What do you think of ShowMeDo

kyran at showmedo.com kyran at showmedo.com
Wed Apr 29 06:56:08 CEST 2009

On 29 Apr, 00:07, Ben Finney <ben+pyt... at benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> Astley Le Jasper <Astley.lejas... at gmail.com> writes:
> > I've just stumbled over this (http://showmedo.com/) and being the very
> > visual person I am, it seems like it could be a good way to learn
> > about python. However, before I smack down $60, I wondered if anyone
> > had any opinions on it. My gut feel is that it could be pretty good.

I stumbled across this thread while typing a speculative 'showmedo' in
google, as you do while taking a break on a (very) late Tuesday
evening. To declare my interest, as things stand I am Showmedo CEO,
CTO, boywhomakesthetea etc.. I'm not going to plug anything specific
and normally let these things go but it's comp.lang.python and a
misconception is a misconception. Besides which, every now and then an
attitude really grates.

99% of the videos on showmedo are available free-and-gratis. They're
made by members of the open-source community who receive nothing more
than a bit of kudos and an all too rare thank-you. We pay for the
hosting and provide the set-up. I think as a site we've really added
something of value to the Python community, so, as I wrote, this last
post really grates.

We cover the use of Flash in the faq (http://showmedo/faq) and put our
hands up to it. Pragmatism wins out over purity on this one - it's
hard enough being a newbie without having to go through the
disheartening rigmarole of obscure codec installations and the
inevitable breakdowns. I keep my eyes open but time is very, very
finite and there are, I feel, more pressing issues. Fact is, Flash is
the standard for 'convenient' web-video, nothing else comes close. And
ultimately the idea is for the videos to be seen.

As for the author immediately above, I think he fails his own test of
prudence. There are rather blindingly obvious download links below
each video. We require users to login for this extra service, mainly
because this encourages non-anonymous comments, which authors tell us
counts for a lot. Open-ID wasn't really an option when everything was
being built a few years ago but may be a good call now. Time
constraints are the reason behind much that is lacking.

All that being said, I do feel the need to make that point that we
have generated 350 odd completely free video-tutorials for the Python
community, including some truly inspirational demonstrations, if the
feedback is anything to go by. The site has been refined over time and
is at least striving constantly to improve. But some people will
always focus only on the negatives. They are few and far between but
occasionally, during those long, dark teatimes of the soul, it does
make one wonder why one bothers. You provide them with free videos,
make no claim upon them and all they do is moan that the format is
wrong or their time too precious to waste on a non-mandatory signing-
up, though not so precious they can't take time out of their day to
whinge about it in a group posting. I think it's the kind of attitude
that kills the spirit of FOSS stone-dead.

anyway, apologies for my counter-winge and good luck to the parent
poster for the Python adventures ahead. I think you can get a lot from
Showmedo without spending a dime. I'll restrict myself to one
inspirational video set, a personal favourite. Maybe not quite
beginner material but it shows the power of Python to a tee:

The creation of Eric Thompson's 3D molecule viewer:

kyran (co-founder Showmedo)

> I commend you on your prudence.
> The site makes a big deal about helping people with free software. But
> their videos are in non-free formats, with Flash being the only option I
> could see.
> The content appears only to play *in* a browser (I couldn't find any
> download links to watch the video offline), making it a pain for anyone
> without extremely fast internet.
> They require Yet Another Bloody Site-specific Authentication, instead of
> allowing login with an existing OpenID as provided by any of the
> hundreds of millions of accounts people already have.
> Those barriers are enough that I haven't yet *seen* any of their content
> to know if it's worth paying for.
> --
>  \        “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” |
>   `\                                                       —David Hume |
> _o__)                                                                  |
> Ben Finney

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