Thursday, November 1, 2012

About technical videos

One of the trends of the web 2.0 and post-youtube-boom era is surely the transition from text based tutorials to webcasts.
As a perfect example for this ,you can surf into that new MSDN Channel9 site: it contains a good section of C++ videos, talking about various and interesting topics.

The first video you get inside the C++ channel is this one:
"Stephan T. Lavavej, aka STL, is back on C9! This time, STL will take us on a journey of discovery within the exciting world of Core C++ (standard C++, the core language)."

Wow, this is something interesting. Part 1 whas about C++ name lookup, something which is always a source of errors and portability issues.

I just opened the video and read:  44 minutes, 48 seconds

Do you really think I have all that time to dedicate on this topic? Should I really stay 45 minutes in front of my screen watching you talking about C++ name lookup?

Mmm, maybe there's a transcript somewhere? Nope.

This results in a simple thing: I'm not watching the video at all!

Note, I just picked this particular video as an example, but the pattern is repeated over and over, from the "How Do I videos" on MSDN, to the "lectures" and overviews of the C++ committee folks.

So, everytime you're going to post something technical in video-only format, I'm gonna hate you.
Instead I'll just google the topic about and find a written explanation of it. Usually I'll be able to understand the same thing in a fraction of the time, and if I don't understand something, I wont't need to stop-rewind the video over and over.

All of this is a pity, because the covered topics can be very interesting.

Written things are easier to understand and follow. One can easily find the exact information it needs while filtering all the useless things.
Also, listening a non-native language is much harder than reading it.

I find watching technical videos very boring and frustrating. I prefer to spend my limited learning time more productive ways.


  1. What ? You are a C++ dev and your code takes less than 45 minutes to compile ? How lucky !

  2. I totally agree with you. These stupid useless video tutorials are everywhere. 10 minute video about something that they could have explained in 3 sentences.

    And I REALLY love the guys who insert text/explanations in their videos by typing into notepad.

  3. Too many just play out like extremely long essays, except that an essay is more useful. You can reference specific pages and read them in random order. Print it off, hand it to a friend, highlight parts, etc.

    It's always amazed me how people choose lessor forms of communication when better ones exist. I'm taking a few online courses right now and they are both entirely video lectures, with little-to-no reading material.

  4. seems as the people going to become illiterate and being proud of.
    just 'cause video is colourful? Well, I'm a text-oriented kind of coder.
    Maybe, in several years we're going to code by WII ? MS-WII ?