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On Slashdot Video, We Hear You Loud and Clear 263

Posted by timothy
from the what've-you-got-against-synergystic-deliverables? dept.
You complained; we heard you. We're making some adjustments to our ongoing experiment with video on Slashdot, and are trying to get it right. Some of the videos just haven't gelled, to put it lightly, and we know it. We're feeling out just what kinds of videos make sense here: it's a steep learning curve. So far, though, besides a few videos that nearly everyone hated, we've also seen some wacky, impressive, fun technology, and we're going to keep bringing more of it, but in what we intend to be smarter doses, here on the Slashdot home page. (A larger selection will be available on We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware; suggestions welcome. We have also heard you when it comes to improving the core Slashdot site experience and fixing bugs on site. We're working on these items, too. As always, suggestions are welcome, too, for other things worth getting on camera or publishing on Slashdot.
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On Slashdot Video, We Hear You Loud and Clear

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  • Too late! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:26PM (#39588723)
    No saving slashtv. Just add a checkbox for it under the "exclusions" tab and call it a day.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:42PM (#39588927) Homepage Journal

    UTF-8? For what?

    ENGLISH is the language of computer technologists around the world, even overseas. I have yet to meet a developer that doesn't speak English, despite working with HUNDREDS of people from overseas. Maybe it's a job requirement, but if so, I'm ok with that -- it's not prejudice driving the use of English, but the need for a common language of technology.

  • by MarkGriz (520778) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:47PM (#39588991)

    If some random company -- or some person who happens to work for a company -- is doing something legitimately cool, would you want to hear about it?

    Then why not cover several companies doing similar technologies in the the same video? That would go along way toward making it seem less like an ad.

    And it really doesnt matter if it's paid or not, the coverage benefits both slashdot and the company being spotlighted.
    Though OTOH, judging by the recent backlash, maybe the opposite is true.

  • Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by discord5 (798235) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:47PM (#39588995)

    Some of the videos just haven't gelled, to put it lightly

    You mean the slashvertisments? Yeah, those are terrible. I understand that you guys want to generate additional revenue from the site, but really you've been pushing the boundaries of what some of your audience will consider as an appropriate story.

    You've got a mostly technically inclined audience, and trying to sell them a "database proxy" that prevents SQL Injections will pretty much put off anyone who's done serious work in that area. You're not exactly catering to the easiest audience, but you managed to do so for the most part in the past 10 years. If you suddenly forgot how to pander to your audience, I really think you should have a look at your community and its roots and see where exactly you've lost touch.

    We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware

    No, please... We've got the will it blend guy pimping his blenders, the will it fry guys with their tesla coils, and more enough kids with fireworks or hammers on youtube. Do something neat, something geeky. Do something that makes me go "Oh cool, I want to build one too" and grab my soldering iron or favourite editor of choice. Don't build a "death ray" out of a giant magnifying glass (remember that horrible story?) and burn yet another iphone/ipod. It's been done to death, and is extremely not geeky.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:02PM (#39589225) Homepage Journal

    Hackaday [] is a tech-oriented site which includes videos in many of it's posts. In general, their videos are informative and on-point. They make the browsing experience better.

    Let's compare and contrast those videos with the ones here, and see if slashdot can keep the good parts and ditch the bad parts.

    Hackaday videos are generated by the people making the articles. IOW, when they make some cool gadget, they have a website describing the build and a video of the device in action. Here's the first example [] that I could find in a quick search. Lots and lots of other examples.

    The subject matter of the cited example is rather uninteresting and techy, and it's amateurish, but the video does an excellent job of counterpointing and illustrating the text of the build.

    I've seen other examples where the ideas expressed in the text are badly described or difficult to grasp, but the video makes it clear. There are also many examples of things which are just plain cool when shown as video. Lots and lots of examples.

    Images are used to illuminate and express the interest and wonder of a concept, and videos should be used in the same way. Not as a medium in and of itself, but as a way to express those aspects which don't come out well in text or images.

    Using them for fake advertizements is the wrong approach - there is simply no general interest in seeing advertizements, and making them into videos doesn't make them more palatable. Having a video of a person talking, expressing an opinion, or describing something is completely backwards - the description should be text, the diagrams in images, and the action in video.

    If you had videos in the same vein and for the same reasons as Hackaday, it would be roundly appreciated by just about everyone.

    It's like what everyone says is the problem with the RIAA and MPAA - change your business model, give the customers what they want.

    We're still your customers [], right?

  • by NighthawkFoo (16928) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:12PM (#39589349)

    Deep geeky stuff please. This is News for Nerds. If you can't get into details here, then where can you?

  • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:37PM (#39589733)

    You could also suggest transcripts because even if the content is interesting we may not want to spend 2-3x longer hearing it rather than reading it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:43PM (#39589839)

    Here's what people want:

    Interviews with compelling engineers or other intelligent and worthwhile notables or pieces on compelling and interesting topics and technologies. Though, I don't know why that has to be done in video.

    Here's what people do NOT want:

    Advertising, masquerading as "programming". We're not stupid and we KNOW that YOU KNOW you are providing an advertising service when your video is:

    * Some lawyer type guy with no seeming background or history as per google searches to justify his claim that he's some sort of expert... who happens to be doing the video out of his office in a strip mall.

    * Anyone who is a non-technical CEO.
    * Anyone who is in marketing.
    * Anyone whose title (like yesterday) is "PR".

    Frankly, I find what has already been done to be offensive enough that I don't plan on being here much anymore. I've been with Slashdot since it was Chips & Dips and have made thousands of posts and spend hundreds or thousands of hours here. Visisting -- for the most part -- dozens of times per day.

    In the last couple years, that has slowed. And since taco left and you guys started with the blatant advertising, I almost never even remember to come back (and when I have, I've seen these "slashdtv" things that are poorly veiled advertising.

