Fascinated By File Size

I am fascinated by file size. For example, the significant difference between printing to PDF versus saving as PDF using the exact same settings. Or saving the same word processing document as PDF with the same settings from MS Word vs Libre Office. Saving a JPG as a Photoshop PDF vs creating a PDF from the JPG using Acrobat Pro.

Anyway, this just happened: Client asked for one change in the video I produced. Whenever the word “bleach” appeared in on-screen text, they wanted it to be bold and red. The word bleach appeared three times. The formatting change resulted in the following file size change:

  • Before: 6.78 MB
  • After: 6.82 MB

Now you have something to discuss at parties. You’re welcome.


The Videographer Who Hates Videos

Another pet peeve of mine (besides poorly designed excuses for “cheat sheets” and people referring to PDFs as “ebooks”) is videos.

I don’t mean advertisements. Videos I did not ask for that autoplay and, even worse, those with no stop or pause buttons could be a whole post by themselves but, honestly, those bother me less than videos with content I actually wanted. When I think I’ve found something informative or useful and it’s a video, I feel ripped off.

I can read so much faster than anyone can talk. Videos–be they news stories or tutorials–bring my life to a screeching halt.

While reading, I can skip uninteresting or worthless text and easily identify when the important, informative part of the content begins. Trying to skip ahead in a video is irritating when the video is local and delivery is fast. Trying to skip ahead and fighting with the forces of bandwidth, buffering, etc. makes me want to punch kittens.

I get so deeply disappointed after clicking a link to what I thought would be an interesting news story and it’s a video. It’s like picking up what you thought was a piece of fruit but it’s decorative plastic that only looks like fruit.

Humble Suggestions for Video Tutorials

  • Don’t tell me your name and the name of your company. I don’t care. If the tutorial is great, I’ll want to know so save that for the end. Really, I’ll just remember it keep an eye out for your name or URL next time I’m googling.
  • Don’t welcome me. Get down to business. I’m probably trying to get something done and I’m in a hurry.
  • Don’t introduce the topic. I know what the topic is–I googled the topic and chose your video (well, I chose the link to this tutorial). Just start at step one and talk fast.
  • Provide some textual instructions. Preferably something print-friendly.

Humble Suggestions for Video News & Features

  • Transcripts
  • Text Article

I might have watched the video below without complaint but was overjoyed when I didn’t have to. Transcripts, yo.

In Boston, tracking data to score government progress

Beautiful Apps Are Beautiful

That’s the kind of app I want to build. I’ll explain what I love about it later.

The eLearning Developer Who Hates Video Tutorials

I’ve made countless video tutorials for fun and profit. I would never, ever sit through one. Let me clarify that I don’t count true software simulations as video tutorials–if it’s interactive and not ugly, I’ll gladly sit back and absorb it.

Everything made in Adobe Captivate sucks. It’s not those who use it–the product itself doesn’t allow for creating anything that unsucky.

  • The GOLD-FREAKING-STANDARD for video tutorials is Lynda.com [insert standing ovation here].
  • FreeCodeCamp.com is totally awesome. It’s not videos, it’s truly interactive with great software simulation. And Free.
  • Codecademy.com is mostly great. They really need to do some testing and editing, but when they get it right, it’s outstanding and they continually improve. Free with extra stuff you can buy.
  • My impression is I haven’t seen enough of KhanAcademy.org to truly review them but they are also excellent. Not only are the instructors talented and engaging, another thing that makes Khan truly great is a very active community that is always available and eager for chat, Q&A, and peer review. Free.