Archive for March, 2012

Introduction to WebGL (FITC talk slides)

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Here are the slides (rather a plain HTML page) of my “Introduction to WebGL” talk at FITC Spotlight Javascript, just in case that might be useful. After a quick general introduction, I focused on making sure that people at least grasp the basic concepts, especially around shaders. The idea is that once they understand that, they can easily learn the rest by themselves using existing excellent tutorials.

By the way, some notes on “slides”:

  • I don’t understand why people stick to the “slide projector” format. I find that just continuously scrolling through a plain HTML page is much better for many reasons. Most importantly, it allows to zoom in/out as needed (to adjust to the realities of conference rooms), which is not practical once the document is formatted into “slides”. It also allows to include longer code snippets or diagrams without having to worry about slide boundaries, in situations where having to scroll a bit is acceptable.
  • Another thing I really don’t understand is why most slide templates use dark grey text on light grey background. When using a video projector, maximizing contrast should be a higher priority than being cool with colors.
  • Finally, I don’t understand the value of adding pauses to slides (i.e. only showing part of a slide at first, then showing the rest). It probably keeps people entertained, but I don’t understand how it can help people understand things better.

Blogs are the worst medium for a debate

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Why is it that when people debate using blogs, this almost inevitably degenerates and causes negative feelings?

Here’s an attempt at a theory to explain that. When X and Y are debating, it should be X talking to Y and Y talking to X. Trivial, no?

But blogs break this trivial requirement. When X blogs about what Y wrote, it’s not X talking to Y. Instead, it’s X talking to The World about Y. The result is twofold:

  1. Makes Y feel publicly attacked
  2. Invites The World to the debate, thus feeding the debate with fresh new people who are not yet tired of it, and who may be missing earlier parts of the debate, since it’s not easy to trace back a debate-by-blogs to its origin.