    I probably won't be here even once a week, going forward. If you really want to turn into Engadget or Gizmodo, then go for it. I don't care. It's sad to see what Slashdot is turning into and there aren't many other places around like it... but I can find another home for tech professionals and geeks to discuss things.

  • by MattskEE (925706) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:10PM (#39590227)

    We're interested in anything geeky and technical (at least I am), but you can't squeeze blood from a turnip, or at least not much. So you can talk about products that have new features as long as the features are actually interesting and new. Or you can talk about the features from a technical standpoint, showing what the features really mean, what's important, and what's physically achievable, instead of just rattling off specs like a Best Buy salesman who doesn't understand the product or the specifications.

    Taking the Plantronics video as an example, there isn't a whole lot of interesting stuff going on there because they're just making very run of the mill consumer/business products. You could try and squeeze out something good talking about the wireless interface design, or frequency response, noise floor, and distortion in the audio quality, or what makes one headset ergonomic and another uncomfortable, or whether bacteria really grow faster in your ears when you're wearing headphones, just to name a few ideas. But by going with Plantronics you're limiting your options, because their products are fairly boring.

    If you want to do a video about computer interface devices you'll have an easier time if you pick something that's already geeky, maybe gaming mice. Then you can get a company that really cares about its products who will tell you about the ergonomics and how their latency and movement accuracy is better than another company's, and they'll have numbers to back it up, and maybe talk a bit about how they accomplished those things. Or talk to monitor manufacturers about new display technologies like OLEDs and 3D, just make sure not to get caught up in marketing-speak. Even better if you could get a monitor manufacturer to HONESTLY discuss monitor specifications like why the contrast ratios are generally BS, how accurate the colors are and how to color calibrate your monitor, and what to look for if you're buying a monitor for watching videos or gaming.

    You could also delve into wireless standards, look at all of the different technologies that carriers are calling 4G and what the actual performance of each is and whether it really deserves to be called 4G. Keep an eye on new ultra high speed wireless technologies like Intel WiDi or anything else operating in the 57-64GHz ISM band.

    Of course this is just a few of my thoughts about what kinds of information about products are interesting, not about whether it makes a good video. I'm generally not a fan of videos versus static content unless the videos are really well done, or unless you're taking advantage of videos to show something that can't easily be presented in a static page. A big part of that is that videos generally take longer to watch and have less information.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:13PM (#39590281)
    I know what happened here. Your interviewer met this chick in a bar... at a club... something... she talked him into this. She gave him her number so he could do the "interview" and he's like "OH YEA" Nice rack and all but seriously, where are your editors? You've got to review this stuff before you put it up. This WAS an advertisement, your reviewer got paid with a wink and a low cut shirt.
  • by morethanapapercert (749527) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:45PM (#39591567)
    Speaking only for myself, the only time I ever want to hear Product X does Y is when it is some unique and new gadget. If it's been around for awhile, or has competitors, I don't want anything like that. No; not even comparative reviews of Product X versus it's competitors A, B and C. I get enough of that elsewhere thank you. The Plantronics video is an a, pure and simple. Maybe /. didn't get paid, but it is exactly the kind of useless puff piece I hate. Many of us here have the engineering mindset, being exposed to a sales pitch in any media is usually boring at best, possibly torturous at worst. For a shallow piece, I want to know the product specs and I'm quite comfortable with a plain, unadorned table of raw numbers. For a more in depth piece, I want to know how it was made, what new principles or problems the engineers dealt with to make it. (examples below)

    1) Current hard drives are using perpendicular magnetic domains, something I think Samsung was the key researcher in developing. All the major major hard drive companies are doing it now, so it really isn't a trade secret. Get me an interview with the engineering team that figured out how to lay down the media on the disk substrate in such a way to create those perpendicular domains.

    2) Interview the guy who runs the computer system(s) at some observatory. Palomar, Mauna Kea, W.R. Keck, some place like that. I want to know how he got the job, how much data a typical nights viewing produces, how many Universities get that data, what about his job *he* thinks is cool, that sort of thing. 3) I hear James Cameron is sponsoring a dive to some new record depths. Don't do a piece on him! Do a piece on the submarine he and his team will be using, For the tour guide, use the guy who built it, someone who drives it. Pretty much anyone directly involved, knows what they are talking about, but are not someone who would usually appear on camera in some run-of-the-mill documentary.

    4) if you cover a gathering, convention or conference, at the end include links to the people and organizations involved.

    5) For that matter, maybe /. can do a table at a con or sponsor a con. (It'd be great to see /. sponsoring some Maker Faires or RapFab meets)

    6) I'd like to see a video tour of the facilities well known websites are hosted at.

    7) Once you have arranged to record some video with someone or somewhere, do what you do with the text based interviews. Ask us what parts we want to see, what questions we might like to ask. Use our input to help shape the direction and depth of the piece.

    Frankly, when it comes to consumer products, all I really care about it the kind of stuff the PR, Marketing and Legal departments probably don't want me to see.

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:37PM (#39594331)

    I am always grateful to read comments written by experts in the /. community who are directly involved in the work a post is talking about, or who can provide informed insight into a field different from my own. That is, when reading a post about, say, the mars robots and someone who works for JPL chimes in, it makes me feel grateful to be part of a community where that can happen.

    So my suggestion is to approach those community members to do interviews or to comment on geek current events and cultivate them the way that news organizations cultivate experts to provide perspective on issues (but do it in a genuine geek way, not empty-headed fluff faux-journalist way). I know I would benefit from that, and the experts might as well because it will raise their professional profiles and might help their careers. It also bolsters the /. community by adding in a bit of aspirational value to its members: craft intelligent, insightful (or even funny) posts here and it might lead to other good things.

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone