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Comment: Re:The videos are bad (Score 1) 110

These videos are "Meet the Press" style on purpose. They exist to let you see some of the people behind the software, stories, and hardware they (or their companies) make. Steven, for instance, is one of the world's more popular tech journalists. Next time you see his byline, you can mentally call up his image. You may not want to do that, but others obviously do; thousands of people watch /. videos.

I agree with you about charts and graphs, up to a point. And people who have some sort of device or whatever should have a working model to show off. Otherwise, it's like my favorite PR pet peeve: Sending out a press release about a google glass look-sort-of-alike thing that is only a display and saying, "...I would love to schedule an interview for you with a Vufine team member." Instead of a review unit? Come on!

This is not a hypothetical situation. It's a press release I got today from this company: http://www.vufine.com/

Obviously, a hands-on test of an eyeglass-mount projector would be more informative than either a video or text interview -- and more fun for me, too. Why didn't they offer a test unit? Not to keep, of course. Just for a few days. Hmm?

Back to the talking head syndrome. I've made a lot of screencap videos, TV news shorts, online ad videos, TV spots, and a few music videos. So yeah, I can do fairly complex video work. 30 cuts in a 60 second piece? Sure. I've done that. BUT here we're sharing information, and a lot of it is pretty dry. We have no budget for motion video or animation, either. I could have included some shots of Steven's articles and pics of TV antennas, cableco logos, and other pieces of "visual interest." If you and a bunch of others feel the extra work/time/money is worthwhile, I'm happy to do that in future videos.

There's a whole other reason for videos of people talking: You know they're not being misquoted. Raw source material protects you against reporters changing meanings or opinions. I've been the misquoted person more than once, and I didn't like it. Even in a case like today's, where we ran a 4 minute video and 20 minutes' worth of text transcript, you can reasonably (and correctly) assume that I have the rest of the interview on a hard drive somewhere. Accuracy insurance.

Audio only? Be my guest! Listen to this video's audio on your smartphone while driving if you like. 100% up to you. But if it was sound only, you wouldn't have the option of watching the video. I was talking with someone else today about video vs. audio podcasts. His company did audio casts for a while, but he says they got a lot more response when they switched to video. And they do *not* provide transcripts.

A lot of this discussion falls into the "can't please everyone" category. Some people prefer watching people talk to reading what they say. (I'm a reader, myself.) But some people prefer visual information intake. Not you, obviously -- which is okay. Read the transcripts, don't watch or listen to the videos.

Last note: You said, "(I need to point out that anyone can grab a camera and record someone talking for ten minutes. What makes Slashdot better than all the YouTube teenagers who do this for their HS project? You have the intent, time, and money to do this. Do it right, then learn to do it well.)"

Geez! You're big on catching flies with vinegar, aren't you? :)

BUT if making simple videos is all that easy, why have we only gotten *one* usable video actually submitted by a Slashdot reader - ever? And it was over an hour long, and our management now wants our videos to be under 5 minutes. So we ran an excerpt of the guy's video and provided a link to the full-length version at his (non-commercial) site.

I have a guy who offered himself up for an interview because he though his product was better than one we did a video about. He does some interesting stuff I'm sure at least some /. readers will enjoy learning about. I'm going to try to schedule him in for next week, and see if he has any raw product demo footage around that I can use to make the video more interesting.

Do you have a video you want to run on Slashdot? Or a topic suggestion? Happy to check them out. Use the usual submission bin or email robin at roblimo dot com.

Thx.

Media

Cable Companies Hate Cord-Cutting, but It's Not Going Away (Video) 110

Posted by Roblimo
from the parting-with-a-cable-company-is-such-sweet-sorrow dept.
On May 29, Steven J. Vaughan Nichols (known far and wide as SJVN) wrote an article for ZDNet headlined, Now more than ever, the Internet belongs to cord-cutters. A few days before that, he wrote another one headlined, Mary Meeker's Internet report: User growth slowing, but disruption full speed ahead. And last December he wrote one titled, Reports show it's becoming a cord cutter's world. SJVN obviously sees a trend here. So do a lot of other people, including cable TV and local TV executives who are biting their nails and asking themselves, "Whatever shall we do?" So far, says SJVN, the answers they've come up with are not encouraging.

