[FoRK] Videos of talks / presentations considered harmful (and other peeves)

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon May 24 22:58:18 PDT 2010

On 5/24/10 7:32 PM, Jebadiah Moore wrote:
> Agree with the sentiment, but the thing about these videos, PDFs and the
> like is that they're mostly getting posted on the internet not just because
> people want to share content, but because they want to share and it's easy.
>   Most people aren't going to want to bother to convert PDFs to HTML (which
> for most academic papers is a pretty easy thing to do, especially if they
> were originally written in LaTeX or even Word), and they're certainly not
> going to want to transcribe videos.
> In the case where a bigger organization is doing the posting (like TED or a
> journal), it might be a little bit less of an issue, but that really depends
> on the size of the organization and how much they care.  TED does actually
> provide transcripts on most (all?) of their videos, but can you really
> expect even the people behind the Google tech talks to spend their valuable
> time transcribing?  What's their motivation?

At Google IO, they were transcribing their video live, on the fly.  You 
would assume that they captured that for posting with the video (but 
probably after polishing since that would be an expectation).

Even speech-recognition based transcribing would be fine in many cases.

> There's a little less excuse when it comes to slides and most PDFs, since
> they're pretty easy to convert to HTML (basically any authoring program will
> do this).  But PDFs usually do look better, they're usually already
> generated, they're fully searchable, and you'd be hard pressed to find a
> computer that couldn't display them.  And Google can display them in HTML
> for you.  So again, there's really not much incentive to bother.
> Plus, the medium's often important.  It's harder to make HTML do some of the
> things a PDF can, so it wins if the layout of your slides/presentation is
> relevant to the content.  And video is often chosen for a good reason--most
> people find it easier to listen than to read, video allows better
> juxtaposition of content with slides, it becomes a bit harder to transcribe
> if the speaker uses any visuals, and a lot of
> humor/"inspirational-ness"/etc. is a lot more effective with audio/video
> than with writing.

For about half of the Ted videos, they are well worth the time to 
watch.  The enhanced experience is worth the time.

> I agree with you in theory, but... not happening.  Move along, nothing to
> see here.
The Google PDF / docs preview as HTML 5 is at least solving the problem 
of high-quality viewing with nothing more than a browser.
I'm not sure why some show up as PDF->HTML simple layout and some as 
PDF->HTML image with selectable text.  Probably when it was last spidered.

Old style "View as HTML":

New style "Quick View" as part of Google Docs:


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