Saturday, August 18, 2007

Seven Tips for giving Google Edu presentations (or any tech video that is going up online)

I have been subscribed to the Google Edu Video RSS for about a year now. I love how one day there is a presentation about how to best defend against a cougar attack and the next day a presentation about LLVM 2.0 It reminds me of when I was at CSH and every week there was a presentation or two. On Wednesday "Compression algorithms" and Friday "How to make a potato gun". The fact that anyone could give (or request) a presentation at any time to a small audience led to a wide range of interesting topics. Maybe you didn't know anything about the topic, but you always learned something.

After watching many Google Edu videos I have put together things to do when giving your presentation.

  1. Don't thank Google!
    The video tape is only 60 minutes long and wasting two minutes of it saying thank you is a waste of time. Yes you use Google and yes you find it useful, we all do. You don't need to say it.

  2. Don't give your life history
    If it takes eight minutes to get to the start of your real presentation then you have done something wrong. Usually there is someone who introduces you in thirty seconds or less. You do not need to give us your resume. If you are on Google edu we will give you the benifit of the doubt that you probably know what you are talking about.

  3. Repeat questions
    Any time someone asks a question you need to repeat it. If you do not repeat the question then that whole part of the presentation is dead to those who are watching it online. For some presentations that are largely QA it means that you will only ever reach the ten people in the room and not the other ten thousand that are trying to watch it online.

  4. A basic Intro is more then helpful, it is required
    When giving a technical talk, spend one minutes explaining what it is that you are doing. Example are good too. Jumping straight into the meat without anything will loose a lot of people who will just click to the next video. We will probably be able to understand a lot of what you are talking about if you just give us some place to start from.

  5. Don't poll the audience
    The physical audience size for some of these presentations ranges from 10 to 50. You should not ask for a raise of hands about anything, because there are 50,000 other people who will view it online.

  6. Don't give out secrets
    Just because only eight people turned up to see the presentation doesn't mean that you can say "just between you and me..." and then give away your company plans [cough]Adobe dude[cough]. Remember that the physical audience is nothing compared to the number of people that will watch it online.

  7. Don't feel bad because only 20 people show up
    At the start of the Surviving in the wilderness video that is linked above the guys is disappointed because only twenty people show up, but little did he know that the video would be watched twenty thousand times. How is that for an audience?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Javascript Genetic Algorithm

The other evening I was looking to play around with QScript. I have done a handful of JavaScript and know that there are a number of very interesting features that the language possesses. I have also been looking to hack on a Genetic Algorithm project. Putting the two together I made a Genetic Algorithm example written in JavaScript. It was quite a lot of fun to make and is quite a small amount of code in the end. I included an example that tries to find the shortest path between a set of points (the travelling salesman problem). You are free to type in any problem you want and it will attempt to solve it with the genetic algorithm. After it runs it will generate a graph showing the progress as its gets a better and better solution (using the canvas tag, sorry it doesn't work in Konq 3.x). And it will paint the final solution that it finds to the problem. Although it ended up being a little website rather then a Qt app it was fun learning more JavaScript and more about GA's. If you are interested in learning about GA's I have a number of links including some to Google books at the bottom.

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