NOTE from Roblimo: We're trying something different with this video, namely keeping it down to about 4 minutes but running a text transcript that covers our 20+ minute conversation with SJVN. Is this is a good idea? Please let us know.

Comment: Re:Down with video (Score 0) 25

Sigh. We supply text transcripts with almost all videos. Look for the link -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... tells you how to use a hyperlink (or 'link' for short).

To see that link, click on the video's title or on the "read more" link below the video where it appears on the main page.

Have a nice day, and may everyone you meet be as courteous to you as you are to Slashdot staff!

Thanks,

- Robin

Comment: Re:What is this (Score 2) 25

Unless a story or video is marked SPONSORED CONTENT or ADVERTISEMENT it is not a paid ad on Slashdot. Sometimes a Slashdot editor -- Tim in this case -- gets interested enough in a person, group, service or product to do a video interview with the person/people behind it. The theory behind the Dan Shapiro interviews (and we have two more to run after a while) is that they're a great primer on how to use crowdfunding to kickstart your company. His Glowforge product is obviously not unique, and we have said so and linked to several competitors, which should be a clue that it's not an ad.

We looked at what Shapiro had to say as good info for entrepreneurial Slashdot users who may want to start their own businesses one day. You may not be one of them. Please understand that many thousands of people hit Slashdot every day, and stories that interest you may not interest each and every one of them. And stories that interest some of them may not be your cup of milk.

A funny datum for you: We ran an excerpt from an interview at http://passionatevoices.org/ - whose owner Erik first contacted me about our videos; he wondered if they were paid ads. Obviously they're not, because when Erik submitted his first video on passionate voices, this is what happened: http://news.slashdot.org/story...

We are happy to accept and run reader-submitted videos and we love suggestions for people we should interview. You can use the submission form or email me, robin at roblimo dotcom.

Got any good ideas? :)

- Robin

Hardware Hacking

More About Dan Shapiro and the Glowforge CNC Laser Cutter (Video #2) 25

Posted by Roblimo
from the tom-swift-and-his-cnc-laser-cutter-would-make-a-great-book-title dept.
Yesterday Glowforge Co-Founder and CEO Dan Shapiro told us that the Glowforge machine is a CNC laser cutter and engraver, not a 3-D Printer -- even though the first words on Glowforge's main page are, "The First 3D Laser Printer," a description Dan says is there for people not familiar with things like laser cutters and 3-D printers, who want to call the Glowforge a 3-D printer even though people who know about this stuff know what it is at first glance. He also talks about his previous startup, Robot Turtles; what it is, how it came to be, and why kids like it so much. This interview is worth watching (or reading) for the Robot Turtles section alone, especially if you have children or are thinking about designing board games for kids.
Hardware Hacking

Glowforge is a CNC Laser Cutter, not a 3D Printer (Video) 44

Posted by Roblimo
from the some-machines-add-material-while-others-cut-it dept.
Co-Founder and CEO Dan Shapiro says, right at the beginning of the interview, that the Glowforge machine is a CNC laser cutter and engraver, not a 3-D Printer. He says they've "simplified the heck" out of the hardware and software, and are making an easy-to-use, non-costly ($2500 has been bandied about as the unit's likely price) device that can fit on a kitchen table -- or, more likely, a workbench at a maker facility. Although Dan did very well on Kickstarter (and afterwards) with his previous venture, Robot Turtles, this time he seems to have raised his first $9 million in the venture capital market, with participation from several MakerBot executives.

