connection.
  • Pause syncing on Dropbox.
    • See also: Google Drive, BitTorrent Sync, etc.
  • Change Backblaze schedule from Continuously to Only when I click <Backup Now>.
    • See also: CrashPlan, Carbonite, etc.
  • Halt all Vagrant development environments.
  • Enable Do Not Disturb mode in OS X’s Notification Center.
    • Want a shortcut? Option+Click the Notification Center icon.
  • Make sure that Shush is running.
  • Load Skype or Chrome.

While I’m sure that some of this — especially the part about restarting my residential gateway & router — is just nerd voodoo, I haven’t run into any major issues after implementing this checklist.

I’d love to hear about anyone else’s pre podcast routine. If you have one, please share it!

P.S. If you’re not familiar with Shush, it’s an app that allows you to discreetly mute (or unmute) your microphone with a hotkey. Should you be recording in a location where children or pets are present, using its push-to-talk functionality can knock down a considerable amount of background noise.

P.P.S. For podcasts that are recorded via Google Hangout, I keep a clean copy of Chrome Canary installed on my machine. I run Canary separately from my main browser, and have not installed any additional extensions. While loading the Hangout URL in an incognito window might have a similar effect, I find doing this leaves less to chance.