On 5/4/07, Simon Taylor <simontaylor1@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Presentations are a good way of communicating key points to people quickly. Many people are more comfortable learning by watching a presentation than by reading text. So let's put some presentations on the website.
I completely agree. While reading documentation and tutorials is useful, seeing and hearing someone walk through a process or project is much more helpful to a lot of people. As an example, check out http://www.rubyonrails.org/screencasts , particularly the first two videos. Each is a very short walkthrough of a developer creating a solution to a problem in a short amount of time, and by the end, they have a working finished product with some kind of practical value. This serves two main purposes at once. The first and most obvious purpose is that the presentations have a tutorial aspect, allowing interested developers to learn about certain techniques or technologies from a Haiku expert. Secondly, videos like this have a marketing/evangelistic aspect, essentially "showing off" what the system can do. The Rails videos linked above are watchable and generally understandable even for those who aren't familiar with the Rails system or the Ruby language; people who aren't interested in code walk away from the presentation with a sense like "wow, I can create a functional, useful web application with that system much more quickly and easily than with the system I use now". A series of videos like that for Haiku (even if only a few) could really be useful and could possibly serve as potential viral marketing fodder. The only drawback I can see is finding someone with the equipment, time, and talent to create them. Even if one person were to write the code/application, another person did the on-camera presentation and voice-overs, and another did the video production and editing aspects, producing a single video could take a significant amount of time. I have a feeling that unless we have a decent sized group of volunteers working on this, posting a new video per week is probably a bit much. Rather than periodic content, I (personally at least) would prefer to see three or four videos in the 4-6 minute range, released "when they're finished", on general Haiku-related topics and on details that aren't going to change any time soon (such as the API for creating a BApplication and a GUI). Since a lot of things are still in a state of flux, I'd think that avoiding anything involving hardware or setup should probably be avoided since they are likely to change (I'd hate to see people spend a lot of time and effort producing a quality video that gets outdated and deleted in six months). If no one steps forward to volunteer to assist with video production, may I suggest an alternative that my University uses for distance learning and Internet classes. In lieu of a full video presentation, an online presentation is created either as a series of "one-big-image" web pages or as a flash video, and a presenter needs only to record voice-over clips that play while you view the associated content. This can be anything from a slide show of screenshots detailing a step-by-step process to a video capture of the presenter's desktop (or even a mix of the two). The simplest presentation is the screenshot/voice-over method, and a professor (working alone) can typically take all the needed screenshots and record the audio for a 4-6 minute presentation and have the presentation online in about two hours of work (a presentation template already exists to simplify the online side, just upload 1.png, 1.mp3, 2.png, 2.mp3, etc etc and the server does the hard part). Something like this would take less time and manpower than a full video presentation, and if in the future something needed to be changed, individual "slides" or "pages" can be added, removed, or changed rather easily. If a slide involves code, the page can include the text of the code (or a link to download the file if the code is long) below the image for readability and for ease of following along at home. Links to relevant API documentation, etc can also be provided on a per-slide basis. For off-line viewing, a slide show with background audio can relatively easily be produced in powerpoint/openoffice formats out of a web presentation done this way. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth of thoughts -Ben