Glowforge is not the only CNC laser cutter/etcher device out there (or about to be). In Australia, Darkly Labs appears to have raised $569,397 (AUD) on Kickstarter to bring their LazerBlade to life, and already makes a small laser device called the Emblaser. There are others, too, including Boxzy, which did the Kickstarter thing and will now sell you a device that "rapidly transforms into 3 kinds of machines: CNC Mill, 3D Printer & Laser Engraver while enhancing precision & power with ballscrews." All this, and their top-of-the-line "does everything" machine sells for a mere $3500. Obviously, devices to give makers and prototypers the ability to make ever more complex and accurate shapes are coming to market like crazy. We'll continue to keep an eye on all this activity, including a second video interview with Glowforge's Dan Shapiro tomorrow.
Open Source

Building Hospitable Open Source Communities (Video) 111

Posted by Roblimo
from the the-tirades-will-continue-until-morale-improves dept.
This is an 11 minute excerpt from an hour-long video, contributed by long-time Slashdot user Erik Möller. This video is the moving picture equivalent of the typical Slashdot summary of a text article, complete with a link to the main article, which in this case is a video (over an hour long) at PassionateVoices.org. Erik's interviewee, Sumana Harihareswara, is also a long-time Slashdot reader who claims (admits?) that she met her husband through a Slashdot link, albeit indirectly. She's spent most of the past decade working with open source, much of it as a community leader. If you are in a leadership role in an open source community or plan to lead one someday, you may want to listen to the complete interview. Sumana has many useful things to say about how open source communities should -- and shouldn't -- be run.
Cloud

A Conversation with Druva Co-Founder Jaspreet Singh (Video) 39

Posted by Roblimo
from the doo-wop-is-now-de-dupe dept.
This was originally going to be an interview about the state of enterprise-level backup software in an increasingly edge computing-focused world, but we rapidly drifted into talking about how Druva started in Pune (near Bangalore) and ended up moving to Silicon Valley. We hear plenty about American software companies moving to India, but not a lot about Indian software companies moving here. Druva had good reasons for the move, the chief one being a financing deal with Sequoia Capital. Aside from that, though, Jaspreet says the talent pool -- not just developers but software marketing people and other important staffers -- is more concentrated in Silicon Valley than almost anywhere else in the world. 'It's like Hollywood for geeks,' Jaspreet says. This doesn't mean business is necessarily easy in the USA: Jaspreet ended up laying off his entire staff. Twice. And he made other mistakes as a young, new CEO bringing a company to life in a crowded field.

Those mistakes, which Jaspreet shares freely with us, are like a business school 'Start-Up Pitfalls' class. You may never want to do your own startup, but if you're a developer or otherwise involved with the software industry, there's a good chance that you'll have a chance to work for one at some point. And if you have that chance, you'll be glad you watched this video (or read the transcript) before you take the startup plunge.
Education

Learn About The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools Program (Video #2) 11

Posted by Roblimo
from the how-can-you-be-in-four-places-at-once-when-you're-not-anywhere-at-all? dept.
Quoting our intro from yesterday's 'Part One' video: 'The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools program (TEALS to its friends), started with one volunteer, a Berkeley CS grad named Kevin Wang who taught high school for a while, then went to Microsoft for a much higher salary than he got from teaching. But before long, he was getting up early and teaching a first period computer science class at a Seattle-area high school that was (sort of) on his way to work.'

TEALS is now in 130 high schools and has 475 volunteers in multiple states but still has a long way to go (and needs to recruit many more volunteers) because, Kevin says, fewer than 1% of American high school students are exposed to computer science, even though "Computer science is now fundamental in these kids' lives." He doesn't expect everyone who takes a TEALS class to become a computer person any more than chemistry teachers expect all their students to become chemists. You might say that learning a little about how computers and networks work is like knowing how to change a car tire and cook a simple meal: skills that make life easier even for people who don't want to become mechanics or cooks.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors

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