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Subject: Re: [OMPI users] Open MPI instructional videos
From: Jeff Squyres (jsquyres_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-06-03 16:48:50

On May 30, 2008, at 9:55 AM, Andreas Schäfer wrote:

> I've never really dig into Open MPI's guts, not because I wasn't
> interested, but mainly because the time required to get my bearings
> seemed just too much. Until now. I've watched a couple of the videos
> while coding and it was pretty awesome. Easy to understand, structured
> and well spoken.

Good! I'm glad you've found them useful.

>> - Do you like the format?
>> - Is the (slides+narration) format useful?
> Yes, I like it a lot. I guess a pure podcast would be insufficient for
> complex issues where you simply need diagrams.

That was definitely my thought here -- pictures can be worth a million
words, etc.

> Maybe a small
> suggestion: maybe it's just me, but I'd actually prefer (even) leaner
> slides. Currently you're basically duplicating on screen what you're
> saying, which is good when you're a nervous, moumbling college student
> and might lose your audience somewhere. But when you're an experenced
> speaker (which you obviously are), the audience does rarely need this
> redundancy and might rather get confused when trying to digest both
> streams of information (visual and auditory) simultaneously. But this
> is of course a question of personal preference.

Thanks for the compliment snuggled in there. :-)

Yes, this might be a style thing -- I have found that at least some
people like to have slides that are more-or-less what the speaker
actually said for two reasons:

- so that the visuals and audio agree with each other -- it's not two
different through processes while you're trying to absorb the
information. Sure, some people read ahead on the slide and get bored
because the speaker eventually catches up, but at least in my
experience, these people are a minority.

- more importantly, however, the audience likes to take the slides
away and when they actually look at them 6 weeks after the lecture,
they might actually remember the content better because they received
the same information via two forms of sensory input (audio + visual).

>> - Would terminal screen-scrape sessions be useful?
> I'd prefer how-to pages for this, as you can copy&paste the commands
> directly into your own shell.

Good point.

>> - ...other [low-budget] suggestions?
> Maybe an a tad higher audio bitrate. And some people don't like the
> .mov format, but that isn't really important.

Ok, I can bump up the audio rate and see what happens to the filesize
(that was my prime concern, actually). Plus it *is* just the builtin
microphone on my Mac, so it may not be the greatest sound quality to
begin with. :-)

As for .mov, yes, this is definitely a compromise. I tried uploading
the videos to YouTube and Google Video and a few others, but a) most
have a time or file size restriction (e.g., 10 mins max) -- I was not
willing to spend the extra work to split up the videos into multiple
segments, and b) they down-res'ed the videos so much as to make the
slides look crappy and/or unreadable. So I had to go with the video
encoder that I could get for darn little money (Cisco's a big company,
but my budget is still tiny :-) ). That turned out to be a fun little
program called iShowU for OS X that does screen scraping + audio
capture. It outputs Quicktime movies, so that was really my only

Is it a real hardship for people to install the QT player? Are there
easy-to-install convertors? I'm not opposed to hosting it in multiple
formats if it's easy and free to convert them.

Jeff Squyres
Cisco Systems