[smalltalk-central] Smalltalk In Industry video

Mark D. Roberts mroberts at cincom.com
Fri Sep 22 02:58:47 BST 2006


David,

Okay, this looks good. As promised, here are some comments:

(1) The first thing I see is "Screencast loading...". If it's possible to 
include some kind of progress bar, that would be good. In any case, I think 
when we link to this from the site, we should mention the size of the file, 
so people can get some idea of what they're about to download.

(2) The blue-grey title screen background looks like video noise, complete 
with colored artifacts, which reminds me of NTSC, VHS, and similar low-res 
analog video formats. Suggest a black background.

(3) Title text "Smalltalk in Industry" -- this is in a serif typeface, but 
titles are usually sans serif. The text is center-justified. Suggest a sans 
serif title fonts, left-justified and slightly off-center.

(4) Opening monologue: "Most people think that Smalltalk is an old, 
obsolete programming language from the 1980s" -- sorry, but this just makes 
me cringe.

First, who is our audience here? Are we trying to speak to those who think 
Smalltalk is "an old, obsolete programming language from the 1980s"? Or, 
are we trying to speak to those who really don't have a clear idea what 
Smalltalk is at all?

If the former, I kind of doubt they'll be spending time watching videos 
about "Smalltalk in Industry". They'll be fiddling with the latest fad. And 
if we're speaking to the latter, then right off we sound defensive. It's 
the whole "Why Smalltalk?" issue. My feeling is that we should pitch this 
towards the broader audience of people who are fuzzy on what Smalltalk 
actually is, and rather than drawing more attention to our image problem, 
we should just launch into speaking about Smalltalk's strengths.

To re-phrase this, the intro would mention two or three "core values" that 
we use to pitch Smalltalk. We should try to pick values that have some 
contemporary buzz, e.g., XP has a higher "buzz quotient" than OO. As for 
the values we choose... some ideas: OO? XP? Rapid Development? Extensible? 
Mature? High Performance?

For example, the intro continues... "...a simpler and more productive 
solution ... than the more mainstream programming languages provide..."

So, we've got simplicity and productivity as two core values. Can we 
mention maturity, or does that not resonate so well in the current 
hype-driven marketplace?

Simplicity and productivity sound good to me.

(5) The title screen is followed by a wipe directly to the screen of Deep 
Cove Labs. It seems to me that an overview is missing here. Before starting 
to talk about individual companies and their applications, I'd like to 
suggest a summary of some the different domains in which Smalltalk is being 
used. This will give the audience a sense that Smalltalk has been used 
successfully in many different industries (for more details, see the IDC 
white paper called "Smalltalk Strengths Stand Out"). Then, in the voice 
over, you say that you'd like to show just a few examples.

So, it would start like this:

BLACK

FADE IN TITLES

         "Smalltalk in Industry"

FADE TO BLACK

FADE IN SUMMARY

         "Industry successes with Smalltalk"

                 * Telecommunications
                 * Financial Services
                 * Manufacturing
                 * Insurance
                 * Health Care
                 * Logistics

WIPE to Deep Cove labs application

(6) Voice over for the first example begins: "Deep Cove Labs developed 
Raven using VisualWorks. Raven automates all check clearing and electronic 
funds transfers. Using Raven ..."

Suggest: "In the financial services sector, Deep Cove Labs developed Raven, 
an application that automates all check clearing and electronic funds 
transfers. ..."

At the end of the summary, mention that "Raven was developed using 
VisualWorks Smalltalk." Saying this at the end will underscore that the 
application was implemented in Smalltalk.

(7) I agree with Eric that it would be good to include some text that 
mentions the name and maybe the URL of the company that provides the 
software. Rather than a separate "title" frame for this, I'd like to 
suggest having the text in a stripe across the bottom of the screen, like 
on a TV news show. The stripe can dissolve/disappear as the demo begins.

(8) In the demo of the silicon wafer fab control system, you say "... used 
to manufacture silicon wafers for many silicon manufacturers. In fact, 
virtually all silicon manufacturing is controlled in whole, or in part, by 
systems running Smalltalk."

Suggest: "... used to manufacture silicon wafers for the semiconductor 
industry. In fact, virtually all silicon wafer fab in the world is 
controlled in whole, or in part, by systems running Smalltalk."

(9) The next description is: "KnowledgeScape is an expert system... in 
mineral processing plants around the world." Here, I have to listen for a 
while to find out that this application is used in the "mineral processing 
industry". Suggest mentioning the name of the company that produces this 
app, and mentioning the industry ("mining and mineral processing"?) before 
elaborating about the app's functionality.

(10) Some of these screen shots are cropped close against a white 
background, and then inset against a black background. What about using a 
white instead of a black background, so that the cropping around the screen 
shot isn't so visible?

(11) "Trade Performance is ..." Suggest mentioning name of the company that 
developed the application.

That's about all I can think of.

Thanks much,

M 
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